Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Religious Freedom Must Extend to the Marketplace or it's Not Religious Freedom

Diversity makes Religious Freedom Essential
The new front in the Culture Wars isn't over prayer in schools or the definition of marriage. While those and other hot-button issues continue to consume media and social attention (and will for years to come), the most serious battles, according to a recent article in the progressive American Prospect, are now being waged in the arena of religious freedom. I believe the editors of The American Prospect are correct. Religious freedom is now the most important political fight being waged in the public square. And religious freedom is a subject on which our Founders had a lot to say.

For most of American history, those who generally embraced a Judeo-Christian moral framework enjoyed decisive majority status. This doesn't mean they all shared the exact same faith or were in agreement on every issue. Far from it. But it does mean that, for most of American history, there was a general sense of familiarity with and mutual respect for the religious underpinnings of our nation's politics and culture. Within that context, Christianity enjoyed somewhat of a seat of honor at the proverbial table. This isn't to suggest that most Americans were Bible-believing evangelicals, but most Americans did profess some measure of affiliation with a Christian church, denomination, or belief system - or at least a genuine (even if somewhat nominal) respect for Christianity.

All this began to change in the 20th century, particularly after the social upheaval of the 1960s and 70s. I'm aware of the cultural changes in the Roaring Twenties, but those changes were somewhat arrested by the Great Depression, World War II, and the renewed push in the 1950s for religious conservatism as evidenced, among other indicators, by the insertion of "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance. The bottom line is that the United States stood firmly on a Judeo-Christian foundation heading into the 1960s. Since then, things have changed considerably. While I would never argue that the United States was "Christian" in any official or legal sense, there was a time when it generally favored Christianity. No more. We now live, for all intents and purposes, in a post-Christian America.

Much has been written in this blog over the specific nature of the personal and political views of the Founders when it comes to religion. We will probably never fully agree on questions concerning the true nature of the faith of men like Washington, Adams, Madison, Hamilton, and so forth, but the historical record is quite clear that all of our Founding Fathers believed in religious freedom. To the extent they differed on religious freedom, it was over what degree the government (at the state level) should favor religion and/or to what extent atheists or those without a religious belief should participate in public life. The consensus that emerged from the founding era is perhaps best represented by the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which provided for the institutional separation of Church and State and affirmed an individual's freedom of conscience.

Recognizing that the United States was never officially Christian and the culture is rapidly transforming into a post-Christian reality, many Christians today have largely abandoned any desire to impose their religious beliefs on others through public policy, but they are nevertheless hoping (even demanding) that their freedom of conscience be respected by this new post-Christian society. I believe they are right to insist on this. In fact, I will count myself among them by saying we are right to demand this.

In a famous 2006 speech on the role of religion in public life, then-Senator Barack Obama declared: "[S]ecularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square." What President Obama said then (as a senator) is just as true for the marketplace as it is for the public square. People of faith should not be expected "to leave their religion at the door before entering" the marketplace or their place of work.

Should they be expected to perform the duties to which they agreed under the terms of their employment? Of course. But the difference between employment and slavery is that the employer owns the worker's labor (within mutually agreed-upon paramaters) not the worker himself or herself. Yet I see things happening today that challenge that social contract between employer and employee - and threaten to undermine the very idea of religious freedom in our society. There are many examples which I could cite. So this article isn't too long, I will confine myself to three:

