(Reuters) - A divided federal appeals court has temporarily barred the U.S. government from requiring an Illinois company to obtain insurance coverage for contraceptives, as mandated under the 2010 healthcare overhaul, after the owners objected on religious grounds.
More than 40 lawsuits are challenging a requirement in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
that requires most for-profit companies to offer workers insurance coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices and other birth control methods.
Friday's 2-1 order by a panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago in favor of Cyril and Jane Korte was the second by a federal appeals court to temporarily halt enforcement against people who said it violated their faith, said Edward White, a lawyer for the Roman Catholic couple.
The 7th Circuit suggested that the couple's legal challenge might eventually prevail.
Its order came two days after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor declined to block the provision's enforcement against companies controlled by the family of Oklahoma City billionaire David Green.
The U.S. Department of Justice, which had defended the contraceptives provision, did not immediately respond on Saturday to a request for comment.
The Kortes, who own the construction firm Korte & Luitjohan
Contractors, had sought to drop a health insurance plan for 20 non-unionized workers that included coverage for contraception, and substitute a different plan consistent with their faith. Read this story at reuters.com ...
“We must obey God rather than men!”—Acts 5:29
Now that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has denied Hobby Lobby’s application for an emergency injunction protecting them from Obamacare’s HHS Mandate on abortion and birth control, Hobby Lobby has decided to defy the federal government to remain true to their religious beliefs, at enormous risk and financial cost.
Hobby Lobby is wholly owned and controlled by the Green family, who are evangelical Christians. The Greens are committed to running their business in accordance with their Christian faith, believing that God wants them to conduct their professional business in accordance with the family’s understanding of the Bible. Hobby Lobby’s mission statement includes, “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company … consistent with Biblical principles.”
The HHS Mandate goes into effect for Hobby Lobby on Jan. 1, 2013. The Greens correctly understand that some of the drugs the HHS Mandate requires them to cover at no cost in their healthcare plans cause abortions.
Today Hobby Lobby announced that they will not comply with this mandate to become complicit in abortion, which the Greens believe ends an innocent human life. Given Hobby Lobby’s size (it has 572 stores employing more than 13,000 people), by violating the HHS Mandate, it will be subject to over $1.3 million in fines per day. That means over $40 million in fines in January alone. If their case takes another ten months to get before the Supreme Court—which would be the earliest it could get there under the normal order of business—the company would incur almost a half-billion dollars in fines. And then of course the Supreme Court would have to write an opinion in what would likely be a split decision with dissenters, which could easily take four or six months and include hundreds of millions of dollars in additional penalties.
This is civil disobedience, consistent with America’s highest traditions when moral issues are at stake. The Greens are a law-abiding family. They have no desire to defy their own government. But as the Founders launched the American Revolution because they believed the British government was violating their rights, the Greens believe that President Barack Obama and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are commanding the Greens to sin against God, and that no government has the lawful authority to do so.
The Christian tradition of defying government commands to do something wrong goes back to the very birth of Christianity. When the apostles were ordered not to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with anyone, the Book of Acts records: “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men! The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.’”
Eleven of the twelve apostles—including Peter—would lose their lives for the sake of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ; only the apostle John died of old age. They were determined to obey God’s will at all costs.
This issue of civil disobedience is never to be undertaken lightly. The Bible teaches Christians to submit to all legitimate governmental authority (e.g., Romans 13:1), and so a person can only disobey the government when there is no other way to obey God.
But here in America, the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, and in its First Amendment it protects against a government establishment of an official religion and separately protects the free exercise of religion. On top of that, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) to specifically add an additional layer of protection against government actions that violate a person’s religious beliefs.
The HHS Mandate is a gross violation of the religious beliefs of the Green family. The issue before the courts here is whether the Greens religious-liberty rights include running their secular, for-profit business consistent with their religious beliefs. In other words, is religious liberty just what you do in church on a Sunday morning, or does it include what you do during the week at your job?
The Greens are now putting their fortunes on the line to do what they believe is right. The courts should side with them, affirming a broad scope of religious liberty under the Constitution and RFRA. And the Supreme Court should resolve this matter with dispatch in their favor.
Millions of Christians across the country feel exactly the same way as the Greens. The Obama administration has issued a statist command that is a declaration of war on people of faith who object to abortion, and civil disobedience could break out all over the country unless the courts set this matter right—and quickly.
