The ACLU jumps the shark

posted at 10:25 am on February 8, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

For many years, conservatives have considered the ACLU just another left-wing activist organization, cloaked in only the veneer of civil liberties.  Asked of their defense of the Constitution, more than a few conservatives would ask just when the ACLU bothers to fight for Second Amendment rights.  The ACLU protests this perception, pointing to a number of controversial clients they have defended and insist that their mission is only to preserve the civil liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the rest of the US Constitution.

I think this puts the ACLU argument to rest once and for all:

The American Civil Liberty Union announced today that President Obama’s decision to mandate coverage for birth control does not violate religious liberty.

The ACLU’s Alicia Gay warns that the “powerful lobbying arm of the Catholic Church” mistakenly claims that the HHS contraception mandate violates their religious liberty.

Individuals who choose not to pay for employees’ contraceptives, the ACLU counters, are forcing their beliefs on their employees.

“The fundamental promise of religious liberty in this country doesn’t create a right to impose those views on others, including ignoring civil rights laws or denying critical health care,” Gay insists.

Er, who is imposing their beliefs on whom? Catholic employers don’t tell employees — either in church or in hospitals, clinics, or charities — that the use of contraception will end their employment.  As has been tediously pointed out by supporters of Barack Obama’s diktat, plenty of Catholics use contraception and still show up in church.  Plenty of them support abortion on demand, too.  But until now, no one has forced the Catholic Church to fund those actions, which is exactly what this mandate does.  It forces Catholics to pay for services and products for others even though they represent mortal sins in our faith.

The First Amendment is pretty clear on what the government can and cannot do in dictating the actions of religious organizations.  Heck, this should be so clear that even the ACLU should figure it out: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  Dictating to Catholics that they have to fund contraception for their employees when our religion specifically prohibits it — including the use of abortifacients, which is equivalent to killing children in our faith — is prohibiting the free exercise of a core doctrine for Catholics (and many other Christian denominations as well), which is to defend the sanctity of human life.

Is that a “view” of Christians in general, and Catholics specifically?  Yes.  Are we “imposing” it by practicing our religion, including our outreach to the community through the provision of health care to the indigent and charitable works?  Not at all.  Those are voluntary associations, not mandated, unlike ObamaCare, which makes it impossible for the Catholic Church to avoid this mandate by simply ending employer-provided health insurance coverage.  If a religion cannot express its views and live by its tenets because “views” are not protected, then the religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment doesn’t exist at all.

Some have tried to claim that because the Catholic Church gets government funding through Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, their First Amendment rights are no longer applicable.  Really?  Does the government have the right to censor AARP because it participates in Medicare Advantage? How about Social Security recipients? I’d love to see the ACLU brief supporting those arguments, although that may become a reality if Obama remains in office for a second term, based on the ACLU’s statements. Do government contractors lose their First Amendment rights to petition their government?  Considering the activities surrounding Solyndra investor George Kaiser and his frequent visits to the White House, the Obama administration doesn’t appear to think so, and the ACLU was curiously quiet if it believes that.

The rights in the Constitution are not granted to American citizens because the government decided to offer them beneficently at their discretion.  They exist in the document as a testament to our natural rights, part of our innate humanness, and are detailed in the Constitution as a bar to government’s overreach in trampling them.  If the ACLU can’t figure that much out, then not only have they jumped the shark, they’ve nuked the fridge and made themselves entirely irrelevant except for the elitist crowd that cheers on tyranny.  And that is exactly what has happened with this HHS mandate.

In my column for The Week, I point out that there will likely be a large political consequence for this action:

However, Catholics are not, by and large, social conservatives. Obama won the Catholic vote by nine points in 2008 (54 percent to 45 percent). Catholics accounted for a whopping 27 percent of the 2008 electorate. Purposefully alienating that voting bloc in an already-difficult election year risks flipping that vote substantially against Obama in November. Even for those Catholics who don’t agree with church teachings on contraception, the spectacle of a president dictating doctrine to bishops won’t endear them to Obama.

The national number just begins to tell the story. Catholics comprise even higher percentages of the vote in key swing states that Obama must win in order to get a second term. For instance, Obama won Pennsylvania in 2008 by 11 points while losing Catholics — a third of Pennsylvania’s electorate — by 4 percent. With Pennsylvania Catholics now hearing condemnations of Obama’s decision from their bishops, Obama may have put the Keystone State at serious risk. A Republican could win Pennsylvania for the first time since Ronald Reagan.

Florida is another example. Obama carried the Sunshine State by a narrow three-point margin in 2008. Catholics comprised 28 percent of that vote, and Obama only barely won among them, 50 percent to 49 percent. How many of those Catholics will cast another vote for Obama, especially since their own Sen. Marco Rubio — a Catholic himself — has now proposed a bill specifically revoking the new Obama rule and protecting choices of religious conscience? If more than a few switch from Obama to his Republican challenger, Obama will lose 29 electoral votes he can hardly spare.

The damage won’t be limited to Catholics, either, or voters of faith in general. Republicans have long painted Obama as a radical executive inclined to rule by diktat rather than govern by the rule of law. Obama’s mild personal demeanor has helped him deflect this criticism, but forcing Christians to violate their conscience in order to fit his own worldview provides the GOP a great deal of evidence for their argument.

Rick Santorum hit this last theme in his victory speech from Missouri. Expect it to become a prominent attack in the general election, even if the Obama administration backs down this week.


