Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ross Douthat on the “of course we respect religious freedom” facade.

A good post to mark this first day of the Obamacare regulation that force business owners-- including Catholic businesses owners-- to buy contraception and sterilization insurance for their employees.

Ross Douthat has a fine essay on religious freedom and its despisers.

Excerpt:

Defining Religious Liberty Down

THE words “freedom of belief” do not appear in the First Amendment. Nor do the words “freedom of worship.” Instead, the Bill of Rights guarantees Americans something that its authors called “the free exercise” of religion.
It’s a significant choice of words, because it suggests a recognition that religious faith cannot be reduced to a purely private or individual affair. Most religious communities conceive of themselves as peoples or families, and the requirements of most faiths extend well beyond attendance at a sabbath service — encompassing charity and activism, education and missionary efforts, and other “exercises” that any guarantee of religious freedom must protect.
I cannot improve upon the way the first lady of the United States explained this issue, speaking recently to a conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. “Our faith journey isn’t just about showing up on Sunday,” Michelle Obama said. “It’s about what we do Monday through Saturday as well ... Jesus didn’t limit his ministry to the four walls of the church. He was out there fighting injustice and speaking truth to power every single day.”
But Mrs. Obama’s words notwithstanding, there seems to be a great deal of confusion about this point in the Western leadership class today...

Douthat discusses the Obamacare demand that Catholics violate their consciences and provide contraception and sterilization for employees, and the German court ruling banning circumcision even for Jewish children, and the Chick-fil-A imbroglio in which mayors threatened a Christian businessman with withholding of business licenses because of his personal views on gay marriage.

Douthat continues:
I have described all these incidents as resulting from confusion about what freedom of religion actually entails. But of course every freedom has its limits. We do not allow people to exercise beliefs that require, say, forced marriage or honor killing. You can believe in the gods of 15th-century Mesoamerica, but neither Chicago values nor American ones permit the use of Aztec sacrificial altars on the South Side. 
To the extent that the H.H.S. mandate, the Cologne ruling and the Chick-fil-A controversy reflect a common logic rather than a shared confusion, then, it’s a logic that regards Western monotheism’s ideas about human sexuality — all that chastity, monogamy, male-female business — as similarly incompatible with basic modern freedoms.

He notes eloquently:

It may seem strange that anyone could look around the pornography-saturated, fertility-challenged, family-breakdown-plagued West and see a society menaced by a repressive puritanism. But it’s clear that this perspective is widely and sincerely held. 
It would be refreshing, though, if it were expressed honestly, without the “of course we respect religious freedom” facade. 
If you want to fine Catholic hospitals for following Catholic teaching, or prevent Jewish parents from circumcising their sons, or ban Chick-fil-A in Boston, then don’t tell religious people that you respect our freedoms. Say what you really think: that the exercise of our religion threatens all that’s good and decent, and that you’re going to use the levers of power to bend us to your will. 
There, didn’t that feel better? Now we can get on with the fight.

Free exercise of religion means the freedom to act on religious belief, and that means the freedom to act in the public and political arena. But secular elites are using force to make sure Christians don't imperil with even a whiff of chastity our culture's adultery or gay sex or pornography or abortions or sex education or condoms or sterilizations.

So let's drop the facade.

Secularists are suppressing free exercise of religion and freedom of speech. They have been using force against Christian practice for at least half a century in the United States, beginning with the ban on voluntary organized prayer in schools.

Now Catholics are being forced to buy other people condoms. In Europe Jews are told they can't circumcise their sons. And in Chicago and Boston Christians are told that they won't be allowed to open a business if they express their opinion on gay marriage.

It's a refreshing moment of clarity on the repression that Christians are facing today, once again. We pray that we will prevail in this political and cultural struggle, but if not, we will resist.

We will never worship at the secular altar. 

85 comments:

  1. Poor, poor Christians, constantly being suppressed despite having a Christian president and an overwhelmingly Christian Congress. Truly those secularists have immense power despite having essentially no elected representatives. Why, it might even be ... a miracle!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Cologne court case involved a four year old boy circumcised at the request of his Muslim parents. The judge ruled this procedure illegal if done for non-medical reasons because it violates an individual’s right to bodily integrity. As such the ruling applies to those who would circumcise minors for religious, cultural, philosophical, or cosmetic reasons. This was not an attack on Judaism. I just want to put that out there before accusations of anti-Semitism start flying around.

    The court was trying to balance two fundamental rights recognized within Western society: the right to not be harmed (which derives from the right to life) and the right to free expression of religion. When two fundamental rights are in conflict what is one to do? Decide which one is more fundamental and give it deference.

