“We must obey God rather than men!”—Acts 5:29
Now that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has denied Hobby Lobby’s application for an emergency injunction protecting them from Obamacare’s HHS Mandate on abortion and birth control, Hobby Lobby has decided to defy the federal government to remain true to their religious beliefs, at enormous risk and financial cost.
Hobby Lobby is wholly owned and controlled by the Green family, who are evangelical Christians. The Greens are committed to running their business in accordance with their Christian faith, believing that God wants them to conduct their professional business in accordance with the family’s understanding of the Bible. Hobby Lobby’s mission statement includes, “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company … consistent with Biblical principles.”
The HHS Mandate goes into effect for Hobby Lobby on Jan. 1, 2013. The Greens correctly understand that some of the drugs the HHS Mandate requires them to cover at no cost in their healthcare plans cause abortions.
Today Hobby Lobby announced that they will not comply with this mandate to become complicit in abortion, which the Greens believe ends an innocent human life. Given Hobby Lobby’s size (it has 572 stores employing more than 13,000 people), by violating the HHS Mandate, it will be subject to over $1.3 million in fines per day. That means over $40 million in fines in January alone. If their case takes another ten months to get before the Supreme Court—which would be the earliest it could get there under the normal order of business—the company would incur almost a half-billion dollars in fines. And then of course the Supreme Court would have to write an opinion in what would likely be a split decision with dissenters, which could easily take four or six months and include hundreds of millions of dollars in additional penalties.
This is civil disobedience, consistent with America’s highest traditions when moral issues are at stake. The Greens are a law-abiding family. They have no desire to defy their own government. But as the Founders launched the American Revolution because they believed the British government was violating their rights, the Greens believe that President Barack Obama and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are commanding the Greens to sin against God, and that no government has the lawful authority to do so.
The Christian tradition of defying government commands to do something wrong goes back to the very birth of Christianity. When the apostles were ordered not to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with anyone, the Book of Acts records: “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men! The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.’”
Eleven of the twelve apostles—including Peter—would lose their lives for the sake of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ; only the apostle John died of old age. They were determined to obey God’s will at all costs.
This issue of civil disobedience is never to be undertaken lightly. The Bible teaches Christians to submit to all legitimate governmental authority (e.g., Romans 13:1), and so a person can only disobey the government when there is no other way to obey God.
But here in America, the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, and in its First Amendment it protects against a government establishment of an official religion and separately protects the free exercise of religion. On top of that, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) to specifically add an additional layer of protection against government actions that violate a person’s religious beliefs.
The HHS Mandate is a gross violation of the religious beliefs of the Green family. The issue before the courts here is whether the Greens religious-liberty rights include running their secular, for-profit business consistent with their religious beliefs. In other words, is religious liberty just what you do in church on a Sunday morning, or does it include what you do during the week at your job?
The Greens are now putting their fortunes on the line to do what they believe is right. The courts should side with them, affirming a broad scope of religious liberty under the Constitution and RFRA. And the Supreme Court should resolve this matter with dispatch in their favor.
Millions of Christians across the country feel exactly the same way as the Greens. The Obama administration has issued a statist command that is a declaration of war on people of faith who object to abortion, and civil disobedience could break out all over the country unless the courts set this matter right—and quickly.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal judge Monday rejected Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.'s request to block part of the federal health care overhaul that requires the arts and craft supply company to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after and week-after birth control pills.
In a 28-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton denied a request by Hobby Lobby to prevent the government from enforcing portions of the health care law mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives the company's Christian owners consider objectionable.
The Oklahoma City-based company and a sister company, Mardel Inc., sued the government in September, claiming the mandate violates the owners' religious beliefs. The owners contend the morning-after and week-after birth control pills are tantamount to abortion because they can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman's womb. They also object to providing coverage for certain kinds of intrauterine devices.
At a hearing earlier this month, a government lawyer said the drugs do not cause abortions and that the U.S. has a compelling interest in mandating insurance coverage for them.
In his ruling denying Hobby Lobby's request for an injunction, Heaton said that while churches and other religious organizations have been granted constitutional protection from the birth-control provisions, "Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations."
"Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion," the ruling said.Read this story at news.yahoo.com ...
