Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Catholic Education Daily

 

The High Cost of Religious Freedom

Freedom isn’t free.

And it turns out that religious freedom may become extremely expensive in the near future. The HHS mandate requires religious institutions like Catholic colleges to provide coverage for abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilization procedures. If they refuse, they have to pay a tax. A huge tax.

According to Congressman James Sensenbrenner, the Internal Revenue Service allows the government to tax employers to the tune of $100 per day, per employee. That means a Catholic institution would be forced to pay $36,500 per employee, per year for the right to be Catholic.

If say the Catholic college had 50 employees, they would be taxed $1,825,000 per year, every year. Are there any institutions that could bear such a burden? Wouldn’t any Catholic college be forced to close their doors under such a heavy price tag?

“Out of all the taxes in Obamacare, of which there are 21, this to me is the most egregious for its brazen disregard for religious liberty, one of the bedrocks of our country,” wrote Sensenbrenner in an op-ed in a local newspaper.

Sensenbrenner recently introduced the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act of 2012 in order to specifically block the taxes that will be levied upon those religious institutions and those who have moral or religious objections to paying for mandates under Obamacare that violate their religious or moral views.

This is especially disconcerting when the right to religious liberty is so clearly established in the Constitution.

For this to be avoided, Catholics can only look to the courts and election day. Currently, there are 23 separate cases and 57 individual plaintiffs, representing  hospitals, universities, businesses, schools, and individuals including Belmont Abbey College, Ave Maria University, the Franciscan University  of Steubenville, The University of Saint Francis (Indiana), and the University of Notre Dame.

Unless those lawsuits are successful, Catholic colleges and institutions will be faced with a very difficult decision of submitting to the HHS mandate, paying a steep fine for the right to be Catholic, or closing their doors. Belmont Abbey College President Bill Thierfelder said last year that he would consider closing the college if the issue over paying for contraception and sterilization on health plans wasn’t resolved.

Let’s all pray it doesn’t come to that.

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.

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