Saturday, October 01, 2016

New Threats to Religious Liberty

It's Saturday morning, and I'm reading the Detroit Free Press. 

There's an article by Russell Shaw - "New Threats to Religious Liberty." It begins:

Last June five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court thumbed their noses at religious liberty.
They accomplished that without spoken comment simply by turning down an appeal by a family pharmacy in Washington state from a lower court order requiring the pharmacists to violate their consciences by dispensing an abortifacient.
So troubled was Justice Samuel Alito by his colleagues’ action that, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas, he issued a dissent — unusual when the court merely refuses to hear a case.
“If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have great cause for concern,” Justice Alito wrote.

Religious liberty is part of the Constitution, embedded in the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment. By contrast, non-discrimination isn’t mentioned in the constitutional text and tortuous interpretation has sometimes been required to find a basis for it there. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion legalizing same-sex marriage last year was an egregious instance.

Shaw notes that in January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a mandate under the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) that requires all employer health plans to provide free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of any moral or religious objections. This mandate included The Little Sisters of the Poor.

The First Amendment to the Constitution bans laws that restrict "religious exercise." Yet a majority of our Supreme Court justices have no respect for religious liberty.

Image result for supreme court religious liberty cartoons

To understand the 5 Lawyers' decision to change the definition of marriage see Ryan T. Anderson, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom. He writes:

"The court has usurped the authority of the people, through the democratic process, to define marriage... I argue here that we are sleepwalking into an unprecedented cultural and social revolution. A truth acknowledged for millennia has been overruled by five unelected judges. The consequences will extend far beyond those couples newly able to obtain a marriage license." (Kindle Locations 88-90)