  • Federal Insurance Mandates on Corporations - Forcing employers, such as Hobby Lobby, to provide insurance coverage that includes "morning after" or "week after" contraception which the owners consider to be abortion and therefore deeply repugnant to their religious beliefs concerning the sanctity of life
  • "Civil Rights" Laws on Small or Home-Based Businesses - While no business should be allowed to discriminate against someone solely on the basis of that person's race, gender, color, or sexual orientation, a distinction MUST be made between an event and a person. If a photographer hired by a school to do senior portraits refuses to photograph a gay senior, that's blatant discrimination against a person and should be disallowed. But if a wedding photographer refuses to take pictures of a same-sex wedding, that's "discriminating" against an event. There is a difference, and given the First Amendment's clear affirmation of a person's right to freely exercise his or her religion, such a difference should be respected in our society. We are seeing the erosion of religious freedom in America when it comes to people of faith who own businesses. 
  • Going After Employees or Contractors for Off-Duty Religious Expression - When Cisco and Bank of America terminated leadership consultant Frank Turek's contract with their respective organizations, it wasn't because of his performance on the job, but rather because Turek wrote a book (on his own time) against same-sex marriage. Turek is a Christian author. Cisco and Bank of America would've been justified to issue respective statements distancing themselves from Turek's religious beliefs AND would've been right to fire him had he been proselytizing Cisco or Bank of America employees to his religious views on marriage when he was supposed to be teaching them principles of teamwork, leadership, etc., but that's not what happened. He was fired for things he said and wrote outside of his duties with Cisco and Bank of America. If it's wrong for Cisco or Bank of America to discriminate against employees and contractors for their race, gender, or sexual orientation, it should also be wrong to discriminate against them for their religion. If you disagree with that statement, then it only serves to show how much trouble our nation is in when it comes to the freedom of religion and conscience.

If the American people want to leave behind their Judeo-Christian origins and become an even more secular society, that is their right. We can argue over what the consequences of that will be or whether the Founders would approve. I'll leave that for another article. For this blog post, I'm simply saying this: If the American people wish to become more secular, that's their right. But if we want to stay true to what it means to be the United States of America, we must do so with a high degree of sensitivity and respect for those men and women of faith who wish to practice their faith.

The Founders never believed that a person's faith should only be exercised in the home or in their place of worship. They believed in the free exercise of religion - one that reached into the public square and the marketplace. The day we, as a society, reject this idea and relegate religion solely to the home and place of worship is the day we reject the most important freedom we have - the freedom of belief and conscience. When we do that, our nation will no longer resemble anything the Founders gave us.

27 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Excellent essay, Brian. And yes, the Supreme Court is taking the Hobby Lobby case.

http://www.humanevents.com/2013/11/26/supreme-court-agrees-to-hear-hobby-lobby-case-against-obamacare-mandate/

Soon we'll see.

a distinction MUST be made between an event and a person. If a photographer hired by a school to do senior portraits refuses to photograph a gay senior, that's blatant discrimination against a person and should be disallowed. But if a wedding photographer refuses to take pictures of a same-sex wedding, that's "discriminating" against an event.

is a very interesting argument. It makes too much sense to actually be argued.

When Cisco and Bank of America terminated leadership consultant Frank Turek's contract with their respective organizations, it wasn't because of his performance on the job, but rather because Turek wrote a book (on his own time) against same-sex marriage.

This one could also go either way. First, he was only a consultant, so there's no "wrongful termination" argument.

What if a teacher were fired because of a voiced opposition to gay marriage?

Before you answer, what if a Catholic school fired a teacher for a voiced opinion in favor of gay marriage?

http://radio.foxnews.com/2011/08/18/teacher-opposed-to-gay-marriage-could-be-fired/

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/06/27/social-issue/catholic-teacher-fired

There's no happy ending here.

Brian Tubbs said...

Hey Tom, thanks for the comments.

Regarding the issue of Turek, Cisco and Bank of America could have simply issued statements affirming their own views and distancing themselves from Turek. Then, in a few weeks or months, they could have found another reason to terminate Turek's contract. Had they done that, nothing would've been said. But they overtly terminated his contract because of his religious views (views expressed on his own time). It may not technically fall under "wrongful termination," but it still violates at least the SPIRIT of Turek's First Amendment rights.

