Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ms Magazine, Anti Sharia Laws, Catholic Bishops and The Contraception Issue Has Common Theme

The older I get the more I find how fragile religious liberty really is. We really depend on a good many Judges and others in the legal academy to act as a huge safeguard against the impulse of the people at times.

We see this on the right and left where I think they understand there is huge conflict , but well the ends justify the means.

On the right sadly we see this in over broad Anti Sharia law proposals. The Catholic Legal theory site Mirrors of Justice had a good post on this at Anti-Sharia Law 2.0 . Let me give a major Amen to that last paragraph as to that link.

On the flip side we now see as to the controversy over the contraception mandate and the Catholic Church. Ms Magazine on their twitter said yesterday:

If you don’t believe in contraception, just don't use it. It's that simple, Catholic bishops

Well no its not "exactly that simple" and a lot more is at stake here than just birth control. Prof Rick Garnett made the case for that in USA today just a few days ago. See his piece here.

Related in his piece where he engages an opponent to his viewpoint at "Bad Samaritans"?
His opponent shows up in the comment section and I think the back and forth if one works through it I shows the wisdom in the Government not making this unprecedented intrusion into religious matters.

On both sides , the Anti Sharia Law Folks Versus the MS Magazine like folks, one gets a sense that they understand they are shaking ground here.

However both view a certain group as the public enemy number 1 to the nation and our well being. One side thinks it's Muslims the other side think it's the Catholic Church. Thus if we have to have the power of the State to come and help squash their offensive and "dangerous ideas" and PRACTICES so be it.

I will end with this warning from Prof Vischer when he was looking at another set of related regulations. (The Bolding is mine):

...The second question: how did rolling back – or at least holding the line on – conscience protections become a hallmark of a progressive political agenda? This is a much trickier inquiry than parsing regulatory language. One relevant development is progressives’ tendency to conceive of freedom – and the government’s responsibility to safeguard that freedom – in terms of positive liberty, not just negative liberty. Negative liberty requires protection against interference with the pursuit of basic goods; positive liberty requires affirmative assistance in securing basic goods. As progressives have tended to expand the range of goods for which the government’s affirmative assistance is required, the potential for conflict with a provider’s liberty becomes greater. Nowhere is this trend more pronounced than in the debates over reproductive rights. Arguments for conscience protection emerge from a long tradition of negative liberty; arguments for guaranteed access to a particular good or service – backed up in many cases by state power – emerge from a much more recent tradition of positive liberty.
A closely related development is a shifting view of

professional licenses. Generally the state’s licensing authority has been viewed as a means by which to ensure a provider’s competence. As access to goods and services becomes an essential dimension of meaningful liberty (in progressives’ eyes), there is a stronger justification for viewing licensed providers as quasi-public officials, and the license becomes a means of ensuring that governmental objectives are met.

Progressives are quick to rally to the defense of a student forced to violate her conscience by participating in the pledge of allegiance. Few progressives have rallied to the defense of pharmacists required by state law to sell the morning-after pill. In my view, this is a progressive blind spot that stands in tension with the overarching progressive commitment to freedom from state coercion in matters comprising a person’s moral identity and integrity. Progressives have shown a steady shift in their willingness to accept incursions on conscience in order to further other socially desirable goals. Progressives may eventually come to regret this shift – state power unbounded by conscience protections is not necessarily captive to progressive causes – but so far there is very little indication of remorse. President Obama’s foray into the debate, though certainly not a disastrous turn of events, shows little indication that the partisan presumptions about conscience will change anytime soon.

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