On a day when cultural crusaders are appreciating Chick-fil-A for the statement made by Dan Cathy in support of traditional marriage, other concerned Americans are heartily bemoaning the implementation of the HHS mandate in Obamacare. Whereas many see the swelling support for Chick-fil-a as a ray of hope for the future of freedom, a few more are forecasting clouds of doom as the HHS mandate begins. Both Chick-fil-A and the Obamacare mandate are linked with religious liberty (or the loss thereof).
Mark Steyn is on the mark: the Chick-fil-A drama is less about gay rights and more about constitutional ones. Likewise, as George Weigel points out, the HHS mandate calling for universal contraception is less about reproductive rights and more about the constitutional right to religious liberty. Weigel’s point is probably the one we ought to pay closest attention to on this day, if for no other reason for the simple fact that it is being overshadowed by the chicken fight. While more drama surrounds the Chick-fil-A counters, more damage is being done today by those insurance agents counting up the number of abortifacient drugs they are now required to cover thanks to Obamacare.
There are two reasons the Health and Human Services mandate is the more dangerous news event of the day. First, the mandate requires Christian business owners and Christian institutions to pay for abortion-inducing drugs. Much has been made about this accommodation or that accommodation being made by the White House in order to ameliorate the angst of those whose consciences are pulled between wanting to comply with the law and yet remaining steadfastly committed to protecting human life. At the end of it all, however, there has been NO accommodation whatsoever. The mandate remains in full effect. Christians are being required to pay for sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs.
Second, the HHS mandate is a direct assault on religious freedom. To this point, religious freedom in America has included the freedom of the individual to express his religion personally. The Obama administration has implemented this mandate with the understanding that religious freedom applies only to the church (not to the individual). If this interpretation is allowed to stand, then Christians will be free only when they are in their worship buildings (which must have met the standard of the code enforcement unit). When they are not in their places of worship, they are not free to act on their religious beliefs.
If one thinks this is hyperbolic—or even hysteric—then I would suggest they take another look at the Chick-fil-A fiasco. Elected government officials in Chicago and Boston promised punitive measures enforced by the full weight of their public office against anyone who believes the basic biblical doctrine on the definition of marriage.
Instead of celebrating chicken while aborting fertilized eggs, Americans ought to be scrutinizing political leaders and holding them to account for sacrificing our first freedom—religious liberty—on the altar of expediency. Leaders of both parties have allowed interest groups and personal profit to trump religious liberty. So, I think the lesser-covered news event of the day is the more destructive one. What do you think?