The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently upheld a religion's right to organize its affairs and set the rules for its members. The administration, however, has imposed requirements as part of the Affordable Care Act that would take away rights of conscience in regard to certain medical procedures religious employers would have to offer employees as part of their health coverage.
Unlike the pioneers of nearly two centuries ago, there is no place left for believers to flee. These are battles that must be fought, but they can be won only if the historical basis for religious freedom is taught and understood widely. It is the first freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution, and that was not by coincidence.
In a letter explaining this, James Madison wrote, "We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts. do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Gov."
This is a lesson that must be passed down, not learned anew the hard way.
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