Ben Johnson

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Obama appeals ruling which protected Catholic family business from HHS mandate

Ben Johnson
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DENVER, September 26, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A judge’s order will not stop the Obama administration from pressing forward in its quest to punish a Catholic family’s business for refusing to comply with the HHS mandate.

Hercules Industries, an HVAC business in Denver, won an injunction against the controversial provision requiring employers to cover contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs in its health care plans on July 27.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department appealed the ruling to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, also based in Denver. 

“On the same day President Obama spoke of religious freedom at United Nations, his Justice Department acted to deny that freedom to small business owners,” said Maureen Ferguson and Ashley McGuire of The Catholic Association in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com.

The Newland family sued HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, saying the mandate violated their mutual Catholic faith.

“The cost of religious freedom for this family could be millions of dollars per year in fines that would cripple their business and potentially destroy jobs if the administration ultimately has its way,” said Matt Bowman, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom. “In filing its appeal today, the administration sent a clear message that it wants to force families to abandon their faith in order to earn a living. That’s the opposite of religious freedom.”

The Obama administration has rhetorically shifted from supporting “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship,” a change its detractors believe is designed to suppress religious opposition to growing secular regulation.

“Under the Obama Constitution, family business owners like the Newlands of Hercules Industries may practice their religion on Sundays, within the four walls of their church, but they have no right to practice that faith during the work week,” Ferguson and McGuire said.

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The Newland family puts its faith at the heart of its business, which has expanded from a mom-and-pop operation to a bustling business than employs 265 people and was recently honored by the Colorado House of Representatives. 

“ObamaCare puts us in a really bad position,” business founder Paul Newland said. “You can either choose to abandon your faith...or you can pay millions of dollars of fines that would eventually cripple our business and harm the company and all of its employees.”

Senior Judge John L. Kane of the U.S. District of Colorado, a Carter appointee, ruled this summer that the administration’s claims that government has an interest in promoting access to birth control “are countered, and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion.” 

Mitt Romney reacted to Kane’s decision by saying, “Freedom of conscience has won an important victory.” 

David French, the founder of Evangelicals for Mitt, told LifeSiteNews.com in July, “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.”

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