Caesar Commands the Jews Eat Pork, Quakers Join Army, Amish Get i-Pods, Christians Burn Incense

To all Roman Catholics who voted for Mr Barack Obama: SUUUCKERS! 

To all men of good will, Roman Catholic or no, who believe that the Constitution (or simple common sense) is more important than the odd mixture of self-righteous death-cult and feckless national orgy the sexual revolution ushered into being, and which somehow became the core political stance of the Left in the modern day, allow me to urge you to go sign this petition:

The petition reads:

President Obama, in your speech at Notre Dame and elsewhere, you promised that you would provide conscience exemptions for those whose faith forbade their participation in evil.

You have broken that promise by forcing our Church to provide insurance coverage for sterilization, contraception, and various abortifacient drugs. These are practices that for 2,000 years we have taught are intrinsically evil.

You disagree. We understand. But you refuse to respect our right to live out our faith. You have decided to use the coercive power of the state to force your fellow citizens to commit what they believe are evil acts. You have asked the impossible. We cannot be good Americans by being bad Christians.

Turn from your intolerance. Leave in place the conscience exemptions that have served us well since 1973 (42 USC 300a-7 (d)). Vacate the proposed HHS mandate.

If you are not familiar with the case, here is an article.

Religious institutions are basically going to be fined for holding views regarding contraception, sterilization, and abortion that are different from the Obama administration’s views. For instance, Notre Dame University, which employs more than 5,000 people, is going to be given the choice of either expressly violating its religious convictions or paying a $10 million fine to the federal government. It’s bad enough that any employer with a moral objection has to spend his money this way, but it is especially egregious to compel religious institutions to do so…

As many have noted around here, the fact of the administration’s willingness to do this sheds light on its hostility to (or at the very least its contempt for) religious liberty. But it’s not quite that simple. This incident (and especially the nature of the exemption that the administration was willing to grant, which is essentially an exemption for actual houses of worship but not for other religiously-affiliated institutions) also sheds light on a very deeply rooted problem in our tradition of religious liberty itself—a problem that should cause those of us inclined to seek recourse in “conscience protection” and religious exemptions to pause and think.

The English common law tradition of religious toleration, which we inherited, has always had a problem with religious institutions that are not houses of worship—i.e. that are geared to ends other than the practice of religion itself. To (vastly) oversimplify for a moment, that tradition began (in the 16th century, and in some respects even earlier) with the aim of protecting Protestant dissenters and Jews but (very intentionally) not protecting Catholics. And the way it took shape over the centuries in an effort to sustain that distinction was by drawing a line between individual religious practice (in which the government could not interfere) and an institutional religious presence (which was given far less protection). Because Catholicism is a uniquely institutional religion—with large numbers of massive institutions for providing social services, educating children and adults, and the like, all of which are more or less parts of a single hierarchy—this meant Catholics were simply not granted the same protection as others.


In this sense, what is at issue in the controversy over the administration’s rule is not just the question of religious liberty but the question of non-governmental institutions in a free society. Does civil society consist of a set of institutions that help the government achieve its purposes as it defines them when their doing so might be more efficient or convenient than the state’s doing so itself, or does civil society consist of an assortment of efforts by citizens to band together in pursuit of mutual aims and goods as they understand them? Is it an extension of the state or of the community? In this arena, as in a great many others, the administration is clearly determined to see civil society as merely an extension of the state, and to clear out civil society—clearing out the mediating layers between the individual and the state—when it seems to stand in the way of achieving the president’s agenda. The idea is to leave as few non-individual players as possible in the private sphere, and to turn those few that are left into agents of the government.


This approach is especially noxious and pernicious when it is directed at religiously affiliated institutions—both because they deserve special standing and because they do some of the hardest and most needful work of charity and care in our society. We should use every available means to protect those institutions from this mortal danger, and that certainly includes resorting to the language of conscience and exemption. But as we do so, we should not forget that we are dealing with an instance of a larger and deeper danger, and we should do what we can to combat that danger in its own terms. It is perhaps the gravest threat to freedom in American life today.


  1. Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

    Yes, another brutal lesson from the Gods of the Copybook Headings. A lot of people voted to “teach the Republicans a lesson” in 2006 and 2008, because the Republicans were spending a little more money then they were comfortable with (In a time of War, with money spent instead of bodies….). Now instead of arguing about money, we fight over matters of the Soul. Funny how letting the Perfect be the enemy of the Good gets you neither. So it goes…….

  2. Comment by AndyHat:

    In HOSANNA-TABOR CHURCH v. EEOC, the Supreme Court just confirmed that religious institutions have carte blanche to dismiss employees on religious grounds without concern for anti-discrimination law.

    So, if sterilization, contraception, and various abortifacient drugs are intrinsically evil, the correct response would appear to be to fire any employee who attempts to file an insurance claim for such things.

    Thus there is no requirement that any Church actually pay for what they believe “intrinsically evil” unless the Church is wishy-washy enough to continue to employ those who engage in “intrinsically evil” activity.

    • Comment by Dan:


      There’s been some discussion of that. One poster said that, as a financial officer for a medium-sized company, it was found that covering birth control added a cost of $35 per employee; and a one-month pack of b.c. pills (at that time) cost $35.

      That’s pretty nakedly “the person buying the insurance is paying for the pills,” don’t you think?

      • Comment by Dan:

        Sorry, that was “$35 per month.”

      • Comment by AndyHat:

        I’m quite sure that if, say, Notre Dame is principled enough to promulgate a policy that “any employee filing a health expense claim for birth control products will be dismissed” that they can find an insurance company willing to write a policy that “provides” the necessary coverage at no additional expense.

        • Comment by deiseach:

          It’s not quite that simple, AndyHat; there are legitimate medical reasons for non-contraceptive prescription of the oral contraceptive pill. Now, if the alleged concern for women’s health had only stuck to ensuring something like that, I don’t think anyone would object; if an employee presents a prescription for treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome and the Catholic institution has a year to arrange health coverage for such, who would say this is meddling in matters of conscience?

