Civil Liberties and Civil RightsCivil rights include the legal strategies that the state takes to establish equal opportunities for all citizens. For instance, the Fourteenth Constitutional Amendment in America guarantees the citizens equal protection and citizenship under the law. Because all the citizens in Texas who qualifies to vote have a legal right to do so, the government intervenes to enforce the privilege. Other forms of civil rights include an equal access to healthcare or social services and a right to be free from any form of discrimination on the basis of race, age, disability, or gender. On the contrary, civil liberties refer to all forms of protection against the government actions. For instance, the First Constitutional Amendment in the United States guarantees citizens a freedom to choose their own religion. According to the law, the government is prohibited from interfering with the choice of citizens on religion, and their ways of worship. Therefore, the citizens have “liberty” from the actions of the government or restraint.
A constitutional right from the Texas Constitution
The constitution of Texas provides citizens with a freedom of worship. It outlines that all individuals enjoy a secure and natural liberty to glorify God in accordance with their own consciences. The right makes it clear that no individuals shall either be forced to attend or make a contribution towards a place of worship or uphold any ministry against their will. In Texas, no human being authority can either regulate or inhibit the right of conscience in relation to conviction. The law of Texas shall not give any form of preference to any mode of worship or a religious society. The legislature, as a branch of government, has a duty to pass laws that might be important to safeguard the religious denominations in the delight of their approach in public worship.
The constitution of Texas guarantees the citizens a freedom in their choice of religion, and it prohibits any form discrimination between denominations. Since the 1950’s, the state courts in Texas have relied on the federal constitution to resolve any suits that involve an interaction between government and religion. The amendment of the constitution provides a guarantee of lasting protection for the religious liberties of citizens from overreaching government bureaucracy or the courts. Therefore, the freedom of worship as a right among the Texas citizens is a civil liberty and a form of protections against the interference of the government. The citizens of Texas highly recognize the freedom of worship, and they protect religious people from issues, such as the use of contraceptives that is considered immoral.
A U.S Supreme Court Case that relates to Freedom of worship
On June 11, 1993, the Supreme Court of the United States held that a ban on animal sacrifice in Florida was a violation of the right of worship among the followers of an Afro Cuban group. In the religion, animal sacrifice is an important and recognized way of worship. The jury agreed that the ban was a violation of the First Amendment of The Constitution, which guarantees a free exercise of religion. In this context, the justices had divided opinions in the approach to the case on how to assess the laws that make observance of religion burdensome. Justice Kennedy singling out religion compelled a conclusion that a dominance of the main worship element was an entity of ordinances.
The justice further argued that although the ordinances did not make their intentions clear, any killings that are meant for religious reasons are justified. Besides, they are not punishable. It is clear that people can make sacrifices for other reasons, such as recreation, food, or ritually slaughters but a sacrifice for religious reasons is justifiable before the law. In a separate view, Justice O, Connor and Blackmun argued that the constitution was a form of protection to the constitution from any form of practice that overburdens religious groups.
After the court ruling, the identities of Yoruba gods were fused into the identities of catholic saints to make animal sacrifices in killing goats, sheep, turtles, and pigeons. The animals are eaten as part of the religious rituals. As a result, the principle ordinance defined sacrifice as a way to make an unnecessary killing and mutilate animals as a ritual and not for food consumption. Therefore, animal sacrifice was recognized as an integral part of religious practices and a way of worship. The case is relevant because it makes clear that the American citizens have a legal right to worship as spelled out in the constitution.
A current Texas policy that is impacted by freedom of worship
In Texas, the right to worship is the foundation of a democratic society that protects the rights of people of faith. The Religious Freedom and Restoration Act prevents the infringement of the government on religious practices. Therefore, the Americans in Texas can practice the faith of their choice without an interference from the government. However, religious adherents have a different perception on the use of contraceptives and the right actions according to religious teachings. The opponents of the Affordable Care Act argue that the mandate of employers to provide their staffs with contraceptive coverage is against the constitution, and it is violation to the importance of religious freedom.
In the year 2012, the administration of president Obama announced a plan for all the American employers to cater for costs of contraception under the provision of healthcare plans. However, the mandate on contraception is a violation to religious freedom. The religious employers, such as the Catholics have a perception that a compliance with the mandate would result in a violation of religious commitments. The Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby stores. The judge argued that on the basis of religious grounds, companies can deny coverage to the use of contraceptives. This was a challenge to the Obama’s “Affordable Care Act” that required employers to provide female employees with a coverage for various contraceptives methods.
The first amendment of the constitution protects citizens from government interference with respect to an establishment of religious groups. The requirement of insurance coverage violates the religious rights of employers who object the use of family planning methods. Because it is a form of violation of their religious practices, the Roman Catholic followers object the Affordable care act. In Texas, legal precedents exempt churches from the government legislations that might violate core religious teachings. From the beginning of the form of controversy, religious individuals have objected to the provision of reproductive services to the employees. The mandate of the president is against the constitutional protections that are provided in the religious freedoms.
The contraceptive mandate would pose a great problem in churches, and the catholic Bishops have raised their concerns to object the act. Under the new ruling, the religious employers who object the use of contraceptives do not have to pay for contraceptive coverage for their staffs. The United States law protects the religious freedoms of the employees and employers. A significant number of religiously affiliated organizations have appealed to the government that the requirement to contraceptive coverage is a violation to the religious freedom that is guaranteed in the first constitutional amendment and to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. For instance, the Roman Catholic Organizations have been on the front line to oppose abortion and the use of artificial methods of birth control.