Cardinal Dolan on the HHS mandate in effect today
Cardinal Dolan of New York explains how Catholic institutions are affected by the law going into effect and how it violates religious liberty guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States. He also mentions the likely consequences if the law is upheld:
Yes, the Archdiocese of New York has joined dozens of others in filing a lawsuit against the administration and HHS, arguing that the mandate is unconstitutional. And, yes, the administration has granted a one-year reprieve to religious agencies whose conscience would be violated by this mandate. (That’s right – the government acknowledges that this will be a problem for many religious agencies. But their response is, essentially, “too bad.”)
What will happen when the year is up?
I suppose one option would be for those agencies to stop offering health insurance to their employees, and pay a $2000 per employee penalty. While some would argue that the agencies would, in fact, save money by choosing this option, it hardly seems to be the right and just way to treat your co-workers, does it?
Another option is to continue to offer health insurance, but, honoring our conscience, not include these objectionable services. There would be a $100 fine per day for each person who qualified for the coverage. Let’s assume that an agency has 50 people for which it would be subject to this penalty. At $100 per day, per person, over the course of the year it would pay a penalty of $1,825,000. ($100 x 50 people x 365 days). That’s a steep penalty from the government in order to try and convince religious agencies to turn their back on their conscience. That’s money that will then not go to serve those in need. Many of our services could not survive this heavy penalty.
A third option, I suppose, is to capitulate and accept the strangling mandate…I don’t want to go there. We just finished a Fortnight for Freedom, and the saints we honored – Saint Thomas More, Saint John Fisher, Saint John the Baptist, Saints Peter and Paul – would not want us to go there, either.
Over the course of the coming year, the effort to protect religious liberty and the freedom of conscience will continue. In the end, this is not about bishops, it is not about Catholics, it is not about contraceptives. It is about the ideals our nation was founded upon: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. You can’t do much better than the First Amendment to the Constitution. The founding fathers got it right. The HHS mandate gets it wrong. We are fighting to correct that wrong, in order to make sure that religious freedom continues for the generations to come after us.
The modern left is no longer content with driving religion from the public square. Now it must bend the private consciences of faithful people to their will, by force of law if necessary. Whether it’s the business owner who speaks in defense of traditional marriage or the church doing good works in the community, they will conform to the left’s social agenda or face the force of the law.