Thursday, February 16, 2012

- The Liberal Mythology Machine

The most discreet abuse I've seen by the mainstream media in recent years, apart from utterly foregoing their responsibility to vet candidate Obama, was their discussion of George Bush's proposed ban on stem cell research.

Ask any liberal and they'll explain the whole issue to you. Stem cell research held genuine promise for curing of everything from Alzheimer to Parkinson's, but since George Bush was a bible thumping christian who hated science, he tried to ban it. Thankfully, the brave Democrat congress prevented him from doing so.

But this storyline is an utter fabrication. It's a made up fantasy that never took place. George Bush never tried to ban stem cell research. He didn't even try to ban federal funding of stem cell research. He tried to prevent the federal funding of a particular kind of stem cell research that relied on material from aborted fetuses. Even if he had succeeded, no one would have been prevented from doing that research, they only would have been prevented from doing it on the taxpayer's dime.

Team Obama's position on the religious liberty land mine they've stepped on strikes me as a similar thing. I think they're hoping that the mainstream media, dolts that they are, will rush in and distort this story enough to make it a part of conventional liberal wisdom, like George Bush's fictitious stem cell research ban.

They're trying to get them to depict this as a story about the availability of birth control - which it obviously is not. People who work for Catholic institutions can still get and use all the birth control they want. If they are unconcerned about their souls they can even go and get abortions if they like. No one will stand in their way. The only issue is that the Catholic institutions they work for would rather not be obliged to pay for it for them.

And the liberal media will be only too happy to frame the issue in the way Team Obama wants. With the possible exception of the amalgam of evangelical 'Born Again Christian' sects, there is no organization who better represents everything the liberal intelligentsia are against than the Catholic church. And that's really only because the former has been so much more successful politically in the last few decades. The church of Rome could still use a really great press agent.

But here's the real issue. The Catholic church objects morally (morally mind you not legally ... they say it's wrong, not that it must be illegal) to have an abortion, or to practice artificial birth control. Maybe you share that moral view and maybe you don't - but either way, there isn't going to be a church guard showing up at your house to throw you in jail. It's a question of conscience not of law, and conscience is very much the domain of the church.

But because that's their position, they do not want to be compelled by the state to buy those services for anyone either. That's it. They want the liberty to act as their conscience dictates, and do not want any law (like the Obama driven health care mandate) to force them to do otherwise. Pretty straightforward.

Personally I think both Secularism and Environmentalism should be 'protected' under the religious liberty clause as well. Maybe some forward thinking right wing group will petition the state for protection of those groups and in the process, put an end to all this government sponsored nonsense.


Mark said...


Didn't you once predict the Amish would soon become a fast-growing sect once the health care law came into effect?

This birth-control compulsion issue has become the rallying point it deserves to be. I only wish as many people would get outraged by the deprivation of individual liberties and liberty of conscience in all cases. If the principle is taken to its thinkable conclusion, perhaps we will be able to get exemptions based on all kinds of individual 'religions.'

More likely, a court will use prior rulings to determine that a religion only includes formally established institutions (perhaps a cabinet level religion-licensing position could be designed?), with number of followers x and regular meetings, established creeds, functionaries, belief in a God, etc. to have establishment clause freedoms and the right to exemptions from federal coercion. Like many other laws this one would be aimed not at individuals, but groups of them--and the administrative heads and leaders of those groups. Those who wouldn't care to join one would, of course, fend for themselves.

Why shouldn't we be able to opt out if the church can?

All fine, just sad it could have to come to that: that the traducement of liberty would be so complete that we could only obtain it by pretending our religion requires it--and then still not inviolable once first obtained, and maintained only by the toleration and permission and grace of some grantor. Enough with "religious conscience" exemptions. Let each man's conscience be his religion, and his freedom to follow it his path to liberty. Sad we'd have to come by more liberty only in so oblique a manner.

frithguild said...

The way this has played over the pase few days frustrates because it shows leadership. Like it or not, the statist forces made an off tackle run directly at stregnth. The chattering class all at once talk about "dark ages of healthcare" and "Republicans" all in the same breath. I am not so sure it was a land mine, if you keep in mind their "demo". I think they moved the ball.

On the other end of things, this makes me wonder about how the free exercise clause may develop. "Congress shall pass no law respection the establishment of a religion, or probibiting the free exercise thereof." Establishment clause jurisprudince is pretty well developed - free exercise not so much. I have not looked at this area of law in a while, so I can't explain why this is so at the moment. But looking at the words of the amendment, this seems to me to be a clear infringement of free exercise.