In March, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case invoking the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993. The case involves the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns who are arguing that their Catholic beliefs are being trampled by the Federal Government through the Health and Human Services requirement that their health insurance provide free access to contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. The Catholic Church has long taught that abortions and contraceptives are contrary to God’s teachings, and their use is therefore sinful.
Since its passage in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, the RFRA has been invoked across the country to settle disputes related to Freedom of Religion in the United States. However, as the nation has moved in a more “progressive” direction over the last decade or so, the RFRA has seemed to cease to exist. In today’s increasingly secular society, a baker can be punished for refusing to bake a cake for someone on religious principles and devout members of the Catholic Church can be forced to violate their religious convictions in the name of progressing society as a whole.
By marginalizing these individuals and groups that seek nothing more than the Constitutionally-guaranteed Right to Freedom of Religion, the Government is setting itself up for a fight that it cannot win. Despite the fact that much of America no longer clearly identifies with a specific religion, as the number of individuals and businesses that are forced to put their beliefs to the side in order to comply with illegal laws, even those that are unaffected will recognize that by forcing religion out of people’s lives, the Government is setting the stage for forcing out other rights. Freedom of Religion is the first liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, and it has had a special place in this country since then.
The Government may continue to trample the Right to Freedom of Religion, but at some point the people of this great country will stand up and say “ENOUGH!” And it will be at that point that the Church will fight back against the State. And there are more people that fear God in the United States than fear the Government.