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Archive for religious freedom

Defending the First Amendment

The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments about whether or not Hobby Lobby should be forced to pay for their employees’ contraceptives and abortions, despite religious objections, as a part of Obamacare. Four justices have already voiced that they will side with the government. I find this to be mind bogglingly shocking. These people were put there to DEFEND the Constitution, with the very first Bill of Rights being to protect religious freedom. It should be a slam dunk case, with Hobby Lobby winning easily. That fact that FOUR of the justices think otherwise is frightening. What on earth is their justification?

Their argument is that Hobby Lobby is a corporation and that the First Amendment does not apply to corporations. Say what!? First off, that makes zero sense. Corporations are nothing more than collections of people and it is my understanding that the First Amendment applies to ALL people. Corporations are owned by people, staffed by people, managed by people. Corporations are people and in that respect they are no different than government. They reflect the values and integrity of the individuals that make them up.

But even if corporations are some strange separate artificial intelligence entity, what good is the First Amendment if it doesn’t apply to EVERYBODY?? When the government can start to pick and choose who gets protected by the First Amendment and who doesn’t, you have entered into dangerous territory, and the fact that four justices think that it’s their job to decide who doesn’t get protected by the First Amendment means that we are already there!

I brought this point up to a liberal friend and his response was, “Well, I don’t like Hobby Lobby pushing their religion on their employees.” What does that have to do with the issue? Hobby Lobby is not forcing the employees to do or not do anything. The government IS forcing Hobby Lobby to do something it finds objectionable. If Sue Employee wants to have an abortion while under the employ of Hobby Lobby, Hobby Lobby will not stop her from doing so and frankly, I don’t think Hobby Lobby cares what Sue Employee decides to do with her life outside of Hobby Lobby. But why should Hobby Lobby be FORCED to pay for that abortion? It’s Sue’s abortion, not Hobby Lobby’s. She should pay for it herself, if that’s what she wants, or find somebody who does want to pay for her abortion.

Even though Hobby Lobby does not get involved in Sue Employee’s personal life, if Hobby Lobby, or any company for that matter, wishes to establish for themselves a code of ethics on how they feel their employees should conduct themselves outside of employment, I would defend their right to do so. Sound extreme? Well then, work for another company. We do not have forced employment in this country. Nobody is forcing anybody to work for any company. Why is it that so hard to understand? If Sue Employee wants her employer to pay for her abortion, she can get a job with one who will.

What does the First Amendment specifically say? It says “Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof.” The Obamacare mandate violates this on both accounts. First, it denies Hobby Lobby their free exercise of their religion. I bring this up and I hear liberals say the First Amendment is supposed to keep people from forcing their religion on others. No, it doesn’t. Considering the fact that a lot of the signers of the Constitution were ordained pastors or ministers, I doubt that this is what they had in mind when they signed it. No, the First Amendment ALLOWS people to proselytize, Bible bash, witness, share, whatever you want to call it, to one another. Don’t like it, tough, it’s their freedom. What it DOESN’T allow is for government to force ITS religion and yes, secularism IS a type of religion. By forcing Hobby Lobby and anybody else to pay for contraceptives, the government is establishing that this is their worldview (religion) and this is their way of forcing you to acknowledge it. The failure to understand this is a failure to understand the First Amendment.

Separation of Church and State?

Okay, so to address the argument I hear spewed constantly, “Separation of church and state is guaranteed via our Constitution. Keep your religion out of our laws.”

Of course, it’s an easy argument to refute, you know, considering the fact that the phrase “separation of church and state” isn’t even in our Constitution! In fact, the separation the Constitution does mentions is the separation of powers between branches of government, and considering the Congress’s and Supreme Court’s inability to keep the Executive or each other in check these days, one wonders how much this is being violated.

Thomas Jefferson did mention the “wall of separation” in a letter ABOUT the first Amendment, but Jefferson was more concerned about the state invading onto the church. Not to mention the fact that the Constitution wasn’t even ratified by Jefferson, and that the language of the first amendment was understood and passed by devout church goers to be exactly as it reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof!” As in, if a bakery owner does not want to make a gay cake topper due to religious objections and free exercise, she has that constitutional right!

But beyond that, the idea that there is no religion in our laws is ludicrous!

There is a Christian moral standard, just as there is a moral standard to every belief. State law is dictated by one person or another’s moral standard. Whomever is in charge will always impose their belief system on the populace. I don’t believe incandescent lightbulbs are going to destroy the planet. But because somebody else holds this moral belief, they have been banned. Sharia law is the moral standard in other countries, replacing Habeas Corpus. It’s impossible to separate “church” and “state” when you broaden the definition of “church” to all moral belief systems. In America, law is determined by the moral code of those whom the majority have elected. This is now what the will of the people has determined. Christians, now as a minority, must deal with the laws of the current “church” that is in power. I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing, it’s just an observation I’m making.

So we are commanded to keep OUR religion out of law, but OTHER religion is permissible? I mention this to try and get you to recognize it for what it is. You’re fine pushing your belief system on others even as you scold us not to do so to you. Recognize that belief is belief and we ALL are working to try and get others to agree with us, regardless of where we stand on the religious and political spectrum.

A. C. L. Scrooge