HHS Mandate, Religious Freedom

Picking and Choosing

freedom cross

The Diocese Joins the Fight for Religious Freedom…freedom cross

On Thursday, January 30, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), claiming that the mandate that employers must provide ready and free access to contraceptives goes against their religious beliefs. In doing so, the Diocese joins a growing list of organizations, both “formal” religious and private, that have brought lawsuits against the government for this very reason – that by forcing these organizations to provide access to contraceptives violates their First Amendment rights to freely practice religion as they see fit, including living their religious belief that the use of contraceptives is sinful in nature.
In the lawsuit, the Reverend Carl Gallinger states that the mandate “wrongly reduces the freedom of religion to the freedom of worship.” Clearly, these organizations believe that the right to practice religion in the United States should not be limited only to the goings-on in a church, synagogue, or temple. “Freedom of religion” should be extended to all aspects of one’s life, not just an hour or two on the weekend – in fact, many formal religions actively preach that one’s religion should be practiced on a daily basis in all that they do. But this HHS mandate is dictating to anyone who provides access for employees to healthcare when and where they can follow their religious beliefs.
The HHS mandate does have some provisions for religious employers, but it is up to the Government to define what is meant by a “religious employer” – and in the lawsuit filed by the Diocese of Cheyenne, the plaintiff claims that four other groups covered by the Diocese’s health coverage are not exempt from the ruling, despite being directly tied to the Catholic Church. This is the largest point of contention for the organizations who have been filing lawsuits against the Government since the mandate was introduced – the definition of “religious employer” as defined by the Government. Organizations across the country that operate based on a set of deeply-rooted religious beliefs feel that they should have a choice when it comes to providing access to contraceptives.
After all – does the First Amendment not apply to all people and groups in the United States? Or should the Government be allowed to meddle in what is clearly spelled out in the

Leave a Reply