So, suppose the Administration backs down. Suppose church groups are not required to offend against their conscience by choosing to either provide drugs which they believe are inherently for sinful purposes, or to pay draconian fines and not offer any health coverage at all. The administration can say, “We heard the voice of America, and we have decided to listen.” But will the administration say, “We believe that it is not our place to decide what is and what is not a religious activity”? Will the administration admit, “The creator has given rights to people, and the government can not impose upon them while remaining a just government”?
The frightening thing in all of this is the presupposition that the government has the power to decide what are rights and what are not. This is the very opposite of what the founding fathers meant when they drafted the constitution. It begins, “We the people…” The government was formed by the people, who ceded to it certain powers. It was not created in order to give the people rights that the government saw fit to grant. The bill of rights clarifies that there are areas where the government is not free to impinge because there are certain rights guaranteed by the creator. The rights are to be protected by the government, they are not granted by the government.
The frightening thing about this is the extreme likelihood that the administration will back down, but do so in a way that makes clear that the administration is the one who is giving the right to be a conscientious objector to government policy, instead of the administration admitting that it was treading on sacred ground, and had overstepped its bounds.
For if the administration does the former, then it is really saying, “The time is not right to transgress these rights. But when public opinion is more in our favor, we will do that. We reserve the right to declare which rights you have and which rights you do not have.” Various states are already doing this very thing. They have said, “Either provide homes for orphans in a manner that offends against conscience, or you may not provide homes for orphans at all.” Churches have had to stop taking care of orphans by state diktat.
What will the next Diktat be? That churches are forbidden from speaking against same-sex marriage at all? That they must pay fines or risk their tax exempt status if they do not teach according to government mandates? This is already going on in “western democracies”.
The administration will likely lose this battle. We will breathe a collective sigh of relief. But they will frame the retreat in terms that may very well lose us the war.