Tomorrow the HHS mandate goes into effect. This unjust law, written by a federal bureaucracy given the authority in a law disliked and distrusted by most Americans, will force people of faith to violate that faith, or pay crippling fines, or shut down their businesses. This unjust law was found to be unjust by a 10th Circuit Court Federal judge this past Friday, and to be in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
There is a “safe harbor” for some non-profit employers with religious objections. Some organizations qualify, and some do not. According to an analysis on LifeNews, there are three categories of businesses and organizations.
Category 1: For-Profit Employers
For-profit private employers do not qualify for the one-year safe harbor and are thus completely unprotected as of August 1. This is especially harmful to small and family-owned businesses that tend to have boutique or custom insurance plans to conform to religious or value-oriented workplace cultures. Many businesses are suing the Obama administration seeking immediate relief from the August 1 deadline. The penalty for non-compliance is $100 per day, per employee. For the Newland family business, the fines would add up to millions of dollars per year.
Category 2: Groups in Limbo
Some employers do not yet know if they qualify for the safe harbor. They may only object to some but not all of the services – for example, the evangelical college Wheaton, which has also filed suit against the Administration, objects to abortion-causing drugs but not contraception. These employers are left completely in the dark as to what will happen to them on August 1 and whether or not they will be slapped with crippling fines.
Category 3: Religiously Affiliated Employers
Objecting employers with a religious affiliation are essentially left with one year to scramble. The so-called accommodation, which has not been implemented, was widely rejected as an accounting gimmick. Even Sister Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association (and a supporter of the President’s health care plan), originally supported the accommodation but after closer examination, called it unacceptable and unworkable. These religious entities are left with no option but to wait one more year before they have to begin violating the teachings of their faith or pay severe fines.
What have you done? Have you emailed, called, or written your Congressman and Senator? Have you discussed this threat with your neighbors and friends and co-workers? Have you educated yourself on the issues?
Are you registered to vote?