    -L

    ReplyDelete
  3. According to Pew, “Fully one-in-four adults under age 30 (25%) are unaffiliated, describing their religion as "atheist," "agnostic" or "nothing in particular." Christians have only themselves to blame. Christianity’s most prominent public voices are partisan political hacks like Glenn Beck and the host of characters on Fox News. Christianity has become little more than a weapon with which to bludgeon your political foes. It’s impossible to watch conservative media and not come away with the impression that in order to be a good Christian you must deny global warming, support preemptive war, and support low taxes on the mega-wealthy. No wonder people are turning away from the faith.

    On top of the chilling partisanship, people are getting sick of religions trying to force them to behave as if they shared the faith. Forcing women to have babies, making contraception more difficult to obtain for people under the churches sway, and denying rights to gays, are an anathema to the very notions of individual liberty. Trying to deny prescriptions that improve the quality of life for millions of women and the ability of gays to enjoy the same rights as the rest of us isn’t going to save a single soul; its only purpose is to punish those that don’t share your faith.

    -KW

    ReplyDelete
  4. KW.

    1) Global Warming. Denying AGW isn't required by my faith. It is required by the evidence, which so far does not demonstrate that our grand orgy of consumption is warming the earth in any significant way. It was much warmer a thousand years ago. What caused that?
    2) Pre-emptive war. Define that please. If the U.S. Congress passed a resolution declaring a state of war with the Islamic Republic of Iran that would not be pre-emptive. That would be reactive. They declared war on us back in 1979 and we have been trying to ignore them ever since.
    3) I support low taxes because that is the best way to advance the cause of improving the material prosperity of the poor. Trying to do it by government re-distribution has an historical record of failure.
    4) No one is trying to compel you to share our faith. We would be happy if you did, but there is no compulsion. You do not have the right to compel a religious business person to provide a product he finds contrary to his faith. If a bookstore owner may refuse to stock KKK literature then why cannot a pharmacy refuse to deal in contraceptives?
    5) No one is 'Forcing women to have babies...' We think you would be happier if you came over to the culture of life, but again, there is no compulsion. You do not have the right to compel us to finance, support and advance your immoral practices.
    6) There is no right to 'gay marriage' because there is no such thing as 'gay marriage'. It is a null category. It does not exist. You can't have a right to a nullity. Every gay person has the same right to marry that anyone else has. An unattached member of the opposite sex. If that isn't to a gay person's tastes why is that our problem? And guess what? I can't go out and get married to some lady to whom I find attractive. That is because I am already married. Is my freedom to marry infringed? Only by reality, KW. Only by reality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 5) No one is 'Forcing women to have babies...' We think you would be happier if you came over to the culture of life, but again, there is no compulsion. You do not have the right to compel us to finance, support and advance your immoral practices.

      Yeah, right. No compulsion. Tell me again why the good Christians of Kansas are attempting to close down the last abortion clinic in their state.

      Delete
    2. 6) There is no right to 'gay marriage' because there is no such thing as 'gay marriage'. It is a null category. It does not exist. You can't have a right to a nullity. Every gay person has the same right to marry that anyone else has. An unattached member of the opposite sex.

      Once upon a time every black man could marry any woman as long as she was black. Was his freedom infringed? Only by reality. In fact, it was William F. Buckley (and his National Review) who argued that federal intervention to protect black civil rights violated constitutional federalism principles and that Jim Crow segregation was actually a good policy. My, my, have times changed!

      In forty years today's conservatives will look the same vis-a-vis their stance to gay marriage.

      Delete
    3. 1) Global Warming. Denying AGW isn't required by my faith. It is required by the evidence, which so far does not demonstrate that our grand orgy of consumption is warming the earth in any significant way. It was much warmer a thousand years ago. What caused that?

      I'd like to determine more precisely what sort of climate skeptic you are. I'll start from the far end. Do you agree that the average temperature of the Earth's surface has increased over the last 100 years by a degree (centigrade)?

      Delete
    4. 2) Pre-emptive war. Define that please. If the U.S. Congress passed a resolution declaring a state of war with the Islamic Republic of Iran that would not be pre-emptive. That would be reactive. They declared war on us back in 1979 and we have been trying to ignore them ever since.

      When was the war officially declared by Iran and where can I read that declaration? Or did you mean that in some figurative sense? Define.

      Delete
    5. David,

      How does America trying to ignore Iran ever since 1979 square with the considerable aid it provided Iraq in the Iraq-Iran war, started by Saddam Hussein for his nefarious purposes? Don't you feel embarrassed that Saddam was once an ally of America?

      Delete
    6. David, you prove my point with your thoroughly canonical Christian conservative views.

      “There is no right to 'gay marriage' because there is no such thing as 'gay marriage'.”

      News flash, Gay marriage is legal in many locations. Try telling the marred gay couples here in Massachusetts that there is no such thing as gay marriage and they will rightfully laugh in your face.