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Are there any laws which that logic doesn’t apply to? Since the 1st Amendment applies to individual belief and not church organizations, it is any business owner who would be able to invoke religious objections when choosing not to comply with a law.
OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 11:50 AM

So religious liberty doesn’t appy to religions?

gwelf on February 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Are there any laws which that logic doesn’t apply to? Since the 1st Amendment applies to individual belief and not church organizations, it is any business owner who would be able to invoke religious objections when choosing not to comply with a law.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 11:50 AM

A few points:

1. The word “belief” does not appear in the First Amendment. I think the word you’re looking for is “exercise” – which is rather different.

2. The First Amendment also protects a little thing known as freedom of assembly. I’m pretty sure those rights aren’t forfeited when exercised (there’s that word again) in conjunction.

sadarj on February 8, 2012 at 12:03 PM

The 1st Amendment protections for religious belief doesn’t extend to all corporate operations. If a religious believer wants to operate hospitals and universities it has to abide by secular laws.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 11:11 AM

And what if the Catholic Church decided to close those institutions rather than comply with the state’s order to violate their beliefs? It’s not as though they’re big money-makers for them. Is the state (obama) then going to order the church to keep them operating. Will the state (obama) then nationalize the hospitals and universities?

Solaratov on February 8, 2012 at 12:03 PM

15 years ago I was arrested for passing out prolife materials door to door in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. I called the ACLU and they refused to represent me explaining that the Third District Municipal Court was too far for them to go. (about 12 miles from downtown Chicago.) All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Rumpole of the Bailey on February 8, 2012 at 12:04 PM

I guess Joe McCarthy, a great American from Wisconsin had the ACLU pegged all along. How come I’m not surprised?

Deano1952 on February 8, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Are there any laws which that logic doesn’t apply to? Since the 1st Amendment applies to individual belief and not church organizations, it is any business owner who would be able to invoke religious objections when choosing not to comply with a law.
OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Also, a big constitutional issue is the government telling any individual or organization just they must buy a product or offer a service etc. This is an obvious case of federal overreach.

To turn your question back on you – if the federal government can force an individual or organization to purchase a product or service then what real limitations are there to federal power?

gwelf on February 8, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Are there any laws which that logic doesn’t apply to? Since the 1st Amendment applies to individual belief and not church organizations, it is any business owner who would be able to invoke religious objections when choosing not to comply with a law.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 11:50 AM

So the part about “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” in the 1st Amendment was just the Founders playing a little prank on us?

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Solaratov on February 8, 2012 at 12:03 PM

To repeat myself from another thread: close them down permanently – burn or otherwise demo them. Let the gov’t eminent domain the land and start from scratch…

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 12:07 PM

The 1st Amendment protections for religious belief doesn’t extend to all corporate operations. If a religious believer wants to operate hospitals and universities it has to abide by secular laws.
OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 11:11 AM
And what if the Catholic Church decided to close those institutions rather than comply with the state’s order to violate their beliefs? It’s not as though they’re big money-makers for them. Is the state (obama) then going to order the church to keep them operating. Will the state (obama) then nationalize the hospitals and universities?
Solaratov on February 8, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Large government is a monopoly and like all monopolies they hate any competition – liberals would be happy if the Catholic church shut down all it’s charitable institutions or at the very least made them a subsidiary of the government.

gwelf on February 8, 2012 at 12:08 PM

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 12:07 PM

What exactly does private property, liberty and freedom of religion (free exercise thereof) mean to you?

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:08 PM

I don’t get your question…

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 12:10 PM

I am happy anyone might see the light at last that Oblamya and teh ACLU are not our friends. If it came to this to cause that experience…so be it.

As far as the ACLU being right on most things…better check on those facts. They come down on the wrong side of most would be more accurate. The name sounds great…so do many organizations that turn out to be no so good.

Remember elections have consequences.

landowner on February 8, 2012 at 12:10 PM

And what if the Catholic Church decided to close those institutions rather than comply with the state’s order to violate their beliefs? It’s not as though they’re big money-makers for them. Is the state (obama) then going to order the church to keep them operating. Will the state (obama) then nationalize the hospitals and universities?

Solaratov on February 8, 2012 at 12:03 PM

It’s a political problem for Obama. There’s no fundamental right to contraception or most other drugs. If religious groups are able to apply enough pressure to the administration or congress, they can affect how the law is written.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 12:11 PM

I don’t get your question…

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 12:10 PM

You seem to think that the government should confiscate church property and do with it as the government sees fit. So I am curious what exactly private property, liberty and freedom of religion (free exercise thereof) means to you. It is a simple question. They mean something to everyone.

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:13 PM

This is not a Catholic issue. See: Colorado Christian University v. Sebelius, which was filed on 21 December 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Its claims violations of the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedures Act.

Resist We Much on February 8, 2012 at 12:13 PM

I really do hope that religious folk do stand up this time. I remember a time in Massachusetts when the Catholic Church shut down adoption services because of same sex adoption. I don’t recall a big ‘rally around the church’ moment there.

Dawnsblood on February 8, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Apparently the ACLU believes that people must boink one another like rabbits to stay alive. That’s just about the only belief I can come up with that justifies claiming that employer funded birth control is a “critical health care” need.

KimS on February 8, 2012 at 12:14 PM

It’s a political problem for Obama. There’s no fundamental right to contraception or most other drugs. If religious groups are able to apply enough pressure to the administration or congress, they can affect how the law is written.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 12:11 PM

You are contradicting yourself. If there is no such right to such things how can a religious organization be forced to provide them against their conscious?

