Friday, August 26, 2011
In this Public Discourse essay, Helen Alvare discusses the important connection between religious freedom -- in particular, the institutional / communal dimension of that freedom -- and the debate about conscience-protection in the health-care and health-insurance contexts. I particularly liked this paragraph:
Over the course of our history, Americans came to understand that the state’s lack of jurisdiction over questions of ultimate meaning entailed not only allowing individuals to believe privately in a transcendent reality, or to worship as they believed, or even to pray privately and perform good works. Rather, it also entailed recognizing that religion is also exercised in the form of associations that provide services to vulnerable citizens of every background in accordance with religious principles. Throughout American history, religious citizens were not only permitted, but even encouraged, to let their religious convictions to inform their work, and their contributions to public debates were understood to have important consequences for our understanding of human rights and dignity.
Check it out.