Saturday, June 8, 2013

Can You Hear Us Now ? - Religious Liberty Rights , Cell Phone Records and Prism

There has been a good bit of outrage over the revelations that the Government has a lot of access to our cell phone data and now through Prism pretty much everything we do via the Internet it seems.

I think there are a lot of warning signs and the American public needs to have a discussion on this matter. Though it would be wrong to put me in the totally this needs to all go away camp. at this point. I am looking for a lot more info. Still I am very concerned

One of the major problem that has been noted is  that there is a huge deep canyon difference in the rights the public think they have and in these cases what the Government is arguing in private.

Steve Shiffrin over at the Religious Left Law site has a good post up.  See No Mr. President I Do Not Trust You or the Courts with the Fourth Amendment  a good read that might shock a good many Americans.

Yet despite a coalition of some liberals, conservatives, and libertarians that think we making the 4th amendment more and more a paper tiger not many seem to be concerned. We sort of see this with the Confrontation clause where Justice Scalia seems to be the only saying wait hold up.

However at least we not China or Iran the reasoning goes. No is really being ' persecuted " and the Government goal or policy of the moment seems just to win out.

In many ways we see the same dynamic with religious liberty cases. I suspect most Americans still do not realize that the Supreme Court has narrowly ruled that student groups can be required to accept all members and even student leaders regardless of beliefs. The Freedom of Association takes a hit for the current Government goal of diversity .

Likewise I think in the HHS contraception mandate cases many people would be shocked that to the Justice Department is arguing that you as a business owner don't really have First amendment rights and various statutes don't protect you. So the First amendment takes a hit for the Government goal of contraception. The response by even some Christians is quit talking that you are persecuted. This is not China and Iran. How dare you !!

The chipping away at the 4th amendment did not occur over night  and the Government goal in many cases is laudable. Many  no doubt  you woke up this week  this week a lot of folks have access to your DNA and you go  how did this happen.

Religious Liberty and First Amendment values is no different. There is I think some concern that the First amendment is a certain amount of stress lately. Therefore I join Professor Rick Garnett this week in very much opposing Michael Winters  viewpoint on the Bishops game plan in opposing the HHS mandate.

He stated in part

...I would add to his post, though, is this:  It is true that the Church, and Christians, can and must be "engaged" in and with the world.  Some are called to the monastery and the cloister, but I take it that the Church's mission is to fulfill the Great Commission and to live out Matthew 25. That said, there is no reason for the bishops to accept or take as given the state's increasingly aggressive efforts to "set the terms" of that engagement in ways that require the Church's social-welfare activities to be secularized, or to mimic the activities of state agencies.  It is not "sectarian," or culture-warrior-ish, or narrow, or Puritan, or Amish for the bishops to say, "look, we are going to stay here, in public, and feed the poor and fight for justice.  And, we'll play by the rules as we do so.  But, those rules need not and should not require us to secularize and they should not proceed from the premise that religion belongs in private or that social-welfare work somehow belongs to the state."  Those who are insisting that the bishops should not allow a misguided and unrealistic desire for purity to cause them to shut down important social-welfare activities rather than submit to legal conditions have a point -- i.e., these activities are important and it would be a big deal to abandon them rather than comply with these conditions -- but they should not lose sight of the fact that these conditions are contigent, not given, and they should join the bishops in doing all they can to oppose conditions that needlessly burden the mission and character of religious institutions.

The First amendment like the Fourth amendment is again under some stress.

In another case while the government goal of stopping discrimination might be a worthy  does it really mean a baker might face jail time for his principles  because he does not want to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding.

The assault on our rights under the 4th and 1st amendment do not happen overnight. There is rarely a big hurricane Katrina or BP oil spill like case that decimates the fragile coast land of our rights by itself. It is more the thousand of little things ( like coastal erosion ) that cause them to disappear.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought this whole issue was settled back in October of 2001, when the Bush Administration got the Patriot Act passed in the first place. Why all this hell raising about it at this late date? Big Brother is not going to stop watching us, and listening to us, and monitoring all of our activities after all of these years.