Obama’s War on Vegan Shops: Sell Beef or Else!

Diane at is Te-Deum blog is breaking the news:

The Obama Administration has mandated that all food stores in the United States selling refrigerated goods, MUST sell beef!

There is an exemption for vegetarians who only employ, and sell their goods to, vegetarians; and, for vegans who only employ, and sell their goods to, vegans.

What are the vegetarian and vegan store business owners to do?
If the food shop owner happens to be a Jain, then this mandate would not only be expecting him to violate his conscience, but also would be an assault on his religious liberty.

Reading this to a vegetarian friend of mine — she’s not a Vegan; she eats dairy — I was not surprised at her expression of outrage for the sake of the Vegan shop owners. She wondered if there was any sort of petition being offered or a demonstration being planned, because she’d participate: “I may not be a full Vegan, but that’s not right! You can’t force a Vegan to sell beef! That would be like telling them they have to actually slaughter the cow — it would repulse them! They wouldn’t be able to do it!”

Yes, I agree. I hope the Vegans take this to court. They’re lucky the administration isn’t specifying that they need to stock American Wagyu Beef!

I expect we’ll hear some quite justified and serious outcry — from civil libertarians, constitutional scholars and the more honest members of the mainstream press — about the administration perpetuating an assault on the rights of Vegans to be who and what they are in this world of diverse and varied thoughts and beliefs. And although I am not a Vegan and could never be a Vegan, or subscribe to their views, I too support their right to their consciences: no Vegan shop owner should ever have to stock beef — or indeed any sort of animal product or by-product — in their store, if they do not choose to. That’s what liberty is all about.

Oh, wait…

The Vegans are not being forced to stock flesh in their stores in order to serve either their meat-eating employees or the carnivores of the surrounding community?

Seems Diane got the story wrong? The Vegans are safe. They can continue to work and serve and employ others while remaining faithful to their ideals and their beliefs. The Obama administration is not intruding upon their right to do so.

Catholics, on the other hand, are being told they have one year’s “grace” period, before they have to start offering coverage for sterilization, contraception and abortifacients to their employees. Or else. Despite the explicitly stated right to freedom of religion in our first amendment.

I’d been wondering how to come up with a secular example that might help people understand the reality of a government’s assault on the conscience. Diane’s spoof did it brilliantly!

But I wonder if the Catholics can depend on the support of civil libertarians, civil rights activists, constitutional scholars and the, ahem, more honest members of the mainstream press to address this action the Obama administration is taking against the churches — and make no mistake, this is not only about the Catholics. As illustrated with the recently-decided Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School vs EEOC, this administration is attempting to not only chase the churches out of the public square, but to insert itself into their internal concerns and negate those teachings with which it disagrees.

You wouldn’t force a Jewish Deli to stock lobster in reserve for its gentile employees. A reasonable gentile or non-observant Jewish employee would understand who she works for and would not expect it. It would not impact her freedom to buy her own lobster.

You wouldn’t force a Muslim Madrassah to pay for an employee’s pulled-pork sandwich; a reasonable non-Muslim employee would not even think to ask it.

It’s not a difficult concept, really; you don’t have to be that smart to get it.

Read the rest of Diane’s piece
and the combox discussion. She’s updated to include a growing list of bishop’s statements!

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch: Jews need stronger ties to the Catholic Church
to ensure their survival:

“We’re 13 million Jews in the whole world — less than one-tenth of 1 percent,” said Koch, while being honored by the Beit Morasha of Jerusalem public- policy organization in Manhattan Wednesday night.

“And we need allies. The best ally we can have is the Catholic Church. Oh, you can go back in history when they were not great allies. But they proved to be. It started with Pope John XXIII and Pope [John] Paul II. We have to reach out to them.”

The former mayor didn’t stop there.

He criticized Orthodox Jews for refusing to step foot in a Catholic church.

“It’s ridiculous, ridculous,” Koch declared. “What we have to do is reach out in friendship.”

Seems to me the writing is on the wall: the churches better start hanging together, or their going to hang alone. Here is one way to gird thy loins

Archbishop Dolan in the WSJ (pdf)

I suspect civil disobedience is in our future; I’ll be there with bells on! And I kind of like this idea!.

Pundette: “tyranny, pure and simple”, aye, it is.

