My name is John Williams. I can trace my roots back to my great, great grandfather who came to this country because it offered religious freedom. I am a devout Catholic.
I own a small business that employs 51 of the most capable people in the world, as far as I am concerned. More than employees, they are my friends. But, I have a problem.
I have never tried to force my religious beliefs on my employees, nor will I ever. Religious freedom is why my fore-bearers came to this country. And yet, President Obama now tells me that the insurance policy I offer to my employees must cover contraceptives and the morning after pill. My religion and my conscience, however, tell me that I can not do that.
Those on the left tell me that this is about women’s rights. But what about my rights that stem from the First Amendment to the Constitution? Do “women’s rights” trump my rights as guaranteed by my Constitution?
I can not comply with this requirement.
That leaves me with three options. I can continue to offer insurance to my employees, but without the mandated coverage for contraceptives. If I do so, I will pay not only my share of my employees’ insurance, but also a penalty of $2000 per employee, or $102,000 a year for my failure to provide a “qualified” plan. That $102,000 is the bulk of my take home pay from my company, so I can’t afford to do that.
Or, I can abandon my friends altogether, stop providing any insurance, and pay the government a penalty of the same $102,000 a year.
Or, I can fire 2 employees because, under the law, if I have fewer than 50 employees, I do not have to provide a “qualified” plan covering contraceptives.
Here is what I don’t understand. The First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees that I will never have to make this decision. So, why do I have to make it?
And, more to the point why does “separation of church and state” mean that my town can’t have a Nativity scene in its courtyard, or that there can’t be prayer in schools, but it doesn’t mean that, as a Catholic, I can’t refuse to pay for contraceptives without paying a monetary penalty to the state for failing to do so?