Thursday, July 11, 2013

Latest Healthcare Announcements Do Nothing to Help Religious Ministries, Faith-Based Businesses

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

Last week, the Obama administration announced that the Obamacare employer mandate is being delayed until 2015, and it also released the final rules regarding the implementation of the HHS Mandate for non-profits, including religious ministries.

The delay in the employer mandate means that companies with more than 50 employees, who do not already provide insurance coverage, will have another year (until January 1 ,2015) before it becomes mandatory. This has little affect since the majority of employers subject to the mandate already provide insurance to workers.

The final HHS Mandate rules still force most religious ministries to violate their religious beliefs and to adopt the beliefs of the Obama administration about the coverage of abortifacient drugs and contraceptives—simply because many organizations do not meet the government’s narrow definition of “religious employer.”

"No American should be punished by the government for simply living life as a person of faith in public,” said Liberty Institute President & CEO Kelly Shackelford. “The ‘new’’ HHS eligibility guidelines reflect an attitude of ‘business as usual’ for the Obama administration.  Is it too much to ask our government to allow ALL Americans to conduct their business—whether for-profit or nonprofit—according to their faith and values?”

The HHS mandate is a massive intrusion into the personal healthcare decisions of U.S. citizens, and it continues to blatantly infringe upon American’s religious freedom. Liberty Institute stands ready to help businesses and organizations across the country fight back against this unconscionable mandate. 

We already have filed cases on behalf of several non-profit ministries, including Criswell College and the American Family Association.  In June, Liberty added to that list a for-profit business, Joe Holland Chevrolet. Liberty filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family-owned business that wants to continue to operate in accordance with its Christian beliefs.

Holland’s case is the first in West Virginia to contend that the HHS mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment to the Constitution.

If Holland’s requested relief is not granted, the dealership could be subject to penalties of more than $15,000 per day (more than $5.4 million each year) by the federal government for failing to provide its employees with abortion-inducing drugs. A hearing on the matter is set for July 23.

Liberty is also consulting with several different businesses and ministries across the country and continues to receive countless calls from others who feel the pressure of the impending mandate.

We need your help to keep up with the increasing requests. Please consider a gift today to help us defend businesses owners and ministries that refuse to violate their deeply held religious beliefs. Remember, every dollar donated doubles in value, thanks to the world-class volunteer attorneys who work with us, selflessly donating their time to the fight for religious freedom.

About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.