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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

From Nebuchadnezzar to Obama: Conscientious objectors risk all to follow conscience and disobey the government's edict


"[Y]ou are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up. But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire."
"There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” 
-- Daniel 3:5-6, 12, 16-18 (New American Standard Bible)
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Action: Contact your U.S. Representative to pass conscience protections through the Health Care Conscience Rights Act. Use the easy form at the Freedom2Care Legislative Action site.
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Like King Nebuchadnezzar of old, the Obama administration has issued a sweeping decree without regard for conscience. The Obama Dept. of Health and Human Services is mandating that all health insurance plans nationwide must include sterilization and contraception, including pills that the FDA notes can abort the life of a developing human being. 
Following are examples, provided by U.S. Congressional staff, of individuals and companies facing crippling fines simply for following their conscientiously held, life-honoring beliefs and declining to bow to the Obama administration's edict.
They are the Shadrachs, Meshachs and Abed-negos of today:

Tyndale House Publishers

  • Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. is a Christian publishing company founded in 1962 that publishes a wide array of Christian books including the Bible, books about family issues and Christian fiction. Their publication of the Bible, the New Living Translation, has sold 27 million copies since 1996.
  • Tyndale House business practices are based upon Biblical principles and include a corporate goal to “Honor God,” “Excel in business,” “Sustain controlled economic growth,” “Operate profitably,” and “help employees grow."
  • Tyndale has operated their business in keeping with their religious commitments and this includes support for employee charitable work, paying employees well above minimum wage with excellent benefits , offering a strong bonus program, and a generous 401(k) and profit sharing plan. This also includes making sure their self-insured plan does not, and has never, covered abortions or potentially life ending drugs or devices such as the morning-after-pill (Plan B), week-after-pill (ella), and IUDs.
  • Now the federal government has said in court that a publisher of the bible is not religious enough to receive an accommodation to the HHS mandate which will force Tyndale to pay for drug coverage that violates their deeply held beliefs and is in direct conflict with the way they seek to operate their business and take care of their employees.

Hobby Lobby

  • Hobby Lobby, a nationwide arts and crafts retailer currently insures 13,000 individuals and could potentially face over $1 million a day in fines  if they do not comply with the government’s mandate.
  • Hobby Lobby has modeled its business principles in line with their religious principles, by ensuring their hours of operations are family friendly. They are only open 66 hours a week and are closed on Sundays so employees can spend time with their families. They also employ company chaplains to care for the needs of their employees.
  • The Green family, founders and owners of Hobby Lobby, has no moral objection to the use of contraceptives and will continue its longstanding practice of covering contraceptives for its employees. However, it is contrary to the Green family’s convictions to provide or pay for emergency contraception (the “morning-after” or “week-after” pills) which is required by the HHS mandate.
  • Hobby Lobby and other businesses like it that have filed suit against the mandate feel a moral obligation to provide health care to their employees but now the government is forcing them to choose between their deeply held beliefs and providing benefits to their employees.

Autocam

  • Founded in 1988, by John C. Kennedy, Autocam company has since grown into two manufacturing companies, that produces automotive and medical equipment, with 680 U.S. employees.
  • Autocam’s healthcare plan was created to ensure that employees pay no premium. Autocam covers 100 percent of the cost of preventive care for employees and their families and contributes $1,500 toward the plan’s deductible.
  • Autocam’s plan also includes a wellness feature recently selected to the Honor Roll of the 2012 Michigan’s  Healthiest Employers program.
  • Now the federal government is telling companies like Autocam they can no longer provide these benefits to their employees unless they compromise their convictions on the dignity of human life and include coverage for drugs in their health plan that the Kennedy’s believe can end human life.

Triune Health Group

  • For 20 years, Triune Health Group, a Chicago based company, has been owned and operated by a husband and wife team, Christopher and Mary Anne Yep. Triune Health has been a leading provider of vocational and medical management services, specializing in facilitating the re-entry of injured workers into the workforce so that workers can continue to live productive lives, enjoy the dignity of work, and achieve their personal goals.
  • Triune Health Group’s mission states “every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances and life and dignity of the human person.” Triune’s model business operation, centered on the dignity of each person, was recently named by Crain’s Chicago  Business as the “Best Place to Work for Women” in the Chicago metro area and has also earned a place on Crain’s  2012 “Best Place to Work” list.
  • The Yeps’ success in operating Triune is clearly linked to the guiding principles of their conscience and the teachings of their church which they seek to follow. It is their faith that influences how they operate their business and now the government is telling them how they must operate in direct conflict with that very faith—or face ruinous fines.
Freshway Foods
  • Freshway Foods is comprised of two companies founded and owned by two brothers, Francis A. Gilardi, Jr. and Philip M. Gilardi. Together the two companies process, pack and transport fresh produce in twenty-three states with over 340 full-time employees.
  • For nearly 25 years they have sought to run their companies in a manner that is in keeping with their deeply held Catholic faith. For example, Freshway Foods makes annual monetary and/or in-kind donations, primarily food, to many community non-profit charitable organizations, including to local soup kitchens and schools.
  • Freshway also has respect for the religious practices of their employees, including providing their Muslim employees with space to pray during breaks and lunches. During Ramadan, the Gilardi brothers adjust break periods to allow their Muslim employees, pursuant to their religion, to eat after sundown.

O’Brien Industrial Holdings

  • O’Brien Industrial Holdings, LLC, based in Missouri and owned by Frank R. O’Brien, is the holding company for several subsidiaries that explore, mine, and process refractory and ceramic raw materials.
  • The mission, practices and principles that govern O’Brien Industrial Holdings are rooted in deeply held convictions. For example, the company mission “is to make our labor a pleasing offering to the Lord while enriching our families and society.” The mission of O’Brien Industrial also includes the following goals for their 90 employees: for all employees to be able to own their own home (through pay and profit-sharing), send their children to college (through a scholarship program) and retire with dignity (through a 401(k) profit sharing plan).
  • Frank O’Brien holds to the teachings of the Catholic Church and as the mission of his company clearly reflects, seeks to run his business in keeping with his faith. The federal government is now coercing him to provide health coverage for drugs he believes can end human life or face potentially ruinous fines.

What can we do?

  1. Pray for these heroes of conscience, that they would prevail in the courts and regardless, stand firm on their convictions.
  2. Lobby your legislators to pass conscience protections such as those contained in the just-introduced Health Care Conscience Rights Act. Use the easy form at the Freedom2Care Legislative Action site to contact your Representative.

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