Ethics as Worship
2/13/12 at 11:25 AM 0 Comments

To Mr. Obama, From a Conscientious Objector

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Dear Mr. President:

In recent weeks, a decision by your Administration has stirred great controversy among people of faith regarding the requirement that insurance policies offer free access to all FDA-approved contraceptives and sterilization. On the basis of the freedom of religion guaranteed to me as a citizen of the United States of America in the First Amendment of the Constitution, I want to state my conscientious objection to this policy.

First, the requirement of insurance policies to offer contraceptives to all people at no charge violates my religiously-held belief that life begins at conception. Among these contraceptives are drugs known to cause the elimination of a fetus after conception by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine wall. Such drugs (e.g., Plan B, Ella) are more properly called birth control because contraceptives, strictly defined, prevent conception. These drugs act to prevent birth after conception. On the grounds of teaching in the Bible, I believe that all life begins at conception. In Psalm 139:13–16, we read that God forms children in the womb, and He has planned our days before we are ever born. God is intimately involved in the creation of life from the very moment of conception. In addition, Genesis 1:27 tells us that all humans are created in the image of God. The inherent value of God’s image begins at the moment human life begins—at conception.

Second, the requirement of insurance policies to offer contraceptives to all people at no charge makes me complicit in funding these abortifacient drugs. While you have offered exemptions to churches, I work at a religious school. It is debatable whether my school will meet the exemption standard. However, it is clear that the insurance program my school uses will be forced to comply. In the insurance business, it is an elementary principle that costs are passed along to the consumer through higher premiums. Even if the insurance companies have to “pay out of pocket” for those contraceptives (according to last week’s “compromise”), the burden will merely shift to the individual consumer—making us all complicit. This too violates my conscience and freedom of religion.

Third, the requirement of insurance policies to offer contraceptives to all people at no charge extends beyond the constitutional authority of the federal government. Insurance companies are businesses that are not owned by the federal government. Government has no constitutional authority to require business to offer a service at their own expense. In addition, the mandate of the Affordable Care Act that requires all individuals to have insurance extends beyond the constitutional authority of the federal government. In order to live and breathe in America, the government is attempting to force citizens to buy insurance. This is a gross abuse of power on the part of the federal government.

I humbly request that you rescind the current contraception regulation proposed by Secretary Sebelius and rescind the insurance mandate of the Affordable Care Act. These actions are a violation of your constitutional authority, and the contraceptive mandate is a violation of my guaranteed right to freedom of religion. I would like to remind you that the Bill of Rights was written “in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of [the federal government’s] powers” (Preamble to the Bill of Rights). The current mandates are both a misconstruction and abuse of powers. The First Amendment trumps these mandates.

Please know that even today I have prayed for you and your Administration as instructed in 1 Timothy 2:1–2, which reads, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” I pray for wisdom on your behalf to protect the consciences of the citizens over whom you have authority and to respect the teachings of Scripture which you claim to believe.

Sincerely,

Evan Lenow
Conscientious Objector

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