Relgious freedom

Stand Up for Religious Freedom will be holding rallies this Friday. Tim Martin provides details.

Religious organizations could have insurers cover the costs of the contraceptive coverage rather than pay for it directly. But that attempted compromise from the Obama administration has not satisfied some religious groups. Critics say the rule violates their rights to religious freedom.
“We just don’t believe government should interfere in the way churches define their faith,” said Cheryl Rehmann, a Catholic involved in organizing a Lansing rally against the mandate.

Religious institutions do not get free passes as to how they conduct their affairs. This becomes especially true when the institutions employ non-adherents to help with their mission. Then the institution necessarily must conduct itself towards employees much as any other institution. And I would think scale matters, as well. it’s one thing to have a couple of sympathetic non-adherents helping out, but when one is one of the largest employers in the county (see Mercy Health in Muskegon County), the obligations towards non-adherents does increase as does the expectation of equity in employee benefits.

Hiding behind claims of “religious freedom” will not resolve the underlying condition of this engagement. What does make the issue so slippery is that the societal questions vary not only as to the presence of non-adherents, but also in the scale of operation. Thus one simply appeal to the Constitution really does not work very well, here. Then on top of this, we also admit as a society that even behavior that would be strictly internal to a religious body may nonetheless fall under societal rules, e.g. questions of polygamy, abuse, financial malfeasance.

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