ALL Associate Newsletter - Vol. 10, No. 2 - Monday, January 14, 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013 - By Leslie Tignor

American Life League
Associate Newsletter
Volume 10, Number 2
Monday, January 14, 2013

ALL National Pro-Life Townhall
Don’t forget! The first The ALL National Pro-Life Townhall conference call is scheduled for Thursday, February 28, 2013, at 8:00 PM Eastern Time. To participate in the call and to receive a confirmation email with the toll-free telephone number and pass code, you must register by Friday, February 22, 2013. Register by contacting Leslie Tignor at or 540-659-4171.

The HHS mandate: Unethical, unconstitutional, and tyrannical
By Raymond J. Adamek, PhD

On February 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published regulations, pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), that require most health insurers to provide coverage, at no cost, for sterilization procedures, all U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved “contraceptive” methods, and “counseling” that promotes the same.

These “contraceptives” include abortifacient drugs and devices such as “emergency contraceptives,” other hormonal contraceptives, and intrauterine devices (see www.ThePillKills.com and “The unheard-of holocaust” in Celebrate Life, July-August). Contraception and sterilization violate the sixth commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” (since they contradict the meaning of the marital act), and abortion violates the fifth commandment, “You shall not kill.”

Recognizing that some religious entities would have moral objections to these new regulations, HHS decided to exempt some employers. Briefly, it exempts churches and associations of churches, but not church-related organizations such as hospitals, schools, publishers, and social service agencies.

An attack on religious freedom

A few years ago, some commentators noted a shift in the language President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton employ when discussing church and state relations. Rather than speaking of “freedom of religion,” they speak of “freedom of worship.” Shortly after HHS issued the mandate, Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George observed,

Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship—no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society. (Catholic New World, Feb. 26, 2012)

Besides promoting intrinsic evils and violating conscience rights, the HHS mandate is a frontal assault on the free exercise of religion, since it seeks to define which organizations are religious enough to be exempt from it, and how religious entities may or may not accomplish their religious missions. The First Amendment to the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It is for the church—not the state—to determine what constitutes a religion’s belief system, and how its belief system is to be exercised in practice.

Protection of the right of religious freedom is firmly established in constitutional law. Though she voted to uphold Obamacare’s mandate to buy health insurance, even liberal Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, “A mandate to purchase a particular product would be unconstitutional if, for example, the edict impermissibly abridged the freedom of speech, interfered with the free exercise of religion, or infringed on a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause.”

In speaking of the two “greatest commandments” (Matthew 22:34‒40), Christ made it clear that Christians are to love God (in worship) and their neighbor (in service). In the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:29‒37), He also made it clear that neighbors are those in need, no matter what their religious affiliation is. Furthermore, whatever we do for others, we do for the Lord (Matthew 25:31‒46).

Indeed, serving others was a major mission of Jesus Himself, Whom we are to emulate. In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus read these words of the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Luke 4:18‒19). He then said, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). In other words, He was saying, “Here I am. This is My mission.” And later He would say to us, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).

By declaring that only churches (and other religious congregations) are exempt from its regulations, but not religious hospitals, schools, charities, media outlets, or other agencies, the federal government is telling Christians they may observe the first of the two greatest commandments, but not the second, unless they are willing to violate their consciences or face severe penalties for noncompliance. Clearly, this mandate violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom and is thus unconstitutional.

Massive and diverse opposition

While the “mainstream” media like to portray the ensuing controversy as a battle between the Catholic bishops and the federal government over “contraception,” the HHS regulations have provoked far more opposition than the Obama administration and its media allies acknowledge.

In December 2011, over 60 representatives of prominent non-Catholic religious traditions, organizations, and institutions voiced their objections in a public letter to President Obama; in June 2012, representatives of 150 faith-based entities (mostly non-Catholic) sent a letter to HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius, objecting to her department’s refusal to exempt faith-based service organizations; about 34,000 Catholic and non-Catholic women have signed an online declaration in support of the Church’s opposition to the regulations; and at least 500 high-profile academics, religious leaders, and health care professionals—representing widely divergent faiths and political views—have signed a statement protesting the Obama administration’s so-called accommodation for conscience rights as yet another violation of religious freedom.

