Tell the Federal Government to Respect Religious Freedom

Monday, April 8 is the deadline for submitting comments to the Obama Administration on the latest version of its HHS contraceptive/abortifacient/sterilization mandate.

Please take a moment to submit a short online comment in support of religious freedom.

Religious freedom is not just the right to go to church.  It is the freedom to live one’s faith, including the freedom to run a business or charity in accordance with one’s religious beliefs.

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  • Y

    I suspect that any organization receiving neither government contracts nor government funds may be exempt from these laws. Church and state need to become truly separate if the churches want to exempt themselves from state and federal laws.

    Because a pill or device is made available does not mean that anyone is forced to purchase or use it. Those who are strong in their own faith need to stop looking at others who have no or different beliefs, and like small children, saying that what is available to others makes life unfair for them. Follow your own faith and leave the salvation of the souls of others to a power greater than any religion.

    • Bill

      “Now shut up and pay for my condoms and spermicide Jesus freaks!”

      I don’t know if Y is a man or a woman, but no matter what… get your ovaries off my rosary.

    • Theodore Seeber

      Available is not equal to making me pay for it!

      • kenneth

        The problem is the Church and other factions within the pro-life movement have demonstrated a clear intent to ban access to contraception whenever possible, even for people paying out of pocket. Plan B has been stonewalled at every turn for the last decade, and the various delays and other nonsense regulations have had nothing at all to do with science. They have been political decisions caving in to pressure and manipulation by religious conservatives. The various “personhood amendments” and “life begins at conception” laws have the obvious intent and effect of outlawing most forms of birth control. The religious freedom concept embodied in the anti-HHS movement is rather one-sided.

        • Jon W

          But if those forms of birth control do, indeed, cause abortions, their morality or immorality falls into a much different category from simple birth control and therefore attempts to ban them have nothing to do with birth control, per se.

          Note that Evangelical Christians are very much in favor of “personhood amendments” and “life begins at conception” laws and, as a group, would be entirely in favor of banning abortion altogether, but they are not, as a group, against birth-control. Whether we as Catholics think they are wrong or not, devout Evangelicals by-and-large just don’t have the same perspective on artificial birth control as devout Catholics.

    • Theodore Seeber

      Available is not equal to making me pay for it! And the Hobby Lobby decision has already stated that the government has the right to interfere in a *retail* business with *no government contracts*.

      • Guest

        Do you know if Hobby Lobby is self-insured or not?

        Because as much as I hate to agree with Y, it is the law that anyone taking gov’t money (Medicare, Medicaid, etc. ) has to follow gov’t rules. That’s pretty much every insurance plan, hospital and pharmacy, and a huge majority of doctor’s offices in the US. I think the only way one might get around it is to be self-insured at this point and even then you still are bound by certain rules. For instance, in my state, employers that self-insure for worker’s comp. still have to follow all the same state rules as the state fund.

    • Guest

      One of the problems with your approach is that it has the effect of stifling efforts of religious organizations which take a huge load off of taxpayers in providing charitable services. Self-insuring is extremely risky, and requires the business to have a huge amt of money set aside to cover their obligations. It also requires an employer, for fiscally obvious reasons, to be very careful about letting in (or keeping in) any employee with big medical expenses that can potentially harm the plan. Those are not business plans that mesh well with non-profit charitable organizations or their missions to help the poor and underserved.

      Expecting a religious, or any charitable organization to compete on a for-profit business playing field is to expect them not to survive. But I think that’s kind of the point too isn’t it? It’s the same aggressive suppressive intent behind trying to keep all religion between the 4 walls of a church building or a private home. Believe me, we Catholics understand quite well the radical motivations behind the freedom from religion movement.

      • Psy

        Guest= “It’s the same aggressive suppressive intent behind trying to keep all religion between the 4 walls of a church building or a private home. Believe me, we Catholics understand quite well the radical motivations behind the freedom from religion movement.”

        That seems to be the intent of the US Constitution as I understand it.

        • Guest

          then you don’t understand it at all.

