Filed under: Education, Health Care, Law, Politics, Progressivism, The Constitution | Tags: Freedom of Religion, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, The First Amendment
I want to go back to the origins of this kerfuffle. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has been given the authority to make hundreds of rules and regulations pertaining to ObamaCare, announced that all employers who offered health insurance for their employees, workers or members would be required to offer birth control, sterilization, and abortifacients at no cost. Catholics were appalled. This was a direct attack on the first amendment freedom of religion clause. Catholics were quickly joined by members of many other denominations.
They notified Secretary Sebelius that the requirement was unacceptable. Catholics provide a large percentage of the hospitals in this country, about 615, and not just hospitals but large medical centers, and 499 Long Term Care facilities. The hospitals are among the nation’s finest. There are around 6,900 k-12 schools, and many colleges and universities. All would come under the new regulation, which is in direct opposition to Catholic doctrine. The First Amendment is not about “separation of church and state,” but bans the state from making any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
Dr. Richard Land, one of the most influential evangelical leaders is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He said flatly “We will not comply” with the HHS mandate. When Catholic bishops said they would have to close their hospitals — the American medical establishment said there is no way they could absorb that many patients. Do not misunderstand this controversy. It is a battle about freedom of conscience and religious liberty. It is not about “birth control,” nor is it about a “war against women.”
President Barack Obama, who swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, doesn’t have a lot of respect for that old worn-out document. Progressives, in general, see the Constitution as something to get around. They would prefer to re-draft it, bring it up to date — so it doesn’t interfere with things they want to do. Shallow, really shallow. Obama decided that he would take on the Catholic Church, that they were undoubtedly bluffing, and the rule was written into the Federal Register as law.
But what if the Bishops aren’t bluffing? The confrontation was not going the way Progressives wanted it to. Progressives determined to “redefine” the problem. Chairman Darrell Issa of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced that he would hold hearings. Just before the hearings were to open, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted to run in a more promising witness to testify. Chairman Issa looked at her qualifications, and decided that she was not only not qualified to speak, but had nothing to offer. So former Speaker Pelosi and cohort set up their own (pretend) committee hearing so they could get their witness’s testimony out to the public.
Enter the spurious Ms. Sandra Fluke (rhymes with cluck), a supposed 23-year-old coed in her 3rd year of law school at Georgetown Law, a Catholic institution. She testified that her active sex life made it necessary for her to spend $3,000 over 3 years for birth control. Well, she turned out to be 30 years old, the cost of birth control was no more than $9 a month at a nearby pharmacy, and she was a long time feminist activist who chose Georgetown because it was a Catholic institution and she wanted to take them on about abortion and birth control.
Now we have to go back a few years to the Bush administration, when Progressives were whining loudly in the press that they didn’t have any ideas because they didn’t have any think tanks like Republicans did. So they got together some big money from the Democrat 1%, and founded Think Progress — their very own think tank to give them ideas.
The problem was that their understanding of a think-tank differed from the Republican understanding of a think-tank. The big, long-established think-tanks like Heritage, the American Enterprise Institute, The Hoover Institution, The Competitive Enterprise Institute, Cato (Libertarian) , The Hudson Institute, and the Manhattan Institute all employed scholars to do serious research on policy. They attempt to provide the background of research that will help Congress to understand the pros and cons of legislation, and what research shows works and what doesn’t.
Progressives were more interested in getting and keeping power. Think Progress undoubtedly does research, but its interest is in strategy of how to defeat Republicans and how to win. That’s where the redefining of problems comes from. So the GREEN division of Think Progress came up with this gem: “Access to Birth Control is A Fundamental Component of Climate Survival” February 10, 2012.
Any morally acceptable pathway to prevent catastrophic global warming includes broad access to affordable birth control for the world’s women. The conservative war on birth control is a war on women’s rights, and thus on the rights of us all. Manmade global warming is one of the most troubling symptoms of economic and social injustice around the planet, and the ”countries in the developing world least responsible for the growing emissions are likely to experience the heaviest impact of climate change, with women bearing the greatest toll.” Researchers have found that empowering women to reduce unplanned pregnancies is one of the most cost-effective ways to combat greenhouse pollution.
Well. There is a perfect example of redefining the problem! Suddenly neither the argument nor the conversation is about the attack on the First Amendment to the Constitution and religious freedom for Catholic Hospitals and Schools in the United States — it is about “reproductive health for the world’s women and empowering them to reduce unplanned pregnancies.” A world where women and girls have more power is a healthier world.
Think Progress is really quite good at what we might call “changing the subject.” Republicans, earnestly trying to accomplish something effective for the country are always blindsided by their unexpected approach.
Who could have thought that the phony testimony of Sandra Fluke (rhymes with cluck) would lead to an attempt to rid the airwaves of the Left’s favorite demon, Rush Limbaugh; Ms. Fluke’s acquiring an agent, and PR representative to book her for TV appearances, for her future stardom, and controversial attorney Gloria Allread rushing to her defense, since she hadn’t been charged with anything except completely misrepresenting herself and her history, and obviously needed a lawyer.