James Todd, Editor
February 17, 2012 - Much has been said and written about the HHS mandate. The Administration and its allies, including the main stream media are spinning this as an issue of women's rights, a woman's health and access to contraception. While it is accurate to say that is the context of the debate - it is NOT accurate to claim that is the substance. The substance of the debate is over the Constitution, the 1st amendment, and freedom of religion.
As I watched pundits debating the HHS mandate on the cable new networks this week, it occurred to me that many people, even supposed experts, don't really understand the Constitution or the differences between our constitutional republic and a democracy.
One after another of these pundits who sided with the President on the HHS mandate would make such comments as: the Church doesn't have the right to impose its beliefs on others, or that the majority of people use contraception therefore what right does a minority have impose their view on the majority. Both arguments of course are fallacious and indicate a profound misunderstanding of the Constitution and our system of government.
The Bill of Rights is a prescription of what each of us as citizens are guaranteed. And the very first amendment mentions freedom of religion, and it mentions it first, even before freedom of speech or press. Any amateur historian can tell you why. This country was founded by people that fled England because of religious persecution. Therefore, it was only natural and it was to be expected that the founding fathers would enshrine freedom of religion as the FIRST right of all rights.
What does this mean for the citizens of this Country? It really is quite simple. It means that if my religious faith espouses the moral principal that contraception is wrong, then I CANNOT be forced to violate that principle. Case closed. Period. Exclamation point.
In the present debate, it does NOT matter if the majority of people in this country disagree, nor does it matter if contraceptive costs are not covered by insurance (which it shouldn't be, but that is another topic for another day). It is not a matter of opinion or preference, or opinion polls or the will of the President. Stated differently it means that the Constitution, by definition, may indeed thwart the will of the people, and it may allow the minority view to overrule the majority. This is the very essence of the rights conveyed by the Constitution; they are inviolable.
Furthermore, with one single, solitary exception there is NOTHING that those who support the HHS Mandate can do about this...that exception of course is to amend the Constitution. This grand old document, the Constitution, contains within itself the method for how this is to be done. So for those who disagree with religious people over this HHS mandate I say, have at it, be my guest, make my day - exercise your constitutional rights and change the Constitution.