Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Two Wars

It seems like America has always been at war.  For many kids growing up today all they have ever known is war.  The mass media, left and right, and our political chattering class has been talking a lot about war in recent weeks.  In fact, each side seems to have their own favorite war.  Of course, I'm talking about the twin wars on religion and women.  The only problem is that the two wars are a fiction of the imagination concocted wholly by the political elites.

First, the war on religion.  Republicans like to claim that President Obama and his administration have embarked on a 'war on religion.'  As evidence, they point to the recent requirement by the Department of Health & Human Services requiring ALL employers to provide birth control if they provide insurance to their employees.  Even though the directive specifically exempts religious institutions engaged in religious activities Republicans see a war on religion.  They are, of course, wrong.  It is not a 'war' in any sense of the word, merely a requirement that all organizations, whether religious or not, who are engaged in non-religious activities (i.e., commerce) abide by the same rules.  This requirement upholds the constitutional separation between church and state prohibiting Congress from either establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.  There is nothing inherently religious about participating in the business world that should give religious entities an exception, thus allowing them a competitive advantage over secular entities.  The requirement neither inhibits nor promotes the advancement of religion, which squares with what the Supreme Court ruled in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971).

Second, the so-called 'war on women' concocted by those on the political left is another example of political fiction.  Pundits and politicians from Candy Crowley to Nancy Pelosi have claimed that the GOP is engaged in a war on women by opposing the above regulation.  Then they proceed to invoke polls that show the war on women is harming Republicans.  Yet another figment of the political elites imagination.  It is a war that doesn't exist, just like the war on religion is a figment concocted somewhere in the bowels of the GOP.  Sure, some of the policies advocated by Republicans in recent months might shore up Democratic support among women but that really is nothing new.  It is simply a solidification of the gender gap that has been present for a very long time.  President Obama won the female vote by 13 percentage points over John McCain in 2008, up 10 points from John Kerry's result in 2004, but similar to Al Gore's margin over George W. Bush in 2000.

In the end, there is neither a war on religion nor a war on women going on.  No, the true war being waged by the politicians and the talking heads is on the intelligence of the American People.  We deserve better but we won't get it until we demand accountability from the press, from the politicians, and, ultimately, begin to think for ourselves and question the garbage being fed to us by the elites.

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