Conflicts between government edicts and religious liberty—such as the battle over the Department of Health and Human Service’s contraception mandate—are a danger whenever government takes over a significant part of the economy, explains Ilya Shapiro:
As my colleague Roger Pilon has written, when health care (or anything) is socialized or treated as a public utility, we’re forced to fight for every “carve-out” of liberty. Those progressive Catholics who supported Obamacare, or the pro-life Democrats who voted for it, who are now appalled by certain HHS rules should have thought of that before they used the government to make us our brother’s keeper.
The more government controls — whether health care, education, or even marriage — the greater the battles over conflicting values. With certain things, such as national defense, basic infrastructure, clean air and water and other “public goods,” we largely agree, at least inside reasonable margins. But we have vast disagreements about social programs, economic regulation and so much else that government now dominates at the expense of at the expense of individual liberty. Those supporting Wheaton and Belmont Abbey Colleges and Hobby Lobby are rightly concerned that people are being forced to do what their religious beliefs prohibit. But that all comes with the collectivized territory. [Cato-at-Liberty, February 8]
If you value religious liberty, then you should be wary of collectivizing economic choices more generally.