Why the Repubs in the Senate feel they need a law to enforce the First Amendment I do not know.
I suspect it is because they want to grandstand for their base just as much as the Demos want to grandstand for theirs.
Let us revisit what the First Amendment says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.It has long been recognized that the government has the right to decide what is a "church." (If you doubt me, go visit some of the many people in prison because they decided they would become a church and thus not have to pay taxes.)
Now comes Senator Blunt with an amendment that seeks to change, PPACA, which already excludes churches from having to provide insurance ("care") for certain items they feel violate their doctrines.
Senator Blunt wants to expand the exclusion to cover individuals, institutions who purchase and companies that provide insurance. In effect, he wants to expand the First Amendment.
He is supposedly doing this in response to the Obamacare mandate that would demand that church enities, hospitals, etc., provide birth control drugs. Use of and providing of said drugs violate the church's doctrinme.
The First Amendment, magnificent in its simple language, excludes churches. I think it is plain that entities controlled and operated by the churches are, by simple extension, churches and are also excluded. And I think that argument, focused on actual churches, is correct.
But individuals, companies (both sellers and buyers) are not churches. Never have been.
Senator Blunt would do well to withdraw his bill and fight the mandate on a truly constitutional side rather than posture with an amendment that will only aid the Left and, if enacted, be declared unconstitutional.
Or even worse, put the government in the position of deciding what company or individual has the right to exercise their "morals and beliefs" and who do not.
This bill is truly a fine example of "fire, aim, ready!"
"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them." - Karl Popper
“It’s the presumption that Obama knows how all these industries ought to be operating better than people who have spent their lives in those industries, and a general cockiness going back to before he was president, and the fact that he has no experience whatever in managing anything. Only someone who has never had the responsibility for managing anything could believe he could manage just about everything.” - Thomas Sowell in Reason Magazine