“Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition.”
Not in America. Not anymore.
At first glance the mandate by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department (HHS) forcing health insurance companies to provide “preventative services for women” appears to target Roman Catholic beliefs. But the real issue under attack is the American way of life as established by the First Amendment.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . .”
This HHS mandate allows the Obama Administration to force Americans to act against their consciences. This unprecedented act targets Religious Liberty. And once the federal government begins taking away the most basic rights of the American people, what comes next?
The potential answers are terrifying.
Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan explains: “Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.“
The U.S. Supreme Court agrees. Mere weeks ago the nine justices voted unanimously to uphold religious liberty in the Hosanna-Tabor Decision. They ruled that the federal government does not have the right to disregard the Constitution. In the process they issued a strong rebuke to the Obama Administration for overreaching the boundaries of their power.
The American Government’s pluralistic nature provides checks and balances between the three branches precisely to protect citizens’ unalienable Rights. The time has come for Americans, whether religiously inclined or soundly secular, to decide if they are willing to sacrifice those rights through inaction.
In a letter titled: ‘To Hell With You’, Most Reverend David A. Zubik of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh calls Catholics to action: “We are being told not only to violate our beliefs, but to pay directly for that violation . . . They have given us a year to adapt to this rule. We can’t! We simply cannot!
Write to the president.
Write to Secretary Sebelius.
Write to our Senators.
Write to those in Congress.”
Tampa Bay’s own bishop, Most Reverend Robert N. Lynch, promises: “Our forbearers left Europe because of religious intolerance such as this and founded this nation promising religious tolerance and freedom. I will write a letter to be read and/or distributed in every parish in the diocese next week-end and I hope that no Catholic voting adult will soon forget this egregious and insensitive intrusion by our government into our rights of conscience.”
Tampa Bay Catholics–proudly American–will be looking for Bishop Lynch’s letter this weekend. The time has come to fight for the American way of life.
For the information necessary to begin taking action, visit these sites:
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Conscience Protection
Catholic Advocacy Network Institute for Public Policy