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  • Should Government Protect Only Religion Done "on Sunday in Church"?

    At a recent press conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) declared in reference to the religious objections to the contraception mandate: “You know what? I do my religion on Sunday in church and I try to go other days of the week. I don’t do it at this press conference.”

    How policymakers conceive of religion—what it is and where and when it is practiced—is important in shaping their notion of religious freedom. Does the First Amendment protect only activities that take place inside a church or synagogue, such as singing, praying, and preaching? Or does it also protect the public exercise of faith in daily life?

    Viewing religion itself as something private and separate from the rest of life might make a big difference to the answer.

    A narrow, privatized understanding of religion can not only weaken religious liberty but also undermine the role of civil society and help pave the way for bigger, more intrusive government. These are precisely the issues that have generated concern over the anti-conscience mandate and that are inspiring public rallies for religious freedom across the country.

    The mandate is problematic not only for forcing employers to cover abortion-inducing drugs and other items they may hold to be immoral. The mandate also suggests a narrow, privatized view of religion itself being advanced by the Obama Administration that corresponds with the most narrow religious exemption in federal law.

    The exemption protects only churches and religious orders that hire and serve members of their own faith. That means most schools, hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, and non-profit ministries aren’t protected.

    Apparently, the Administration views a pastor preaching about the 10 Commandments on Sunday as sufficiently religious, but if on Monday he teaches the 10 Commandments in an ethics class at a Christian school, he is no longer religious enough to qualify for the exemption.

    In effect, the view of religion embedded in the mandate recasts the Founders’ robust notion of religious freedom as a much narrower freedom of worship.

    Recently, 150 Protestant and Catholic leaders signed a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius protesting the two-class system of religious organizations the exemption has created. Organized by the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance, the letter argues that “both worship-oriented and service-oriented religious organizations are authentically and equally religious organizations.… We deny that it is within the jurisdiction of the federal government to define, in place of religious communities, what constitutes true religion and authentic ministry.”

    Citizens across the country are speaking out for a robust view of religious liberty. Beginning on June 21, a variety of events—from concerts to educational presentations, from prayer services to rallies at state capitals—will mark what is being dubbed the “Fortnight of Freedom.” The two-week celebration will culminate on July 4 with the ringing of church bells throughout the country at noon Eastern.

    May their ringing remind us all that religious liberty is not just for churches; our “first freedom” protects not only the right to believe or teach certain doctrines but to live out one’s faith in all aspects of life.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Should Government Protect Only Religion Done "on Sunday in Church"?

    1. Andre Girnau says:

      To anyone who thinks they can go to church on sundays and holidays like christmas and easter and yet act like a secular sinner the other 6 days of the week. Your wasting your time and still going to hell. Being a christian isn't just goingh to church on Sundays its living it 7 days a week 24 hours a day 365 days a year. So Pelosi Obama and every other promurder(abortion) and leftist cant be a christian and can only be a satanist which is the real religion of all secular people. Yes there is a God and yes this is the beginning of the End of the world. Sorry but the truth is the truth and God still sits in his palace on his throne and humanity is running out of time to repent.

    2. Bobbie says:

      Why is the government allowed to step over the line all the time? Get them out of freedoms! Religious beliefs is not the role of government to make it their role by mandating government rules conflicting to the beliefs of religions that promotes positive qualities of inner strength, self esteem, self reliance, personal responsibility that derives individual freedom in both genders. The proper qualities in a civil society through the greatest of teachings by Jesus Christ! Who is neither a "white privileged" (labeled by men who's personal conflicts are of their own,) nor American…

      The 10 commandments can be taught anytime anywhere! Nothing white or privileged or religious about them. Good base for civil law. Pelosi is as much catholic as she is the devil. Why is the government authority so opposed to what is good for all humanity? Faith that promotes the good of humanity! j/k! we know why!!

    3. Kris says:

      Agree with Andrew, but Bobbie is a but wrong, should government or an employer
      be forced to give way to muslims who need to always wear hijab, pray 5x a day,
      and then of course a bit more extreme be granted single changing rooms even with the same gender and allowed to handle alchohol or pork even though they don't eat it, the list goes on and on, take for instance
      the new jersey patient who left against the doctor's advice because no male doctor was available and sued.

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