MARSHALL: Obamacare is on a collision course
with our liberty generally and the first casualty is religious freedom. REPORTER: Under the President’s healthcare
reform law, church-affiliated schools, hospitals, and charities that provide insurance to their
employees must cover the cost of contraceptives. NEWS ANCHOR: The Catholic Church says it’s
a violation of conscience. NEWS ANCHOR: The White House says it’s not
going to back down when it comes to that contraceptive mandate. REPORTER: Well a federal lawsuit has been
filed … NEWS ANCHOR: Lawmakers heard from religious
leaders today about President Obama’s contraception mandate. RABBI SOLOVEICHIK: The Administration impedes
religious liberty by unilaterally redefining what it means to be religious. MARSHALL: We’ve heard a lot in the news
lately about the Obama anti-conscience mandate and people are right to be alarmed about this.
It’s requiring religious employers to offer insurance coverage that will pay for abortion-inducing
drugs, contraception, sterilization, even if that conflicts with their religious belief. ELLMERS: When the government can come in and
tell a religious organization how they should do business, then it becomes a violation of
religious freedom. LEVIN: Employers are in an impossible situation
where the government is telling them that they have to violate their own moral convictions
or else basically get out of the business they’re in. And obviously that’s an unprecedented
violation of religious liberty in American life. DONOVAN: The opposition to this is not just
coming from a handful of denominations or a handful of institutions, it’s coming from
across the religious spectrum. People who don’t necessarily share the same views about
the particular service and may have no problem providing it. LEVIN: They’re trying to turn this into
an argument about whether you believe in contraception. Look, I’m not Catholic and I’m not opposed
to contraception. I’m opposed to despotism. And that’s basically what we’re seeing
here. What we’re seeing is the government telling religious institutions that they have
to violate their own convictions or else get out of the business of helping the poor, or
educating people, or of healing the sick. And that’s ridiculous. That’s totally
unacceptable. It leaves no room for institutions that are guided by moral purposes that in
any way differ from those of the people in power in the government. This has nothing
to do with contraception. This is about whether we still have a free society. MARSHALL: The Obama Administration announced
this policy back in August. There was a huge outcry as there should be against this religious
liberty violation. As a result, the Obama Administration issued what it called an “accommodation”.
This was no resolution at all to the religious liberty question at the heart of the matter.
And what’s more, it ended up just being talk because at the end of the day, the Obama
Administration filed the final regulation exactly as it had been written back in August.
There was no change at all. ELLMERS: I was first struck by the president’s
word that it is an accommodation. In other words the benevolent President Barack Obama
has now bestowed upon all of us that he is going to change his mind a little bit. MARSHALL: This is just the tip of the iceberg
when it comes to the problems with Obamacare One of the reasons is it’s the first concrete
detail, practically, that we’ve seen about the essential benefits package — that is,
what insurance will have to cover as a part of Obamacare. All kinds of opportunity for
moral conflict for Americans! We have handed the moral compass for some of our most personal
healthcare decisions to bureaucrats. WEIGEL: People should have seen this coming.
Once you get the federal government defining the playing field in health care with the
degree of coercive action that was obvious under Obamacare. I think it was implicit in
letting Leviathan take over the drug store. BLACKBURN: What this is the natural result
of is happens when you have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it. ELLMERS: This is about government control.
This didn’t improve healthcare in any way, but as we’ve seen over the time that Obamacare
has been unveiled, it’s just been one situation after another. You know, the government coming
in and telling you what kind of healthcare you should have, who should provide it, and
rather than you be able to make these decisions with you and your healthcare professional,
your physician, now the government is going to come in and make these decisions for you. LEVIN: I think this is part and parcel of
a larger pattern of the work of the Obama Administration, not only in their work in
civil society but also in the relationship to the private economy where again and again
the administration is trying to clear away mediating institutions, mediating players
between the government and the individual. We are left only with the government and that
leaves citizens with far fewer options and far less freedom. TURNER: Once you start to centralize power,
these conflicts are absolutely inevitable. Obamacare is wrong for America because it’s
fundamentally opposed to the relationship between the citizens and their government.
We are sovereign citizens. Obamacare turns us into subjects. WEIGEL: What is at stake here ultimately is
whether civil society will survive. Or whether voluntary institutions or voluntary will be
allowed to function only if they imitate the government. LEVIN: What it basically does is it says it’s
up to the government to define the ends of society and then the question of means is
just a question of efficiency. So is it most efficient to have say a Catholic hospital
promote the ends that are determined by the government or is it most efficient to have
the government do it? But that of course is not what civil society is. Civil society is
a way for us to decide the ends we want to pursue. And what the Obama Administration
approach does is take away our ability to determine the ends of our society in any way
other than politics. TURNER: So you’ve got one after another
every time they try to fix this, they wind up slamming into another part of the Constitution,
and it shows that this law is fundamentally, down to its DNA, unconstitutional. BLACKBURN: The American People have been awakened
to what this administration is doing, and I think that they are ready for the fight.
It will be a worthy fight.