The HHS Mandate and the Clinton Years…UPDATED

The HHS Mandate and the Clinton Years…UPDATED September 4, 2012

Proof abounds that the Democratic Party nowadays is not your father’s (or your grandfather’s) Democratic Party. If a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s one that has eighty-two bonus words to boot.

Whoa, Frank. That letter was penned pre-World War Two, brother. Everyone with a brain knows that things are vastly different nowadays. Deacon Greg was just posting something about God and the Democrats, as did Catholic Vote. So what does any of this have to do with the Clintons and the HHS Mandate?

Only this. Not only is it not your father’s Democratic party, but it’s not even your Democratic Party. Paul Kengor, of Hillsdale College (yes, that bastion of un-good-thinking Conservatism) gives us a little history lesson on the Clinton Years and how far their party of choice has come in 12 short years.

As Clinton stated in his memoirs My Life: “I always felt that protecting religious liberty and making the White House accessible to all religious faiths was an important part of my job.” As president, Clinton practiced what he preached. He championed (among others) the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (passed 97-3 by the Senate) and the 1997 “Guidelines on Religious Exercise and Religious Expression in the Federal Workplace.” As to the former, Clinton signed it in order “to protect a reasonable range of religious expression in public areas like schools and workplaces.”

Pointing to these actions and more, my colleague, Gary Smith, has rightly described Bill Clinton as a “strong advocate [of] religious freedom at home and abroad.” That’s fair to say. It is likewise true for Hillary Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton long supported her husband’s 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, especially its promotion of religious freedom in public schools. In her book It Takes a Village, Mrs. Clinton sounded like a social conservative when emphasizing the importance of religion in schools.

Quoting her husband, she noted that “nothing in the First Amendment converts our public schools into religion-free zones, or requires all religious expression to be left behind at the schoolhouse door.” She cited these words from her husband: “[R]eligion is too important in our history and our heritage for us to keep it out of our schools.”

Once capable of making law herself, as an elected senator from New York, Mrs. Clinton championed an initiative promoting religious freedom in the workplace. Specifically, in April 2005, Sen. Clinton co-sponsored the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, joining forces (remarkably) with no less than Sen. Rick Santorum, her polar opposite on many issues. The law guaranteed the right to religious expression on the job without fear of recrimination.

This meant, for example, that an Orthodox Jew who honors the Sabbath cannot be forced to work on the Sabbath against his or her will, or that a Christian can wear a crucifix, or that a Sikh can don a turban. Backers of the bill included a broad coalition of 40 clerics representing nearly every denomination.

The bill, which any reasonable person would support, had opponents among Sen. Clinton’s staunchest allies. For instance, Planned Parenthood and the National Women’s Law Center foresaw intolerable instances of “anti-choice” injustice, such as a situation where a pro-life nurse might request to not provide the “morning-after” pill to a rape victim, or a Catholic pharmacist might as a matter of conscience refuse to dispense birth control.

For these “pro-choice” feminists, religious freedom could not be permitted to trump their preeminent freedom: their sacred right to an abortion.

It was this narrow opposition from radical feminists that might have explained why, as the Village Voice put it, “[Mrs.] Clinton’s office has been notably quiet about her involvement” in the bill. The bill placed Senator Clinton in a conundrum, forcing her to commit heresy in the church of abortion feminism.

That was then. Today, Mrs. Clinton serves in the Obama administration — though at the State Department, not the Department of Health and Human Services.
And today, Mrs. Clinton is silent on the Obama HHS mandate.

Read the rest.

Oh, did I say twelve years? I guess I meant seven (since 2005). And like Kengor said, here’s what the Clintons are saying about religious liberty nowadays,

Rep. Rebecca Hamilton (D) noticed God got drop kicked too.
Remember Congressman Bart Stupak(D)? He realizes he was hood-winked, and states that the HHS Mandate is illegal.

9/5/2012: A God reference, and Jerusalem are back in the platform (barely).

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