March 4, 2012
The HHS Mandate and School PrayerBy Tom Trinko
For the last 50 years liberals have informed us that merely requiring someone to be in the same public setting as a prayer is an unconstitutional infringement on their First Amendment rights.
Even if individuals are not required to participate in the prayer, or even avoid mocking the prayer, and though there is no punishment for not praying liberals declare that the experience would be too odious for sensitive beings to endure.
These same liberals however have no problem with requiring people of faith to not merely witness but to actually facilitate activities religious Americans find to be immoral.
The Catholic Church, counting over a billion adherents worldwide, has taught for 2000 years that artificial contraception and abortion are intrinsically immoral. Yet liberals inform Catholic businesses that they must provide health insurance that covers artificial contraception, sterilization, and chemical abortions. No tolerance there.
Could you imagine the uproar if anyone suggested that students who object to school prayer would be required to produce the program for the prayer, put up the podium and chairs, and guide people to their seats prior to the prayer but they would be allowed to leave the room when the prayer was said?
By requiring Catholic businesses to provide the insurance which is the vehicle for the services those businesses owners know to be immoral the Federal Government is preventing those individuals from freely exercising their religion.
The so called "accommodation" does nothing to remove the Catholic businesses from having a direct role in facilitating, not merely witnessing, the immoral actions.
One of the most obvious points is that many Catholic institutions are self insured and hence the so called "accommodation" does nothing to address the fundamental Constitutional issue.
Another obvious point is that since insurance companies don't print money, something liberals may have forgotten, the cost of these services will be passed on to the premium payers, i.e. the Catholic businesses and their employees.
Of course liberals tell us that providing free contraceptive services actually saves the greedy insurance companies money. They are at a loss to explain why those profit mongering insurance companies need to be ordered by the Federal Government to improve their bottom line.
A slightly less obvious point is that the employees at a Catholic company will use the exact same resources, in HR or on the Web, to kill their unborn child as to schedule a well check for their two year old. The clear perception will be that the Catholic business is the provider of the contraceptive and early abortion services.
In fact the connection will be far stronger than any between a non-denominational moment of silence in school and the Federal Governments establishment of a State religion.
Another less than obvious point is that there is nothing in the "reasoning" behind the HHS Mandate that would not apply to requiring Catholic business to provide insurance that covers any form of abortion, sex "change" operations, or whatever else Secretary Sebelius views as necessary on any given day. It is quite reasonable to expect if President Obama is reelected that his administration, unconcerned about having to mollify the public in order to get their votes, will extend the mandate to surgical abortions.
Similarly the reasoning here could be used to force a person of any faith to facilitate anything they objected to such as sex selection abortions, euthanasia, or involuntary sterilizations so long as Secretary Sebelius declared the procedure to be required.
If Catholics were irresponsible they could just stop providing health insurance to their employees, but that too would be something that in many cases would violate their free exercise of religion. A good Catholic employer realizes her faith directs her to treat her employees as she wishes to be treated. Hence if it is financially possible, a Catholic business owner will try to provide health care for her workers.
Of course ObamaCare has removed the option of simply refusing to participate, because of the huge fines Catholic businesses would end up paying in return for the right to practice their faith by not subsidizing non-essential medical care in the form of contraception, sterilization, and chemical abortions.
Clearly then the current HHS Mandate, even with the "accommodation", prevents Catholics from exercising their religious beliefs.
Another oddity in the liberal position on the HHS Mandate is that liberals have an extraordinarily expansive view of the free speech portion of the First Amendment. According to liberals the First Amendment protects pornography-- even violent or exploitive pornography--, flag burning, violent protests against wars they object to, and libel/slander. So how can liberals view on one part of the First Amendment be essentially unlimited while their view of the extent of another part is practically nonexistent?
The key to understanding this apparent disconnect is to realize that modern liberalism is, from a phenomenological perspective, a religion. And a very intolerant religion at that.
Liberals believe that the truth has been revealed to them; not by God but by their own intrinsic intellectual superiority. Those heretics who don't share liberal beliefs are evil and should only be tolerated as much as is necessary. Modern liberals have far more in common with Torquemada than with Blessed Pope John Paul II.
It is sadly amusing that the same liberals who will condemn the Catholic Church for the inquisition -- which ended hundreds of years ago -- have no problem using all means at their disposal to destroy people who object to liberal orthodoxy on issues ranging from abortion to global warming. Like true zealots liberals do not believe in a government of laws but rather in a government of men.
Liberals view the Constitution not as law that must be followed but as words that are to be manipulated to ensure that liberal orthodoxy is imposed on America. That's why liberals, in general with some noble exceptions, had no problem with the Supreme Court discovering a "right to privacy" in the penumbra and emanations of the Constitution that overturned the laws of all 50 states, even liberal New York.
To liberals there is no fixed law that can only be changed by a defined process but merely a continuous political struggle to impose their orthodoxy on the fly over masses.
What the Constitution says is unimportant to liberals; what matters is how many people support the position. To liberals, at least when they have majority support, the voice of the people is the voice of god, as revealed by polling oracles. For in numbers is political power. And that power is what matters to liberals.
Liberals like flag burning and pornography. Hence they declare the Constitution protects those things. In the liberal mind, objecting to contraception and abortion is a medieval set of beliefs, and as such is not protected under the Constitution. Because the voice of the god, ie the wise liberals, has spoken. While the liberals talk the talk about tolerance and diversity they steadfastly refuse to walk the walk. Like the religious fanatics they are they brook no deviation from their orthodoxy.
If the HHS Mandate on the religious liberty of Americans is not eliminated there will be two very serious consequences:
1) It will be established that the Federal Bureaucracy can force health insurance to cover pretty much anything with no input from Congress.
2) It will be established that the Federal Government can decide what it means to practice one's religion and the governments interpretation will override the interpretation of the faithful.
Giving an unelected bureaucracy unlimited power to define health care will lead to the introduction of services many people other than Catholics object to, such as euthanasia.
Declaring that the Federal Government can define what it means to be Catholic, Jewish, or Muslim means that no one is safe from being compelled to support the liberal orthodoxy de jure.
This issue is far bigger than contraception. It is about whether liberalism will be established as the state religion. It is about whether liberal precepts, such as the condemnation school prayer and Nativity scenes on public land, will have a special place in American law; a place of privilege over the beliefs of all non-liberal Americans.
As Americans we are called on to tolerate those who disagree with us. No religious person I know of would demand an atheist pray or a Muslim drink water during the days of Ramadan. But if the HHS mandate is allowed to stand liberals will have managed to define their personal moral beliefs as superior to those of all others; a situation that cannot bode well for traditional American pluralism.
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