Tag archives: Obamacare

Notre Dame and Standing on Principle

by Family Research Council

September 8, 2014

It is a sad day for Catholic education when a Catholic institution of higher learning ignores core doctrine. It is worse yet when it happens to be the leading Catholic institution of higher learning. Recently The National Catholic Register reported that the University of Notre Dame voluntarily offered a student health insurance program that pays for the contraception and abortion services required by the HHS mandate. In essence, the University has thrown in the towel in its fight against the mandate’s encroachment on religious liberty. This move is particularly strange given the University’s pending lawsuit against the federal government.

In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a mandate derivative of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires all employers to provide, free of charge, a number of contraceptives and abortifacient drugs to their employees. On May 21, 2012 the University of Notre Dame filed an official legal complaint against the federal government because funding contraception and abortifacients is contrary to the school’s identity as a Catholic institution. Since then, all requests for an injunction on the mandate have failed. The HHS has made eight revisions to the initial contraceptive mandate all of which have been summarily rejected by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The revisions fail to address underlying religious liberty conflicts in the ACA. Although Notre Dame’s lawsuit is still pending, the University has decided, nonetheless, to comply with the mandate of its own accord.

Catholic doctrine expressly forbids the intentional use of contraception or abortion:

Every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil (CCC 2370).”

and again

Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law…Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense (CCC 2271-2272).”

Whether Notre Dame or any other Catholic university ignores this teaching is no indication of a change in Church doctrine. This violation of Church doctrine is yet another illustration of the collapse of doctrinally sound Catholic education. Notre Dame is following in the footsteps of many other Catholic institutions which have acted contrary to Church teaching. One does not have to look far for examples of this. St. John’s University recently slated Hugh Evans, a strong contraception advocate, to receive an honorary law degree at commencement. Loyola Marymount University earlier this year named Dr. Robbin Crabtree (who previously served on Advisory Board and Media Relations Committee of Planned Parenthood) dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts. The University of San Diego’s drag show created such shockwaves within the Church that the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education called them out on it saying the event caused “scandal.” Purportedly Catholic universities acting contrary to the Magisterium is so widespread that Pope John Paul II years ago issued an apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae to remind Catholic universities of their identity, mission, and general norms.

As education goes, so goes the next generation. The Church and all its members have the right and the duty to pass the time-tested teachings and traditions on to next generation. Let us work to promote Catholic institutions of higher learning grounded in sound Church doctrine and morals.

Court Delivers another Blow to Obamacare

by Emily Minick

July 22, 2014

Earlier this month the Supreme Court ruled that the Obama Administration could not force family businesses, like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, to violate their conscience in order to earn a living.

Another blow to Obamacare was delivered by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals today in a 2-1 decision, Halbig v. Burwell, affirming that the Administration has to follow their own law, as written and can’t either make it up or change it as they go along. The court ruled that federal subsidies to assist individuals in purchasing insurance are only available to those who purchase healthcare through an exchange created by their state, not a federally created exchange in a state. The Affordable Care Act text is extremely clear, only individuals who live in states that have set up their own healthcare exchange are eligible to receive income subsidies to assist in lowering the cost of purchasing healthcare.

The problem is many states did not set up their own exchange for a variety of reasons, including the cost of developing and running an exchange, and in some cases because they disagreed with the principle of Obamacare in general. Even some states that did originally decide to set up a state exchange, like Oregon, later dissolved it due to high cost and joined the federal healthcare.gov exchange. This year, 36 states decided to forgo developing and creating their own state exchange and instead opted to have the government create an exchange to operate in their state. Recent news reports also say that Massachusetts, if their exchange is not working properly in time for upcoming 2015 enrollment this fall, will plan on joining the federal exchange in their state.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows for this possibility and says the federal government will create an exchange in the state if the state doesn’t. The issue is the ACA doesn’t say that money can go to the federally created exchange in those states. The Administration funded subsidies in these states anyway and thus the lawsuit with the option delivered today. Individuals in these 36 states who needed to purchase healthcare, if not provided by their employer, looked to the federally created exchanges to satisfy the individual mandate requirement. A recent study by HHS found that 87 percent of individuals who purchased healthcare on the federally created exchange were eligible to receive an income subsidy.

Now, this ruling could derail the entire Obamacare train.