          But that wasn’t good enough; all manner of contraception, including the morning-after pill, plus sterilisation has to be forced down the throats of Catholic employers (and, as Julie over at Happy Catholic points out, it’s not just big institutions like hospitals and universities that are affected; she and her husband run a small business, they are Catholic employers, and now they have the choice between violating their consciences or dropping health coverage altogether, unless they can come up with some shift or scheme to get around this).

          • Comment by AndyHat:

            Ah, the case of Julie is a good one, and perhaps gives us the basis of a solid argument since none of the protections granted a religious organization can apply to a secular business, but as sole owners they may still wish to practice business according to their own beliefs.

            However, if HHS has the power to mandate certain coverage in employer-provided health plans, why do we privilege these particular Catholic beliefs? If a business is owned by Christian Scientists, should they be permitted to offer “health” coverage that only covers the expense of prayer and other treatments acceptable to Christina Scientists? Could a business owned by a fundamentalist Moslem offer a health plan that only covers treatment by male doctors? Why not make the Mormons happy and require coverage for non-emergency appendectomies and wisdom tooth extraction since they’re required to have both procedures before going off on their mission years?

            Obviously, the optimal solution from a libertarian perspective is to get HHS out of this process (preferably getting rid of HHS entirely). But, given the reality that HHS is going to intrude in this process on the basis of some sort of doctrine related to an individual right to health care, how do we draw the lines between those religious beliefs that may be ignored and those that must be respected?

            • Comment by John Hutchins:

              “non-emergency appendectomies and wisdom tooth”

              I have no idea where you got the idea that appendectomies are required, they are not. Wisdom teeth either need to be in and stable or removed, this is true.

        • Comment by Tom Simon:

          If Notre Dame ever tried to carry out such a policy, they would be liable for millions in wrongful-dismissal damages. The Leviathan that imposes the insurance requirements also appoints the judges, you know.

          • Comment by AndyHat:

            I think you missed my point that HOSANNA-TABOR CHURCH v. EEOC. (decided in January this year) already creates the needed first-amendment exception for religious institutions, so Notre Dame would not in fact incur such risk with such a policy.

            • Comment by Tom Simon:

              The Obama Administration has just decreed that that First Amendment exception does not apply to any religious institution except an actual house of worship. The law has been changed at the regulatory level. Unless a court rules specifically that the change of regulations is unconstitutional, the situation in Hosanna-Tabor vs. EEOC no longer exists.

              • Comment by AndyHat:

                Hosanna-Tabor was decided by the Supreme Court on January 12, 2012, and was explicitly about a school, not a house or worship. So, yes, this decision will force a reversal of the administration’s attempt to limit the religious exemption.

                • Comment by Tom Simon:

                  I think you’re missing my point. The change of regulations, which has happened SINCE January 12, explicitly removes schools, hospitals, and other religious institutions (but not houses of worship) from the kind of protection cited by the Supreme Court. The court will have to rule that this was done unconstitutionally. If it does not, then the liability for wrongful dismissal will remain.

                  You may, for your part, trust the courts to

                  • Comment by Tom Simon:

                    Rats. My finger slipped and somehow I managed to click exactly on the SUBMIT COMMENT button.

                    You may trust the courts to uphold your Constitution, but I’m afraid I don’t. And I trust (if that’s the right word) your Administration implicitly to pack the courts as fully as possible with judges who will do its political bidding.

    • Comment by JoAnna:

      Wouldn’t it violate HIPAA laws for an insurance company to inform an employer regarding the employee’s insurance claim filings?

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      The problem is that Catholic schools and charities would have to cease to hire or to service non-Catholics. This directly violates the spirit and the letter of the Great Commission given to us by Christ Himself to act as salt on the rotting meat of the world, and light to the darkness. No one should have to show a baptism certificate to work at, or to visit, a soup kitchen. Come on.

      And there is no public interest involved. No one is going to be better off or gain anything if his law is enforced rather than repealed. It is purely symbolic: the jackboot of Big Government trampling the face of Christ.

      • Comment by AndyHat:

        There’s nothing in this proposal about those to whom services are provided; those who come to a soup kitchen for service are certainly not covered by health insurance. So let’s drop that red herring and focus only on employees.

        Of employees, there is again no requirement that they hire only Catholics. They need only limit hiring to those who are willing to submit to the rule that all sexual activity must be procreative, which can certainly include plenty of non-Catholics. So such a policy would only affect employees who wish to engage in non-procreative sexual activity.

        And if that’s really so evil, how can you justify paying a salary to a person knowing that some portion of that salary will be used to pay for birth control? How does rolling that expense into the insurance plan make any difference? If it’s such a great evil that you can’t pay for it indirectly one way (through insurance) then you can’t justify paying for it indirectly through providing a salary either. Unless you’re just trying to find a flimsy excuse to effectively pay your employees $35/month less.

        As for the public policy interest? Compare the cost of providing birth control to the cost of a live birth (and the follow-on cost of adoption/foster services, etc., if the child is truly unwanted). Ultimately, providing birth control is about saving money in the health care system as a whole.

        (Note that, as a Libertarian, I would prefer we simply do away with the tax exemptions that have created the whole nonsensical system of employer-provide health care, but that’s obviously not going to happen anytime soon. But as long as we have such a system, minimizing the costs (and getting the maximum value for associated tax exemptions) is a legitimate public-policy goal).

        • Comment by Stephen J.:

          “If it’s such a great evil that you can’t pay for it indirectly one way (through insurance) then you can’t justify paying for it indirectly through providing a salary either.”

          The difference between paying someone money which they may use to make bad choices, and directly paying for those bad choices yourself, is significant. Look up the phrase “formal cooperation with evil” for more on the theology.

          • Comment by AndyHat:

            Not sure I see the distinction here, or at least not its relevance. Employer pays employee who uses salary to commit evil act, versus employer pays insurance premium which reimburses employee for claims related to evil act. By the doctrine of “formal cooperation with evil”, either way the employer is morally culpable if they become aware of the employee’s use of the money for an “intrinsically evil” end.

            But if the employer implements a policy such as I suggested, there would be no problem. Employees who wished to make “bad choices” could do so at their own expense, so long as they don’t file an insurance claim. If an employee chooses to file the insurance claim for birth control, thus making the employer aware of the employee’s “intrinsically evil” act, the employee must be dismissed either way, as continuing to pay that person’s salary would be just as morally culpable as providing the insurance.

