WASHINGTON – In response to the Supreme Court of the United States granting writs of certiorari in cases challenging the contraceptive coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act on religious liberty grounds, Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement. Interfaith Alliance has joined friend-of-the-court briefs in these cases at the lower levels of court proceedings.
The issues at stake in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases strike at the core of our national debate over the meaning of religious liberty today. The private, for-profit companies that are challenging the contraception benefit of the Affordable Care Act claim to do so on religious liberty grounds. To be certain, there are times when religious organizations and individuals should receive exemptions and accommodations from certain laws—but that’s not the case here. These exemptions must be appropriately tailored for the sake of lifting an actual substantial burden on religious exercise, not for the sake of denying services and rights to others.
These cases are part of a growing and dangerous trend in our nation in which the meaning of religious freedom is being co-opted, turned into the freedom to use religion to discriminate and deny the rights of our fellow citizens. This could not be further from the true meaning of the religious liberty upon which our nation was founded. The religious liberty that is the foundation of our nation does not mean bosses have the right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees. Nor does this freedom mean that bosses have the right to use their personal religious beliefs to deny their employees necessary medical services.
Those who support or are still on the fence about these exemptions from women’s health care coverage, I hope you will ask yourself this: if a religious liberty based justification was being requested by another religion, one with which you disagree, on a different issue, one which you adamantly oppose, would you still favor the exemption?
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.