The Corner

‘Compelled by Law’

Two quick observations on that New Mexico court case, neither of which has anything to do with the specifics of the case itself. As John Fund reports:

In a concurring opinion, Justice Richard Bosson acknowledged the restrictions on liberty the decision imposed, but said it was for the greater good. The Huguenins, he wrote,

now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views.

The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.

First, the phrase “compelled by law” in this context has to go down as one of the most chilling bench pronouncements since the founding of the Republic. President Obama and the rest of his leftist cohort have long made plain their contempt for the “charter of negative liberties” that is our Constitution, and have instead offered airy-fairy “positive liberties” (the right to something, instead of the right to be left unmolested by the government) that date back at least to FDR. The law is supposed to tell you, impartially, what you may not do, not what you must do. That’s out the window now — just ask Chief Justice John Roberts! — thanks to willful misrepresentation of natural law (rights come from God, not man) and constitutional precepts. As Sterling Beard wrote here this morning: 

Justice Richard C. Bosson, writing in concurrence, said that the case “provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice.” In addition, the case “teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less.”

As I recall, neither the Declaration nor the Constitution says anything about fairness or equality of opportunity; and where is it written that a “multicultural, pluralistic society” is one of our nation’s strengths? (Both of those words are descriptive, not prescriptive.) That’s simply a judgmental assertion of contemporary leftist dogma, expressed in the standard jargon – not the law of the land. But this is what comes of “empathetic” jurists with a culturally iconoclastic axe to grind.

Second, should this decision stand, it would mean that the New Mexico Human Rights Act now effectively trumps the First Amendment’s incorporated guarantee of personal religious liberty — which was intended to be absolute, and not subject to infringement by the likes of the New Mexico Human Rights Act. Judge Bosson kindly points out that:

The owners of Elane Photography, Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin, “are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish” Bosson wrote. Nevertheless, in the “world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different.”

In short, this decision is simply another brick in the wall that progressives are erecting around religion (Obamacare is the living embodiment of this principle, disguised as “health care”) in order to confine faith and its practice to houses of worship and thus banish it from everyday life — an eccentric affection, indulged in in private, not a set of principles by which a free individual lives his or her life.

And it all seems so reasonable!

Doing so, Bosson said, is “the price of citizenship.”

America, 2013 — in the land of the free, citizenship now has a “price” and citizens must now “channel their [constitutionally protected] conduct” lest they fall afoul of the Majesty of the Law in one of its flights of favoritism. There’s a word for this. It’s not “freedom,” and it isn’t pretty.

 

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