Large Denver Company Fights Obamacare Demands

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DENVER -- For decades, the Newland family's Hercules Industries has provided hundreds of jobs in the Denver area.

The Catholic family has lived out their faith by treating workers generously, with benefits like great health coverage.

But they're drawing the line at specific Obamacare demands.

"They just don't want to have to provide abortion pills and other items in this plan that violate their faith," Matt Bowman, with Alliance Defending Freedom, said.

Bowman convinced a Denver judge to temporarily stop the government from enforcing the HHS mandate on Hercules Industries. It's the first order of its kind against Obamacare.

"It was a preliminary junction and there's a lot of work that needs to be done," Bill Newland, owner of Hercules Industries, said.

Newland runs this heating and air conditioning company with other family members.

"All Americans, including family business owners, must be free to live and do business according to their faith," he said.

The Obama administration disagrees, arguing business owners must separate themselves and their faith from the business itself.

"They said in the court case that Hercules gave up our right for religious freedom when we made the free choice to enter the marketplace of commerce," Newland said.

But Bowman said that's exactly what the First Amendment is supposed to protect.

"It's none of the government's business if you're a Christian serving the community in a non-profit; whether you're a church; or whether you're a Christian trying to follow the Lord in your Monday through Friday workday," he argued. "It's none of the government's business to tell you your faith needs to be violated."

So far, the Obama administration is granting very few religious exemptions, but that doesn't include one for the largest publishers of the Bible.

"This mandate from Obamacare is so extreme that they have defined Tyndale House Publishers, that publishes the Bible, as not religious enough to be able to exercise their own religious belief in regard to the Obamacare mandate," Bowman said.

As for the Newlands, the situation is really a life-or-death case for Hercules.

"We're given the choice to comply with the mandate or give up our business," Bill Newland said.

That's because of the massive government penalties that can be imposed under Obamacare.

"You can be fined a $100 per employee, per day perpetually by the federal government and be sued unless you violate your faith and your conscience," Bowman explained.

The Newlands have 315 employees. The penalties would quickly pile up into millions of dollars if they lost and chose not to drop their health coverage.

If they drop their coverage, they still pay a hefty fine to the government.

"The numbers are crippling," Newland said. "They're numbers that could, if imposed legally, could shut down our business."

That's the main issue, at least for the family that runs Hercules Industries. If they lose their case, they must betray their faith, stop offering health care to their employees, or lose their company.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.