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM

So the part about “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” in the 1st Amendment was just the Founders playing a little prank on us?

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:05 PM

It isn’t an unlimited right. SCOTUS began addressing the differences between belief and actions that followed from belief with the Reynolds decision in 1878.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:13 PM

You’re only off by about 180 degrees. As a Catholic, my take on it is that if the gov’t is going to lean on the Church like this, we should take our private property (the hospitals), close them (exercising the liberty to behave as we see fit) and burn/demo them (so the gov’t cannot use our institution in a means counter to our beliefs). If the gov’t really wants a hospital there, they can eminent domain the land and build their own damn hospital…

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 12:16 PM

The 1st Amendment protections for religious belief doesn’t extend to all corporate operations. If a religious believer wants to operate hospitals and universities it has to abide by secular laws.
OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Actually, Obamacare gives all religious institutions the right to discriminate. If they treat “their own kind” only, they can claim a religious exemption.

Then again, what would you have expected from the Party of Jim Crow?

Resist We Much on February 8, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Thank you Newt for bringing this war on Relgion into the debate and I do believe either Santorum and Gingrich will fight to protect religious freedom and liberty and tradition.

Portia46 on February 8, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Santorum already had a real nifty comment on this issue in his victory speech last night in Missouri. Go to 10:55 minutes to 12:53 minutes. But you need to listen to the whole speech. I was pushing for Newt, but Santorum really dealt with the issues and not brag about himself like Romney and Gingrich are doing. Santorum coalesced the real problems with Obama in this speech. This is a home run for Santorum. Refreshingly different from the speeches the other candidates give.

timberline on February 8, 2012 at 12:18 PM

It isn’t an unlimited right. SCOTUS began addressing the differences between belief and actions that followed from belief with the Reynolds decision in 1878.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Nothing is an unlimited right, but that isn’t the point. You made the nonsensical claim that “the 1st Amendment applies to individual belief and not church organizations” which flies in the face of a common sense reading of the 1st Amendment. All of our liberties enumerated in the Constitution speak to outward action, not “belief”. The Founders would find the idea of writing down what people can think to be outrageous. If the freedom of religion part of the 1st Amendment were only about “belief” it wouldn’t exist.

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:20 PM

You’re only off by about 180 degrees. As a Catholic, my take on it is that if the gov’t is going to lean on the Church like this, we should take our private property (the hospitals), close them (exercising the liberty to behave as we see fit) and burn/demo them (so the gov’t cannot use our institution in a means counter to our beliefs). If the gov’t really wants a hospital there, they can eminent domain the land and build their own damn hospital…

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 12:16 PM

My apologies.

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:21 PM

It isn’t an unlimited right. SCOTUS began addressing the differences between belief and actions that followed from belief with the Reynolds decision in 1878.

True. The Court has also upheld a law that denied unemployment insurance for people, who used peyote as part of a sacramental rite, but against state law, Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990). Other examples are: child marriage, (numerous cases), child rape (numerous), human sacrifice (unnecessary). OTOH, the Court has struck down laws banning animal sacrifice as part of a religious ritual, Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993).

The Catholic hospitals, charities, universities, etc., could minister, care for, and employ only Catholics, but then 1) that would go against their mission; 2) it would violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and 3) regarding hospitals, it would violate EMTALA.

Would you prefer discrimination or for them to close all of their facilities and organisations other than churches because that is what the Catholic Church will do before it complies?

Resist We Much on February 8, 2012 at 12:21 PM

I’m an optimist, but in this case I have to see reality as it is. American Catholics (in general, not all) historically have turned a blind eye to laws and politicians, predominently Democrat politicians, that have been eroding religious freedoms and teachings. Why? For what they consider the “greater good”. They see the Democratic Party as the party that helps the poor and needy, so in return they ignore all attacks on religion or religious teachings.

So where has this gotten them? Are there fewer poor? Are there more poor people rising to the middle class? Are the poor being educated better? We know the answer – no. Unfortunately, in Socialism you only get the appearance and sounds of real equality, but none of the substance. However, it’s difficult to change horses after so amny years, so I fully expect those Catholics, and other faiths, up in arms today will still pull the lever for Democrats in November, for the “greater good” that never seems to materialize.

SubDoc on February 8, 2012 at 12:22 PM

My apologies.

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Fuhgeddaboudit – I’m often misunderstood… ;-)

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 12:22 PM

You are contradicting yourself. If there is no such right to such things how can a religious organization be forced to provide them against their conscious?

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM

No contradiction. The government enacts laws all the time that don’t involve fundamental rights. Many of those laws change from congress to congress without a court getting involved. Religious groups have stronger exemptions from laws the closer an activity is to worship. When a religious group takes actions in the secular world the First Amendment is less applicable.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Some have tried to claim that because the Catholic Church gets government funding through Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, their First Amendment rights are no longer applicable.

Anybody who takes government money gives up their first amendment rights? whoa….!

tinkerthinker on February 8, 2012 at 12:24 PM

So what “critical health care” issue is denied when employers refuse to provide insurance coverage for birth control?

KimS on February 8, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Some of the hormone-based contraceptives have uses in regulating a woman’s period, dealing with abnormally heavy blood flow, or in dealing with a small range of hormone-related problems.