As for religious employers terminating employees for views expressed outside of work, I think it's different. I realize secularists will accuse me of being hypocritical, but when you're dealing with a non-profit that is centered around a specific belief system, we're dealing with a different situation entirely. Should PETA be allowed to fire an employee who (on his own time) writes letters to the editor supporting research on monkeys? I would say "yes," because a non-profit has every right to hire and fire based on the values upon which the organization was formed in the first place. And that certainly would extend to religious non-profits.

But when we're talking about for-profit businesses, I think a clear line should be drawn between activities done on the clock and those done on the employee's or contractor's own time.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Nice to see you again, Brian! I accept and anticipated your reply re "non-profit" orgs. When it comes to religious ones, the Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY rejected the Obama Admin's argument to the contrary in

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosanna-Tabor_Evangelical_Lutheran_Church_and_School_v._Equal_Employment_Opportunity_Commission

which was a great blow in favor of religious freedom precisely as you describe.

[To cut to the chase, a teacher at a Lutheran school was held to be a "minister" and thus anything concerning her employment was considered untouchable by the government.]

Still, your own argument about "for-profit" entities argues against Hobby Lobby's claim to protection from the law on religious grounds, yes?

__________

It may not technically fall under "wrongful termination," but it still violates at least the SPIRIT of Turek's First Amendment rights.

Well, free speech rights means the gov't can stop you from speaking your mind, not that you are free of the consequences. Alec Baldwin just got canned for using gay slurs. Certainly MSNBC had that right--anyone who might hurt your profits has to go!

That's the American way. Indeed, what if Hobby Lobby manager Bruno announces that from now on, he's going to wear a dress and you should hall him Brunhilde?

[That one's gonna come up again soon, count on it. Your argument about the person and the event would be helpful to Hobby Lobby--OK, we'll call you Brunhilde, but later for the dress...]

Jason Pappas said...

I sympathize with the lack of religious tolerance but there is no solution without respect for private property. The founding fathers, having respect for private property, just didn’t have to worry about hiring and firing decisions. Not having “mandates” added to private contracts, associations, and business practices, they didn’t have to face the tough question of balancing the desires of funder and recipient, employer and employee, seller and customer, etc.

Madison was one of the first to address the issue in the realm of government funded institutions as Brian reminds us. But that was the exception. Universal public education wasn’t a reality until 1840. Overall, the world of the founding fathers was simpler. Private property just defines the bounds of one’s liberty, i.e. one’s realm of prerogative. While much is tolerated in the commons, private homes, farms, and businesses were generally left free of government management.

Personally, I’m with the founders but good luck adjudicating conflicting claims in government funded and managed modern society.

Now, on to the turkey ... happy thanksgiving, everyone.

Brian Tubbs said...

Tom, I think I'll skip the dress. :-)
The main issue with Hobby Lobby is that they're having to provide benefits mandated by the federal government. I don't think a person should have to surrender his or her First Amendment rights when going into business.

David Ivester said...

Law, by its nature, involves an element of compulsion. Confronted by questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith, the Supreme Court has generally ruled that under the Constitution the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, torts, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. (E.g., http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/494/872/case.html)

When the legislature anticipates that application of such laws may put some individuals in moral binds, the legislature may, as a matter of grace (not constitutional compulsion), provide exemptions or otherwise accommodate conscientious objectors.

A preliminary question with respect to regulation of the marketplace then is not so much whether the First Amendment precludes the government from enacting and enforcing the generally applicable laws, such as those regarding availability of health insurance (it does not), but rather whether there is any need for exemptions, e.g., one for some employers, in order to avoid forcing them to act contrary to their consciences. That question can get tricky. Under the ACA, for instance, employers may comply with the law by choosing either of two options: (1) provide qualifying health insurance plans or (2) do not provide such plans and instead pay assessments to the government. Unless one supposes that the employers’ religions forbid payments of money to the government, the law does not compel them to act contrary to their beliefs.

