This August, Obama and his courtiers intend to impose the full weight of his imperial will upon Christian employers, churches and religious organizations. They will be forced to provide “free” abortifacients and sterilizations to employees or face horrendous penalties and police action from the IRS.A detailed review of this scandalous attack on the First Amendment was recently published by Ashley McGuire at the Weekly Standard. (“This Won’t Turn Out Well: The IRS prepares to Enforce ObamaCare’s Contraception Mandate”).
Ms. McGuire reports that employees who fail to submit to Obama will face fines of $100 per employee – per day. In the case of a company like Hobby Lobby, those fines will mean something like $1.3 million each business day (!) for non-compliance.
But it is not simply private employers who face brutal treatment. Religious organizations must also comply – unless they certified as excused by the IRS. And in order to receive that dispensation, religious organizations must already be excused from filing IRS Form 990. That means virtually all non-profits will have to provide abortifacients regardless of whether the entity is affiliated with a church or religious community.
Given the recent revelations about the religious persecution driving IRS officials, this is reason for grave concern over the future of religious liberty in America.
The situation has drawn public commentary from many church leaders, including the Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput. He recently published a column which included this chilling call to action:
“The day when Americans could take the Founders’ understanding of religious freedom as a given is over. We need to wake up.”
Unfortunately, we are not presently blessed by courageous leadership from the Idaho Legislature.
During last session’s debate over Gov. Otter’s plan to partner with the Obama Administration in imposing ObamaCare upon the families and employers of Idaho, we begged the Legislature to at least take a stand in defense of the First Amendment and our rights under the Constitution to religious liberty. We offered an amendment stating that Idaho’s Insurance Exchange would not force any employer or religious organization to provide free abortion-causing drugs to employees. Idaho Chooses Life did not even insist that the amendment prohibit such benefits – only that Idaho would not cooperate with Obama in violating the religious convictions of employers.
Tragically, we were rebuffed.
We reprint below the vote of your legislator on that amendment. Given the monstrous developments of the past month or so, this vote takes on increasing importance.
Here is the Senate vote on our Religious Liberty Amendment (Nuxoll/Fulcher):
Voting to Amend the bill: (the pro-Life position): Sens. Cliff Bayer (R-Boise), Branden Durst (D-Boise), Russ Fulcher (R-Meridian), Dan Johnson (R-Lewiston), Curt McKenzie (R-Nampa), Dean Mortimer (R-Idaho Falls), Bob Nonini (R-Coeur d’Alene), Sheryl Nuxoll (R-Cottonwood), Monty Pearce (R-New Plymouth), Steven Thayn (R-Emmett), Steve Vick (R-Dalton Gardens).
Voting Against the Religious Liberty Amendment: Sens. Steve Bair (R-Blackfoot), Les Bock (D-Boise), Dean Cameron (R-Rupert), Bart Davis (R-Idaho Falls), John Goedde (R-Coeur d’Alene), Jim Guthrie (R-McCammon), Marv Hagedorn (R-Meridian), Lee Heider (R-Twin Falls), Brent Hill (R-Rexburg), Shawn Keough (R-Sandpoint), Roy Lacey (D-Pocatello), Todd Lakey (R-Nampa), Patti Anne Lodge (R-Nampa), Fred Martin (R-Boise), Jim Patrick (R-Twin Falls), Jim Rice (R-Caldwell), Dan Schmidt (D-Moscow), Jeff Siddoway (R-Terreton), Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum), John Tippets (R-Montpelier), Elliot Werk (D-Boise), Chuck Winder (R-Boise).
Here is how the House voted on our Religious Liberty Amendment (Barbieri/ Boyle), which failed on a 32-38 vote:
Voting Yes (the pro-Life position): Reps. Agidius, Andrus, Barbieri, Barrett, Bateman, Batt, Boyle, Collins, Crane, Dayley, DeMordaunt, Denney, Gestrin, Harris, Hartgen, Holtzclaw, Loertscher, Luker, McMillan, Mendive, Monks, Moyle, Nielsen, Palmer, Patterson, Shepherd, Sims, Stevenson, Thompson, Trujillo, Vander Woude, andWood(35).
Voting No: Reps. Anderson(01), Anderson(31), Anderst, Bedke, Bell, Bolz, Burgoyne, Chew, Clow, Erpelding, Eskridge, Gannon, Gibbs, Hancey, Henderson, Hixon, Horman, Kauffman, King, Kloc, Malek, Meline, Miller, Morse, Packer, Pence, Perry, Raybould, Ringo, Romrell, Rusche, Smith, VanOrden, Ward-Engelking, Wills, Wood(27), Woodings, and Youngblood
(13 Democrats + 25 Republicans)