Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why Atheists Should Be Concerned over the Birth Control Mandate

First Thought has a good post at Should Christians Be Wary of Conscience Talk?

The comments caught my eye.

The more I think about this the more I am convinced that we need to start talking about religious freedom as a chain that binds the state from the total power it craves. The thing, and the only possible thing that limits state power are found in the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence. If we don't talk about religious freedom this way, we will continue making the mistake of thinking that religious freedom is a freedom given to us by the state.

It is very easy to make the false conclusion that it's democracy that binds the state. After all, if we all have a vote then the state is restrained, right? Not at all. Democracy IS the state. A democracy can vote to make you a slave, it can vote a tyrant to power, or it can vote to kill a child. State power is only limited if there is something outside and above the state that places it in chains and limit its reach.

What ultimately limits the reach of state power?A Republic beholden to the Constitution is not a sufficient answer because if men merely vote and create law, what restrains them from the kind of laws they can make or the Constitution they write?......

I'm imagining the atheist who wonders in here and says "well, I'm not Christian; I don't even believe in God. All this talk is meaningless to me." We need to teach that atheist that he doesn't have to share our faith, but he does have to understand that it's only our faith that restrains the government from the total power it craves. We must ask the atheist to consider the consequences of making government authority the highest authority.

Sadly it's not apparent many people of no Faith get this yet. At least as to the ones I engage on social media. The prevailing attitude seems to be time for oppressive religion to get whats coming to It. Perhaps to decapitate it outside the 4 walls of a Church so it effects will be minimal.

I would content that the "The Failure of Liberal Bioethics" is one example that perhaps people of no Faith should consider. If the Church is absent who really takes their place to voice opposition to such things in any meaningful way.

The danger we see in the HHS Mandate is many. Including a trend that:

When government expands, it’s often at the expense of alternative expressions of community, alternative groups that seek to serve the common good. Unlike most communal organizations, the government has coercive power — the power to regulate, to mandate and to tax. These advantages make it all too easy for the state to gradually crowd out its rivals. The more things we “do together” as a government, in many cases, the fewer things we’re allowed to do together in other spheres. .

The crowding out of rivals of where people of Faith can live out their convictions and at times be a much needed voice holding Government accountable should be a concern to non believers.

The above cartoon comes from the Freedom From Religion Foundation . One can debate how small the possible negative effects of Birth Control have been. But precedents that take Freedom often start with the "small things" do they not.

I would submit the need of non believers to recognize the sovereignty of the Church as a legal matter is of great benefits to non believers. There needs to be some area where perhaps the Government power just sort of peters out and cannot touch. We have not in the Church currently at least. The question again is if the Church ( A Govt Rival) is more and more forced what takes it place? A Free thinking or Free Thought Hall?

The Catholic Pharmacist that's livelihood is threatened by Govt regulations because he does not provide the "right" to certain prescriptions , I suspect is not a very sympathetic figure to many at the Freedom from Religion Foundation. But after the Catholic Pharmacist who is next? Especially in a society where "wants" become rights.

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