      -KW

      Delete
    7. It was much warmer a thousand years ago. What caused that?

      Actually, it wasn't. Your claim to be "following the evidence" evaporates in the face of reality. The reality is that the medieval warm period was a localized phenomenon confined to the North Atlantic. The rest of the world was much cooler, and the average global temperature was much cooler.

      Delete
    8. Oleg first.
      1) The good citizens of Kansas are opposed to killing a baby, once conceived. The state does have the right to stop people from killing each other. Nobody is proposing to force women to get pregnant.
      2) Yes, a black and a white who wanted to marry did indeed have their rights infringed. However, they wanted something which is possible. You have not addressed my point, which is that no one can claim a right to a nullity. 'Gay Marriage' is no more possible that is a martini made of orange soda and yogurt. It doesn't have the proper ingredients.
      As for National Review, the rebuttal to your point is contained within the last paragraph of the site to which you linked.
      3) The average temperature? How is that number generated? And the problem with any answer that the warming community might now give is this: Their data is suspect because of their actions. Why should anyone trust a group which talks of 'hiding' anything?
      4) War was declared when the U.S. Embassy was seized. The act serves as a declaration. No formal document is necessary in the presence of an act. If Imperial Japan had never served the U.S. with a written declaration of war do you seriously argue that there would have been no state of war after Pearl Harbor?

      Delete
    9. Bach. I said the U.S. has been trying to ignore it. Success in that has been uneven. As for Iraq being an ally......I do seem to remember a mission Ollie North made to try to reestablish relations with Iran. And the Iraq attack on the USS Stark. Odd behavior for an ally.

      Yeah, I am embarrassed that we deal civilly with murderous thugs. George Bush refused a visit from Yassir Arafat after 911. I would have let him come and had him hanged on the south lawn. Payback for Cleo Noel who was killed by Arafat's minions in Sudan.

      Delete
    10. KW. Passing a law to make something 'legal' does not conjure it into existence. If the stoners in the California Legislature passed a law mandating humane treatment for unicorns, would that cause unicorns to exist? Absurd.

      Delete
    11. Anonymous - Your data for that? How did we come by it? We know that people were growing hay in Greenland from the time of settlement up to the beginning of the little ice age in the fourteenth century. The history is beyond dispute. This wasn't just a couple of hot summers in the arctic. And why did the Climate Unit work so hard to make the MWP 'disappear'?

      Delete
    12. David,

      1) An embryo is not "a baby." It is a clump of cells that can develop into a human. If your religion forbids abortion, don't have abortions. Other people can decide for themselves what to do. It's none of your business.

      2) Clearly gay marriage is not your thing, David. You do not wish to practice it and you find no meaning in it. That is fine. What is not fine is that you wish to impose your perspective on everybody else.

      As to your defense of National Review, it was entirely unnecessary. Buckley himself had later expressed regret about that particular position. Relax.

      3) Here you (a) don't even know how the average global temperature is calculated and (b) nonetheless doubt the veracity of the data. And on top of that, (c) you don't even understand what "hide the decline" was about. I suggest you read about it.

      4) Japan did declare war on the US. You deal with hypotheticals.

      Delete
    13. Your data for that? How did we come by it? We know that people were growing hay in Greenland from the time of settlement up to the beginning of the little ice age in the fourteenth century. The history is beyond dispute.

      Perhaps if you looked at a globe, you'd note that Greenland is in the North Atlantic, which is where the localized warming of the medieval warming period took place.

      The easiest place to find the evidence about the medieval warming period is to go someplace like the Wikipedia page on the subject, which seems to be about your intellectual speed. If you want a direct scholarly approach, try the articles on the subject from Science magazine

      Delete
    14. My information about agriculture in Greenland comes from history books. Not Wiki. And Science doesn't do history, do they?

      Localized warming for 300 years? O.K. From Newfoundland to Northern Europe. O.K. What caused that? If human generation of CO2 was not involved, and I don't believe anyone argues that it was, then the MWP demonstrates that climate (NOT weather!) can change over a wide area for an extended time for entirely natural reasons. Which makes the job of the AGW enthusiast somewhat harder because it must be proved that any currently observed warming is due entirely to our generation of CO2 and that other natural phenomena are not involved.

      Hiding or destroying your data sets, or otherwise making them unavailable to other scientists, and conducting conversations about suppressing the contributions of rivals, and 'hiding the decline' are actions which fatally compromise the integrity of the East Anglia Climate Unit. Why should anyone trust people who act like that?

