Ding! Ding! Ding! And We Have a Winner!

 

The Christian Bashers Defense team has pretty much taken over the comboxes on my recent post Constitutional Rights for Me, But Not for Thee. 

They are as predictable as mosquitoes. Just say something really true about their behavior, and they show up, armed to buzz bomb you until you go inside and close the door.

In this instance, I asked the simple question: Do Constitutional rights apply to Christians the same as everybody else?

The answer should seem obvious. But of course it’s not. The reason it’s not is the bullies who want to limit other people’s rights always get mad and deny what they are doing when someone calls them on it. They do it every single time.

We’re all supposed to join them in their pretense that there’s nothing discriminatory or offensive in their attempts to drive Christians from the public square. No one is supposed to challenge their idiotic pretense that using government controls to limit the free exercise of religion in this country is actually a push for freedom, instead of the tyranny that it is. 

If we can’t be agree with them, they want us to sit down and be quiet and stop contradicting them. If we don’t, well then, they’ll scream and shout until everybody gives up and lets them have the day.

It has always been thus. People who do things like this always deny it, and they always get mean when someone calls them on their facile denials.

That’s why this particular post ended up being dive-bombed by a whole troupe of angry combox mosquitoes. Even though the readership of this blog is heavily — and I mean heavily – Christian, the Christian defenders were outnumbered. In fact, only three stalwart souls tried to stand up for Christ in these arguments. In the end, it got down mostly to one stubborn Christian, who is hanging in there to this very moment.

For all that, this lone fellow managed to push the whole mosquito assault into a slow unwinding of their lies until, one of them just came out with it.

And I quote:

No one is forcing anyone to do anything. And no one is driving anyone out. But if it does not believe it can conscientiously comply with the law, the Catholic Church can sell its hospitals, schools, universities and charity organizations. And the church and its members have the right to protest and encourage that the law be changed.

Of course, that would dramatically change the face of the church in the United States.

And then the commenter goes on, blah, blah, blahing with a lot of stats (which may or may not be accurate. I haven’t checked.) about the Church’s holdings.

How about that? Not, mind you, that forcing the largest denomination in the country to “sell its hospitals, school, universities and charity organizations” if it won’t violate its 2,000 year-old religious teachings due to government demands that it do so might be …  ummm …. a slight violation of the principles of that fictional “wall of separation between church and state” of which militant atheist are so proud. Also, not that it might be an outright dismissal and abrogation of religious freedom as defined in the Bill of Rights. Nor that it might be just a wee bit of outright tyranny.

Nope.

It’s just deserts for those who have the temerity to think that their individual rights as free Americans amount to a hill of beans to the post Christian, militant secularist demands for moral conformity (with moral being defined by them and them alone) that must govern us all.

I want to remind you that this is about birth control and abortifacients. Nowhere that I know of is there a Constitutional right to free birth control and free abortifacients. Also, nowhere that I know of is there a Constitutional right to force other people to pay for your birth control and abortifacients, even, or in this case, especially if it violates their religious beliefs to do so.

There is, however, a pretty strong Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion. Not even President Obama is debating that. What he’s trying to do is re-define this Constitutional Right to the free exercise of religion along the lines of how it is defined in Communist dictatorships. He wants to say that freedom of religion is actually just freedom of worship and that only in governmentally prescribed “houses of worship.” And, oh yes, behind the closed doors of your own house.

FireSale

It takes a combox firebrand to just come out and say what all this truly means and where it leads. It is leading to stripping the Church of all its “hospitals, schools, universities, and charity organizations” in what would certainly amount to a fire sale. It means driving the Church out of public life, totally and absolutely.

There’s nothing dishonest about what this person said. In fact what’s powerful about it is that it is the truth of where we are heading. It is exactly where we are going if this tyrannical abuse of the freedoms of Christians as citizens of the United States is allowed to continue.

If the Obama administration succeeds in redefining religious freedom in these terms, it will  have destroyed the First Freedom of the American people.

And all this so that it could bend this country over and bow it down to the little g gods of abortion and death.

