Ed Feulner

The archbishop of Philadelphia. The president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The head of the Union for Traditional Judaism.

What do these three eminent religious leaders have in common? They’re among more than 300 distinguished individuals who have signed a statement by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty protesting the Obama administration’s infamous “contraception mandate.”

Their beliefs fall from one end of the theological spectrum to the other. But all agree that government has no business forcing every health insurance plan to provide “free” abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization.

In reality, of course, these things aren’t free. The costs will be passed on to employers, including those who have moral objections to them. Apparently they’re expected to just check their First Amendment rights at the door. Welcome to the land of the not-so-free.

The White House tried to sell a promised “accommodation” of the objections lodged by religious groups at an unspecified later date. But the Becket Fund group, among others, wasn’t fooled.

“This is a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand,” the group wrote. “It is an insult to the intelligence of Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other people of faith and conscience to imagine that they will accept an assault on their religious liberty if only it is covered up by a cheap accounting trick.”

The true importance of this issue goes deeper than many people realize. Anyone who thinks this is merely a scuffle over religion should think again. Atheists should be just as alarmed as the most devout Catholics, Protestants, Jews or Muslims. That’s because this fight really amounts to the latest skirmish in a larger battle over how free we Americans are today.

We’re living in the age of Unelected Bureaucrats. They can run our lives in minute detail, from the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we go to bed at night. In the name of “progress,” no area of our lives, no aspect of society is left untouched.

“All is subject to government control, regulatory dictate and administrative whim,” writes Matthew Spalding, vice president of American Studies at The Heritage Foundation. “Nothing will be allowed outside of the new regulatory scheme: no independent state programs, no individuals or businesses permitted not to participate, no true private market alternatives.”

Ed Feulner

Dr. Edwin Feulner is Founder of The Heritage Foundation, a Townhall.com Gold Partner, and co-author of Getting America Right: The True Conservative Values Our Nation Needs Today .
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