While the political left and the mainstream media mourn the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States today, Americans who still cherish the First Amendment have cause for celebration. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other liberal groups have already attempted to portray the decision of the court in the matter of Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby as yet another “war on women.” The reality, however, is that the Supreme Court merely upended a war on religious liberty that has been raging under this present administration. Under the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, private citizens and private companies were to be forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs (known as abortifacients) and other such drugs that contradict their consciences.
Such an unconstitutional and unnecessary mandate against private citizens and the private companies they create is an indefensible assault on the principles of religious liberty.
Today’s Supreme Court ruling wasn’t about birth control pills, condoms, or contraception; it was about a fundamental principle of the American founding: that free people should be allowed to put their beliefs into practice in public. It was about free people not having to check their conscience at the door of their business, or before they enter a government office. In spite of President Obama’s best efforts to rhetorically shift “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship,” the American people know that the concepts are not the same. Freedom of worship means that you can say what you want inside a church or chapel, but that you must tow the politically correct line outside of the walls of your place of worship. Freedom of religion means that you have the right, under the Constitution, to live out your faith in public, so long as you are not infringing on the basic, natural rights of other free citizens.
America’s founders opposed the false choice of obeying the principals of their faith, or obeying the laws of their nation. As such, this country was founded on the principle that people of faith would never be forced to abandon their faith to obey the law. Shifting our society’s commitment from religious freedom to “freedom of worship” would fundamentally alter the American understanding of political liberty and the character of our free nation. If the government can force someone to violate their deepest held beliefs in the name of advancing its policy agenda, then religious liberty is no more existent in America than it was in Elizabethan England. Thankfully, the Supreme Court today affirmed the understanding of our founders that freedom of religion isn’t designed to protect the government from people of faith, but to protect people of faith from the overreach of the government.
Far from being a slippery slope toward denying children needed medications (as the far left has hysterically claimed in the aftermath of the SCOTUS ruling today) today’s decision upholds the quintessentially American notion that religious conviction and the rule of law should not be at odds. The SCOTUS ruling in the case of Hobby Lobby and the DHHS contraception mandates is not the resurrection of a politically puffed-up “war on women” but, instead, the resurrection of religious liberty that has far too long been trampled in this land of the free.