Keep up with the news here

UPDATE: conscience clauses have been under assault for a while.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Oregon Catholic

    Anchoress, we can’t even get the GOP candidates to rail against this law in a debate when given several good opportunities. I hope other churches join us but I’m afraid we Catholics are probably going to be on our own on this one.

  • Mike R

    I think the issue is beyond Catholic or even a religious one. It is really one of civil rights-of our (and I mean this collectively as a nation) Constitutional rights. This is an absolute attack on our freedom to practice our religion. Obama and that CINO Kathleen Sebilius (will her bishop act and excommunicate her) will spin it as the right to healthcare , etc. Do not buy this. This is a full frontal assault on YOUR right to practice your faith. For Pete’s sake, it’s the reason why the Pilgrims came to these shores. So, yes it is Catholics on the front line since this salvo is mostly directed at them, but make no mistake if the government succeeds here, what rights do they go after next?

  • kevin

    What Mike R said.

    I love Mayor Koch but hate to see the Church portrayed as unfriendly to Jews before John XXIII. I guess some stereotypes die hard.

  • http://www.havingleftthealtar.com Katherine

    Well said.

    For another example, granted not secular, but not Christian, Kaitlin came up with this one:

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  • SKay

    I called my Representative’s Washington office about this. The person answering the phone had no idea what I was talking about. To be fair– it was late on Friday so I left my information for someone to call me back who delt with these issues. I will call my Republican Senator on Monday. It may not be front and center on our GOP Representatives or Senators radar screen yet. Please call to express your feelings. They need to hear from us. All the GOP Presidential candidates have said they will work to overturn Obamacare-the reason Sibilius has this power. We also have to be both a Republican House and Senate in order to overturn the law. It took a Democrat President ,House and Senate in order to pass the atrocity.


  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Unless Obama is reputiated in November, I think you’re right about civil disobedience in our future. A dictate that you must sell beef???? Has this administration lost all sense of reason? I am flabberghasted. Add this declining to allow the pipeline and forcing Catholics to violate their sense of conscence. What exactly is his sre-election trategy? It’s almost like he wants to lose.

    (manny, it’s a spoof. I say so right in the body of the text.-admin)

  • Mark

    Wonderful way to show the lunacy of this administration. I can see it now if the admistration had indeed came after the vegans. PETA should have been brought in as well.

    The sad part is that if reelected and without ever needing a vote again, Obama and his loons would look in 4 years of freedom using exective powers he does not have in the constitution and any other means to destroy every aspect of the Constitution he can and in doing so the USA he hates. So religious freedom today, vegans tomorrow. Gave me a chuckle when I really needed on bad.

  • Sandy

    Reminds me of the truth of the OMG (Obama Must Go) bumper sticker. And of what Lincoln said: “Elections belong to the people. It is their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, they they will just have to sit on their blisters.” (quoted from “Winning on Purpose” by John Kaiser)

    Great blog. Continue, please! Thank you.

  • Gail Finke

    We don’t have a lot of support in this, in part because of Catholics. The non-Catholic public is more anti-Catholic than is generally believed, for one thing. But what will confuse them, and rightly so, is that many Catholics use these medications and surgeries, or at least don’t oppose them, and many prominent Catholic politicians are all for them — and for abortion as well. This is not another “let’s blame everyone we don’t like” post, but a call to look at things with a cold eye. We are going to have a hard time convincing anyone that “Catholics oppose this,” when Kathleen Sebelius HERSELF is supposed to be a Catholic, as well as Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, and many others. Catholics are, like the rest of the country, about half “liberal” and half “conservative” (for want of better words). But especially among politicians, they are mostly liberal. The price of high office for Catholics, at least for the last decade or so, seems to have been selling their souls. This was quite apparent to me when the “Stupak 13″ — including my representative at the time, Steve Driehaus, voted for the healthcare bill after closed-door meetings. What were they promised? I don’t know, but the self-proclaimed pro-life Driehaus is STILL suing the Susan B. Anthony list for defamation of character because they called him a liar.

