Jan 29, 2012

Posted by in Articles & Essays, Politics, Religion, Women and Health | 0 Comments

Let’s Just Trample the First Amendment

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.
~First Amendment 

On January 20, 2011, the Obama Administration announced it will force all insurance plans to provide coverage for abortifacients, contraceptives, sterilization, and abortions, including those plans provided by religious organizations vehemently opposed to those very things. Thinking back to my eighth grade history lessons and study of the Constitution, does not the First Amendment guarantee everyone to religious freedom? Why, then, does this administration continue to trample this right?

Leaving the abortion issue aside – we all have our own views on that issue – the First Amendment gives every American religious freedom, which also gives us the right to exercise our conscience as it pertains to our religious beliefs. A caregiver, an employer, an employee or whatever your position is, should not have to go against his or her religious beliefs to satisfy the government’s decree that abortion, contraceptive and sterilization procedures and products must be covered by a faith based organization’s insurance provider. How is that religious freedom? If I choose to work for a company because I know their policies are in line with my faith, why does the government get to overrule this? Is not our government supposed to stay out of religion?

When I went to Mass this morning, our priest brought up the subject in his sermon. He gave quite a lengthy discourse on the very subject, reiterating the same points I made above. I could hear many in our congregation gasping at what they were hearing. I was stunned by the numbers of parishioners who did not know anything about this. Some did not feel that it was appropriate for our priest to discuss this from the pulpit. I think he was definitely right to do so Рthis legislation is completely against the Catholic faith. Where better to bring it to discussion than from the pulpit?

After Mass ended, I did speak to a few of my fellow parishioners, expressing my gratitude that our priest spoke of this matter to the congregation. They admitted that they had not heard of this mandate prior to our priest discussing it on the pulpit. That is not a surprise to me, as our media certainly lacks sharing this kind of news. I hope the folks I spoke to left church today to pass on this information to people they know AND to contact their representatives to express their dismay at this news.

A religious organization should be able to freely practice their faith in the United States. The President should not be forcing them to do otherwise. People who accept employment at a faith based organization, and most assuredly a Catholic one, know they are going to be working for a religious establishment that has moral stipulations. If someone wants an employer based insurance plan to cover birth control, abortifacients, sterilizations and abortions, then they need to choose a different employer. In the meantime, this aspect of Obamacare needs to be revisited and the President, along with his administration, needs to quite trampling the First Amendment!

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