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March 24, 2012

Controversial Mandate

The recent mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services, dictating that religious employers who provide health benefits must provide certain services, is wrong for at least two reasons. One is that this mandate is all of a piece with a problem in ObamaCare in general - the idea that the federal government can demand that every citizen purchase a given product. We view company stores as unjust, and as cruel fetters of servitude, yet we are prepared to grant the government the same power over our lives. The other reason that the mandate is wrong is that it violates the First Amendment by prohibiting some religious institutions from practicing their religion, when it forces them to support them with money.

Perhaps you may disagree with some specifics of the religious practices of some of the religious institutions. This is your right. However much you or I may disagree with some specifics, though, is it fair or tolerant to force those religious institutions to pay for things that they do not agree with? We may disagree with people who have religious beliefs against vaccinations, but does it not smack of busybodiness, even tyranny, to force those persons to violate their beliefs by having to choose between either criminal prosecution, or giving up their hard-earned money so that others will perform those practices? When it is someone else's practice that we disagree with, we think it a small matter to force them to our way of thinking, and to force them to use the money they earned to support our point of view. However, when it is our own habit, our own belief, our own way of life that is under attack, then we begin to feel the cruel constriction.

If we believe that there is nothing wrong with a certain practice, then we ought to use our own money to fund it. We should not force our neighbors who believe it is evil to pay for it. Should we oppress such neighbors into paying for what we buy, we should not call it a matter of health or of fairness or of women's rights; we should call it a power play, an intention to crush an ideological opponent, a raid to enslave fellow citizens who disagree peaceably.

Should we allow our fellow citizens to be thus subjugated, out of a sense that the we are not a party to the dispute, or a desire to humiliate law-abiding neighbors who do not adhere to our favorite philosophers, then I am not sure what defense we can bring to bear when the power of the state finishes devouring our neighbors, and poises to strike us.

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