Some nonetheless have pressed for an exemption from the law, complaining that by paying assessments to the government they would indirectly be paying for the very things they opposed. One could well ask whether this poses a moral dilemma justifying an exemption to avoid being forced to act contrary to one’s beliefs, rather than a gripe common to many taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action the government may take with the benefit of “their” tax dollars. Should each of us be exempted from paying our taxes so we aren’t thereby “forced” to pay for making war, providing health care, teaching evolution, or whatever else each of us may consider wrong or even immoral?

In any event, the government relented to continued political pressure and announced that religious employers would be free to provide health plans with provisions to their liking and not be required to pay the assessments otherwise required. Nonetheless, some have continued to complain, fretting that somehow the services they dislike will get paid for and somehow they will be complicit in that. They argue that if insurers or employees pay for such services, those costs will somehow, someday be passed on to the employers in the form of demands for higher insurance premiums or higher wages. They evidently believe that when they spend a dollar and it thus becomes the property of others, they nonetheless should have some say in how others later spend that dollar. One can only wonder how it would work if all of us could tag “our” dollars this way and control their subsequent use.

Notwithstanding all the arm waving about religious liberty, one could well conclude that employers are not forced by the law to act contrary to their consciences. More than that, it may be perceived that employers seeking exemption from the law aim not for religious liberty for themselves (to the extent they already have that), but rather for power over their employees, enabling them to limit or influence their employees' choices to those conforming to the employers' religious beliefs. (Frankly, tangles such as this call into question why we, as a society, put employers in the position of providing health care in the first place.)

jimmiraybob said...

"They evidently believe that when they spend a dollar and it thus becomes the property of others, they nonetheless should have some say in how others later spend that dollar."

A couple of absurdities to the whole inhibiting the "religious freedom" of the employer with respect to the health care argument are:

1) healthcare is not provided by the individual but by the company or corporation - a non human entity, and

2) healthcare is only one aspect of employee-employer compensation.

Imagine the sins that are being supported via the payment of wages by a company as large as Hobby Lobby - alcohol abuse, drug abuse, gambling, greed, prostitution, pornography, physical abuses within various relationships, as well as personal purchases of sex aids, contraception and abortion. Not to mention worshipping of false gods and political contributions to Democrats.

The money paid to employees doesn't end with the employee but is further distributed to friends, families and other commercial enterprises and religious/political institutions.

The argument can just as easily be made that Hobby Lobby, through paying wages and bonuses, directly and indirectly violates the religious convictions of the company principals (owners, CEOs, Presidents, etc.).

In converse to the oft used "if you don't like working here you can always go elsewhere" canard, if participating in commerce in a free and pluralistic society is that abhorrent then there are ways to alleviate one's suffering that are more in line with one's individual conscience. Perhaps through Christian/religious ministry or missionary work. Or walking in solitary poverty and deprivation far removed from temporal taint.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Anonymous David Ivester said...
Law, by its nature, involves an element of compulsion


The world would be "coercion" and as such isn't quite true under the Founding principle of negative liberty and minimal government.

For instance, although military service may be conscripted in times of danger, we've always permitted conscientious objectors not to fight. That said,

Under the ACA, for instance, employers may comply with the law by choosing either of two options: (1) provide qualifying health insurance plans or (2) do not provide such plans and instead pay assessments to the government. Unless one supposes that the employers’ religions forbid payments of money to the government, the law does not compel them to act contrary to their beliefs.


is a very good argument. We are however, on unsteady ground in that the Hyde Amendment has forbidden gov't financing for abortions, and this contraception mandate is a raised middle finger to the spirit of Hyde.

My prudence argument is that this assault on religious conscience is unneccesary and evil, even if technically constitutional. Further, the majority of the country is against.

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2013/12/02/poll-majority-oppose-obamacares-contraception-mandate-n1756034?utm_source=thdailypm&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl_pm

Obama's high-handedness is disgraceful. This is not what the Founders envisioned.



JMS said...

Brian Tubbs says that “I don't think a person should have to surrender his or her First Amendment rights when going into business.”