            I think my real problem is the fact that the religious institutions objecting to this HHS policy are so far from living up to the ideals they claim. If these institutions really believed that birth control is “intrinsically evil” then they shouldn’t have hundreds or thousands of birth-control using women on their payrolls while pretending otherwise. It makes their arguments against this policy come across as lame attempt to get away with paying female employees $35/month less than the non-religious sector rather than a principled attempt to uphold religious freedom.

            • Comment by docrampage:

              You are engaging in sophistry. Once the employer pays an employee what is owed him the money becomes the employee’s money and is no longer the responsibility of the employer. The employer has no more interest in how this money is spent than they have in how the employee spends his savings from a previous employer or an inheritance. It’s all the employee’s money. The employee might do something with money that is a fire-able offense (such as hiring a hit man, for example) but no one is going to ask which pot the money came from (recent paycheck or old savings) when making the decision to fire the employee. Similarly, if the employee does something non-approved but not a firing offense, no one cares which pot the money came from.

              By contrast, an employer who buys insurance that supports birth control is spending his own money to support birth control. That money is his responsibility and what he spends it on is his responsibility.

        • Comment by Mrmandias:

          No case law has ever held that the ministerial exception applied to non-members of the religion in question.

          Hosanna-Tabor did not say that religious groups or religious-affiliated groups can hire and fire anybody they want for any reason.

          • Comment by Captain Peabody:

            This is correct. Hosanna-Tabor was decided as it is because the teacher in question was actually a licensed Lutheran “minister” in her position as teacher. The Supreme Court ruled that religious groups had a right to hire and fire ministers as they wished, without outside interference; they didn’t spell out any hard-and-fast rule as to the limits of what counts as a minister, but they certainly indicated that the “minister” would have to have some kind of religious status, and certainly be at the very least a member of the religion they’re working for. So we’re back to the same problem of being forced to hire only Catholics.

        • Comment by Darcy:

          Ishmael, your summary of the regulation is incorrect. The regulation reads as follows:

          [T]he amended regulations specify that, for purposes of this policy, a religious employer is one that: (1) Has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose; (2) primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets; (3) primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets; and (4) is a non-profit organization under section 6033(a)(1) and section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Code.
          76 Fed. Reg. 46623 (August 3, 2011)

          If you note #3, an organization qualifies for the exemption only if it “primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets”. A Catholic organization, for example, would be required to either 1) provide contraception coverage in violation of the tenets of its belief or 2) close its doors to non-Catholics (also violating its belief).

        • Comment by Stephen:


          The actual definition of the religious exemption actually does involve
          recipients of services as well as employees.

          Here is a quote from today AP news coverageL

          “The regulation includes a religious exemption if an organization qualifies. Under that provision, an employer generally will be considered religious if its main purpose is spreading religious beliefs, and if it largely employs and serves people of the same faith. That means a Catholic
          parish likely would qualify for a religious exemption; a large church-run soup kitchen probably would not.”

          It’s such a sad, but not surprising, example of the interpretation that the First Amendment
          only moves in one direction, to inhibit religious organizations but never to inhibit the

  3. Comment by Sean Michael:

    Dear Mr. Wright:

    I absolutely agree both with what you’ve said and the excerpts you quoted from the article. I’ve said many times in the past that no allegedly convinced Catholics can any longer honestly vote for Democrats. That EVIL party has becoming nothing but a front for the worship of Moloch and reintroducing the pernicious idea of the divine, all powerful state.

    Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Now, if only the Stupid Party would cease to applaud intrinsically evil practices, such as the torture of prisoners of war, such as making war without a declaration of war, such as the policy of preemptive self-defense (which is more stupid than the policy of preemptive surrender, but not as evil) and adopt a few Catholic social policy teachings, well, I might be able to go to the voting booth without going immediately to the confessional booth.

      • Comment by Tom Simon:

        I should point out that no nation on earth has issued a declaration of war since (unless I have missed an instance) the end of 1941. As for U.S. practice, it has been explicitly adjudicated that for Congress to authorize military action, and vote funds for its execution, fulfils the constitutional requirement that only Congress can declare war.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          Then we should have amended the Constitution to reflect that the Executive branch now declares war and the Congress funds and authorizes it. On that matter, there is no innate moral question involved. If the practice changes to agree with the law, or the law changes to agree with the practice, would not in this case matter.

          But making war without obeying the law which authorizes the war, making a war rather than an act of piracy, that has deep and troubling moral implications.

          • Comment by Sean Michael:

            Dear Mr. Wright:

            I like your suggestion about amending the Constitution to reflect how, de facto, war is declared by the President and Congress has then to agree to fund and authorize it. It reminds me of what seems to be the British practice, the Crown (acting on the advice of the PM), declares war and Parliament then approves and funds it.

            Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

      • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

        “Applaud intrinsically evil practices”? Getting enough sleep sir? You step on some of your own positions with your examples. You, for example, have made use of W’s speech before Congress, where he asked for the power to go to War against Iraq, to deal with the nitwits claiming that WMD were the only reason to deal with Iraq. It was a request for a Declaration of War, one that Congress said yes to. The only complaint you might have is about the format of the paperwork. Certainly not “Intrinsically Evil”.

        Preemptive Self Defense would seem to have support in the Bible; “Ezekiel 33 “… 6 ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.'”. We can argue about that, but I note that you seem to be in conflict with your position on Pearl Harbor. Is it the Catholic position that, finding out about the attack, we should have not attacked first? Seems fuzzy enough that “Intrinsically Evil” is out of place.

        Applauding torture of prisoners of war? I haven’t seen the Republican party applaud torture. They seemed worked very hard to insure they didn’t cross that line. It is true that the Democrats changed the definition of torture for political gain (after signing off on the practices in question, see Nancy Pelosi’s little fight with the CIA), but that’s what the Evil party does. “Intrinsically Evil” seems out of place here as well, as does calling the people in question Prisoners of War. They, as a rule, were not members of an nations armed forces captured in uniform in a war, were they? You have lectured us (correctly) about the meanings of words. Why so sloppy here?

