Both Sides are pushing the support…
There seems to be a growing support for the Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate, part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires employer-sponsored health plans to provide employees with free access to contraceptives. The support for the measure comes from likely sources, including many liberal groups arguing for the right of a woman to preventative healthcare. There is even support coming from a far-left group of Catholic nuns, who are defying the teachings of the Catholic Church on contraceptives.
The groups arguing for the measure are in fact arguing against religious freedom. While some groups see the Mandate as part of women’s health, the fact that it is not selective measure and religious employers across must comply with it makes it a violation of the religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment. As these religious employers continue to file lawsuits against the mandate, arguing for religious freedom, they are working to establish the Right for religious-based employers to follow their religious beliefs in the practice of their business.
The liberal argument against freedom of religion is not a new one. Liberal organizations have long contended that the separation of Church and State in the United States needs to be broadened. These are the groups arguing against Christian displays on government premises, or wanting the display of other religious symbols alongside the Nativity scenes at Christmas. But when they argue for more separation of Church and State in one instance, and then against the separation of Church and State in an instance of employers fighting for their religious beliefs against the HHS Mandate, they send a mixed message.
The separation of Church and State is open to interpretation, just as the entire U.S. Constitution is open to interpretation. The fact that the defining legal document of the United States is open to interpretation is what makes it so unique and is the hallmark of its ability to withstand changing political times. But a side cannot argue for something one way in one situation and against that interpretation in another situation. Freedom of religion is something guaranteed by the Constitution, and it is something that applies to all citizens in all walks of life and all situations. How that freedom is interpreted is up to the courts of the United States, and it is hoped, by many employers, that the courts will uphold the separation of Church and State and allow employers to choose whether to follow the HHS Mandate.