The Department of Health and Human Services announced on Friday proposed accommodations for religious groups concerning the controversial contraceptive mandate, but a number of religious freedom advocacy groups have said that the proposals do not go far enough.
"Today, the administration is taking the next step in providing women across the nation with coverage of recommended preventive care at no cost, while respecting religious concerns," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "We will continue to work with faith-based organizations, women's organizations, insurers and others to achieve these goals."
Catholic-based groups have protested against the HHS mandate ever since it was announced that they would have to offer employees insurance that provides access to birth control, which is against Roman Catholic doctrine. And other Christian groups have also joined in against the mandate because it includes coverage of abortifacient drugs. The current provision allows for a very narrow exemption for some religious groups, but Christian-owned companies like Hobby Lobby, and Christian-oriented businesses like Tyndale House Publishers and schools like Wheaton College are not exempt, and have filed lawsuits against the government's birth control mandate. more >>
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit granted a preliminary injunction on Wednesday that blocked enforcement of the Obama administration's contraceptive mandate on a family-run business.
"Americans have the God-given freedom to live and do business according to their faith," Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman said in an email to The Christian Post. "Forcing employers to surrender their faith in order to earn a living is unprecedented, unnecessary, and unconstitutional. Honoring God is important every day, in all areas of life, including in our work. Freedom is not the government's to give and take away when it pleases. We are pleased that the court delivered the Obama administration a reminder of this foundational truth, and we are confident that this unconstitutional mandate's days are numbered."
The case, Grote Industries v. Sebelius, sought to suspend the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate against a Catholic-owned auto lighting manufacturer, based in Indiana, which objected to offering their employees insurance that provides birth control and contraceptives coverage. Roman Catholic doctrine forbids using any type of artificial birth control, and a number of Catholic institutions in the U.S. have filed similar lawsuits against this particular aspect of Obamacare. more >>
There will be a religious exemption to the requirement that individuals purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (2010), better known as "Obamacare," according to a fact sheet released Wednesday by the Internal Revenue Service.
The religious exemption rule for the individual mandate was included in a set of new rules issued by the Department of Health and Human Services as part of the implementation of the new health care law.
Only those who are members of a religious sect that is already recognized by the Social Security Administration as exempt from Social Security requirements will be eligible for an exemption from the individual mandate. These sects mostly include the Amish and some other Mennonite sects. more >>
A Philippines court recently sentenced a pro-contraceptives activist who demonstrated in a national cathedral in 2010 up to 13 months' imprisonment for "offending religious beliefs."
Carlos Celdran, a 40-year-old tour guide and activist, was found guilty of "offending religious beliefs" according to Article 133, a Revised Penal Code which has been in effect since 1930 and states that no one "in a place of worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony, shall perform acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful."
Celdran's sentencing will include anywhere from two months to one year in jail. more >>
A Missouri-based plumbing products company has joined dozens of other groups filing suit against the federal government over the controversial birth control mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
Sioux Chief Manufacturing Company of Peculiar filed suit last week against the Department of Health and Human Services in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Sioux Chief was founded and is presently owned by the Ismert family, devout Roman Catholics who are morally opposed to the drugs covered by the "Preventive Services Mandate" from HHS, which include coverage of abortifacients.
"The Mandate illegally and unconstitutionally coerces Plaintiffs to violate their sincerely held Catholic beliefs under threat of heavy fines and penalties," reads the suit in part. "The Mandate also forces Plaintiffs to fund government-dictated speech that is directly at odds with the religious ethics derived from their deeply held religious beliefs and the moral teachings of the Catholic Church that they strive to embody in their business." more >>
Tyndale House Publishers is facing a legal fight against the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, after the White House administration petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals to declare that the Christian-owned company does not count as a "religious" organization and therefore should not be exempt from the insurance obligations outlined in the Act.
"Bible publishers should be free to do business according to the book that they publish. Regrettably, the administration does not want religious freedom to stand in the way of imposing ObamaCare," Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman commented in an email to The Christian Post.
"The district court rightly halted ObamaCare's abortion pill mandate against Tyndale House, but the administration continues to argue that a Bible publisher isn't religious enough to qualify as a religious employer. For the government to say that a Bible publisher isn't religious is startling." more >>