Chief Justice John Roberts’ finding in this week’s Obamacare ruling that the fines that will be imposed on those who refuse to obey in Obamacare’s individual mandate equal a tax has ramifications for the religious institutions.
It means that for the first time in American history, religious institutions will be subject to taxation for the content of their religious beliefs because they run contrary to the ideology held by the president and government bureaucrats.
The HHS mandate empowers the Internal Revenue Service to fine religious institutions that refuse to comply with the requirement that they cover abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraceptives to the tune of $100 per day per employee.
This is not unlike the mechanism in Obamacare that Roberts decided amounted to a tax.
“We think the Government has the better reading. As it observes, “Assessment” and “Collection” are chapters of the Internal Revenue Code providing the Secretary authority to assess and collect taxes,” Roberts wrote in his opinion. “[The] command that the penalty be “assessed and collected in the same manner” as taxes is best read as referring to those chapters and giving the Secretary thesame authority and guidance with respect to the penalty.”
Prominent Catholic blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf comments that Supreme Court’s finding on Obamacare means that the Obama administration is imposing a tax on the privilege of holding religious views contrary to its ideology.
“The Obama Administration has already tried to move discussion from “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship“,” Zuhlsdorf wrote. “Thus, when you are in church for an hour, the government will allow you – at no charge- to be a Catholic. If you want to be Catholic and faithful in the workplace – even a Catholic institution – you will pay for the privilege through a tax.”
Taxing churches has long been a goal of radical atheist groups such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation and marks a departure from the long-held practice of granting religious institutions immunity from taxation.