I think that too many people are making the assumption that freedom means free from consequences. That I am free so I can do what want without any repercussions. One of the biggest issues with religious freedom is this, I believe. The thought process that because I am this, and you go against my beliefs I can do what I want. This is a big issue regarding small businesses serving the LGBTQ+ community, like with the cake business refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding. As a business, you have the right to refuse to serve people, but you are not free from any repercussions or consequences that come from that particular freedom.
I always understood religious freedom to mean you are free to practice whatever religion you want without the fear of being persecuted. Which is actually the real reason as to why America was so focused on religious freedom — they left Europe because they were being hunted down and killed for their religion. Not because they hated the fact that someone else thought differently than them, but because they were restricted in their rights as human beings.
So the land of the free means different things to different people and defining a word so broad is tricky and even more difficult is turning an ideal into law and upholding it. Especially when we look at history and see that for the first hundred years the majority of people who came to America that were seeking religious asylum were seeking it from other Christianities. So we can’t be mad that the first immigrants to America were of one group of people with one set of ideas.
The issue with Hobby Lobby and health insurance comes down to a major issue that is being completely disregarded — universal healthcare. If the working people didn’t have to rely solely on their employer for healthcare, then the fact that Hobby Lobby offers insurance that does not cover contraceptives wouldn’t even be an issue because then a person would be able to have healthcare through the government. If Hobby Lobby wants to only offer a particular type of insurance, then they’re a business and let them. If then, people who believe that contraceptives should be offered to all want to boycott Hobby Lobby then that is just fine too.
But because, for numerous reasons we can assign, the US government does not want to offer universal healthcare, decriminalize drugs, protect religious activities from persecution, et cetera — most of these thoughts and rationalizations we can see stem from their own religious beliefs. But when your religious beliefs limit my rights, when your religious beliefs hurt me physically, emotionally, mentally (in a legitimate, systematic way such as poverty), then there is an issue.
Complete separation of church and state will probably never be achieved. Humans rely on religion to guide their decisions and to be the basis for their entire belief system. Which means that politicians and leaders will use their religion to enforce their decisions, whatever they may be. What we need is for people to recognize when their religion is influencing their decision and ask themselves if it hurts anyone else.