The Struggle Must Continue for Religious Freedom
A group of 200 Catholic employers has filed a suit against the Government in opposition to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate requiring employers who sponsor health insurance for their employees to provide ready access to contraceptives and abortion drugs as part of the Affordable Care Act. This comes just as the Supreme Court is to hear a case brought by Hobby Lobby, a company based on the Christian beliefs of its owner, against that very same mandate. The Hobby Lobby case, and this new case filed by the Catholic Benefits Associate, are just two in an ever-growing number of lawsuits filed by religious groups, organizations, and employer against the Government.
The disparity comes from what the Government is defining as a “religious employer”. The mandate already grants a defined church the right to not adhere to the mandate, if that is the church’s choice. This protection comes from the First Amendment separation of Church and State, as it should. However, the First Amendment applies to the Rights of the citizens of the United States, and grants those citizens the Right to practice religion as they see fit, without interference from the Government. The Government is choosing to ignore the individual’s Rights, and forcing employers with specific religious beliefs which they carry with them into how they run their business to go against those beliefs in order to follow the law which the Government has laid out before them.
The cases that have been filed against the Government across the country are having different outcomes based on who files the case, where the case is filed, and who hears the case. What is needed is a single definitive case that will set the precedent for the whole country, defining whether the Government will follow the Constitution and guarantee the religious freedom of the citizens, not just the established churches. If cases continue to be lost, with the judge ruling in favor of the Government, it will only mean more cases will be brought and the struggle will continue until the Government realizes that they are on the wrong side of these cases, and grants business owners across the country to follow their religious beliefs and choose to opt-out of this part of the Affordable Care Act and HHS Mandate.