by Nathan A. Cherry, 08/29/2011
Martinsburg, WV –
Nearly two months ago I shared a story with you related to religious exemptions and conscience protections. If you remember, the main point was that religious exemptions and conscience protections are not safe and would never be safe; especially under the current administration. I will restate it, anyone that believes the current president and his administration has any intention whatsoever of protecting religious or conscience rights of any organization or person is sadly mistaken; dangerously misled may be a better phrase.
It would seem that we are seeing further proof that religious and conscience rights are indeed under attack and by no means safe; even when the administration “assures” us they are.
I came across this story highlighting the implementation of contraceptive coverage in insurance plans for organizations and individuals alike. When you read the details of what the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under direction from the Obama administration is doing, it should send a clear message: religious and conscience protections are under attack. Take a look at these excerpts.
“The press’s misnomer of the year, ‘free contraception,’ is being compounded by a supposed ‘religious employer’ exemption offered by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Monday in its “preventive services” regulation. HHS disregarded the conscience concerns of many Americans, bypassed significant requirements of Administrative law, and severely muddied the truth when it mandated – effective immediately – that health insurance plans (with few exceptions) provide coverage for the ‘full range of FDA approved contraceptives’… without a co-pay!
“First, nothing in life is free. Removing co-pays from ‘contraceptives’ does not mean these drugs and devices are cost-free. Rather, the payment for them is simply shifted. Under the HHS mandate, the payer is now everyone: conscientious objection or not.
“Second, while the Left has already begun to employ its tired Catholic-baiting (painting the issue as one solely of Catholics opposing government-imposed payment for ‘birth control’), by mandating coverage for the ‘full range of FDA approved contraceptives,’ HHS has posed a conscience problem for many Americans who do not object to ‘contraception’ in the true sense of the word. But, sadly, several drugs and devices labeled by the FDA as ‘contraceptives’ have life-ending mechanisms of action. This includes ella, a drug that can kill a human embryo even after implantation…
“So, what about the ‘conscience protection’ HHS announced, ‘conscience protection’ that has riled up Planned Parenthood and other abortion-advocacy groups? The reality is that the HHS ‘conscience clause’ is just another ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ public-relations move by the Obama Administration.
“The regulation issued by HHS provides an exemption from its mandate for a narrowly-defined category of ‘religious employers.’ To fit the HHS definition, an employer must ‘primarily serve persons who share its religious tenets.’ That means, while a seminary may be protected, Mother Teresa’s order – by serving the poor, regardless of their religious tenets – would not be, nor would the Salvation Army. In fact, most religious schools, hospitals, and charitable organizations would not be protected by the exemption. Moreover, non-religiously affiliated employers – whose pro-life consciences are nonetheless violated – are certainly outside the realm of protection.”
Are you starting to get the picture? The religious and conscience rights of a majority of Americans is being systematically trampled and destroyed. An untold majority of our medical professionals hold to religious and conscience rights that they should not be forced to violate by our government. Thankfully a group of lawmakers are coming to the defense of these Americans;
“…a solution has been introduced in both the House and Senate. The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act – H.R. 1179 and S. 1467 – would ensure that PPACA’s broad mandate authorities, such as the ‘preventive services’ mandate, cannot be used to violate Americans’ conscience rights.”
America has a strong history of protecting the religious and conscience rights of medical professionals and citizens in general. But unless people are willing to take a stand and show support for such measures as H.R. 1179 and S. 1467 and demand that rights be protected there is a danger of those rights being stripped. A very real danger.
About Nathan Cherry
Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.