The Corner

PolitiFact vs. Senator Cruz

At CPAC, Senator Cruz (who is, I should note, a friend) said that Democrats had told the Catholic Church, “Change your religious beliefs or we’ll use our power in the federal government to shut down your charities and your hospitals.” PolitiFact Texas is on the case, and it finds that in fact Democrats never used those exact words to describe the import of their policies. Its ruling: Cruz’s statement is “incorrect and ridiculous” and therefore merits a “Pants on Fire” rating.

Here’s how PolitiFact summarizes — accurately! — its own argument:

 

The Catholic bishops have said that potential accumulated fines resulting from refusals to carry out the contraception mandate will cause some institutions to shut down.

Perhaps. However, such prospects do not reflect a direct threat from Democrats or the government. To the contrary, the administration has moved to widen the mandate’s exemption for religious employers and provide a workaround for those who act as their own insurance providers — with the goal of allowing affected parties to continue their work without violating or changing their beliefs.

 

First of all, how does PolitiFact know what the “goal” of the administration’s “workaround” was? Its sole evidence on this point consists of a statement by President Obama that it takes at face value rather than subjects to any fact-checking. Maybe the administration’s actual goal was to come up with a way of saying it was taking religious-freedom concerns seriously without actually changing anything of substance, the better to snow credulous organizations like PolitiFact Texas.

The religious institutions that object to the policy, post-”workaround,” say that they cannot comply with it while staying true to their religious beliefs. (Most courts so far have agreed that the policy places an illegal burden on the practice of the faith not only by religious institutions but by companies owned by people with religious objections to abortion drugs, sterilization, and contraception.) The administration’s policy gives these institutions — that is, tells them they have — two choices. They can comply, even if they think doing so violates their consciences (and they are, presumably, the right judges of that question). Or they can refuse to comply and be driven out of operation.

Cruz was right, and PolitiFact Texas seems to be doing a fine job of holding up its brand’s standards.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Elections

Bernie’s Houses

Mike Bloomberg scored a hit -- a palpable hit -- in the debate this week when he pointed back at Bernie Sanders and said: “What a wonderful country we have, the best-known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses.” Many conservatives laughed and cheered and wondered why Bernie ... Read More
Elections

Bernie’s Houses

Mike Bloomberg scored a hit -- a palpable hit -- in the debate this week when he pointed back at Bernie Sanders and said: “What a wonderful country we have, the best-known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses.” Many conservatives laughed and cheered and wondered why Bernie ... Read More

South Park as Healing Mechanism

It didn’t take too long into 2020 for people on Twitter to start earnestly debating whether South Park, an extremely popular show that has been on air for decades, has been wreaking havoc on our society with its offensiveness. As far as I can tell, the conversation started with a series of tweets from She-Hulk ... Read More

South Park as Healing Mechanism

It didn’t take too long into 2020 for people on Twitter to start earnestly debating whether South Park, an extremely popular show that has been on air for decades, has been wreaking havoc on our society with its offensiveness. As far as I can tell, the conversation started with a series of tweets from She-Hulk ... Read More
Elections

Four Overlooked Weaknesses of Bernie Sanders

Four frequently overlooked weaknesses of Bernie Sanders: Another health issue, even a minor one, would end his campaign. Trying to knock off a candidate who has the largest plurality of delegates in a convention floor fight is an extremely difficult task … unless that candidate is 78 years old and has had ... Read More
Elections

Four Overlooked Weaknesses of Bernie Sanders

Four frequently overlooked weaknesses of Bernie Sanders: Another health issue, even a minor one, would end his campaign. Trying to knock off a candidate who has the largest plurality of delegates in a convention floor fight is an extremely difficult task … unless that candidate is 78 years old and has had ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Florida Bill to Ban ‘Nature Rights’

I have been warning that “nature rights” would soon become part of the Democratic Party's environmental platform. That hasn't happened at the national party level -- yet. But Florida's Democratic Party has embraced the idea that nature should have rights that anyone can sue to enforce in its official ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Florida Bill to Ban ‘Nature Rights’

I have been warning that “nature rights” would soon become part of the Democratic Party's environmental platform. That hasn't happened at the national party level -- yet. But Florida's Democratic Party has embraced the idea that nature should have rights that anyone can sue to enforce in its official ... Read More