  1. Plans on the healthcare exchanges were not as cheap as individuals originally thought they would be. Between high deductibles, high monthly premium costs, and lack of participating providers in certain designated areas, people did receive a sticker shock when they shopped on the marketplace last year. Now, if this ruling stands, individuals will not have the luxury of having the high cost of premiums masked by income subsidies if their state did not set up their own exchange.
  2. Assuming that no other states back out of operating their own exchange this upcoming plan year, individuals in 36 states will have to cover the entire cost of healthcare premiums on their own. This could result in thousands of individuals opting to pay the tax penalty rather than pay for the high cost of many of these exchange plans. If less people purchase healthcare, especially young people, there will be less healthy people in the pool, which could raise rates even more because healthcare insurance companies will have to compensate for the cost of covering pre-existing conditions.
  3. If there is one thing that Americans should realize about Obamacare by now, it’s that the executive branch does not have the power to write the law, enforce the law and interpret the law however it sees fit. The executive is in charge of faithfully executing the law. To date there have been 42 changes to Obamacare. Today’s ruling affirms that the President cannot change a law just because it is unpopular.

What does this ruling mean for average Americans? The ruling in Halbig v. Burwell affirms that the President cannot pick and choose what parts of the law he wants to follow. This ruling also illustrates to the American people that Obamacare really is as bad as Republicans said it would be. The Administration cannot mask high premiums, failed state exchanges, broken websites, and unenforced provisions with income subsides to those prohibited from receiving them according to the text of the Affordable Care Act.

Slandering the Supremes

by Travis Weber, J.D., LL.M.

July 3, 2014

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is, in my view, clearly erroneous. With my colleagues at Family Research Council, I applaud the majority opinion as fully consistent with the requirements of religious liberty and the needs of women.

So, how does one get away with treating Supreme Court justices in a manner which would get any child reprimanded in elementary school? You couch your insult with humor, and engage on a politically correct topic.

The biggest question surrounding the recent song by Song A Day’s Jonathan Mann putting Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in the Hobby Lobby case to music — and in which he refers to the justices in the majority as “slut-shaming geezers” — is why no one is bothered enough by such slandering and disrespecting of Supreme Court justices to say anything. But it is what it is: Shameful.

What’s the point of these antics? Who knows … . Perhaps it’s because the writer doesn’t care to read what the decision says. Perhaps he thinks it’s more fun to mock its authors. Perhaps he does understand the decision and realizes he can’t attack the reasoning so, in a cowardly move, he attacks the authors’ integrity. Perhaps he does understand the decision but realizes he won’t acquire fame with a reasoned response so he adds incendiary words to his song. Or, perhaps, he knows he will only get people to listen to him if he adds shock value — thus he mocks justices and a decision which actually has inherent meaning he’s not bothering to understand.

There is nothing wrong with putting Justice Ginsburg’s dissent to music. The interaction of the Court with the public, although generally that of a more formal nature, can bear the casual manifestation of a song. In fact, some have shown the ability to tastefully depict the clash of ideas at work in Supreme Court rulings in formats including even opera. But what is harmful to the Court is a cultural attitude that dismisses the Court’s work by mere insults — without any basis in truth or basic comprehension of the legal principles at issue. Jonathan Mann makes his living as an entertainer, an entertainer who touts his ability to take “large amounts of complicated ideas and very quickly [transform] them into a hilarious, hummable and memorable song.” Here, he’s not bothered to even acknowledge the “complicated ideas” under question — he’s simply resorted to name calling. The Court and our country can bear lighthearted whimsy. What they can’t bear are baseless insults like this — insults, moreover, which aren’t even true.

Need we call to mind that the only thing the families behind Hobby Lobby and Conestoga ever objected to was 4 out of 20 methods of birth control they were being forced to provide, on the belief these 4 killed little babies in the womb? Yet according to Jonathan Mann, many “sluts” have been “shamed” when the justices ruled that women still must receive these 4 types of birth control. Wait, what? Yes, the justices ruled women still are to receive all their contraceptives — the government just has to provide them in a way that does not force employers with religious objections to violate their consciences by playing a part in what they view to be evil. Yes, of course, it is very obvious to see that many “sluts” were “shamed” with this ruling … .

