Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Many politicians, whether candidates or incumbents, when they set pen to paper or put pixels on a computer screen, unwittingly reveal their unfitness for the office which they seek. They document their ignorance, prejudices, hypocrisy, and lack of respect for others. They cannot know much about all important issues of the day. But they can try to be honest and decent despite their political ambitions and not let arrogance fill in for ignorance, or ideology shut out information and ideas.

In her column “New mandate undermines religious liberty” (LCSN, 11 Feb), Heather Wilson identifies herself as “a candidate for the United States Senate” but omits her affiliation as a Republican—sham or shame? Her column is another anti-Obama screed: distortions, fabrications, lies, illogicalities, and emotional appeals. If this candidate bearing false witness is your idea of what you want in a representative, then realize what she represents about you.

Last month, the Obama administration mandated that all employers, religiously affiliated or secular, provide insurance coverage for female contraception. The mandate did not apply to exclusively religious institutions—churches, temples, mosques, seminaries, etc.—whose function is entirely religious or charitable. It did apply to religiously affiliated institutions like colleges and hospitals serving the public and receiving public funds. The federal mandate reflects similar mandates in 28 states.

The Obama administration responded to the Catholic Church’s opposition to these institutions’ paying for coverage of contraceptive medicines, devices, and other services doctrinally objectionable. It revised the mandate to ensure that no religiously affiliated as well as no religious institution pay for such coverage, and to require that their insurance companies absorb the costs of coverage. For most people, this arrangement settled the matter without infringing on religious freedom.

But for some disgruntled Catholic leaders, many opportunistic politicians, and their dupes, making something else out of nothing is good politics—here, old news bypassed by events but recycled for campaign purposes. So they have raised a hue-and-cry that the Obama administration attempted an assault on “religious liberty”—another attempt to demonize Obama as unchristian (Muslim? Anti-Christ?). They were indifferent yesterday; they are indignant today. The Catholic Church and many representatives and senators from those 28 states saw no threat to “religious liberty” then. Now they do.

Heather Wilson is one of those hypocrites. As a federal representative, she saw no threat to “religious liberty” in similar New Mexico laws. The National Conference of State Legislatures summarizes them. Two laws “require each individual and group health insurance policy, health care plan and certificate of health insurance that provides a prescription drug benefit to provide coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs or devices. A religious entity [e.g., church] purchasing health insurance coverage can elect to exclude prescription contraceptive drugs or devices from health coverage.” One law “requires specified insurance plans to offer coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs or devices, which may be subject to deductibles and coinsurance.”

Now Wilson seeks to sustain a religious war to support her senatorial campaign. Her fraudulent concerns appear in carefully crafted distortions, fabrications, or deceptions.

Obama did not mandate anything for “Catholic universities and hospitals” “despite their moral opposition.” The mandate did not target any religion or religion in general. Few, if any, religiously affiliated institutions, Catholic or not, objected to the mandate. The mandate did not disregard objections; it could not because none existed before it was issued! Methodist Wilson is pandering for Catholic votes.

The federal government does not “force people [i.e., employers] to violate their religious and moral beliefs by making them provide abortion drugs and sterilization procedures for free to their employees.” It does not impose requirements on anyone to provide “abortion drugs” or “sterilization” for free or for fee. Wilson uses these emotional words without reference to reality or truth to arouse and mislead New Mexicans.

Wilson no more believes in “religious liberty” for all than a pig believes in Sunday. She does not know or care that her “pro-life” stance clashes with “religious liberty” and encourages conservative Christian coercion. Her “pro-life” definition of human life as the moment of conception is exclusively Christian. It is blind or indifferent to non–Christian definitions of human life and related religious principles and medical practices. Her support for “pro-life” legislation threatens to attacks the religious conscience and convictions of non-Christian constituents here and citizens elsewhere, invade their religiously affiliated medical institutions, and intimidate their medical personnel. Her “pro-life” stance “undermines religious liberty” for Americans who are not Christians.

Heather Wilson uses a degraded and reprehensible rhetoric to advance her political ambitions. Despite her past military and Congressional oaths to defend the Constitution, she scorns its guarantees of religious freedom for all Americans and advocates non-compliance with political laws not to her religious liking. How much hypocrisy, religious imperialism, demagoguery, and defiance of the law do we want in this candidate, who does not represent New Mexicans and respect all faiths?

1 comment:

  1. [MK has sent a comment concluding with an obscenity. I have cut it and replied afterwards.]

    Talk about the “pot calling the kettle black”, you Dr Hays are just as bad as Heather Wilson and Jim Harbison, but you are on the opposite side of the fence. Personally I feel that all of you are so locked into your little bubble worlds that anytime someone disagrees with your individual viewpoint(s), that you immediately start accusing them of propagating lies and/or mis-representations. The world is not black and white, it has infinite shades of grey and no matter what one person believes, there will be at least one other person who believes the exact opposite.

    I am not Catholic, but the Federal Government requiring religious institutions to supply medications that they oppose on religious beliefs is wrong. Obama said that religious institutions would not be paying for the prescriptions, but a large majority are “self-insured” and only use a 3rd party to administer the claims, so they will be paying for it no matter what.

    Politicians lie everytime they open their mouths because they want to get elected or re-elected. Most people understand that about politicians which is why they have a “low opinion” rating. Academics, such as yourself have spent so much time in books that you can't see the world for what it is, only for what you want it to be. Which is just as bad as politicians, but you are lying to yourself as much as you lie to your readers.

    Heather Wilson is an opportunist, just like Obama and for that matter you. All of you only see/hear what you want to, everything else is discarded as “lies”, “untruths”, or “propaganda”….

    [To which I reply: MK’s presumed balancing is a cop-out from actually looking at what different people say and determining who has (better) facts and (better) arguments. MK does not bother distinguishing between religious and religiously affiliated institutions, so he cannot make much an argument about the mandate. MK does not explain why a federal mandate is wrong but why earlier and similar state mandates are right. MK does not explain why the many presumably self-insured institutions have accepted the state mandates and have not protested the federal mandate. MK does not explain why the extension of labor law is an infringement on religious beliefs in religiously affiliated institutions serving the general public and receiving public funds. MK’s generalities about politicians as liars and opportunists are sophomoric. I am not an “academic,” and MK’s anti-intellectual sneers are neither relevant nor respectful. But they are not surprising in an ill-informed and ill-argued position.]