        Catholic Social Policy teaching? The Republican party is pro-life, yes? The Republican party is the better party on Charity (by tenfold or more, every time we see the numbers). The Republican party is the better party when it comes to Just War, yes? Or is the current Democrat policy of assassinating people with drones to avoid dealing with the unpleasant questions that come up when we capture them the Catholic policy? Perhaps you could give an actual policy the Republicans have that is against Catholic teaching? One that the Democrats do better? Because it seems to me that the Republicans follow Catholic Social Policy better the the Democrats by every metric, save stealing to feed the poor (which was only a policy for a short time after WWII, yes? And didn’t work?).

        This world is Fallen. Still no call to make the Perfect the enemy of the Good. Especially when the Evil is so obviously going to be the winner. You used “Intrinsically Evil” for such fuzzy, arguable issues. What’s left it describe the unholy butcher’s shop in Pennsylvania and the policies that protected it?

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          Don’t get me wrong: I will still vote for the Stupid Party over the Evil Party. But my conscience will not be easy on the point.

          Yes, I thought the invasion of Iraq was just and prudent. But we should have declared war.

          No, I have not seen any evidence that the exaggerated claims by the Evil Party that the Administration tortured POW’s is true. But I have heard Republicans boasting about it and justifying the act, even while other Republicans denied that it had happened.

          Your quote from Ezekiel is irrelevant. Read the quote again. Blowing a warning trumpet is not “preemptive self-defense” which is not and never has been a justification for war.

          Not making the perfect the enemy of the good? Fine. But selecting the lesser of two evils leaves one’s soul with a greasy feeling at best. The world is fallen. Everything decays. Every paint job needs repainting. The Republican Party is long overdue for a return to its first principles.

          • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

            That’s what I am trying to trying to fix.

            As you pointed out earlier in the thread, Congress funded and authorized the war. I can’t see that as anything other then a niggling detail. Certainly not a point of Conscience.

            Well yes. Any group that makes up a fourth of the country will have morons in it. Is it Republican policy? No.

            Well, that’s how I read it. So, perhaps not as clear as you would like? I note that you didn’t address my question. Is it moral to ambush the ambush? You know (because of Intel) that Pearl Harbor is going to be attacked. Why is attacking them first immoral? Second, a weak point because “Preemptive Self Defense” hasn’t actually been an issue at any part of the War. We were attacked first, even Iraq, which violated the peace treaty when they fired on our planes.

            The Republicans party’s first principle was an end to Slavery. I’m not aware that they’ve ever wavered on that, or stopped fighting for equal rights under the law. Affirmative Action, Jim Crow, the minimum wage, unions, literacy tests, poll taxes, separate but equal, which of these were passed and enforced by the Republicans? I think your complaint is that Republicans spent more then you were comfortable with. Understandable, W was so good at the War, it felt like peacetime. But we are at War, and that means more spending, or lots of dead servicemen. Hmm, which way is the moral path?….

          • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

            And “Lesser of two Evils”? Really? The Democrats have the trail of tears. The Democrats have the boat people(WWII and Vietnam). The Democrats fought a war to keep slaves. The Democrats have Abortion. The Republicans have? Didn’t declare war in a JCR approved format? Have some members who were a little too flippant about torturing some terrorists who mocked every formal rule of war and murdered their own people for the press? Actually responded to the Declarations of War thrown at us by the Dictators and Terrorists of the Arab world? Am I missing something?

            • Comment by CPE Gaebler:

              As I heard it, the Republican and Democratic parties did some sort of switcheroo a while ago; back in the Civil War days, the Democrats were the conservatives and the Republicans the liberals. Is there any truth to this sort of claim?

              • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

                Not true at all. Liberal and Conservative didn’t define the parties until Wilson got elected and the Democrats got eaten by the Left and went Fascist. Liberal, Progressive, etc, are terms the Left uses to distance themselves from their failures, which are legion, thus the need for new terms. Conservative is just a term the Democrats label the Republicans with so they can have their Goldstein moment, which you will understand once you actually define Liberal and Conservative. The Republicans got their start by ending Slavery, an institution that appears to have been with us since the beginning. The Democrats fought to maintain the status quo, to keep Slavery the law of the land. Who was the Liberal? Who was the Conservative? This hasn’t changed, the Democrats don’t have any new ideas, just new wrapping for their core goal, a return to the tribe, an end to Freedom and Equality before the Law.

              • Comment by John C Wright:

                The words “conservative” and “liberal” are misleading. Technically, a “liberal” is someone who opposes monarchy and the established religion, prefers equality in the eyes of the law regardless of birth or faith, and favors the free market. A “conservative” is someone who conserves something.

                The Republican party started as an Abolitionist party, and favored the North in the Civil War, and the Democrats supported slavery. Since abolishing slavery was a change to a settled institution, this would technically be both “liberal” and “un-conservative.” During Jim Crow, the Republicans supported and passed Civil Rights legislation, with some Democrats crossing the aisle to help, and the Communists, using Political Correctness (the theory that says all non-Commie institutions should and must be criticized, even if the basis of criticism shifts) supported youth movements, riots, and madness on the same side as their enemies, the Republicans. After the success of the Civil Rights movement, the Democrats rewrote history, the Republicans did nothing to stop them, and so the Democrat-controlled South and its segregation laws was re-cast as an albatross to hang around the neck of the Republicans.

                Conservatives these days is used as a word to meant those who wish to arrest and reverse the concerted attack on those traditional institutions of marriage and private property which neither political party seems much interested in preserving. However, since the Dems are openly in war against Conservatism, and the Republicans pay lip service to Conservatism, like Charlie Brown letting Lucy hold the football for him to kick, we always vote Republican, and always end up supine, dazed, looking at the empty sky and wondering what went wrong.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              Friend, I vote Republican. I will even vote for an adulterer rather than allow a Marxist Jihadi-collaborator to remain in the Oval Office. But don’t expect me not to notice the moral degradation that the Republican Party has suffered. God is not a Republican. My love and my loyalties lay elsewhere.

              But, honestly, even making jokes about torturing POW’s and engaging in wars in unholy defiance of laws both Constitutional and natural and international appalls me. The Republicans had the chance to return this nation to a constitutional basis, a society of laws rather than fiat, and they did not.

              • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

                Well, no, in point of fact, they did not. The Constitution makes it very hard to do those sorts of large changes quickly. Pretty much impossible unless you have the Presidency, a Veto Proof majority in the Senate, and at least two/thirds of the House. Which has happened for the Republicans during and after the Civil War, and FDR and Obama for the Democrats. You should understand this, you are a gamer, yes? What do the rules say? Or are we to ignore the Constitution to save it?

                As to the moral failings of the Republicans, your complaints seem to fall short. It was never Republican policy to joke about torture, nor were those so inclined rewarded with leadership positions, that I am aware of. Your complaint here seems rather close to the nitwit who attacked the Catholic Church because many of it’s members use birth control. As to “Engaging in wars in unholy defiance of laws both Constitutional and natural and international”, well, really. Both Afghanistan and Iraq were given many, many chances to work with us. The President went if front of Congress, asking to go to War. Congress authorized and funded both Wars, and they had many, many changes to stop doing so. Both countries attacked us first, and we responded in a calm, measured way. We have proof that the Democrats were keep in the loop, and signed off on the decisions, and only threw a public tantrum for political gain. “Unholy defiance”? Hardly. We died to make men free. This is what I mean by making the Perfect the Enemy of the Good. We sleazed our way into WWI, selling arms to one side while claiming to be neutral, we sleazed our way into WWII the same way, we sleazed our way into Vietnam quietly adding “advisers” until we were in charge, only to have the Democrats slit the throats of the people we had forced to be our allies. In every way we entered our current wars cleaner, more honestly, and the Republicans took a big political hit doing so. Leave “Unholy” to describe the guy feeding people into shredders….

                • Comment by John C Wright:

                  Alas, I must admit that cogency of your comments. I am convinced. The Stupid Party is much better than the Evil Party.

                  I take back the harsh things I said, and proffer an apology.

                  • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

                    No need for an apology, just don’t give into despair. That way leads to a Third party. Teddy gave us Wilson, and probably FDR, and Perot gave us Pornstar. Even Porkbusters (I know, not a formal third party) only “success” was to give the Democrats control of Congress, with a predictable explosion of debt and earmarks, the very thing they were fighting against. I’m glad I seem to have pulled you from the ledge, where you were focused on “properly” declaring war, at a time when the Democrats have refused to even write the Federal budget. Not once, as an oversight, but the new status quo, going on three years now!

  4. Comment by Mrmandias:


    It’s time to get all Maccabee.

    P.S. Dear Secret Service–its hyperbole, I don’t mean it literally. But keep your piggish hands off my altars anyhow.

  5. Comment by Ishmael Alighieri:

    In a series of extremely-well-funded studies backed by the Pork Institute, it was found that, amazingly, Pork Is Really, Really Good For You! Therefore, for the sake of the health of all Americans, the HHS has ruled that all stores and delis must carry pork. The only exception is for delis and stores 1) owned by orthodox Jews or Muslims; AND 2) employing only orthodox Jews and Muslims; AND 3) serving only orthodox Jews and Muslims. Because, if some goy walks in just because he likes the bagels, it would be an outrageous injustice for him to have to go all the way to the next shop to get a ham sandwich just because some fringe crazies cling to the 4,000 year old dietary rules of a bunch of tribal desert goat herders – heck, the vast majority of their coreligionists don’t follow the ‘no pork’ rule!

    We must do this for the children! Besides, we all know these people hate women, and therefore there is no amount of ridicule, reviling and abuse that is too much. We must bring these people up into the modern age, to save them from themselves.

  6. Comment by AndyHat:

    Another point which seems relevant. See for a study of contraceptive use; according to that, 83% of sexually active Catholic women who could become pregnant are using some form of “intrinsically evil” birth control (this study excludes women who are trying to become pregnant and thus probably overstates the number somewhat), but it should be safe to say that 70+% of American Catholics use some form of birth control.

    So, the (celibate male) leadership of the Catholic Church asserts that all forms of birth control are “intrinsically evil”, yet the majority of the church’s membership apparently disagrees or at least feels that it is a sufficiently minor evil that they will personally use birth control.

    I personally know Catholics who attend mass and take communion regularly who will happily express their opinion that the Catholic Church is simply wrong on this issue.

    Given this reality, why should HHS be expected to defer to the opinions of the (celibate male) leadership of the Catholic Church rather than infer that the actions of the majority of the Church’s members reflect the “true” beliefs of Catholics? How can this policy be deemed an attack on Catholic beliefs if the majority of Catholics don’t share those beliefs?

    If the Catholic Church can’t convince its own members (or even a majority of its own members!) that contraception is “intrinsically evil”, why should non-Catholics be expected to pay any attention to that claim?

    • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

      First, the Nuns (Women!) are part of the Leadership. Oops. Second, The leadership is against Sin, and 100% of our members commit that as well. Much of the Catholic Church is about what we should be, and trying to improve what we are…..

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Because my religious rights are not dependent on the number of people who agree or disagree with me. That is what makes it a right, rather than a suggestion or policy.

      Also, Pharisees and sinners in a Church does not rob a Church of her rights and duties. It is not the righteous that the Church is here to serve, but the sinners.

      The teaching you are asking the Roman Catholic Church to overthrow is ten times older than the US Constitution which identifies (but does not grant) our God-given right to exercise our religion without interference from our neighbors: two thousand years versus two hundred.

      Do you think an argument based on a frivolous ad hominem sneer (do celibate males have less right to religious freedom than married women?) should overturn either the US Constitution or the Magisterium of the Church?

      • Comment by AndyHat:

        I think we could agree that ultimately the problem here is the merely decades-old concept of a right to health care and the quirks of a tax system that leads us to have a system of employer-provided health care. In a libertarian state, health coverage would be entirely decoupled from employment, the amount and type of health coverage would be entirely up to each individual, and there simply wouldn’t be an issue.

        However, the reality in the US today and for the last 30-40 years is that: 1) we depend on employers to provide health care, 2) individuals cannot general get affordable health care except through their employer, and 3) HHS has been given the role of defining the minimal coverage to which employees are entitled where health care is offered.

        Thus we end of up with competing rights: the employer’s freedom of religion, the employee’s freedom of religion, and the employee’s right to health care coverage (which, as an imaginary right, means we need something like HHS its meaning). You can’t just invoke the employer’s right to freedom of religion and ignore the employee’s rights.

