Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HHS and Soft Totalitarianism: Defining Religious Freedom Down

George Weigel makes the argument at First Things about Obama's push against the institutional pluralism of civil society.  The administration's drive to foist its agenda on the world has been called "moral imperialism."  At home it involves destroying the heart of the American democratic republic, squeezing out the space between state and individual, the mediating structures that are the heart of social justice and the key bulwark against totalitarianism.  

HHS and Soft Totalitarianism
Feb 15, 2012
George Weigel
The Obama administration’s recently-announced HHS regulations, which would require Catholic institutions to subsidize health insurance coverage that provides sterilization, abortifacient drugs, and contraceptives, should be located within the context of the administration’s three-year long effort to define religious freedom down.

As the administration has demonstrated in its international human rights policy, it regards religious freedom as a kind of privacy right: the right to freedom of worship, which the administration seems to regard as analogous to any other optional, recreational activity. No serious student of religious freedom, however, takes the redefinition of religious freedom as freedom-to-worship seriously. For if that redefinition were true, there would be “religious freedom” in Saudi Arabia, so long as the “worship” in question were conducted behind closed doors. And that is manifestly absurd.

The HHS regulations announced on January 20 are one domestic expression of defining-religious-freedom-down.   READ MORE

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