The Patriot Post
"Liberal commentators were shocked this past week when in three days of oral argument in the lawsuits challenging Obamacare, five Supreme Court justices -- a majority -- asked questions strongly suggesting they think the legislation is unconstitutional. ... [T]he justices are not the only federal officials who take an oath to uphold the Constitution. So do the president and vice president, Cabinet members and other appointees, and every member of Congress. ... That means that every federal official has an obligation to act in line with the Constitution as he or she understands it. And that doesn't necessarily mean obeying Supreme Court decisions. ... Clearly the two parties are divided on the constitutionality of the Obamacare mandate. Polls have shown large majorities of voters think the provision is unconstitutional, though one can wonder whether many have given the matter much thought. But they're certainly giving it more thought after this week and will likely give it more when the decision comes down. Voters can reasonably ask candidates for Congress their views on this and other constitutional issues and call on them to vote against measures they consider beyond Congress' constitutional powers." Read this story at patriotpost.us ...
Provided courtesy of Tom Hoefling's 'Say NO to Socialism!' CNS News
Terence P. Jeffrey
During oral arguments
in the Supreme Court this week, Justice Stephen Breyer posed and answered the core question at issue in the controversy over the constitutionality of Obamacare’s mandate that individual Americans must buy government-approved health insurance policies: Can Congress order individuals to buy a good or service?
“Yes, of course they could,” said Breyer.
In the history of the nation, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government has never done this.
But Breyer, on Tuesday, stated his belief that the basic power of Congress to do such a thing was settled by the Supreme Court as early as 1819, in the case of McCulloch v. Maryland, in which the court decided Congress had the power to create a Bank of the United States.
Breyer explained his point of view after becoming impatient with the convoluted answers Solicitor General Donald Verrilli had offered up in response to questions from Justices Sam Alito and Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts.
Alito had asked Verrilli if Congress could force young people to buy burial insurance because everyone is going to die someday. Roberts asked Verrilli if Congress could force people to buy cell phones because it would facilitate contacting emergency services in the event of an accident. And Kennedy asked Verrilli: “Can you create commerce in order to regulate it.”
“I'm somewhat uncertain about your answers to, for example, Justice Kennedy,” said Breyer. He “asked, can you, under the Commerce Clause, Congress create commerce where previously none existed.
“Well, yes,” said Breyer, “I thought the answer to that was, since McCulloch versus Maryland, when the Court said Congress could create the Bank of the United States which did not previously exist, which job was to create commerce that did not previously exist, since that time the answer has been, yes.
-----When Breyer was confirmed to the Supreme Court, only 9 Republicans in the Senate voted against him.Read this story at cnsnews.com ...
Provided courtesy of SayNOtoSocialism! Sultan Knish
The only real lesson of the ObamaCare defense is that if you define the macro broadly enough, you are entitled to completely control every aspect of the micro. Everyone can be compelled to buy health insurance because health care is no longer a service bought from a doctor, it is a national market which everyone by definition participates in. The market is then divided between good consumers who buy health insurance and the parasites who don't. Alternative possibilities such as people who pay as you go, choose alternative health care or reject medicine entirely for religious or political reasons don't figure into a macro equation which sees people in the macro, not as individuals.
Defenders of the Mandate insist that you couldn't similarly force people to buy Broccoli or a Chevy Volt but why not? You might not be able to individually force people to buy a specific product, but once you define a transportation market or an edibles market, you can force people to participate in that market on the terms set by the government and its allied businesses.
So there wouldn't be a mandate to buy a Chevy Volt. That would be a crude abuse of power. Instead we can define a transportation market in which everyone is presumed to participate in. Since everyone at some point in their lives has to buy a car, ride in a car or take a bus or a plane somewhere, we can include everyone as a participant in the business of going places. And once everyone has been included in the transportation market, a mandate can then define the terms on which they can participate in that market.
Buy a Chevy Volt? No. Buy an electric car or alternative means of transportation which meets a target carbon footprint, or participate in a collective ride sharing system that meets the same requirements. Absolutely yes. And if rather few non-Volt vehicles meet those requirements, that's just incentive for more companies to make their own Volts. Or for you to buy a Volt.
Compel you to eat broccoli? That's easy as pie. Everyone already buys food which makes them participants in an edibles market. Since their consumption also affects their health care which now directly interacts with the government, the only way to provide them with affordable health care is to control their diet.
Here's one easy way to do it. Compel health insurance companies not to sell plans to anyone who does not commit to follow nutritional guidelines. Then fine them for not having health insurance. Allow them to buy health insurance again only after they agree to regular sessions with a nutritional counselor.
