WASHINGTON, May 9, 2014 — Over 96 cases involving over 300 plaintiffs have been filed so far against the HHS contraceptive and abortion drug mandates. According to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, 48 for-profits and 48 nonprofits have racked up a total of 55 HHS mandate injunctions in their favor to date with only 7 denials.
On Thursday, May 8, oral arguments were heard in the case of Priests for Life v Sebelius. Two dozen leaders, Catholic, Protestant, and Jew; from both faith-based and secular non-profits; constitutional lawyers, elected officials, and private citizens, stood together on the courthouse steps to speak for freedom.
Over 2500 years ago, The Greek slave Aesop, author of the famous Aesop’s fables, said, “The petty thieves we hang, the great ones we elect to high office.”
Certainly, the theft of individual freedom is the act of a great thief indeed.
American civil society rests on three pillars: family, faith, and the law. This administration has shown it is hostile to all three.
Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor was an outspoken public foe of fascism. All Americans should be cautioned by his words:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
“Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
“Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”
It is foolish to think such things cannot happen here. The fact that our government continues to argue in court that it has a right to define what constitutes an undue burden on religion is proof in itself that not only can it happen here, it is already is happening here.
The fact that this administration continued to argue all the way to the Supreme Court, as it did in the Hobby Lobby case, that a person of faith gives up his religious rights by earning a living is a dangerous mindset.
It is time for all Americans to speak out.
To speak out for people of faith wherever they happen to work. To speak out for those who would ridicule faith. To even speak out for those who fail to understand that religious freedom under civil law draws from the same Constitutional well as all personal freedoms.
The personal freedom of every single citizen—from atheist to apostle—is what is on trial today. This administration is attempting to reduce the freedom of its people one group at a time, to divide and conquer.
If government can impose its ideology as it does with the HHS mandates to nullify religious freedom protected by our Constitution, then freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the right to seek redress—all of our First Amendment freedoms—are sure to follow.
America is the longest continuous free democracy in the history of mankind. Today is the day for every American, believer and non-believer alike, to speak out for the freedom of every other American.
Paul Rondeau is an independent social commentator. He is president of Synapse Associates, a conservative communication, training, and consulting firm.