On August 22, the Government issued a regulation which allows businesses and nonprofit groups which object on religious grounds to the part of the Affordable Care Act requiring employer-sponsored health plans to provide free access to contraceptives and abortions. This was largely in response to the Hobby Lobby case which was decided on June 30. Lori Windham, of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, noted that “it is the eighth time in three years the government has retreated…”, and allowed businesses and organizations which operate based on religious principles to object to the Mandate.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done in the battle for Religious Freedom when it comes to the U. S. Government infringing on the First Amendment rights of the people. According to Archbishop Lori of Baltimore, Religious Freedom is seen more and more as just being practiced in one’s place of worship on a given day of the week. But there are millions of Americans who choose to practice their religion in their daily lives, including in how they interact with the other people they come in contact with. The Right to practice religion is not something that can be limited by the Government or laws.
The First Amendment guarantees the people of the U.S. the Freedom to practice religion as they see fit. The separation of Church and State – a fundamental part of how the U.S. has operated for over two centuries – is being redefined in the modern era, and it is up to those citizens who recognize the infringement by the Government to stand up for the Rights of all Americans. Although someone may not feel that their Right to Freedom of Religion is not being infringed upon today, without the groups struggling on the front lines against the current violations of the Constitution, there will come a day when there is no separation of Church and State and the State will dictate everything to the Church as the State sees fit.