We are writing this letter on behalf of our “Faith 4 Freedom” group in response to the article written by Mike Ford on Aug. 29 titled “Christians rally to protect their religious freedom.”
Ford’s article portrayed an unfair representation of the Health and Human Services Mandate and how it attacks our religious freedom and gave no concrete information as to what our group is all about, even though this information was given to him ahead of time. We are a non-partisan, multi-denominational, grassroots organization focused on prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom. We are not trying to push any political agenda or church doctrine onto others.
Mr. Ford attended part of our meeting, listening to our local members giving testimony and progress of our outreach. As our guest speaker, Chris Long, director of the Ohio Christian Alliance, came up to speak, Mr. Ford took a photo and left the building. He didn’t extend the courtesy to stay and listen to our guest speaker, much less report any information about our group. Only a couple quotes from Mr. Long were added in the article from a previous brief interview.
Ford’s article centered on the opinions of Joanne Brant, a law professor from Ohio Northern University, who supposedly specializes in how the law applies to religious freedom. Most disturbing was the highlighted quote by Brant that is not only false but entirely twists the conversation to insinuate that religious organizations are trying to take over all employer health care and push them to their own church doctrine. This quote displays her bias and/or lack of knowledge as to why numerous religious institutions object to the Dept. of Health and Human Services Mandate forcing virtually all employer health plans to provide 100-percent coverage with no co-pay for contraceptives, sterilizations, abortion-inducing drugs and any FDA-approved contraceptive methods, regardless of moral or religious objections. On family plans, minors will have these services available without parental consent. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act originally contained a religious-employer exemption for these services.
The article softens the language in the bill, stating “includes birth control.” Details involve more than what can be written in this letter. The most important detail in this is not a contraceptive issue. This is a religious freedom issue. It’s a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be FORCED by the government to provide coverage for contraception, abortion or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs.
Brant stated, “In a secular society, all religious groups must live in Caesar’s world and under Caesar’s rules.” We don’t live in Caesar’s world. Caesar was a dictator. We live in the United States of America, a republic, which guarantees its citizens certain rights through our Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” America is great because America is free.
In the article, Brant’s shocking statement, “Just as a Muslim can’t claim religious freedom to engage in honor killing and expect to avoid murder charges, a religious person can’t violate a neutral, generally-applicable law with impunity,” most certainly needs to be addressed. Her comparison of Muslims being denied freedom to engage in honor killings without murder charges to religious institutions being denied their freedom to oppose paying for 100-percent abortion coverage which forces them to violate established religious beliefs is absolutely ludicrous.
We welcome an opportunity to educate you and the public about “Faith 4 Freedom.” Our next meeting is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday with details posted on our web site.
Jane & Randy Hemker
“Faith 4 Freedom” committee