Maybe one day if a justice (it would have to be one of the older male justices) was caught outside of the court rebuking a young woman for sleeping around too much — maybe then, he could accurately be called a “slut shaming geezer.” Even then, I’m not sure such antics would be called for. But they are hardly called for when any reading of the opinion does not justify such antagonism.

There are plenty of high court opinions I disagree with, but none over which I would attack the justices’ character. I can’t remember the last time someone mocked a liberal Supreme Court justice in this way. Yet if they did, it would be equally uncalled-for.

In the end, the name-calling (inaccurate at that) is symptomatic of a larger issue — the inability of many Americans to accurately engage on public issues and play a role in our experiment in democracy. As public engagement and living side by side in toleration of different views gives way to name-calling aimed at conformity to what is politically correct, the gears of our nation will grind to a halt. And we will all suffer for it.

Attacks and slander like that of Jonathan Mann may or may not be legal. But it is certainly shameful. People of integrity on all sides of these issues need to call this out when they see it.

We would call upon all, including those opposed to the Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby, to denounce such baseless attacks. It would be appropriate for Justice Ginsburg to make clear she does not support such sentiments. All Americans, though they reasonably disagree on issues such as the Court faced here, should be united in opposition to Jonathan Mann’s slanderous words.

Supreme Court Delivers Momentous Religious Freedom Victory

by FRC Media Office

June 30, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Family Research Council (FRC) praised today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding religious liberty and protecting the conscience rights of family businesses who object to being forced to pay for the coverage of sterilizations, contraception and drugs that have the potential to destroy an unborn child.

FRC President Tony Perkins learned of the ruling this morning as he met with the Hahn family, founders and owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties, which were represented by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys in this lawsuit challenging the Obama administration mandate.

Perkins made the following comments:

The Supreme Court has delivered one of the most significant victories for religious freedom in our generation. We are thankful the Supreme Court agreed that the government went too far by mandating that family businesses owners must violate their consciences under threat of crippling fines.

All Americans can be thankful that the Court reaffirmed that freedom of conscience is a long-held American tradition and that the government cannot impose a law on American men and women that forces them to violate their beliefs in order to hold a job, own a business, or purchase health insurance.

The unfair HHS mandate gave family businesses two non-choices: either violate your deeply held moral beliefs and comply by paying for drugs and services to which you object, or pay crippling fines of up to $100 per day, per employee, for non-compliance. This mandate threatened the jobs, livelihood and healthcare of millions of Americans and forced those who stood up for their conscience, like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, to either comply or be punished.

Thankfully, the threat the HHS mandate imposed on Americans has been deemed unlawful today as a violation of core religious freedom rights. While we celebrate this landmark decision, it is our hope that lower courts will follow the Supreme Court’s lead and protect non-profits like Little Sisters of the Poor, Priests for Life, and Wheaton College from the unfair HHS Mandate,” concluded Perkins.

Sebelius and Transparency at the Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing

by Bethany Brock

November 1, 2013

On Wedneday morning, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the roll-out debacle of Obamacare. Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) called the members of the Committee to order and stated that the purpose of the hearing was to “achieve fairness for the American people, and transparency” in the flawed launch of HealthCare.gov.”

Americans were assured that their experience would be equivalent to other online experiences such as booking a flight or ordering pizza,” Upton said as he looked straight at Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “Today’s hearing is about fairness for the American people who are losing their coverage or seeing their premium skyrocket as high as 400 percent,” Upton said.

Once Sebelius was sworn in and seated before the Committee, the room stilled, reporters positioned cameras and prepared notepads, and all waited with anticipation.

In the summary of her written statement, Sebelius apologized for the flawed launch of HealthCare.gov. She agreed that the flawed launch was a “miserably frustrating experience,” and affirmed the American people that they deserved better. In addition to reporters, interns, and Hill staffers attending the hearing, the members of the gallery ranged from veterans wearing Vietnam or Korea ball caps to tourists who came to the hearing in jeans and tennis shoes.

Questions from members of the Energy and Commerce Committee ranged in topics from the security of Americans’ personal information, the cost of the creation and the maintenance of the website, the lack of freedom in choosing health care options, to how the HHS plans to deal with the November 30 deadline for nationwide coverage.

When Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) asked a question about the cost of the website, she requested that it be pulled up live. As everyone looked towards the screen, HealthCare.gov appeared with a page saying that the system was down.  Blackburn asked for a ballpark price for this disabled website; and Sebelius reported that this non-functioning website cost $118 million and has cost an additional $56 million to fix so far. This report was met with a noticeable rise in tension and awkward glances around to gauge others’ reactions.

Overall, the atmosphere of the room was inquisitive and people seemed genuinely interested to get answers on the Obamacare .

One question, however, that didn’t receive a clear answer was Rep. John Shimkus’s (R-Ill) transparency question. Shimkus asked if the American people would be able to see which healthcare plans in the federal exchange offer abortion coverage, and if Sebelius would provide committee members a list of these plans.  Sebelius said she “thought” she could provide a list and when pressed further said, “Sir, I can’t tell you what I don’t firmly know right now.” As the time expired, and the floor was given to another congress member for questioning, this question was left with an unsatisfied silence.

Obamacare Problems Much Worse than Technical Glitches

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 30, 2013

Say that a year from now, after great angst, huge costs, and significant renovation, www.healthcare.gov works well. The technical problems have all been resolved. People can access the site without difficulty; it works like a charm.

So what? The substance of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, is destructive and dangerous.

There are many studies showing how the PPACA will hurt businesses, economic growth, lower-income families, private health insurers, and so forth. Since the implementation of Obamacare on October 1, two million Americans have been told that due to the provisions of the PPACA, they will lose health insurance, and it’s going to get worse:

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

Yet, the deepest problem with Obamacare remains its mandate that persons of traditional Judeo-Christian faith have to surrender their convictions concerning abortion and the sacredness of personhood from conception onward. For a comprehensive review of how the “conscience mandate” (you have to provide access to health plans that provide abortions and abortifacient drugs whether this acidifies your conscience or not), see FRC’s letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in April.

Moreover, most Americans won’t be able to find out if their new health plans cover abortion until after they sign-up for a given plan. As FRC President Tony Perkins wrote earlier this month:

If an insurer decides to cover abortion in its plan, and the government subsidizes people’s premiums in that plan, every single person is required to pay an extra abortion surcharge! Adding insult to injury, the same section also requires that all information about the abortion coverage and surcharge only be given at the time enrollees receive their overall benefits package.

U.S. Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) have introduced the “Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2013,” which would “ensure full disclosure of abortion coverage, requiring prominent and transparent disclosure of abortion coverage for each plan offered on an exchange.”

On the grounds of fiscal, administrative, organizational and ethical concerns, “Obamacare” makes whatever problems (real or imagined) it attempts to fix worse. No “user-friendly” computer program will ever correct these inherent faults.

Remembering The Week of Dr. King’s Assassination: It has been worse

by Robert Morrison

April 5, 2013

Talking with dispirited conservatives these days, there’s a tendency to think things have never been worse. One of the men in my Bible study regularly gives in to Jeremiads and thinks we are on the eve of destruction.

I don’t want to stop anyone fighting as hard as he can—within law—to prevent such wrong policies as Obamacare, abortion-on-demand, and the abolition of marriage. But we are still free to oppose these deeply wrong policies. And we should.

And I join with all my friends in decrying the current pressures on the church. These, I strongly believe, have never been worse. Liberal journalists at religious liberty conferences often pooh-pooh these charges. They cite such examples as Bible riots in Philadelphia in the 1840s at which dozens were killed. They note that the anti-black Ku Klux Klan was also anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish, anti-immigrant. And the KKK marched openly through Washington, D.C. in the 1920s.

Well, first, the good news is that there are such conferences being held. And some liberals even feel it necessary to respond to our reports of religious hostility in this home of freedom. Our rejoinder to their dismissive comments about Bible riots in the 1840s and Klan marches in the 1920s is fairly easy to make: None of those examples of religious bigotry was sponsored by the federal government. What we are dealing with today is unprecedented.

But in a large sense, we need to recognize the experiences of our fellow Americans. Millions of our fellow citizens remember the 1960s. This is the week in 1968 when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated by a white racist in Memphis, Tenn. Following Dr. King’s murder—and in complete contempt for all that he taught and held sacred—riots erupted in a hundred American cities.