However, none of these are cause for the government to dictate dogma to a religious institution. Mandating that a religious group directly violate the tenets of their faith is despicable. Especially forcing them to finance the use of abortifacients, something tantamount to financing murder in their faith.

Asurea on February 8, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Anybody who takes government money gives up their first amendment rights? whoa….!

tinkerthinker on February 8, 2012 at 12:24 PM

I guess half the liberal base can no longer get together to speak their minds…

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 12:26 PM

To our everlasting shame, SCOAMF won my state in 2008 by a small margin. It will not happen again.

swinia sutki on February 8, 2012 at 12:29 PM

“the 1st Amendment applies to individual belief and not church organizations”

Er, wrong. See: Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 518 (1819), Gassies v. Ballon, 31 US 761 (1831), Marshall v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, 57 U. S. 314 (1853, Dodge v. Woosley, 59 US 331 (1856), Gray v. Lewis, 8 Ch App 1035 (1873), Hawes v. Oakland, 104 U.S. 450 (1881, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886), Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, 10-553 (2012) among others, AND the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

For another example of how corporations, along with individuals, have First Amendment rights, see: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 08-205 (2010).

Resist We Much on February 8, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Using the logic here, that Jewish nursing home down the block and that Islamic school across town are REQUIRED to provide on-site bacon and pork chops to employees of other faiths.

RhymesWithRight on February 8, 2012 at 12:32 PM

I guess half the liberal base can no longer get together to speak their minds…

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 12:26 PM

That’s right.

tinkerthinker on February 8, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Are there any laws which that logic doesn’t apply to? Since the 1st Amendment applies to individual belief and not church organizations, it is any business owner who would be able to invoke religious objections when choosing not to comply with a law.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 11:50 AM

In the court of law, such an employer would have to justify the relgious objection. For example, the employer could not simply claim that he or she has a religious objection to lunch breaks when it’s obvious that his or her faith says nothing about that. In other words, the employer can’t create a religious belief for the sole purpose of circumventing the law.

That’s obviously not the case here. The Church’s position on contraception, abortion, and other similar issues has been clear, consistent and well-known way before ObamaCare was ever even considered, much less passed.

The larger issue is that the employer is not forcing his or her beliefs on the employee. The employee is free to get an abortion. Free to purchase contraceptions. Free to seek out an insurer to cover all of those things. What we’re arguing is that the employee is not free to demand that a 3rd party to pay for those things. So to override the legitimate religious objections of the Church you will have to construct a legitimate constitutional basis for such a demand. But now I’M repeating myself.

Out.

PackerBronco on February 8, 2012 at 12:38 PM

For another example of how corporations, along with individuals, have First Amendment rights, see: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 08-205 (2010).

Resist We Much on February 8, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Yes, churches receive protection. However, the rights are granted by the First Amendment to individuals. Churches are not mentioned in the First Amendment, and a citizen doesn’t need to form a church to have his belief protected.

Hosanna is a good case to read for an idea of where ministerial exemptions come into play for Constitutional protection from US lawmakers.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 12:41 PM

I believe Progressives view religion as “quaint”. Kinda cute how the workers “cling to their Bibles” and go to church on Sunday. But they don’t really believe that garbage; after all, God is just a ruse to fall back on when they want to feel better about themselves after doing something stupid.

BKeyser on February 8, 2012 at 12:42 PM

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Just stop. Fill the hole in and move on. There is not a mention of “individuals” either in the 1st Amendment. The closest it comes is “people”, but that part talks about freedom of assembly. “Free exercise thereof” applies both to individuals and organizations without explicitly mentioning either. Couple that with the freedom of assembly and it is clear to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that religious organizations have 1st Amendment protections.

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Couple that with the freedom of assembly and it is clear to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that religious organizations have 1st Amendment protections.

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM

I think you’ve stumbled onto the problem here…

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM

I think you’ve stumbled onto the problem here…

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Are you calling me stupid?
.
.
.

:P

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:50 PM

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:50 PM

180 degrees, my friend, 180 degrees…

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Enough with the Catholics and the Christians, what’s really important is how do the Muslims feel about this new HHS policy mandate?

HoosierStateofMind on February 8, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Yes, churches receive protection. However, the rights are granted by the First Amendment to individuals. Churches are not mentioned in the First Amendment, and a citizen doesn’t need to form a church to have his belief protected.

Churches are 501(c)(3) CORPORATIONS. Corporations have putative personhood under the law. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, they are entitled to Equal Protection.

If you think that churches do not have First Amendment rights, I can provide you with a plethora of caselaw that proves otherwise. Let me know.

Resist We Much on February 8, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Some have tried to claim that because the Catholic Church gets government funding through Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, their First Amendment rights are no longer applicable.

Anybody who takes government money gives up their first amendment rights? whoa….!

tinkerthinker on February 8, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Catholics can exercise their first amendment rights all they want speaking to me want about how they think I am doing something wrong by using contraception, but when they have my tax dollars in their pockets, their actions should be secularized, otherwise the government is promoting their religion with my tax dollars.

Do I like it that way? Hell, no. But that is what big government gets you, and the Catholic Church hasn’t done a thing to prevent it. They cram big government down our throats in the name of compassion, and then they whine when it is their ox getting gored.

The issue here is Obamacare. It should be repealed. I could not care less about the Catholic Church whining about its rights while it is coddling up to Leviathan.

fadetogray on February 8, 2012 at 1:00 PM

ACLU

The biggest bunch of Darwinist Progressives in the Western world.