I want to thank the strong-hearted Christians who have hung in there during this debate. I encourage some of the rest of you to get in the game along with them. Standing up for Jesus is not a spectator sport. We all need to do it.

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  • Heloise1

    Didn’t you fuss at me about 2 months back for pointing out that President Obama is a communist? Back then, it was name calling. Sure put a damper on any comment I might have made on the thread in question.

    But , yes, you are 100% correct, the rights and freedoms of all Americans are under attack daily and at an ever increasing rate.

    • hamiltonr

      Heloise1, I have a vague memory of having done that, but I didn’t remember it was you I was talking to. I think the reason I did it is that I have blog rules about name-calling. The reason for the blog rule is simple: Name-calling does harm and no good. It hurts people needlessly and causes bitter fights.

      I don’t see what I said as name-calling. I said that President Obama is attempting to employ a definition of religious freedom similar to that employed by Communist dictatorships. I said this because I think that the definition the Obama Administration has pushed for in court arguments is basically what I said and it is, actually, quite similar to the way religious “freedom” is handled in Communist countries,

      However, this similarity does not mean that I am saying the President is a communist, although I do think he has come to a similar idea about how he wants to see religious freedom treated in America.

      I don’t like to label people because labels are one-dimensional and people are not, but fwiw, the President seems to me to be motivated more by the arguments of extreme secularists in the Western world in this regard. I know he repeats their arguments almost verbatim in some of his speeches and he appears to be following their game plan with the regulations and executive orders he has signed.

      If you can find something where he says he’s a communist or something of that ilk, then, of course the discussion changes. But, based on what I know now, (and based on speeches he made before he was elected) I see him as a president who privately disrespects, probably to the point of distaste, traditional Christianity and Christians (again, based on speeches he made circa 2004-2008) and who uses the rhetoric and tactics of extreme secularists who want to limit and even do away with Christian influence in our society.

      I have always seen him as a dangerous president for Christians, pre-dating his first election in 2008. However, I never thought I would see anything in my lifetime like the HHS Mandate.

      That so upset me that I began this blog as a way of doing my part to stand up for Christ. I regard the HHS Mandate as a declaration of war on Christians and Christianity in America by the President, one of the two political parties and, given the weak-kneed response of the other party, the calculated assent of them as well.

      In short, I think we’re in a terrible fight, and this president is why.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      The difference between a communist and a fascist is slim indeed; but it is important.

      For me, the difference between a communist and a fascist is who is really giving the orders behind the scenes. Is it the government or the oligarchy?

      I think it is pretty clear from the final version of Obamacare that Obama is a fascist, and is taking his marching orders from the Oligarchy- to whom he’s about to deliver 30 million new customers to cheat.

  • drrabbit

    Truth is beautiful. Keep speaking it. Because without truth, there is no freedom.

  • FW Ken

    Communist is a technical term that would not apply to President Obama. You might call him a political monist, which is to say that he seeks to unify everything into a single unity, that being the government.

    Rebecca, your crop of atheists/secularists/mosquitoes are a big step above the hoard that plagues Fr. Longenecker. With one exception (and he harasses lots of Catholic bloggers), these guys had interesting things to say, even the one who is clearly of a totalitarian bent; best of all, they seem to avoid mindless insults and name-calling. Best of all, the thread you cite was not burdened with that fellow who kept call you “Hamilton” on another thread.

  • Dale

    The history of the US is replete with court cases which seek to guarantee the constitutional rights of Americans. Simply because those rights are enumerated doesn’t mean that are consistently granted. And very often there is the matter of determining what exactly are the dimensions of those rights.

    I am not sure that the challenge to the HHS mandate is much different than previous court challenges e.g. conscientious objection to compulsory military service, mandatory school prayers, the right for “sectarian education” as an alternative to public schools.

    In the case of the HHS mandate, the challenge is where to draw the line on individual religious liberty vs the public good. It is something the courts will need to sort out, much as they had to do on similar issues.

