You hear that phrase a lot, everyone should be entitled to their religious freedom, their religious beliefs. But, is that what is really happening? The recent debate about birth control and the case the Catholic Church is bringing against the Obama administration raises some serious questions. To me religious freedom means being able to choose whatever religion you like and have the ability to follow their doctrine. That brings up a few issues, number one being, if you aren’t religious at all and don’t believe in it you should have the same rights and respects others have; freedom of religion also means freedom to not be religious. I can understand churches and synagogues having their religion they believe in practiced at their place of worship. The fact that they are on tax deductible land is something that should be looked into, why are they able to have that status? But having a place of worship where people have the same beliefs makes sense; I mean I know there are heated discussions within these communities but their underlying belief is the same. But argument and venting ideas is healthy, positive and will make people understand things better or differently.
When you get into employment the earth shifts. If you work at a Catholic institution your freedom of religion should be respected more than the institutions freedom of religion. When you are an employer you need bow to your employees freedom of religion, not the freedom of the employing institution. In this economy, and actually in any economy at all, people need jobs, they need a source of income. If they choose to work in a religious affiliated hospital or other venue, their personal freedom of religion should be respected. Theirs, not the institutions. So if you are an employer, a hospital lets say, the benefits you over need to be in line with what your competition offers, not what you believe in religiously. It’s the individual worker who uses their religious freedom to decide what path they want to take. If contraceptives are against their faith and beliefs they don’t have to get them. Its the big guy against the little guy all over again. The place of work should offer benefits that are in line with their competition, its the individual to express their religious freedom by utilizing or not utilizing the benefits.
In 1993 my 86 year old grandmother had a stroke; she had been in perfect health every day of her life before that. My father being a medical Dr. knew that the stroke she suffered from had irreversible damage, she would never be the same. My grandmother had a living will, she did not want to be on life support if her life was gone. My father on the way to the hospital gave instructions of her wishes and told the Dr.’s not to feed or try to revive her; following her wishes. It was a Catholic hospital so they ignored her wishes and my fathers orders and fed her. When my father got there he changed the situation and in forced my grandmothers desires and freedom of religion. A Catholic hospital should abide by its patients wishes, not by their own wishes. Freedom of religion is a personal thing not a business thing.
People need to look a lot closer at this kind of thing, do you want your wishes followed through on;or do you want them ignored because an ambulance brings you to a hospital thats closest to you but doesn’t respect your religious freedom.