Man is an animal, like the Apes, like flotsam, like dogs. He should be herded like sheep in a pen and shocked with a poker when he gets out of line.

The animalizing/demeaning of life has a home in the ACLU……..AND…….oddly enough in the ovens of Nazi Germany as they also attempted to cull the herd.

PappyD61 on February 8, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Lost in Jersey on February 8, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Um, no.

You phrased it as though “Protestants” are somehow ignoring this issue because it’s a “Catholic problem” when, in fact, the RCC on this issue has far more support among Evangelicals than among its own.

They have plenty of non-Catholics allies on their side on this issue.

mankai on February 8, 2012 at 1:02 PM

fadetogray on February 8, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I am personally not unsympathetic to this line of thinking. But this rule applies to everyone, not just those who receive government money.

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Catholics can exercise their first amendment rights all they want speaking to me want about how they think I am doing something wrong by using contraception, but when they have my tax dollars in their pockets, their actions should be secularized, otherwise the government is promoting their religion with my tax dollars.

fadetogray on February 8, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Two points:

1) This mandate is enforced whether the employer is receiving federal dollars or not. So your argument is a red herring.

2) The Church is providing a charitable service to society. It is feeding the poor. It is providing clothing. It is providing health care to those in need. It is doing all of these things at a lower cost and at a greater efficiency than the government would do. It is providing these services in true Christian charity to believers and non-believers alike.

A “thank you” might be in nice once in while.

PackerBronco on February 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Rick Santorum hit this last theme in his victory speech from Missouri. Expect it to become a prominent attack in the general election, even if the Obama administration backs down this week.

Note how conspicuously absent Romney’s comments are on topic.

Schadenfreude on February 8, 2012 at 1:21 PM

1) This mandate is enforced whether the employer is receiving federal dollars or not. So your argument is a red herring.

The employer is getting a tax break when he buys the insurance. So if the employee of the Catholic employer wants the benefits Obamacare requires of secular insurance, the employee has to give up the cheaper employer provided insurance that is effectively subsidized by his own tax dollars.

That is government using his tax dollars to promote religious policy with incentives.

fadetogray on February 8, 2012 at 1:22 PM

If you think that churches do not have First Amendment rights, I can provide you with a plethora of caselaw that proves otherwise. Let me know.

Resist We Much on February 8, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Churches are protected and so is individual belief. The relevant point here is that a business owner need not be a religious corporation to identify a religious objection to employment law. The question becomes what is the criteria for exempting a business owner (or employee) from compliance with a given law due to religious beliefs? Scalia’s opinion in Employment Division v Smith might offer some parameters.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 1:28 PM

when they have my tax dollars in their pockets, their actions should be secularized, otherwise the government is promoting their religion with my tax dollars.

fadetogray on February 8, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Let’s just review some of the cases involving religion and Federal/state money. Maybe, it will clear up some of the misunderstanding:

In Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971), the Court created the Lemon Test. Again, it does not bar religion in government; provided, the legislation has a secular legislative purpose, does not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion, and must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion.

Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation, 551 U.S. 587 (2007) held that the government can partner with religious organisations and can even give them taxpayer dollars.

Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District, 508 U.S. 384 (1993) held that a government cannot deny a religious group accommodations that are opened to others nor can it prohibit the screening of religious films.

Bradford v. Roberts, 175 U.S. 291 (1899), held that taxpayers had no grounds upon which to sue and that governmental funding to religious entities like hospitals is not unconstitutional.

Bowen v. Kendrick, 487 U.S. 589 (1988), the use of federal funds to do research into the subject of premarital adolescent sexuality does not violate the Establishment Clause. The funds were allowed to be given to religious organisations if they offered counseling services.

Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203 (1997), public school teachers may instruct at religious schools, so long as the material was secular and neutral in nature and no “excessive entanglement” between government and religion was apparent.

Mitchell v. Helms, 121 U.S. 15 (2000), the Court ruled that taxpayer-funded loans to pay for private education, including religious schools, were permissible because they in no way represented a governmental indoctrination or advancement of religion.

Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School District, 509 U.S. 1 (1993), the Court required the school district to offer Zobrest the sign language interpreter to a student in a parochial school.

Meuller v. Allen, 463 U.S. 388 (1983), laws allowing parents to deduct from their state income taxes any expenses from school tuition, textbooks, or transportation for their children are not unconstitutional.

Wolman v. Walter, 433 U.S. 229 (1977), a state may provide textbooks, standardised tests, therapeutic and diagnostic services to private and parochial school children.

Roemer v. Maryland Public Works Board, 426 U.S. 736 (1976), a state may give tax dollars to parochial and private schools grants with the stipulation that the money only be spent on secular functions.

Meek v. Pittinger, 421 U.S. 395 (1975), governments can purchase school books for private and parochial schools.

Tilton v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 672 (1971), state grants to parochial and private schools are constitutional.

Resist We Much on February 8, 2012 at 1:38 PM

The RCC has a ministerial exemption. They are looking for a bigger exemption which covers secular employees in non-ministerial occupations.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 10:38 AM

You’ve been on every thread on this topic over the last week or so, flogging this same line. It’s been de-bunked repeatedly but you refuse to see it.

The Catholic Church and its right to free exercise of its religion without government interference are specifically protected by the 1st Amendment. All of the Church, not just the bits you choose. Operating hospitals and schools is an integral part of the Churches Christian mission. Now, if the Catholic church were to start manufacturing vacuum cleaners or ice-cream for profit, you might have a point, but you cannot separate Catholic hospitals and Catholic schools from the Christian mission of the Catholic church.

