“By means of this law, the Obama administration has mandated that no Catholic can own a business and provide health insurance to their employees without incurring crippling fines,” O’Brien says. And it’s not only Catholics the administration’s regulation would keep inside churches. This posture is one that the Department of Justice has been defending in court, arguing that an individual makes a choice to put these religious-liberty claims aside when he decides to run a company. “Once someone starts a ‘secular’ business, he categorically loses any right to run that business in accordance with his conscience,” explains Kyle Duncan of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The business owner simply leaves her First Amendment rights at home when she goes to work at the business she built. Kosher butchers around the country must be shocked to find that they now run ‘secular’ businesses. On this view of the world, even a seller of Bibles is ‘secular.’” Among others fighting for their religious liberty in the courts on account of the HHS mandate is Mardel, an affiliate of the evangelical-run arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby. Mardel sells Bibles and other Christian material, “but because it makes a profit, the government has now declared it ‘secular,’” Duncan points out…

Even in the midst of a fight that could affect their livelihood, the O’Brien family is keeping things in perspective. “My wife and I started out poor,” he recalls. “So far, the worst that they can do to us is bankrupt us. We were happy when we were poor, and we would still be happy if we became poor again.” The O’Briens have faced worse — even this year. “Other than not understanding the other side’s logic on this issue, we don’t get too emotionally involved. Our 32-year-old daughter died of melanoma this year. Emotionally that was and is a much bigger issue for us.”