So, Obama has offered a solution. The Catholic Church will now be required to buy insurance that does not mention birth control. After the employee gets the insurance the insurance company will be required to offer birth control FREE OF CHARGE.
So, problem solved right? WRONG.
First, the Catholic Church is self insured via religious non-profit organizations devoted to that purpose - so the church is still being required to violate it's beliefs.
Second, it's a sham. The church is still required to effectively provide birth control because they are buying the insurance policy that results in free birth control being given to the patient.
So, short of repealing Obamacare, how can this be resolved?
The simplest way would be to require (with a religious exemption clause) all insurance companies to offer a separate policy covering birth control and abortion services, the small cost of which would be paid by the patient. The effect would be:
1) When the religious organization buys insurance from a secular company, the patient could pay a small fee for the additional coverage with the same company - OR - they could buy the coverage from another company - OR - they could decide to pay for birth control themselves - OR - get it free from any number of Federally funded clinics.
2) When the religious organization is self insured, the patient could purchase the coverage from another provider - OR - they could decide to pay for birth control themselves - OR - get it free from any number of Federally funded clinics.
This would solve the 1st Amendment issue because the choice and the cost of the coverage would both be separated from the religious organization.
If the administration really wants to solve this problem, they can do the above. I doubt that they will do so - because they firmly believe that the "right" to birth control and abortion is more important that explicitly stated civil rights.
This is not about access to birth control or women's rights. It is a direct attack upon the 1st Amendment. Obama wants to "put the churches in their place" - and let be assure you all that he has badly miscalculated. This action has motivated religious believers of all stripes - Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and others - to take a long hard look at Obama. If he can "bully" the Catholic Church, then other smaller religious groups will be easy.
Even if you are not religious, you are still protected by the 1st Amendment. No one can force you to practice a religion. Think long and hard about the effect of destroying the 1st Amendment's religion clauses. Think about your other constitutional rights and how important they are. This is what is at stake. Of the 1st Amendment falls the 2nd and 5th will be close behind.
We must all hang together or we will surely hang separately!