Mark 9:24

Opposed even to God, opposed to the mandate

In Pursue Truth on February 20, 2012 at 5:41 am

I know of an atheist, opposed even to God, who stated that the Health and Human Services mandate amounts to a rope around his neck — how much more ours?

If you are in favor of this mandate — which compels all employers to pay, through an insurance company, for contraception coverage even when the employer considers it religiously objectionable — you do not give the devil the benefit of the Constitution.

We did not want this fight.

I understand this impulse but for the clear objection: What then when the devil turns round on you?

If you don’t care for freedom of religion, consider that leaving undefended any point of the Bill of Rights is a dangerous precedent. If you don’t care for the Bill of Rights, I wonder with what bread and circuses we’ll ignore the guillotine. Yes, I liken this rope about our necks to be more of a guillotine; no, I do not mean this in a silly, chest-pounding, partisan way.

But before I explain why, I note that, in perhaps a routine pose that I hope is not its most substantial defense, the Obama administration does not yet argue that this action is Constitutional; the Department of Justice — by the by, not consulted — filed a motion to dismiss, instead arguing that the issue is not ripe. This amounts to saying: “No harm yet, therefore no foul.”

Ripeness is valid in the abstract, but, albeit to a man lay to his lawyer as much as his priest, it is absurd in this instance. This rule already on the books is not ripe? When no real movement to change them has been made, it is not ripe? When objections raised months ago were all but ignored, it is not ripe? On the kind of issue where the Court applies the highest standard, a strict scrutiny, it is not ripe? If there is no precedent, maybe it’s time for one. If there is differing precedent, I think it’s time to fix it.

This is why I say it seems our necks are in a guillotine, fully constructed and set to go off in a year; the only movement away from the current mandate since September has been coyly rhetorical. The Administration has not backed off, de jure or de facto. I do not see our necks having left the guillotine, and I do not see the government deconstructing the guillotine, and I do not see a compelling government interest for our heads to be severed off.

In case you haven’t signed the petition to reign in the HHS Mandate, here it is. The White House closes signatures on official White House petitions when they issue a response, so the White House petition is artificially capped at 29,000 or so. We need an external petition; we have one.

I’ll note that signatories are not bound together by agreement on the rightness or wrongness of contraception but by the agreement that a president should not compel any action against firm conscience, especially when it comes to religious matters. (Of course, it helps that this particular doctrine is more ancient than the country ours declared independence from.)

Christianity has not been so united since the death of the Arians. Even Jews are onboard. Nonetheless, such is a silver lining around a very dark cloud.

If you have any objections, I am happy to answer them. I am Christian, which is to say I am bound to literally worship Truth, which is to say I have a great interest in not lying or spreading lies. Forward this message as you will, or respond.

  1. I’m glad you are feeling happy about this but this is a right / left agreement on areas of policy and happens all the time. I think a lot of Catholics who don’t normally follow politics are following this issue for some reason so it may feel unusual but no this is not out of the ordinary, for about a generation but especially since the GW Bush creed has been vastly less important than Democrat / Republican divide. Right wing Jews back, right wing Muslims, evangelicals, Mormons, right wing Catholics …. have been united on a host of issues. So in some sense you can take this as an even better if you like.

    If you want an issue where left and right are united: .

    My objection is that the mandate as a matter of fact does not require an action against firm conscience. Cardinal Dolan is needless stirring up a hornets nest at this point. For 3 reasons (as he himself states):

    1) He believes that this sort of mandated insurance means that government not church is inevitably going to be making moral choices and that this is an abrogation of the church’s role.

    2) He strongly disliked Keehan and Snyder becoming the defacto negotiators for the Catholic side. He sees that as a secular leader encouraging division and schism.

    3) He opposes the mainstream of contraception in the broader community, and making it essentially a mandatory service included in health insurance sends a clear message.

    And those are all legitimate objections. I can understand his position on those and would love to see good faith negotiations. The problem is, to maintain broader support he’s having to misrepresent what the mandate actually does require. Quite simply the mandate does not require anyone to purchase contraception. There are about a dozen different outs to avoid this.

    In 2008, before Obama took office there were tens of thousands of complex mandates involving insurance products in most of the states. There are tens of thousands of mandates involving employment law. A regulation was proposed by an agency, a stakeholder made an objection, the regulation was slightly modified satisfying the stakeholders and an uninvolved political group that is widely associated with the opposition party continues to object. That is all that is happening. Histrionics aside nothing unusual is happening here, this is what happens in American politics.

  2. […] becomes relevant to the wider audience because your author, in a losing battle against his idol, his idle, his […]

  3. […] Opposed even to God, opposed to the mandate ( […]

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