Charles Marshall's surprise regarding public sentiment about the recent Hobby Lobby ruling: He selectively quotes the Constitution.
The complete quote is "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Adjusting these words to 21st century vernacular, the Constitution says "Congress shall legislate as if there is no religion, but you're free to believe as you like." Nothing in the Affordable Care Act requires an individual citizen to exercise birth control or abort a fetus. No individual is deprived of their individual religious obligations.
As citizens we are called upon to do things like pay taxes which will be applied to funding the Department of Defense, even over religious objections to war. For this reason, the Hobby Lobby decision looks an awful lot like "respecting an establishment of religion" at the expense of the public good, the health of women, and the right of individual women to control their own bodies. Statutes of this kind in other countries might be called Sharia law. The whole point of the First Amendment is to prevent the imposition of religious tenets upon individuals. Yes, we are also permitted freedom from religion.
This from Thomas Jefferson: "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state." -- letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
When establishments of religion, and other right wing elements who assert the primacy of Christian religion in this country, begin to have excessive influence in the legislative or judicial process, I fear one day we will experience de facto rule of the American Taliban. Get out your babushkas, ladies!
Carl J. Kotheimer,