According to John McCormack of The Weekly Standard, that’s the issue at hand surrounding the mandate of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). At least, that’s the way the left would like to see the issue framed, and McCormack argues that liberty itself is the primary issue, and what is really at stake. Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention explained a solution that would settle the issue satisfactorily: provide a conscience clause that would allow for individuals and groups who have moral objections to contraception (as well as abortion) to opt out of the mandate that requires its provision. Supporters of the mandate object, saying that Americans would be at risk of having health care benefits provided for them if they were employed by such conscientious objectors. McCormack writes,
Supporters of the mandate are fighting back, arguing that legislation to restore the conscience protections that existed before Obamacare will leave Americans vulnerable. “You know, a Christian Science owner of a running shoe store could decide no health insurance,” [Democratic Senator Dick] Durbin said on Tuesday. Of course, for all of American history prior to the passage of Obamacare, shoe salesmen—whatever their religion—were free to pay their employees with money rather than health care benefits without facing fines from the federal government, yet the republic managed to survive.
He goes on to say,
It’s not at all clear who will win this fight. A CNN poll showed Americans oppose the administration’s policy 50 percent to 44 percent, but a CBS/New York Times poll found that 61 percent of Americans supported it.
A lot depends on whether opponents can press the argument against Obama’s mandate from all angles. Can they get the word out that it’s not merely a “contraception mandate” but an “abortion mandate,” too? Can they make the case that the issue is religious liberty—or liberty more broadly—and not access to contraception? That all remains to be seen. But there’s no reason to think the issue will go away before November. For opponents, the election is the only opportunity to reverse the mandate.
Often, when considering the outcome of a championship ball game, a big decision about to be handed down by an employer, a debate between candidates for office, or a future election, people make the comment, “It’s going to be interesting to see how this turns out.” On this issue, it’s going to be more than “interesting.” If the constitutional principle of freedom of conscience is sidelined in favor of governmental bureaucratic fiat, we will have a game-changer. We will be living under a new order.
See McCormack’s article here.