Tell Your Senators to Oppose Religious Exemption from Health Care Law
March 20, 2014
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives suspended its rules to consider a radical religious exemption bill that easily passed a two-thirds majority voice vote.
Now, the Center for Inquiry (CFI) has learned some unexpected and disturbing news: the Senate could take up this measure next week.
S. 862, the so-called Equitable Access to Care and Health Act, would allow "individuals whose sincerely held religious beliefs would cause them to object to medical health care provided under such coverage" to be exempt from the health insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The bill has 31 co-sponsors: 15 Republicans, 15 Democrats, and one Independent.
Whatever you think of the Affordable Care Act, S. 862 must be opposed. By excusing religious adherents from a generally applicable law that all Americans must follow, this bill would create a special legal privilege for religious belief. The proposed exemption would affect not only the individuals requesting the exemption, but also their children — resulting in children not receiving proper care. Children should not be made to bear the burden of their parents' religious beliefs.
CFI has always defended the right to freedom of religion for all persons, and will continue to do so. But this bill does not aim to protect freedom of religion; it aims to place religion on a pedestal, allowing believers to disobey a law that everyone else must follow.
The application and enforcement of secular laws should not depend on the particular religious beliefs of each individual in society. We urge you to call or write your U.S. Senators right now and tell them to reject this bill!