Because it has a legacy of accomodating conscience, America has developed a rich, participatory civil society that facilitates the efforts of individuals to do what they consider their sacred duty to meet the charitable needs of others. Sometimes the effective and socially beneficial fulfillment of that sacred duty may come bundled with beliefs and practices at odds with other passionately held norms (e.g., Catholic health services and abortion). Would we really wish to forgo the societal benefits of conscience to preserve uniformity?
Accommodating conscience in a religiously diverse society is not simple. It certainly doesn't meet the bureaucrat's need for straightforward application of rules. But it honors fellow citizens as free, equal and conscientious agents who are seeking, with the help of their best lights, to become the authors of a purposeful life. We should feel confident enough in the benefits that derive from genuine liberty and pluralism to welcome and celebrate conscientious objection in its many manifestations.