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Clarification of Constitution letter

March 7, 2012
Daily Press


It appears that I left some things unclear in my recent letter regarding Congressman Benishek's having a questionable comprehension of the Constitution. Such is the way things go when given a small word limit to work within. Occasionally, arguments can't be fully explained and valuable information must be omitted. Under normal circumstances, I'd take this as being par for the course. However, Mr. Anderson's recent response to that letter requires me to clarify. I'll try to keep this brief.

Mr. Anderson's claims about the 10th Amendment and the Interstate Commerce clause are both perfectly valid and, while I don't necessarily agree with them, I will allow them to go unquestioned as the only issue that I discussed in my original letter is whether or not the 1st Amendment argument against mandatory contraception coverage is valid. I still maintain that it is not.

In his letter, Mr. Anderson brings up a perfectly logical argument, mainly that the government cannot force him to provide contraceptive if his religion does not believe in it. When it comes to individuals, this is a perfectly valid argument, but it gets rather tricky when we start discussing the employee/employer relationship.

See, the rights of an employer do not trump the rights of an employee. This has been held up by the courts (all the way to SCotUS) time and time again. In fact, the rights one individual don't trump the rights of another. Or, as my mother used to say, "One person's right to throw a punch ends where another person's face begins." But, I digress.

If an employer wishes to not partake in the usage of contraceptive, they have every right to. The employer can adhere to any dietary restrictions or wear any clothing mandated by their religion of choice. They can attend any church, temple, synagogue, or the like that they desire, can give to whichever charities they see fit, and worship however they choose if they choose any way at all. What an employer cannot do, however, is to force those personal choices upon their employee.

As an employee, I have rights. Those rights are separate from the rights of my employer and they are equal to the rights of my employer. My employer does not have the right to tell me whom to vote for, what place of worship to attend, who I can and cannot love, or what I can and cannot wear as an expression of my personal religious beliefs. What my employer certainly doesn't have the right to do is use their religious beliefs as justification for hindering my access to the same level of health care provided to every other citizen.

If my employer prefers to not have to provide access to certain heath care options, there's another perfectly legitimate option that they can lobby for: the single payer system. Unfortunately, the GOP seems to believe that the road to fascism is paved with government provided health care.

Bryan J. Sebeck




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