Monday, February 27, 2012

John F. Kennedy – My How Times Have Changed: Part 2

No sooner did I finish write the other blog post I came across this New York Times opinion page…
Back to First Principles on Religious Freedom
New York Times
Published: February 25, 2012

Catholic bishops, leading Republicans and other social conservatives persist in portraying the Obama administration’s new rule requiring employer health plans to cover birth control without a co-pay as an assault on religious freedom.

But the real departure from the Constitution is their specious claim to a right to impose their religious views on millions of Americans who do not share them. Virtually all American women, including Catholic women, use contraceptives sometime in their lives. In essence, the bishops and their allies are arguing that they are above the law and their beliefs should be elevated over pressing societal interests.
Insupportable claims of religious infringement are being made in other contexts, too. Religious service providers say it is religious discrimination to deny them government contracts to help human-trafficking victims or arrange adoptions because of their unwillingness to provide emergency contraception or stop discriminating against qualified gay couples.

Several lawsuits challenging the contraception rule have already been filed, and two main legal elements come into play: the Supreme Court’s 1990 ruling in Employment Division v. Smith and the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (R.F.R.A.), which Congress passed in response to that ruling.

The Smith decision, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, involved two workers who sought unemployment benefits after they were fired for using peyote, an illegal drug. The court found that Oregon could deny the benefits — even though the workers said their use of peyote was part of a religious ritual — under the general principle that Oregon’s ban on peyote was a “valid and neutral law of general applicability.”
But that was not the only case that the Supreme Court heard on religion and government, a 1982 court case, United States v. Lee, involved the Amish having to pay Social Security tax, they claimed it went against their religious beliefs. Read my blog entry OK, "This Is Going To Be Controversial".

No comments:

Post a Comment