On Friday, one of the biggest grass-roots rallies took place across the country in nearly 160 cities, including here in Baton Rouge. This peaceful demonstration is in response to a federal government mandate that violates the very core of freedoms guaranteed to every American under the First Amendment.
Under the HHS mandate, employers and organizations — not just faith-based groups — will be forced to subsidize a health-care plan to cover abortion-inducing drugs and sterilizations, even if this goes against their core beliefs and consciences, or pay severe penalties.
For the first time, the federal government is telling its citizens that our religious freedoms and consciences no longer matter, and that any conscientious objectors will be forced to act against their will. The so-called exemptions are so narrow that not even Jesus would qualify.
The impact of this dictatorial law will lead many religious charities, schools, churches, universities and hospitals who serve most of the poor, the homeless, the needy and the sick in our country to curtail their services unless they obey Caesar rather than God.
The right to act according to our conscience goes far beyond any party, race or religion and should rouse all people to voice their dissent. If Americans can no longer object to doing something contrary to their moral consciences, especially long-held religious beliefs, then we have to ask whether this is still the country that our Founding Fathers established.