- - Sunday, December 15, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Culture challenge of the week: A Chokehold on believers

For decades, James Dobson has been the voice of strong families, vibrant faith, and conscientious citizenship. His personal integrity and strong commitment to help families raise Godly children is legendary.

Millions have relied on his sage advice and sound wisdom, broadcast on radio stations across the country, first through the Focus on the Family ministry he founded, and now through his ministry (on whose board of directors I serve), Family Talk. Of course, his unrelenting defense of pre-born children is well-known — and backed up over the years by his support for women in crisis pregnancies and for adoption ministries, as well as his personal compassion toward those in need.

Mr. Dobson’s purpose at Family Talk radio is inextricably tied up with his deeply held religious beliefs. One basic look at the website MyFamilyTalk.com makes the mission clear. “Our ministry believes in living out the religious convictions we hold to and talk about on the air,” Mr. Dobson says.

Living with integrity and conducting business in light of deeply held moral principles is something our Founding Fathers encouraged and wanted to protect — which is why our first freedom is the First Amendment right to free expression of religious beliefs. “As Americans, we should all be free to live according to our faith and to honor God in our work,” Mr. Dobson says.

Who would have thought that our government — in the land of the free — would seek to repress such a basic right?

The power-hungry Obama administration seems to care nothing about integrity, faith or conscience. It has an agenda: to make abortion commonplace and to force all of us to pay for it.

Regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services require all insurance plans to pay for abortion-causing (abortifacient) drugs such as Ella, which prevents tiny, newly conceived human beings from nestling in the womb. The Obama administration’s message to believers: “We don’t care what you believe. You will pay for abortion-causing drugs to be provided to your employees, or we will fine you, destroy your business and shut you down.”

That’s why Mr. Dobson is fighting back.

How to save your family: Support Mr. Dobson’s fight for Faith and freedom

In the past few days, Mr. Dobson filed suit against the Obama administration charging that the HHS regulations under Obamacare put believers like him in an unconstitutional chokehold — pay for abortions or the government will drive him out of ministry. Mr. Dobson’s lawsuit is the latest in a line of many to prevent enforcement of the HHS regulations. Catholic universities, Christian colleges, religiously affiliated institutions and family-owned businesses have sued to prevent the government from forcing them to comply with these repugnant regulations. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the lawsuits brought by Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Mennonite-owned family business, and Hobby Lobby, a family-owned business that operates according to biblical principles. Mr. Dobson’s lawsuit seeks to protect the rights of religious nonprofits like Family Talk.

By requiring an employer like Mr. Dobson, who believes that abortion is immoral, to pay for an employee’s abortion-inducing drugs or face crippling fines, the law unconstitutionally tramples the religious freedom of those employers. Let’s be clear: The lawsuit does not claim that employees can’t use those abortion-causing drugs, but it insists that the government can’t force employers to pay for those abortion-causing drugs. The employees are free to purchase them on their own.

Matt Bowman, the Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer who is representing Mr. Dobson and his Family Talk Ministries, points out, “Any government willing to force a family-run Christian ministry to participate in immoral acts under the threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”

What can you do?

Raise your voice in protest over the Obama administration’s open hostility to people of faith. Talk to your neighbors and friends and help them see what is at stake. Exercise your free speech rights and write letters to the editor protesting the government’s heavy-handed practices toward those who oppose abortion in all its forms. Continue to exert pressure on your elected officials, letting them know that this is an issue you care deeply about.

Also, please consider a sacrificial gift to Family Talk via MyFamilyTalk.com and to the Alliance Defense Fund to support this vital litigation.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@howtosaveyourfamily.com.

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