Friday, July 4, 2014

Denying Access to a Singular Belief

On a lazy Sunday night while flipping channels on the television, I came across The Matrix on a basic cable channel. Watching for a bit, I noticed a line of dialogue had been changed from “my own personal JESUS CHRIST” to “my own personal JUVENILE DELINQUENT.” When did “Jesus Christ” become censorable wording? Why must politically correct sensitivity favor those bothered by such words without consideration to those who hold them in reverence? As the United States has gradually transformed into a more secular society away from its religious roots, it increasingly seems to be losing its tolerance for them as well.

Then, the Supreme Court decision on the Hobby Lobby case sent liberals into delusional hysterics. From the beginning – at least, for anyone who truly believes in the U.S. Constitution – the one and only reaction to the case should have been that religious freedom had to be tested and, ultimately, upheld in the first place. As stated in their argument, Hobby Lobby – despite conflicting with the owner’s religious beliefs – already provided 16 of the 20 federally mandated contraceptive methods because it would violate those same beliefs not to provide such health-related benefits. The four they objected to are, in their opinion, non-health related for use more as birth control (i.e. an “aborticide”) than anything else, and, thus, opposed on religious grounds. In its certiorari petition to the court, the Obama Administration even suggested as such in citing the FDA concerning intrauterine devices (IUD), Plan B and ella that “may prevent the [fertilized] egg from attaching (implanting) in the womb (uterus)” – thereby ending the life of the unborn at conception in opposition to religious beliefs held by Hobby Lobby’s owners.

Whether you agree with that argument or not, religious freedom nevertheless has been a fundamental right of Americans as guaranteed in the Constitution since the founding of the United States. Is it a contentious precedent for business entities in terms of the “separation of church and state” – simply meant as no establishment of a state religion, rather than no religion in governing – as some contend? Perhaps, but millions of Americans still conduct their lives based around their religious beliefs; that fact cannot be easily trumped in favor of acquiescence to values that conflict with them. Doubly, it is hypocritical to single out and condemn one company for making a business decision based on moral grounds while praising numerous others for the same simply because the latter aligns with personal ideology.

Furthermore, employer-based health insurance never has been a guaranteed entitlement in the first place. Rather, it always has been an incentive benefit designed to attract employees. Forcing employers additionally to provide what employees believe they are entitled to – especially something that violates particular beliefs – eschews the generosity of what already is given freely to them. And not all companies are equal in that generosity even still today. Therein lays the rub. Despite the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), universal still does not equate to complete healthcare coverage. In fact, the ACA is anything but affordable, universal or complete; in many instances, access to healthcare has been made worse and more expensive in terms of rates and deductibles for fewer services than in the pre-Obamacare era. This is particularly true concerning the “you can keep your doctor” lie, as many insurance plans continue to dump doctors from their rolls to comply with mandates of the law.

As it is, the massive overhaul of the entire private healthcare industry has failed to address, tweak and fix the flaws of the old system while creating new ones in their wake. The Hobby Lobby case never would have occurred if not for Obamacare and its penalty-laden mandated healthcare coverages forced upon employers – which, as successfully argued, in part violate the religious beliefs of the company's owners. As alternatively proposed, a system tailored around individual choice and personal responsibility should have been, and still can be, implemented. Most notably is the example of the Health Savings Account (HSA), in which employees are free to use for whatever purpose whether to pay insurance premiums or doctor visits and employers would be mandated to pay into unconditionally. Under such a system, employees would have more choice in their healthcare decisions in choosing their own private insurance – with whatever desired or needed coverages, including mandated requirements for pre-existing conditions, contraceptives and prescription drugs – while essentially maintaining employer-based insurance coverage upon which employers would have no say.

It is distressing, if not poignant, that in the midst of this controversy, in which Christians have been attacked with
liberal exaggerations and outright lies concerning women’s health rights, President Obama hailed intolerant and repressively anti-women Islam on the occasion of Ramadan. Think there is a “war on women” in the U.S., as alleged by those on the left who ironically inflict and exploit it? Try protesting healthcare access and contraceptive coverage under sharia law, let alone obtaining it. Although agnostic and by no means religious by any measure myself, all of this should be troubling, and a wake up call, to anyone endowed with an ounce of common sense – clearly lacking in liberals who attacked SCOTUSblog, an independent blog that covers the Supreme Court, on social media for the Hobby Lobby decision as opposed to the actual U.S. Supreme Court – and tired of the “tolerance” hypocrisy continuously displayed by the liberal agenda. 

©2014 Steve Sagarra

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