        • vox borealis

          That was not ever the intent of the US Constitution, that is to say, its authors. In fact, the First Amendment taken at face value protects religion quite broadly. This restrictive view of the Constitution that it circumscribes religious expression is, rather the end result of a long evolution in how the Constitution has been interpreted.

        • Tim in Cleveland

          You must not be familiar with the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.

        • Gigalith

          On the contrary, the First Amendment prevented the FEDERAL Government from having a state religion. The states themselves were not so bound, and indeed until after the civil war many of them still had established churches.

      • Psy

        I understand it but as you venture outside your home or church your rights come in conflict with the rights of others and the interest of the state. A business is subject to the laws and there is the issue of the rights of employees and customers who have their own religious freedoms. Sure there are religious accommodation such as they guy who was allowed animal sacrifice in his home a last summer as it did not conflict with the interest of the state, but he would not be allowed to practice that at his place of employment. Opposition to the insurance mandate is in conflict with the interest of the secular state and the religious freedoms of the employees and will be viewed by the courts as an attempt by the employer to force his beliefs on the employees.

        • Guest

          “A business is subject to the laws…”

          Bad law is written and bad law is overturned daily. And we still have the right (for now anyway) to ask the courts to overturn bad law.

          • Psy

            Yes, Hobby Lobby is set for appeal in late May and is free to spend their resource regardless of having a compelling argument to convince the court.

        • LaVallette

          But when it comes to relgion there is the matter of the First Amdnement: It does not provide that where one religious view conflicts with the other one must succumb to the other. In any case this is not a conflict or a restriction of perceived “rights” to abortion and contraception. It is about forcing one religious view by law to financially support the practices another or of no relgion with which it is in conflict. Apart from the fist amendment, It is also0 in conclict with many another Consitutional Provosion including those realting to “equal treatment” under the law. Since when has any form of Justice (capital J) required that anyone must support the life style choices of another, with which one moraly diagrees?

          • Psy

            “Since when has any form of Justice (capital J) required that anyone must support the life style choices of another, with which one moraly diagrees?”

            So if your employer does not approve of a lifestyle that allows blood transfusions for religious reason he-she should be able to have that removed from your medical plan whether you like it or not? Then there is that religious group in Oregon who does not approve of modern medicine, should they be exempt from supplying any medical insurance to their employees for religious reasons?

            • Guest

              Not sure what the state of the law is on JW employers providing insurance that covers transfusions or if that is something they object to for non-JWs. One important thing to keep in mind is that pregnancy is not a disease – despite the gov’t attempt to indirectly define it as such – and elective ‘treatments’ to prevent it or end it are not essential healthcare whereas a condition requiring a transfusion would be. You will note that most health insurance doesn’t cover cosmetic surgery for the same reason – it’s non-essential.

              I can speak from personal experience to the Followers of Christ. They are essentially a cult that keeps very much to themselves. They tend to work at small businesses owned by members of the church so the issue doesn’t really come up for them. Most of their businesses wouldn’t hire a non-church member either.

              • Psy

                I’m sure we will find out if any of that matters by the end of May. The supreme court is only there to determine whether the law is constitutional or not.

              • Guest

                Well, freedom comes with costs doesn’t it? No one is forced to work for an employer whose values they don’t like – this is one of those costs of freedom imo. A Catholic can’t work in a Jewish deli and demand they provide ham for lunch, even if lunch is a free perk for workers. My dad used to live in a Seventh Day Adventist retirement home and they wouldn’t serve him ham or bacon or any kind of pork. He was free to leave if he didn’t like it.

                • Psy

                  Ham bacon and pork are not required by law, if it was the employer has the option of closing or selling his business if his belief prevent him or her from participating in the public market. But the fact is this is an employee rights issue with employers attempting to interject their religious beliefs. I think the court will most likely decide in favor of the employee and this is a business and not a home, church or non-profit. Why would the court choose do treat employees different from one company to the next based on the random employers personal beliefs?

                  • Guest

                    Employees are already treated differently in insurance coverage from one company to another, often differently within the same company depending on job position, and based solely on what the employer wants to provide/charge. I can see you don’t know much about health insurance. There is no uniformity, fainess, or equality whatsoever. Not a good argument to rest your case on.

