I have enjoyed reading Kathleen Parker on these pages, believing that you had finally found a voice of reason among conservatives. Parker managed to get to the point without the hysteria of the liberal corruption of everything good and true and noble about America, which always accompanies other conservative opinion.
That is until today (Aug. 2). In today’s opinion piece (“To understand Romney, look past the gaffes”), Parker proves even she can be seduced by the fear of the socialist government takeover of just about everything.
My primary objection to Parker is her indulgence in the wholly fabricated issue of freedom of religious belief versus “Obamacare” mandate.
I am sure most readers know the facts. The Affordable Care Act requires businesses that offer insurance plans to include birth control coverage in the plans. Churches are exempt, but not church-related businesses.
The Obama administration offered to allow exemptions and shift the responsibility to insurance companies.
The radical right saw an opportunity to turn a molehill into a mountain and couldn’t pass up the chance.
So the line from the far right, and now Parker it seems, is big evil socialist government trampling on our constitutionally protected religious freedom.
But what freedom are we talking about? Not individual freedom. The only individual freedom being trampled is the employee seeking coverage.
The church claims the freedoms guaranteed to individual citizens in the Constitution extends not only to entities such as the church, but to other commercial entities affiliated with the first entity, and those rights trump the individual’s.
If this is so, can an Islamic businessman affiliated with a mosque claim the same protections to deny his workers a lunch break during Ramadan, since workers would be expected to fast?
Does the affiliated business become, by extension, church property and exempt from applicable taxes?
If rights extend to church/mosque/temple-related businesses, shouldn’t they also extend to any business where the owner claims religious freedom?
In fact, if such rights exist, every employee who goes to work today is now subject to the dictates of his or her employer’s faith.
Clearly this kind of thinking is a greater threat to our freedom than a requirement to cover birth control on an insurance plan.
But it is consistent with other paranoia about the Affordable Care Act.
From “free health care for illegal aliens” to “won’t be able to see your doctor,” from “job killer” to “unconstitutional,” from “death panels” to (wait for it) “the socialist-government takeover of health care,” the radical right has engaged in every form of hysteria, panic and fear over health-care legislation — without ever once offering an alternative.
This “issue” is just more of the same.
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