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Monday, April 16, 2012

Of Sluts, Apologies, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech and Shame

My, my, my, what a tangled, convoluted, public discussion we are having today about a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It reminds me of stream of consciousness rambling by people we have all encountered. They start talking about one topic, meander through a few more topics and end at a point so distant from the original subject that you have no inkling how to respond.
If you can possibly recall, this discussion started with Obamacare and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issuing a ruling that all institutions that provide health insurance must pay for contraceptives. This ruling infringes on freedom of religion in the United States and violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution that reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

When the federal government tells a Christian College that its medical insurance coverage must include paying for the cost of contraceptives for unmarried women, it is prohibiting the free exercise to religious beliefs. It is telling that College or other religious institution that it must violate what it believes to be immoral, i.e. sex outside of marriage. It is telling Christian business owners that they must violate their religious beliefs.

Because Obamacaremandates participating in Obamacare by all institutions, businesses and individuals (another Constitutionally questionable endeavor which shall not be discussed here) it now insists that the First Amendment of the US Constitution be ignored. In short, the government is demanding that religious individuals and organizations must violate theirbelief in a higher law, God’s Seventh Commandment…

You shall not commit adultery.

This is the issue at stake. President Obama, who recently reiterated his allegiance to Christianity at the National Prayer Day, is insisting that the Obamacare law takes precedence over the United States Constitution.

This should be the end of the story. But, it’s not.

When the Catholic Church and Christians all across America rose up in righteous outrage over this infringement on their rights under the First Amendment of the US Constitution, the Democrats and the White House realized they were in trouble, deep political trouble. They had made a major miscalculation.

What to do? What to do? The solution, change the narrative? Fuzz the issue. And, of course, blame the Republicans.

On February 16, 2012, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the contraceptives mandate by Secretary Sebelius. The Democrats were allowed to provide witnesses and they scheduled one to give testimony. However, at the last moment they withdrew that person from testifying and asked that Sandra Fluke testify. The first witness had been fully vetted in regard to his expertise, a typical process for Committee witnesses. Sandra Fluke could not be vetted in time to testify, so Congressman Darrel Issa, Chairman of the Committee denied her the opportunity to provide testimony and she did not testify.

The Committee hearing was largely ignored by the news media because they did not wish to highlight the fact that the Obama Administration had trampled on the First Amendment. Since the Democrats were unsuccessful in having Sandra Fluke testify, they decided to hold a rump Committee hearing. Essentially it was a staged political event which was, of course, widely covered by the compliant news media.

It was at this sham Committee hearing that Sandra Fluke spoke. To use the word testify would be to greatly stretch the concept of testimony. Congressional hearings require that those who testify provide first hand, personal testimony, and are not allowed to provide hearsay reporting. But that, of course, is what Sandra Fluke did as we now know.

Who is Sandra Fluke and why, if she wanted free birth control, did she seek out a Georgetown University Law School, a prominent Catholic institution? The answer is that this 30 year old has a long record of radical left activism. Ms. Fluke served as President of “Students for Reproductive Justice” and according to Cathy Ruse, former Chief Counsel of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, “…made it her mission to get the school to give up one of the last remnants of its Catholicism.” Ms. Fluke’s “testimony” before this sham Committee was a political speech at best and had absolutely nothing to do with the question as to whether the ruling by Kathleen Sebelius was Constitutional or unconstitutional. It was in short a political stunt and her “facts” turned out to be less than accurate. But, of course, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CBS, ABC, NBC accepted her statements without questioning the accuracy of her statements. Ms. Fluke complained that having to buy your own contraceptives was too great a burden on her and her many (unidentified) women friends, costing them $3,000 over the three years of law school. Just for the record, a quick investigation by the folks at The Weekly Standarddetermined that the cost of a popular contraceptive at a drugstore near the Georgetown University campus was $297, less than 10% of the amount cited by Ms. Fluke. But again, what does the cost of condoms have to do with the Constitutionality of Kathleen Sebelius issuing a regulation that all religious institutions pay for something that they deem to be immoral. That is still the point of this discussion that the left wing media dutifully ignore.

At this point the story becomes even more bizarre. Normally Rush Limbaugh is quite eloquent and artfully crystalizes issues, i.e. the Constitutionality of the Sebelius ruling. However, in this case, Rush’s eloquencefailed him. When I listened to him discuss the bogus Democratic hearing at which Ms. Fluke spoke, he ran off the rails. I knew it at the time. It’s OK for Ed Shultz at CNN to call conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham a “slut” but the same rules don’t apply to conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh. In fact, Rush was wrong when he called Ms. Fluke a prostitute. There is no evidence or reason to believe that she sold herself to make money. Rush was just plain wrong and he gave aid to the Democrats in taking this discussion far, far away from the topic which is whether the Sebelius ruling violated the First Amendment of the Constitution. I apologize for keep repeating the issue, but this story has so many twists and turns that it’s easy to get lost.

As to whether Ms. Fluke is a slut, who knows? A slut is a woman of low character who is sexually promiscuous according to my dictionary. Frankly, I think it’s likely that she would meet that definition, but I don’t have any proof that is the fact. Call me old school, but I do find it shocking that an unmarried woman would talk openly of her adulterous activities, even complaining that someone else should be paying for her immoral behavior. Bill Bennett has bemoaned the fact that today there is no shame in America. He is, of course, right. God’s Ten Commandments have been replaced by a secular code that boils down to, if it feels good, do it. This code of relativistic values is a cancer on our nation. It has destroyed marriages, broken up families, sentenced children to lifelong poverty, encouraged disrespect for the law, coarsened our society, and undermined our public institutions.

Sadly, it was just a quick hop, skip and a jump by President Obama from speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast and calling Ms. Fluke and then holding her up as an female icon for our nation. How embarrassing that the President of the United States and a self-identified Christian would encourage and defend the behavior of a young woman who lives an openly adulterous life? Is this the kind of character we want as the President of the United States? But, of course, the President acted because it was good politics and took the discussion further off the issue as to whether the Obamacare ruling by Kathleen Sebelius violated the First Amendment of the Constitution which is the issue at hand.

But let’s keep this stream of consciousness public discussion going, shall we? Now the issue is, according to the mainstream media and the Democrats, about whether Rush Limbaugh should be thrown off the air. Calls have been made to stations, to advertisers, and petitions signed demanding that Rush not only apologize, but be thrown off the air. Well, I can’t see into Rush’s heart, but I am, as a Christian, required to take his apology at face value. It wasn’t one of those “I’m sorry that you are offended by what I said” fake apologies you hear so often from politicians.

The essence of Christianity is about forgiveness, not retribution, not getting even. Yes, God is a just God and he can’t let us into heaven as unjust human beings, but he executed a plan to have his son Jesus(who lived a perfect life)take all our sins on himself, so that he could impugn righteousness to us. It’s not that Christians don’t sin and even do the same things that Ms. Fluke says she does. It’s the fact that they know such activities are wrong and ask God for forgiveness and more importantly, receive forgiveness.

But now I’m getting far off the topic which is whether or not the ruling by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is Constitutional. It’s the last thing the media wants to talk about. The last thing the Democratic Party wants to talk about. And certainly the last thing President Obama wants to talk about. So they won’t because there is no integrity left in the mainstream news media.

All I ask is that the next time you hear the name Sandra Fluke you think about one thing and one thing only—the total disregard for the United States Constitution by the Administration of President Barack Obama.

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