The religious right already lost one battle in the U.S. Senate when the Blunt Amendment died, a bill that would have given employers an open-ended right to refuse to include covereage in their employee’s insurance plans of just about anything to which they objected on “moral” or other grounds. Now the House is taking a swing at the same concept by introducing the “Religious Freedom Tax Appeal Act,” which appears to give religious institutions a way to opt out of health care reform all together under the guise of freedom of religion.
…Tennessee congresswoman Diane Black and Wisconsin congressman James Sensenbrenner, two Protestant lawmakers, are introducing the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act, seeking to repeal the fine on faith the Obama administration’s abortion-inducing drug, contraception, and sterilization mandate imposes.
“The Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act would stop the Obama administration from levying this huge tax on religious employers,” Representative Black says.
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“With the HHS mandate, the administration has set up an impossible choice for many religious affiliated institutions: either violate the law and pay a tax, or violate your conscience,” Black says. “This means some of the most respected parochial schools, hospitals, soup kitchens, and universities across our country will have to choose between violating their faith to keep their doors open or paying a potentially devastating tax.”
The text of the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act seeks “to exempt employers from any excise tax and certain suits and penalties in the case of a failure of a group health plan to provide coverage to which an employer objects on the basis of religious belief or moral conviction.”
If the Blunt amendment and repealing the ACA can’t pass the senate, it’s highly unlikely the “Religious Freedom Tax Appeal Act” would either. But much like the repeated efforts to repeal health care reform, this isn’t about actually accomplishing any action, but riling up supporters to come out and vote on election day.