by John Grimaldi
"Religious freedom is not a partisan issue, it is guaranteed by the Constitution. Yet the Supreme Court appears divided by partisan politics as it considers whether employers must provide employees with insurance covering birth control, including pills that can kill a fetus after contraception," according to rights activist Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.
The protesters were out in force in front of the Supreme Court building as the nine justices began to hear oral arguments in the landmark case this week. Court-watchers, meanwhile, say the justices are sharply divided based on the questions they put to attorneys.
"One placard caught my eye. It read 'Birth control is not my boss's business.' But Obamacare would make it the employer's business, whether they want it or not. It would force the managements of at least two faith-based, family-owned, for-profit companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, to comply with Obamacare's controversial birth control provision," Weber explained.
He said that the contraceptive mandate is an "obvious infringement of the first amendment," noting that the guarantees religious freedom for all Americans, not just priests, rabbis and ministers. Even the liberal Washington Post supported that notion in an editorial, saying that: "requiring a religiously affiliated employer to spend its own money in a way that violates its religious principles does not make an adequate accommodation for those deeply held views. Having recognized the principle of a religious exemption [religious organizations are not required to comply with the mandate], the administration should have expanded it."
The proponents of Obamacare have taken the position that religious people have no right to impose their views on non-believers. But it doesn't give non-believers the right to force their views regarding contraception and abortion on those who have strong religious convictions, Weber added.
He said "we owe it to ourselves, our children and future generations to preserve all, not some, of our freedoms. The Founding Fathers saw fit in the very first amendment to the Bill of Rights to ensure that government could not prohibit the free exercise of religion under any circumstances."
The issue has sparked controversial debate and a spate of litigation across the country. There are currently more than 100 lawsuits challenging Obamacare's contraception mandate in lower throughout the nation. The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision on the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood case in June.
Meantime, Anthony Hahn, president of Conestoga Wood Specialties, told a local Lancaster, PA newspaper "We don't just live our Christian life at home and at our church, we live it every day of our lives, including at work. While we'd rather not be in court, it was the only way to protect this way of life."
The Association of Mature American Citizens is conservative alternative to those organizations such as AARP.
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