To the Editor:
On Jan. 20, President Obama and his Administration announced a mandate under Obamacare that will force religious-affiliated organizations that offer health insurance to cover items that go directly against their religious teachings to include contraceptives, sterilization procedures and abortifacients. Anyone who is familiar with the scope of health care and education delivered by Catholic charities and Catholic hospitals and schools, will quickly realize that this is an outright assault on the Catholic Church. Yet Americans of every stripe, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, Agnostic, Atheist, etc, should stand up and take notice. This is not only an attack on Catholics, but an assault on the religious freedoms of every freeborn American citizen. It is also a direct attack on our very first and basic right as stated in the First Amendment to the Constitution. Supporters say there is a religious exemption included in this mandate. However, the "exemption" is so narrow that opponents have declared that Christ Himself would not qualify for it. In fact, this so called "religious exemption" would only apply to institutions that meet the following criteria: 1) only Catholics are employed, 2) the primary purpose of the institution or service provided is the direction instruction in Cathollic beliefs, and 3) the only persons served by the institution are those that share Catholic religious tenets. Seeing that our own local Catholic Charities serve 80,000 people every year without discrimination reveals how meeting this exemption is impossible to achieve. This insidious mandate under Obamacare once again shows not only President Obama’s outright contempt for our liberties but also his utter disregard for the Constitution itself. Even if you are not Catholic or do not have specific beliefs about the details of the mandate, the very idea that the federal government is dictating these very personal and individual choices should deeply disturb every single American. We are not the subjects of a tyrannical autocrat but freeborn citizens of a constitutional republic. Nobody, not even the President of the United States or anybody who represents him, has the right to rescind our religious liberty. If the Constitution can be so easily dismissed by our leaders, what protections do we have at all to preserve our most basic rights? Today it is our religious liberty. What will it be tomorrow? Wake up Virginia and wake up America. This attack on our freedoms by President Obama must be stopped.