Trafalgar on February 8, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Catholics can exercise their first amendment rights all they want speaking to me want about how they think I am doing something wrong by using contraception, but when they have my tax dollars in their pockets, their actions should be secularized, otherwise the government is promoting their religion with my tax dollars.

fadetogray on February 8, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Right, you just want to violate them freely expressing their religion; by forcing them to pay for something that they disagree with. You’re not suppressing speech so the First Amendment isn’t violated. Because the First Amendment doesn’t say anything about the free expression of religion.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Did the Constitution “evolve” again to remove most of the First Amendment? Can I get a new revised Constitution that clarifies all the rights you’re busy stripping away from people because they’re no longer valid?

How about the right to free press, or assembly, or petitioning for a redress of grievances… is that in the new evolved/revised First Amendment you have?

Or is it only about speech now so people who don’t read the Constitution can remember it?

gekkobear on February 8, 2012 at 1:52 PM

When you accept a job, you accept the job. If the only thing they want is for Churches to say to people that if we hire you, you will not get free contraceptives, then so be it. If you don’t like don’t accept the job!

jeffn21 on February 8, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Right, you just want to violate them freely expressing their religion; by forcing them to pay for something that they disagree with.

They are not forced to pay for anything. The employee is forced to buy health insurance.

The red herring here is the entire Catholic rights being violated argument. It is hard for me to get excited about the Catholic Church’s rights being violated when they are complicit in a far more onerous violation of all of our rights by their failure to oppose Obamacare. The self-serving hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.

fadetogray on February 8, 2012 at 2:12 PM

The self-serving hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.

fadetogray on February 8, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Except that the refusal to cave on providing contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients is not “self-serving” on the Church’s part, it’s serving the glory of God.

Trafalgar on February 8, 2012 at 2:15 PM

The Catholic Church and its right to free exercise of its religion without government interference are specifically protected by the 1st Amendment. All of the Church, not just the bits you choose. Operating hospitals and schools is an integral part of the Churches Christian mission. Now, if the Catholic church were to start manufacturing vacuum cleaners or ice-cream for profit, you might have a point, but you cannot separate Catholic hospitals and Catholic schools from the Christian mission of the Catholic church.

Trafalgar on February 8, 2012 at 1:39 PM

It’s an interesting question. A court challenge could come down to your question of whether the RCC ministry extends to operating a hospital that employs members of various faiths. In the recent SCOTUS case of Hosanna-Tabor the ministry involved operating a school. However, the Court applied very different criteria to exemption from the law based on which teachers were ministers and which were lay members of the staff.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Once one realizes that the ACLU pretty much continues the totalitarian government missions of the Soviet Union and the Third Reich all will become clear.

viking01 on February 8, 2012 at 2:41 PM

The larger issue is that the employer is not forcing his or her beliefs on the employee. The employee is free to get an abortion. Free to purchase contraceptions. Free to seek out an insurer to cover all of those things. What we’re arguing is that the employee government is not free to demand that a 3rd party to pay for those things. So to override the legitimate religious objections of the Church you will have to construct a legitimate constitutional basis for such a demand. But now I’M repeating myself.

Out.

PackerBronco on February 8, 2012 at 12:38 PM

FIFY

talkingpoints on February 8, 2012 at 2:51 PM

They are not forced to pay for anything. The employee is forced to buy health insurance.

Riiiiiight. They just get to pay fines that will put them out of business…the same applies to all businesses — religious in nature or not.

Resist We Much on February 8, 2012 at 3:04 PM

OK so let me get this straight. It is not a civil libeerty that employers must offer health care. However is they do they must offer things that they believe could send them to hell. Or they are violating civil rights. 1984 has arrived and we must all learn correct speach. Soon the left wing will be locking catholics in concentration camps.

huskerthom on February 8, 2012 at 3:04 PM

This is not a Catholic issue.

Resist We Much on February 8, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Exactly correct. However, Emperor Hussein the Magnificent will happily use the technique of “divide and conquer” as long as that is what keeps His Royal Majesty in power. If my fellow Protestants are stupid enough to sit back and smirk at the “papists” misfortunes while Obeyme goes after the RCC, next month Protestants will be in the cross-hairs.

oldleprechaun on February 8, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Churches are protected and so is individual belief.
OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 1:28 PM

No, not merely belief. Expression of belief is explicitly protected.

Troll Feeder on February 8, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Obama miscalculated again, this time with much more political blow-back than usual.

Axelrod is already talking “compromise” – even though the HHS rule was issued as the “final” rule and billed as a compromise itself (apparently half the Administration wanted to require abortion of every pregnancy, but backed off in the spirit of “we’ll get you in the second term”).

There is no protection from this rule being reissued after Obama modifies it later this week (he wants to be reelected). Only the defeat of Obama and his evil regime will secure for any time the liberty he has snatched away, and reverse some of the other grabs.

But some of you won’t vote for our nominee, because whoever it is doesn’t meet your personal checklist? If Obama is reelected, YOU are responsible.

It’s your right to vote or not vote as you want, but you do have any right to evade the responsibility. My great-grandchildren will join yours in pissing on your graves, and both will probably have to stand in line to do it.

