Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mandate Puts Heavy Fines on Religious Groups

The ObamaCare mandate that requires religious employers to pay for abortion drugs, contraceptives and sterilization procedures could result in fines as much as $2,000 per employee or $100 each day if they refuse to comply. This exorbitant fine has been admitted in a report by the Congressional Research Service, which clearly states that the IRS is empowered to levy this tax penalty on noncompliant religious employers.

We believe that implementing a federal mandate that violates the conscience of an individual or organization is in direct violation of the First Amendment, and that imposing a fine on these individuals pours salt in the wound. This mandate does not apply to actual churches, but it does apply to the thousands of institutions built and maintained by religious denominations, such as schools, colleges, hospitals, and all kinds of charities such as homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Just think how many employees a religiously owned hospital or college employs. For example, a hospital or charity with 100 employees that chooses to exercise its traditional First Amendment free-exercise-of-religion rights instead of complying with the ObamaCare mandate could be subject to a three and a half million dollar annual fine.

This ObamaCare mandate does not allow any exemption for private businesses whose owners, because of their religious faith, object to providing these free birth-control services. One such employer has taken this issue to court and a judge in Colorado last month issued a preliminary injunction upholding the religious liberty of the owners of a small heating/air-conditioning business. We don't know how this issue will be resolved by the courts. We hope it will be resolved by the national election on November 6. It is clear that religious liberty and our traditional understanding of the First Amendment is a big issue in America today.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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