        In that context, forced to balance these rights, I think it does become relevant that the majority of Catholics apparently disagree with official church teaching on contraception; it seems untenable at best to claim that the beliefs of a minority of Catholics should limit the rights of the majority of Catholics (not to mention all the non-Catholic Christians and others) to access certain types of medical care.

        And I think the Catholic Church should really work on convincing its own members of its doctrines before insisting that those doctrines should limit other rights (the “right to medical care” may be a newfangled imaginary right, but it’s there in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the US seems to have accepted it back in the 30’s with the creation of Medicare).

        Again, if it were possible to employees to choose employers on the basis of health care coverage, or if it were possible for employees to get health care independently, there’d be no argument that the employer’s freedom of religion wins, but that’s just not our current reality.

        As a libertarian, it would make me happy if the result of this is that religious employers all drop employer-sponsored health plans, move those cost to their employee’s pay so their employees can buy insurance on the open market (and maybe even create some new insurance pools in the process), and thereby take a big step in moving the country back towards an actual free market in health care.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          The Catholic Church is not a democracy. We do not teach God’s truth based on a show of hands. If the majority of Catholics are sinners, what is that to me and my rights?

          You call yourself a libertarian, do you? Yet you are balancing my right, the one at the top of the list of what the Congress may not infringe, against the state’s alleged right to employers me to provide insurance policies that involve matter not related to health care, such as contraception and sterilization and abortifacients. Unless babies are a disease, contraception is not a health care service. It has nothing to do with medicine, and nothing to do with insurance properly so called.

          And whether or not the alleged beneficiaries of these alleged medical services want them or not is not taken into account.

          And the fact that this is outside of Federal jurisdiction is not taken into account: making me pay for your condom is not one of the enumerated powers in the Constitution. It is one of those emanations of a penumbra of a living document type dealies, based on a misreading of the commerce clause.

          Those two things are commensurate rights in your mind? The first is specifically mentioned first on the list: CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW. The second is an socialist-style encroachment with only the flimsiest legal excuse, and no logical excuse.

          What is the crucial public interest again in making me pay for your dick balloons, your sterilization, your kill-the-baby pills?

          How come I don’t pay for your pizza and your auto repair bill? At least those are things to which I have no utterly unambiguous religious objection.

          But let us assume that there are two rights: my right to be left alone and the state’s right to force me to do something against unambiguous divine law. And is an elected bureaucrat is the proper authority to balance those rights?

          You keep talking as if the errors and wickedness of members of the Church acts to dismiss my sacred rights. No libertarian talks that way. No libertarian sides with the arbitrary and irrational use of power by the state against unarmed victims.

          Libertarians believe in liberty and individual rights — do you hear me? INDIVIDUAL rights. That includes the rights of the individuals who happen to be employers, and members of hospitals, charities, and schools not to be forced to participate in acts we cannot in good conscience condone.

          If you are a libertarian, go sign the petition. If not, do not dare bring up that word again to me.

          • Comment by AndyHat:

            As a libertarian, I will not sign the petition (at least not as currently worded) because to do so would be to cede and acknowledge that HHS has the authority regulate the content of private health care insurance in the first place. “Leave in place the conscience exemptions that have served us well since 1973 (42 USC 300a-7 (d)).” But to beg a continuation of that exemption can only be understood as otherwise accepting the authority of HHS.

            Once it’s been ceded that HHS has the authority to interpose itself in the private negotiations between employers and employees and to regulate the content of private health insurance contracts, then these sorts of conflicts will arise. Christian Scientists and Moslems are already forced to cover many treatments they believe evil, so why should Catholics get special exemptions?

            If you can point me to a petition to get HHS get out of the business of regulating health insurance entirely and to repeal all special tax treatment for employer-provided health care, I would be happy to sign that.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              You continue to claim to be a libertarian? Disgusting.

              • Comment by AndyHat:

                Please, how is it “disgusting” that I refuse to sign this particular petition as written? I thought it was clear that I am willing to take action against the HHS rule change, but need help finding a suitable way to express my opposition to this rule change in the context of a broader opposition to the fact that HHS assume the right to make these rules in the first place.

                Obviously, if you’re misunderstanding my point when I think we are actually agreed, my own writing skills are clearly not up to the task.

          • Comment by AndyHat:

            And one other question for you. “Catholic Charities affiliates received a total of nearly $2.9 billion a year from the government in 2010, about 62 percent of its annual revenue of $4.67 billion. Only 3 percent came from churches in the diocese (the rest came from in-kind contributions, investments, program fees and community donations).” (quote from

            The Catholic Church is obviously happy enough with an interpretation of the first amendment that permits non-Catholics to be compelled to contribute to Catholic charities through their tax dollars, billions of tax dollars per year. So if the first amendment permits non-Catholics to be compelled to support Catholic ministries (which they may find evil), why can the first amendment not be flexible enough to compel Catholics to pay for employee services they may not support? Further, given that those programs themselves are all outside the scope of the constitution, why should we suddenly expect a Constitutional defense to mean anything when the Catholic Church itself has been complicit for so long in taking money for unconstitutional purposes and thus weakening the Constitution’s protections?

            If the Catholic Church were willing to renounce all those tax dollars, I’d have a lot more respect for their first amendment claims when it comes to this HHS rule.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              Catholics are not libertarians. We do not believe in separation of Church and state. This is an innovation of the Protestant splinter groups fighting each other, and being wearied in the contest.

              Traditionally, we believe the state must defer to the Church. A king gets his authority from God and cannot exceed that authority or abuse it.

              The argument that accepting tax dollars to do charitable work makes you the butt-monkey of Caesar is hardly a libertarian argument. We are not talking about a case where the state is claiming it will cut funding if the funds are not being used as promised. We are talking about a case where a fiat is being impose on all business and institutions whether the particular party ever took money from the state or not.

              Like the argument about disobedient Pharisees in the Church, all your arguments are “dirty hands” arguments: you keep saying the Church has done some unrelated bad thing that compromised her integrity, therefore she can be raped. The argument is not logical. A jaywalker still has the right to free speech, and so does a murderer, up until the moment he is hanged.

