- - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Religious liberty was a primary reason early settlers endured the difficult conditions they encountered in the New World. Historical accounts tell us almost half the Pilgrims died during their first winter in Massachusetts.

All they wanted was to pursue their religious faith without government interference. It was this desire for liberty that later inspired a generation of patriots to take on tyrannical King George III, stating clearly to the world that America would be a country free from tyranny, a land where people had the God-given right to pursue their religious ideals — or not.

However, the current administration seems intent on challenging religious liberties at every turn. Instead of focusing on the dismal national debt or protecting diplomats abroad, it is targeting businesses and groups such as Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor.

In a speech in February 1961, President John F. Kennedy said, “Religious freedom has no significance unless it is accompanied by conviction.” It is conviction that led Hobby Lobby and the Catholic group Little Sisters of the Poor not to accept mandates imposed by Obamacare. These were mandates that would require these organizations to go against their religious convictions by providing contraceptive services to employees.

Our Founders placed such a high importance on religious liberty that the First Amendment addresses the issue, saying government will not impede the free exercise of religion. The noble principle of religious liberty can never be secondary to the dictates of the state.

ED MULVANEY JR.

Anniston, Ala.

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