Americans see the problem with the religious liberty violation at the leading edge of Obamacare implementation, according to a new poll released by Rasmussen Reports this week.
The poll shows that by a margin of 46–41, likely American voters support a religious exemption for churches, religious organizations, and businesses from Obamacare’s anti-conscience Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate. Sadly, the coercive dictates of the Obamacare bureaucracy don’t hold the same respect for conscience and religious freedom.
The Obamacare anti-conscience mandate, which forces almost all employers to provide and pay for coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization, is accompanied by an offensively narrow religious exemption that effectively covers only formal houses of worship. Countless other employers—such as religious social service providers, schools, and business owners—are forced to pay for the mandated drugs and services regardless of religious or moral objections.
The consequences for non-compliance are steep. Hefty government fines—to the tune of millions of dollars for some companies—threaten not only employers’ religious freedom but their livelihoods.
Americans’ wariness over forcing employers to pay for mandated services in conflict with their deeply held beliefs is a concern shared by more than a few federal judges. Just last week, a fourth federal court halted enforcement of the anti-conscience mandate against a business owner. Tyndale House Publishers, one of the nation’s largest Bible retailers, won a preliminary injunction against the mandate that would have forced the for-profit company to pay for abortion-inducing drugs in its employee health plan in violation of the business’s Christian principles. Three other family-owned businesses—Hercules Industries, Weingartz Supply Company, and O’Brien Industrial Holdings—have also won preliminary injunctions against the mandate.
Many Americans—and certainly the more than 110 plaintiffs suing over the mandate—understand the offensiveness of the rule’s current, miniscule religious exemption. But concern over the mandate’s assault on religious freedom isn’t merely caused by the narrowness of this particular religious exemption. The root of the mandate’s disregard for Americans’ freedoms is found in the broader coercion of an invasive health care law that dictates what insurance companies must cover, what employers must provide, and what individuals must purchase.
Under a one-size-fits-all, government-controlled health care system, conflicts with religious freedom and individual liberty are only likely to increase.
In a separate Rasmussen poll from earlier this year, more than half of likely voters admitted they hadn’t personally felt any impact of the health care law, much of which won’t be implemented until 2014. Americans have yet to experience the full weight of Obamacare’s countless, liberty-crushing mandates that will crush individual choice in health care and place burdensome costs on businesses and individuals.
The anti-conscience mandate’s assault on religious freedom is only one of the first tastes of Obamacare’s coercive takeover of the health care system. The fact that almost half of likely voters recognize the need to protect employers’ religious freedom should signal greater concern for future dictates from a law that cedes discretion over personal health care decisions and consumer choice to unelected bureaucrats.