Seriously Ill Hurt by Obamacare a ‘Tiny Minority’

John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News

Folder2 104As the number of seriously ill patients whose access to treatment has been impeded by the Affordable Care Act continues to increase, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insists that “the actual number affected represents only a tiny minority of the population.”

No plan can comfortably accommodate every single person,” Sebelius pointed out. “Trade-offs are inevitable. We can’t let ourselves be distracted by the pitiful stories of a handful of unfortunate victims of rare diseases. The vast majority are receiving the coverage we deem essential.”

Providing the “vast majority” with contraceptives, mammograms, and sex change surgery while short-changing the desperately sick would appear to contradict the main purpose of insurance. According to Sebelius, though, “serving the majority’s needs is more democratic. Why should the healthy majority be denied the convenience of having basic services covered at the cost of investing society’s scarce resources in a futile effort to treat those likely to die from their ailments?”

The secretary argued that “from a broader perspective, culling the weakest from the herd is the sounder investment. The money saved by diverting funds from being spent on hopeless cases can be better used to serve the much larger number of persons who can benefit from basic preventive care.”

The IRS has estimated that the “basic care” provided by the Affordable Care Act will cost the average American family $20,000 a year—a statistic that Sebelius insisted “bolsters the case for prioritizing outlays to ensure as wide a distribution of benefits as possible. The notion that we should concentrate these outlays for the benefit of a sick minority flies in the face of political reality.”

Putin Cites Historic Precedent for Crimea Vote

In rebuttal to President Obama’s assertion that having voters in the Crimea decide whether to be immediately absorbed into Russia or to first declare independence from Ukraine before being absorbed is illegal and “on the wrong side of history,” Russian President Vladimir Putin cited a 20th century precedent in justification.

A plebiscite in which the people of a region decide their own fate is the most democrat way of resolving sovereignty issues,” Putin said. “We are not inventing this method. In 1938 it was used to allow the people of Austria to unite with their fellow ethnic Germans. Why should we not use it to permit the majority of ethnic Russians in the Crimea to reunite with their mother country?”

The presence of Russian troops in the Crimea, according to Putin, “will ensure that the fascist Ukrainian minority does not intimidate the Russian majority from freely expressing its wishes.” The Russian President intimated that he has similar concerns that ethnic Russians are being mistreated in other nations bordering his country and “would not rule out forceful intervention to secure their liberty from their oppressors.”

Perhaps the most tragic consequence of the Crimean crisis is that it may force President Obama to cut short his Florida vacation. The trip, his third vacation since January 1st of this year, is considered “vital to the nation,” according to First Lady Michelle. “How can Barack be expected to retain his image as the world’s most important and powerful man if a minor skirmish in a far off part of the world is permitted to disrupt his plans? Rather than allowing himself to be diminished by events he should rise above them by doing as he pleases.”

Carney Explains President’s “God’s Will” Comment

Speaking to a group of “pro-choice” advocates for government-funded abortions, President Obama praised them as “doing God’s work.” In a bid to stem criticism from “pro life” opponents of abortion, Press Secretary Jay Carney suggested that “since God is supposed to be all-powerful, how can the President’s assertion be wrong?”

When a person dies the devoutly religious often say God has called him back to heaven,” Carney recalled. “So, if a doctor sends a fetus back to heaven who’s to say he isn’t doing God’s work? Look at all the suffering that is averted. An unwanted child is spared a lifetime of pain. A hard-pressed would-be mother is spared the encumbrance of two decades of imprisonment as an unwilling caregiver. Aren’t these objectives worthy of God’s appreciation? I think those taking the President to task on this are skating on thin ice.”

In related news, at the University of Georgia, the Women’s Studies Student Organization and Sexual Health Advocacy Group screened off an anti-abortion demonstration so it could not be seen by passersby. Danielle Duncan, one of the pro-choice activists, defended what she characterized as “guerrilla censorship,” contending that “the pro-life display is hate speech, pure and simple. Showing the dismembered bodies of aborted fetuses could trigger negative emotions. So-called freedom of speech shouldn’t be used to offend people in this way.”

Taking the 5th Is Only Option for Lerner, Lawyer Says

There is little doubt that former IRS official Lois Lerner possesses key information on illegal activities conducted by the Agency. Emails from her account verify that. Yet, on two occasions, Lerner has invoked the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against self-incrimination and refused to testify before Congress.

Lerner’s attorney Bill Taylor argues that “it is her only chance if she hopes to come out of this alive. This point was made clear to me when we talked to representatives at the Department of Justice. The Administration has many potent options for taking extreme action against my client. Convincing the DOJ that she is unshakably loyal is the only safe course she has. Should there be a smidgen of doubt about this she’s a goner.”

Taylor portrayed a looming contempt of Congress citation as “an inconsequential threat. Even if they levy this against her it will be up to the DOJ to pursue the case. We have assurances from AG Holder that she has nothing to fear along these lines. No one with any sense can blame Ms. Lerner for preferring to risk the animosity of an impotent Congress to that of a deadly earnest President Obama.”

