Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog


Catholics Paying for BIrth Control is Like A Muslim Charity Serving Pork Chops; So Why Force It?

It's just wrong!

The First Amendment reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So, three separate issues are dealt with in this, the First entry of the Bill of Rights:
  • Freedom of Religion

  • Freedom of Speech and the Press

  • Freedom to Assemble and Petition for redress of grievances

You should notice that the construction of the Amendment treats all three parts as equal; none are dependent on or subordinate to another. Each stands complete in itself. You also should notice that I divide them up a bit differently than do most people talking about this Amendment. I link freedom of speech and freedom of the press as one unit and I do this because the punctuation tells me to. Each section is separated by a semi colon, while components with the section are separated by a comma. For example, freedom of religion is broken into two parts, the prohibition against establishment, and the prohibition against restraint. In a like manner, the Amendment calls out freedom of the press as part and parcel of freedom of speech. And to finish this comparison, the right to assemble is joined to the right to petition the government.

Now is also a good time to point out that the language of the Amendment does not grant rights to the people; instead it is clearly prohibiting the federal government from infringing on those rights people already possess. That's an important concept that forms the basis for our Constitution. One of our Supreme Court Justices was quoted recently as saying the US Constitution did not provide a good model for a modern Constitution because it didn't do enough to recognize foundational human rights. The only way for her to make that statement was to willfully ignore that the US Constitution was written specifically to recognize and guarantee those rights, and it is only through the activity of jurists like her that those protections have been mortally weakened.

But that's a post for another day.

So, there are two pieces to the religious freedom clause of the First Amendment. The anti- establishment clause, and the free exercise clause. The anti-establishment clause states that the government can do nothing to indicate that it favors a particular religion, or religion in general. This section has been interpreted increasingly broadly to the point where a poster demonstrating the rule of law through the ages can be removed from public property for an image of the stone tablets representing the Ten Commandments. This compares well to the broad interpretation of the freedom of assembly clause, which has been used to justify the violation of local, state and federal laws by OWS and other protest groups. On the other hand, the second portion of the religious freedom clause has been under increasing attack over the last couple of decades. Rather than being interpreted as a broad restriction of the government's ability to restrict religious expression and activity, it has been instead been interpreted as an increasingly narrow band of allowed activities for the religious adherents.

This latest ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is another example of the secular state working to minimize and marginalize religion.

But that, too, is a post for another day.

Today, I want to talk about why the Obama Administration would be so intent on restricting faith based hospitals from carrying out their mission.

Faith based churches have been placed in a bad position. They have only a few options.
  1. They can comply with the law, abandoning their religious principles.

  2. They can ignore the law, paying fines to continue operating in accordance with their religious principles

  3. They can reject serving patients who are not members of their faith

  4. They can shut down their hospitals and clinics altogether

Option 1 diminishes the role of religion in public life, restricts the free practice of religion guaranteed by the Constitution and according to spokesmen for the Catholic Church, is not an option.
Option 2 places a significant financial burden on church clinics and hospitals, making them less able to serve their communities. Some smaller facilities may not be able to afford to remain in business, and may have to shut down.
Option 3 would be cruel, and potentially illegal, a violation of anti-discrimination laws, but is presented here for the sake of completeness.
Option 4 would mean a significant loss of beds in most areas, reduction in the amount services available, as well as the quality, and would drive prices for care up. Catholic spokesmen have already said that this alternative is more preferable to them than complying with the ruling.

Every option outlines reduces services, raises prices, or both, while at the same time making faith based clinics and hospitals look like the bad guy. My thought is that this is exactly what the Obama administration wants. By driving a major player out of the market, costs will increase while availability will decrease, leading to a situation where the people will once again demand that their government "Do Something!" without ever stopping to consider that the crisis will have caused by their government "doing something."

Within 18 months, I predict we'll see government advocates pushing for an expansion of Obamacare to make up for all the private clinics and hospitals that have been driven out of business by this and other regulations. The cost for that expansion will be another increase in the federal government's control over our lives along with another large chunk of the American economy being taken over by the state.

Not a pretty picture.
Posted by Rich
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