Led primarily by the Catholic Church, churches across the country are beginning to take action against the Government regarding the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that employers provide free access to contraceptives. Over the last couple months, several class-action lawsuits have been filed or are pending filing against the mandate, citing freedom of religion and a right to practice deeply rooted religious beliefs that ban the use of contraceptives. The Catholic Church and Catholic ministries are joined by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is suing on behalf of several church ministries across the country.
It is too bad that it has come to suing the Federal government for a right to practice religion as one sees fit. The Catholic Church maintains that the HHS mandate is just another example of the Government being “out to get” the Church. When the HHS mandate was being drafted, Christian churches in the United States had already shown a history of opposition to contraceptives, so it should have come as no surprise that these churches would be opposed to the mandate. Yet, the Government proceeded with implementation, and required all employers (regardless of religious affiliation or beliefs) to provide the same access that the religious groups are opposed to.
However, it is good that the various ministries, churches, groups, individuals, and employers are starting to stand together against the mandate. With such a violation of freedom of religion, it is important for religions to work as one to form a united front against the violation. While there is currently no formal leadership against the mandate, it is obvious that the unity of these various groups is getting some positive feedback. There are several instances of how the united stance is bringing together other groups to strengthen and advance the cause for religious freedom.
Whether the Catholic Church continues to be at the front of the movement, taking charge and leading the fight against the HHS mandate’s applicability to all employers, or whether groups, such as the Becket Fund, unite several religious groups together in class-action lawsuits, it is clear that the churches, ministries, and religious groups and employers are not going to sit quietly by while religious freedom in this country is challenged by a Government that is forcing its ideals on a nation.