In related news, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz’s call for the IRS to be abolished was labeled “totally irresponsible” by Commissioner John Koskinen. “Cruz’s proposal for a simple flat tax would eviscerate the Agency’s flexibility. All income would be treated alike. We’d have no latitude to guide the economy by granting exemptions for favored activities or groups. The Agency’s utility as a tool of the Administration for rewarding those who are contributing to the success of its policies would be severely curtailed.”

Democrats Denounce Continued GOP Interference with Obamacare

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) denounced the latest GOP efforts to intervene in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The former Speaker’s remarks followed a House vote to delay the individual mandate to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.

When will these people recognize that this is the president’s law?” Pelosi asked. “They’re the ones that insist it be called Obamacare, for heavens sake. Shouldn’t it be clear that if any changes are needed that the President be the one to enact them?”

That changes might be needed seems readily evident. Problems with the website, complaints from key Democratic constituencies, and potential political setbacks for the party come November have already led the President to make nearly two dozen illegal modifications to the statute.

The assertion that it takes an Act of Congress to amend an Act of Congress is a non-starter for this pivotal legislation,” Special Assistant to the President Josh Earnest said. “There can be little doubt that the GOP’s objectives are to undermine this law. The President, in contrast, is trying to protect it. Who should we trust?”

The Republicans in the House are wasting their time,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid boasted. “I control the Senate. I will ensure that no revisions to this law originating outside the oval office will ever be heard, much less voted on, in this chamber. No matter how many tales of suffering or hardship may be concocted, I will not be swayed from my determination to protect the president’s prerogative to shape the law as he sees fit.”

Union Defends Publishing Names of “Opt-Outs”

Lawrence Roehrig, international vice president of AFSCME and secretary treasurer of Michigan AFSCME Council 25, defended the union’s decision to publish the names of hospital workers who opted out of the union.

Social pressure is one of the time-honored ways the union has used to encourage people to accept their responsibility to join,” Roehrig said. “If a non-joiner can keep his apostasy secret he will be able to shirk his responsibility without consequence. If he knows he will be unmasked he will be more inclined to do the right thing.”

Roehrig maintained that “the people opting out are doing so for selfish reasons. They allege that they don’t get enough value out of the dues they have to pay. The purpose of the union, though, is to promote the collective benefit of the whole workforce. People shouldn’t be allowed to leave just because they personally would be better off. They have a duty to sacrifice for the good of the whole.”

With their names posted for all to see, these miscreants will know that they have only themselves to blame if coworkers exact a bit of informal justice on them,” Roehrig pointed out. “If this brings them to their senses we’ll welcome them back with no hard feelings.”

A Satirical Look at Recent News

John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire column for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties that our nation’s Founding Fathers tried to protect.

Please do us a favor. If you use material created by The Arizona Conservative, give us credit, and DO NOT change the context. Thank you.

Senate Democrats Reject Limits on IRS Intimidation of Political Speech

John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News

Folder2 104In the midst of the Obama Administration’s efforts to “reform” IRS regulations, the Senate Democratic majority rejected language proposed by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would have blocked the IRS from acting to penalize dissent against government policies and programs.

The specific text of Senator Cruz’s proposed language would have made it unlawful for the IRS to “willfully act with the intent to injure, oppress, threaten, intimidate, or single out and subject to undue scrutiny any person or organization in any state.”

As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) explained, “whether intent is malicious or scrutiny is undue is a matter of opinion. Senator Cruz’s amendment would invite persons dissatisfied with how they are treated by the IRS to put the issue before a court. Frankly, we don’t see they need for that. The president and his appointees at the IRS are fully capable of rendering an appropriate interpretation on whether any actions taken by the agency are malicious or excessive.”

The Democrats also unanimously rejected Cruz’s amendment that would require the IRS to use the Federal Election Commission’s definition of political activity as a guide for whether more scrutiny or other action is warranted in any given case.

Tying the IRS to a preexisting standard would hamper its flexibility to adjust to changing conditions,” Reid observed. “The Government must have as wide a latitude as possible if we are to deter individuals and organizations from engaging in unwarranted and unwanted political activities. The job of governing the nation is difficult enough without organized attempts to challenge the wisdom or intent of policies we deem necessary.”

To be truthful, I’m sick and tired of those who are using the First Amendment as a crutch for their persistent opposition to this Administration’s policies,” Reid angrily continued. “The voters elected President Obama to do a job. Loyal Americans have an obligation to support their president in his efforts. Those intent on obstructing him are about as un-American as I can imagine.”

President Complains Media Give too Much Credence to His Opponents

President Obama expressed his frustration with a news media that “feels compelled to give air time to opponents of my policies. We all know that there is no substance to the views of these malcontents, but out of a ‘knee-jerk’ compulsion to appear even-handed the media are allowing them to voice their opposition to a wide audience.”

While acknowledging that “mainstream media outlets have been appropriately favorable in most of their coverage of what I’m trying to do, the sliver of contention that they allow to be juxtaposed to the Administration’s official proclamations is undermining the country faith in our program.”

