The Constitution cannot be read in a vacuum. See Christine O’Donnell and her being laughed at at a debate because she asks “where in the Constitution is the separation between church and state?”
The Constitution must be read, at the very least, with 200+ years of precedent explaining what the laws mean.We also know from history that there are laws that have been made that violate someone’s freedom of religious. Muslim and Mormon men can’t have more than one wife, Rastafarians can’t smoke marijuana, just to name a few violations of people’s rights that everyone seems ok with. Thus the First Amendment–the literal words being “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”–must be read with an understanding of the Lemon test in mind.
The Lemon test comes from the case Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971). It says, in short, that
- if a law has a secular legislative purpose,
- does not have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, AND
- does not involve in excessive entanglement with religion,
it does not violate the First Amendment, even if it means you can’t do something that your faith tells you that you must. Sorry, no pot and no sister wives. And no, you can’t do half the things Deuteronomy tells you you should.
The Affordable Care Act, as we all know because it’s been talked about to death, mandates that health insurance companies must provide birth control without co-pays or deductibles. A bunch of old men got their panties in a twist about this.
Somehow in magicland, this violated their religious freedom. Because apparently, and I’m no Biblical scholar, their religion tells them that they are forbidden from having female employees that don’t ovulate or they must regulate the cervical mucus of their female employees. In short, they bitched and moaned that their religious freedom was violated because they could no longer oppress people.
Religiously affiliated hospitals and churches are exempt from this provision of the Affordable Care Act, meaning that insurance plans provided by people who work for churches or religious hospitals don’t have to provide basic health care. So here is how the Affordable Heathcare Act violates your freedom of religion. How the fuck does that provision excepting churches and religious institutions not have the primary effect of advancing religion?
Old news is old.