The innate right of all men and women to exercise their religious freedom is the first freedom found in the Bill of Rights. In fact, James Madison stated: "Conscience is the most sacred of all property."
Suddenly, however, after more than two centuries, Catholic schools, charities and hospitals will be forced by the Obama administration to purchase insurance that includes coverage for contraception, abortion-producing drugs and surgical sterilization procedures that are all requirements violating basic Catholic moral teaching.
Now, regardless of whether one agrees with these church teachings, the fact remains that some precepts of other religious groups, including the Amish, Christian Scientists and Quakers have been given exceptions respecting their particular moral beliefs and, as expected, most Americans are in full agreement with these exceptions. After all, such actions are simply giving added credence to George Washington's belief that "the conscientious scruples of all men should be treated with great tenderness; and it is my wish and desire that the lay may always be extensively accommodated to them."
Obviously, as a practicing Roman Catholic, I find the actions of the Obama administration reprehensible. But I'm also greatly concerned that this decree may also include an additional equally nefarious objective. If the administration is successful in this endeavor, he will have nullified the very first right found in the Bill of Rights.
What's next? Could it be the U.S. Constitution itself? After all, Obama himself and many others have already made it quite clear they regard the document as nothing more than an outdated stumbling block to the left-wingagenda.
The vast disparity in Highlands County Administrator Rick Helms' evaluation scores is alarming. In this case, all is not well that ends well. Fix the system.
Imagine if, before completing their final evaluations, the commissioners had met in executive session to discuss evaluation categories and their initial take on Helms' performance in specific areas. Not to achieve group-think or a composite evaluation, but rather to have the best chance of doing a good job on their individual appraisals.
It would have avoided a lot of embarrassment.
Recently, two gentlemen wrote in stating that Obama's health care plan was not the reason for the increase in health insurance premiums. Insurance companies are now required to accept customers with pre-existing conditions, offer coverage for college students to age 26 on their parents' policy and now coverage must include sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and contraception.
Do you think for one minute that the insurance companies are going to offer these extra mandated services without raising premiums? Pro-choice advocates say abortion should be a decision between the woman and her doctor. If that is so, the decision of who pays for this should also be made by them, not Obama or Congress.
My insurance premiums should not be going to facilitate the killing of a helpless human being. I thought health care meant saving lives.