The House Government Reform and Oversight committee held a hearing this past week on the threat posed to the First Amendment by the latest regulations of Obamacare. Since the president of my church body, Rev'd Matthew Harrison, was testifying, I was particularly eager to attend the hearing. (Mollie Hemingway has written about the proceedings on Ricochet here.)
During questioning, Harrison summarized this entire issue in one brilliant line. He first noted that the narrow provisions of Obamacare prevent his church from modifying its existing health insurance plan (which covers pastors, teachers, and other church employees), or face losing the "grandfathered" exemption. Under the latest HHS diktat, this would force the church to provide abortion-inducing drugs, against church doctrine. Harrison then thundered, "You cannot grandfather or accommodate the First Amendment!"
That, it would appear, is the Obama administration's goal, first with Hosanna-Tabor, now in mandating churches pay for contraceptives and abortifacients: dismantling brick by brick the "wall of separation." The First Amendment is here grandfathered, there accommodated, but steadily we are losing our liberty. This is something every American should be profoundly troubled by, irrespective of one's religious convictions.