‘On Obama’s Coercion’

By Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)

Editor’s note. Congressman Chris Smith today released a statement in response to President Obama’s decision to coerce people of faith and people of conscience to violate their convictions or else suffer severe consequences. The following is excerpted from that statement. Smith is the Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-life Caucus, a position he has held since 1982.

Congressman Chris Smith

“President Obama is using the coercive power of the state to force people of faith and people of conscience to violate a fundamental conviction or suffer severe penalty,” Smith said.

“What Obama has done is unconscionable and violates religious freedom. … President Obama demonstrates a reckless disregard for conscience rights.

“Everyone must comply regardless of moral convictions or religious tenets simply because Obama says so.

“Mr. Obama’s attitude on conscience rights fits a dangerous emerging pattern. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has had a federal grant to assist human trafficking victims under a law I wrote—the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000—and did a superb job according to professional reviews.  Late last year, the USCCB was blatantly discriminated against and thrown out of the program simply because they wouldn’t refer for abortions.

“Thankfully Speaker Boehner has made protection for religious freedom—and reversal of Obama’s coercion policy—a high priority for the House.

“If Obama’s attack on conscience rights isn’t reversed, faith-based employers will be fined discriminated against and fined, and employees who today benefit from health insurance plans provided by their faith-based employer will be dumped into government health exchanges.”