“… At the time of our founding, Thomas Jefferson wrote that “Almighty God hath created the mind free. … All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens … are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion.” He also wrote that the “moral duties which exist between individual and individual in a state of nature accompany them into a state of society, … their Maker not having released them from those duties on their forming themselves into a nation.” In other words, God has entrusted human beings, alone and in society, with the crucial task of seeking the truth and of living in accordance with it. The state has no authority to interfere with or to direct this pursuit. Our founders’ convictions about religious freedom found their way into our Constitution as the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights …
The health of religious freedom in the United States is in large part entrusted to the Congress, to the president, and to state governments. In the near term, our lawmakers need to ensure the passage and enforcement of legislation that at the very least:
Fixes the PPACA to provide conscience protection for all health care providers, sponsors and insurers.
Enables religious ministries to continue to operate in accordance with their religious conscience to provide the kinds of educational, health care, and other social services to the vulnerable communities they serve.
Requires all entities receiving government funds to avoid discrimination on the basis of religious conscience.”
read all of Helen Alvare’s Uphold Conscience Protection: Religious Freedom’s Contribution to the American Experience and Threats to its Survival