    Even the issue of contraception has come before the Supreme Court. In
    1943, Griswold v Connecticut struck down a state law banning
    contraception. The ruling recognized a right to “marital privacy”
    which, although not explicit in the Constitution, could be deduced in
    the penumbras and emanations of other rights which were spelled out.

    • hamiltonr

      Dale, just a quibble and then I have to go to mass: Ct vs Griswold was in 1965. :-)

      • Dale

        Yes, red-faced, I was just about to correct that! Thanks for the catch, and may you have a healing encounter with Christ.

    • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com/ D. A. Christianson

      There’s also a difference between what a state can do and what the federal government can do. it’s something we all forget but there’s a reason why we have state governments. I don’t think the mandate is really constitutional but for the states it’s more the 14th or 15th amendment (can’t remember at the moment, and i have to run, for the feds, it’s the first primarily.

      Although a proper finding on the Commerce clause would fix many problems.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    In fact, only three stalwart souls tried to stand up for Christ in these arguments.
    Actually, I thought about intervening, but I had the impression that the Christian trenches were well manned. I absolutely did not realize that it was a matter of three people eventually reduced to one. Next time I’ll just step in anyway.

    • FW Ken

      And if GS thinks I’m blunt, here come Fabio! ;-)

  • Green_Sapphire

    Being said “combox firebrand”, is there a prize for the “winner”?     /s

    I’m summarizing my points here, since Rebecca talked about me above.

    (1) The Catholic hospitals, universities, K-12 schools, and Catholic Charities USA, have become, legally, indistinguishable from non-Catholic ones. I don’t know whether that was intentional, accidental, or inevitable, but that’s the situation. And they are legally considered non-ministerial functions and long have been, even though the church views them as ministerial.

    (2) Businesses aren’t people. Individuals, as you say, have the right to freedom of religion. But there is very little legal precedent for how a business could have a right to freedom of religion, especially large organizations. That is a composition fallacy (e.g., all Catholics have livers, but the Catholic church does not have a liver).

    (3) Even if the Catholic church or, say, a Catholic hospital were considered to have a right to freedom of religion, the HHS mandate is not about only one entity’s right but how to handle a conflict between competing rights, the rights of the employees and the rights of the employer. The right of the employee, as of all citizens, is access to the full range of services per the HHS mandate and the ACA.

    (4) With regard to my “lot of stats about the Church’s” spending, although the various legally-non-ministerial businesses represent about 80% of the Catholic church’s spending, they represent only 1.4% of US health care spending and about 1% of US charitable giving.

    • Dale

      Hi Green Sapphire, I agree with some of your points, although I disagree about your conclusions.

      Yes, the unfortunate current situation is that the vast majority of Catholic schools and hospitals are virtually indistinguishable from their secular counterparts. I am not entirely sure how this developed, but it is a complex topic best reserved for its own discussion

      In the past decade I have noticed increasing desire to reclaim the Catholic identity of hospitals and schools. During the past couple years in particular, we have seen numerous reports of teachers who are fired due to violating the “morals clause” of their contract. That these incidents are considered controversial underscores your point that the Catholic identity of those schools hadn’t been strong in the past. But I think we can expect more and more such firings and an increased emphasis of the Catholic nature of the schools.

      As for the HHS mandate, it is tricky and the courts are sorting it out. The recent Appeals Court ruling in support of Hobby Lobby and the recent federal district court ruling in favor of Beckwith Electric Company both had narrow reasoning. In both rulings, the key point was that the businesses were “closely held”, family run companies. Quoting from the Beckwith ruling:

      “When an individual is acting through an incorporeal form, whether secular or religious, nonprofit or for-profit, incorporated or a partnership, the individual does not shed his right to exercise religion merely because of the “corporate identity” he assumed.”
      http://www.becketfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Opinion-and-Order-Granting-PI-Beckwith.pdf

      • Green_Sapphire

        I’ve noticed the same trend.

        wrt the courts, I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this legal process unfolds.

    • FW Ken

      Apparently your prize is Dale, who is much nicer than me, and also much smarter.

