Remarks of Attorney Liz Brown at the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally, Fort Wayne, Indiana, March 23, 2012
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…“ The First Amendment of our Constitution was written by our founders, men well versed in the tyranny of governments who would impose their will, religious or otherwise, on all their citizens, and who would oppress those who would dare to practice their faith as their conscience dictated.
Thomas Jefferson understood this when he wrote that there should be a wall of separation between church and state. Well familiar with the weaknesses and failures of man, he also noted no provision in the constitution should be dearer than one’s conscience.
Today our democracy has failed us; it has failed us whose moral beliefs find it repugnant to take innocent human life, forcing us to embrace the culture of death, to embrace a law that requires all peoples of faith to suppress their faith to a rule of law.
Supreme Court decisions have strived for neutrality when evaluating a law’s impact on the free exercise of one’s religion. The Court has struck down state laws, with the support of the 14th Amendment, that on their face may appear neutral but have interfered with the practice of a group’s religion. For example, this constitutional protection allows the Amish to freely exercise their religion by exempting their children from compulsory education after the 8th grade.
Why does Obama then nullify our constitutional rights when it comes to issues of religious freedom and human life?
Our history from the genesis of the First Amendment carefully protects religious freedom from being interfered with or encroached upon by government overreach. Why does Obama ignore this history?
The Supreme Court has carefully scrutinized laws interfering with religious freedom where there is a history of discrimination against those religious practices. Obama’s systematic attack on faith based groups’ participation in government programs, such as Catholic Charities’ adoption agencies and foster care agencies in many states, forced to close because they do not ascribe to Obama’s views, demonstrates Obama’s disdain for religions whose beliefs in natural law and the sanctity of all human life so clearly conflict with his own.
Opinions of Justice Scalia and others seem to suggest that the law in question may no longer be neutral if the terms of that law impose disabilities on the practice of one’s religion. The healthcare law clearly imposes, and interferes with, the practice of our religious beliefs. But Obama and Sibelius blatantly ignore these constitutional precedents.
Today we are here not to talk about a particular state or rogue municipality attempting to curb our religious freedom. No, instead, shockingly, we are looking down the barrel of a direct attack, from our own federal government, courtesy of Obama, on the free exercise of our beliefs; a direct attack on the First Amendment.
This healthcare law will require all of us to pay for abortions and abortifacients. All religious organizations will be forced to carry insurance that provides morally repugnant services such as these. No exceptions will be made, according to Obama, because this law is for the common good. But this law is really about attacking the sanctity of human life, or why would the Amish’s religious beliefs about insurance be respected … they are exempt from this law. But if we refuse to violate our conscience, we will be fined out of existence, or be forced to pay for the taking of human life through the state health exchanges that will fund abortions with our tax dollars.
Now is the time to stand up and declare to this man who declares himself to be the leader of the free world that we will not give up our First Amendment right, our constitutional and God given rights, to practice our faith and defend the rights of human life.
The rights of free American men and women include the right to exercise our religious freedom, to practice our faith as our conscience guides us, so help us God.
Thank You and God Bless America