Friday, January 20, 2012

Attacking the First Amendment

Just last week Obama's justice department experienced a 9-0 drubbing at the Supreme Court in which the administration tried to dramatically increase government control over religion. This wasn't just a decision that went against Obama's justice department on a technicality. The idea they were proferring (that the government can interfere in who religions appoint to teach their faith) was roundly criticized by even Obama's own appointees as "extreme," "remarkable" and "untenable."

And so, a couple days later, the Obama Administration issued a proclamation honoring religious freedom. One might be forgiven for thinking that they had heard the rebuke and the first amendment would be safe. Alas, such thinking would be naive.

Instead the Obama Administration turned around 9 days after the 9-0 defeat at the Supreme Court and 7 days after issuing the proclamation on religious freedom and finalized the next point of attack in their war on religious freedom in the US. This time they are targeting religious organizations that believe that either contraception is wrong or that life begins at conception and killing early embryos is immoral. Specifically, the Department of Health and Human Services is requiring that all employers, including religious employers, cover all HHS defined contraceptives including Plan B (the morning after pill) and Ella (the week after pill that is "chemically similar to RU-486" and according to the FDA clearly caused abortions in rats and rabbits.

Thomas Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, had this to say. “Kathleen Sebelius says her decision to require Catholic colleges, hospitals and charitable associations to provide contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs respects religious freedom. How so? They have a year to get in line, or get out of business.”

What does the Obama Administration have to gain by attacking the First Amendment once more right on the heels of a 9-0 defeat for the same thing? I don't see it myself.

Hosanna Tabor vs. EEOC
*as a note, the Pew Forum got it wrong in their prebrief analysis when they said that the Obama Justice Dept. supported the ministerial exemption. That was the assumption based on the 6th circuit decision, but the Justice Dept. went off the rails in a later briefing and rejected the ministerial exemption outright. This is not covered in the Pew Forum's Sept. analysis of the case.
Colorado Christian College vs. Sebelius
Belmont Abbey College vs. Sebelius