The noose around the neck of liberty just got noticeably tighter.
Indeed, after the Senate voted down freedom of conscience Thursday, the body politic is standing tippy-toe at the edge of a precipice from which it will probably never recover.
Sadly, 51 senators decided to give a shove Thursday in an effort to push us over the edge once and for all. Fifty Democrats and one lone Republican, Olympia Snowe of Maine, voted to table and thus kill an amendment that would have explicitly respected the right of employers to opt out of providing health coverage that is not “consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions, without fear of being penalized.”
But that amendment isn’t what we should be concerned about. It’s another amendment — the First Amendment to the Constitution — which is being trampled underfoot.
Here it is. Read it and weep:
“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.”
It’s pretty transparent. “Congress shall make NO LAW prohibiting the free exercise of [religion].” And nowhere in there do you see the word “EXCEPT.” Which means there are no exceptions — except that now there are because Congress has decided that Obamacare doesn’t have to follow the Constitution if it is not convenient or politically expedient to do so — or if they can just plain get away with it.
Forget about the Bill of Rights; from now on, we may as well call it the Bill of Wrongs — the wrongs that an oppressive government will impose on a compliant citizenry that has forgotten what used to be self-evident — that our rights are endowed in us by our Creator, not granted to us by a power-hungry legislature.
Nothing exemplifies the outrage and the absolute insanity of what Congress did on Thursday quite as simply as a press release issued by the office of Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.
The four-paragraph press release started out simply enough. The senator told us he had voted against Sen. Roy Blunt’s proposed amendment, which would have “allowed employers to deny health insurance coverage, including contraception, for any employee based on ‘moral conviction.’”
But after that, the train wreck of liberalism crashed broadside into the Constitution and turned our creator-endowed rights on their head, as the senator explained his vote:
“This is a reckless attempt to undermine individual freedom and restrict access to health care for women,” he said, in a bald appeal for voted. “This measure is unprecedented and out-of-touch with Montana, and it would have prevented women from making their own health-care decisions.”
Sen. Blunt’s attempt to preserve the First Amendment and respect each individual’s right to follow their own conscience about “right and wrong” — and what they can be forced to pay for — had been turned into an ATTACK on individual freedom.
The right of employers to enjoy their liberty and the pursuit of happiness by running their business in a manner consistent with their own conscience had been thrown out the window. What we were left with instead was a new right — the right to extort money from employers against their will for so-called “health care” in the form of contraception.
Mind you, no woman anywhere is being denied the right to buy contraception in this bill, nor in any bill that I am aware of. Please realize, almost everyone in America including me supports the use of contraception for both medical and other purposes. Also, please acknowledge that contraception is readily available — often free of charge — from a variety of sources such as Planned Parenthood and other family planning or health clinics.
The Blunt amendment is plainly not about contraception. It is about recognizing the diversity of thought that exists in our constitutional republic, and providing assurances that no one shall be forced against their will to participate in moral choices they consider reprehensible.
It does not matter if you or I consider those choices reprehensible. If we all agreed, it would not be a choice at all, but an imperative. No one can make a moral choice to murder, for instance. We all understand that there is a natural law against murder.
But the same does not apply to contraception, which is a choice available to every adult, but not one which anyone should be obligated to follow. Forced contraception would make the United States no better than China, with its one-child policy. The proper state role in contraception is to stay out of it — and let individuals make their own choices.
That is the true meaning of “individual freedom.” But for Sen. Tester and countless other Democrats, individual freedom means you can tell me what to do, what to believe and what to buy.
Whatever happened to real freedom, to real choice? Whatever happened to letting employers and employees develop an employment agreement, saying that for this much work, you will earn this much salary and these many benefits? That would ensure the employer’s individual freedom. And if the employee has the right to say, “No thank you, I’d rather not work for you under those conditions,” then that employee’s individual freedom has also been respected.
No one should be forced to work for pay and benefits they consider inadequate, but neither should any employer be forced to provide benefits he or she considers to be in violation of conscience and “moral convictions.”
The Blunt amendment remember, tried to protect those “moral convictions,” but that did not satisfy Sen. Tester. In his press release, he noted that one reason for his vote against the Blunt amendment is that it “did not define” moral convictions.
So now we have it in a nutshell: Employers do have a right to their moral convictions, but only the ones that are government approved. If this does not worry a majority of Americans, then God save us, for no one else can.