Political Conundrum…Again

I’m in a political debate group on Facebook called Soapboxers.  It’s a crazy fun, completely frustrating, sometimes bang-your-head-against-the-wall infuriating, but…crazy fun.  I don’t know why I feel compelled to share my two cents on such a regular basis, but I do.  I can’t seem to help it.  My fingers get to itching when I read something that makes me want to scream, and…well…the gloves are off.  I’ve GOT to respond.

I know it does virtually no good.  Political debate never changes anyone’s mind.  It is nice, though, to have my beliefs and convictions validated from time to time by those of like mind.  Perhaps that is what keeps me there.

Well, one of today’s debates is on the controversial legislation requiring Catholic-owned organizations to pay for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization.  There is a school of thought that says the legislation is correct, and that the Catholic organization should be required to insure these things, regardless of the religious prohibitions.  There is another school of thought that believes this to be a serious breach of first amendment rights.  I am in the second school of thought.

As a reminder, the first amendment of the Bill of Rights states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”  I believe that requiring a religious institution to pay for medical procedures and drugs that are in direct violation of their theological teachings is a serious encroachment on our constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom.  I think it absolutely ignores the “wall of separation between church and state” that Thomas Jefferson discussed in his correspondence with the Danbury Baptists.  Further, I believe that this is another in a long line of unconstitutional mandates that have been foisted on the American people for a very long time, steadily chipping away at our freedoms, but at such a gradual rate that we have barely noticed most of the time.

But I digress…

Regarding the matter at hand, here are some of the questions and comments that have surfaced.  I’m posting them here, not just because they interest me, but because I am really, truly seeking some thoughtful input.

  • These are not churches. These are businesses. If you want to run a church, run a church. If you’re going to run a business, it’s going to be treated like all other businesses. Why should those businesses be treated any different than other businesses?
  • They are catholic enterprises with a catholic moral foundation and HHS has NO BUSINESS trampling those morals via edict.
  • What if a Muslim group started a trucking company but it was against their morals to hire women drivers?
  • The busy body do gooders in congress would undoubtedly put a stop to it.
  • You are free to have whatever rules you want….IN CHURCH. After you walk out of those doors, and start playing in the market, you’re subject to the same rules as everyone else. That’s just fair.
  • Not if the church is the owner of the charity, or the hospital, or the publishing house, or the nursing home, or the school, etc. Freedom of religion includes all the enterprises under the auspices of the church. The government should not be telling the Catholic Church, or any other, what they must or must not pay for if it violates their beliefs. It’s not right, and it is a constitutional violation (not that our current administration is Constitution-friendly).
  • So if an Islamic group starts some “not for profit” business and they refuse to allow women drivers and other such rules excluding women due to their moral values, would that be alright?
  • Seems the same to me as many, many, many Christian groups who do not hire women into their clergy or other ordained leadership positions, because it goes against their theology to do so.
  • So yes. And you realize, of course, that the above scenario applies to some segments of Judaism, and I’m sure some other religious ideologies with which I’m less familiar.
  • And for the record, just because I believe they have a right to do so does not mean I agree with what they believe. I will, however, defend their Constitutional right to do it.
  • Wow, what world that would be! People could leverage their religious beliefs into the realm of any business and apply whatever moral values they choose to make up in the name of religious freedom!
  • It never ceases to amaze me. The Catholic church, complicit for decades (perhaps centuries), in pedophilia is now attempting to give the illusion of taking the moral high ground regarding a woman’s access to contraception? Really? Once you knowingly look the other way while grown men have sex with children, you lose that “moral high ground” credibility. What a joke!
  • The church isn’t imposing it on all culture. Contraceptives, etc are available elsewhere.
  • I can’t believe you pricktards are advocating the abolition of the separation of church and state.
  • Where does it end? If a church decides to open a hog feedlot on your block, because pork is the only meat they can morally consume, would you be alright with their religious freedom to do so even though it would create some wonderful odors in your neighborhood? It seems to me religious freedom beyond the actual house of worship, should start getting trumped by other laws.
  • What part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” do you fail to comprehend?
  • Oh, alright, I’ll give you a “real-world” example. What if an Islamic group wants to erect a mosque on your block and (just like church bells) they announce their 5 daily call to prayers through a loudspeaker that happens to shake your windows. Would that be alright or would restricting them be infringing on religious freedom?

So, which side of the argument are you on?  Why?

It’s an interesting conundrum because it brings up a lot of practices that are unpopular, and that run counter to many current sensibilities. I say that because it seems that we have become, in 21st century America, the land of the bullied and the home of the offended.  And while that may be the politically correct way to be, color me a rebel…because I am rarely offended, and I do not suffer bullies gracefully.

Freedom has never been easy.  It is a huge job to stand up to tyranny in any form, and it becomes the most difficult when the tyrant is government.  But it does not make it less imperative.  In fact, it makes it absolutely critical that we not only remember who we are (the free, the brave), but that we (once again) begin to act like it.

Once upon a time, Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote (describing Voltaire’s beliefs), “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  I agree wholeheartedly, because that is what freedom surely is, and that is the side I will always be on.

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