kirsten powers (@kirstenpowers10) March 16, 2012
Bad news for the GOP on the religious liberty vs. contraception debate: Americans aren’t buying what you are selling.
A new Public Religion Research Institute poll released yesterday—which was done in partnership with Religion News Service—found that a majority (56 percent) of Americans do not believe that the right of religious liberty is being threatened in America today. Even worse for the right: A majority of Catholics (57 percent) and independents (58 percent) do not view Obama’s contraception mandate for religiously affiliated institutions as an infringement on religious liberty.
They are also losing on the key argument of the GOP, led by superstar Senator Marco Rubio: that religiously affiliated institutions should have the same protections as churches. PRRI’s chief executive, Dr. Robert P. Jones, told me, “Americans do believe that churches are special. There is no demographic that thinks that churches should be required to [provide contraception]. But a majority of Americans and Catholics continue to think religiously affiliated institutions should be required to cover birth control with no cost.”
The raging public debate and drumbeat from Republicans that Obama is infringing on religious liberty has been largely ignored. Says Jones, “There hasn’t been much of a change since our last poll. The numbers have been consistent. The bigger picture is most Americans and Catholics just aren’t connecting dots between the threat to religious liberty and the contraception debate.”
We understand that Ms. Powers has a tough job maintaining her liberal cred while going to the wall on the issue of media misogyny from people like Bill Maher, but the entire point of the First Amendment’s freedom of religion clauses is to defend the freedoms of minorities in the face of popular opinion as expressed in things like . . . polls.
The Founders evidently believed that certain rights were absolute, and the Obama administration’s attempt to dictate to religious sects what their core functions are and are not is tyranny, plain and simple. To speak merely of the Catholic Church, they have considered institutions such as hospitals central to their mission since Medieval times, and they base this crazy idea on such purported statements of Jesus as “Whatever you do to my brethren, you do also to Me.”
Obama seems to have no problem granting waivers to unions, who rallied vociferously to the support of his healthcare monstrosity, or to the Amish, or to corporations who make nice with Mrs. Obama’s dietary diktats. And it’s not just a First Amendment issue. We seem to recall that Mr. Obama praised the way in which his plan avoided the “one size fits all” trap. The Tenth Amendment grants states the right to decide what is best for them, whatever the Obama administration may believe, and this is of benefit to the nation, because we can see where various experiments have succeeded or, as in the case of RomneyCare, failed.
The Obama health insurance ‘compromise’ is no such thing, and we sometimes wonder whether Kirsten Powers has contemplated the meaning of the Bill of Rights any more than the ‘constitutional scholar’ in the White House has.