frankly, i could have picked any one of hundreds of articles to link to, but a particular quote from a Missouri GOP State Rep struck a chord with me:
“This is about sending a message to the federal government that we don’t like things rammed down our throat.”
this kind of rhetoric is becoming increasingly commonplace. while many laws are allowed to be set by the States, some things are Federal territory - things like civil rights, for example. but some areas of our country have become so Religious that they are attempting to bypass any Federal law that goes against their Religious beliefs.
in this case, the law in question is the Obamacare mandate requiring contraceptive care. this is not the Bishops at it again, but this Bill is essentially a state version of the "Respect the Rights of Conscience Act" that was shot down in the Senate 2 months ago. this isn't about Catholic employers, but ANY employer who wishes to deny it's employees any kind of healthcare that goes against their conscience.
while the issue itself is complex (and absurd), the idea behind it is what i'd like to discuss. suddenly, we find ourselves in a country where States are directly taking on the Federal gov't. they are making laws and daring the Administration to "come and get them". we've seen this in states defunding Planned Parenthood, such as Texas and Arizona. in Texas, the Feds said that they would defund the state's total Women's Health Program. to that threat, Texas has said, "good, us too". so much for our Gov't having teeth.
in Mississippi, they have successfully all but eliminated abortions through legal means. abortion in Mississippi may be legal, but good luck trying to get one there. where has the Federal gov't been to defend it's citizens from laws that abolish a federally protected right?
now Missouri is joining the fun, sticking a proverbial finger in Obama's face, all but daring the gov't to do something about it. perhaps they are gun shy during this election year. or maybe they are waiting for the SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare. but what i find shocking is how brazen these state houses are being at snubbing the Federal gov't, and with all things, Obama's biggest accomplishment - his Healthcare Plan. you'd think he'd be all over this like white on a Republican. yet i hear crickets from his side, and very loud, viscious, and daring speech on the other.
perhaps this "poll" is what is happening out there in Jesusland:
i put poll in quotations because of the source (forgive me for linking WND) - it was conducted by the Knights of Columbus. yet, even if it's a flawed poll and doesn't represent the vast majority of Americans, it says that 3 of 4 people think Religious Rights should be put above the law. even if it's 3 out of 4 totally batshit crazy wing-nuts, that is a scary thing for so many people to believe. it's the kind of belief that leads to serious stand-offs, and not just in the Courts.
the idea of "no-compromise" is spreading from the Republican politicians to Republican citizens. they see their leaders setting the example, and i fear they are following them to a T. and just like much of the nonsense we are seeing from Republican politicians, it stems from Religious beliefs. at some point in time, the role of Religion in American law and politics needs to be re-defined. right now, the line is too blurry.
we hear that there is a War on Religion in America, and they may be right. will the Federal gov't have the guts to take on this War and remind the entire country that Religion has it's place, but it is not in our secular laws or gov't. will the Federal govt, regardless of who is in the White House, stand up to States that are egregiously making laws that violate Federal law? will the Federal gov't stand up for citizens that live in States that are denying citizens their rights? God i hope so.
Thank you for such an interesting and well-reasoned post. What bothers me the most about the so-called states rights people is that they largely live in states that are totally dependent on the federal government to pay their bills. Most of the ultra-religious states also comprise the group of states that take more dollars from the federal government than they contribute. It will never happen but I’d love to see the feds say that from now on any state can refuse to comply with federal rules in any area they wish. But if that choice is exercised that state will lose all federal dollars associated with that program. Within months these people would learn just how dependent they are on the rest of us to support them and how badly they need the federal government. Right now they are free to criticize and continue cashing checks. Take away the money and teach them a lesson.
Excellent point Jonathan. You put it much more politely than a prior author on another site, called the Annotated Rant. It's called F%&k the South, and it's quite humorous, if you don't mind all the cursing. Written back in 2004, but makes the salient points that have been raised here.
@Johathan - Absolutely spot on! This state with our position as 4th highest in unemployment, couldn't make it a week without their federal funding and yet still we go round and round over issues concerning putting tolls on interstates (they own them since they run through the state dontcha know), rejecting federal funding for Planned Parenthood (no kidding they tried and sadly it looks like they're going to waste more taxpayer money going back to court on this same issue...), then there was the latest debacle of an unconstitutional amendment to the state constitution regarding marriage (I see that costing the state taxpayers a ton of money for litigation soon...)
Seriously they don't even respect state law enough to enforce it and protect the smallest of our citizens (long story), so federal laws down here... meh, they don't mean a thing to our legislators, pull their federal funding and watch the rats scamper back into their holes when the taxpayers come out with their pitchforks hungry and angry.
Curse you 15 minute edit!!! Sorry I flubbed your name Jonathan!
Jonathan, you're welcome, and thanks for your comment.
"It will never happen but I’d love to see the feds say that from now on any state can refuse to comply with federal rules in any area they wish."
i actually think it may happen. hell, it already happened with Texas. the Feds cut off their $35 million in funding for it's Women's Health Program b/c of Texas defunding Planned Parenthood. Texas Governor Rick Perry first said that he'd find the funding himself, and later said that if he couldn't find the funding he'd just drop the entire program. now all this is in the courts.
it's easy to drop a program that benefits poor folks. but would Texas take a similar stand on Education if the Feds threatened to remove their funding from that? if, for example, Texas wanted to teach Creationism (well, they kinda do) and told the US that they were going to do so whether the government objects or not.
Pat, Thank you for sharing that. I always like a good laugh.
It's totally fine Tammy. We're all friends here.
The states could care less what the hell a woman does with her body! The states could careless how and where you educate your children!
What the states do care about are votes!! Power, and control of the Presidency, of congress and the house!
Did you notice the states who are cutting, planned parenthood, education and anything publically funded are RED states? REPUBLICAN states!
The republicans cannot run on accomplishments so they push these wedge issues!
Ever hear the one about Obama taking your guns?? Yeah 4 years and those constitutional rights are still very much intact!
How about the one about him implementing “Shariah Law”?? Still awaiting that one too! LOL
We are dealing with a very uneducated, uninformed electorate! That is the way they (REPUBLICANS) like it!
People are hiding behind their religion (WHICH KEEPS THEM DUMB AND UNINFORMED)to justify their racism!
EVERY REPUBLICAN ISN'T A RACIST, BUT EVERY RACIST IS A REPUBLICAN!
The propaganda would only work, if there was some other driving force behind it!
How do you think people could possibly believe that Republican policies work after 8 years of them NOT working at all??
How does a person come to the conclusion that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans create jobs when this country lost 750,000 PER MONTH under George Bush???
I think you are barking up the wrong tree. The subject of injecting religion into politics has been visited.
The founding fathers spoke on the subject of religion in the constitution when they wrote that there shall be a separation of church and state! Educated and informed electorate is the BEST defense!
i'm not sure i follow your logic. are you agreeing with my post or disagreeing? i can't tell.
I am not sure who you are talking to?? Me?
I'm sorry I don't know whats so presumptuous about an educated electorate?? Thomas Jefferson certainly didn't think so....:)