Russell Shaw, writing at Aleitia reminds us that at the beginning, our government could declare it had no business meddling in the religious freedom of Americans:
But an incident back in 1783 points to the most compelling reason for concern about these matters.
At that time the papal nuncio in Paris asked Benjamin Franklin, the American representative there, to sound out the Continental Congress on the establishment of a Catholic diocese in the then-emerging new nation. The Continental Congress replied that it had no “jurisdiction and power” over what the Church chose to do about that.
This was a historic turning-point. In a departure from the practice of centuries, religious freedom would be unfettered in the United States.
I seem to be writing more and more about the religious parts of the First Amendment. All of that part of the Constitution is at risk. But if religious freedoms are nibbled away by government and its liberal surrogates, we’ve lost it all.
Shaw is writing about the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear a Washington State case about a family pharmacy whose owners did not wish to dispense a drug which caused abortion. There were plenty of nearby drug stores which would dispense the abortifacient, but the government insists the family pharmacy also needs to dispense a drug which violates their religious principles. By refusing to hear the case, the lower court’s decision against religious liberty stands.
Shaw also responds to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which through its chairman stated that “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” are frequent code words for “discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia” and other reprehensible behavior.
Crisis pregnancy centers in northern Illinois have filed a federal lawsuit saying their employees’ freedom of speech and religious rights will be violated if the state forces them to give patients information about abortion services.
The provision takes effect on Jan. 1 and requires health care providers with a “conscience-based objection” to have protocols in place by then for giving patients information about – or referrals to – other health care providers who will discuss or offer such services.
“The government shouldn’t be putting messages in people’s mouths,” Noel Sterett, an attorney for the centers, said this week.
The religious crisis pregnancy centers are being forced to provide information about abortion centers when asked by patients. They are in effect telling religious people at church ministries to go against their consciences.