Monday, February 20, 2012

The Real Attack on Religious Freedom

Birth control is of interest to women and the men who love them. The Republicans are dumber than mud if they think they can gain a single vote in America by trying to make it more difficult to get birth control. They could lose twenty million votes on this issue alone, and a party that is so good at winning elections knows this.

Republicans are unscrupulous, disingenuous, dishonest, and greedy, but the leadership must know by now that birth control is a huge loser for them. Santorium has his own theology, by which I mean, theology, and it is opposed to birth control, but even he has backed off of considering it as a prescription for governance.

So what gives with the Issa horse and pony show?

Here’s the scoop. Originally HHS proposed a rule that required that every employer who is obliged by the Affordable Care Act to provide insurance shall also provide reproductive health care coverage. It’s not a controversial issue: indeed, it’s the law in over twenty states now. And, it is the practice of a number of Catholic institutions including the DePaul university, the largest Catholic university in the nation, and the largest private institution in the President’s hometown of Chicago.

But somehow the Bishops decided that they needed to get involved in politics, and they attacked President Obama, declaring that they were offended by a requirement that they claimed to object to on grounds of conscience. Many Catholics, including Democrats rallied around the church which they had been told was under attack. Nevermind, that the vast majority of them have used birth control. The prospect of harming Obama, and maybe even helping Santorium was just too tempting.

Obama was quick to act. He produced a compromise that required the insurers to pick up the tab for reproductive health care services for any institution that had moral objections to paying for it. The Catholic Hospital Association signed on to the deal, and the initial reaction of the bishops was favorable, too.

But the Republicans sensed weakness. They quickly realized that there were people who had moral objections to doing anything that Obama proposed. They argued that they, too, should have a conscientious objector’s pass on Obama care. This, said they, was a matter of First Amendment religious freedom.

You can usually count on the Republicans to overplay their hand, and this is a perfect example. Republican talking heads are trying desperately to continue to frame this as a freedom of conscience issue, but they won’t be able to keep it up for much longer.

Rick Santorium is a culture warrior, especially on the subject of abortion. As this plays out, he is likely to pay a price. It will be for future historians to determine how much the issue cost him in Michigan where is currently favored to win the primary. I think his chances are not as good as the polling suggests. Nate Silver has him with a 57% chance of winning, and has him at 59.2 per cent.

Now here’s what got Big Mitch ticked off. These buffoons are messing with the First Amendment. When they get slapped down, it will be a major instance of scum-bags trying to claim religious freedom for nefarious purposes. It may work for Scientology but that’s because we tend to be willing to error on the side of religious liberty. But the scam caught up with Synanon. And it will catch up with the Republican bastards, too. And when it does, it will cast suspicion on anyone who has a legitimate claim under the First Amendment.

Well, what do you expect from the people who allow white supremacists like Peter Brimelow to give an address at the CPAC convention? Do you think they care about religious freedom?

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

1 comment:

BigMitch said...

As if on cue, Romney decided to throw in with these jerks who are threatening our religious freedom. Today he said that he had real personal experience with religious intolerance, which is probably true since the Mormons were victims of terrible discrimination. But then, Romney took it too far, saying, that if elected President, he will end Obama's attack on religious freedom. As you chew on that, remember that Romney signed into law a bill that would require Catholic hospitals to provide to their workers health insurance, including reproductive health benefits.