WASHINGTON – An attorney for Hobby Lobby Stores said Thursday that the arts and crafts chain plans to defy a federal mandate requiring it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill, despite risking potential fines of up to $1.3 million per day.
Hobby Lobby and religious book-seller Mardel Inc., which are owned by the same conservative Christian family, are suing to block part of the federal health care law that requires employee health-care plans to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills.
The companies claim the mandate violates the religious beliefs of their owners. They say the morning-after pill is tantamount to abortion because it can prevent a fertilized egg from becoming implanted in a woman's womb.Read more here ...[Editor's note: There is no such thing as a "fertilized egg." Once an egg is fertilized it is no longer an egg. It is a human being. It is a nascent human person who is being blocked from implantation, and therefore sustenance, by these drugs. It's the moral equivalent of starving your three year-old, or your grandmother, to death.]
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?'Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.'"
-- Matthew 18:1-5
Thinking about the people I met this morning while on the sidewalk. It was so bitterly cold... Dozens of parents and grandparents went inside today. It was so busy.. There were several of us counseling and praying outside of the mill today and as always, we spoke to as many people as we could going in, reaching out equally to the people standing on the steps having a cigarette, the workers, and the people walking out of the building.
I spoke with Renee, a mother of two. A child, age 5 at home, and another, age 4 months, in utero. She was dropped off earlier in the morning, went in the building, and eventually came out, slowly looking around. I approached her and asked her if she was okay. She told me she had scheduled an abortion for today, but she wasn’t feeling well, that she needed to come out for air.
She didn't understand the development of her baby at 4 months nor did she understand how an abortion was performed at this stage. I told her my experience with this and gave her the information she needed. As we talked about it, she looked to the ground. She said her boyfriend had dropped her off and is insisting she aborts the baby. We talked a while longer until she said she was going to walk to OSU Medical Center to make sure things were okay.
It was so cold and windy and a very long walk to the hospital. “Would you like a ride?” I offered. “You’d do that?” she said, surprised. “Of course! Let’s head over and make sure you and the baby are both alright.” And so, instead of Renee going through with the abortion, my friend, Mark, and I, took her to a nearby hospital for help. I gave her my name and number, local CPC info, and offered to personally help her with anything she’d need. She repeatedly thanked us for being out on the sidewalk and for being there for her. My prayer tonight is for Renee and her baby.
News Channel 5
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, one local father and former Marine is standing guard at his children's school and parents said he's a welcome addition to the school.
Jordan Pritchard, a former Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, pulled down his old Marine Corps uniform from the attic Sunday night and decided to make a difference in his community. When he was in the military his job was to keep our country safe and for the next week he planned bring that safety home by standing guard outside the front door of Gower Elementary School.
He said it's his responsibility.
"I'm doing this because we need hope man. We need hope," explained Pritchard.
He's a volunteer. He's not getting paid. He's not even armed, but parent said they feel a whole lot better about leaving their children at school while he's been at the front door.
The shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut was a thousand miles away, but what happened there hits too close to home.
Pritchard said it's his duty, and parents are appreciative.
"If you are able and capable of doing something you have the responsibility to act," he said.
Sarah Knies has 2nd and 3rd graders who attend Gower Elementary School. She said she was comforted knowing Pritchard was there.
"He made me feel good. Just to know that he stood up and did something to make us all feel better today," she explained.
Many parents, staff and students stopped by to thank Pritchard.
"When parents come up to me and they're crying and thanking me for being out here," Pritchard said. "There's no job in the world that can pay me enough money to not do things for the kids and the parents."
Pritchard also has children who attend Gower Elementary School: a daughter, Valerie, in second grade and a son, Colby, in first grade. He insists his actions have not just been about them. He said he feels is about something much bigger.
"We have to live this life for other people. That's the only way that happiness and true peace and hope will come back to our nation is when we all come back together and love each other," he said.
Sergeant Pritchard plans to stand guard at the school until Wednesday, when Metro Schools finish for the year.
"All men are not BORN equal. They are CREATED equal, about nine months before they are born. This is self-evident, or, to put it in the modern vernacular, AS PLAIN AS THE NOSE ON YOUR FACE."
-- Tom Hoefling
“We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren scepter in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed.”
-- President Calvin Coolidge, Speech given in Philadelphia, PA, July 4, 1926, on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence