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Gospel of Obama per Dr Krauthammer

Gospel of Obama per Dr Krauthammer

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Published by John Sobert Sylvest

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Published by: John Sobert Sylvest on Feb 10, 2012
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02/10/2012

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In response to:http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gospel-according-to-obama/2012/02/09/gIQAngvW2Q_story.html
Dear Dr. Krauthammer,It would be precisely those Catholics who protest the loudest who would be leastlikely to buy into your
"functionalist"
definition, immersed as they are in their
"essentialistic"
metaphysic, which, in fact, lies at the root of the present, as you call it,contretemps. Now, it is true, especially for one with a catholic (both/and) perspective,that there is to be no compartmentalization of one's religious sensibilities, as they areto provide the impetus for the integral manner in which we live, move and enjoy ourentire being in this world, impacting all that we do and all that we are. Still, adistinctly catholic perspective does not believe that human moral reasoning requiresthe benefits of any divine revelation and thus draws a distinction between
faith
and
morals
, the latter which do not require the former in order to live a good life, as I amcertain you'd be among the first to agree. Faith is
super-reasonable
, going beyondempirical, logical, practical and moral reasoning but not without them.Our history of American jurisprudence seems to have implicitly (albeit still tooinchoately) adopted a similar parsing regarding what is distinctly religious, governing
one's relationship with ultimacies
, and what is clearly moral,
governing one'srelationship with other wo/men
. So, this history reveals that, whenever these religiousand secular magisteria overlap but in serious contradiction, they appear to defer, evenyield, one to the other? Less serious contradictions apparently result in exemptions.The rub, in the case at hand, will likely come down to competing visceral reactionsregarding just how serious this matter is for just how many people and why. So, this
religion clause jurisprudence
is much more nuanced than all the recent politicaldemagoguery surrounding the birth control coverage recommendation made by theInstitute of Medicine to the United States Department of Health and Human Services?Jurisprudence provides no consensus model of interpretation for our 1st Amendment'sreligion clauses (
nonestablishment 
and
free exercise
); specifically, it offers no singledefinition of the term religion. Some interpretations could rely on specific contextsand draw upon parallels from other clauses. For example, when religious expression isat issue, the
free speech
clause might guide us; when discrimination is at issue, the
equal protection
clause might offer insights. At any rate, if we look at our history tosee what government has clearly established, legislated, enforced and adjudicated,perhaps we can also better circumscribe what it is that the free exercise of religionwould necessarily entail or not?Clearly, the government HAS NEVER established liturgical or devotional norms,whether theistic or not, for the creedal, cultic or communal dimensions of any faith orother concerns regarding ultimacy?Just as clearly, however, the government HAS INDEED routinely establishedpractical and moral norms, both prescriptive and proscriptive, notwithstandingcompeting stances by religious authorities?Now, it is implausible that the term religion, which, in the 1st Amendment, was used
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once and shared by both clauses, has different meanings in each clause? On thesurface, then, isn't it a little disingenuous to invoke the phrase "religious liberty" for aposition that is essentially moral and practical rather than liturgical, devotional,creedal, cultic or communal?Is this really an unprecedented and historic attack on "religious freedom" or thecommon sensical administration of what are essentially PRACTICAL norms, not thatmuch different from:1) mandated compulsory education even over the "religious" objections of many
Amish
?2) mandated medical intervention for minors even over the "religious" objections of many
Christian Scientists
?3) mandated immunizations for an std even over the "religious" objections of many
Evangelicals
?4) mandated metabolic screenings of week old infants even over the "religious"objections of many
Scientologists
?5) mandated MMR immunizations even though the rubella vaccine was developedfrom FDA-approved fetal tissue cell-line cultures even over the "religious" objectionsof many
Roman Catholics
?6) mandated blood transfusions for minors even over the "religious" objections of many
Jehovah Witnesses
?7) outlawing of polygamy even over the "religious" objections of many
Mormons
?8) and so on and so forth
ad nauseum
?Both individual and societal risks, as accounted for in public health concerns, can beregulated by government without violating so-called "religious" liberty! Public healthlaws that are generally-applicable and religion-neutral do not interfere with the right tofree exercise of religion. This is the logic used by state courts in holding thatmandatory vaccination of school children does not interfere with religious liberty. Notonly do states not have a constitutional
"obligation"
to enact religious exemptions,when it comes to vaccines, it remains unclear whether they even have theconstitutional
"authority"
to enact them!Catholics do not ordinarily differ, significantly, from the rest of the population ongender, sex and life issues. Because SUPERMAJORITIES favor both
embryonic stemcell research
and
in vitro fertilzation
, clearly both IUD's and morning after pills aremorally acceptable forms of birth control to them, along with condoms and othercontraceptives. Taken together, all of these forms of birth control can
drastically
reduce the numbers of abortions (despite the incredibly tortured logic and oft statedcounters to the contrary). So, given that, as gestation advances, there is an increasingconsensus among those of otherwise divergent views regarding the moral significanceof the embryo, many find it poignantly sad (some even morally repugnant) when birthcontrol access is curtailed since it could head off so many of these
truly tragic
choices. And they find it similarly sad (again, often repugnant), that so many die fromAIDS where condom access has been curtailed (e.g. African missions). Additionally,there are other therapeutic purposes to birth control pills beyond their contraceptiveefficacies. The public health consequences of the Dept of HHS mandates that nowhang in the balance are clearly not insignificant and the expressed will of the
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