Religious Freedom

An Individual’s Rights

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A Republican state representative from Missouri is fighting against the Affordable Care Act mandate which requires employer-sponsored health care to provide access to contraceptives and abortions. Paul Wieland maintains that the health insurance sponsored by the state of Missouri should be exempt from the mandate because it violates his Catholic principles.

Mr. Wieland’s lawyer asserted that the Supreme Court’s decision that allows companies with religious objections to opt out of the mandate, and so the lawmaker should be allowed to opt out of the mandate as well on the grounds of Religious Freedom. Wieland states that his right to opt out of the mandate is protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and he should be treated no differently than the corporations which have won exemptions from the law through legal challenges to the Constitutionality of the mandate.

A court has already ruled that Mr. Wieland cannot opt out of the coverage, and the Federal Government has stated that group insurance coverage cannot be individually tailored for each employee. But when that employee is employed by the government agency, that agency is required by the Constitution to afford Freedom of Religion to that employee. In this case, a state representative is seeking to be allowed to live his Catholic life in all aspects of his daily life, and that includes as an employee of the Missouri government.

As numerous legal cases have demonstrated, the Health and Human Services mandate is in violation of the Religious Rights of individuals, corporations, groups, and organizations across the country which adheres to a strict set of religious principles. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states that the Government will make no law restricting the Freedom of Religion. That Right applies to all citizens under circumstances where no other Rights are violated. The fact that a public servant, a member of the Government, is being forced to violate his Religious Rights is a clear example of the separation of Church and State not being recognized.

If the Rights of Americans are to be maintained, they must be recognized. The Government cannot pick and choose which Rights to allow citizens to have or how the citizens will be allowed to express and practice those Rights. The Freedom of Religion that Americans experience is not common across the world, and if we as a nation are to continue to demonstrate what Freedom is, the Government must remember what freedoms the people have been guaranteed.

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