There’s so much to celebrate today: My beautiful home state turns 136 today, Michael Phelps has made history with his 19th medal on behalf of America, and Ted Cruz not only won, but schwacked establishment candidate Lt. Governor David Dewhurst by a margin of over 13 percentage points in yesterday’s Texas GOP runoff, sending a clear message that the Constitution is back in business (or will be, come January) in the US Senate.
However, I have to admit, today is a sad dark day for America.
While Youcef Nadarkhani spends his 1024th day in an Iranian prison for the crime of having become a Christian, our Nation took another chip out of the rock of religious liberties as well. Surely we cannot compare the offense to religious freedoms that President Obama’s and Kathleen Sebelius’ mandate that employers abdicate their First Amendment rights (which goes in effect today) to those of Pastor Nadarkhani. But while mayors across the country attempt to deny a business owner his Due Process and First Amendment rights, today calls attention to just how far we’ve come in our Nation.
I actually woke this morning to a fraternity brother’s post on his Facebook page that read:
Btw american women everywhere, congratulations!
Today your insurance plans MUST ‘cover specific preventive health services for women without cost-sharing, such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. These services include well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, STD screening and contraceptives.’
I caution those who would vote for romney (especially women who would vote for romney) to recognize the implications of a repeal. We would eliminate the gains that have been made today, and will continue to be made by the landmark legislation for the next 5 years.
As offensive as it is to someone like me who’s pro-life to see someone write in literally congratulatory tones about the growth and spread of abortion, this is also symbolic of just how far we’ve come. Even those who disagree with me (and the majority of Americans who are not pro-abortion) should be concerned about this abridgment of religious liberty, just as the chilling effect of the edicts of Menino, Emanuel, and Gray should be a call to every American about the over-reach of government authority on our right to express ourselves.
Let me say something controversial: The First Amendment isn’t absolute. I’d like to think it is, but I can surely grant that plaintiffs should be able to recover damages against someone guilty of libel or slander. Likewise, if your religion calls for sacrificing virgins or tossing live chickens from the Empire State Building, it’s within the government’s authority to restrict your free exercise in the name of public safety and good order.
We can all debate the degree to which religious freedom at times needs be subordinated to the good of the “General Welfare”. But we must be honest about it. When it comes to the HHS mandate, all must see this as an infringement on religious liberty. We can disagree about whether this rises to the level about which we should be concerned, but if we don’t recognize this for what it is, we cannot actually even have a discussion. But as my partner (who, thank God, is my rock) mentioned to me this morning in an attempt to settle me, some people don’t see this as a subordination of religious liberty in the first place.
Here are the facts: As of today, business owners will be forced by the government of the United States of America to violate the teachings of their church or face ruinous fines. As dramatic as I make it sound, that’s the fact. Argue, if you will, that the sacrifice is worth the benefit, but you can’t say this isn’t the case. (And no, the “accommodation” isn’t.)
And make no mistake: An abridgment of one’s liberty is an abridgment of the liberties of all of us. Those like my fraternity brother who are so enamored with the false sense of security promised by a nanny state Leviathan will do well to remember admonitions about the slippery slope and after whom the Machine may come next.
After all, if we’re to believe the horror stories those on the Left have somehow fabricated about what a Romney presidency (coupled with a Republican House and Senate) might be like, what’s to keep HHS Secretary Tom Coburn* from deciding that corrective homosexual deprogramming should be part of the offerings without co-pay in every comprehensive health insurance policy?
The point is that government shouldn’t be making these decisions in the first place. One of the president’s key criticisms of the health care system (and by extension an argument for the importance of passing his ill-conceived monstrosity) was the interference of those who aren’t your doctor (your insurance company, your boss) in the decision-making process regarding your health. How is allowing the federal government, of all institutions, into that equation the answer? I suppose it makes perfect sense to those who see all solutions emanating from there…
-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HHQ)
*Or Ron Paul, or Rand Paul, or John Brasso, or (gasp!) Bill Frist…whew, there certainly are a lot of Republican physician-politicians, no? Someone please remind me Secretary Sebelius’ qualifications for making these decisions?