But the broccoli mandate is easy enough too. Since everyone buys food, everyone is a participant in the edibles market. To provide good affordable and nutritious food, which is now a right, to all Americans, and safeguard affordable healthcare, everyone is now mandated to participate in the Federal Annual Nutritional Purchase Program which would offer discounted produce, with a subsidy for farmers, on an installment plan that everyone would be compelled to pay into.
To deflect public criticism, the FANPP would be mandatory only for families with children under thirteen. There would be a variety of alternatives, but at the end of the day you would be compelled to buy broccoli and arugula and anything else that the brilliant busybodies decide is good for you.
Could anyone actually compel you to actually eat it? There's no need to go too 1984, but it's worth bearing in mind that there are sensors that monitor whether a homeowner has taken out their recycling the appropriate number of times, complete with fines for those who haven't, or for those whose labors haven't registered on the sensor. Within a decade it will be child's play to track every item of food in the supermarket and your refrigerator and your trash with edible RFID tags, plug all that into a database and then crunch the numbers and see if you really are eating your vegetables.
There is no limit to the controlling antics of the nanny state under the leadership of men and women who are certain that they know best and that only by taking complete control of everyone's lives will their pet projects for making the world a better place work out. It won't work of course, but that just means they will try harder.
The real message of the Mandate is that socialism interfaces closely with crony capitalism and that government solutions depend on forcibly enlisting everyone into their ranks because otherwise the program isn't even workable enough to get started.
The failures of ObamaCare will necessitate a constant campaign of scapegoating, blaming companies and ordinary Americans for not doing what needs to be done for everything to run smoothly. And that scapegoating will necessitate new solutions, new programs and new regimes. Companies will be nationalized, patients will be regimented and like the NHS, the coverage will veer from treating it as the only thing keeping us from dying in the gutter to warning that it is constantly on the edge of the abyss. There will be constant talk of reforms, whispers of privatization, and the misery will go on.
That is what the Mandate really means, the power to impose a total system on everyone. As the system becomes more dysfunctional, it will lose its vestige of private care and become a total government monopoly for its own good and ours. But of course it doesn't end there. It never does. Read this story at sultanknish.blogspot.com ...
Citizen Media reporting at its finest
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012
Today tens of thousands of Americans gathered in 140 cities to peacefully protest the "HHS Mandate". This recent mandate of the US Department of Health and Human Services requires religious institutions and faithful employers to provide insurance coverage of contraceptive drugs and devices, sterilization services, and abortion-producing drugs, even if this coverage is anathema to them. The mandate levies crushing fines on any institution that attempts to opt out of paying for such coverage. Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims are all strongly opposed to providing coverage of such services, and since HHS and the Obama Administration have been absolutely adamant that they would not change this provision of Obamacare, these protests were organized.
In DC, the protest was held directly in front of HHS headquarters, where presumably Kathleen Sibelius and her minions could not be unaware of it. Organizers anticipated a few hundred demonstrators, but counted 1300 before they began the rally. In the unseasonably pleasant spring sunshine, families gathered with babies and older children; nuns, priests, and monks came to watch and pray; determined individuals brought large American flags, smaller signs, and splendid banners. Blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians were represented, and both Catholics and Protestants came to show support. With their signage, their prayers, and their massed voices, all proclaimed one message: We will not comply!
The principal speaker was Presbyterian minister Patrick Mahoney, the rally captain and organizer for DC. What a motivating, high-energy speaker he is!
Other speakers included--
--the splendid, electrifying Star Parker, a former welfare mother who stopped living a dissolute life and became a Christian speaker, broadcaster, and writer
--Dr Milton Lee, a Korean pastor who had flown in from Seoul to thank America for her friendship
--a truly electrifying black preacher who had some serious warnings for our stubborn, unChristian president about facing Christ when he dies
--the beautiful Lila Rose, who spoke against abortion from the perspective of one who had survived an attempt to abort her
--Father Marcel Guarnizo, a holy priest, a conservative, and a brilliant scholar.
I want particularly to note the concluding remarks of Father Marcel. Many of you will have heard of the recent controversy about him, when his gentle and quiet refusal to give the elements of Communion to an openly practicing lesbian created an international media firestorm. His quietly adamant position about this finally caused the gay-sympathizing Archdiocese of Washington to punish him, withdrawing his faculty to operate as a priest in the DC area. He has been in seclusion since the incident at the end of February, and this rally was his first public appearance since then. It was a risk, for his absolute dedication to the cause of Christ has brought unbelievable hatred as well as grave threats from liberals and gays.
