by Dr. D ~ February 9th, 2012
Washington Post editor Melinda Henneberger on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews last night made this startling statement ‘defending’ the Catholic Church:
“Maybe the Founders were wrong to guarantee free exercise of religion in the First Amendment but that is what they did and I don’t think we have to choose here.”
CHRIS MATTHEWS: There you have the ideological argument from the left, I suppose, the progressives in this country. You heard it well-spoken there, I believe, Melinda, they see it as an argument over whether you’re allowed to have birth control or getting covered as part of the insurance or not. The Catholic Church and those who are looking at the interests of the, well, the First Amendment if you will, as they see it look at it differently. Explain this distinction and how you look at the interests involved, the conflicts, the rights involved here.
MELINDA HENNEBERGER (Washington Post): I just think the two sides can’t hear each other, not that there is anything unusual about that. But I know in my own conversations with friends, I’m saying, "First Amendment, First Amendment, First Amendment." And what I hear back is, "Wow. I had no idea you, you didn’t believe in birth control." You know, this really is seen widely among Catholics and people of other faiths as an attack on religious liberty. Maybe the Founders were wrong to guarantee free exercise of religion in the First Amendment, but that is what they did and I don’t think we have to choose here. The key is that I think there are ways we can go about this where, without infringing on any concern about a woman’s health, we can still guarantee religious liberty without which, I mean, there is no way this is going to stand in the court but it’s also a huge political liability.
MATTHEWS: Okay. You say there is no way it’s going to stand in the court. Let’s assume there is no legislation that gets signed by the President. Let’s assume it stands between this who’s going to blink thing. Let’s ask, will the Catholic Church, let’s ask, blink? Can you imagine them saying we give up. We’re going to provide full insurance coverage with no co-pay for everything now defined by the FDA as birth control. They’re going to do it. They’re going to go for this?
HENNEBERGER: That actually can never happen so they would have to literally go- I mean, what Sister Carol Keehan is saying who runs the Catholic Health association, do I really have to choose between the call that I think came from Jesus to serve the have nots in this world and the government telling me that I have to do something that goes against my faith? I mean, this really- that will never happen so what they’re doing is guaranteeing people, you know, these Catholic outfits and others can’t serve the populations that they were called to serve. But, it does not have to come to that.
Response: Remember WaPo editor Melinda Henneberger was defending the Catholic Church in the conversation and supporting the rights of the church to continue their allied ministries and looking for someway that religious freedom could be preserved while maintaining a woman’s right to choose and receive expanded healthcare.
The conversation is revealing on a number of different levels. Both Henneberger and Matthews are progressives and the issue is really about how they might be able to get around the Constitution which allows religious freedom and yet provide for a progressive agenda which supports a woman’s ‘right to choose’ and wants to provide for contraceptives, abortive next-day pills, and ultimately abortion through mandated health care insurance on the dime of employers, even religious ones.
Matthews sees the progressive ‘right to choose’ agenda as trumping religious rights. Henneberger points out here that the 1st amendment of Constitution will actually end up supporting the church in this matter therefore they must find a way around it.
The slip of the tongue here by the WaPo editor ( Maybe the Founders were wrong to guarantee free exercise of religion in the First Amendment) actually reveals an on-going battle in progressive think tanks over what the 1st Amendment actually means and how to get around it in order to support a hierarchy of rights for homosexuals and women.
The current progressive thinking is that the ‘freedom of religion’ in this country needs to be re-interpreted and limited to a ‘freedom of worship’ instead. A ‘freedom of worship’ only affects what is happening within a religious worship center itself and does not include the public square. This seems to be the Obama Administration approach. If Barack Obama gets a 2nd term then the issue will be front and center as he chooses 100’s of federal judges which also reflect that view.
Here are links to a couple of articles I have written on the issue: