POST-GAZETTE, Res Publica
What Part of " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" Don't You Understand, Mr. President?
by David Trumbull - July 20, 2012
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R., Wisconsin) has introduced legislation, H.R.6097, the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act, to stop the Obama Administration from taxing religious institutions and employers for choosing to follow core tenets of their faith rather than bow to the HHS mandate that violates their conscience rights.
As you know, on January 20, 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") reaffirmed a rule forcing health care plans to cover sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Many religiously-affiliated school, hospitals, and social service agencies cannot comply with this mandate. Obama's response is to tax them out of existence.
“Obamacare gives the federal government the tools to tax religiously-affiliated schools, hospitals, universities and soup kitchens right out of existence," said Representative Sensenbrenner, who pointed out that the fine for following your conscience is $100 per employee per day. As Sensenbrenner explained, "A religious institution that, say, has a church and an elementary school beside it that employs fifty employees total, which include the administrative and maintenance personnel, ends up being taxed $36,500 per employee per year." For that church and school with 50 employees the tax on the right to follow church teaching would be nearly $2 million per year, every year.
Boston has Catholic schools that would be forced to close if the Obama Administration war on religious freedom is allowed to go forward. Sensenbrenner, who is an Anglican, pointed out that in his state of Wisconsin there are many Lutheran schools as well as Catholic schools that will be forced to close if Obama has his way.
Sensenbrenner is joined by 56 cosponsors of the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act. All the sponsors are Republicans. Not a single Democrat in Congress has been willing to oppose the President and stand up in support of our First Amendment freedom to practice religion.
The HHS mandate is just the latest Obama Administration attack on religion. Back in January the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a Lutheran school (Hosanna-Tabor) had a First Amendment religious freedom to choose its own ministers and that the Obama Administration's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's attempt to meddle in the church's employment practices was unconstitutional.
The HHS mandate must, and will, be overturned!