Re-elected, Obama takes aim at religious liberty

November 13, 2012

As an old saw has it, "your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose." The Obama administration says your right to live as a Christian ends if you go into business.

Democrats are crowing about a second Obama term, and the Left's culture-war troops are emboldened by their trouncing of social conservatives. Religious conservatives need to plant their spears and brace for the coming federal assault on religious liberty.

The Obama administration this month, in defending its health plan's contraception mandate, articulated a narrow view of the First Amendment's religious liberty protections.

Obamacare requires employers to pay for contraception and sterilization coverage. This includes coverage of "morning-after" contraceptives, whose makers admit the drugs can kill a fertilized egg by preventing or "affect[ing]" implantation.

Many Christians oppose Obama's mandate on the grounds that morning-after pills function as abortifacients. Catholic teaching also holds that contraception undermines marriage and the family by stripping sex of its natural life-giving and love-giving properties.

The Catholic Church lobbied for an exemption. The administration exempted only houses of worship, but not the institutions run by the church. So, St. John the Evangelist parish in Silver Spring doesn't have to buy contraception insurance for its employees, but what about Holy Cross Hospital down the road? It will get huge fines if its health plan even requires a $5 co-pay for the Pill.

Other religious institutions, such as Catholic colleges Belmont Abbey and Notre Dame, along with evangelical Wheaton College, have sued, arguing that they should not be forced to violate their consciences.

But why should only religious institutions be allowed to exercise their consciences? The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting the free exercise" of religion. Should government be allowed to force ordinary people to violate the moral laws to which they subscribe?

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