HHS Appeals Contradict Obama's 'Religious Freedom' Pledge, ADF Claims

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Protesters against President Obama's HHS mandate requiring religious institutions provide contraception and abortion related services through health insurance hold signs outside City Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, March 23, 2012. |

Despite President Barack Obama's promise at the United Nations this week to fight for religious freedom, Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom insists that those freedoms are being jeopardized by the HHS birth control mandate.

The ADF shared with The Christian Post the case of family-operated business Hercules Industries in Denver, Colo., that is fighting the HHS requirement that employers offer insurance that covers contraceptives, even if it goes against their beliefs.

"Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith," Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman said in a statement. "The Obama administration claims 'unwavering' support for religious freedom, but this appeal demonstrates that the only thing unwavering is the administration's tenacious opposition to that freedom."

ADF obtained the first-ever court order against the mandate back in July, taking up the case of Hercules Industries,, a leading HVAC distributor and manufacturer operated by the Newland family, who are Catholic. The name of the case is Newland v. Sebelius.

"The cost of religious freedom for this family could be millions of dollars per year in fines that would cripple their business and potentially destroy jobs if the administration ultimately has its way," Bowman continued. "In filing its appeal today, the administration sent a clear message that it wants to force families to abandon their faith in order to earn a living. That's the opposite of religious freedom."

The Christian legal organization added that if the family loses its case against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and fails to provide the necessary insurance coverage, it could be fined millions of dollars and lose its business.

The ADF statement is in response to President Obama's speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, where he talked about the U.S.'s commitment to upholding religious freedom and free speech in the face of extremism seeking to oppress both.

"Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense," the president said at the U.N. meeting. "Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. Moreover, as president of our country, and commander-in-chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views – even views that we disagree with."

Other lawsuits from a cross-section of Catholics and Protestants against the HHS mandate that the ADF is currently representing include Indiana's Grace College and Seminary, California's Biola University, Geneva College, the Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company in Pennsylvania, and Louisiana College.

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