In a recent Op-Ed, Mr. Leonard Pitts, Jr. tried to make the case that violating someone’s 1st Amendment rights is the same as the idea that one’s personal liberty ends where the next person’s begins.
Let me also use a quote to make my point. “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.” A direct quote correctly attributed to President Abraham Lincoln in a letter to Henry L. Pierce, April, 1859. In this letter, he was declining an invitation to speak at an event in Boston, honoring Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. Lincoln explained that Jefferson gave us, as a nation, a great gift which was the idea that all men are created equal in the eyes of their Creator. He said that Jefferson, “had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.”
That is precisely what those who propose that Hobby Lobby and other businesses forgo their 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion due to the onerous regulations of the Affordable Care Act are asking.
Mr. Pitts says that the “crazy part” is that under the ACA, those businesses can just opt out of offering their employees any insurance at all. So in his eyes, and in the eyes of many on the left, it is either kowtow to our wishes or just stop offering health benefits to your workers.
I say the “crazy part” is just what Lincoln said, that “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves,” and this is exactly what the government is asking the Supreme Court to do. Uncle Sam wants the court to take away Hobby Lobby’s freedom of religion, yet what happened to Mr. Pitts’ quote about swinging your fist, but not hitting my nose?
Just saying that “If a Hobby Lobby executive has no interest in contraceptive care, good for her,” is on the face of it a rather crass statement and not germane at all to the discussion. The case before the court has nothing to do with personal preferences. That is why his argument that this creates a slippery slope where some future company can decide, for religious purposes not to hire women or persons of a particular faith, etc… doesn’t fly. The idea that adhering to the Constitution will lead to violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 is a straw man argument, at best.
If I were to obtain a job at the store of a Hasidic gem merchant, should I be upset that there’s no bacon in the cafeteria?
If I am a Mormon and there is tea and coffee in the break room, do I have the right to demand my employer removes them because in my faith, I abstain from those beverages?
Hobby Lobby’various birth control methodss owners believe that life begins at conception and that adhering to the regulations in the ACA violates their religious beliefs or forces them to either pay millions of dollars in fines or stop offering health benefits entirely.
While Mr. Pitts is absolutely entitled to his opinion, he damages his credibility when he calls Hobby Lobby’s desire to remain true to their religious tenets, “faintly Talibanesque,” and that allowing them to decline to cover certain contraceptives and abortifacients is “anathema to our ideals of individual liberty and yes, religious freedom.”
Really? So telling a business what they can and cannot do as it relates to their 1st Amendment rights is “faintly Talibanesque,” yet allowing the wishes of a few employees to be forced upon all businesses upholds the ideals of religious freedom?
Let us not forget that the right to swing a fist ending where someone else’s nose begins is a two way street.
To read Mr. Pitts’ full article, click here.