Keeping the faith

More of us should take stand against birth-control mandate

While Democrats wailed about a phony-baloney GOP “war on women” in last year’s election cycle, they were preparing for a real battle against religious Americans.

Never mind the attempted assault on the faith-minded Chick-fil-A after an executive there merely said he supported traditional marriage. That assault failed miserably, thank goodness, with fans of the restaurant chain overwhelming it with support across the country.

More ominously, the federal health-care law requires employers to offer birth-control coverage, even if it violates a business owner’s deeply held religious beliefs in the sanctity of life.

In short, if anyone’s at war, this administration is with religious people and institutions.

The problem is, the religious aren’t fighting back much.

When Catholics and a few others squawked about the birth-control mandate, the Obama administration reluctantly agreed to exempt purely religious facilities. But the exemptions don’t include many faith-based organizations and their civic and social work offshoots, or secular businesses owned by people with religious views that are contrary to birth control.

There’s also the rather fundamental question of why it is that Americans must go to our rulers on bended knee to seek waivers in order to exercise their basic human and constitutional rights.

Since then, a few entities have fought a lonely battle against an emboldened Obama administration to secure their religious liberties. By proxy, they’re fighting for our rights as well.

Arts and crafts company Hobby Lobby is among the most prominent. And this past week, the chain won a huge, if partial and temporary, battle: The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it can continue fighting the birth-control mandate in court without having to pay massive fines for being in noncompliance with Obamacare. The fines would’ve started Monday.

It’s amazing that an appeals court would even have to provide such protection. Why would the Obama administration even seek to levy crippling, if not fatal, fines on a business for its trying to defend its owners’ constitutional rights? And why would any trial judge go along with it?

Be that as it may, any freedom-loving American should be thankful the appeals court provided Hobby Lobby that very reasonable, compassionate protection from an overbearing and oppressive government.

In fact, the judges expressed what amounts to legal sympathy for the company’s predicament.

“Would an incorporated kosher butcher really have no claim to challenge a regulation mandating non-kosher butchering practices?” they wrote.

The Associated Press reports that “More than 30 businesses in several states have challenged the contraception mandate.” That’s encouraging, but hardly enough. More people of faith need to stand up for their religious rights.

Now is the time. This is a red line on constitutional rights that, once crossed, may never be restored.

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