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Now the ObamaCare mandate honors religious freedom?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
The Left, by its very nature, is ideologically driven. Ideology has a tendency to crowd out reason for the sake of vision.

Witness the fact that certain members of the Left now want Americans to believe the Obama abortion pill mandate—which violates religious freedom—is, in fact, an exercise of religious freedom.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow articulates this clearly in a recent Huffington Post column .

In Waskow’s words, those who oppose the mandate requiring employers to provide insurance covering abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception for their employees—whether doing so violates their consciences or not—are actually “attacking religious freedom in the guise of defending it.”

Waskow’s line of thinking is simple, and simply wrong. He contends that a woman’s choice about whether to use contraception is an expression of her religious freedom (a matter of conscience), and therefore opposition to the mandate is a violation of religious freedom.

In making this assertion, he has overlooked a central fact: namely, that by forcing others to pay for the choices certain women make—choices regarding abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception—the government has actually violated the religious freedom of millions, including religious employers and their faithful employees who will be forced to buy things their consciences would never have tolerated having to buy before.

Think about it—the absence of the mandate doesn’t prevent anyone from buying anything and doesn’t force anyone to buy or subsidize anything…so how in the world does resistance to this mandate equate to a violation of anyone’s freedom?

Waskow arrived at this position by going back to a 1965 Supreme Court decision in which contraception was ruled a choice of conscience to be made by men and women in our country. He believes the abortion pill mandate actually complements that ruling by guaranteeing that people of all socio-economic classes have a way to obtain contraception and, therefore, a way to exercise their religious freedom.

But this must rest on the assumption that the ingestion of a “free” abortion pill is actually an act of worship so vital to one’s faith that every individual employer must offer plans that provide the pills at no cost to the employee lest the employee’s right to free exercise of religion be violated. Many have commented that abortion activism has all flavor of religious fervor, but this is ridiculous.

In the end, real religious freedom doesn’t enter into the equation for Waskow. His argument is nothing more than advocacy for a massive extension of the government’s coercive and confiscatory powers to take from those who have in order to give to those they believe ought to have instead. The abortion pill mandate is just a new platform for an old argument that Americans from our founding until today have rejected.

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