Life vs. Lawlessness
As week three of the roll out of ObamaCare ends, customers still face the log-on difficulties, glitches, privacy breaches, and lack of details that we were told would disappear shortly. More significantly, shoppers on the federally managed health care exchanges still face the challenge of how to determine whether their selected health insurance plans cover elective abortion. Despite calls by pro-life leaders in Congress like Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) to make the exchanges transparent so that conscientious shoppers can avoid paying to subsidize services contrary to their religious and moral beliefs, administration officials remain tone deaf to this basic plea.
And, it's not just federal officials who have ignored transparency and the law in providing taxpayer funding for abortion. Yesterday, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed suit on behalf of a former top Colorado Department of Public Health official over Colorado's violation of the state constitutional amendment that bans direct or indirect public subsidizing of abortion. Since January 2009, Colorado has spent about $14 million of Coloradans' tax dollars in direct violation of Colorado law. Whether state tax dollars or federal tax dollars, the problem is the same: blatant disregard for the conscientious beliefs of Americans.
A Shutdown That Saves Lives
Even as Colorado spends state money to keep the state Planned Parenthood affiliate afloat, other states like Ohio continue to see a decrease in abortion clinics. According to the Columbus Dispatch, "With the closure of one abortion clinic and two more on the brink of shutting down, Ohio women will have fewer places to terminate pregnancies than perhaps anytime since the immediate years after the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973."
While some liberals are upset about the declining list of providers (after closing three clinics, Ohio will "be reduced to nine"), this state trend is indicative of the encouraging national progression I have referenced previously. As I noted last month, "Since 2011, 58 of America's abortion clinics -- almost one in 10 -- have either pulled the plug on their abortion services or folded altogether." Through such things as ultrasound technology and the stories coming out of Kermit Gosnell's late-term abortion "house of horrors" and the gruesome late-term abortion services of Maryland's LeRoy Carhart, America's conscience is becoming more and more sensitive to the reality of what takes place in abortion clinics. That's why the American people have taken action through their elected representatives to end elective abortion in the states -- and why this movement will only grow.
Hawaii Atheists Lei It on the Line in Lawsuit
Unfortunately, the attacks on religious liberty aren't limited to ObamaCare or the military. The wave of anti-faith bias is even washing up on Hawaii's shores. There, a group of atheists is suing churches for fraud, claiming the congregations have somehow cheated the public schools out of rent. In the lawsuit, the women claim local churches owe as much as $5.6 million in unpaid rent and churches -- an accusation the community finds ridiculous. Several churches in the area lease weekend space from the local schools, making equipment and room upgrades as they go. In a 2,200-page report, the atheists argue the congregations overused the facilities and intentionally filed false forms to save money.
One of the church pastors is part of FRC's Watchmen network and suspects that the plaintiffs' motivation is more than meets the eye. During the debate in the Hawaii legislature, some of these same churches have been outspoken proponents of marriage. Could it be that they've been targeted for exercising those rights from the pulpit? Alliance Defending Freedom's (ADF) Erik Stanley, who's helping to defend the congregations, is stunned that the atheists would attack such a primary source of Oahu's public service and charity. "Churches who serve the neediest in their communities should be welcomed, not driven out by false accusations. The claims in the lawsuits are false and are driven by an atheistic agenda that is hostile to churches. The undeniable fact is that these churches were at all times truthful, and they have paid all the required rent to the schools. These churches have not only faithfully paid all of their rent, they've sacrificially given much more in service and funding to the schools and communities they love."
Obviously, this is just part of the broader attack on religious liberty cropping up in towns all across America. Don't believe us? There were so many incidents of faith-based harassment in America that FRC and Liberty Institute teamed up for a second edition of the religious hostility report. Check out the latest compilation of outrages in Undeniable.
** The Duggar bus tour may be over, but the media buzz isn't. Check out this video from the road with FRC Action Executive Director, Josh Duggar.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.