Adjoran on February 8, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Meanwhile, across the pond…

“Government ‘may sanction nerve-agent use on rioters’, scientists fear”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/government-may-sanction-nerveagent-use-on-rioters-scientists-fear-6612084.html

oldleprechaun on February 8, 2012 at 3:14 PM

The ACLU was founded by Marxists anti-Capitalist revolutionaries, and and continues on the same crusade.

Here’s an interesting article written by one of the founders (Freedom in the USA and in the USSR). He was spouting some of the same bullsh*t we’re hearing from obama and the OWS today.

http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/blog/baldwin.pdf

The Rogue Tomato on February 8, 2012 at 3:38 PM

When a religious group takes actions in the secular world the First Amendment is less applicable.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 12:24 PM

The actions you are talking about (feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, visiting the orphan and widow) all come from religious culture not secular culture. Lots of Old Testament verses from Judaism and a few key New Testament verses from Christianity. So in fact the secular world is taking actions in the religious world when they do the above.

chemman on February 8, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Soon the left wing will be locking catholics all believers in concentration camps.

huskerthom on February 8, 2012 at 3:04 PM

FIFY

chemman on February 8, 2012 at 3:45 PM

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Secular judges determining the mission of a Religious organization. Do you even see the irony in that.

chemman on February 8, 2012 at 3:48 PM

They need to change their name to:

American Selected Civil Liberty Union

EconomicNeocon on February 8, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Individuals who choose not to pay for employees’ contraceptives, the ACLU counters, are forcing their beliefs on their employees

.

I choose not to buy neighbor a beer. Therefore, I am forcing my beliefs on my neighbor

This is why ‘Hate Crimes’ destroy body of law. It is a secondary violation to commit a crime against another, if done with hate.

Therefore, opinion must be evaluated for ‘hate’, because the ‘hate’ is a crime. Religion involves ideas and beliefs. Therefore, religion can contain ‘hate’. Ergo acting upon religious belief may involve acts of ‘hate’.

Necessarily, hateful parts of religions must be excised. Interestingly, the Libertine associations prefer to castrate the Judeao Christian faithful over other religious sects.

That is because the Judeao Christian ethos requires liberty, for the free will acts and offerings. Liberty is an open door to ‘hate’

I remember the statement from a lawyer for a Canadian Gay rights legal group, that we can have Gay Rights, or Freedom of Religion, but not both

So it begins

entagor on February 8, 2012 at 3:54 PM

If the ACLU jumped the shark, does that hurt or help PETA?

right2bright on February 8, 2012 at 3:56 PM

The red herring here is the entire Catholic rights being violated argument. It is hard for me to get excited about the Catholic Church’s rights being violated when they are complicit in a far more onerous violation of all of our rights by their failure to oppose Obamacare. The self-serving hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.

fadetogray on February 8, 2012 at 2:12 PM

So now, according to you, it is unConstitutional to oppose Obamacare. If George Orwell was alive today, he would assign you the task of creating the “NewSpeak” langauge.

I’ll await for the Constitutional clause which supports your argument but I’m sure you’re too stupid to be able to comprehend the Constitution.

Talk about red herrings.

Kingfisher on February 8, 2012 at 4:01 PM

It is hard for me to get excited about the Catholic Church’s rights being violated when they are complicit in a far more onerous violation of all of our rights by their failure to oppose Obamacare. The self-serving hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.

fadetogray on February 8, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Then I’m sure you’ll start pushing a law that will eliminate burka’s in the United States since it violates women’s rights.

Oh wait, you’ll use some flimsy excuse how this will be completely different.

Kingfisher on February 8, 2012 at 4:06 PM

The larger issue is that the employer is not forcing his or her beliefs on the employee. The employee is free to get an abortion. Free to purchase contraceptions. Free to seek out an insurer to cover all of those things. What we’re arguing is that the employee is not free to demand that a 3rd party to pay for those things. So to override the legitimate religious objections of the Church you will have to construct a legitimate constitutional basis for such a demand. But now I’M repeating myself.

Out.

PackerBronco on February 8, 2012 at 12:38 PM

This seems to be the biggest point that is being missed in all this. The one the administration is clearly wrong on. The church has not denied these employees any rights whatsoever in this case by not including them in health coverage. The employees are free to avail themselves of those services if they choose, the church simply will not cover any part of the cost of them through their health plans. And the church should not have to pay for any part of services that it considers to be against it’s teachings or beliefs.

They have plenty of non-Catholics allies on their side on this issue.

mankai on February 8, 2012 at 1:02 PM

I was raised Catholic, but am now an avowed aetheist… and even I side with the church on this one. They should not be forced to pay for or support something contrary to their beliefs. As a strict Constitutionalist and libertarian, I will fight tooth and nail to defend any church from actions by government to force it to provide services contrary to it’s beliefs.

gravityman on February 8, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Does the government have the right to censor AARP because it participates in Medicare Advantage? How about Social Security recipients? ….. Do government contractors lose their First Amendment rights to petition their government?

-
Ed your arguments are great. To continue down this path, are the following subject to federal censor:
-
Federal Employees
State Governments
Food Stamp recipients
The unemployed
Fanny Mae
Acorn
Thousands of feminist grant driven non-profits
-
Does any federal funds flow through the Tides Foundation?

KyserS on February 8, 2012 at 4:10 PM

The good news is there are 6 Justices on the Supreme Court who are Catholic, including one Obama appointed.

txmomof6 on February 8, 2012 at 4:14 PM

So now, according to you, it is unConstitutional to oppose Obamacare. If George Orwell was alive today, he would assign you the task of creating the “NewSpeak” langauge.

