By Representative Lee Terry
Although Senate Democrats just iced a Republican effort to overturn the provision in the 2010 health care law -- forcing Catholic employers, schools, and non-profits to provide their employees with insurance plans that cover birth control, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing drugs (all things that the Catholic Church opposes) -- the fight is still going strong in my home state of Nebraska.
Led by Nebraska's attorney general, Nebraska and six other states (Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas) have filed a suit in Nebraska's U.S. District Court, challenging this glaringly unconstitutional mandate. Their case stresses just that -- this mandate is unconstitutional.
The First Amendment to the Constitution reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" Considering this, regardless of one's views on contraceptive devices, it is clear that forcing Americans to pay for services that their religion vehemently opposes is government interfering with religious liberties.
Well, I'm proud that my home state is sticking up for the Constitution, and I'm incredibly proud that some of the co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit are my constituents. My hat goes off to these outstanding Nebraskans and fine Americans. They're showing the whole country that they won't allow this administration to trample all over their Constitution.
You know, back in the 17th Century, thousands fled Western Europe because they weren't allowed to worship God in the way that they wanted. Religious persecution resulted in many of these people crossing the Atlantic, to maketheir homes in the New England Colonies, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
It was here, in the land that would become the United States of America, that these people were free to worship God as they saw fit. The settlers valued and appreciated their newfound freedom to practice religion as they wanted, and kept it in mind when the law of the land was later written; hence, the First Amendment -- guaranteeing religious liberty to all Americans.
Our country was founded with this very particular liberty (amongst others) in mind. If we allow this unconstitutional provision from the 2010 healthcare law to be adopted, all of a sudden, we're on a slippery slope. What legally guaranteed liberty will we allow to fall next? Right of trial by jury?
We are a nation of laws, and we need to enforce all of our laws.
The Constitution is law.
Thank heaven that Nebraskans are reminding us of it.
Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) serves Nebraska's 2nd district and sits on the Committee on Energy and Commerce