Reckling: Obamacare ignores people’s values |

Reckling: Obamacare ignores people’s values

As an American citizen who generally believes in limited government and personal freedom, it’s been a rough few years. Watching the dissolution of individual rights and our freedom to choose how we live our lives has been disturbing.

There are no freedoms more precious and personal than our religious freedom and what type of medical care we wish to receive during our lives. Unfortunately, big government keeps sticking its intrusive, money-hungry hand into every facet of American life. So frequent is the display that it’s become a lot like Miley Cyrus’ tongue. I’ve seen it time and time again, and I don’t want to see it anymore.

There is no better example of the failure of this administration to recognize individual rights than the shameful case of Big Brother vs. the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Little Sisters of the Poor is a Roman Catholic order of nuns who dedicate their lives to caring for the aged and dying who are very poor. They are the embodiment of human compassion and are one of the most successful religious organizations in the world. They arrived in America in 1868, and today they serve thousands of destitute elderly who have no one to care for them.

Obamacare, as with all government mandates, was not designed with individual rights and the freedom to practice one’s religion in mind. The Department of Justice’s battle with the Little Sisters of the Poor is a perfect example of the denial of this right. The Little Sisters are being persecuted for their religious beliefs.

I don’t want to digress into the abysmal discussion of contraception and abortion, but I don’t like bullies. This case is simply a raw assertion of a federal mandate directing the religious to follow orders. Thus, Obamacare is forcing women who have taken a vow of chastity and minister to the dying to implicate themselves in what they consider to be grave moral wrongs. In other words, shut up and sign, sisters; our plan has no room for your religious beliefs.

“The government demands that the Little Sisters of the Poor sign a permission slip for abortion drugs and contraceptives, or pay millions in fines. The Sisters believe that doing that violates their faith, and that they shouldn’t be forced to divert funds (to the IRS) from the poor, elderly and dying they’ve devoted their lives to serve.” This is a statement from Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund, who is defending the Little Sisters.

Lest we forget, religious freedom was the premise this great country was founded on. Europeans fleeing religious oppression risked their lives to journey to the New World and fought for independence from such tyranny. Our Constitution and several of its amendments protect the right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion.

Ignoring basic freedoms is just one of the many problems with Obama’s Affordable Care Act. In addition, our president’s promise — “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” — was a blatant lie.

The ease with which our president repeatedly delivered this fallacy makes one wonder if it was intentional deceit on his part or the fact that he doesn’t even comprehend the unconstitutional methods of his own namesake masterpiece. Obama has been hailed as an exceptionally intelligent man, so what gives? Even uber-liberal filmmaker Michael Moore has blasted the president’s health plan as “awful.” He also stated, “Obamacare can’t be fixed by its namesake. It’s up to us (the people) to make it happen.”

Fellow columnis Roger Marolt said it best in his piece “Scared stiff over the Affordable Care Act” (Dec. 27), when he explained, “The real issue is our federal government forcing an unidentifiable set of its people to do something that is in direct and egregious conflict with their religious beliefs. In this issue of religious freedom, we cannot afford to judge what those beliefs are; rather we must tolerate them no matter what they happen to be. It’s religion. You don’t have to get it. You only have to respect someone else’s right to believe. It is a basic freedom at stake!” As Americans, we certainly can roger that.

The plight of the Little Sisters of the Poor is a deeply troubling one and may become the very symbol of the injustice of Obamacare or any other broad government mandates put upon the people. We all want affordable care but not at the price of personal freedom.

The United States of America is composed of such rich cultural and religious diversity, and founded on freedom and individual rights, that to attempt such a socialized plan as Obamacare is destined to fail the people. We need health reform that respects people’s values and allows us the freedom to choose health care in line with our personal beliefs.

Margaret Reckling lives in Woody Creek and welcomes your comments at


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