Obama & Religious Accommodation

Posted on March 2, 2009 In Blog

Late last Friday, the Obama Administration released word that it will be reviewing – with an eye toward reversing – a regulation put in place in the waning weeks of the Bush Administration which gave healthcare workers the broad right to refuse to deliver or participate in healthcare services to which the doctor, nurse, pharmacist, etc. has a religious or conscientious objection.

While this step is initially predictably falling into the well-worn paths of culture war debates, it is worth noting and hoping that such can be avoided for the benefit of many Americans and good public policy. For the issue of the accommodation of religious beliefs – including conscience objections – in the workplace is far broader than the small set of issues that arise in the healthcare field. The Orthodox Union’s position and record fighting for broad religious accommodation in the workplace rules is well known and is something Barack Obama endorsed pursuing during the presidential campaign

We will be urging the Administration to use their review of the HHS regulations to broaden the discussion to address workplace accommodation comprehensively, and thus hope to both turn down the heat on that specific issue and advance religious liberty for all working Americans.