      I’m not crawling back into this (twice is enough), but I do want to retract one thing I said, which is that you hate us. If you do, you contain it well and I salute you. Understand that most people can barely contain their glee at seeing the evil Catholic Church (and Christianity in general) driven from society.

      But one thing you said intrigues me: I have never read anyone say that contraceptives would make the U.S. a better nation. Why? Apart from a statistically small number of cases that truly are medical, contraception is used for one thing: contraception. Morality aside, what’s the gain for the community?

      Best wishes.

      • Dale

        @fwken:disqus
        Heh, the only prize I am is the booby-prize. (Which might be why Green Sapphire hasn’t returned. Maybe he was disappointed, or annoyed)

        And the only smarts I have is when I get stung by an insect or I smack into something hard. (No wonder GS went away)

        • Green_Sapphire

          Where did I go? It’s Monday. Work.

          But, hey, if y’all would prefer that I not comment here, I’ll go away. I had thought that the forum was open for some respectful outside discussion. But I may be wrong. Please let me know.

          • hamiltonr

            GS, you have made 57 comments on this blog in the last few days. What ARE you talking about?

            • Green_Sapphire

              I’m sorry if my intention didn’t come across in my words. Allow me to try again.

              I’ve been referred to, in the above blogpost by you, as one of a “whole mosquito assault into a slow unwinding of their lies” and part of the “Christian Bashers Defense team” and part of “They are as predictable as mosquitoes.”

              Mosquitoes are considered annoying pests that no one ever wants at their party.

              So it seemed to me that, although you allow my comments through, perhaps you’d actually prefer that I go away and stop bothering y’all.

              So I’m just saying that, if you would really prefer that I’d go away, respectfully, I’m willing to go away.

          • Dale

            Well, I missed you and am glad to see you are back. I value having a a rational discussion about topics in the news which relate to faith. I think you do that well, and hope you stay with us!

      • TheodoreSeeber

        I know the answer to that one, though it might not be Green Saphire’s answer:

        The gain for the community is fewer deadbeats to suck up more resources than they create.

        In other words, it’s all about greed.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      Many businesses, especially my wife’s, are individuals. She is a single proprietorship with no employees. Should she gain more than 50 employees, she’d still be a single proprietorship, but subject to the HHS Mandate. This would then become a clear case of conflict of rights.

      That’s the composition fallacy you’ve missed.

      • Green_Sapphire

        With respect, Theodore, that’s kind of what I wrote. Although my example was the Catholic church, it also applies to businesses. My point number (2) was that businesses are not people. And my point number (3) was that even if a business were considered a person, then there is conflict between rights.’

        Would you like a Jehovah’s Witness employer to be able to have a health care plan that didn’t cover your blood transfusions, because of her faith?

        Should a Christian Science employer be able to offer you no health care plan at all, just access to CS practitioners? (How much would you bet business owners would start ‘converting’ to CS?)

        Should a Scientology employer be allowed to exclude all mental health services for your severely depressed child?

        How far should an employer’s private religious faith be able to invade each of her 50+ employees’ private physical and mental health?

        • TheodoreSeeber

          “Would you like a Jehovah’s Witness employer to be able to have a health care plan that didn’t cover your blood transfusions, because of her faith?”

          YES.

          “Should a Christian Science employer be able to offer you no health care plan at all, just access to CS practitioners?”

          Yep.

          “Should a Scientology employer be allowed to exclude all mental health services for your severely depressed child?”

          Yep.

          “How far should an employer’s private religious faith be able to invade each of her 50+ employees’ private physical and mental health?”

          As far as it needs to, because *you can always pay for private health insurance yourself*. Just because we here in America have gone down the rabbit hole, for the most part, of linking our health care to our employers does not mean that is the only way to fund health care. How about setting aside a Health Savings Account for yourself and renegotiating with your employer to have a higher salary with fewer benefits?

      • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

        Sole proprietorships are a special case; in that case, the human person and the business person are in effect a single entity before the law. And, as I understand (though I could be misinformed; I’m not a lawyer, nor other expert on this), under the Affordable Care Act such sole-proprietorship businesses are not considered a “small business” even if they employ thousands, but instead they (and their employees) are covered by the portions of the individual mandate and thrown into the federal exchanges.

