Those with a religious objection were given a sop -- let the insurance company pay for this coverage, but who pays the insurance company and what about institutions that are self-insured? The government also claimed the right to decide what constitutes a religious ministry and to limit of the rights of conscience of employers and individuals who cannot in good conscience support what they know is evil.
Freedom of religion is the first freedom enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Those who were called on to ratify the Constitution immediately recognized that something was missing. They wanted to be sure the government they were establishing did not abuse the powers granted to it, therefore they included a list of rights meant to constrain government. The Preamble to the Bill of Rights reads: "The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added..." The first of these reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." The free exercise of religion is not just the right to gather for worship. It includes the right to participate as equals in the public square, the right to engage in education and charitable activities, and the right to refuse to participate or support actions deemed immoral.
These rights were not granted by the state, but given us by our creator. We must not, in the words of the Declaration, allow the government to "extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us." We must "disavow these usurpations."
Dale O'Leary is an internationally recognized lecturer and author of "The Gender Agenda: Redefining Equality."
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