Obamacare vs. Religious Freedom

(photo from:  http://www.house.gov/content/learn/)One of the major areas of concern about Obamacare, at least for people of faith, is the requirement that businesses of a certain size must provide, through their insurance, certain aspects of “health coverage” that are contrary to their religious beliefs.  Strictly religious organizations (i.e. churches, synagogues, mosques) are exempt from this requirement but “businesses” that are run by religious organizations (i.e. hospitals, orphanages, schools) are not exempt. Additionally, for-profit businesses aren’t even considered for an exemption regardless of the religious views of their owners, Board of Directors or business plan.

The Roman Catholic Church has been the most prominent religious organization to challenge the HHS mandate, claiming that providing abortifacient, contraception and sterilization is contrary to the religious beliefs of the Church and as such, a violation of their First Amendment rights.  One of the more publicized businesses to make this claim is Hobby Lobby, though the Administration has declared that as a “secular” business, they are not entitled to First Amendment freedoms.

Essentially, the current Administration is attempting to redefine what healthcare  is as well as who is entitled to religious freedom.

In an article on the Forbes website, James Poulos provides what I think is a good explanation of this debate and the challenges that are ahead:


Obama, Religious Liberty, And The Constitution

The 1st Amendment directly expresses the Constitution’s clear ‘bias’ in favor of religion. The first words out of the gate in the Bill of Rights are “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof[.]” If you’re freely exercising religion, that is, you’re better protected than if you’re trying freely to express something that’s like religion but, crucially, not. Mere moral preferences do not receive the same protection. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has characteristically interpreted religion and free exercise about as broadly as possible. And, like the Court, Americans have tended to view the exercise of religion as a important and privileged variety of free expression in general. Rarely are religious observances prohibited. Cults that face persecution or prosecution abroad do okay here. Heresies are often tolerated and widely practiced.

So even though the Constitution favors religious practices over merely moral preferences, constitutional law and American common sense approve of defending shared lifestyle commitments and convictions. That makes for two types of pro-religious culture. They aren’t often in tension. But that may be changing.

Read more


UPDATE:  More news on the businesses, schools and Church groups suing against the HHS mandate of Obamacare can be found in this article on the Christianity Today website.

UPDATE:  This article on The Becket Fund website has new information on the Hobby Lobby fight against providing the abortion pill for its employees.


7 comments on “Obamacare vs. Religious Freedom

  1. Thank you for sharing, and God bless you.

  2. “health coverage” that is contrary to their religious beliefs” Not sure I understand how it’s contrary to religious beliefs. Could you explain please.

    • SacredStruggler,

      What I mean by that is the aspects of the health coverage (i.e. abortifacient, contraception and sterilization) that are against their religious beliefs. More specifically as it applies to the Administration’s expanding definition of what is “health” as discussed in the linked article.

      Did I make it more clear?

      Thanks for your question!


      • The link you provided leads to a full website not an article. Sorry. I understand what you mean now by sterilization and contraceptive. So why not oppose those issues and support the rest?

        • Sacred Struggler,

          Follow the link at the end of the excerpt labeled “read more” to continue the article.

          I believe that most do only oppose what they find to be contrary to their religious belief and not the whole mandate.


  3. Thanks for your patience and responses. The link worked.

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