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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chicken, Bacon, and the HHS Mandate

August 1st. Chik Fil A Day. Also the day the HHS Mandate goes into effect. You would think that the two are unrelated, but not so much. You see, it's all about religious freedom, baby.

The HHS mandate, which forces all businesses to provide their employees with healthcare that includes contraceptive coverage, is one of the most egregious usurpations of individual liberty in recent years, always excepting the whole of Obamacare. Why? Because subject to that mandate are religious groups, most notably Catholic schools and hospitals, whose doctrine does not allow birth control. What the mandate does to them is akin to forcing Hasidic Delis to serve bacon.

The real problem is that it's the government. The one thing that we can be certain of is that if we allow the government a foothold here - with forcing Catholics to violate their consciences to comply with a government mandate - no one can predict where it will stop. It sets precedent that will allow the government to violate the religious freedoms of those who refuse medical care altogether for religious reasons. Next they could legitimately attack those who choose not to vaccinate their children, whether their reasons are religious or personal. (And let's be realistic - a nation of women who have to pay for their own birth control is far less of a public health risk than a nation of children who are not vaccinated.) The end game is that if the government is allowed - even begged, as by Sandra Fluke and Nancy Pelosi - to violate this particular aspect of religious freedom, we give it the authority to violate ALL aspects of religious freedom.

What does that have to do with chicken sandwiches? (Aside from the fact that Chik Fil A serves up an awesome chicken club with BACON, I mean.) Chik Fil A, with the help of Mike Huckabee and hundreds of thousands of Americans, is standing up for religious freedom and the right of individuals to express it. As nearly everyone on the planet is aware, Chik Fil A CEO Dan Cathy happened to mention in an interview his support - and, by extension, his company's support - of the traditional family and traditional marriage. In a concerted effort to take offense at what was realistically a fairly benign statement, liberals everywhere made it clear that "I support traditional marriage" and "I hate all gay people" are actually the same statement. (Maybe that's true if you happen to attend the Westboro Baptist Church, but not where I come from.)

If all the liberals wanted to do was boycott Chik Fil A over that position, then I would have nothing to say. Individuals have every right to express their opinions - Roseanne Barr, who said that "anyone who ate at S--- Fil A deserved to get the cancer" - has just as much right to say what she thinks as Dan Cathy. And they are free to express said opinion by refusing to buy chicken - just as I am free to express my opinion of John Kerry by refusing to buy Heinz products.

But when the mayors of several cities get involved, it becomes a different story. They, like any other individual United States citizens, have the right to express their individual opinions on the subject. But when they make it a political issue and begin banning private businesses because of their religious affiliations, they overstep their rights and begin to infringe the religious liberties of others.

[Understand that if Chik Fil A was truly guilty of discrimination, the acts of the mayors in question would be slightly less egregious. But because Chik Fil A does not discriminate against homosexuals who choose to work or eat there, they lose any ground they thought they had. (As my brother-in-law said, "When I go to Chik Fil A, it's not like they make me sign a statement saying I'm not gay before they give me chicken...")]

So in the face of infringement of religious liberty, both enforced (through the HHS mandate) and attempted (against Chik Fil A), free speech purists all across America are doing what they can today to strike out for freedom: EATing MOR CHIKIN.

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