"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Thomas Jefferson
Sept. 23, 1800

Sunday, February 19, 2012

We Are Having The Wrong Argument

It has been a huge mistake, and a missed opportunity, for the Republican Party, and the Right in general, to allow this kerfuffle over who is going to pay for women's contraceptives to become a First Amendment issue. The White House targeted religious affiliated organizations for a reason. They want this fight right now to be over religion and thus over the morality of contraception. I've been going nuts listening to people on "my side" fall right into the trap. It's been easy to do. It is very true that the First Amendment protects churches from government interference, and thus under the First Amendment the mandate that Catholic charities pay for their employees' contraception and abortion is plainly unconstitutional. But by using that argument, we are surrendering our Constitutional government. Even if we win that battle, we lose a big piece of the war over the proper role of the federal government.

There is no authority vested in Congress to force anyone or any business to cover any medical expense, through insurance or otherwise. Article One Section 8 of the United States Constitution  gives the Congress certain powers, and this isn't one of them. When we argue that this part of Obama Care is wrong because it forces religious groups to pay for procedures and medications they disagree with, we are stipulating that it is just fine for the federal government to force any non-religious business to pay for the same thing or anything else, and it is not. It is not wrong because it is a religious organization being forced to buy it and it is not wrong because it is contraception or abortion that is being covered, it's wrong because there is no Constitutional authority for the federal government to tell anyone they must purchase anything for anybody. It's not a religious issue or a women's health issue, it's a freedom issue.

We as conservatives should have seen this and not let the argument go down the path it has taken. If we are going to see an end to the Obama administration, we are going to need to be seen as the pro-freedom party, not the anti-contraception party or the anti-women's health party. It's very unfortunate that the morality of contraception and abortion fits so nicely into Rick Santorum's political personality. I personally disagree with him on a lot of these social issues, but I do very much respect him for saying unequivocally what he believes and sticking with it. I do, however, think that his nomination, if not his continued prominence in the race for the nomination, will all but guarantee a second Obama term.

It's driving me batty that as the federal government is taking control of more and more of our everyday lives, we are being drawn into an argument over whether it's moral to take birth control pills. It's like we are aboard a sinking ship and instead of finding a competent captain to take over, we are complaining that the scrambled eggs on the buffet are cold.  It's a distraction, and a very dangerous one.

Instead of lecturing women on the morality of reproductive rights, we should be pointing out to them that the government that is given responsibility for paying for their reproductive decisions, also has the power to control their reproductive decisions. Nothing is free.

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