As the fight for and against forcing Catholic institutions to cover health services and procedures that are against their religious beliefs and moral conscience heats up, we have begun to see the arguments each side will use in discussing the issue.
One the side of the Catholic Church, people of faith, Conservatives and true Civil Right’s Advocates the argument is a simple one: “What part of ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’ don’t you understand? What part of that is beyond the scope of your understanding?”
Forcing anyone to act against their faith and moral conscience is strictly prohibited by the Bill of Rights.
One the opposite side, we have seen the argument of a few ideas, none of which can hold up to scrutiny.
First is the argument that an employer is forcing the choice of whether to use contraception on someone. Our friend William Teach over at the Pirate’s Cove notes one of the arguments and its failure.
“The power to decide whether or not to use contraception lies with a woman – not her boss,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. “What is more intrusive than trying to allow an employer to make medical decisions for someone who works for them?”
What about the Central Government’s power to decide? But, neither is deciding whether or not to use contraception, they are deciding whether it is in the health insurance plans. Government is mandating over the specific religious objections of Catholics, a clear violation of the 1st Amendment, along with the liberals own talking points about a “separation of Church and State.”
As a rather high ranking vicar within the Catholic church told us, “the choice of a woman to use contraception is between her, her moral conscience, and her God.” The Catholic Church teaches against the use of contraceptions and certainly teaches against abortion. Yet they are not forcing the choice on a person. The person is making that choice themselves.
Therefore the claim of the “institution is forcing” anything on people is false. Women are not being denied the ability to get contraceptives. They are readily available to men and women.
The idea that the Church or anyone other than the government is forcing a “choice” down the throats of anyone falls flat on its face.
The second argument we have heard goes something like this: “if the church doesn’t pay for this, they should be forced to pay taxes. Yeah…. give all the tax breaks back!”
We talked about this briefly a few days ago saying:
“The power to tax is the power to destroy,” wrote Daniel Webster. That sentiment was later echoed by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall in the case of McCulloch v. Maryland.
The Framers of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers of this country recognized that if the government were able to tax churches, the government could literally tax churches out of existence. The government wouldn’t have to take on the church on the grounds of beliefs and ideas of faith, they could just tax them to the point where they could not exist.
That is the reason why churches are tax exempt.
The tax argument fails miserably. But there is another component to this we did not think about until tonight.
Churches do not pay taxes due to the laws of Federal, State and municipal governments. The churches are not breaking any laws and in fact are within the laws of the land.
For their legal actions, people believe they should be stripped of the right to practice their religion without government interference. That is really what the tax argument boils down to. The left doesn’t like churches acting within the law on taxes, so because the same churches want to maintain their Constitutionally protected freedom of religion, they should be taxed.
It makes no sense whatsoever.
But let’s go deeper.
Take a look at this list of people:
What do they all have in common?
Several things. First, they were all nominated to serve or serve in President Obama’s Cabinet or in his administration. Secondly, all of them have illegally failed to pay taxes.
Does anyone reading this believe because these people failed to illegally pay the taxes they owed, they lose their natural rights as enumerated in the Bill of Rights?
Does anyone believe the homes of these folks should be taken over by military units to house soldiers without their consent? (Third Amendment in the Bill of Rights.)
Does anyone believe their property, possessions and person should be searched without a warrant or reasonable cause? (Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights.)
Does anyone believe they should be held in jail without being charged? Face the same charges in court multiple times? Be forced to testify against themselves in a trial? (Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights.)
Does anyone believe they should be thrown in jail for long periods of time without a trial? Allowed to be convicted on testimony from people they cannot see or confront? Should they not be allowed to have an attorney when they are tried? (Sixth Amendment in the Bill of Rights.)
Does anyone believe they should be denied the right to a jury trial for not paying taxes? (Seventh Amendment in the Bill of Rights.)
Does anyone believe they should pay excessive bail or impose punishments and penalties that are excessive for their illegal actions of not paying taxes? (Eighth Amendment of the Bill of Rights.)
We here at Raised on Hoecakes certainly do not believe any of those things. And that is for people who committed criminal acts.
A person does not lose their Constitutional rights for their illegal actions of not obeying the tax code, so why do people think churches and people should lose their rights to practice their religion for following the tax code?
That is what is being said by some on the Left. They believe because the Church is fighting to protect its Constitutional rights, it should be taxed. This is a two-fer argument in that the Left wants the “wall of separation of church and state” to be torn down when it come to the First Amendment and the ability to control a Church’s beliefs through taxation.
Another argument is the “they did it too” position.
In an editorial Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius writes:
In choosing this exemption, we looked first at state laws already in place across the country.
Most people stop this “they did it too” excuse after the third grade. It doesn’t matter whether other states or municipalities created the same set of rules and exemptions. If they are identical to the rules within the Affordable Health Care Act, they are just as un-Constitutional.
The religious exemption in the administration’s rule is the same as the exemption in Oregon, New York and California.
We are not comforted by they fact these are the states – states in financial trouble as well as having overwhelming social / economic issues – the Federal government looked to for examples of how to violate that Constitution.
Lastly, we caught this bit of hypocrisy from Senator Frank Lautenberg:
“It’s time to tell Republicans ‘mind your own business,’” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. ”Ideology should never be used to block women from getting the care they need to lead healthier lives.
Right. Because the only time you should use ideology is when you are the government and you are trying to deny people their rights.
Here’s a news flash for Selebius, Lautenbery, Gillibrand and any other person who supports the administration: Ideology and popular vote never supersedes or trumps the rights of individuals.
They can try to make their arguments all they want, but as the man says, a pig is still a pig no matter how you dress them up.