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Catholic-Run, Family-Owned Business Files Suit Against Obama’s HHS Mandate

by Thomas More Law Center | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 9/4/13 12:31 PM

National

The following statement is posted on the Barron Industries website: “Barron Industries is a family-run organization with a strong Catholic Christian foundation. Our Guiding Principle is our faith in God. We appreciate that everyone is created equal. Our belief is that we are placed here to serve the Lord and one another with honesty and integrity. It is our collective goal to use our work, professional and personal lives to lead each other to eternal salvation.”

In keeping with this guiding principle, Barron Industries, Inc., its Chairman Paul Barron, and its President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Barron, this morning filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s HHS Mandate.  The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Erin Mersino, the TMLC’s lead attorney on several cases the Law Center has already filed challenging the HHS Mandate, stated: “Barron Industries supports numerous Catholic charities, holds optional mass for its employees, and houses an on-site chapel.  Paul and Bruce Barron are devoted Catholic businessmen who strive to follow the mission of the Church in their daily lives, which includes their business practices.”

“It’s irrational for the Government to claim, as it has been doing in these HHS mandate cases, that a business is just a shell and can have no moral fiber, and therefore a business owner must be excluded from the protections of the First Amendment in his business practices.  The First Amendment was not enacted to strip business owners of their moral conscience or to force them to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs – which is, without question, what the HHS mandate does,” said Mersino.

Barron Industries, started in 1923 by Joseph H. Barron, Sr., is a family owned and operated casting, machining, fabrication and assembly facility located in Oxford, MI, and managed today by Paul Barron and his son Bruce Barron.  Catholic Mass is regularly celebrated in the main conference room of the plant facility.  Visitors, customers and staff are openly invited to join in the services.

The guiding principle of Paul and Bruce Barron is further evidenced by their support of numerous Catholic and pro-life organizations including Right to Life of Michigan, Priests for Life, Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, Acton Institute, Knights of Malta, Ave Maria Radio and the Order of Carmelites.

Paul Barron is also a member of Legatus, the Nation’s largest organization of top Catholic business CEOs and professional leaders. Legatus calls its members to be “ambassadors for Christ” through the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – Faith, Family and Business. The Thomas More Law Center is also representing the Legatus organization itself in a separate federal lawsuit.

The HHS Mandate, a set of regulations adopted by the US Department of Health and Human Services, requires employers to pay for employee health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization or pay draconian fines.

Thus, compliance with the HHS Mandate would be in direct opposition to the religious beliefs and practices of the Barron family, Barron Industries, Inc, and their Guiding Principle. Barron Industries currently employs 56 full-time employees and would be subjected to nearly 2 million dollars in fines per tax year for non-compliance under the HHS Mandate.

TMLC’s lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate under First Amendment rights to the Free Exercise of Religion, Free Speech and the Establishment Clause.   It also claims that the HHS Mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

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The purpose of the lawsuit is to seek a court ruling that declares the HHS Mandate violates the Constitution and Federal statutes, and to permanently block its enforcement.

Named as Defendants in the lawsuit are Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Thomas Perez, Secretary of the Department of Labor; Jack Lew, Secretary of the Department of Treasury; and their respective departments.

Richard Thompson, TMLC’s President and Chief Counsel, commented, “Using the HHS Mandate, the Obama Administration declared war on the Catholic Church.  And I applaud the Barron family as well as the many other Catholic businessmen who are standing up for their Faith. As Archbishop Charles J. Chaput stated in 2009, ‘It doesn’t matter what we claim to believe if we’re unwilling to act on our beliefs.  What we say about our Catholic faith is the easy part.  What we do with it shapes who we really are.’”

You can read the entire 39 page Federal Complaint here.