Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Morgan Griffith on Obamacare and Religious Freedom

From Congressman Morgan Griffith's E-Newsletter:

"Religious freedom: from “Obamacare” to peyote

Over the last year or so, you may have heard some criticism from for-profit businesses and not-for-profit religious groups like the Roman Catholic bishops regarding the health care reform law’s mandate that requires employers (including religious hospitals, colleges, charities, and similar institutions) to put faith aside and provide employees with contraceptive services.

The administration has said it is working to resolve concerns that the mandate violates the religious freedom rights that We the People are guaranteed by the Constitution. However, many are not convinced that the new proposed rules are sufficient to protect their freedom of religion.

The United States Constitution protects religious freedom, even when a tenet of a particular faith would otherwise be in violation of the law. Peyote is an hallucinogenic drug historically used in the Native American Church to treat various ailments, and also to trigger deep, spiritual insight and introspection. Use of this drug is normally illegal. However, the use of hallucinogenic peyote as part of “bonafide religious ceremonies” is exempt from the law because it is protected under freedom of religion.

I believe that the Catholic Church and others whose religious beliefs run counter to Obamacare policies should be exempt from the mandate, just as the Native American Church is exempt from a specific drug law.

The Department of Health and Human Services is still accepting feedback on the recently-proposed rules. You may wish to submit a comment online here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CMS-2012-0031-63161. "

I took him up on it; if anybody's interested, they can use this tracking code to find my comment among the thousands: "1jx-83n5-gebp."