But as the CEO of Hobby Lobby, David Green has not surrendered his First Amendment rights; he is free to exercise his religion. Allowing employees to make independent decisions to obtain contraceptives via a company’s healthcare plan does not violate anyone’s religious freedom or First Amendment rights. The Bill of Rights was intended to protect the rights of individual citizens. The federal government is telling Hobby Lobby et. al. that they do not have the right to dictate to employees how they live their lives.

This isn’t even a constitutional issue. No employer is exempt from laws like workman’s compensation insurance, minimum wage, job safety standards, labor law, tax law, etc. All employees must be treated equally.

Please stop crying wolf about "religious liberty" and arguing from false premises.

Tom Van Dyke said...

The federal government is telling Hobby Lobby et. al. that they do not have the right to dictate to employees how they live their lives.


That's a complete distortion of the issue. Hobby Lobby doesn't tell its employees it can't use contraceptives.

David Ivester said...

Tom,

You are right to observe the example of conscientious objectors, but fail to take it far enough. When the legislature anticipates that application of laws may put some individuals in moral binds, the legislature may, as a matter of grace (not constitutional compulsion), provide exemptions or otherwise accommodate conscientious objectors. In doing so, the legislature need not offer objectors free passes. It may require them to pay or do something instead. For instance, in years past, we have not allowed conscientious objectors simply to skip military service for “free”; rather, we have required them to provide alternative service in noncombatant roles or useful civilian work.

So, calling on employers to provide qualifying health insurance or, if they object to such insurance, to choose instead simply to pay money to the government (less even than they would have paid for the insurance) is entirely constitutional, entirely reasonable, and entirely consistent with our past practice.

As for supposing that any ground inconsistent with the Hyde Amendment is “unsteady,” realize that that amendment was merely a political accommodation that, once reached, has been repeated piecemeal in various contexts. It is hardly holy ground, and indeed has long been regarded by many as finger worthy.

Bottom line: The law does not force Hobby Lobby to act contrary to “its” conscience. Rather, Hobby Lobby seeks exemption from the law so that it can limit its employees’ choices. To be sure, the employees can, at some trouble and expense, either get different jobs with employers who do not thus constrain them or they can search around on their own and purchase the desired coverage themselves. Why, though, should we, as a society, allow employers to mess with their employees’ choices in that way? Invoking claims of the employers’ religious liberty affords no excuse--since the law does not force the employers to act contrary to their consciences; rather, it merely precludes them from limiting their employees’ choices.

Tom Van Dyke said...

David, well argued. You had me until

Rather, Hobby Lobby seeks exemption from the law so that it can limit its employees’ choices.

That is garbage. Hobby Lobby cannot prevent anyone from choosing contraceptives, abortifacients or even abortions.

JMS said...

Tom - I did not "distort the issue." You are obfuscating, or perhaps bearing false witness here.

Back on September 2, 2012 in a USA Today op-ed piece by David Green, the CEO and founder of Hobby Lobby, he clearly stated his family's opposition on religious grounds to the government health mandate requiring employers such as him to provide insurance coverage to their employees for contraceptives.

Oh sure, uninsured employees could use contraceptives, but their freedom to do so would be severely limited if their company health insurance plan won't cover the cost.

David Green's religious liberty does not give him the liberty to impose his religious beliefs on his employees or the rest of us.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh sure, uninsured employees could use contraceptives, but their freedom to do so would be severely limited if their company health insurance plan won't cover the cost.

Again, you keep overshooting your argument with nonsense. Contraceptives, abortifacients and even abortions are far from prohibitively expensive. So can the "false witness" crap and make an honest argument.

David got a lot closer than you did until he drove into the same ditch. Hobby Lobby cannot prevent anyone from "choosing" contraceptives, abortifacients or even abortions.

David Green's religious liberty does not give him the liberty to impose his religious beliefs on his employees or the rest of us.

Or, you want to impose your lack of morals on him, and have him pick up the check.

Tom Van Dyke said...