      Besides which, the concern is misdirected. Depletion of resources and pollution are far more important, and these problems won't be solved by making us poorer. We need alternatives to oil/gas/coal, to be sure. We need to be opening nuclear power plants every week until we match France in the percentage of our electricity which is generated at nuclear stations. We need to proceed with Dr. Gerard K O'Neil's vision of a habitat at the L5 point between the Moon and the Earth where a solar power station would actually serve us well. And we need to be rich enough to launch a fleet of surface skimmers to clean all the floating plastic waste out of the ocean gyres.

      Delete
    15. Oleg, here is the last paragraph of President Roosevelt's speech to Congress on Dec 8, 1941:

      "I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire."

      Notice the past tense? '...a state of war HAS existed...'

      That was just my point Oleg. An actual act of war is all that is required to bring about a 'state of war'. The Islamic Republic of Iran committed an act of war some 33 years ago. It would be helpful if our politicians recognized reality. Helpful if you did as well.

      Delete
    16. And another thing. If you make me pay for it, Oleg, you make it my business.

      Delete
    17. Yes, David, and if you step on my rights, same things. Consider it war. (LOL)

      Delete
    18. David: Your data for that? How did we come by it? We know that people were growing hay in Greenland from the time of settlement up to the beginning of the little ice age in the fourteenth century. The history is beyond dispute.

      History is not in dispute here. There were places in Greenland where farming went on before the Little Ice Age. Farming is going on now in these same places. So the presence of farming, in itself, does not indicate that Greenland was warmer a thousand years ago.

      Delete
    19. David: Notice the past tense? '...a state of war HAS existed...'

      That was just my point Oleg. An actual act of war is all that is required to bring about a 'state of war'. The Islamic Republic of Iran committed an act of war some 33 years ago.


      No, that wasn't your original point. You previously maintained that an act of war was equivalent to a declaration of war. Which it isn't.

      At any rate, if you wish to go back in time to look for acts of war between Iran and the US, don't forget this little event in 1953. That could certainly be considered an act of war, couldn't it?

      Delete
    20. Oleg, Oleg, Oleg.

      This: "If Imperial Japan had never served the U.S. with a written declaration of war do you seriously argue that there would have been no state of war after Pearl Harbor?" is a hypothetical question which, btw, you never answered. My point is completely in line with President Roosevelt's thinking here: The U.S. was at war with Imperial Japan at the moment the attack on Pearl Harbor began. It didn't require a declaration from the U.S. Congress.

      And no, supporting one faction over another in a foreign country is something states do all the time, especially if they have a serious interest in the outcome. Just look what Obama tried to do with government of Honduras. Remember the boycotts of Shell and others we conducted to attack Apartheid? If the government of Mexico starts funding the Dems it would be unwelcome, probably illegal, but certainly not an act of war.

      Delete
    21. Another thing, Oleg. Go and read the whole address which President Roosevelt made to Congress on Dec 8, 1941. He says specifically that the document handed to us by Japan an hour after the attack started did NOT contain a declaration of war.

      "Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack."

      And this, from Wiki: 'The final part of the "14 Part Message" is sometimes described as a declaration of war. While it neither declared war nor severed diplomatic relations, it was viewed by a number of senior U.S government and military officials as a very strong indicator that negotiations were likely to be terminated [55] and that war might break out at any moment.[56] A declaration of war was printed on the front page of Japan's newspapers in the evening edition of December 8,[57] but not delivered to the U.S. government until the day after the attack.'

      So the war was well underway before the paperwork was done.

      Delete
    22. David: And no, supporting one faction over another in a foreign country is something states do all the time, especially if they have a serious interest in the outcome. Just look what Obama tried to do with government of Honduras. Remember the boycotts of Shell and others we conducted to attack Apartheid? If the government of Mexico starts funding the Dems it would be unwelcome, probably illegal, but certainly not an act of war.

      I think you have missed the part where the UK and the US orchestrated the overthrow of an elected government in Iran. That isn't merely "supporting one faction over another in a foreign country." They got rid of one faction and installed in power the other. Here is an excerpt that you should read:

      With a change to more conservative governments in both Britain and the United States, Churchill and the U.S. Eisenhower administration decided to overthrow Iran's government though the predecessor U.S. Truman administration had opposed a coup. Classified documents show British intelligence officials played a pivotal role in initiating and planning the coup, and that Washington and London shared an interest in maintaining control over Iranian oil.

      Delete
    23. Both Churchill and Eisenhower shared an interest in preventing the Soviets from installing their puppet. Somebody was going to have a puppet in Tehran. That's just power politics. Of course, if you get in the middle of a civil war, then of course the side fighting your guys will consider your support for their enemies to be an act of war. The U.S. shipped a lot of weapons to the Mexican Army which fought off the French occupation during our Civil War. Was that an act of war against France? Or against the part of Mexico loyal to Maximillian?

      Delete
    24. David: Of course, if you get in the middle of a civil war, then of course the side fighting your guys will consider your support for their enemies to be an act of war.

