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On Top of Everything Else, Obamacare Slaps Tax on Religious Freedom

Not only does health care law expands the role of government to unprecedented levels, its taxes also decimate our religious liberties.

The Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, gives the federal government the tools to tax religiously-affiliated schools, hospitals, universities and soup kitchens right out of existence if they object to a government mandate.

Last week, I voted to repeal Obamacare because the entire law is bad policy, the mandate expands the role of government to unprecedented levels, and the taxes decimate our religious liberties. This cannot stand.

We have heard a lot about the mandates in the law, but we have not heard much about these hidden taxes on religious freedom. Obamacare includes provisions that trigger penalties already written into our current tax code if the employer chooses not to comply, based on religious or moral convictions, with the Department of Health and Human Services mandate. The Internal Revenue Service allows the government to tax employers to the tune of $100 per day, per employee.

That equals an astounding $36,500 per employee, per year. If a religiously affiliated grade school has 50 employees, they would be taxed $1,825,000 per year, every year, just for exercising their constitutionally protected rights. With taxes so severe and burdensome, it’s hard to imagine that any institution could keep its doors open.

This is the question facing religious institutions and concerned employers today: will you violate your conscience and religious beliefs or pay a hefty tax to follow your faith?

Out of all the taxes in Obamacare, of which there are 21, this to me is the most egregious for its brazen disregard for religious liberty, one of the bedrocks of our country.

That’s why I introduced the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act of 2012. This bill will block the taxes that will be levied upon those religious institutions and those who have moral or religious objections in the private sector from having to pay for mandates under Obamacare that violate their religious or moral views.

How did we get to a place where our most precious freedoms are under attack? The Constitution stated: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

If you recall, in February, President Obama and his Department of Health and Human Services announced a “compromise” that was no compromise at all. When Americans across the country and across the political spectrum protested the HHS mandate, the president still decided to force religiously affiliated organizations and employers to facilitate a government mandate that violates core tenants of their faith.

The mandate also states that religious employers are exempt only if their purpose is to instill religious doctrine, to hire and serve exclusively people of their own faith, and qualify as a church or religious order according to a very narrow definition in the tax code.

Under this definition, even Jesus and Mother Theresa would not qualify, to say nothing of the religious charities that have provided relief and services throughout history. The exceptions are essentially irrelevant as most religious institutions providing health, educational or charitable services to others have no protection.

The Obama Administration is forcing employers to choose between either covering various drugs and services contrary to their religious beliefs or refusing to offer health plans to their employees and paying hefty taxes.

In addition to repealing the full law, I will continue to work in Congress with my co-sponsors to stop this religious freedom tax.

Bert July 19, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Dung - Obamacare reduces the cost of that uninsured individuals place on the rest of us in two ways. For those who can afford insurance but choose not to purchase it, they now must purchase it. Thus, when they catch a bad case of the cancer, you and I don't get stuck with the bill. For those who can't afford insurance and will take advantage of the subsidies in Obamacare to gain coverage, the fact that they will now be getting preventative care that they couldn't afford before means that they will be less likely to end up in the (much more expensive) ER with a serious preventable illness. As for the affordability of this package, it's not only the model in MA, but in a bunch of other countries as well. Germany, for example, has the same kind of mandated system provided for by private insurance companies. The system works well, is solvent, and the private companies remain profitable. The whole "sky is falling" argument about this is simple fear-mongering, that ignores the realities of every other similar system already in existence as well as the numerous studies that have shown how the plan will work.
Bert July 19, 2012 at 10:23 PM
ACA leaves the states a ton of leeway in designing their own insurance exchanges for individuals. It also provides significantly more money for the states to use to expand the low-income health programs they already have.
Bernard Forand October 01, 2012 at 03:59 PM
KEY word here is AFFILATED! Any religion conducting a business that is directed to the secular Free Trade Markets will abide by the law. Including Taxes, Insurances, Education, Hospitals and so on, that fall into the secular domains’. Its not for religions’ to continuously seek to rewrite our secular laws. Those Freedom Of Religion laws are there to protect religions. They are not there for any religion to use to lobby some representative to advance their desires to infiltrate our secular laws on the separation of church and government. When they do. They need to be held accountable from the micro infraction to the macro. F James should already have knowledge of this. This action he is advocating is in defiant to our U.S. Constitution. This a leader???
John Wilson October 01, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Patrick - Great reply! Senselessbrenner has always found ways to "stir the pot" create divisiveness and fear among the masses. If this was a different era, he would be our HITLER! This buffoon is a total waste to the human gene pool...
John Wilson October 01, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Keith Best - I want freedom FROM religion! You flat-earthers have just about killed everything beautiful on this planet!

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