February 14, 2012

Urgent Calls Needed to Protect
Religious Freedom and Conscience Rights

William A. Estrada, Esq.
Director of Federal Relations

Urgent calls are needed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) and your two U.S. senators to urge them to support Amendment No. 1520 by Senator Roy Blunt (MO). This amendment would halt the Obama Administration’s new mandate requiring all employers—including religious employers—to violate their consciences and provide free birth control and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees.

Action Requested

Please do three things:

  1. Call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) and urge him to allow the Senate to vote on Amendment No. 1520, the Blunt Amendment. You can reach Majority Leader Reid at 202-224-3542.
  2. Call your two U.S. senators and urge them to cosponsor Senator Blunt’s Amendment No. 1520, and vote in favor of it. You can reach the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or use HSLDA’s Legislative Toolbox to enter your ZIP code and find your senators’ phone numbers.
  3. Please forward this email to a friend and urge them to call their senators. This is not a homeschool issue, so there is no need to identify yourself as a homeschooler. Your message can be as simple as:
    “Please cosponsor and vote for Senator Blunt’s Amendment No. 1520, which will overturn President Obama’s contraceptives mandate requiring religious employers to violate their conscience and religious beliefs. To protect the sanctity of the First Amendment, and the right of conscience upon which our nation was founded, the U.S. Senate must act to preserve the freedom of religious employers to follow the dictates of their conscience.”

Background

We have previously written about the grave danger to religious freedom and the right of conscience posed by President Obama’s mandate requiring all employers to provide free birth control (including abortion inducing drugs) to their employees. Only churches and other houses of worship are exempted.

President Obama stated on Friday, February 10 that he would also exempt religious organizations from this mandate. However, the “exemption” turned out to be that the insurance companies used by religious organizations would still need to provide free birth control and abortion-inducing drugs to employees. It appears that this “exemption” is nothing more than an accounting gimmick. In addition, the final regulations released by the Obama Administration do not appear to include even this “exemption.”

HSLDA and a host of organizations across the religious and political spectrum continue to strongly oppose the Obama Administration’s mandate. If the president can force religious employers to violate their religious views and own conscience, the president can threaten any of our liberties.

While this is not a homeschool issue, many families homeschool because of their faith. This attack against religious freedom, if not stopped, could mean the beginning of the end for the free exercise of religion for all.

HSLDA strongly supports Senator Blunt’s legislation to protect religious freedom. Amendment No. 1520 is the same text as Senator Blunt’s previously introduced bill, S. 1467. However, under Senate rules, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needs to give his permission for Senator Blunt’s legislation to be voted on as an amendment. It is our hope that millions of Americans will call Majority Leader Reid and urge him to allow a vote on Senator Blunt’s amendment.

If you have any questions about this issue, please contact HSLDA’s Federal Relations Department at federalrelations@hslda.org or 540-338-5600.

 Other Resources

HSLDA Update: Obama Administration Disregards Freedom of Religion & Right of Conscience

Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance: “Obama Admin: No Religious Accommodation on Birth Control Mandate”

HSLDA: “Comment Period on Conscience Regulations Ends September 30”

HSLDA: S. 1467—Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011

Heritage: Many Faiths Unite in Opposition to Obama Attack on Religious Liberty

Cato Institute: The Real Trouble with the Birth-Control Mandate

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Bishops Renew Call to Legislative Action on Religious Liberty

Letter from Senator Portman (OH): Portman To Holder: Stop The Unlawful HHS Violation Of Religious Liberty