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Joe Donovan: We should not tolerate government violations of religious liberty

July 14. 2013 5:08PM

What if the federal government decided to infringe upon our free speech liberties? Knowing that our constitutional heritage is woven within 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: 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.

Contrarily, some might argue that women’s health is at the center of this debate. However, this position is completely false and without merit. First, women’s health and all universal care should be given to each and every human being. In regard to birth control and abortion-inducing drugs, the options are endless on how to attain them. They are available over the counter, and there is no age restriction on Plan B contraceptives. The main issue is not a “health issue,” but a complete overreach on the part of Obamacare along with a complete disregard for our religious liberties.

The federal government has accommodated some church designations, however it fails to recognize that faith-based organizations do not exist exclusively within 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 bringing a common good through many services provided to the secular world do not qualify for a religious exemption from this mandate. Many non-profit religious organizations will have to pay huge fines because they will not be able to contradict their core beliefs. Subsequently, it is also easily predicted that the monies that would be paid to care for the many people in need will now be wasted for the fines levied by the federal government. What a shame.

Even if you don’t agree with this particular birth control subset per se, 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 its creed is and what we should believe and hold as true! In the spirit of our Founding Fathers and the many who sacrificed their lives for each of us to live freely, we must stop this mandate!

Joe Donovan lives in Derry.

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