Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Price of Liberty

It has been said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilence.  As the first full week of 2013 unfolds, we are beginning to see true price of liberty all across the country as the federal government imposes onerous new mandates and crafts new legislation to undercut our freedoms.

For Hobby Lobby and the Green family, the price of liberty is $1.3 million a day.  That is the cost of the fines that Hobby Lobby is facing for its refusal to comply with the Department of Health and Human services Obamacare mandate on supplying contraceptives including morning after and week after abortifacents through the Hobby Lobby health plan.  Although other companies have been able to get these fines suspended, Hobby Lobby's judge was less understanding and refused to give the company a waiver on the fines while their case was going through court.

This morning I saw Jay Sekulow on Fox News Channel discussing the Hobby Lobby case.  Sekulow is, of course, the lead attorney for the American Center for Law and Justice and while he is not involved in the Hobby Lobby case, he has successfully represented other companies who are currently suing to uphold their First Amendment rights to object to abortion and therefore not have to pay for contraceptives and abortifacents.  When asked whether Hobby Lobby was actually paying these fines, Sekulow responded that they will not have to do so unless and until the fines are actually levied by the Treasury Department, which he hopes the Administration will choose not to do while the case makes its way through court.

At the heart of the Hobby Lobby fight against the Affordable Care Act is their First Amendment right not to be forced to violate their religious beliefs.  The Obama Administration claims that the mandates which require private employers to pay for contraceptives do not violate the rights of  private employers by virtue of the fact that private employers don't have any First Amendment freedom of religion rights, or as they explain “for-profit, secular employers generally do not engage in any exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment.”

The Heritage Foundation's newsletter today spotlighted three  other employers who are in the same situation as Hobby Lobby--Autocam of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Grote Industries and KL Construction.  KL Construction is a family-owned construction company facing $730,000 a year in fines if they refuse to violate the tenents of their Roman Catholic faith.  (The fine is $100.00 per employee per day so it varies from company to company). All of these cases are headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The question that all of us are facing is one of Constitutional protections.  Does the First Amendment protect all of us--or does it just protect non-profit institutions?  In our society we vilify--and sometimes imprison--those who violate the consciences and their own ethics in order to meet the demands of an abusive boss backed by a greedy corporation who intimidates them into committing some moral infraction for the good of the company.  Are we willing to stand up as a society for those who refuse to be bullied by an abusive government being backed by a greedy electorate which apparently believes that business people have no rights at all?

Of course, the question of whether the Constitution protects all of us or none of us goes far beyond the current First Amendment battles.  This week Joe Biden is holding hearings on gun control and threatening that the president will act by executive order if necessary.  It is ironic that the same group who will tell us that abortion is a Constitutionally protected right will also lecture us about gun control when the Constitution says nothing about the right to kill one's own child and has an entire amendment devoted to the right to keep and bear arms. 

The Constitution can be amended only by a vote of 2/3rds of the states.  It cannot be changed or rewritten, legally, by executive orders, or by Congressional legislation, or even by the courts, although the courts do have a long standing right to determine whether laws pass the test of being constitutional.  But the Constitution is only as strong as the people who stand up for it, believe in its principles, and demand that it be upheld.

A little over 10 year ago, I heard NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani speak at an event here in El Paso.  Guiliani was talking about the lessons he had learned from experiencing 09/11 as the mayor of New York.  I have always remembered what he described as one of the most important, "Stand up to bullies."  Guiliani made the point that the world is full of bullies, but when we encounter them, we can't back down.  We have to stand strong and push back.  And when we do, we often find that they are much weaker than we thought.

Hobby Lobby has chosen to stand up to bullies and pay the price of liberty, to the tune of a staggering $1.3 million dollars a day.  I hope that their business survives, and that they win their battle to uphold their rights under the U.S. Constitution.  I hope that all of us stand up for the rights that others have died for and protect and preserve the Constitution and the liberties it affords us all.

Read Alexandra Swann's novel The Chosen about one small group of Americans battle to uphold the Constitution, free on Kindle January 11th through January 15th. 

Alexandra Swann is the author of  No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at


  1. Alexandra, an excellent post as always. I'm glad you brought up the bully speech. In this case as in just about every circumstance and electoral issue of the past two generations, it is about the bullies, mob bullies who isolate and then beat individuals into submission, or incarceration and occasionally the final solution. The Constitution is to protect every individual American's fundamental liberties and freedoms.

    A company or any personally held business entity is still the property of an individual American and to be run as he or she sees fit.

    1. I agree 100%. That is supposed to be one of the benefits of self-employment--the right to build your company culture as you choose. It's very sad that we are losing that.