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Religious conscience case opens a can of worms

Date published: 4/6/2014

The Supreme Court is now deliberating the case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, a private for-profit company that wants to use religious objections to deny health care coverage for contraception to its female employees.

The question they face is a complicated one. First of all, a corporation is not a living entity and cannot possibly hold "religious beliefs."

So, the question becomes, how can owners of any for-profit company use their personal religious beliefs to deny employees the right to coverage for medications that do not violate the employees' own religious beliefs?

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, an endless number of religious objections are likely to ensue.

Will employers also be able to deny coverage for HIV or STD treatments, blood transfusions or immunizations, or even deny women jobs altogether? Where will it end?

Once one religious sect is granted an exception to disregard laws that violate its personal religious beliefs, that will set the precedent--and the same exceptions must be granted to all religions, regardless of the issue. This includes Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, polygamous Mormons or anyone else of any other sect who has any spiritual or religious objections to any law.

This is, after all, by law a secular country and all religions have the absolute right to be treated equally.

Does anyone really want to go down that road?

This is why we have and must maintain separation of church and state. It's also just another example of why we need the choice for a single-payer public option or Medicare for all in this country.

No person in this country should ever be subjected to, or restricted by, any other person's religious beliefs, especially where their personal health care choices are concerned.

Paula Neustatter