By Bradley Gay
In Patrick Henry's famous 1775 speech, he said, "Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason toward my country and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings." It has come to that time in America. It is time for the normal everyday person to do the unusual. It is time for us to re-establish our claim to individual liberty and require that the Constitution be followed as intended.
Our president has decided to use a social wedge issue to accomplish two of his primary objectives. One is to keep him in the White House by forcing companies to give free products to women. The other is to undermine the key documents our Founding Fathers put in place. Remember his statement: "Our founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes." He claims that free contraception is liberating to women – yet they can go to Wal-Mart and pay $10 a month for birth control but are paying $40 more for 20 gallons of gas than when Obama took office. So how exactly is he liberating them? Getting Obama back into the White House is not worth his Constitution-tearing experiment.
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When I asked the question of my representative, Kathy Hochul, about the constitutionality of the HHS mandate that requires Catholic and other institutions to violate their consciences, she replied with what I suspect is true across most of the elected officials that passed Obamacare – they did not look to the Constitution for that aspect. (See video of the confrontation.) In fact, Nancy Pelosi said we have to pass the bill before we find out what is in it. She was right. I think we will be finding out what is in it for as long as we have HHS Secretary Sebelius coming up with new ideas.
The ever-growing behemoth government that never saw a credit card it didn't like is crossing the invisible but impermeable line. It is trampling on the Constitution. The line is impermeable because if we continue to allow it to happen, then America will be something else. It is already a different country than what many of us have grown up in. If the United States is to continue to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, it is time for the brave to speak up and take action. It is time for all of us to consider sacrifice, not handouts, as what will keep our children and grandchildren free.
Ronald Reagan said that freedom was never more than one generation from extinction. He was right. We cannot allow our affection for things and our inherent laziness toward pursing virtuous goods to create a tragedy that generations not even born must pay the price for. We cannot go down in history as the ones that let our free nation, the shining city on the hill, slip away – a nation the world has viewed as the place from which you can find refuge from tyrants. One of the greatest virtues is justice, and it is not just to deny our inherent God-given rights as people because we just want to have our free stuff. This is about our posterity, our good name and what we live and die for.
The HHS mandate is an example of the government attempting to impose morality over the people. This is just one example of one law of one administration that has a sweeping implication overtop of the boundaries of private organizations. You may think it is just a Catholic problem because "everyone" uses contraception. But, it does not matter that the bishops have been united in opposition to this mandate due to personal moral or individual liberty reasons. What matters is it is a deep breach of the contracts with "We the People" that say every person is entitled to life and liberty, and Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. The Constitution is the contract that every one of our elected representatives swears an oath to uphold and defend. If this is allowed to stand, then there is nothing stopping the federal government from deciding that Protestants, Buddhists, or atheists are required to build houses for everyone in their neighborhood because shelter is a basic human right. It does not matter if they go bankrupt, because it is basic right, paid for out of your labor and your magic money. In fact there would be little to stop Obama and his Cabinet members from regularly deriving and enforcing law on the fly, as would a king, affecting anyone and everyone.
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The men and women who birthed this country literally fought for freedom. Freedom is in the bones of the American fabric. Without freedom, America has no definition, no real sense of meaning. Throughout her history, she has battled enemies foreign and domestic with the primary intent of liberation. The human person longs for individual liberty. In every country that does not have it, we see personal faces of despair and dismay. In most countries that have not had it, we see the pictures of bones and see the death of people that died too young because they did not fit the system. Instead of each person being able to express his or her unique characteristics, they were forced into a collective shell of the group.
Socialism has been tried and found wanting. Each new standard bearer of socialistic tendencies comes forward with a different twist thinking they are somehow smarter than those that have tried it before. In each and every case it ends up in disaster and usually bloodshed, because humans are imperfect and we need checks and balances. The combination of the masses being unable to express their unique talents and hard work for appropriate compensation and the leaders getting addicted to their power over the masses causes a constant simmering tension that eventually ignites.
The primary purpose of the federal government is to guard individual liberty. If you and I disagree on what is virtuous, then we can have that discussion. But if the fovernment mandates a virtue one way or the other, then we are either not allowed to have the discussion or it puts one side at significant disadvantage with the weight of the government against him. All of us, regardless of religious belief or no belief, that care about individual liberty need to unite for the common cause of demanding our freedom be protected. If we do this, America's greatness can be retained. If we do not, then we will have made our bed, and it will not be comfortable.
Bradley Gay has a masters in Business Administration and manages large projects across manufacturing, retail and health-care industries. Gay writes articles specializing in history, politics and religion with his most recent publication in Homiletic and Pastoral Review. He resides in Clarence, N.Y.