Religions Cannot Contravene or Be Exempted from Secular Public Policy

In looking at our senior Senator Lisa Murkowski's website today, I came across this recent press release calling for a religious exemption from the PPACA:

S. 2043, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, would repeal any requirement in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that would require any individual or entity to offer, provide, or purchase coverage for a contraceptive or sterilization service to which that individual or entity is opposed on the basis of religious belief.

This is the same tactic the religious right has been using to oppose gay marriage statutes for decades, and I contend that it's absolute bunk - that the Establishment Clause forbids precisely this, and that the Free Exercise Clause does not guarantee any right to, as it were, have the government come to religion rather than the other way around.

Liberals should oppose this for obvious reasons, but conservatives/libertarians also should oppose the big-government special exemption, as far as I can tell. But I have trouble finding rhetoric which turns people around on this deeply held misconception about religious freedom (and, as we must never tire of saying, freedom from religion). What do you think?

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The Establishment Clause says something like "congress shall enact no law respecting an establishment of religion," not "religions shall enact no compliance respecting the enactment of law."  They are free to worship any god they please in their churches - but when they raise money, taxes should be paid just as they are by any other social club.  Writing an exemption into law is 'enacting a law respecting an establishment of religion' and is a violation.  Skypilots even use the special privileges that they've usurped to maliciously break the law in discriminating against gays (and at times blacks) or anyone else prejudiced by 'holy doctrine'.  It's insane.

See, the problem with this is is the fact that there are many who get their insurance from their employer because they cannot afford to get insurance any other way. So you could have someone, say a run of your mill non-contraceptive-hating-religion/lack of religion nurse, working in a St. Whatever hospital. She cannot afford a private health insurance and makes too much to get a state medical card. So this leaves the insurance offered by her employeer, the St. Whatever hospital. St. Whatever hospital is ran by a Catholic organization, so they oppose contraceptives of all forms and refuse to offer it with their employee insurance. Now, once again, this nurse does not oppose contraceptives nor does her religion (if she even has one), and she would personally like some because she is not yet ready for a family. But because her insurance does not cover contraceptives, she cannot get birth control because she makes too much to get it through a free-health clinic.

Pretty much, they are wanting to impose their views on their employees who just want to make an honest living and pay their taxes to their government, but do not want the government to tell them they cannot supply an equal opportunity health insurance to all their employees regardless of their religious views. 

So what I am trying to say, it's not really a "private" affair when one person has no say in the matter. All the government is trying to do here is step in a give equal health care rights to those who works for companies that are not willing to give those equal rights. I'm sure someone will come up with a loophole around my argument or some other, but pretty much I stand by the fact that we need someone to come in and say "to each their own, stop shoving your views down their throats."

That's a really great way of summing it up and enlightens the wider issue brilliantly.  Thanks; assuming your statements are accurate, it seems your analysis is rock solid.  I'll use this should I encounter another discussion on this topic. :D

completely agree. that's a good way of putting it!

Thanks for the insight. But what do you say to the people who think you're shoving the right for the nurse to have contraception down the hospital's throat? I'm looking for a way to establish who is and who isn't at fault between two parties who each accuse the other of fascism.

Also, would the situation be different if there were none of your hypothetical nurses?

I don't see how it is forcing it down their throats. But then again, we are speaking of religious zealots who think that they are not forcing their views by saying women cannot use contraceptives, but if you for one second say anything that counters their beliefs you are the anti-christ or some other variation there of.

Sadly, this is not something that can be coherently and civilly argued because the opposing side will always think it's a direct attack on their belief system. 

The difference between governments and gods, however, is that governments are obliged to enforce their oughts by force or reason while gods are nothing more than a mass-induced psychosis used to circumnavigate justification.

The latter part of your contrast doesn't follow from the former. You could say that gods (beside not existing) preempt reasoned human justification yet enforce their laws through human authoritarianism. This goes into the case that it's faith, rather than unbelief, which throws morality out the window, but we're digressing from church and state now.


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