Christopher Jackson challenges atheists to guarantee him freedom of religion. I challenge him to guarantee me freedom from religion.
What Jackson and many others know is that the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. They forget, or never knew, that the Constitution also guarantees freedom from religion. The First Amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."
This has become the foundation of what is commonly called "the doctrine of the separation of church and state." It has been repeatedly interpreted to mean that sectarian doctrine cannot be used to dictate policies of the government. What is lawful cannot be denied because of sectarian beliefs, nor can what is unlawful be implemented by sectarian beliefs. One's sectarian beliefs cannot be forced on others by use of governmental policy.
Many of the founders had experienced firsthand, not just the political tyranny of King George III, but also the tyranny of religion. And it is not coincidental that they prohibited the establishment of any religion before they granted the free exercise thereof, although they are equally important.
Although it has been repeatedly and loudly proclaimed that the United States is a "Christian nation," it is not and was not meant to be by the founders. It was meant to be, and is by definition of the First Amendment, a secular democracy. Government is to be devoid of sectarian influence.
A secular democracy does not mean that you can't practice your faith outside the church. It means that you can't use your faith to influence or determine government policy. The religious think practicing their faith means making their religious dogma public policy. But that would be the establishment of religion.
In practical terms, this means, for instance, that if I go to a hospital run by Jehovah Witnesses and need a blood transfusion, I cannot be denied that procedure simply because Jehovah Witnesses have scruples against transfusions. It should be just as clear that if someone goes to a hospital needing an abortion or contraception, both of which have been legal for years, those medical needs cannot be denied on the basis of sectarian beliefs.
If a religious institution wants to be in the business of furnishing services to the public, it needs to provide all that is legal and medically approved. If it doesn't want to do that, it needs to get into work where it can practice its scruples without infringing on the rights of others.
For a religious institution to deny me that to which I have a legal and medical right, is to deny me my liberties by use of sectarian beliefs, a breach of the wall of separation of church and state.
It seems to be axiomatic that the oppressed, when they attain power, become the oppressors. The Pilgrims fled religious persecution in England, only to force their sectarian beliefs on everybody else when they set up housekeeping in The New World, so that to worship as he wanted, Roger Williams had to flee and establish the state of Rhode Island.
Now that we are free of the tyranny of George III, there are those who would go back to persecuting those who want to practice liberties with which they disagree but which are perfectly legal.