The flames of violence and lawlessness were stoked by radicals in those cities and excused by a liberal press that regularly rationalized the violence. Even the sitting Vice President of the United States, the civil rights hero of my youth, Hubert Humphrey, said that if he had to face the injustices faced by minority citizens, he, too, would lead a riot. That was probably the worst thing Hubert ever said.

What happened in those burned-out cities was a national tragedy. Small business owners—black and white—fled to the suburbs. They left a hollowed-out core in many cities. Unemployment, crime and blight wrecked the hopes of millions in what came to be called “Inner Cities.” Detroit had already been scarred—in 1967—by a terrible riot. But more and more American towns began to look like Detroit as a result of the King Assassination riots.

Photographs of the U.S. Capitol taken forty-five years ago this week showed the dome wreathed in smoke. It looked like St. Paul’s Cathedral in London under the Nazi blitz of 1940. But the terrible difference was that in this case, the flames were ignited by our own people.

The year 1968 has been aptly called an Annus Horribilis. America was then embroiled in the Vietnam War. President Lyndon B. Johnson was the commander-in-chief. His own record had been one of physical cowardice in the South Pacific in World War II and in besieged West Berlin in 1961 But he drafted thousands of young men and sent them to fight in a war he could not defend, and from which he had no plans for disengagement. Weekly battle deaths averaged 280 under the misrule of LBJ.

Johnson was reviled by members of his own party. Four years earlier, he had been nominated for a full term at the Democratic National Convention of 1964. The convention hall was draped with huge portraits of Johnson, the kind usually reserved for Communist bosses in May Day parades. But in 1968, Lyndon B. Johnson was chased out of the presidential race and dared not even attend his party’s nominating convention. So hated was the president that anti-war protesters regularly chanted “Hey, Hey, LBJ! How many boys have you killed today?”

When Dr. King was assassinated, one of the greatest speeches of tribute and most eloquent calls for restraint came from Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, then running for president. Bobby Kennedy would himself be gunned down by a Palestinian terrorist in Los Angeles, just two months after King.

Conservatives today are often accused of wanting to “turn back the clock.” Liberals charge us with being on “the wrong side of history.” They want us to believe that all their ideas must be accepted as “progress” and all their initiatives must fulfill some plan of historical inevitability. (And they wonder why we charge them with being Marxists!)

Millions of Americans alive today remember those terrible days. We need to recall them too when placing the bad policies of today in proper perspective—the better to gain the agreement of our fellow citizens.

And we should remember what one of my favorite college profs taught us at University of Virginia in 1968. Norman A. Graebner noted the mood of profound pessimism among the young, the widespread belief that the United States was headed for collapse. “America,” he said, “is like the boxer Joe Louis. America has power to spare.”

I didn’t fully understand Mr. Graebner then. Economic power? Yes. Political and military power? That, too. But “Graebner the Great” as we called this star lecturer was a regular communicant of his local Lutheran congregation. I cannot imagine he did not include spiritual power in his Joe Louis comparison. Let’s never forget that.

Support Hobby Lobby as they Take a Stand Against the Obamacare Abortion Drug Mandate

by Krystle Gabele

January 9, 2013

Obamacare has been in the news lately, as the new regulations are being enacted in a swift manner.  Now, employers must decide whether or not to abandon their principles and comply with the regulations which include a mandate requiring coverage of the morning after pill, a drug that can cause an early abortion.  One company, however, refuses to surrender its religious freedom and is disobeying the mandate.  The owners of the Hobby Lobby retail chain is facing daily fines of $1.3 million for their refusal to comply with the mandate.  As of today, they have incurred fines totaling $ 11.7 million.  Unless the courts intervene, the company will accumulate a half a billion dollars in fines by the end of this year.

FRC released a video today regarding Hobby Lobby standing for their beliefs, and you can also support them by visiting our Facebook page.

Also, my colleague, Ken Klukowski, has been covering the news regarding Hobby Lobby and the Obamacare mandate’s attack on religious liberty.  You can read his recent op-eds, which were featured on Breitbart.com.

We commend Hobby Lobby, as they take a stand for religious liberty. 


Obamacare Puts Freedom in the Balance

by Robert Morrison

November 5, 2012

On July 4, 2010, the National Archives announced that they had just discovered an original draft of Thomas Jeffersons Declaration of Independence. In it, the young member of the Continental Congress struck out the word subjects and penned the word citizens. Archivists were very excited by this discovery: It was the first time Americans had referred to themselves as citizens, they said.

