Terry Jeffrey

William, Paul and James Newland and their sister, Christine Ketterhagen, who together own Hercules Industries, have no right to conduct their family business in a manner that comports with their Catholic faith.

The federal government can and will compel them to either surrender their business or to engage in activities the Catholic faith teaches are intrinsically immoral.

This is exactly what President Barack Obama's Justice Department told a U.S. district court in a formal filing last week.

Never before has an administration taken such a bold step to strip Americans of the freedom of conscience -- a right for which, over the centuries, many Christian martyrs have laid down their lives, and which our Founding Fathers took great care to protect in a First Amendment that expressly guarantees the free exercise of religion.

As the Founders understood, no government has legitimate authority to take this right away, because it does not come from government. It comes from God. The very purpose of government is to protect this right. A government that seeks to strip it away from the people is by that very process stripping away its own legitimacy.

What we are seeing from the Obama administration today -- in its attack on religious liberty -- is simply evil. When government seeks to compel individuals to act against their consciences and to engage in activities that, if willfully done, would imperil their immortal souls, there is no other word for it.

The Newland family owns and operates Hercules Industries, a Colorado-based corporation that manufactures heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment. Through their hard work and dedication, and through their willingness to reinvest their own money in building their family business, they have managed to create jobs for 265 people while exerting a positive influence on the communities they serve.

The Newlands believe the morality the Catholic faith teaches them must animate their lives not only within the walls of the churches they attend, but literally everywhere else, as well -- in the way they deal with their families, their neighbors and, yes, their business.

The Newlands sued to protect their free exercise of religion in this regard because Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a regulation, under the Obamacare law, that requires virtually all health care plans to cover -- without cost-sharing -- sterilizations, artificial contraception and abortifacients.


Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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