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  • Video: Conscience Lost in Vast Verbal Oceania of Obamacare

    Efforts to repel the Obama Administration’s attack on liberty of conscience suffered a setback today on the floor of the U.S. Senate, but in the process kept alive an issue on which an extraordinary variety of Americans are willing to continue fighting – and with good reason.

    The core hubris of President Obama’s attack on conscience is his apparent belief that manipulations of language alone can defuse the controversy over his preventive services mandate and its destructive effects on religious entities and other employers.  But there is subject matter that is beyond both political spin and media messaging.  A conscience knows when it has been trampled upon.  Religious institutions know when they are acting in accord with the tenets of their faith, and the history of religious providers in the realm of health care is as long and noble as any in the course of civilization.  Pressing faith-based providers, and other entities that are nonreligious but no less conscientious in their moral beliefs, into the service of President Obama’s “reproductive health” agenda is a breathtaking violation of fundamental principles of liberty.

    Those principles are set forth clearly in the First Amendment, and they are linked to but not limited by that amendment’s language barring Congress from making laws limiting the free exercise of religion.  No person can be required to enter the membership rolls of a church in order to have a conscience worthy of respect, but when people order their affairs so as to maximize their ability to act in accord with a belief system, the Constitution (as well as the Congress acting in its name) shifts the burden to the state to show that its actions reflect a compelling interest and that it is pursuing that interest in the least restrictive manner possible.

    As the recent testimony of Bishop William Lori, head of the U.S. Catholic Conference’s religious liberty committee, demonstrated, when government ignores the Constitution in so blatant a manner, Newspeak must multiply.  On February 10 President Obama announced an “accommodation” of religious employers but proceeded to adopt the offensive mandate “without change.”  Bishop Lori noted the irony:

     “[T]he ‘accommodation’ is just a legally unenforceable promise to alter the way the mandate would still apply to those who are still not exempt from it; moreover, the promised alteration appears logically impossible. Meanwhile, the mandate itself is still finalized ‘without change,’ excluding in advance any expansion of the ‘religious employer’ exemption. In the world-turned-upside-down that we have all entered since the mandate issued, this is not merely ‘no change,’ but is heralded as ‘great change,’ for which the Administration has been widely congratulated.”

    Conscience is not merely some serene zone of dissent from prevailing views.  It serves as creative a set of purposes as the market itself does, allowing civil society to flourish by enabling private groups to operate on premises that build new institutions reflective of their deepest values.  From the outset, the Affordable Care Act has been at war with this function and worth of conscience, singularly pursuing some goals (universal coverage, lower costs) while sacrificing the very elements (consumer choice, personal responsibility, liberty of conscience, the doctor-patient relationship) that make health care both affordable and, indeed, healthy.  The result of this sacrifice will be fewer choices, higher cost, and, as a result, even more mandates from Washington.

    The Obama Administration has heralded this latest and sweeping mandate, with the narrowest religious exemption ever offered in federal law, as the epitome of “choice.”  As Lori told the House Judiciary Committee:

    “‘[C]hoice’ suddenly means ‘force.’  This is not even a matter of whether contraception may be supported by the government . . .  Instead, it is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs.”

    So it goes in the vast verbal Oceania of ObamaCare.

    In Orwell’s great novel, 1984, an omnipresent state has mastered the use of language and historical revisionism to acclimate the populace to their loss of options.  “”Freedom is slavery,” “War is peace,” and “Ignorance is strength,” the Party declares.  In the brave new world of health care where resources and power move from the private to the public sector, from the religious to the secular, the individual to the aggregate, and the local to the national, a new state slogan should be added to the mix: “Diversity is uniformity.”

    Chuck Donovan is President of the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.

    Posted in Featured, Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Video: Conscience Lost in Vast Verbal Oceania of Obamacare

    1. Jason says:

      Please keep fighting this mandate. I can't believe what I am witnessing in my lifetime. Our "leader" apologizes for burning a fictional book because others religious perception while voting to kill our own under the fictitious name of contraceptive, at the cost of the one true God.

    2. Slick says:

      The destruction of conscience will not occur because of the President's words. It comes from the continuing erosion of religious upbringing, solid moral family values, and the devaluing of everything that makes America great!

      What is happening over the contraception mandate is a symptom of what is wrong in our country, it is NOT the cause!!! We have let the progressives march through our country like General Grant through the South: we saw prayer removed from the school . . . we said NOTHING; we saw the Ten Commandments removed from public buildings . . . we said NOTHING; we saw the assault on "In God We Trust" . . . we said NOTHING; we have seen the assault on The Pledge of Allegiance . . . we said NOTHING; we saw that children are no longer taught to treat others with respect . . . we said NOTHING; we saw abortion sanctioned . . . we said NOTHING; we saw the teaching of political correctness . . . we said NOTHING; we saw the teaching of tolerance and accommodation of alternate lifestyles to our children . . . we said NOTHING, and the war on religion and moral values rages across the land.

      Here's the bottom line: What EXACTLY is it that separates us from the Animal Kingdom where survival of the fittest is the Law of the Land? What do YOU expect to happen when you don't fight for those principles that make us a civilized society, that give meaning to the concept of restraint through religious teachings, that supports the value of life with strong moral values and that are necessary to guide our country in times of trouble?

    3. Robert Knight says:

      This segment below, culled from Mr. Donovan's essay, is probably the most complete and yet succinct summary of the evil effects of ObamaCare:

      "From the outset, the Affordable Care Act has been at war with this function and worth of conscience, singularly pursuing some goals (universal coverage, lower costs) while sacrificing the very elements (consumer choice, personal responsibility, liberty of conscience, the doctor-patient relationship) that make health care both affordable and, indeed, healthy. The result of this sacrifice will be fewer choices, higher cost, and, as a result, even more mandates from Washington."

      This should be circulated far and wide.

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