“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” – First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
The free exercise of religion is applicable in all of its forms to all citizens of the United States. It is not limited to those persons who preach from a pulpit on Sunday, or to organizations specifically defined as a “church”. That is, it is applicable to business owners who have a specific set of religious beliefs that they bring to running their business. And any law passed by a government that restricts the practice of any citizen’s religious beliefs is a violation of the rights set forth by the Constitution and its Amendments.
The HHS mandate is therefore unconstitutional. By requiring employers to violate the basics of their religious beliefs with regard to contraceptives and abortions, the U.S. Government has made a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. It is that simple.
Churches and religious groups are what come immediately to mind when one thinks of the free exercise of religion. But the Constitution does not state that freedom of religion only applies to that definition of “establishment of religion”. The “free exercise” of religion is applicable to anyone in any business, group, or organization, and is therefore not limited to preachers or priests. By denying the freedom for a business owner to exercise his religious belief against the use of contraceptives, the HHS mandate has violated that owner’s Constitutional rights, and therefore the HHS mandate is unconstitutional.
The words of the U.S. Constitution and its Amendments are simple, and it is the simplicity that allows for open interpretation, and it is that open interpretation that has allowed the Constitution to have remained viable for over 200 years. But there are some things that cannot be left open to interpretation, and the freedom to practice religion is one of those things. “Congress shall make no law…” cannot be interpreted in any way other than “Congress shall make no law…”, yet Congress passed the HHS mandate, and made it law. “The free exercise” of religion may only be interpreted to mean freedom of religion so long as it does not violate any reasonable law, but when the “free exercise” of religion in question is a belief by a private citizen that providing ready access to contraceptives is not on their list of deeply-rooted beliefs based on their particular religion, there is no interpretation available there. Therefore, by Congress passing a law (the HHS mandate) requiring citizens to violate their particular religious beliefs (free exercise of religion), the Government has violated the Constitutional rights of the people.
The HHS mandate is therefore unconstitutional because it is a case of Congress making a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.