In fact, your uses of "freedom"

Oh sure, uninsured employees could use contraceptives, but their freedom to do so would be severely limited if their company health insurance plan won't cover the cost.

and "liberty"

David Green's religious liberty does not give him the liberty to impose his religious beliefs on his employees or the rest of us.


are what's wrong with your argument. David Green declining to pay for your contraceptives does not iminge on your "freedom" to use them, not does his religious "liberty" impinge on yours in the slightest.

It's the perversion of the concepts of freedom and liberty--of "rights," what we call "rights talk"--that triggered my study of the Founding in the first place, JMS. Thx for reminding me. Your understanding--the modern understanding--of "rights"--the freedom and liberty to have David Green finance my contraceptives--would astonish the Founders.

Perhaps in the 21st century, you and Obama and the courts will force this on David Green, but the Founders would be repulsed by such a naked show of disrespect and brutishness.

This is unnecessary. Let Obama try to pass free contraceptives on its own without dragging David Green and his family business into it.

David Ivester said...

Tom,

You keep saying that Hobby Lobby cannot prevent anyone from choosing contraceptives, etc. Bravo. Agreed. That, though, is not the point. No one is arguing that.

The point is that the law, notwithstanding Hobby Lobby’s misgivings, aims to make health insurance (including contraception, etc.) widely available. Toward that end, building on the current system that has employers offering health insurance, the law calls on employers to either provide qualifying insurance (which includes the prescribed coverage) or pay assessments. The latter choice affords employers with religious objections to certain prescribed health care coverage to opt out of providing any such coverage and simply pay the government an assessment instead. By affording that option, the law avoids forcing employers to act contrary to their consciences.

That being the case, why do some employers, e.g., Hobby Lobby, nonetheless press to be exempted from the law? You maintain mightily (and rightly) that they cannot, even with an exemption, actually prevent anyone from choosing contraceptives, etc. So, what would they get from an exemption? They would get a law-free zone in which they could exercise influence over their employees by making it easy for them to choose insurance conforming to the employers’ religious beliefs and difficult to choose any other insurance. To be sure, as you note, the employers could not actually prevent their employees from choosing contraception, etc., but they could certainly make that choice much more difficult for their employees than it would be for anyone else. The question is why we should invent an exemption to allow any employer to mess with its employees’ choices that way?

Tom Van Dyke said...

"Mess with employees' choices" is where your argument is spurious. These contraceptives/abortifacients are cheap.

Hobby Lobby might lose--I'm not arguing their case is airtight, or even good. My larger point is that Obama steamrolling their religious beliefs is unnecessary and brutish, and is contrary to the founding principle of religious pluralism.

It stinks. It was hidden in 1000s of pages of a bad law passed at the wire by people who never even read it. He could never get a law passed that explicitly dealt with this issue.

JMS said...

Are the conservatives going to challenge their beloved originalist Justice Antonin Scalia’s 1990 majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith?

In that case, the Court rejected the appeal of members of the Native American Church who had sought an exemption from drug laws that made illegal their religious use of peyote.

Scalia stated that the free exercise of religion does not grant religious citizens the right to exemptions from neutral but burdensome laws.

jimmiraybob said...

"It was hidden in 1000s of pages of a bad law passed at the wire by people who never even read it."

Oy vey, muy rediculos.

Hidden? As in it was written and available to 100s of Republican congressional members and staff and 100s more Republican attorneys and 100s of conservative think tank analysts and 100s/1000s of citizen activists and bloggers and every other interested person on the planet with internet access and the ability to download and read.

And, you do realize that these documents are double or triple or quadruple spaced with wide margins?

I even managed to read a fair chunk. Mostly to see how the death panels were going to kill me.

Man o man, that's a some spicy a tyranny.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Are the conservatives going to challenge their beloved originalist Justice Antonin Scalia’s 1990 majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith?

I don't play that clever game, backed into defending Scalia's alleged inconsistencies or "hypocrisies" to make an affirmative "conservative" point.