Those officially objecting to the regulations also include 154 members of both parties in the U.S. House of Representatives (who sent a letter to Sebelius on February 6, urging the administration to reverse the HHS mandate); the Missouri legislature, which, on September 6, overrode the governor’s veto of a bill that protects conscience rights; and the attorneys general of 12 states, who, in a February 10 letter, informed the administration of their intent to sue if the mandate were implemented.

Fighting back

Echoing the crowds to whom Saint John the Baptist preached, we may ask, “What then should we do?” (Luke 3:7−10). Some potential remedies for the HHS mandate have already been initiated. In Congress, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (HR1179) would prevent Obamacare from imposing mandates that violate the moral convictions of individuals and institutions that purchase or provide health insurance, or those of institutional health care providers and individual health care workers. We should ask our members of Congress to support this bill.

Several lawsuits against the HHS mandate were filed immediately, and on May 21, 2012, a total of 43 Catholic entities, including dioceses, schools, universities, hospitals, charitable and other institutions, filed suit in 12 different federal courts. A number of non-Catholic entities have also sued, including at least three Protestant-owned businesses and nine Protestant colleges.

Currently, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (www.BecketFund.org), “There are 40 cases and over 110 individuals representing hospitals, universities, businesses, schools, and people all speaking with one voice to affirm the freedom of religion guaranteed in the Constitution.” Over the past several months, federal courts have acted in five of these lawsuits, as of this writing.

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of seven states and several other private parties, claiming they didn’t “have standing to challenge the Rule” and the case wasn’t “ripe for review,” because the government’s so-called “safe harbor” provision hadn’t yet spelled out what additional exemptions the federal government might allow. For similar reasons, federal judges dismissed lawsuits brought by Belmont Abbey College and Wheaton College. However, a lawsuit filed by O’Brien Industrial Holdings, a business owned by a devout Catholic, was dismissed on its merits by Judge Carol Jackson, who claimed the HHS regulations don’t impose a “substantial burden” on the business or its owner, and don’t violate their religious freedom. The plaintiffs in all four of these cases are appealing the dismissals.

Federal judges have granted Hercules Industries, Tyndale House Publishers, and Weingartz Supply Company preliminary injunctions allowing them to not comply with the mandate, based on these enterprises’ arguments that they operate according to Christian principles. Hobby Lobby’s request for a preliminary injunction was denied, but it has filed an appeal.

There is currently much discussion concerning other morally acceptable responses to the HHS mandate. In the meantime, we can support legislation (at all levels) that protects religious freedom; we can support the public-interest law firms fighting for religious freedom in the courts; and we can pray and inform our family members, friends, and work associates of this aggressive and ill-considered attack on the sanctity of life and our religious freedom. The idea that government can force individuals to violate their consciences, and define how they may or may not exercise their religion is the very definition of tyranny.

Raymond J. Adamek, PhD, is an emeritus professor of sociology at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, and has published some 22 articles on matters concerning the sanctity of life in professional journals and other outlets. He has been active in the pro-life movement since 1972.

Fundraising Tip
Fundraising is not about need. It is about opportunity. Donors are primarily interested in investing their money into something that will bring them emotional fulfillment. It is quite possible that financing the resolution of your organization’s need or the need of persons will give the donor that fulfillment—but it is the fulfillment that drives the gift directly. You, therefore, need to know exactly what it is that brings fulfillment to a prospective donor. One way to do this is, of course, to sit down with prospective donors and get to know their interests.  There is no substitute for major gift fundraising of this sort. Another less accurate but more efficient approach to large segments of people is to look carefully at the behaviors and characteristics of a particular group of people and then try to figure out what gives them the most fulfillment. You may, for example, have a segment of young parents and women of all ages who are particularly drawn to helping actual babies. They want you to succeed, but they will respond much more positively to an appeal to save babies than an appeal to cover your operating costs. You may also, as an example, have a segment of politically savvy, conservative Christians who particularly resent many changes brought about in the name of Obamacare. Appealing to these two segments with the same message would be a poor way to raise funds!

Closing Thought
The parable of the Good Samaritan teaches “what the relationship of each of us must be towards our suffering neighbor. We are not allowed to ‘pass on the other side’ indifferently; we must ‘stop’ beside him. Everyone who stops beside the suffering of another person, whatever form it may take, is a Good Samaritan.” God places us next to people in need whom we encounter along our way. Love should move us to do whatever we can.

In Conversation with God, 5:177

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