        In contrast, most of the lawsuits filed over the contraception mandate minimum ACA standard have been filed by various incorporated businesses, where there is a major legal distinction between the human person and the corporate person, created by the process of incorporation. Generally, the hazard of unlimited personal liability makes a sole proprietorship with even a dozen employees (as opposed to “independent contractors”, who don’t count and are responsible for their own insurance) a rare thing indeed. I’d bet the US has fewer sole proprietorships over fifty employees than States.

  • Bill S

    “And all this so that it could bend this country over and bow it down to the little g gods of abortion and death.”

    Like most advanced civilizations, this country does not deny woman the right to control what goes on in their own bodies. That has nothing to do with bowing to any gods.

    • FW Ken

      Actually, most “advanced civilizations” limit and regulate abortion to a surprising degree. Abortion on demand is limited to 12 weeks gestation in France, 18 in Sweden, and maybe 20 in Germany. Going past those limits generally requires review by a panel of doctors and occurs in a real medical setting. The United States is the wild west of abortion.

      • FW Ken

        I was wrong about Germany.

        The Federal Constitutional Court decided a year later to maintain its earlier decision that the constitution protected the fetus from the moment of conception, but stated that it is within the discretion of parliament not to punish abortion in the first trimester,[citation needed] provided that the woman had submitted to state-regulated counseling intended to discourage termination and protect unborn life. Parliament passed such a law in 1995.[3] Abortions are not covered by public health insurance except for women with low income.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Germany

        Can you hear Celine Richards now!

        • Bill S

          My point is that only backward countries completely ban abortions. Ireland and South America are influenced by the Catholic Church to do so. I don’t know about Muslim countries.

          • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

            No. Idiots who believe in the nonsense of moral futurism (that we are getting wiser and better as time goes on, so that we are morally better than St.Francis and wiser than St.Thomas Aquinas – I hope even you don’t quite think of yourself so highly) fall for abortion. The first country in the west to legalize abortion was Russia, which nobody could have called advanced, but which was, at the time, in the grip of a murderous tyrant (Vladimir Ilyich Ulianov Lenin) who firmly believed in moral futurism because he had to find a reason why his murders were better than those of the Tzar he had had murdered. They were certainly more numerous, more elaborate, and more technically advanced. but most of us would not invest them with the chrism of morality, I think? However, this butcher had, for various reasons, a great deal of influence even on people less corrupt than himself (not the only crook who managed to pass for a saint before an easily led public) and his various nostrums, including the sexual revolution and abortion, were slowly imported into more advanced countries, even after the evidence that they had been nothing but disastrous in Russia, and that Lenin’s equally murderous successor Stalin had been forced to go back on them.

          • FW Ken

            http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/07/17/the-politics-of-abortion-in-latin-america/

            Oddly enough, there is only 1 South American country that bans abortion – Chile. Three central American countries, with political histories as complete as Chile, also ban abortion. I don’t know much about the Dominican Republic.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      I don’t have the ability to control what goes on in my own body, what makes women better than me?

      • pagansister

        Women do not have to stay pregnant, Theodore. That is one thing they CAN do if they choose to. I’m not promoting it, only saying as you asked.

  • peggy-o

    Sorry Rebecca. Would love to jump in and defend/share more but the discus change blew my old ipod away. Can only reply if I wrestle the laptop away from teens, and after a long day on computers–need to unplug at home.
    Trying to learn the whole com box thing, especially from Manny and FW Ken’s great examples. Most of my time for the cause is spent in person. These great conversations/debates blow by so fast, by the time I see them, things have moved on. So, I’ll keep praying and learning til I can update my ipod. Know the desire to support more has been there for months and is driving me crazy! Peace

    • hamiltonr

      This disqus change has been tough for me, too. I can’t imagine trying to wrestle a computer away from my boys!

      It’s great to hear from you. Just chime in as you can.


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