Give Up Your Religion or Give Up Your Business

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare and its mandate that employers buy health insurance that include coverage of contraception, abortifacients and sterilization many Catholics, who recognize birth control as morally reprehensible, have been put in a position where they must choose between practicing their faith or running their business. Such is the case for the Newland family.

( – The Justice Department last week presented the Newland family of Colorado–who own Hercules Industries, a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning business–with what amounted to an ultimatum: Give up your religion or your business.

“Hercules Industries has ‘made no showing of a religious belief which requires that [it] engage in the [HVAC] business,” the Justice Department said in a formal filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

In response to the Justice Department’s argument that the Newlands can either give up practicing their religion or give up owning their business, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the family, said in a reply brief: “[T]o the extent the government is arguing that its mandate does not really burden the Newlands because they are free to abandon their jobs, their livelihoods, and their property so that others can take over Hercules and comply, this expulsion from business would be an extreme form of government burden.”

The Newland family’s refusal to comply with the birth control mandate means that they will be forced to pay $26,500 per day and $9,672,500 a year simply for practicing their faith and refusing to buy products they find morally wrong and that aren’t even related to healthcare. The CNS article continues:

The Justice Department further argued that people owning for-profit secular businesses do not have a First Amendment right to the free exercise religion in the way they conduct their businesses—particularly if their business is incorporated.

In its brief responding to the Justice Department on behalf of the Newland family, the Alliance Defending Freedom forcefully rebutted the claim that the First Amendment does not apply to corporations let alone to family-owned businesses.

“The government argues that the Newlands forfeited their right to religious liberty as soon as they endeavored to earn their living by running a corporation,” said the Newlands’ brief.

“Nothing in the Constitution, the Supreme Court’s decisions, or federal law requires—or even suggests—that families forfeit their religious liberty protection when they try to earn a living, such as by operating a corporate business,” they argued.

I’ve had several people try to kindly explain to me that this in no way violates the Newland’s rights because their religion does not compel them to run a business and that the birth control mandate does not “force” them to violate their religion because they can simply give up their business. So, as Americans we’re entitled to either a right to freedom of religion or a right to property but not both, now? I guess imprisoning the Newland family for practicing their faith wouldn’t violate their religious rights either. If they can simply pay ten million dollars a year or give up their livelihoods entirely then they can just as simply walk into a prison cell. If the Department of Justice does not view an ultimatum forcing someone to choose between their faith and their business (read: how people make a living and put food on the table and a roof over their heads) as a “burden” then I doubt that they would view being incarcerated in a comfy cell with three meals a day as particularly burdensome either.

I believe that the birth control mandate and Obamacare do violate our rights but even if you think that this mandate is perfectly consistent with our constitution and laws the fact is that Obama’s healthcare scheme requiring individuals to purchase a product that they don’t want and penalizing them out of existence if they do not comply is classic corporate fascism. Obamacare is nothing more than big government and big business working hand-in-hand against the citizenry, where government forces the people to purchase things from businesses whether they want it or not. If Obamacare is constitutional then our constitution embraces a corporate fascist regime. Of course, anyone who’s ever actually read our founders knows that this is not what they intended. In fact, this is the very kind of totalitarian state that they meant to protect us from.

If you’re not convinced that we live in a progressively fascist state then consider the following: Our president has given himself the power to indefinitely detain any American citizen via the NDAA bill and, while that power has been deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge, a bill has been proposed, the Enemy Expatriation Act, which would render such a ruling irrelevant by granting the authority to strip any American of his citizenship on the same subjective and shaky grounds that the NDAA operates by; we also now have Predator drones flying over North Dakota; and our police force has been systematically militarized across the nation.


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