Citizens make their own decisions on vital matters of life and faith. Subjects have to obey an endless series of government mandates.

Obamacare has already revealed its iron fist. The HHS mandate, a key part of Obamacare, would force every American to become complicit in providing or paying for the destruction of innocent human lives. It would also force us to subsidize sterilization procedures. Many of these sterilizations would be done on minors without their parents knowledge or consent.

Religious communities in America have been alarmed by this HHS Mandate. Rev. Billy Graham is nearing his 94th birthday this week. He might easily have avoided controversy by remaining quiet. But this great evangelist has taken out ads in major newspapers all over the country appealing to Christians to vote for biblical values. These include the Sanctity of Human Life, which theHHS Mandate for Obamacare so seriously jeopardizes.

The Catholic Bishops have gone into court to sue against this unprecedented intrusion into the life of the church. Catholic lay groups are carrying the message to grassroots citizens, urging them to stand for life and to oppose abortion. One such prominent group, Catholic Answers, is distributing voter guides that dont tell their brethren for whom to vote, but do plead with them to uphold life, marriage, and religious freedom when they vote. Pope Benedict is alarmed about what is happening inAmerica, they say, and you should be, too.

The Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod has boldly proclaimed we must obey God rather than men, and has launched a website titled Free to be Faithful The LCMS takes no position on Obamacare, per se, but they do resist being forced to participate in violating the commandment: Thou shalt not kill. It was to escape mandates from the authoritarian rulers of Germany in the 19th Century that these Lutherans left their homes and fled to this home of freedom, Synod leaders say.

Not only churches and religious organizations are threatened. In recent action before a federal district court in Detroit, the Weingartz Supply Company sought and received from Judge Robert Cleland a temporary injunction allowing them not to obey the HHS Mandate. The Catholic owner of this small, 170-employee family firm, argued that demands of Obamacare would violate his First Amendment rights. Judge Cleland agreed, saying: Violation of a First Amendment right in itself constitutes irreparable harm, even for a brief period.

Irreparable harm done under Obamacares HHS Mandate ironically contrasts with the first rule of medicine, thousands of years old, brought to us by the Greek philosopher Hippocrates: Above all, do no harm.

How can it be that a law that has care and protection in its title (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) can present such a mortal threat to caring and protection? It may be because the Supreme Court in 1973 ruled against justice itself. When the court said innocent human lives may be taken for any reason or no reason, the court pulled that first thread of our national garment and the fabric of society has been unraveling ever since. It can never be just directly to target and kill the innocent.

This is certainly Christian teaching, but it is also Jewish teaching. Orthodox Jewish leader Rabbi Meir V. Soloveichick gave strong testimony in Congress against the HHS Mandate.

That this is direct and intentional slaughter of innocents is wrong was known even by the pagans of ancient Greece. Thucydides, in his classic Peloponnesian War, records the Melian Debate. In that debate, powerful, democratic Athenians demand that the unoffending people of Melos join them in a war against Sparta. The men of Melos, a small beautiful island, wish only to be left alone to live their lives in peace. The Athenians will not permit that, saying to the Melians: The strong do what they will; the weak endure what they must. Thucydides is a patriotic Athenian, but he loves justice first. And he records the killing of the innocent Melians with obvious anguish. His book, a work secular scholars recognize as the first history, was intended to last forever.

The lesson of the Melian Debatethat the shame of killing the innocents is indeliblehas come down to us from ancient times. Pagans, Jews and Christians then recognized an ethical foundation for human existence. Life without such a moral basis is not truly human, they taught us.

The HHS Mandate puts freedom itself on the ballot. If this election affirms Obamacare, then this violation of our consciences is but the first taste of the bitter cup that will be proffered to us. And we will be forced to drink that bitter cup to the dregs.

HHS Mandates will cascade upon us. Will we also be forced to pay for sex changes and violent abortion procedures, as well as abortion drugs and sterilizations? What logic or law would stop these liberal activists who have already trodden our First Amendment rights under foot? They will render the Constitution itself a mere paper barricade.

That is why tomorrow, freedom itself is on the ballot. Let us pray for this great republic; may we remain citizens and not subjects.

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