      "Support" is not the right word here. The US and British intelligence agencies planned and led the coup in Iran.

      Delete
    25. Well good for them. That was an act of liberation for the people of Iran. Bringing in the current tyranny was an act of war against the people of Iran.

      Delete
    26. David, overthrowing a democracy and putting in a quasi-puppet monarch was an act of libawhat for the people of Iran?

      Delete
    27. Modus. You are deluded if you think the popular vote confers moral authority. Hitler had a lot of votes, didn't he? Thwarting the democratic wishes of the German Volk to install Hitler at the head of their government would have been an act of great kindness towards them.

      Did we liberate the people of the Confederacy? Or not? What is your opinion of Lincoln acting to thwart the democratically expressed wishes of the citizens of the Confederacy?

      Delete
    28. What? The Shah wasn't Lincoln and the Iranians weren't freed from a Hitler, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was freed from having its revenues squeezed.

      Delete
    29. Modus. You honestly think the people of Iran are better off now than under the Shaw? I don't care which way they would vote. I want to know if you think their lives and society are better now.

      Delete
    30. You honestly think the people of Iran are better off now than under the Shaw?

      You are slightly behind the curve here. The coup that British intelligence engineered that people are talking about here is the one that brought the Shah to power.

      Delete
    31. Yes that is correct Anonymous. We both know that. Sorry if you missed that in the back and forth. The Shaw was our choice for ruler of Iran. And a better choice than the people made in 1979. Democracy sometimes yields immoral results when the voters are enamored of immoral policies. The voters of the Confederate States of America, for instance.

      Delete
    32. You seem to think that the Shah was brought to power because "democracy" in Iran screwed up somehow. Perhaps if the Shah had been a little more forward thinking and had allowed for democratic expression rather than autocracy, then the Islamic option would not have seemed so attractive.

      Delete
    33. Yes, "democracy" did screw up in bringing forward a puppet for the Soviets. The Shah was very 'forward' thinking as far as bringing his country into the modern era was concerned. Not so his replacements.

      Anon, would you ratify a popular democratic vote for some horrendous policy? Pick your horror. Would you say O.K. just because a debased people voted in favor of a horror?

      Delete
    34. You have two problems with your analysis: first, calling Pahlavi "forward thinking" is silly. In 1975 he established single party rule. He violently suppressed dissent. Was he better or worse than the current rulers? Probably better, but at the time, he was seen as pretty autocratic and heavy handed.

      Second, the developments that led to the establishment of the current government of Iran can hardly be called "democratic".

      Third, the Islamic Republic hated the Soviets as much as it hated the U.S. Khomeni considered communism to be incompatible with Islam. The Soviets supplied arms to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, hardly the actions of a nation dealing with a "puppet".

      Delete
  5. David "3) I support low taxes because that is the best way to advance the cause of improving the material prosperity of the poor. Trying to do it by government re-distribution has an historical record of failure."
    The United States had about 1/3 the ratio of mobility of Denmark and less than half that of Canada, Finland and Norway.[1] France, Germany, Sweden, also had higher mobility...

    "You do not have the right to compel a religious business person to provide a product he finds contrary to his faith. If a bookstore owner may refuse to stock KKK literature then why cannot a pharmacy refuse to deal in contraceptives?"
    You don't need a prescription for books.
    ...
    Imagine you're poor, of limited mobility, in a small town with one pharmacist. Imagine, in this instance, that your prescription is contrary to his or her religious beliefs (say, as a Christian Scientist or Scientologist).
    Remember the previous hubbub about "Not letting some unelected bureaucrat get in between you and your doctor"? Why is that bad (so bad, in fact, to ignite protest), but it's just fine, even laudable, when "somebody else's religion" is substituted for "unelected bureaucrat"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Imagine if you are poor, etc., etc., and there is NO pharmacy in your town. Yikes, Batman! What are we going to do now?

      I get prescriptions by mail, you know. It isn't hard. And I don't have government involved at all! Isn't that wonderful! You don't have to pay my pharmacy costs.

      And again, you do not have the right to compel someone to perform a morally objectionable act to provide a service for you. You do not have the right to force a kosher butcher to carve up your hog. You do not have the right to force a catholic doctor to perform an abortion, do a tubal ligation, or prescribe contraceptives. You may consider all these to be good things, but you may not impose your values on others. And it is you folks who are guilty of imposing your values on others.

      Delete
    2. David "You do not have the right to force a kosher butcher to carve up your hog."
      It's a Kosher butcher, but not Walgreen's Catholic Pharmacy.

      "I get prescriptions by mail, you know. It isn't hard."
      But what about the Religious Liberty of the on-line pharmacist! Oh, woe, won't somebody thing about his or her religious liberty?!

