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February 13, 2012 Print

Who Defines ‘Religious’?

by Carrie Gordon Earll

The latest version of the Obama administration’s requirement for religious employers to provide contraception, sterilization and possible abortion-causing drugs to employees doesn’t change anything.  That’s the response of religious organizations that opposed the rule in the first place.

There remain many concerns with the latest mandate ranging from requiring religious organizations to (directly or indirectly) fund these drugs and surgeries to forcing them to be complicit in their distribution through employer-provided health insurance policies.

Even more, this represents a breathtaking step toward the government defining religious freedom and who is religious enough to qualify for religious exemptions.  If this policy stands, religious freedom moves down the list of protected rights, right behind abortion and contraception.  That’s not what the Founders had in mind in writing the First Amendment.

The government doesn’t define who we are or what our faith includes.  That’s the role of the church.  There is an appropriate role for government and this isn’t it.

Columnist Charles Krauthammer’s take on this is worth reading.

Expect to see a continued groundswell of opposition to this from religious organizations of many faiths – not just Evangelicals and Catholics. At stake is the role of faith in the public square and the freedom of citizens to live according to their faith.