WASHINGTON, D.C., August 3, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The owner of a Catholic family business that won an injunction against the HHS mandate is speaking out, saying the Obama administration argued that faithful Catholics had no right to practice their faith in their own businesses.
Paul Newland said for his family, “faith is not a two-hours-on-Sunday-morning event. It’s a lifestyle that we live – and have for 50 years.”
His company, Hercules Industries, has expanded from a mom-and-pop operation to a bustling business than employs 265 people. The Denver-based heating ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) business “has been built over three generations, but really faith and values are our core,” Newland said.
In its legal brief, administration lawyers stated the family “made no showing of a religious belief which requires that [it] engage in the [HVAC] business.” Any burden on its religious belief is therefore caused by its “choice to enter into a commercial activity.”
The administration artfully turned the government’s compulsion of the Newland family upside-down, claiming, “The owners of Hercules Industries have no right to control the choices of their company’s employees, many of whom may not share the Newlands’ religious beliefs.”
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“ObamaCare puts us in a really bad position,” Newland said this week in an interview with Fox News. “You can either choose to abandon your faith – and you clearly know how we feel about that – or you can pay millions of dollars of fines that would eventually cripple our business and harm the company and all of its employees.”
Last Friday, Senior Judge John L. Kane of the U.S. District of Colorado granted the Newlands an injunction against the HHS mandate. He ruled the administration’s lawyers had not shown they had complied with the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which says the government must not “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” except to further “a compelling governmental interest” through “the least restrictive means” possible.
Mitt Romney reacted to the decision by saying, “Freedom of conscience has won an important victory.”
David French, the founder of Evangelicals for Mitt, told LifeSiteNews.com, “If Obama is re-elected, the legal battles over the HHS mandate will drag on for year after year, with dozens and perhaps hundreds of challenges filed.” The family’s attorney, Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said based on his legal filings President Obama is “picking and choosing what faith is, who can practice faith, and he’s violating the Constitution.”
The patriarch of the Newland family said every American should be concerned about the outcome of this case. “This is not just about Hercules. This is about something much, much more greater at stake, and that’s our freedom.”
Federal attorneys now must prove they have used the least restrictive means possible to achieve the government’s aims, in accordance with statutory law. Judge Kane has not yet considered the First Amendment issue of the free practice of religion.
Observers say that signs bode well for future challenges before the Supreme Court, and smaller challenges for more companies seeking an exemption until the issue is decided once and for all.
Catholic League President Bill Donohue has told Catholic business owners, “The time to revolt is now.”