Speaking about the ruling, Warren remarked: “I cannot believe that we live in a world where (we) would even consider letting some big corporation deny the women who work for it access to the basic medical treatments or prescriptions that they need based on vague moral objections.”

I won’t address inaccuracies in the first part of her comment — I did that elsewhere.

And frankly, it’s the latter half that really concerns me, precisely for what it reveals about the deep and growing divide between religious and secular America.

The significance of religion in America has evolved throughout our history, but it has always been regarded with a deep respect across the political spectrum. The reaction from the left to the Hobby Lobby decision indicates that is no longer the case.

In brushing off the religious convictions of the Hobby Lobby owners with such unstinting indifference, Warren describes quite succinctly how many on the secular left view religion today.

In a word: insignificant.

To the senator and those of like minds, faith, it would seem, is not fundamental, defining or life-giving, but vague, casual and intermittent; “more like a hobby,” as Bloomberg columnist Megan McArdle describes it.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her dissent, seemed to agree about religion’s irrelevance in secular democracy, referring to any effect of the administration’s contraceptive coverage requirement on an individual’s free exercise as “incidental.”

For many Americans whose faith informs everything they do and through which they understand their very existence, relegating faith to the marginal role of “activity” or “hobby” isn’t just ignorant, it’s a threat to our democracy.

Anyone who has cracked a textbook on U.S. history is probably aware that our nation owes its beginning to men and women expressly seeking to secure their own religious freedom, often at great risk to themselves.

As such, it was no accident that free exercise of one’s faith (or no faith at all) is the first freedom listed in our nation’s Bill of Rights, preceding freedom of speech, press and assembly.

Freedom of religion was clearly understood by the drafters as fundamental to the success of the experiment in self-government they were about to propose in the Constitution.

Religious practice was also indispensable to the American idea of ordered liberty.

The 19th-century philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville observed that the presence of religion in America made a distinct difference in the nation’s particular version of democracy, “impos(ing) upon each man some obligations toward mankind,” that a society based on a secular understanding of equality could not.

He was right, and this religiously steeped understanding of freedom has motivated some of the greatest liberation movements, from abolition to civil rights, not to mention some of the most robust humanitarian efforts in modern history — all made possible because as a protected freedom, religion in America was allowed to flourish.

Yet, contemporary secular thinkers seem to be quickly forgetting, or wittingly ignoring, religion’s profound influence on American life by insisting that its role in modern society is increasingly marginal. But such insistence does not make it so.

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat writes of “a sense — not universal but widespread — that religious pluralism has broad social benefits, and that the wider society has a practical interest, within reason, in allowing religious communities to pursue moral ends as they see fit.”

His point is an important one. Unlike the right to free contraception of one’s choosing or any other modern entitlement, religious freedom benefits everyone equally, sometimes in ways we fail to recognize or acknowledge.

And we would all be well served to rediscover its value and return it to a place of significance in American democracy.

Cynthia M. Allen is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

(The above article appearing  in  the St. Paul Pioneer Press  was sent by Mark Waldeland.)

Comment:   No one seems to mention that atheism itself is a religion…. and fast becoming the  State Religion favored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,  Barack Hussein Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton  today’s  university establishment and the products they produce, Liberals and  Lefties everywhere  based upon human arrogance  whose godlessness is   a   ‘freedom’  to be forced equally  upon all peoples so that they might better obey the rule of Marxist  dictatorships.

I questioned religion too,  as a liberal out of many years of college, but   never quiet joined the herd, saved, I believe by simplicity……. by an old, old adage perhaps  from the ancient Greeks that comes to mind every day:

“There is neither good nor bad……..Only thinking makes it so”.

To quote Shakespeare….”Therein lies the rub.”   Civilized life  after all, is an ideal  based upon the pillars of basic universal goodness  where each individual has “a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”…..an American ideal based upon the JudeoChristian  development  now under attack by the Obama Left and its  godless state.

Thinkers know there  is a God of goodness in the eternal battles between good and evil, at least  among those who bother to  think and wonder about such vital matters.  Supreme goodness requires supreme wisdom and knowledge……the spirit of God and the power of the  eternal  unknown.

President Obama and so many other Marxists  find thinking about  ‘good’   disturbing, limiting and   so conservative, so they avoid or abuse  truth and wisdom  as a foundation  for solving problems.   It is politically and financially  more profitable these Obama-days to be an atheist…..Nearly every Obama mouth opening spins a lie which passes off as new  and clever with or without meaning…..and others in his circle follow the leader.  Professors at university can invent and alarm with  new history, political,  racial,  and science stories to tell and write  for fame, prestige,  and greater profit.   The Leftist Party now  can’t lose by spreading   terror  of climate change rather than global warming.   Global warming  ‘terror’ sure to  cause mankind hot times ahead unless you vote Obama,  got in trouble with global cooling  and  real statistics, that is,  statistics reported by those seeking Truth rather than political power…….a Godly rather than a Marxist exercise.