Obama team wants “balance” between its own policy goals and the Constitution’s religious liberty protections

by Ryan Streeter on January 21, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Just let these words from Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, sink in:

I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.

This was how she chose to comment on the Obama administration’s decision to require religious groups to provide coverage for contraception, even if they object as a matter of religious conscience.

Balance between the First Amendment and access to preventative care? Only a highly-secularized, constitutionally flippant worldview can utter something like this.

There are many ways to increase access to services, a worthy goal, and the Obama Democrats have chosen to do so by sending healthcare costs through the roof by forcing employers to provide coverage and then telling them what that coverage consists of. But a more competitive, marketplace alternative exists that can increase access to services at lower costs. And you can do all of this while not just “respecting” religious groups’ protection under the First Amendment, but making that protection paramount to the way you write the rules.

It’s not about “balance.” It’s about protecting religious liberty and then finding a way to increase access to services without burying small companies and families under mountains of new health care costs.