March 16, 2012, 8:40 am
I had a conversation recently with a friend of mine, a Roman Catholic priest, which illuminates another aspect of the current debate about HHS Mandates and “religious freedom.”
Readers might recall my first two pieces on the subject (parsed by the blog of the Cardinal Newman Society as “Georgetown Prof. Stands Against the Bishops“). In the first, I made the point that the entire debate will go nowhere unless the aggrieved parties (who I noted are generally religious and politically conservative Evangelicals and Catholics) confront a distinction well known to theorists of secular states.
This would be the difference between the “right to conscience” (always granted by the genuine secular state) and the right to act on one’s conscience (most definitely not always granted by the genuine secular state or any other type of state I know of, genuine or otherwise).
In the second post, I…