The Obama administration, as part of its Obamacare law, is enforcing a mandate that every health insurance plan, including those provided by religious institutions, such as parochial schools and charities, must cover contraception and other birth control products and services. Churches are specifically exempted from this mandate, but their affiliated hospitals, universities, charities and the like are not.
Thus, Obamacare not only forces employers to provide health insurance to their employees, but dictates the substance of the coverage which must be included, even if such coverage, e.g. for contraception and birth control, is patently contrary and offensive to a provider’s deeply held religious convictions and philosophical beliefs.
This has ruffled the feathers of all the cardinals, bishops and priests in the Catholic Church, who complain loudly and bitterly that it violates the Church’s constitutional First Amendment rights to religious expression under the Free Exercise Clause.
Its proof of the Obama administration’s “War on Religion,” they insist. They don’t approve of, much less want to pay for, birth control, as it is against the teachings the Church has professed for many centuries.
On the opposite side of the coin, the ACLU and others argue that this is not about religious freedom so much as reliance upon religion to discriminate against and deny millions of women access to birth control.
According to them if the churches get their way on this issue, a woman teaching at a Catholic university, or a nurse working at an evangelical Christian hospital could not get coverage and would consequently be denied access to basic health care.
Don’t count me as an apologist for religion in any form; I think it’s been the worst plague upon civilization since before and after the Black Death, but in this instance I’m compelled by the letter and spirit of the United States Constitution to agree that the Catholic Church is at least partially correct.
Clearly, president Obama is not by any means waging a War on Religion; heaven forbid, but forcing Catholic institutions to provide insurance coverage to their employees, including contraception and birth control products and services, violates their freedom of religious expression under the First Amendment.
Employees of Catholic institutions or evangelical Christian hospital’s will not be denied access to basic health care if their employers aren’t required to include contraception and birth control coverage. They would just have to find it elsewhere. That’s been the American way for the last 235 years.
Religious institutions should have their way in this matter, but if that is so, it only follows naturally that the rest of us should get our way as well. If Obamacare is unconstitutional for religious institutions it’s just as unconstitutional for non-religious individuals and institutions. Why should churches and their religious institutions get an exemption from the mandate but not other groups?
The Obamacare mandates fly in the face of my deeply held philosophical beliefs and convictions too. I don’t want to be forced to pay for Sally’s breast augmentation surgery and Harry’s Viagra pills.
Why aren’t the cardinals, bishops, priests and the ACLU standing up for my constitutional rights?