The First Amendment is bandied about more often than just about any of the others, and it got a full work-out thanks to Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) during his grilling of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. It definitely is worth viewing, even if you’ve seen it before:
While that was undoubtedly painful for Sebelius, in theory, it may have opened a whole new can of worms. By taking it from the purely legal standpoint, Gowdy may have inadvertently opened an opportunity for the left on other issues, including abortion. Yes, there are religions out there that do not have strict restrictions against abortion, Judaism included. In theory, the left could use the same balancing act Gowdy used to justify preventing legislation against abortion, at least in the circumstances permitted by given religions.
Now, before anyone starts frothing at the mouth, that is an unlikely result of this little moment, if for no other reason, the left-wing would have to find people that observe those faiths to come forward and file lawsuits. That’s unlikely, of course.
But, the hearing did cause me to think yet again about the economic end of this perennial debate. Yet again, I am wondering about the feasibility of the I.R.S. adding a checkbox to tax forms that could settle it once and for all. If taxpayers could just tell the government whether or not they were willing to have their tax dollars be applied to public funds for contraception and/or abortion, then the crusade to end all abortions should be considered a purely religious movement. Arguably, it would be rendered moot, at least on the Federal level.
If no one is paying for something that they disagree with based on religious belief, then the government is not preventing anyone from observing their faith. Remember, the rights granted by the Bill of Rights end where the rights of another individual begin. That’s why those of us from the generally Libertarian neck of the woods don’t tend to join in social conservative crusades. It’s none of our business. It shouldn’t be the business of government. Gowdy had it right when he pointed out that Sebelius was wrong when she pushed the mandate for coverage of contraceptives. While what I’ve said here might annoy some social conservatives, keep in mind that I’m suggesting that we take Gowdy’s principle a step farther, and include individuals, not just religious institutions. If you personally do not believe it is moral to have contraceptives, your hard-earned money should not pay for it, ever. If you personally do not believe that abortion is acceptable for anyone, the same applies. But, that should be the extent of your rights. You do not have the right to force those that disagree with your belief system to comply with it. Fairly simple, so it’s highly unlikely it would work in this country. After all, we love having a government that could mess up a one man parade.
Crossposted at Goldwater Gal