I was going to write a lengthier post on the subject, particularly as it pertains to the whole contraception/Catholicism controversy, but I'm sure I would never find the time. And indeed, this graphic makes the point pretty well.
Religious freedom, as protected by the First Amendment, means that each person should be allowed to follow the dictates of their own conscience. Of course, as with all civil rights, there is a limit. After all, if the "dictates of one's own conscience" thinks it is moral and just to randomly shoot people as they walk down the street, then we've got a problem.
And the solution goes back to that old axiom: "Your right to swing your arm about wildly ends when your arm comes into contact with my face."
The specific issue at hand is whether Catholic employers can deny contraception coverage to their employees, but that's the narrow version applied to the facts of the controversy. Stated more generically, the issue is whether or not any employer can deny insurance coverage to his/her employees for procedures and medicines which cut against his/her religious beliefs.
The GOP, taking the losing side on this issue, says "no". They maintain that you cannot, as a matter of constitutional law, make someone "pay" for something that goes against their moral convictions.
That's an interesting position, and one that I'm not sure the GOP actually wants to take. By that reasoning, I should be getting a HUGE tax refund because I didn't support the Iraq War. Same with millions of my other fellow citizens. To this argument, the GOP would likely say, "Yes, but that is different." And I would say in response, "How is it different? And who gets to decide?"
The truth is that we all, in some form or another, "pay" for things we don't want or use. There are numerous streams of money, fungible and plentiful, coursing through our lives at the most innocent level. Directly or indirectly, we support things with our purchasing power. And some of those things may go against the grain of what we believe. That's the cost of being an American citizen.
But does that mean our religious freedom is being violated? Are worshipers being told what to believe, or what NOT to believe? Of course not. Everyone contributes to society, but one's relationship with God (or Allah or what-have-you) is not being jeopardized. I mean, wasn't there someone who one said "Pay Caesar what is due Caesar; pay God what is due God"? Pretty sure I read that somewhere.
RELATED: You may have guessed this already, but while the Catholic Church doesn't want to pay for contraception for its women employees, where does it stand on Viagra? Should Viagra be covered, oh, Catholic Church?