      "You may consider all these to be good things, but you may not impose your values on others."
      Were the Amish exempt during the Draft? Do they not have to pay taxes for Defense?

      "And it is you folks who are guilty of imposing your values on others."
      You do know that by refusing to provide service the pharmacist is imposing his/her values on others, right? Both parties involved have rights; the question is whose are superior in this case. I generally go bottom-up: customer > employee > employer. The GOP push is to completely reverse that.

      Delete
    3. Modus, nobody is talking about Walgreen's. That is a corporate chain and will be willing to sell whatever our society decides is legal. Moral considerations will play no part. There are privately owned pharmacies, you know. Owned by the pharmacist who runs them. Some of them are owned by catholics. If they have the right to decline to sell porn should they not also have the right to decline to sell contraceptive devices? And considering the enormous number of commercial outlets where contraceptive devices are available, where exactly is the problem for the users of these things?

      Delete
    4. So Walgreen's pharmacists don't get religious liberty?

      Delete
    5. People who work for Walgreen's are employees, are they not? They don't set company policy. A catholic postal worker who handles a porn subscription in the mail is not in the same moral position as the one who buys it.

      I am concerned here with people being able to set rules for the things in their lives that they control, without interference from the government. If it is your store or your medical practice or your life no one should be able to compel you to engage in immoral practices. Orthodox Jewish pharmacists have the right to close on the Sabbath. Feminist pharmacists have the right not to carry porn. Catholic pharmacists have the right not to carry contraceptives.

      If your employer sets up something within the company to which you have strong moral objections, then you can seek other employment can't you?

      Delete
    6. Employer : Lots of religious liberty. Employee : None. Customer : At mercy of the employee and the employer.
      Wow, who knew that liberty was so variable?

      "If your employer sets up something within the company to which you have strong moral objections, then you can seek other employment can't you?"
      Obviously, but "religious liberty" and "at liberty to quit" are distinctly not in parity.

      Delete
    7. Backwards. The employer is at the mercy of the customer. The employee is neutral.

      Starbucks has the right to support 'gay marriage'and refuse to sell music by Christian fundamentalists.
      Chick-fil-A has the right to support 'traditional marriage'and refuse to sell the New York Times. The business belongs to the owners of the business. This is not rocket science. A customer looking for a sandwich or a cup of coffee has the right to take his business elsewhere.

      Do you see how free everyone in my world is?

      Delete
    8. Yes, David. You make perfect sense.

      Modusoperandi doesn't understand because he cam't grasp the concept of freedom. He's turned it on its head.

      TRISH

      Delete
    9. David "Backwards. The employer is at the mercy of the customer. The employee is neutral."
      I'm not saying that the employer can pick policy without any consequences (losing customers, employees, etc), but that they seem to be on the top of this particular pyramid.

      1. Employer: "That is a corporate chain and will be willing to sell whatever our society decides is legal. Moral considerations will play no part."
      2. Employee: "People who work for Walgreen's are employees, are they not? They don't set company policy. A catholic postal worker who handles a porn subscription in the mail is not in the same moral position as the one who buys it."
      3. Customer: "And again, you do not have the right to compel someone to perform a morally objectionable act to provide a service for you."

      Delete
    10. But there are no pyramids here, Modus. There are two, or maybe three parties. The owner of the pharmacy. A prospective customer. Somebody who works for the pharmacy. They all have the right not to be compelled to engage in immoral practices. Defining immoral practices is entirely up to them. The pharmacy may not stock contraceptives. The customer might take his business to a store which doesn't sell porn. (The employee will just stock whatever shelves he needs to restock and plan to apply at Lowes for a saner atmosphere) In my world, Modus, everybody has rights. Even business owners.

      Trish, thanks for your comment.

      Delete
    11. Well, I went to the link Modus. That's quite a strawman you have there. According to the writer we are in danger of being deluged with doctors who will refuse to perform most ordinary medical procedures. As if the entire graduating classes of our medical schools have been JWs and Christian Scientist. The author of that piece is barking mad. And so is anyone who takes him seriously.

      Apart from abortion, contraception and euthanasia I cannot think of any necessary medical procedure which I as a catholic would find morally objectionable.

      You are all about force Modus. Because of your self-righteous preening you feel entitled to direct the actions of other people.

      Delete
  6. Now Catholics are being forced to buy other people condoms.

    Health coverage is compensation to the employee. Does your employer get to decide whether to pay for unemployment insurance on your behalf? Or whether to pay your contribution to social security for you? Why should your employer get to decide that your compensation cannot include contraception if you choose to?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You seriously do not think that an employer should be able to opt out of providing morally objectionable goods and services as part of a compensation package?

      Say you are a movie producer and also a devout animal rights person. One of the actors who you want in a film you are making insists that part of his compensation package should include a safari in Africa to shoot lions. Is it somehow out of the question that you have the right to decline his request?

