Early this year President Obama and the Department of Human and Health Services’s (HHS) Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius handed out a mandate to all health care companies as well as all employers across the United States.  The HHS first mandated that all employers must provide contraception, abortion inducing drugs and reproductive sterilizing drugs to be provided to all employees under penalty of law. This mandate was put under fire and the president’s administration pretended to give into the Catholic Church’s claim that the HHS mandate is unconstitutional and thus unlawful.  The ground the Church stood on, is the First Amendment of the United States Constitution found in the “Bill of Rights”.  They later retracted and said the mandate is for the “health insurance companies” and “religious institutions” can opt out.  This was a slight-of-hand trick that accomplished what the administration wanted all along and fooled some people into thinking that there was a compromise.

The Church is a self-ensured institution.  This means that the insurance the Church uses is an extension of the Church or a ministry of the Church.  Due to the mandate the people who work in this field of ministry are forced by law to violate the teachings of the Church and their conscience.  If the Church’s insurance companies are forced to change how they do business or no longer serve as a ministry of the Church, then She is forced to take an insurance plan from other companies who require to make Her pay for serves that go against the Catholic way of life and worship.  If the Church refuses, then penalties under law will be enforced.  How does this administration get around the First Amendment?  Just like any kid on the playground that wants to win a game when the rules are not working in their favor.  Change and redefine the rules.

They changed the wording and the definitions of what a religious institution is.  A religious employer can only be exempt from this law if the religious employer only serves people of their own faith.  If the Church were to follow the law as it is written the Church would not be able to function as it has for over two thousand years.  Under the law, in order for the Church to be exempt they could only serve those who are affiliated with that particular religion.  This is not how Christ operated nor is it how his followers operate.  This is not a compromise or an accommodation, it is aggression.

Bill of Rights: first amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievance.   

President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius are infringing upon our right to “the free exercise” of religion.  As followers of Jesus, our goal in life is to make it to heaven and be present at the resurrection.  The saints that have gone before us have shown us that to be Catholic is to live a life that is rooted in the Gospel and centered on Christ.  It is not enough for us to go to mass or to just read the bible and bless our food before we eat it.  Jesus did not command us to be “good people”.  Jesus gives us a different command, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it” (Mk 8:35).   For Catholics, our worship is how we live our life.  To infringe upon our right to worship is to infringe upon our right to be saints who follow in the footsteps of Christ, serving those who are not just believers but the ones who need to know love and hope in their lives.

As young Christians, it is important for us to know that we live for more than what the world has to offer us.  When we encounter obstacles that challenge our ability to peruse sainthood we are called to pray, study the issues and take action.  Today the Church is doing just that.  Lawsuits have been filed against Kathleen Sebelius and President Obama for violating our rights protected under the First Amendment.  We must be aware that the time could come for us to be prepared to peacefully disobey what the government mandates.  We must stand with the Church and fight against those whom wish to be an obstacle to our conscience and freedom to worship.

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