……………….

Kingfisher on February 8, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Uh, no, you got it exactly backward. My point was that if you support the Constitutional abomination that is Obamacare, you are a hypocrite to be whining about some minor trimming around the edges that just happens to cut into the Constitutional protections the Catholic Church wants applied to itself.

The Church has been complicit in the destruction of the very document to which they are now appealing to for protection.

Repeal the whole abominable thing, or the Catholic Church and its precious right to religious freedom can burn, for all I care.

Conservatives are always falling for this kind of split the difference crap with the collectivists. Obama will end up giving in after he gets reassurances of further Catholic support for Obamacare.

I am sorry, but that is not just hypocritical. It is despicable.

fadetogray on February 8, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Note how conspicuously absent Romney’s comments are on topic.

Schadenfreude on February 8, 2012 at 1:21 PM

if you insist:

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Mitt Romney is charging the Obama administration with seeking to curtail religious freedom at the same time it’s defending its decision to require religious employers to cover birth control in employee health plans.

“I’m just distressed as I watch our president try and infringe upon our rights; the First Amendment of the Constitution provides the right to worship in the way of our own choice,” Romney said to about 2,800 people Monday evening at a high-school gymnasium here.
“Did you understand that this administration argued before the Supreme Court that a church should not be able to determine who their ministers are but that government should decide who qualifies?”
He continued: “And by the way, you know that some of the members of the court are pretty liberal. You know what they decided? They decided 9-0 President Obama was wrong.”

jimver on February 8, 2012 at 4:53 PM

And people mocked abobo for saying this douche had the spirit of anti-Christ.

abobo on February 8, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Alicia Gay is a perfect example of how low our country has come.

disa on February 8, 2012 at 5:45 PM

jimver on February 8, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Sorry missed the part about forcing Catholics and contraceptives, what did he say about that?
Maybe I should ask, after the bills he passed in Mass, can he say anything about that with a straight face?

right2bright on February 8, 2012 at 6:32 PM

This is why the federal government should not be involved in healthcare or even education. They are put in a position to stifle constitutional rights.

CW on February 8, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Perhaps some have forgotten Mr. Obama’s summary statement about such matters as this, “I won”.

Mason on February 8, 2012 at 7:18 PM

I have said the same for years! The ACLU stands for:

The Atheist, Communist & Liberals Union

They have proven my name for them to the letter!

Confederate on February 8, 2012 at 8:24 PM

Sorry missed the part about forcing Catholics and contraceptives, what did he say about that?

right2bright on February 8, 2012 at 6:32 PM

can you read?? maybe if you read and inform yourself more on issues you’d know that he actually wrote and op-ed in the Examiner 4 days ago and entitled ‘President Obama vs religious liberty’

jimver on February 8, 2012 at 10:55 PM

the use of abortifacients, which is equivalent to killing children in our faith

This isn’t only faith; it’s biology.

RightKlik on February 8, 2012 at 11:21 PM

Individuals who choose not to pay for employees’ contraceptives, the ACLU counters, are forcing their beliefs on their employees.

Absolute nonsense. Coercion though inaction?

This reminds me of the absurdity of regulating inactivity through the commerce clause, or “spending” on tax cuts.

Once again, the statists abuse and abandon logic in their insatiable quest for power.

RightKlik on February 8, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Hey Mr. President Obama!!

While we’re at it why don’t we use the Commerce Clause to force Jewish and Muslim Institutions to buy bacon and pork? I mean after all, it would create jobs and encourage pork belly futures right?

skatz51 on February 9, 2012 at 12:02 AM

The good news is there are 6 Justices on the Supreme Court who are Catholic, including one Obama appointed.

txmomof6 on February 8, 2012 at 4:14 PM

OK, but unless I miss my guess some of those “Catholics” on the SC may be no more willing to consider the Church’s teaching than the millions of voters who routinely ignore the same teaching.

oldleprechaun on February 9, 2012 at 6:26 AM

OK, but unless I miss my guess some of those “Catholics” on the SC may be no more willing to consider the Church’s teaching than the millions of voters who routinely ignore the same teaching.

oldleprechaun on February 9, 2012 at 6:26 AM

Right. It might not just be the Constitution that needs updating, in their eyes, but the Catholic Church as well.

That type of attitude is not beyond people who call themselves Catholics, especially not progressives.

Axeman on February 9, 2012 at 8:25 AM

As much as I agree with Ed about the political bias of the ACLU, I think the ACLU is correct on this. Obama’s contraception mandate is not unconstitutional.

It is a terrible and instrusive policy, but doesn’t seem to rise to a constitutional violation. I sure hope he can be forced to drop this requirement or that Congress can come up with some way to nullify it.

Pigilito on February 9, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Why did bc/abortion become something different that required uniform treatment that nothing else did?

katiejane on February 8, 2012 at 10:52 AM

When Democrats lost the battle on civil rights, they turned to the next best way to control black people–have them kill themselves.

txhsmom on February 9, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Just stop. Fill the hole in and move on. There is not a mention of “individuals” either in the 1st Amendment. The closest it comes is “people”, but that part talks about freedom of assembly. “Free exercise thereof” applies both to individuals and organizations without explicitly mentioning either. Couple that with the freedom of assembly and it is clear to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that religious organizations have 1st Amendment protections.

NotCoach on February 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Why are there all these other postings on this thread? cq/

S. D. on February 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

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