Obama’s HHS Mandate Puts Religious Freedom on the Ballot

Opinion   |   Robert Morrison   |   Nov 5, 2012   |   2:27PM   |   Washington, DC

On July 4, 2010, the National Archives announced that they had just discovered an original draft of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. In it, the young member of the Continental Congress struck out the word subjects and penned the word citizens. Archivists were very excited by this discovery: It was the first time Americans had referred to themselves as citizens, they said.

Citizens make their own decisions on vital matters of life and faith. Subjects have to obey an endless series of government mandates.

Obamacare has already revealed its iron fist. The HHS mandate, a key part of Obamacare, would force every American to become complicit in providing or paying for the destruction of innocent human lives. It would also force us to subsidize sterilization procedures. Many of these sterilizations would be done on minors without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

Religious communities in America have been alarmed by this HHS Mandate. Rev. Billy Graham is nearing his 94th birthday this week. He might easily have avoided controversy by remaining quiet. But this great evangelist has taken out ads in major newspapers all over the country appealing to Christians to vote for biblical values. These include the Sanctity of Human Life, which the HHS Mandate for Obamacare so seriously jeopardizes.

The Catholic Bishops have gone into court to sue against this unprecedented intrusion into the life of the church. Catholic lay groups are carrying the message to grassroots citizens, urging them to stand for life and to oppose abortion. One such prominent group, Catholic Answers, is distributing voter guides that don’t tell their brethren for whom to vote, but do plead with them to uphold life, marriage, and religious freedom when they vote. “Pope Benedict is alarmed about what is happening inAmerica,” they say, “and you should be, too.”

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has boldly proclaimed “we must obey God rather than men,” and has launched a website titled “Free to be Faithful” The LCMS takes no position on Obamacare, per se, but they do resist being forced to participate in violating the commandment: Thou shalt not kill. It was to escape mandates from the authoritarian rulers of Germany in the 19th Century that these Lutherans left their homes and fled to this home of freedom, Synod leaders say.

Not only churches and religious organizations are threatened. In recent action before a federal district court in Detroit, the Weingartz Supply Company sought and received from Judge Robert Cleland a temporary injunction allowing them not to obey the HHS Mandate. The Catholic owner of this small, 170-employee family firm, argued that demands of Obamacare would violate his First Amendment rights. Judge Cleland agreed, saying: “Violation of a First Amendment right in itself constitutes irreparable harm,” even for a brief period.

“Irreparable harm” done under Obamacare’s HHS Mandate ironically contrasts with the first rule of medicine, thousands of years old, brought to us by the Greek philosopher Hippocrates: “Above all, do no harm.”

How can it be that a law that has “care” and “protection” in its title (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) can present such a mortal threat to caring and protection? It may be because the Supreme Court in 1973 ruled against justice itself. When the court said innocent human lives may be taken for any reason or no reason, the court pulled that first thread of our national garment and the fabric of society has been unraveling ever since. It can never be just directly to target and kill the innocent.

This is certainly Christian teaching, but it is also Jewish teaching. Orthodox Jewish leader Rabbi Meir V. Soloveichick gave strong testimony in Congress against the HHS Mandate.

That this is direct and intentional slaughter of innocents is wrong was known even by the pagans of ancient Greece. Thucydides, in his classic Peloponnesian War, records the Melian Debate. In that debate, powerful, democratic Athenians demand that the unoffending people of Melos join them in a war against Sparta. The men of Melos, a small beautiful island, wish only to be left alone to live their lives in peace. The Athenians will not permit that, saying to the Melians: “The strong do what they will; the weak endure what they must.” Thucydides is a patriotic Athenian, but he loves justice first. And he records the killing of the innocent Melians with obvious anguish. His book, a work secular scholars recognize as the first history, was intended “to last forever.”

The lesson of the Melian Debate—that the shame of killing the innocents is indelible—has come down to us from ancient times. Pagans, Jews and Christians then recognized an ethical foundation for human existence. Life without such a moral basis is not truly human, they taught us.

The HHS Mandate puts freedom itself on the ballot. If this election affirms Obamacare, then this violation of our consciences is but the first taste of the bitter cup that will be proffered to us. And we will be forced to drink that bitter cup to the dregs.



HHS Mandates will cascade upon us. Will we also be forced to pay for sex changes and violent abortion procedures, as well as abortion drugs and sterilizations? What logic or law would stop these liberal activists who have already trodden our First Amendment rights under foot? They will render the Constitution itself a mere paper barricade.

That is why tomorrow, freedom itself is on the ballot. Let us pray for this great republic; may we remain citizens and not subjects.

LifeNews Note:  Robert Morrison writes for the Family Research Council. Morrison was educated in New York Public schools and earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He has also done graduate work in education at Hofstra University and in history and communications at the University of Washington.  Since coming to Washington in 1984, Bob has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. He was the first full-time Washington, D.C. representative of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.