Guest View: The importance of preserving freedom of religion

The November election is just six weeks away. Hopefully voters will keep in mind the liberties our founding fathers intended when they drafted the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. One ever important liberty was to ensure and preserve the freedom of religion.

The Obama administration has enacted a regulation that forces coverage in almost all private health plans nationwide for sterlization, elective abortion, and contraception. This is otherwise known as the HHS Mandate or “Obamacare,” which has been upheld as being constitutional by the Supreme Court. This will now require individuals to purchase health insurance or face a penalty. Litigation has been filed against this decision and election results will only tell the outcome.

Dr. Elaina George, a board certified physician with the Project 21 African American Conservative Leadership Network, says that “Because of the mandate, Americans will be forced to pay for a system that will increase costs for patients, remove health care decisions from both the doctor and the patient and lead to rationing. It changes health care as we know it into a system based on one-size-fits all, cost-controlled and conveyor belt socialized medicine.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, has said “From the outset Obamacare is a fundamentally flawed legislation because it makes American taxpayers complicit in the deaths of unborn children. Today’s decision to uphold the individual mandate to force individuals to purchase health care plans that offend their conscience is incredibly disappointing.” The administration has used the health care law to become a dictator of conscience. Obamacare holds your health care hostage and offers no real choice. Either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be fined for your faith. It is now up to the political process to repeal this mandate.

Obamacare even defines what “church” is for the purpose of establishing who would be exempt from the mandate. These exemptions are very limiting and help people of their own faith, and file tax returns as a church or religious order. The bottom line is the mandate forces Catholic and other faith institutions to go against their conscience, to pay for services they consider to be immoral and against their beliefs. This is the crux of what the First Amendment wanted to prevent!

The Obama Administration has clearly rejected our long historical tradition of respecting individual religious freedom in this country. With this mandate President Obama treats religious liberty as something belonging to religious organizations alone, and then only to religious organizations that are defined and behave the way He wants them to behave. By this mandate, the administration has said the government has the right to force you to violate your own conscience, and go against your religious beliefs. The only way we can protect our inalienable liberty of Right to Life and America’s precious pillar of Freedom of Religion is by rallying and encouraging people of all faiths to get out and vote this November. We challenge all clergy to speak to their congregations on this issue and tell what is at stake! To protect life and our religious liberty, Obamacare must be repealed.

The election on Nov. 6 for the office of president will be a huge day of reckoning for America. Please vote and in so doing remember what and why we celebrate on the Fourth of July.

John and Tess Ucovich, San Benito County

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