Honoring Faith in the Public Square
Image: Rob Day
Honoring Faith in the Public Square

During the past year, The Obama administration has been subjected to strenuous criticism for its perceived hostility, or at best cavalier indifference, to the cause of religious freedom in the United States.

First there was the Supreme Court's decision in the Hosanna-Tabor case. The Obama administration's lawyers sought to deny church-run schools a longstanding exemption from antidiscrimination laws, meant to safeguard religious schools' freedom to hire and fire employees according to their own faith-based criteria. The Court delivered a stinging and unanimous rebuke, reaffirming the exemption.

Then, more famously, came the still-simmering case of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring all employers, including church-run schools, hospitals, and charities, to provide their employees with health-insurance plans covering contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization procedures.

Religious leaders quickly realized that this requirement would necessitate the violation of core moral teachings, particularly for the Roman Catholic Church. Opposition was swift and unequivocal, taking the form of a remarkably ecumenical coalition. The often fractious Catholic bishops achieved an unprecedented degree of unity. They were joined soon enough by a broad array of evangelical leaders, such as the president of Wheaton College, as well as eminent figures from across the full spectrum of American religious communities: Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Sikhs, and so on. Everywhere the rallying cry was directed, not to the support of specific Catholic doctrines, but to the general defense of religious freedom.

Secular supporters of the administration seemed both annoyed and mystified by the protests. How, wondered Ed Kilgore, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Tags:
From Issue:
Read These Next
Also in this IssueHow to Unfreeze the Middle East
How to Unfreeze the Middle East Subscriber Access Only
Reconciliation must be at the heart of peacemaking.
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickFinding My 'True Self' As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
Finding My 'True Self' As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
In my young-adult struggle with sexual identity, both legalistic condemnation and progressive license left me floundering.
Christianity Today
Honoring Faith in the Public Square
hide thisNovember November

In the Magazine

November 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.