Letter: The corporate exercise of faith
The Constitution grants us freedom of and, by extension, from religion. But does this freedom mean the personal or corporate exercise of faith in everyday life? The current court case—Obamacare versus Hobby Lobby—is really about this.
Let’s look at birth control. Most, if not all, insurance companies that have prescription benefits as a common practice, include birth control, realizing these drugs are often prescribed for medical reasons other than pregnancy. Drugs or devices designed to stop a fertilized egg from developing fall into this category and are routinely covered.
Should a business be exempt from Constitutional (tested) Law, based on their owners’ religious beliefs (what I will refer to as the corporate faith), or should a business respect others’ individual rights? How does an employer know every single employee truly is a practicing member of the corporate faith? This does not only apply to people of faith. Should any employer be able to fire an employee whose religion (or lack of), not behavior, they find disagreeable? If you exempt a business, thereby denying one person their rights as an individual, are you not threatening us all? Churches have been exempted from many things, but should their vast holdings be? In an effort to protect individual rights, we have created a massive loophole in the Constitution.
As individuals, we can all choose what we believe and what we will or will not actively participate in. Take a woman’s right to choose. If a person such as me, under most circumstances, does not believe a pregnancy should be aborted, then I would not work for or visit their clinics. I also would not harass or bomb them as it is their Constitutional right to exist. Your insurance plans have always paid for that which you may not agree with or may never use. You can choose to not use those parts. Your religion says no alcohol. You can choose to or not to associate with friends who do or even dine where it is served. I’d even bet your family doctor prescribes the pill, but you still use him, right?
Is freedom of religion abused? I think it may be. The barrage of lawsuits, articles, even bills before state and federal government trying to impose one group’s beliefs on us all is my evidence. Within most religions there are many variations of what the faithful must respect and practice … some not so popular in this country. The Constitution tries to protect the individual’s right to practice as they wish, not the institution’s ability to dictate to us all.