    However it happened, we just have to accept that many people will not take us seriously about our consciences being violated and our religious liberty being threatened because a great many Catholics — for all they know, most Catholics — don’t believe that the HHS mandate will do either. We can’t expect them to sort it out from the outside when we haven’t sorted it out from the inside. This will call for a great deal of dedication and forging ahead without descending into name calling. Others are going to do a lot of name-calling, we can’t add to it. We are going to catechize ourselves, and fast. We are going to have to make people see that the principle of religious liberty is under attack, not just this particular rule. And we are going to have to insist on the truth of what our religion teaches. I think it’s going to be tough and will require a lot of prayer.

  • ruidh

    Oh, really, what utter nonsense. They aren’t being required to dispense the contraceptions themselves.

    Birth control pills have medical uses other than contraception. If you were an employee who had a medical condition that could be helped by BC, why shouldn’t it be covered?

    People can make decisions. The RCC can teach that every sperm is sacred and adults have the right to make up their own minds.

    It’s wrong for the RCC to force its morals on employees and non-employee dependants.

  • Mike R

    @gail finke- I agree with part of your assessment that there are many CINOs out there in public life proclaiming values and teachings that are in fact in opposition to the true teaching and tenets of the faith of the Roman Catholic Church. However, this does not mean, if if as you suppose that a majority of the “rank and file” also endorse or claim the same errors in our faith. Without going into a long diatribe here let’s suffice to say that the Church has a least one if not two lost generations who have not been correctly taught the true tenenets of their faith. Even on something as primary as the Eucharist-I believe somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 percent do not know or even reject the reality of the true presence! So even if a large number don’t understand or reject the Church’s position on the sanctity of life, this does not validate nor make their position THE position of the Church. I am not one who easily calls for excommunication, but I think this issue raises such important issues both in the present and future that the appropriate Bishops must reach out to the prominent aforementioned Catholics and first attempt to teach them the correct Chuurch position but if they remain obstinate and continue to lead the faithful in the wrong direction, then excommunication must be considered.

  • Brian English

    “Without going into a long diatribe here let’s suffice to say that the Church has a least one if not two lost generations who have not been correctly taught the true tenenets of their faith.”

    But that is not the real issue here. Whether or not some Catholics, most Catholics, no Catholics or all Catholics accept a certain moral position of the Church, it is still the moral position of the Church. The Obama Adminstration is telling Church-affiliated institutions that they cannot hold that position.

  • kevin

    I’d like to see more vocal and frontal attacks on the administration by the hierarchy, including instructing Catholics that any vote to keep people like this in office is impermissible morally.

    Some bishop just reinstated the St. Michael prayer in response to this action. I haven’t seen the hierarchy this incensed in my lifetime.

  • Mike R

    Brian-that was my point. The Church does have a position and Obama is forcing the Church to forgo that position.

    @ruidh-of course the Church itself is not providing the services in question, but that is not the issue. The Church is being forced to materially cooperate in these services that result in the termination of life which is against the Commandment and the fundamental teaching and belief system of the faith. If you hire someone to kill another person you are just as guilty of murder as the one who committed the act. This ruling is putting the Church in the same position.

  • Trudy

    The assault on civil liberties and the rights of a business to be conducted within the bounds of the owner’s conscience is increasing by leaps and bounds. We’re not talking about sweatshops or businesses breaking labor laws. Catholic run businesses operate in an ethical manner. The decision to make available certain medications and/or medical procedures is well within their rights under the Constitution. Keep in mind, the Constitution doesn’t guarantee the right to everything to everyone. I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We, too, have businesses that are separate from the Church but operate under the principles and doctrine of our beliefs. These businesses could easily be the next target. No business should be told what it has to provide for its employees in any context outside of those that create a safe work environment. The Constitution does *not* give the federal government the power to micromanage businesses.

  • Gerry

    Thanks, Rude, for providing the Know Nothing point of view.

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  • dry valleys
  • Brian English

    “People can make decisions. The RCC can teach that every sperm is sacred and adults have the right to make up their own minds.”

    Yes, like making up their own minds to work someplace else if they want their contraceptives covered under the insurance plan provided by their employer.

    “It’s wrong for the RCC to force its morals on employees and non-employee dependants.”

    Nonsense. If someone disagrees with the Church position on this, they can work elsewhere. What is clearly wrong, as well as unconstitutional, is for the federal government to force its morals on the Church.

