A recent court decision went against the Bush administration, and also reveals some of the contemptible influence peddling that went on in that gathering of scoundrels. The subject was birth control, in particular Plan B and other forms of emergency contraception, and as many of you know, the Bushite regime dragged its feet with ridiculous deliberation in allowing the FDA to approve these forms of contraception, and effectively blocked them from public access. By hook and crook, by cheating and deception, and by lying to the people, as this court decision affirms. This is why we fight the inclusion of religion in government: it poisons everything.
This decision is remarkable in its detailed accounting of the corruption that religious viewpoints can wreak upon public policy. That the right-to-life community was able to derail the availability of emergency contraception so easily is a testament to how bad things truly were in the Bush Administration. It should be unnecessary to say this, but I will: Science, health, and healing should be the focus of the FDA. The pattern of conduct the district court decision reveals is lawless, not only with respect to FDA procedures, but also with respect to the constitutional right to obtain contraception established by the Supreme Court Griswold v. Connecticut. This is not the state’s role. Indeed, the imposition by the Bush FDA of the religious beliefs of some upon others who do not believe is antithetical to our system. The core of the Establishment Clause is intended to prevent this sort of substitution of religious reasoning for sound public policy decisionmaking.
But that era is over, right? Don’t start cheering yet.
President Bush seems not to have been able to make public decisions without reference to right-wing religious beliefs. That inclination was probably reinforced by his practice of having a weekly conference call with conservative Christian clergy.
It is troubling to learn that President Obama appears to have instituted the same practice of scheduled weekly consultation with clergy. While Presidents from the start have looked to their faith to give them courage and solace, and many have had a religious counselor for one-on-one discussions, the weekly call with a committee of clergy is quite different. It would be very hard to believe that the discussion does not veer away from spiritual counseling, and into public policy. And what other political interest groups get this kind of access to the President? Reading Judge Korman’s well-reasoned and well-supported decision in Tummino, one is reminded that one cannot assume that religious advising is always, or even usually, politically-neutral. Moreover, it is never accountable to the people, by constitutional design. The President, however, is.
Also, don’t forget that these so-called “spiritual leaders” use the credibility conferred by these weekly meetings to reinforce their political authority and push a political agenda on their flocks. It’s a tool that is abused and gives political leverage to people who are often the enemies of secularism.
Does anyone know who Obama’s consulting clergy are? These are people to be watched; I’d also like to see that we urge Obama to also listen to dissenting voices. Where’s the weekly consultation with atheists, I might ask? Or with scientists and engineers? Why is he wasting time with those pious con artists, anyway?