Nevertheless, this courageous little man would not allow threats to silence him. He gave a closely-reasoned speech which made no appeal to emotion, but discussed our Constitution and the First Amendment. The crowd was spellbound as he created his case: that this matter is not just about healthcare, or contraception, or even abortion, but about the existence of the United States as a Constitutional republic. For in depriving us of our religious freedom and compelling us to subsidize a culture of death, the Obama Administration removes every
freedom, in the manner of a totalitarian government. If this stands, he says, we have resigned all our freedoms and will be living under a totalitarian government.
In addition to the 15 Catholic bishops
scheduled to speak at Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom locations, countless other influential speakers from all walks of life will also be addressing rallies throughout the country this Friday, March 23.
The speakers at the more than 130 Rally sites represent a wide array of backgrounds and professions, including members of Congress, physicians, college presidents, pastors, radio hosts, law professors, heads of organizations, publishers, religious sisters, pregnancy resource directors, and rabbis.
The New York City Rally will feature several big names, including Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and pastoral associate of Priests for Life; Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Msgr. Philip Reilly, and Mother Mary Agnes Donovan, Superior General of the Sisters of Life. Continue reading ...
By Terence P. Jeffrey
All student health care plans covering female college students in the United States must include coverage for free voluntary sterilization surgery, the Department of Health and Human Services announced late Friday afternoon. Women of college age who do not attend school will also get free sterilization coverage whether they are insured through an employer, their parents, or some form of government-subsidized plan. Read this story at cnsnews.com ...
U.S. Clarifies Policy on Birth Control for Religious GroupsNew York Times
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration took another step on Friday to enforce a federal mandate for health insurance coverage of contraceptives, announcing how the new requirement would apply to the many Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies that insure themselves.
In such cases, the administration said, female employees and students will still have access to free coverage of contraceptives.
The coverage will be provided by the companies that review and pay claims — “third-party administrators” — or by “some other independent entity,” it said.
Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said the government would guarantee women access to contraceptives “while accommodating religious liberty interests.”
The new proposal escalates the election-year fight over the administration’s birth control policy.
President Obama had previously announced what he described as an “accommodation” for religiously affiliated organizations that buy commercial insurance but object, for religious reasons, to covering contraceptives and sterilization procedures. In these cases, the White House said, the insurer “will be required to provide contraception coverage to women free of charge.”
On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services went a step further and said it would propose a similar requirement for group health plans sponsored by religious organizations that insure themselves.
The new proposal did not mollify Republicans in Congress.
“It’s a Washington accounting gimmick,” Representative Jeff Fortenberry, Republican of Nebraska, said Friday in an interview. “The administration is twisting itself in all directions to expand the ‘accommodation’ for faith-based institutions. Why is it the government’s role to decide who gets an accommodation? The White House is creating an unnecessary political firestorm.”
Mr. Fortenberry has introduced a bill to let certain employers and insurers opt out of the mandate for contraceptive coverage. More than 220 House members have signed on as co-sponsors.Read this story at nytimes.com ...
Provided courtesy of Say NO to Socialism! Newsmax
By Richard Wagner and Martin Gould
The gross costs of the national healthcare law rammed through Congress by [Alleged] President Barack Obama will reach an estimated $1.76 trillion over 10 years – nearly twice the amount originally projected.
The figure, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revealed on Wednesday, is bound to cause embarrassment to the administration as it comes just as debate on “Obamacare” is starting to heat up again, two weeks before the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.
Immediately the revelation stirred controversy among opponents of the bill.
“Both fiscally and for the sake of our health care system, Americans cannot afford the president’s healthcare law,” said Georgia Rep. Tom Price, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee.
“The longer the president’s healthcare law remains on the books, the greater the threat it poses to our nation’s healthcare and our fiscal well-being,” said Price, an orthopedic surgeon.
“The CBO’s revised cost estimate indicates that this massive government intrusion into America’s health care system will be far more costly than was originally claimed. The law’s true cost to American taxpayers is part of a series of promises [Alleged] President Obama and Democrats in Congress made that will be broken,: he said.
Healthcare expert Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York State, told Newsmax that the original cost projections of the plan were “a shell game” and that the new report “inches closer to the truth” about the cost of the reforms.Read this story at newsmax.com ...