HHS Mandate “Serious” Threat to Religious Liberty
Are the concerns of religious employers about a mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) simply a matter of getting “all worked up over nothing,” a new video asks, as the Obama Administration suggests?
John Stonestreet, national director of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, puts the question to Jennifer Marshall, Heritage’s director of domestic policy studies. “This is serious,” Marshall sums up. “It’s a violation of religious liberty. And that’s why 58 different organizations have gone to court against the HHS mandate.”
The HHS mandate, which took effect August 1, compels employers to offer health plans that cover contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization, Marshall explains. The so-called religious exemption is so narrow that, in effect, only houses of worship are eligible. Faith-based organizations serving their communities and small business owners operating by their convictions are expected to knuckle under—or face heavy fines.
Marshall has stressed that opposition to the HHS mandate from evangelical Wheaton College shows this isn’t just a Catholic thing. Organizations such as the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the Alliance Defending Freedom are spreading the word—as well as providing legal representation—to Catholic and Protestant universities, hospitals, and other religious employers.