What do you do when your religious beliefs conflict with what your government demands of you? Most of us living in the United States have never had to worry about that. Unfortunately, some have...and it's going to get worse. Two examples:
California has a law requiring any employer who offers a prescription drug coverage to include coverage of prescription contraceptives in that coverage. Catholic Charities of Sacramento challenged the law on the grounds that their religious beliefs prohibited them from supporting contraceptives. They lost.
Two fertility doctors in California, Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton, both refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian woman due to religious objections. They did refer the woman to another doctor who performed the procedure for her. She sued them anyway, and the doctors lost.
Most of us do not provide insurance coverage or fertility treatments, so some might be inclined to think these events don't affect us. If you do think that, you are wrong. Why? The once-ironclad guarantee we had that the government could not "prohibit the free exercise" of religion is no more. In other words, one person's "right" to not be offended is now considered a higher legal priority than another person's desire to refrain from practices that are against his religious beliefs. Our ability to live our religion legally has become subject to world's popular judgment of whether those religious beliefs are acceptable or not. Considering that most of the "popular" opinion out there is that the LDS Church is a cult, I'm not optimistic about how many of my beliefs will meet the world's standards.
There is hope, and there is specific action that can and should be taken today. A new law went into effect in January intended to protect health care workers who act on their conscience. Unfortunately, there is already an effort to overturn this law. The Department of Health and Human Services is taking public comments on the issue through April 9th. Comments in support of the law can be submitted at http://www.adoctorsright.com.
"Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King - indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their 'personal morality' into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition." - Barack Obama, June 28, 2006