Much has been written of late about the Obama Administration and women's access to contraceptives if they work for Roman Catholic institutions like Colleges or Hospitals. Progressives rightly say that people should not lose their rights because they work for a certain sectarian group and Conservatives rightly say that religious groups' rights to freedom of conscience is protected by the US Constitution. So what gives?
As a practicing Catholic who is also an Obama supporter my level of uncomfortableness has been profound on this issue until I did a little reading. In the 1850's Roman Catholics in New York lead by their Archbishop John Hughes fought Public Schools. They demanded that the public schools not teach Protestantism and that Catholic religion also be taught. If fact John Hughes was the first to oppose one religion being taught in schools because the schools were paid for with tax dollars of Catholics and Catholics did not want their money going to pay for Anti Catholic schools.
The result of this campaign was a compromise. Protestantism was eventually not taught in public schools by law. But Catholics eventually left the public schools and opened their own parochial schools because they could not conscience secular education. In 1965 72% of all Catholics went to Catholic schools. They also opened Catholic hospitals and Universities some of which are the best and largest in the United States.
So why do I bring up John Hughes? I do so because people have to pay for things that violate sacred beliefs. Catholics are an important part of America but they are not all of America and many people desire to use birth control in fact 95% of Catholics want to use birth control so unlike in the vatican majority rules in America.