contraception, HHS Mandate, Religious Freedom

When and How


A Federal District Court has ruled that the Government’s “accommodation” of religious nonprofit organizations was nothing more than subterfuge. On June 30, Hobby Lobby won what was considered a major victory against the HHS Mandate requiring employer-sponsored health insurance to provide free access to contraceptives. In that ruling by the Supreme Court, the mandate infringes on the religious principles of Hobby Lobby and other businesses which are operated based on those same principles of the families and business owners.
The latest ruling, in a case brought against the Federal Government by Louisiana College, declares that the “narrow gesture” of the Hobby Lobby case by the Obama Administration, does not in fact protect these businesses and organizations from the mandate. While the Hobby Lobby ruling declared that businesses that are “closely held” by a family which relies on religious principles (and the freedom of religion guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution) may be granted a stay when it comes to the HHS Mandate. However, the ruling says nothing about small businesses and religious non-profits, which are still subject to the mandate.
What it comes down to is the Government picking and choosing who is exempt from the mandate based on religious freedom. But what constitutes religious freedom is not something variable. The owners of a small business have the same rights to practice their religious beliefs in running their business as the owners of a large corporation. A religious non-profit organization should certainly have the right to an exemption from a mandate requiring them to violate their religious principles.
But that is not how the Obama Administration and the Federal Government are treating the HHS Mandate and its implications on each individual in the United States, but especially those individuals who operate a business with the belief that their First Amendment Rights will not be violated by a Government that, so far, has chosen more often than not to enforce the mandate against groups such as Catholic nuns, Christian schools and colleges, and non-profits across the country.
The way that these organizations and businesses are being treated, even after the landmark Hobby Lobby case, indicates that the freedom to practice one’s religion as one sees fit is gone. Gone is the separation of Church and State – a founding principle of the United States. As the Government continues to encroach on Religious Freedom in the U.S., where will they stop? Will the State begin to mandate to the Church how it is to practice religion? Surely, it will never come to that, but with each court ruling that is in favor of enforcing the HHS Mandate, it appears that the Government is taking more power for itself when it comes to declaring when and how the citizens will practice Religious Freedom.

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