              Do you think inalienable rights can be forfeited by the fiat of an unelected bureaucrat? If so, the rights are not inalienable, are they?

              Are you actually a libertarian? You don’t talk like one. You talk exactly like a PC Lefty seeking the unearned moral high ground, reveling in the strength of an unrestricted state.

              • Comment by AndyHat:

                “We do not believe in separation of Church and state.”

                But you also believe that freedom of religion is an inalienable right? How do you reconcile these two points of view?

                Also, please watch the ad hominem: “You talk exactly like a PC Lefty seeking the unearned moral high ground, reveling in the strength of an unrestricted state.” I resent that; you have no idea what my actual views are, and I don’t believe that they’re particularly germane to the discussion. I’m simply trying to present counter-arguments to your views from a variety of other viewpoints in order to better understand the arguments you’re making.

                In fact, my intuition is that this is a very bad regulation and that I should ultimately agree you with that it should be reversed; however, in attempting to build a rational argument for myself that my intuition is correct, I have been unable to satisfactorily answer all of the counter-arguments that I can construct or encounter from friends and peers. I’ve thus been throwing them out here as hypotheticals in the hopes of finding those answers through a broader discussion.

              • Comment by AndyHat:

                Just throwing out more arguments to which I really would like good answers.

                Quoting your original National Review article: “Notre Dame University, which employs more than 5,000 people, is going to be given the choice of either expressly violating its religious convictions or paying a $10 million fine to the federal government”.

                That sentence has a huge flaw: “Notre Dame University” is not a person, it is a thing. Things cannot have religious convictions, so is is simply absurd to say that “Notre Dame University” is “expressly violating its religious convictions”. “Notre Dame University” has no inalienable rights, and as you yourself have pointed out, freedom of religion is an individual right and thus it makes no sense to claim the “Notre Dame University” has such a right. What individual possessed of inalienable rights is morally compromised when “Notre Dame University” is required to pay for birth control? The controller who actually writes the check to the insurance company? Notre Dame “employs more than 5,000 people” so I’m sure they can find someone who’s not bothered by writing that check. Do we really supposed to swallow Citizens United and treat corporations as real people with the same inalienable rights as people?

                Moving on to sole proprietorships and partnerships where we can still identify a human owner whose rights are compromised, as is this case with Julie at Happy Catholic referenced in an earlier post. Clearly we want to structure an exemption that allows Julie to not pay services she feels are immoral (beyond the exemptions that already exist for small companies that are not required to provide health insurance; I forget where the cut-off is, but that’s not really relevant). What noone has yet answered is how do we provide a legal argument that allows the exclusion of contraceptions without also allowing Jehovah’s Witnesses to exclude blood transfusions, allowing Scientologists to exclude mental health care or allowing Christian Scientists to exclude all invasive medical care?

                Medical necessity seems insufficient as an argument; in all these cases, religious adherents will argue that the treatments are not medically necessary.

                So should HHS open up the rules to allow all of these religious exemptions? Or is the goal just to maintain the status quo where Catholics and other like-minded groups get their exemption and noone else gets theirs? How should we draw line for the government’s medical bureaucrats on what counts as a bona fide religious exemption and what’s just a bunch of crackpots?

                • Comment by John Hutchins:

                  “Things cannot have religious convictions”

                  A church (and The Church) are both things that very clearly do have religious convictions. Or more accurately a church and a university are in large part social organizations and as such can have a set of standards which everyone that works for or attends agree to (or at least that the organization has the ability to make standards), irregardless of if they actually follow the standards they agree to.

                  I don’t have a problem with contraception per se, but I don’t want religious organizations that I belong to or have attended to be forced to do anything that would violate its religious convictions. If there are not exceptions for each religion that has asked for one then there is something wrong as there should be, irregardless of the religion in question.

                  I believe that your last question vividly shows your true colors.

                • Comment by John C Wright:

                  “That sentence has a huge flaw: “Notre Dame University” is not a person, it is a thing. Things cannot have religious convictions, so is is simply absurd to say that “Notre Dame University” is “expressly violating its religious convictions”.”

                  You taking a synecdoche literally, and pretending as if there is an error in the logic, rather than in your strained interpretation of ordinary English words in their ordinary meaning. If I say “The intent of the law” it is no correction to say that I should have referenced the intent of the people who wrote and enforced the law; again, if I say “the ship intended to make port” it is no correction to say that I should have reference the intent of the captain and the owner.

                  The objection is too frivolous to merit an answer. It is a word-game, not an argument.

                  • Comment by lotdw:

                    I think, technically, that would be metonymy, not synecdoche.

                    Rather less technically, I think AndyHat needs to spend less time asking dumb questions and more time answering them in his own head first.

    • Comment by Darcy:

      At the height of the Arian heresy, I am nearly certain that the Arians posted numbers nearly as good as 82%. Of course, truth is a majority of one. St. Athanaius and a few others (Athanasius Contra Mundum) refused to submit to the majority, despite their support from the secular government, and were vidicated at the Council of Nicea.

      Things far apart,
      the center does not hold.
      Yet the right of the line stands fast.
      It shall turn the enemy’s flank
      and carry the day.

  7. Comment by docrampage:

    John mentioned this in one comment, but I think it’s worth emphasizing: the very basis of this regulation is an obvious lie. Contraception is not a health issue. People don’t need contraception to be healthier. Condoms are more like a safety device for a particular activity that some employees engage in and others don’t. Forcing employers to provide condoms is like forcing them to provide bicycle helmets, hockey pads, or rock-climbing gear for people that have a use for them.

    Other forms of contraception aren’t even safety devices; they are devices to avoid an unwanted obligation. Forcing employers to provide these services is like forcing them to provide lawyers for employees that are sued, or forcing them to provide accountants to make sure the employees get their taxes done on time so they don’t get charged late fees.

    This regulation has been enacted just because there is a strong political lobby that benefits from it and for no other reason. Excuses about “women’s health” are nothing but cynical gestures that no one really believes and no one is really expected to believe.

    And I say this although I don’t think there is anything morally wrong with contraception.

  8. Comment by CPE Gaebler:

    Maybe the fine folks in Congress misread the First Amendment and thought that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” meant that only disrespect was allowed.


