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Altschuler: Obama, Bishop Violate Religious Freedom with Birth Control Rule

Candidate for Congress says Catholic organizations should be exempt from federal rule that mandates the health plans they offer to cover birth control.

Randy M. Altschuler, a St. James businessman, is a Republican currently running against U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop for the 1st District Congressional seat. The following is a letter submitted by him.

President Obama’s decision to force Catholic organizations to provide insurance plans for their employees that cover services like contraception – despite the fact that doing so would violate a major tenet of their faith – continues a callous disregard for our constitutionally-protected religious freedoms under this administration.

Likewise, incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop’s failure to break from the President and stand up for his Catholic constituents when I challenged him to do so, highlight Tim Bishop’s unfortunate legacy as a hyper-partisan, career politician who doesn’t have the courage to speak out against his own party bosses and put his Suffolk County constituents first.

Bishop’s continued silence and rigid partisanship persisted even as scores of his fellow Democrats, including liberals like Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, publicly called on President Obama to cease his attack on religious freedoms.

Bishop only briefly broke his silence to release a cynical and misleading statement attempting to turn this issue into a referendum on access to contraception. 

Make no mistake, the issue at hand is not access to contraception, but rather Tim Bishop’s blind support for ObamaCare and its big government mandates, even when they violate our constitutionally-protected religious freedoms.

While Congressman Bishop largely sat on the sidelines, I engaged on this issue publicly, calling on President Obama to find a solution and encouraging him and Mr. Bishop to support legislation by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012.”

Senator Rubio’s legislation would have established a firm religious exemption to the aforementioned insurance mandate under ObamaCare by simply stating that the federal government can’t force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental tenets of their faith.  It can’t be any more common sense than that.

Naturally, Senator Rubio’s legislation hasn’t moved, proving that “common sense in Washington” is truly an oxymoron.

While I am sure this particular debate will continue in the days and weeks to come, the larger fight here is really about the damaging effects of ObamaCare and Congressman Bishop’s insistent belief that his vote for a big government takeover of our healthcare system was the right thing to do despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Tim Bishop and other ObamaCare supporters promised ObamaCare would lower healthcare costs; they were wrong.  They promised ObamaCare would not result in big government mandates; they were wrong.  They promised that ObamaCare would not infringe upon constitutionally protected rights of religious freedom; and now they are being proved wrong on that, too. 

When is enough going to be enough?

Congressman Bishop’s blind spot on ObamaCare harkens back to his disastrous stretch of public town halls in 2009, when thousands of Suffolk County taxpayers literally pleaded with him face-to-face, asking him to oppose this legislation.  As you will remember, he responded then by thumbing his nose at all of us and helping President Obama and Nancy Pelosi ram through this costly expansion of the federal government’s size and power.

Now, nearly three years later, as the consequences of his actions become more and more apparent, will Congressman Bishop finally admit that ObamaCare is bad law?  Will he finally admit that it should be repealed and replaced immediately with reforms that eliminate these intrusive government mandates and actually lower healthcare costs for individuals, families, seniors and small businesses here in Suffolk County?

Unfortunately, given Tim Bishop’s track record on this issue, I’m not holding my breath.

- Randy Altschuler

Mo Neill February 24, 2012 at 07:17 AM
yup, gads of money spread about by this wonderful man to gain support of party operatives. Money works wonders for Repubs. & of course it works. It even exempts him from from letting the voters decide which Repub runs for Bishop's seat
Mo Neill February 25, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Bishop, a Catholic, is upholding the Constitution like Obama. It is too bad Diana & Randolph haven't done their homework. Sec. Sibelius tried to give workers of religious businesses what 27 states have required for many years without the political grandstanding of Tea Party Repubs. by spreading paranoid nonsense about anti-Catholic bias and Dem's trashing our Constitution in their evil journey of creeping government takeover by socialists to end Constitutional right to practice religion without government interference. Claiming this phony right wing theological brouhaha has nothing to do with a woman's right to reproductive health or contraception, by this wondrous logic, Obama/Bishop are thwarting 1st Amend. rights. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing the majority decision in Employment Division v. Smith: "When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity." Or as members of American society, the Catholic bishops have to live by the rules of American society. Scalia wrote: "We have never held that an individual’s religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise of jurisprudence contradicts that proposition.”
Brendan J. O'Reilly March 05, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Jennifer Maertz, a candidate for New York State Senate, has written a reply to Altschuler's Op-Ed: http://southampton.patch.com/articles/maertz-contraception-debate-echoes-of-1912-not-2012
NY-1 Voter March 09, 2012 at 04:34 PM
http://thetruthaboutrandy.com/ The Truth about Randy Altschuler
Jill in Nesconset March 09, 2012 at 11:47 PM
NY-1 Voter: we don't need another lawyer in Congress. We have enough of them. Lawyers are the reason we are in the mess we are in. Stop DEMOnizing Randy as an outsourcer. He has moved on to another business. The operative word being BUSINESS. What have you been up to since 2010?

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