  • ahem

    The result of all the Left’s oppression will be to galvanize those who love God into joining together with others of like mind to reclaim their freedom of worship. God’s armies will, once again, be on the move.

    I also foresee a return to the fold for many who have been wooed by the plaster gilt of secularism. According to some estimates, we’re heading into tough times in the next 10-20 years, and people will, inevitably, be falling back on what’s truly important and sustaining—God.

    Perhaps this all serves a higher purpose.

  • Patti Day

    A letter from our bishop on this issue, with a suggested response and addresses to contact our government representatives, was read at Mass today. It’s the first time in several years I can remember hearing directly from the bishop at Mass. I felt like cheering. I wonder how long it will take to get people to wake up to the fact that this is an assault on all of us, not only Catholics. As for the GOP, maybe the candidates are holding their fire until they see who wins the candidacy, but the silence is deafening.

  • http://shepherdspost.blogspot.com Fr. David Barnes
  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    “(manny, it’s a spoof. I say so right in the body of the text.-admin)”

    *blush, blush, blush*

    LOL, I didn’t read that far. It did strike me as credible. Who know with this administration what regulation they’ll pass next. It seems like they pass stuff not whether it makes sense but just to increase government power.

  • Mark

    Saw this and had to add one more comment. This post on vegans being forced to serve meat is an excellent look at the issue. We were talking about this today before our rosary and it started to turn kind of funny as we began to list the groups that would be picketing the white house if this attack on the vegans took place from PETA to the ACLU. Last count we had about 40 different groups.

    Manny don’t feel bad. With this president and his allies in congress, one would expect something like this since they seem to be using a different constitution. We had mass here at home today with Greta, family, and friends, but everyone who came here today said their parish either had something read at mass or it was in the Bulletin and they were advised it was there to read. Nothing like Obama to unite Cardinal Mahoney of LA and Archbishop Chaput of Philly with equal anger at a government move. It has even now attracted the attention of Pope Benedict XVI. And Obama already has his left all fired up because of the action so if he makes all the bishops happy, he has a huge problem with his abortion parnters. Of course where else would an abortion mill go for help but Obama and the Democrats?

  • ruidh

    Let’s be very clear here. This RCC is not being forced to pay for contraception. They aren’t hiring anyone to kill babies. They buy insurance for their employees. The insurance has to carry this benefit. The employees don’t have to use it. If they follow the dictates of the Church, they won’t.

    Let’s go back to the vegan analogy. The store owner calls in all his employees. She tells them that since she pays their salary, they may not eat any meat or dairy products nor may any members of their family buy any animal products. Has the employer overstretched? Surely she can encourage them to follow, but can she require them, on pain of dismissal, to follow her dictate?

    There are several other people involved in this transaction, often all of them adults and able to make up their own mind whether to follow this particular teaching of the church. Considering that a vast majority of American members of the RCC ignore the church’s teaching on this subject, that should probably be the area they should concentrate.

    [Let's be very clear here: this is not about contraception or whether Catholics use it or not. It's about a constitutional right of a religion to be what it is, and that right being usurped by a government. Freedom of religion means the gov't can't force you to believe something, and it also can't force you to act against your beliefs. It's pretty fundamental -ES]

  • Mary Hennessey

    I remember hearing Fr. Benedict Groeschel saying a few years ago is what the Catholic Church in America needs is a little bit of persecution. This will help to educate and galvanize Catholics. Many Catholics have no idea about the Church’s teaching on BC, yet, on my local newscast, I actually heard the anchor accurately presenting Church teaching on the use of birth control, sterilization and abortifacients. I was flabergasted at the truth I heard come from her mouth. Praise God! There is hope for the Church!

  • Mike R

    @ruidh-as Elizabeth correctly points out, you are missing the point. This issue is a Constitutional one where the government is impeding the right to practice the tenents of the faith. It is black and white and I believe this HHS reg will not be upheld as it works it ways through the courts. I also personally believe that this reg is requiring Catholics to materially cooperate in grave and intrinsic evils by having insurance premiums used to pay for anti-life measures. Under our laws if you in anyway cooperate in a crime where a murder is committed you can also be charged in that murder. By forcing Catholic employers and employees (through premiums) to fund insurance that covers what we believe are acts of intrinsic evil, you are preventing us from practicing our faith which is protected by the Constitution.