A firestorm has erupted over the Obama administration's enforcement of yet another of those little goodies Nancy Pelosi promised we'd find out about eventually. In one more in a laundry list of examples of the contempt in which they hold the Constitution, the administration is subjugating the first amendment to birth control. Pelosi has dismissed claims of unprecedented violations of constitutionally protected religious liberty as merely an "excuse". The way they talk, you'd think women who worked for Catholic institutions were physically restrained from purchasing birth control. Well, except for the 98% of catholic women who use birth control, of course.
That's right, they are attempting to use opposing straw men (straw women?) to support their attack. On the one hand, the women are being victimized, unable to be truly healthy because they don't have employer-paid access to IUDs and the abortion pill. The way they talk, birth control pills are a cross between super vitamin and miracle cure. On the other, all catholic women are on birth control and owe their lives and fortunes to their ability to be
parasite baby free. But ultimately, if you oppose this measure, you are a troglodyte who wants to take women back to the stone age just because you are a mean old meany head. And paranoid.
Push back to these bogus arguments has been quick and vehement, and completely dismissed or misunderstood. What is being forgotten is that trying to explain the impact it will have on people of faith is a wasted argument, because it would require politicians and media ideologues to understand morals, principles and answering to a higher power. Please note the high level of derision on the left in regards to the issue of the violation of our religious freedoms. Attempting to make people feel silly for believing something might work in politics, but it is much less effective in matters of faith.
They can muddy the waters all they want, but it's pretty evident that this is all about placing the diktats of the state over the church's fundamental tenets. Under this administration, the much-vaunted separation of church and state is apparently a one-way street.
I could spend time arguing about the war on Christianity in this country, but this is far more cut and dried, and it is something every American, regardless of religion, should think deeply about. This is a full frontal assault on our religious freedom, no matter what that religion is. Demanding that the catholic church ignore a fundamental article of faith - the sanctity of life - in order to comply with the requirements of the state is exactly why our founders created the first amendment. It wasn't to protect the State from the Church as we have been led to believe over the past few decades as much as it was to protect the Church from the State. According to Thomas Jefferson, in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 in an effort to clarify the issue (emphasis mine):
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
The phrases I emphasized, "that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions" and "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" are key to this argument because the Obama administration is demanding that the Church change its long-held belief and opinion that contraception and especially abortion are against the will of God. This has been a teaching of the church for centuries; it is a matter of conscience, not convenience, to be tossed aside on a whim - or mandate. By forcing religious entities to fund such things, they are unable to freely exercise their religious conscience. It is a clear violation of our founding document.
The Constitution is being tested as never before under this regime (yes, regime). While most of the other power grabs under this president have been swept under the carpet, this is an affront on an epic scale. The attempts by the media and various administration personnel to argue that this is about "right-wing radicals" trying to take away women's right to birth control or don't want them "healthy" has done nothing to blur the issue. People don't buy the argument that women can't get birth control if they want it. We all know it can be gotten at any pharmacy in this country. As for the poor, well, isn't that what left-wing darling Planned Parenthood is all about? The argument that the Pill saves women from ovarian cancer is an interesting argument, if you want to totally disregard the fact that the pill also increases your chances of getting breast, cervical and liver cancer. Please note, too, that those who are championing this abomination studiously avoid the topic of abortifacients such as the 'morning after' pill. Making the topic only about contraception is a deceptive little ploy to cloud the issue and attempt to get concessions. Oh, its just contraception we're talking about, what's the big deal about that?
We the People may be a little lethargic, a little pre-occupied, maybe even a little numbed by all that has happened to us in the past decade, but we're not blithering idiots.
If there's one thing We the People know, it's our rights, and we don't like having them taken away. Spin it however you want, we know when our rights are being stripped from us.
No doubt there will be a rash of polls from such unbiased bastions of
The argument I'm hearing most often is whether the administration's many missteps, over-reaches, and overall disregard for the rights and freedoms of the American people is a product of incompetence or design. The refusal of the President to back down on this points to design, particularly when combined with his protestations of dissatisfaction over the years with the "negative" structure of the Constitution. But even still, the best-case scenario - the argument for incompetence- is being used far too frequently in this administration and brings up a plethora of other issues in it's wake, most rightly involving suitability for reelection.
In an attempt at "compromise", the administration offered to grant a one-year waiver to come into compliance. How generous of them, to offer an extra twelve months to come to terms with betraying a belief system that has stood for thousands of years.
On a side note, am I the only one who has noticed that "compromise" under this administration has meant bowing fully to their demands? These people need not only a copy of the Constitution, but a dictionary.
And now the administration has come out with a new "compromise". Apparently the insurance companies are expected to pony up the funds to offer free contraception and abortifacients to all religious organizations without passing on the cost to the employer. Riiiiiight. There's no chance in the world that they will pad their premiums to offset the cost, ultimately passing the cost on to the protesting employer anyway, is there? Things like that just never happen. Obama's compromise is his ironclad bond, right Bart Stupak? And, in typical fashion, this 'compromise' is not negotiable. Take what they give us and be happy, right?
He seems to have grossly underestimated the intelligence of the American catholic with this one, 'cause they're not buying it.
Americans across the board should be outraged by this trampling of our first amendment rights. And everyone, regardless of party, should consider this action when they are considering Obama's reelection. If he is willing to hold the line on a blatantly unconstitutional action like this in an election year, what will he be willing to do over the next four years, when reelection is no longer an issue?
UPDATE: An interesting development in the question of the legality of the mandate. Ed Whelan and David Rivkin of the Wall Street Journal argue that the mandate is in violation of existing law, namely the Clinton-era Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The ways in which the new mandate violates the RFRA are far too numerous to cover in an update, so get the whole story here.