Relaymedia

America's Religious Freedom Update: Gay Marriage Rulings, HHS Birth Control Mandate

( [email protected] ) Jul 03, 2013 05:30 AM EDT
Has the United States that was founded upon biblical principles gone astray from the founding fathers’ intentions of ‘one nation under God’? The Supreme Court rule last week on two landmark gay marriage rights cases. The decisions greatly disappointed those who supported traditional marriages and pro-family proponents have called the rulings “a miscarriage of justice.” Mainstream media largely reported on the ‘sweeping victory’ for the same-sex marriage camps.
Has the United States that was founded upon biblical principles gone astray from the founding fathers’ intentions of ‘one nation under God’ or 'In God We Trust'?

Has the United States that was founded upon biblical principles gone astray from the founding fathers’ intentions of ‘one nation under God’ or 'in God we trust'?

The Supreme Court rule last week on two landmark gay marriage rights cases. The decisions greatly disappointed those who supported traditional marriages and pro-family proponents have called the rulings “a miscarriage of justice.” Mainstream media largely reported on the ‘sweeping victory’ for the same-sex marriage camps.

Justice Scalia, who dissented to the ruling on federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), insisted that the Constitution of the United States “does not forbid the government to enforce traditional moral and sexual norms;” it is perfectly just, he argues, to legislate that marriage be defined Biblically, as was established by America’s founding fathers. Scalia believes that the Supreme Court has overstepped its boundaries – the Court, which is responsible for determining whether legislation aligns with the Constitution, does not have the authority to establish new laws. “This image of the court would have been unrecognizable to those who wrote and ratified our national charter," he said.

Meanwhile, faith leaders from diverse backgrounds have issued an open letter to all Americans that their religious freedom is under attack. The specific issue that they’ve collectively address is the federal contraceptive mandate or HHS birth control mandate. Other examples include Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy being under fire for stating his support for traditional families and Supreme Court and politician bypassing the rule of law and ignoring the voice of the majority to legalize same-sex marriage in California.

Obama Administration’s Birth Control Mandate

The birth control mandate was first announced in January 2012, by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The mandate requires most employers to cover contraception, sterilization and some abortifacient drugs in their employees’ health care plans.

Although there is an exemption for religious groups, it is so narrow that most religious groups, including social service organizations, hospitals and schools, do not quality.

Christian-based Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts retailer that employs over 13,000 employees nation-wide, refused to pay for contraceptive and abortive pills for employees, but a U.S. District Court in Oklahoma ruled that it was not exempted from health care legislation mandates to include birth control measures in employee health benefit. The penalty for not abiding by the mandate would cost $1.3 million dollars per day.

Last week, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver has overturned the previous U.S. District Court in Oklahoma’s ruling. The Oklahoma-based chair store filed a lawsuit and was able to win

In an open letter to all Americans, faith leaders of diverse groups announced Tuesday that they will continue to fight for their religious freedom by opposing this mandate, which violates religious freedom, in particular freedom of conscience, by forcing certain citizens to purchase a product that is in violation of their religious beliefs.

After many groups objected to the mandate, Obama announced that his administration would work with the religious groups to find an appropriate accommodation to their objections. When the final rule was released on Friday, though, it was nearly identical to the original rule.

The Case of Chick-fil-A

Dan Cathy, president and COO of Chick-fil-A, the second largest fast-food chains in America, expressed last Wednesday on Twitter his disappointment on the Supreme Court’s ruling on federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Prop 8; although he has deleted his post, it had already made its way into the news, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Sad day for our nation; founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen,” he wrote. “[To] abandon wisdom of the ages re: cornerstone of strong societies.”

Chick-fil-A issued a statement about his “personal comment” the next day: “Dan recognizes his views do not necessarily represent the views of all Chick-fil-A customers, restaurant owners and employees, so he removed the tweet to eliminate any confusion.”

Last year, Cathy’s comment on his support for “the traditional family” sparked a controversy after getting interviewed by Baptist Press. “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

"We intend to stay the course," he said. "We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."

Then, the company’s official representatives had pledged to keep out of these issues. “Our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena,” the company said at that time.

Chick-fil-A tried to pull itself out of the policy debate as it affirmed that its culture and tradition is to "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."

Meanwhile, companies that support same-sex marriage unapologetically made congratulatory remarks on the Supreme Court’s rulings. These companies include Apple, Starbucks, Google, Facebook, eBay, NIKE, Microsoft, Ben & Jerry, Gap, Jet Blue, Mastercard, AT&T, Instagram, Johnson & Johnson, Earnest & Young, Cisco, Marriott International, and others, according to a report on the Huffington Post.

People’s Will Ignored, Rule of Law Bypassed

Two days after the Supreme Court issued their ruling on federal Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, the state of California began to issue same-sex marriage licenses, ignoring the 25 days waiting period to give those in opposition to ask the court’s reconsideration.

Proposition 8 sponsors then petitioned that the Supreme Court halt the legalization of same-sex unions until the Court issued its final disposition, according to the due process of the law.

However, Justice Anthony Kennedy, the associate justice who decides such motions pertaining to the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling in favor of homosexual unions, declined the Prop 8 legal team’s request, but the high court has not yet issued its certified judgment.

When the 9th Circuit issued the stay, it stated that “the stay shall continue until final disposition by the Supreme Court.” The 9th Circuit acknowledged Wednesday that disposition would not occur until at least 25 days from June 26, but it then lifted the stay on Friday without explanation.

“The more than 7 million Californians that voted to enact Proposition 8 deserve nothing short of the full respect and due process our judicial system provides,” Alliance Defending Freedom Austin R. Nimocks said.

Voice of Chinese-American Communities in California

The Chinese churches in California have largely supported the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008 by mobilizing its members in rallies and in the voting booths.

Last week’s ruling on Proposition 8 directly affects the residents in California, where 1.5 million people citizens of Chinese and Taiwanese descent or birth. Many fear that schools would begin to teach their children materials that normalize homosexuality, which means they would either have to put their children in private school or do nothing if they do have the financial means to pay for tuition.

Rev. Yuan Zhiming commented on his microblog on Weibo that same-sex partnering is one thing, and whether this partnering is regarded as marriage is something else. The Bible clearly states that the meaning of marriage is the unity between one man and one woman.

“Thus, the ruling on June 26, 2013 was not just the result of 5 people disagreeing with 4 people, but of America betraying the Biblical foundation which founded the country. Who then can still proclaim ‘God bless America’ with a clear conscience?” Yuan said.

America was founded on Biblical principles. "To defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions,” said Justice Scalia. He warned that the Supreme Court’s role has been exalted to a place where it ought not be.