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Dunn a Hoo Religious Freedom Term Paper

Dunn a Hoo Religious Freedom Term Paper

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Published by Kelly Dunnahoo

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Published by: Kelly Dunnahoo on Oct 16, 2012
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 lAN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF AN EXEMPTION FROMTHE HHS MANDATE BASED ON THE FIRST AMENDMENTKelly A. Dunnahoo, EC-571202-1407April 15, 2012
 
 The right for one to freely exercise his religion is granted in the First Amendment to theUnited States Constitution and is held dear to those who wish to be free from governmentalinterference as they live out their faith. However, various decisions by government agencies inrecent times indicate that this most revered right may be eroding.
1
A recent decision by theUnited States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has brought this issue to theforefront of American political discourse. On January 20, 2012, the HHS issued a mandatedeclaring that all health policies must include both contraceptive services and abortion-inducingmedication by August 1, 2012, giving
those “employers with religious objections” twelve (12)
additional months to comply.
2
An accommodation was issued by President Obama after a largepublic outcry but it did not include any reforms that could allay religious liberty concerns.
3
 Finally, legislation aimed at providing religious liberty exemptions to the mandate was proposedby Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) but was defeated almost entirely along party lines leaving theCatholic Church in America no choice but to fight for the abolition of the mandate.
4
This paperwill briefly review the history of the interpretation of the Free Exercise clause of the FirstAmendment and how the Supreme Court views religious freedom cases in the present day. Inaddition, merits of the case against the mandate will be discussed specifically as they pertain to
1. United States Conference of Bishops, Our First, Most Cherished Liberty, http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/our-first-most-cherished-liberty.cfm (accessed April 12, 2012).2. Sarah Torre, Adding Insult to injury: Obama Admin refuses to protect religious liberty,http://blog.heritage.org/2012/01/25/adding-insult-to-injury-obama-admin-refuses-to-protect-religious-liberty/ (accessed April 15, 2012).3. Brian Montopoli, Obama announces revamped contraception policy, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505267_162-57374456/obama-announces-revamped-contraception-policy/ (accessed April 16, 2012).4. Michelle Bauman, Senate rejects Blunt amendment to defend religious freedom,http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=4990 (accessed April 16, 2012).
 
 the requirement that contraceptive services be covered in insurance plans provided to employeesof Catholic institutions.A review of various state constitutions in colonial times provides some insight into theoverall feeling of the time period regarding what freedom of religion entailed. In general,verbiage included in these constitutions explicitly protect
ed this freedom as long as it didn’t
infringe upon the rights of others.
5
There were actually few religious exemptions granted inearly American history, but this should not give the idea that they were not permitted nor shouldit give an impression that this issue was not an important one. In reality, the government has notalways been as hostile to the idea of religion as it has become in present day America. Congresstook this issue seriously when it passed various laws that might restrict the right of Americans topractice their religion.
6
 However, there have been instances of religious persecution throughout American history
and it was not until the middle of the twentieth century that the freedom to practice one’s religion
again became a widely accepted concept.
7
At this time, a standard was developed to determineif the free exercise clause had been violated in a particular case. The
“compelling state interesttest”
stated that a purely secular law, neutral in its intent, may only restrict the free exercise of religion if it can be shown that the government had a compelling reason to do so.
8
This test
allowed protections of the Amish’s desire to remove their children from public high schools
5. Thomas C. Berg,
The First Amendment: The Free Exercise of Religion Clause
, Bill of rights series(Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2008), 100.6. Ibid., 102.7. Ibid., 19.8. Stephen V. Monsma and J. Christopher Soper,
The Challenge of Pluralism
, second ed. (Lanham, MD:Rowman & Littelfield Publishers,, 2009), 24.

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