The HHS mandate story that won’t go away


Ken Blackwell is set to take the stage in about an hour at the 2012 National Religious Freedom Conference, being put on by the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

We’ve received an advance copy of Blackwell’s speech — which looks to be stemwinder.

Here are a few excerpts:

If the federal government can force not only Catholic institutions, but those of many other faith communities, and small businesses, and family-owned firms to provide drugs that can cause abortions or chemical contraceptives that violate their beliefs, then the First Amendment to the Constitution has effectively been repealed.

Late in the 19th Century, Germany’s Chancellor Bismarck waged an assault against Catholics. The Prime Minister intended to close down Catholic schools and hospitals, convents and monasteries throughout the country. We’re not there yet; but we must be vigilant.

… This present danger notwithstanding, our experience suggests that most threats to religious freedom have come at the state and local levels. One of the most blatant examples was the case of Oregon in the 1920s. There, a popular referendum‚ strongly backed by the Ku Klux Klan‚ outlawed private education. Only when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this unconstitutional in the case of Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) was this threat blocked. It was in this case that the Court memorably said: “The child is not the mere creature of the state.”

… Conscience Protection Laws are vitally needed. Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas recently signed a strong one. But many state laws are weak or unenforced.  In Washington State, for example, Gov. Christine Gregoire pressured a pharmacy owned and operated by two sisters who refused to dispense the so-called morning after pill. This drug can cause abortions. The Governor personally joined in a boycott of this family-owned pharmacy.  So much for the war on women.

Read the whole thing here.

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