      Delete
    2. Can you at least admit that it's YOU who are forcing US to act according to the dictates of your conscience? It's not the other way around.

      All of the forcing is on your side.

      Joey

      Delete
    3. You seriously do not think that an employer should be able to opt out of providing morally objectionable goods and services as part of a compensation package?

      Why should your employer be able to dictate to you what form your compensation takes? The Amish find unemployment insurance and social security to be morally objectionable, yet they are still required to contribute to it when they hire employees.

      Delete
    4. Joey. How is someone telling you "I cannot do that" FORCING you to act according to their conscience? They have the right not to act according to your demands.

      Anonymous. So you would be OK with an employee's demand that his pay include subscriptions to porn channels?

      Delete
    5. So you would be OK with an employee's demand that his pay include subscriptions to porn channels?

      Answer the question concerning Amish employers first.

      Delete
    6. I my opinion the Amish should be exempt. They should also not participate in the programs.

      Delete
    7. And how about allowing polygamy to members of certain religions?

      Delete
    8. If you accept the rationale of he homosexual movement, I see no reason why we shouldn't go all the way to polygamy. They're consenting adults. They're in love.

      Please don't tell me that you want to take away the civil rights of polygamists, Oleg? History will not be kind to you. You're kind of like Bull Connor, you bigot. I think you should be fired from your job for expressing that view.

      TRISH

      Delete
    9. David: Answer the question about the Amish first. Is it okay that they are required to pay for unemployment insurance and social security taxes for their employees even though those things violate their religious principles?

      Delete
    10. I my opinion the Amish should be exempt.

      The Amish frequently hire non-Amish to work for them. Should they be exempt from paying those on behalf of their non-Amish employees?

      Delete
    11. I see no reason why we shouldn't go all the way to polygamy.

      And your objection to polygamy would be? It seems to have been just fine for Jacob.

      Delete
    12. Work for the Amish, accept Amish rules.
      Work for the catholics, accept catholic rules.
      Work for orthodox Jews, accept orthodox rules.
      etc.

      Delete
    13. Work for the Amish, accept Amish rules.

      Except it doesn't work that way, and never has. Your employer doesn't have the right to tell you what sort of benefits you can have based upon his religious beliefs. Christian scientist employers that are mandated to provide health insurance to non-Christian Scientist employees must still do so, even though their faith requires them to personally reject modern medicine.

      Delete
  7. "If you want to fine Catholic hospitals for following Catholic teaching, or prevent Jewish parents from circumcising their sons, or ban Chick-fil-A in Boston, then don’t tell religious people that you respect our freedoms. Say what you really think: that the exercise of our religion threatens all that’s good and decent, and that you’re going to use the levers of power to bend us to your will.
    There, didn’t that feel better? Now we can get on with the fight."

    Well said. I couldn't agree more. It's frustrating to have a debate with someone who claims that we're all in agreement. We're not. Secularists have defined religious liberty so narrowly that it means nothing. Let's cut the crap here and just have the real debate. Both sides don't respect religious liberty. One side thinks that religious liberty is a hazard to modern society. It's antiquated and it's weird. Be honest about what you believe and stop jerking us around.

    Joey

    ReplyDelete
  8. In other news, Chick-Fil-A's cash registers are ringing. Ever since the fascist thugs in Boston and Chicago decided to grossly abuse their authority in an attempt to bend a private company toward their preferred policy, people have been lovin' some Chikc-Fil-A chicken sandwiches.

    Keep it up, bullies!

    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/08/01/rick-warren-chick-fil-as-owner-told-me-they-set-a-new-world-record-in-sales-today/

    Joey

    ReplyDelete
  9. I predict a significant rise in the cardiovascular problems of bigots.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Did any citizen have any moral obligation to comply with the Supreme Court approved Fugitive Slave Act?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David "Did any citizen have any moral obligation to comply with the Supreme Court approved Fugitive Slave Act?"
      Ladyparts are escaped slaves? I had no idea that the highest ideals included freeing uteruses from the personal decisions of their owner and her doctor.
      Who does Obamacare say they're supposed to be returned to, anyway?

      Delete
    2. No Modus. The question is whether the government can force you to perform an immoral act.

      Delete
    3. Would you insist that a patient has the right to insist that a surgeon mutilate his body for no medical reason? Guy shows up and demands that you take his leg off at the knee. Do you have to do it?

      Delete
    4. David, how did you get from "their owner and her doctor" to "no reason leg choppychop"?

      Delete
    5. Do you have the right to FORCE your doctor to perform a procedure which is contrary to his ethics? Yes or No here Modus.

