Nolan, David J., Conscience
Religious liberty has been in the headlines in the united States and around the world. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has been especially vocal in claiming that religious liberty is under threat. But a cursory examination of the bishops' arguments shows that they do not stand up to any scrutiny.
Take, for example, the contraceptive benefit in the Affordable Care Act--a recent expansion of the US health insurance industry. The headlines all said that requiring employers to provide contraception was an attack on religious freedom--this, despite the fact that 99 percent of sexually active American women, Catholic or otherwise, have used contraception. If the bishops had their way, they would be free to impose their own narrow, conservative interpretation of Catholic teachings on every American, Catholic or not. That's not religious liberty; that's using religion to discriminate--which amounts to religious tyranny.
The focus was on the battle over contraception, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. The challenge to contraceptive coverage is an attack on real religious freedom, which includes two aspects: freedom of and freedom from religion. Similar attacks are taking place in many other areas, including employment, education and healthcare. …