I just don't get the conservative paranoia in America about Sharia Law. I understand how it is being used as manipulative anti islam xenophobic scare tactic, but the fear that the manipulated idiots have about it becoming a real issue in America is simply not logical. Unless of course, we use the manipulative political propaganda illogic that the nominally christian conservatives and the right wing religious groups are using now to oppose the mandated contraception assistance availability that the Obama administration has proposed.
The offending proposal has actually been in effect in 28 American States since the 1990's and was enacted during the time of George Bush Jr. California, for example has had a birth control mandate law on the books since 1999.
Cal. Insurance Code § 10123.196 and Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1367.25(1999) require certain health insurance policies that already cover prescription drugs to provide coverage for prescription contraceptive methods approved by the FDA. Religious employers can request health insurance plans without coverage of approved contraceptive methods that are contrary to the employer’s religious tenants. (AB 39)
The California allows churches to opt out, and is exactly like the proposed federal one. In fact, the federal law was modeled after the exemption offered by California and other states.
The latest opponent of the Administrations proposal is none other than Rick Warren, the Saddleback Congregation, based in Lake Forest, CA. Warren has been pontificating about just about everything, Here is a statement by him from 2008 in which he goes off about embryonic stem cell research and abortion in there, but nothing -- absolutely nothing -- about birth control or contraception. While it is true that Warren advocates for abstinence-only measures for unmarried women, I can find no statement of his that speaks to what married women may or may not do within church doctrine.
So it is rather strange that he is now on the anti administration conservative bandwagon along with the catholic church with is twitter statement from last week:
"I'd go to jail rather than cave in to a govement mandate that violates what God commands us to do. Would you? Acts 5:29"
Incidentally, I would like to know if Warrens' Saddleback employee health insurance plan complies with California law or not. But of course, he is not alone by a far shot, we have the catholic church and every republican presidential candidate making a religious based opposition to the administrations policy a political issue. I mean, hey Mitt? What about the mormons? Mitt's a mormon and he's opposing it on ostensibly religious grounds, the same as the catholic, Santorum. I suppose mormons are considered christian...well they are a white male dominated aryan religion, just like the catholics. But, wouldn't you say that this is a great example of religion trying to dictate the policies for all Americans? This using their logic, is like Sharia. Religious doctrines and beliefs dictate the law for everyone, regardless whether they adhere to the religious beliefs of not.
This is not American. This is not our Constitution. And, if you really want the evidence that this is unconstitutional and illegal, there is a century of American legal rulings that have established the precedents and the framework that prove that Sharia law could never be acceptable in America.
Antonin Scalia, extremely conservative devout catholic Supreme Court justice himself, ruling on the 1990 Supreme Court Case, Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, wrote the opinion:
“We have never held that an individual’s religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition."
Scalia traces Supreme Court rulings on the issue back to an 1879 decision that upheld federal laws against polygamy. A member of the Mormon Church had argued that because his faith required men to marry multiple wives, polygamy was protected under the First Amendment and that Mormons could claim a religious exemption from such a law.
Might be a good time to ask Mr. Romney if he thinks the United States' no-polygamy rule was an attack on the freedom of religion of Mormons.
Probably the most relevant case to this controversy was a recent 1982 Supreme Court ruling that closely parallels the current discussion over contraception:
In United States v. Lee, the Supreme Court found that there was nothing unconstitutional in requiring an Amish employer to withhold and pay Social Security taxes for his workers even though “the Amish faith prohibited participation in governmental support programs.”
Here’s how they put it:
“When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes that are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees.”
Not only do these decisions decisively demonstrate that the American Constitution is the best defense against any fear of the goblin of Sharia Law, but it is firm legal ruling that the Mormons, The Catholics, Evangelical Christians and any other garden variety of conservative religious groups cannot impose their religious beliefs on any of their own employees, including their employees who aren't even Catholic, Mormon or what ever. How does Mitt Romney feel about the employees' freedom of religion? Or was he just grandstanding, as usual, on an issue that he held a 180 degree different view just six years ago?