Thursday, July 3, 2014
I write again today about the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. I believe it is an awful decision with great potential to be used to impose a set of religious beliefs on people who oppose those beliefs.
The Freedom of Religion Clause was intended to assure and protect a person’s right to believe anything they wanted to believe that might reasonably be described as a religious belief, including a denial of the existence of God and a supernatural world. To protect religious freedom, the First Amendment prohibits Congress from enacting a law that discriminates against a person because of their religious belief.
Beliefs must be distinguished from actions. Although beliefs are protected, actions taken that are consistent with a particular religious belief are not protected. For example, a person cannot be discriminated against because they believe in human sacrifice, but they can be prosecuted for murder if they sacrifice a human.
In the Hobby Lobby case the Supreme Court has ruled that an employer can impose its religious beliefs against abortion and emergency contraception on its employees by excluding those acts from coverage in an employee health insurance policy.
Abortion and emergency contraception are lawful medical procedures. By upholding the employer’s religious based opposition to abortion and emergency contraception, which are lawful medical procedures, the court has approved of action taken in support of a religious belief to deny insurance coverage for lawful medical procedures.
A decision to have an abortion or to undergo emergency contraception is no one’s business except the doctor and the patient. A health insurance policy should cover all medical procedures. Denial of coverage based on religious belief permits people holding one belief to impose it on others who do not share that belief and that is exactly what our Founding Fathers sought to prohibit with the Freedom of Religion Clause.
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