February 8, 2012

This week's glaring example of government overreach

That rending scream you hear is the sound of our Constitution dying.

I realize it has been over 200 years ago, but I can't believe that Americans have forgotten the driving force behind the birth of our republic, escape from religious tyranny.  Our forefathers came to America to get out from under the King's orders and the very first of our Constitution's amendments prohibits the government from interfering with an individual's religion or speech.
'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'
Obamacare was passed with a provision that requires all employers/private insureres, even religious ones, except churches, to provide birth control (including sterilization surgeries and abortion-inducing drugs), no matter their beliefs on the matter.  Needless to say, Catholics and many other conservative religions are in an uproar over the violation of their Constitutionally guaranteed religious liberties.

Then, Big Brother stepped in and suppressed a (military chaplain) Catholic Archbishop's freedom of speech, by refusing to allow other chaplains to read his letter decrying the health care mandate, from their pulpits.  Did you get that?  Military commanders told priests what could and could not be said during their sermon.

This isn't the first time the military tried to silence the chaplain corp, which is what makes this move so unbelievable.
In the summer of 1996, the Roman Catholic Church launched the "Project Life Postcard Campaign." The Church's goal was to defeat President William J. Clinton's veto of a bill that would have banned certain abortions. The Church asked its priests to urge parishioners to send postcards to Congressmen asking them to override the veto.
Father Vincent J. Rigdon was a Roman Catholic priest and lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve who preached at Andrews Air Force base in Washington, D.C. In response to the Church's campaign, the military ordered Rigdon and all other chaplains not to participate in the postcard campaign. The military said the campaign violated rules that prevent military personnel from lobbying for or against legislation in Congress.
Rigdon sued the armed forces to challenge the order. He said it violated his First Amendment rights to free speech and religion. A Catholic officer, an Air Force rabbi, and the Muslim American Military Association joined Rigdon in his lawsuit. They feared the order would prevent chaplains from discussing important issues during sermons, counseling, and confessions.
The military said the order did not prevent chaplains from discussing moral issues during sermons and religious teaching. On 7 April 1997, however, the federal district court ruled against the military and in favor of Rigdon and his fellow chaplains. The court said chaplains are allowed to urge congregants to write letters to Congress on important moral issues. The court said, "There is no need for [the government's] heavy handed censorship."
A shortsighted comment from the chaplain's attorney, Kevin Hasson, after the ruling:
"This was the first time in U.S. history that the government dared to try to censor chaplains' preaching," he said. "The court has made sure it will be the last."
Well, it lasted 15 years.  This administration has little regard for our Constitution (don't get me started on that shitbox, Ginsburg), no care for religious freedom or freedom of speech and certainly can't be hampered by legal precedents.  The only saving grace is that it is an election year and Blowie won't sit idly by and lose all those Democratic Catholic votes.  The administration will make some concession - not to religious freedom, but to the mandatory health care rules, at least until after the election.

Rigdon v Perry summary from here.


CenTexTim said...

You're right - great minds...

It will be entertaining to watch all the back-pedaling and word parsing as they try to wriggle out of this one.

All accompanied, of course, by thorough and unbiased coverage from the mainstream media.

InsomniacSeeker said...

Did you see where Ginsburg told Egypt that she wouldn't frame a constitution in 2012 after our own US Constitution which she is sworn to uphold and protect. Shitbox is right!