    […] Obama Administration’s assault on the rights of traditional religious groups has gotten a lot of attention. Via American […]

  10. Comment by dougindeap:

    Notwithstanding wild-eyed cries to the contrary, THE HEALTH CARE LAW DOES NOT FORCE EMPLOYERS TO ACT CONTRARY TO THEIR BELIEFS–unless one supposes the employers’ religion forbids even the payment of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion).

    Questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith are entirely real, but not new. The courts have occasionally confronted such issues and have generally ruled that the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, fraud, negligence, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. Were it otherwise and people could opt out of this or that law with the excuse that their religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate. When moral binds for individuals can be anticipated, provisions may be added to laws affording some relief to conscientious objectors.

    Here, there is no need for such an exemption, since no employer is being “forced,” as some commentators rage, to act contrary to his or her belief. In keeping with the law, those with conscientious objections to providing their employees with qualifying health plans may decline to provide their employees with any health plans and pay an assessment instead or, alternatively, provide their employees with health plans that do not qualify (e.g., ones without provisions they deem objectionable) and pay lower assessments.

    The employers may not like paying the assessments or what the government will do with the money it receives. But that is not a moral dilemma of the sort supposed by many commentators, but rather a garden-variety gripe common to most taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action of the government. That is hardly call for a special “exemption” from the law. Should each of us feel free to deduct from our taxes the portion that we figure would be spent on those actions (e.g., wars, health care, whatever) each of us opposes?

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      “The employers may not like paying the assessments or what the government will do with the money it receives. But that is not a moral dilemma of the sort supposed by many commentators, but rather a garden-variety gripe common to most taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action of the government. That is hardly call for a special “exemption” from the law. Should each of us feel free to deduct from our taxes the portion that we figure would be spent on those actions (e.g., wars, health care, whatever) each of us opposes?”

      How is one supposed to run a democracy with citizens who neither understand the public issues, nor the laws and Constitution under which we live? ( I am not talking about a law degree, I am talking about high-school level of Civics, a knowledge of the difference between Constitutional law, federal, and local, and what the limitations are on each?)

      “Notwithstanding wild-eyed cries to the contrary, THE HEALTH CARE LAW DOES NOT FORCE EMPLOYERS TO ACT CONTRARY TO THEIR BELIEFS–unless one supposes the employers’ religion forbids even the payment of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion).”

      Or, in this case, have citizens who have beliefs WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS that are directly contrary to reality?

      • Comment by dougindeap:


        While I get the drift you disagree, you fell so far short of explaining yourself that no meaningful reply is possible. Perhaps you prefer it that way, but if not, reload and try again.

        • Comment by CPE Gaebler:

          And you fell so short of reality that it hardly seems worth explaining the obvious.

          Might as well say that a mugger telling you to whip out your ATM card and empty your bank account isn’t forcing you to pay him, because he gives you the option of not paying him and taking your lumps. Totally not coercion at all!

          The problem is you are thoroughly ignorant of what it actually means to be coerced to do something. Please remedy this egregious oversight at once.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          Sorry to be so curt, but please read the news, read the Constitution, then offer your analysis and opinion. The objection you made was divorced from the subject matter under discussion. It was not an argument, but a gratuitous assertion, and in denial of the basic facts of the case.

          If you want me to explain what the facts of the case are, I feel that there are news sources who can do that better than I.

          • Comment by dougindeap:

            Inform yourself. The plain fact is that the law does not compel any employer to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs. Indeed, some employers are considering the readily available option of not providing health plans and instead paying assessments for economic, not religious, reasons; they see that as a simply a better business decision. Employers with religious objections who choose that option may not like paying money to the government, but they cannot credibly maintain that their religion forbids such payments. That just will not wash. (For instance, we have not allowed conscientious objectors simply to skip military service for “free”; rather, we have required them to provide alternative service in noncombatant roles or useful civilian work.) The hue and cry for an exemption is predicated on the false claim–or, more plainly, lie–that employers otherwise are forced to act contrary to their religions.

            • Comment by CPE Gaebler:

              You have provided something substantial, thus I retract my previous comment.

            • Comment by docrampage:

              Doug, I think you are having trouble communicating with people here because you do not understand that coercion does not become less coercion when you offer a third alternative between the coerced behavior and a gunshot. Suppose someone come up to you and says, “Send a check to my cousin Vito or I’m going to shoot you”. That is clearly coercion. It does not become less coercion if the person says, “Send a check to my cousin Vito or I’m going to charge you a penalty. And then if you don’t pay the penalty I’m going to shoot you.”

              This is the situation that Catholics find themselves in. If they refuse to do what the Obama administration has ordered them to do, then they will be fined (calling it an “assessment” does not make it less of a fine). If they refuse to pay the fine then men with guns will come to them and if they do not surrender then they will be shot. This is coercion.

              I’m not a Catholic, and from my point of view, the true evil here is not the condoms but the the corruption. Democrats are heavily supported by Planned Parenthood and other providers of these services, and they get political payola by having everyone forced to pay for their services whether they want them or not. In my view, it is just as bad when the government forces us to buy insurance that covers chiropractors, acupuncture, mental health services and other things that people don’t want and don’t want to pay for, but professionals in those fields make lots of money and donate heavily to people who can force people to buy their services.

              In a way, I’m glad that this happened because many Catholics may now start to take this sort of corruption seriously and stop voting for Democrats.

              • Comment by dougindeap:


                The law–indeed all law–is “coercive” in the sense that one must comply with it or suffer consequences. That is not the issue here.

                The issue is whether the health law forces–or, in your terms, coerces–employers to do things that violate their moral beliefs. This law, in the end, requires only that employers who do not provide qualifying health plans pay assessments to the government. Unless one supposes that the employers’ religion forbids payments of money to the government, then the law’s requirement to pay assessments does not compel those employers to act contrary to their beliefs.

                That does not mean they may not like paying the assessments or what the government may do with the money it receives. But that is hardly a moral dilemma, but rather a garden-variety gripe common to most taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action of the government. It is no justification for an “exemption” from the law. If it were, I suppose each of us should feel free to deduct from our taxes the portion that we figure would be spent on those actions (e.g., wars, health care, whatever) each of us opposes.

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