Today may be the first day of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, but perhaps the biggest match will be a continent away from London’s Olympic venues. Today is the first day of the much-anticipated battle of the Obama Administration vs. Hercules Industries in a US District Court in Colorado.
Hercules Industries is a family owned and operated company, which is run by William Newman and his family. The Newmans are devout Catholics and leaders in the Colorado Catholic church, and they have always sought to run their business based on their beliefs. Due to their dedication to their faith, the Newmans have objected to their company being forced to pay for abortion, contraception and sterilization coverage under their company’s healthcare plan. Nevertheless, as the Obama Administration charges ahead with trampling religious liberty with their DHHS mandates on contraception and abortion coverage, a court battle of Olympic proportions is heating up today in Federal Court.
In their case, the Newmans are simply asserting that no one should have to abandon core convictions just to make a living, especially in a business they themselves own. Instead of merely rolling over to avoid the thousands in legal fees necessary to stand against the Obama Administration, which finances its persecution of businesses in this country with taxpayer dollars, the Newmans are charging ahead with help from the Alliance Defense Fund. Thanks to the good folks at the ADF, the Newmans are receiving substantial pro-bono legal representation by some of the finest attorneys in the field. These savings may come in handy if the US District Court decides to side with the Obama Administration, as Hercules Industries is facing literally hundreds of thousands in potential fines and assessments for daring defy governmental overreach.
This has the potential to destroy the business this family has built, yet they are standing by their beliefs. As such, the conviction of the Newman family is a testament to the American Spirit.
Lead ADF attorney on this case, Matt Bowman, explained the implications of this case as clearly as anyone ever could in saying “Religious freedom in America has always included the way people exercise their beliefs Monday through Friday, not just on Sundays and in soup kitchens.” This truly does speak of the President’s redefinition of religious liberty in America as the “freedom of worship,” not “freedom of religion” as I wrote about in my recent article “A Mere Matter of Semantics? I Think Not.” My argument in that article is that the Administration wants to curtail the idea of all-out religious liberty, for such liberty stands in the way of their ideological ambitions, only to replace it with some milquetoast concept of “freedom of worship” that restricts a person’s faith to their local parish. This is anathema to the American commitment to religious liberty and freedom of consciousness, both of which have been berated by the Obama Administration since its inauguration in 2009.
What we are watching unfold in a Colorado Federal Court today is nothing less than the battle over who gets to define religious liberty in America. Will Washington politicians get to determine where, how and when a person exercises his or her faith? Or, will Americans wake up to the clear and present danger to our liberties that such overreaches under ObamaCare pose to our very way of life? If the Administration prevails in its battle with Hercules Industries, then we are right back where the first pilgrims to America found themselves under James II in England. Religious exercise will be prescribed by the state, and any deviation from state control over faith will be treated as tantamount to treason. I’m curious where all the liberals who rail about “separation of church and state” are when the state is literally taking over the church through a series of mandates and executive orders?