Yesterday, a large and diverse group of plaintiffs filed lawsuits in a dozen federal courts, challenging the administration's rule that requires many religious employers to provide coverage for contraception. Richard Garnett, of National Review's Bench Memos explains:
"These lawsuits, like the many others that had already been filed, are asking the courts to enforce the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and to protect religious liberty and conscience from a regrettable and burdensome regulatory mandate, a mandate that would impose a serious and unnecessary burden on many religious institutions’ commitments, witness, and mission. The mandate purports to require many religious schools, health-care providers, and social-welfare agencies to compromise their institutional character and integrity. In a society that respects and values diversity, as ours does, we should protect and accommodate our distinctively religious institutions, and welcome their contributions to the common good."
Garnet insists that the ultimate goal of these lawsuits is not to seek control of what their employees do in private; religious institutions are simply trying to avoid being forced by the government into acting in a way that is inconsistent with their values. Garnet concludes, "We Americans do not agree about what religious freedom means, but we have long agreed that it matters, and should be protected through law."