Posts Tagged ‘Contraception Mandate’
June 10th, 2013 at 11:54 am
Obamacare’s Contraception Mandate Runs Through the IRS
Posted by Print

Here’s a troubling prospect: Americans who want to assert their rights of religious conscience will have to go through the famously scrupulous Internal Revenue Service to do so. Ashley E. McGuire writing in the Weekly Standard:

On August 1, the one-year “safe harbor” for religious charities objecting to provisions of Obamacare will end. Starting then, these nonprofit employers will be forced to violate their religious beliefs or pay large fines. In charge of collecting the fines will be our recently newsworthy friends at the Internal Revenue Service.

… Faced with the public outcry, the government did allow nonexempt religious organizations​—​hospitals, universities, charities, and so on​—​a year to get over their scruples and figure out how to comply. That year ends on August 1, when another 30 or so lawsuits filed by objecting nonprofits will be activated. But now, enter stage left: the IRS.

The way the regulation is written, it is the IRS that determines whether an organization qualifies for full exemption from the HHS mandate. To qualify, an organization must be a nonprofit as described in section 6033(a)(1) and section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) (oh, my!) of the amended Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and therefore exempt from filing Form 990, which most nonprofits must file annually.

The good news: in the short term, the IRS is likely to be so conscious of the extra scrutiny it’s under because of the scandal involving tea party groups that it applies an exceedingly light tough in dealing with organizations trying to gain exemption from the mandate. The bad news: wayward government agencies, like misbehaving children, have a tendency to straighten up and fly right only as long as they know they’re being observed.

Even if the IRS discharges this duty with as much objectivity as possible, however, it doesn’t alleviate the underlying problem. No bureaucrat — nor any politician, for that matter — should possess power so sweeping that they get to decide whether or not someone’s religious beliefs earn indulgence from the state. It’s government at its most intrusive. And it’s one more reason that the contraception mandate — and Obamacare with it — needs to be discarded.

June 11th, 2012 at 2:20 pm
Religious Liberty Under Fire
Posted by Print

While the media seems to have moved on from the firestorm over religious liberty that was kicked off by Obamacare’s contraception mandate earlier this year (a fight that is now making its way through the courts), the threat to freedom of conscience only continues to grow. In today’s DC Examiner, Tim Carney looks at some of the troubling developments throughout the nation:

Last week, New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that the state government can force a wedding photographer to shoot a gay wedding, even though she holds the view that marriage is between one man and one woman — and even though New Mexico doesn’t perform same-sex marriages.

… Is a baby sitter still free to choose which families she’ll work for? Can a doctor still choose which procedures she’ll perform? Actually, a Michigan court has already answered that one, saying an in-vitro fertilization clinic violated a woman’s rights by refusing her IVF on the grounds of her being unmarried.

… This is how the culture war generally plays out these days: The Left uses government to force religious people and cultural conservatives to violate their consciences, and then cries “theocracy” when conservatives object.

One aspect of this fight that bears highlighting: one need not share the gay marriage or IVF views of the people targeted in these cases to understand the threat to fundamental freedoms. In fact, one need not even be religious.

At the heart of all of this is that government at all levels is increasingly trying to constrain freedom of association — the right to say “get lost and leave me alone.” And when the government takes away your right to say “no”, few other freedoms have any meaning.