In the Obama administration’s latest attack on religious liberty, the Department of Health and Human Services has targeted the Little Sisters of the Poor—a group of Catholic nuns who have dedicated their lives to helping the destitute elderly.
The Little Sisters have sacrificed everything to care for the sick and the needy. They have forsaken material possessions and worldly pleasures to minister to the aging and afflicted. They have even made solemn vows of poverty and obedience so that they could fully devote themselves to a life of selfless service. Every day, the Little Sisters do immeasurable good in caring for the most vulnerable members of our society.
Obamacare Has Failed Utah.
But three years ago, the Little Sisters came under attack. They were besieged by the overbearing regulations of Obamacare, which boxed them into an untenable situation. The law’s contraception mandate confronted the Little Sisters with an impossible choice: Either offer employees birth control services in violation of your deeply held religious beliefs or pay the government $70 million in annual fines. The nuns couldn’t choose the former without contravening their own principles—but they couldn’t choose the latter without risking financial ruin. So they made a courageous stand against the Obama administration by taking their case to the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters, issuing a decision that ultimately requires the federal government to allow an exemption for religiously-affiliated non-profit organizations. The decision thwarts the President’s efforts to bully Catholic nuns into compliance with a law that contradicts their religious beliefs.
At the beginning of this year, I signed an amicus brief in support of the Little Sisters, so naturally I am pleased with the Court’s decision. But the fact that this case even had to be argued is cause for alarm. Our government was established to defend—not undermine—religious freedom. Upholding the rights of religious minorities should be government’s foremost priority from the very beginning, not a begrudging concession at the very end.
Like you, I am deeply troubled by recent attacks on religious liberty. That’s why I have spoken time and again on the importance of upholding this precious freedom. We cannot afford to be passive observers to attacks on free exercise, nor can we sit idly by as others defame and denigrate this most fundamental of freedoms.
Now is the time to redouble our efforts to protect and defend religious liberty. Know that I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that the federal government does not infringe on our freedom of conscience.
Orrin G. Hatch