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THE DARK SIDE: I want the pacifists to buy me guns

Now that I’m self-employed again, a friend asked me if it worries me to not have any health insurance anymore.

I responded by asking her if it bothers her that she can’t get health insurance.

“But I do have health insurance,” she said.

“No, you don’t,” I replied. “You pay a premium every month to subsidize behavior that you consider sick and wrong. But you do not pay a premium to insure against actual risks to your health.”

I asked her if she would ever allow herself to be kept alive in a vegetative state through feeding and breathing tubes. Of course not, she replied. She believes in letting nature take its course, and thinks it’s sick and wrong to do that.

“Then why don’t you go get a discount from your insurer in exchange for a policy that specifically excludes such practices?” I asked.

“Can I do that?” she inquired.

“No,” I answered, “You can’t. The fascist government wouldn’t enforce the exclusion, so the insurer won’t give you the discount.”

I asked her if she took drugs and she said she didn’t. I asked if she would like to pay less for her policy in exchange for a clause that excluded drug-related mental health treatment. She said she would. But once again, state law prohibits such exclusions.

“You see,” I said. “You’re not buying health insurance. You’re just subsidizing drug abuse.”

It was in the wake of this conversation that we heard of the administration’s decision to mandate the Catholic Church provide birth control for its employees as part of their health insurance, should it continue to offer health insurance.

Although we are both very fond of birth control (I have no children and she doesn’t want any more), we both recognized the mandate as a horrible violation of liberty of contract, with an added twist of also violating the Free Exercise Clause.

It occurred to me that if the Catholic Church can be forced to pay for birth control it considers immoral, then a pacifist church like the Quakers should be forced to buy me another gun. I have as many guns as my friend has children, but unlike her, I want more.

The analogy is quite apt, I think. After all, birth control is a constitutional right, even if the Catholic Church is against it, and the right to bear arms is a constitutional right, even if there are pacifist churches against it.

Surely, if a right that is nowhere to be found in the Constitution, such as birth control, trumps the Free Exercise Clause, then the right to bear arms specifically enumerated in the Second Amendment must trump it as well. And frankly, I’ll gladly trade the Catholics’ right not to subsidize birth control they consider immoral if the government will force pacifists to buy me more guns.

4 comments

  1. Two of the many, more obvious flaws in your rant:

    1. We do not have a “fascist government.” We have a constitutional democratic republic that, although it has strayed into the area of promoting business interests and the wealthy at the expense of the vast majority of its citizens, is far from “fascist.” In fact, our government is fulfilling exactly the role that governments are supposed to fulfill in a basically free enterprise system as envisioned by Adam Smith: providing regulation necessary to mitigate some of the more damaging excesses of free enterprise.

    2. The regulations in question do not require the Catholic Church AS A CHURCH to provide birth control coverage. Churches and religious employees are exempt. Rather, it is only when the Catholic Church makes the voluntary decision to act, not as a church, but as an employer for non-religious purposes that it is required to follow the same common sense rules regarding women’s health issues as all other employers. Your complaint is not that the Catholic Church is being discriminated against, but that the government is NOT discriminating in favor of that Church in this particular circumstance. Indeed, creating a religious-based exclusion for the Catholic Church, when it is acting as an employer non-religious purposes, from the requirements applicable to every other employer would violate the Establishment Clause by creating a discriminatory benefit based on religious belief.

    3. (I lied) Your argument also makes no sense because Quakers already have to pay taxes, including that portion that goes to pay for weaponry. Catholics and others who take “pro-life” seriously and oppose the death penalty, still have to pay taxes, some portion of which goes to execute living, breathing human beings. A non-discriminatory requirement that non-religious institutions owned by the Catholic Church likewise follow the rules applicable to everyone else it not an attack on the Catholic Church just because, for whatever reason, it would prefer not to follow them.

  2. Kevin Scheunemann

    Robert,

    So all of a sudden “separation of church and state” does not apply?

    I find it ironic that some (like the freedom from religion foundation) will run to expunge Christianity from the public square, screaming “separation of church and state”, a US Supreme Court contrived phrase, but then are silent when the state is dictating how one can practice their religion. Isn’t dictating how one can, precisely, practice their religious beliefs, establishing a religion?

    Why are the separation of “church and state” zealots so silent when the state tries to micromanage the policies of a major religion?

  3. Actually Kevin, separation of church and state DOES apply. That is why it would be a violation of the constitution to provide for an exception for otherwise valid and generally applicable regulations based on a particular religious belief. Under limited circumstances, the right to religious freedom can be viewed as balancing out the constitutionally required separation of church and state, as when these regulations exempt actual religious activities from its requirements, but no such “balance” is available or appropriate where the church ventures beyond religious activities into the secular realm. By doing so, it voluntarily subjects itself to all regulations and laws generally applicable to those pursuing such secular activities.

  4. Robert,

    Thus the beginning of the leviathan of National Health care that will rob us of our individuality and choices, right down to the amount of sugar, salt, and saturated fat we consume.

    We will become a nation governed by unthinking, unyielding, bureaucrats in D.C. destroying diversity and perceived undesirable life choices like involving Christian principles in health care.

    I never understood why yielding important life choices to the state is desired. We see how well it works in Cuba, Zimbabwe, and Illinois.

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