LOPEZ: Are the Heplers of Pennsylvania in a similar boat?
BOWMAN: Yes, except their next health plan does not kick in until July 2013. They are a devout Catholic, multigenerational family that runs a lumber and wood-products business in western Pennsylvania. The HHS mandate is forcing them to change their health plan to cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization, not only for themselves and their employees, but for their children.
LOPEZ: What do they have to do with Geneva College?
BOWMAN: In May, the Hepler family joined in the same lawsuit with Geneva College, a Presbyterian school, because both are in western Pennsylvania and both are asking the court in Pittsburgh to protect them from the HHS mandate’s attack on religious freedom. The principle of religious freedom should ultimately be vindicated to protect both Evangelicals and Catholics in their desire to abide by the principles of their religious faith.
LOPEZ: Do you have any sense of how many businesses care about this mandate? Is it hard to get folks to come forward?
BOWMAN: So far four businesses have filed suit, and I have heard that more will do so. I think religious people in business will continue to realize that the government is threatening their freedom to follow, Monday through Friday, the Lord they worship in church on Sunday.
LOPEZ: As things stand today, what’s the state of religious liberty in America come August 1?
BOWMAN: August 1 begins an unprecedented chapter in the federal government’s attack on religious freedom, and its rejection of the Constitution and religious-freedom statutes. We will work tirelessly to help the courts protect Americans from the administration’s two poison pills: either comply with its mandate and desert your faith, or resist and be punished.
LOPEZ: This is all fairly outrageous — why isn’t there more outrage out there?
BOWMAN: When Americans realize that Washington politicians are trying to decide what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out, so it can force families to abandon their faith just to earn a living, I think people will speak up more and more. Alliance Defending Freedom will be working to inform the faithful and help them protect their liberty.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.