                    • Psy

                      Part of the law was to establish a minimum relative to the number of employees. Employers are free to add more benefits by choice, incentives or bargaining if applicable. Employers are also free to add benefits that could encourage families to have children if they really are so high and mighty.

                      “I can see you don’t know much about health insurance.”
                      I’ve spent my fair share of time negotiating union contracts in the past, I don’t see where you’ve said anything relevant to the issue at hand.

            • kenneth

              Scientologists (or any business owned by a member) can argue that they shouldn’t have to provide coverage for any standard psychiatric drugs or treatment.

        • Marthe Lépine

          I may be wrong, but it seems to me that Church teaching says that Catholics (and Christians in general) have the right – even the obligation – to refuse to obey a bad law – e.g. in particular a law that mandates that people do something contrary to Church teaching, such as supplying, or paying for, contraception and abortifacients.

          • Psy

            Just as I as a non-believer quit a job at a car dealership and an insurance company as I refuse to lie or misrepresent the truth to the customers. If you are not willing to meet the legal minimum standard of the law you are free to leave the public market.

        • Carlos Perera

          The “interests of the state,” should they conflict with the fundamental freedoms recognized–not granted–by the Bill of Rights, must give way to the latter; else, they would be subject to the whim of the federal government, and would not be fundamental at all. The state is obliged to give way, not the individual who exercises these freedoms (which pre-exist the existence of the U. S. government and are rooted in natural law). As Thomas Jefferson made clear in his famous letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, the much-bruited “wall of separation” between the state and religion exists to protect religious freedom from the government, not to restrain its exercise.

          As to the sophistry that employers who, because of their religious convictions, do not wish to pay for a product or procedure that contravenes it, are “imposing” their beliefs on their employees, only the state–or thugs with guns, which, in this context, amounts to much the same thing–can impose itself on individual citizens. The relationship between an employer and an employee is a voluntary, contractual one, arrived at by negotiation between free parties, which either party can reject if unsatisfactory. If a firm’s employees want to have their abortifacients covered by insurance, they may present their demands to the owner(s), who might grant them or not; if not, the employees are free to seek work elsewhere. Coercion is only involved if the state intervenes in this relationship, forcing this or that outcome via its police powers.

          On a purely pragmatic level, like many other evils, contraceptives and abortifacients are easily affordable in the U. S.; furthermore, their use, unlike the treatment of an actual disease, is predictable. The Sandra Flukes of this country–and their male counterparts–are perfectly at liberty to purchase them out of pocket; if they cannot afford the modest expense involved, they should try keeping their legs crossed or their flies zipped until they can. They do not have the right to resort to the power of the state to violate others’ religious freedom for their convenience.

      • kenneth

        Hobby Lobby is not a not-for-profit of any kind, nor is it a religious organization.

    • Jared

      After all, what are we, our brothers and sisters’ keeper?

  • Me

    Wow! The govt wants input. This will change everything. How wonderful to have a respectful, responsive government that wants to serve us. Now I know my human rights will be respected and protected. God bless them all.

  • The Deuce
  • LaVallette

    Paraphrasing Madame Roland: “Oh Feminism and Diversity, what crimes are committed in your name?”

    ” First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights that prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion………..”: free “exercice” goes way beyond just “freedom to worship” only one aspect (albeit essential), of what “exercise of religion” includes. Otherwise apart from what I put in the plate on Sunday, for theupokeep of the hose of worship and its minister, the state may demand and legislate that one cannot contribute anything to help the poor directly or to any organization that helpos the poor, including a religious one, and demand that any proportion of income and wealth (determined by the state of course and collected as an extra tax) that a person or any organization gives to the poor, must be given to the State instead, so that it can control all welfare provision to the poor in the land. After all is that not the objective of a Socialist state; i.e to make everyone dependent upon the state? ( Sicialism: “From each according to their capacity, to each according to their needs”)

  • edmundmitchell

    Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven….

  • Luscinia

    My religion forbids fire escapes. Tell the federal government to respect religious freedom.