EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 3, 2013

Letter: Federal government health care mandate curtails religious liberty

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

What if the federal government decided to infringe upon our free speech liberties? Knowing our constitutional heritage is woven into this critical freedom, it could easily be predicted that massive opposition would occur. We simply would not stand for it!

Unfortunately, our government has assaulted another First Amendment right encompassing our religious liberties. For centuries, citizens of the United States have been able to practice their religious beliefs without the intrusion of government forces. However, in a calculated moment, the separation of church and state has been clouded, with the aggressors being our own federal government. At the very core of the contentious issue is the Health and Human Services mandate requiring religious organizations to pay for abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives and voluntary sterilization procedures or be subject to strict fines.

Some might argue that women’s health is at the center of this debate. However, this position is without merit. First, women’s health care and all universal care should be given to each and every human being. In regard to birth control and abortion-inducing drugs, there are endless options to attain them, (Case in point: over-the-counter Plan B contraceptives with no age restrictions.)

The main issue is not a health issue but a complete overreach on behalf of Obamacare and the complete disregard to our religious liberties.

The federal government has accommodated some church designations. However, it fails to recognize that faith-based organizations do not exist within the four walls under a steeple. As a result, faith-based entities that are educating children, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, taking care of the homeless and providing many other services to the secular world do not qualify for a variance from this mandate. With this new law, many faith-based nonprofit organizations will have to pay huge fines if they will not contradict their core beliefs. The money that would be paid to care for many people in need will now be wasted on the fines levied by the federal government. What a shame.

Finally, even if you don’t agree with this particular birth control subset, you must recognize that the government interference with faith-based organizations’ primary beliefs is an insult to all our freedoms and must be stopped. The government is now telling us what we should believe and hold as true!

So I say, in the spirit of our founding fathers and the many who sacrificed their lives in order for each of us to live freely, we must stop this HHS mandate!

Thank you and God bless our America.

Joe Donovan