Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Huge turn-out for Chick-fil-A coincides with today's end of conscience rights

Two noteworthy occasions are taking place today: the official start of the end of religious freedom in the United States, and a nationwide demonstration to fight for such freedoms.

By authorities granted to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through Obamacare, the HHS has mandated -- effective today -- that employers must provide health insurance to their employees that includes free contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs -- or face huge fines and penalties.

Starting today, private employers with religious and moral objections must make an unimaginable and wholly un-American choice: comply with the government and deny their faith, or deny the government and be subject to crippling fines.

Religious institutions, including churches, charities, and universities, have been given a one-year reprieve, but as of now the government can renege and force these institutions to comply at anytime. Many of these institutions - which help millions upon millions of Catholic and non-Catholic poor and other people in desperate need of services -- will simply close rather than go against their deeply held beliefs.

Never has there been such a heavy hand slammed down on religious freedom in the history of the United States. As of today, the federal government is forcing people of faith to violate their beliefs or be punished. It is a vile thing we would expect from the Stalin regime, not a modern-day American administration.

Coincidentally or not, today has also been set aside as the day to buy a meal at your local Chick-fil-A restaurant in support of the restaurant's owner, Dan Cathy, who is being excoriated for the unforgivable crime of saying in a media interview that he believes in the Bible's teaching on traditional marriage. In no way did Cathy say his restaurant chain denies service to anyone who holds different views nor did he denounce homosexuals in any way. He expressed a religious belief about the definition of marriage. That's it.

In response to his crime of exercising his Constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech and religious freedom, liberal/mainstream media outlets and many others across America are calling for boycotts of the restaurant (these are same people who preach against intolerance). But as demonstrative of intolerance as this is, it is the right of any American to boycott an establishment with which they disagree.

But what's really frightening is that some government officials - like the mayors of Boston and Chicago - are threatening to deny building or operating permits to the restaurant because of its stance on values. It's bad enough that a lot of potential jobs will disappear because of this. But to use the power of a government office to shut down a private business - not for violating any law or regulation, but simply because of its owner's personal opinion on something, is fascist, pure and simple.

In response to all of this, Americans who believe in real freedom and tolerance are going to the restaurant today in droves for a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day to show support for the restaurant. The support is not necessarily for traditional marriage, but the more fundamental issue of whether a company owner has the right to speak his mind freely and answer questions in an interview honestly. As of the writing of this post, some reports are saying the lines are out the door at several Chick-fil-A locations. The fight for freedom lives on.

Sadly though, when Americans are forced by our own government to violate personal beliefs, and private American businesses are being threatened out of existence for expressing those beliefs, it is no longer the America represented by the Constitution. It is a new America run by a government that has boldly put into practice its Chicago-style tactics of bullying, intimidating and blatantly demanding behavior that it knows cannot be demanded under our Constitution. So instead, it has simply tossed out the Constitution for all intents and purposes in favor of rule by an iron fist.

Of all of President Obama's broken promises about reducing the deficit, increasing jobs and protecting conscience rights, unfortunately the only one he has kept is his promise to "fundamentally transform America". And transform it he has. When we citizens are forced to violate our beliefs and cannot even safely express those beliefs, it is indeed an America transformed, and clearly not for the better.

Like the demonstrations being held today for Chick-fil-A, hopefully in November the lines at every polling place will be out the door in demonstration of a resounding "America Appreciation Day" for the great country we want to preserve, not transform.

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1 comment:

  1. Jeff/Sterling HeightsAugust 2, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    To Julie Szydlowski: when are you running for public office? You're the kind of person this country needs! Thanks for your articles - they are really great.