December 7, 2012
Death to Freedom of Religion by a Thousand Tiny Cuts
The United States of America was officially founded on July 4th, 1776, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This timeless document was an official statement to the
King of England that proclaimed, once and for all, the people of the United States of America were not going to sit back and be unfairly ruled by a harsh and distant King. It was time for the very people who fled the King’s rule to be able to be free of the King’s rule. After the Colonists’ victory in the Revolutionary War, freedom was finally achieved. On June 21, 1788, the
Constitution of the United States of America was officially ratified. The First Amendment to the
Bill of Rights in this Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
Government for a redress of grievances.” For Americans who adhere to religions in the JudeoChristian tradition, the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion is in danger of death by a thousand tiny cuts. These small, seemingly insignificant wounds come in the form of coercion by the government to compromise deeply held religious convictions, restricting the right of the people to peaceably assemble when it is for religious reasons, and suppressing freedom of speech if that speech openly expresses aspects of Judeo-Christian beliefs and values.
Predominant among America’s founders were people who had fled religious oppression.
The government they carefully crafted recognized divinely given “inalienable rights.” These rights, articulated in the Bill of Rights, have been upheld for more than 200 years. If the government succeeds in stripping freedom of religion from those who practice Judeo-Christian faith, we will be taking a monumental step back to the open oppression of those who still adhere to the faith that informed and guided America’s founders, and formed the bedrock of the most influential nation in modern history.
One of the most recent “cuts” to freedom of religion has come in the form of health care mandates. The New York Times writes about it: “The Obama administration said that most health insurance plans must cover contraceptives for women free of charge, and it rejected a broad exemption sought by the Roman Catholic Church for insurance provided to employees of
Catholic hospitals, colleges and charities.” (A20) The Obama administration has passed a law that requires privately owned Catholic hospitals and other privately owned religious health institutions to blatantly go against their religious beliefs by giving out contraceptives and performing abortions. Speaker John Boehner said, on this topic, “In imposing this requirement, the federal government has drifted dangerously beyond its constitutional boundaries, encroaching on religious freedom in a manner that affects millions of Americans and harms some of our nation’s most vital institutions.” (Denniston 2)
In the Catholic religion, using contraceptives is a sin. Catholic Answers, on the topic of contraceptives, quoted Pope Paul VI, he said, “Contraception is wrong because it’s a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race, often referred to as ‘natural law.’” (1)
George Washington explained it best when he said, “Every man, conducting himself as a good
citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience." How can President
Obama believe he is upholding the First Amendment right to Freedom of Religion while he is forcing Catholic institutions to in essence, “break the law” of their religion. The Obama administration's response to the Catholic Church’s