Stewart: Religious Freedoms Under Threat In Obama’s America

In an op-ed, Rep. Chris Stewart condemns the Obama administration for trying to force the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Roman Catholic nuns, to violate Catholic moral teaching by providing contraceptives to its employees.

Writes Stewart at the Washington Examiner:

I believe we are in a fight for the heart and soul of our country. Future Supreme Court decisions will determine the outcome of many of these battles and all of us are going to be affected. Much has been said recently about Justice Antonin Scalia and how his death will impact the future of the Supreme Court. Count me among those who will dearly miss his reason, wit and adherence to the original meaning of the Constitution.

 

Regardless of who replaces him, his absence will have both long-term and short-term consequences. Those short-term consequences include the outcomes of cases that the now-eight-member court is hearing this term, including a critical religious freedom case the court will hear on March 23 and which every American should understand.

 

Zubik v. Burwell is a case involving Little Sisters of the Poor, a 175-year-old order of Roman Catholic nuns who have committed their entire lives to caring for the elderly poor. The case pits the nuns against the Department of Health and Human Services and the Obamacare regulation that forces most employers to provide a gamut of cost-free services to their employees, including contraceptives.

 

The court will have to decide whether the U.S. government — which already exempted big corporations such as Exxon and Pepsi and our military forces from this regulation — can force this small order of nuns to provide services which violate their religious beliefs. If the Sisters do not comply with the regulation, the Obama administration is threatening them with over $70 million in IRS fines per year.