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OPINION

The American Dream or Nightmare?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Nearly every American immigrant like me came to this country because of the American dream.

For some, it meant coming to America penniless and making a billion dollars like George Soros. Stories like that abound, although they are less prevalent today than in the past. For others like me, the American Dream represented freedom from a life of servitude and fear, especially to those of us who came out of brutal dictatorships.

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But regardless of the reason, American life has been renowned for being the freest in the world.

Just ponder the words on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Those words summarize the allure of American freedom and deliverance from discrimination and oppression. That is especially true for Christians who have paid a hefty price for their faith.

So imagine my amazement and horror when I read that an Obama mandate is forcing small business owners with Christian convictions to go against their beliefs or pay a fine that could destroy their businesses.

Many people are familiar with Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit to be freed from the enslavement of their conscience—the forced coverage of things like “the morning after pill” to their employees. But I’m also talking about hundreds of small businesses across the nation—businesses like American Pulverizer, which is owned by two brothers, Chris and Paul Griesedieck.

The Griesedieck’s business was founded by their great-grandfather 105 years ago. But now their American success story is being put to the test for survival. It’s not overseas or even local competition that is threatening them, however. It’s the U.S. government mandate to provide abortion-inducing pills—a demand that is in total contradiction to their faith.

The new health care law requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide that type of abortion coverage or pay an enormous fine.

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People are stunned when I ask them: “Did you know that companies that don’t cover the abortion pills can face a fine of $100 per day per employee?” People think I’m making this stuff up. It’s too outlandish to believe.

But it’s all too true. For a company like the Griesedieck’s, that fine would equate to $5 million per year. More than enough to shut them down.

In a time when our president claims to want to bring companies back to the U.S. from overseas, this law is the height of insanity. It’s economic suicide.

Why would a requirement in the U.S., of all countries, be designed to either crush one’s conscience or crush one’s business? It’s baffling. The only conclusion one can draw is that someone who desires America’s destruction is inserting these regulations into the books.

For those who erroneously believe that religious liberty means nothing more than “freedom to worship on Sundays,” please read The Federalist Papers.

At the risk of appearing to lecture self-identified Christians who have a weak understanding of religious liberty, let me offer a true understanding of the Christian faith:

* It is 24/7. It must be practiced in the home, the business, the government, and yes, the law.

* It is not a list of do’s and don’ts—it’s a lifestyle.

* It requires moment-by-moment decision making throughout all the complexities of life.

* It is the freedom to propagate one’s faith

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That is the true religious freedom that the founding fathers envisioned.

Much discussion regarding the recent health care regulations has centered on contraception coverage. But freedom-lovers and freedom-seekers must not fall into the trap of saying, “I don’t have to worry about religious liberty in this case because I’m not against contraception.” I am not against contraception, per se, either. But ignoring the religious liberty implications, even in the case of contraception, is a dangerous place to be.

Why? Because eventually they will come after the religious conviction that you do cherish. But by then it will be too late.

Don’t let the American dream die or become a nightmare. God gave us the privilege of appointing a government. Don’t sell out that privilege.

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