      Delete
    6. David "Do you have the right to FORCE your doctor to perform a procedure which is contrary to his ethics?"
      That depends. A JW doctor who won't do blood transfusions even to save the life of his/her patient is not a doctor. A trained and qualified doctor who won't perform an abortion (or worse, who won't even forward the patient to one who will, even to save the life of the mother, is not a doctor at all. "Do no harm" gets complicated when there are two choices and both of them are bad, but not so complicated that "two deaths" (or "a death and an injury") is the same as "one death" (or "one death and a worse injury").
      How far does religious liberty go? Is a RC pharmacist who won't dispense The Pill even when it's prescribed as treatment for ovarian cysts religious liberty? Is a doctor abandoning a gay patient religious liberty? Is a jail guard confiscating an inmate's emergency contraception pill religious liberty?
      How far into other peoples' bodily autonomy does someone else's religious liberty go?

      Delete
    7. I went to the link on 'abandoning a gay patient'. Is there any reason I should believe any of it? It is long on accusations and completely devoid of evidence.

      Delete
  11. Well, I went to the link Modus. That's quite a strawman you have there. According to the writer we are in danger of being deluged with doctors who will refuse to perform most ordinary medical procedures. As if the entire graduating classes of our medical schools have been JWs and Christian Scientist. The author of that piece is barking mad. And so is anyone who takes him seriously.

    Apart from abortion, contraception and euthanasia I cannot think of any necessary medical procedure which I as a catholic would find morally objectionable.

    You are all about force Modus. Because of your self-righteous preening you feel entitled to direct the actions of other people.

    ReplyDelete
  12. David, religious liberty, if it means anything at all, is not just what you find morally objectionable. It's what everybody else finds objectionable too, even if you find theirs ridiculous or you yourself find their view objectionable. Just as someone elses "ordinary medical procedure" is contrary to your religious beliefs, your "ordinary medical procedure" is contrary to someone elses religious conscience.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Personal moral behavior is a collective action? I don't think so Modus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear David;
      Try to read what I wrote, for comprehension, and respond to that.

      Delete
    2. OK. I read it again. It's still incoherent. Do you mean to say that everything is relative?

      How does 'religious liberty' subsist in what I 'find morally objectionable'? I think my liberty means that I am free to avoid doing those things I find morally objectionable. If you compel me to buy you a condom you have infringed upon my freedom. If I refuse to sell condoms I have not infringed on anyone's freedom. Of course, you live in Obamaland, where not acting is acting.

      Delete
    3. Religious liberty is more than just your religious liberty. It's everybody elses, too, even when you find their beliefs ridiculous.

      Delete
    4. @mocus:

      Are you claiming that contraception is a religious practice?

      Religious liberty is a broad concept.

      The aspect of religious liberty at issue here is Free Exercise of Religion, which is the aspect of religious liberty that is protected by law in the US.

      Free exercise means the right to live in accordance with your religious precepts. That means:

      1) the right to worship
      2) the right to speak publicly about your beliefs
      3) the right to politic and vote according to your beliefs
      4) the right to act according to your beliefs.

      Notice that Free Exercise does not mean the right to force others to violate their beliefs in order to provide you with a product or a service. It is, to paraphrase a supreme court justice in a related context, 'the right to be left alone.'

      More precisely, Free Exercise means the right in religious matters to be left alone by the government. The government cannot force someone to buy me communion wafers or wine. The government cannot force me to buy someone else contraception. 'The right to be left alone' is the right not to be forced by the government to buy things for others, if such things violate our religious precepts.

      The question arises: to what extent does the government have the right to override religious practice in order to accomplish a larger social goal? Clearly, the government has a right to proscribe human sacrifice, however fervently a pagan may wish to pursue his liturgy.

      The guiding principle here is obvious: the government has the right to proscribe religious behavior if, and only if, that behavior is otherwise a serious crime. The government may proscribe a specific exercise of religion is it has a compelling state interest. Murder, rape, etc is not condoned, even if it is part of the religious exercise of a deviant sect.

      The question then is: is the failure to provide contraception for other people a "crime" sufficiently serious for the government to violate the First Amendment in order to protect?

      The answer is obvious. It is not at all clear that it should be a "crime" to refrain from buying other people their condoms or to refuse to sell contraception in a pharmacy.

      After all, kosher Jewish delicatessens should not be required to sell pork or cheeseburgers, even if such products were deemed by government to be something which the public ought to have. And Jewish pharmacies close on the sabbath, they are not "denying" contraception to customers who want their pills on Friday after sunset.
      It does not mean the right to force others to violate their beliefs in order to provide you with a product or a service.

      I cannot force you to buy me communion wafers or wine. You cannot force me to buy you contraception.

      Delete
    5. That pretty much sums it up Egnor. Good post. Can't think of a thing to add to it.

      Delete