In case you haven’t had to notice yet, the definition of religious liberty has changed in recent days, by order of regulators at the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s the power this president believes is appropriate. And the HHS rule mandating employers provide coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs that was announced in January is the rule that went into effect this past Wednesday. So all those who originally protested ought to be now, as well. As Ashley McGuire of the Catholic Association writes:
This ruling… is now in effect. Which raises the question: What say they now?
What say they, and every American, to the fact that starting Wednesday, religious people in America now must seek a “safe harbor” if they cannot in good conscience comply with a law that violates their most deeply held beliefs?
What say they to the reality that even with the existence of a nebulous safe harbor and the promise of an accommodation, religious liberty is now on borrowed time from the government? Borrowed time with a glaring, red expiration date?
What say they to the fact that, private employers, equally entitled to religious freedom as non-for-profit employers, will be completely hung out to dry beginning Wednesday? In the latest anti-business move, this administration shows its hostility to the men and women that create jobs, telling them they can do so only on the government’s terms. Telling them their religion has no place in their workplace.
Americans who cherish religious freedom now must decide if they can trust a president who stated that “longstanding federal laws to protect conscience will remain intact” (Executive Order 13535) and seemingly echoed that sentiment during his Notre Dame commencement address, promises that as of Wednesday, he would have broken. Notre Dame is now one of the many religious institutions suing the Obama administration for religious freedom violations.
And even those who found the administration’s olive branch to be more than a withered fake should recognize that the president and his bureaucrats held it out, then threw it out after letting liberal Catholics’ hurrahs give him exit music as his mandate was simultaneously published without a trace of compromise.
This country was founded to be a safe harbor from persecution, a place where religious freedom reigned supreme. That her own citizens now have to seek safe harbor within her borders is a state of existence that should have never come to pass.
The HHS Mandate is law. Now what are we going to do with it? I have some ideas.