The affirmative argument is that there is no reasonable theory of "rights" nor is there Constitutional provision that empowers the government to ban Hobby Lobby from giving/paying its employees with health insurance that [admittedly] excludes contraceptives, abortifacients, and of course abortions.

Whether that argument will hold, I honestly don't know. But this is a different issue than the last one, that the individual mandate is a "tax," not an unconstitutional "mandate."

http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/blog/index.php/2012/06/obamacare-tax-a-sophistic-assault-on-the-rule-of-law/

[I'm personally not highly critical of Roberts' principle here, that the Court should let the legislature legislate. The left was also due a "make up call" for Bush v. Gore. Although Bush would have won regardless, the Court should have let it play out.]

Tom Van Dyke said...

I even managed to read a fair chunk. Mostly to see how the death panels were going to kill me.

Forget the cheap "death panel" demagoguery. Let's keep it real around here if we're going to do politics and the Founding principles.

I read a fair chunk of the Obamacare bill too, "jimmiraybob," after the House--in a midnight vote-- approved the Senate version of the Obamacare bill--a version that was never intended to actually become the "law of the land."

So this Frankenstein piece of misbegotten legislation is the "law of the land."

For now.


The bill, the law, the Affordable Care Act, was intended to be sent to reconciliation with the House version, not final passage.

Do you remember any of this?

Senator Ted Kennedy died. A Democrat placefiller named Paul Kirk was appointed by the Massachusetts governor, but Republican Scott Brown won the special election, even the voters of liberal Massachusetts repulsed by the idea of Obamacare becoming the "law of the land."

Your party pushed the Obamacare bill through in a late-night session--before Scott Brown could take office and stop this madness in its tracks.

http://voteview.com/blog/?p=530

Do you remember any of this? \

Actually, I think you do, because you're so clearly aware and clever when it comes to politics.

So, I will not insult your intelligence. Please stop insulting everybody else's with this "conservative thinktank" BS, OK? Your party forced this law on the American people [for their own good!!??], but that's not right.

And as it's turning out, it's not even for our own good, with millions of cancellations. You've overplayed your ideological hand, you've already hurt a great number of the American people, and now you're going to pay on Election Day.

Not just 2014, but 2016, and for a long long time.

This attempt to steamroll Hobby Lobby and their religious beliefs is just the smallest part of your contempt for the Founding principles. Let's just be honest about it.

jimmiraybob said...

"Forget the cheap "death panel" demagoguery."

One man's humorous sarcasm (mine) is another's demagoguery. It is hard to tell ow days what with a portion of the political spectrum having lost its mind.

"This attempt to steamroll Hobby Lobby and their religious beliefs is just the smallest part of your contempt for the Founding principles. Let's just be honest about it."

Not quite. Founding principles included the secular, mundane, and profane business of running a nation. Something about the providing for the general welfare or something.

Tom Van Dyke said...

You don't seem to appreciate why Chief Justice Roberts was forced into the dodge that the Obamacare individual mandate is a "tax."

The "general welfare" clause is not carte blanche for the government to coerce citizens into every bright idea that comes into their heads.

"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one."---James Madison

Brian Tubbs said...

There is a difference between the government prohibiting the use of peyote (which Scalia defended) and the government mandating that an employer pay for contraceptives or abortifacients (or pay a fine).

Brian Tubbs said...

"The 'general welfare' clause is not carte blanche for the government to coerce citizens into every bright idea that comes into their heads."

This common sense and brilliantly articulated principle should be printed and posted in the office of every elected official and every judge in the United States.

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Art Deco said...

"Civil Rights" Laws on Small or Home-Based Businesses - While no business should be allowed to discriminate against someone solely on the basis of that person's race, gender, color, or sexual orientation,

What have you got against freedom of contract?

"Civil rights" law was an innovation in defense of a poor and systemically abused demographic. It has proven metastatic - a way to harass cultural minorities and have lawyers vetting everyone's discretionary decision-making.