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Coalition for Religious Liberty Press Conference

On Wednesday, October 17, 2012, I had the privilege of standing with pastors from Northwest Indiana at a press conference to express our deep concern regarding the HHS Mandate. Below is the full transcript of my comments:

It is an honor to stand together with my Catholic and Protestant brothers today in unified resistance to one of the greatest threats to freedom that we have ever experienced as Americans. I am referring to the anti-conscience mandate which assaults our Constitution and tramples our most cherished liberties.

Under Obamacare, all insurance plans must cover, at no charge, abortion -inducing drugs, contraceptives, sterilization, and patient education and counseling for women of reproductive age. In an unprecedented act of tyranny, the federal government is forcing religious employers such as Catholic hospitals, Christian schools, and faith-based pregnancy care centers to provide and pay for such coverage for their employees regardless of their religious beliefs. In what some have called the narrowest exemption in federal law to date, only houses of worship are exempted.

As citizens of a nation, to use Abraham Lincoln’s famous phrase, “conceived in liberty,” this unprecedented trampling of our religious liberties should be appalling to all Americans. Let me explain…

James Madison, a key defender of religious liberty the one who drafted the language of our First Amendment, called the “conscience” the “most sacred of all property.” In his famous work, Memorial and Remonstrance (1785) he penned these words,

The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right.”

And our First Amendment went on to guarantee “the free exercise of our religion” before God.

This is why the State must never coerce the consciences of its citizens or compel belief. The HHS Mandate attempts to do both. The coercing of Christian ministries to pay directly for actions that violate the tenets of their faith is a direct assault on the freedom of conscience.

If the federal government can force religious employers and people of faith to purchase products they find to be morally reprehensible and that violate their consciences, what can’t it force them to do?

The crux of the matter is this: Is there any limit to government power?

We are gathered here today to remind our federal government that religious liberty is an inalienable right given to us by God and that the proper role of government is to secure and protect these rights through law.

In doing so, we remind the State of the proper limits of its own jurisdictional authority. There comes a time when our duty as both followers of Christ, and as citizens of the United States of America, requires us to draw a line in the sand.

This HHS Mandate must be fully rescinded. There is no other acceptable option.

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  1. Paul Rothbard
    October 19th, 2012 at 14:53 | #1

    I’m glad people continue to rally against the healthcare law. Sometimes I wonder if it is missing the forest for the trees though, since the entire law is unconstitutional (regardless of what Republican Justices say).
    I worry that it gives people the idea that if only the law didn’t infringe on religious liberty or that if only the exemptions weren’t so narrow, the entire law would be just fine.

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