One sign of the undermining of faith cited by the President was a poll showing that nearly 60 percent of Americans are disappointed in the Obama Presidency. “This destabilizing shift of opinion never would’ve happened if the media had been more discreet and selective with who they give air time to,” Obama maintained. “Just think about the damage that would be done to people’s religious faith if Satan were given equal time, or even any time, at weekly church services. Isn’t it about time that we stop allowing the voices of political evil into our living rooms? Isn’t it about time that the FCC takes stronger measures to ensure these voices are more muted?”

Inability to Cancel Called a “Feature, not a Flaw” of Obamacare

A new problem with Obamacare is that people who have signed up and later changed their minds are finding it impossible to stop the automatic deductions of premiums from their bank accounts. A Florida man has spent over 50 hours trying to stop $300 per month debits to his checking account for coverage he no longer needs. After six weeks of effort he has yet to succeed.

I found a plan that costs only $116 a month for similar coverage,” Andrew Robinson said. “I want to cancel the more expensive and now redundant $300 plan, but haven’t been able to accomplish that.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius denied that this is yet another “glitch” in the Affordable Care Act’s implementation. “We cannot have people canceling coverage willy-nilly,” she asserted. “The decision on whether to discontinue a plan is one that we cannot carelessly leave up to unqualified individuals.”

As for redundancy, Sebelius argued that “it is better that a person be over-insured than uninsured. If we let people just drop plans that they decide they don’t want there is too much risk that they’ll end up without any coverage. Our Department has a process for evaluating which plans are a better fit for each person. We will determine when or if a particular plan may or may not be dropped for any given individual.”

Sebelius also contended that “the so-called redundancy issue is phony. From a collective standpoint all of the premiums collected will be put to use for someone’s benefit. Any one person who pays for more than he needs simply helps contribute toward our shared responsibility for the well-being of others.”

In related news, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) characterized those who allege that they have been made worse off by the Affordable Care Act as “liars, pure and simple. This law was passed for the good of the country. It is inconceivable to me that the end result could be to make anyone worse off. Contentions that persons are being denied critical care because previous insurance that they liked was canceled by ACA rules can only be fabrications. We ought to be cracking down on these people for slandering the President and the Democratic Party.”

First Lady Calls for More Stringent Food Regulations

Claiming that “America’s moms are confused and bewildered by the task of selecting from a wide array of non-standardized options when it comes to feeding their families,” First Lady Michelle Obama made a plea for more rigorous government control over what’s available for purchase.

Reading the labels of multiple alternatives for a single food item is, at best, time consuming,” Michelle complained. “Understanding these labels is also daunting. Is there any mom who can be expected to know how to choose wisely?”

The first lady suggested that “if nutrition experts were to oversee what’s available we could simplify the process of shopping by eliminating the redundancies of stocking more than one product for each food item. Rather than having to weigh which of a half-dozen cans of beans to buy, the shopper could simply decide whether to buy the only available can that has been certified as the best by the experts.”

Businesses would also benefit from not having to stock so many items,” she added. “This will save time in purchasing inventory. It will reduce the shelf space needed and lower the real estate costs of grocery stores. If we could convert the unneeded floor space into an area for calisthenics the time moms saved by not having to read product labels could be invested in aerobic exercise that would be of far better benefit to their health.”

Senator Calls Keystone Pipeline a Health Threat

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) wants the EPA to take a closer look at the proposal to build the Keystone Pipeline. The pipeline would replace rail transport of oil from Canada and is considered a generally safer means of getting the flammable commodity to its destination.

Boxer sought to clarify her opposition to the pipeline, saying that “I’m not stupid. I know that trains sometimes get derailed and that in terms of the safety of transporting oil a pipeline would be less dangerous. The point I am trying to make is that a cheaper and safer mode of shipping will mean lower costs and higher supplies. This means more fossil fuel will be burned. The emissions from burning more fuel are what worry me.”

The pollutants from fossil fuel burning cause cancer and heart disease,” Boxer declared. “Making this energy source more plentiful and affordable means more people will die. The EPA needs to consider the benefits of making fuel less plentiful and more expensive in its analysis of the Keystone proposal.”

The higher we can push the cost of fueling automobile travel the better chance we will have of pricing people out of this market,” Boxer envisioned. “Those for whom we make it unaffordable to drive will have to use public transit. This requires more walking to reach stops and stations, which is healthier.”

AG Says Enforcing the Law Is “Optional”

US Attorney General Eric Holder urged his state attorney general counterparts “to not let rigid adherence to the prescribed duties of your office force you into enforcing laws with which you disagree. As your state’s top legal official you have a prosecutor’s discretion to decline to enforce such laws.”

Holder cited the Obama Administration’s successful refusal to enforce laws it dislikes “as proof it can be done. I’m not saying that there won’t be complaints. There most certainly will be those who try to pressure you to blindly follow your state’s laws. But what can they really do?”

The AG praised those “willing to boldly seize the initiative of overtly flouting imagined constraints,” but also admitted that “a subtler strategy of quietly dragging your feet could be just as effective in some jurisdictions.”

A Satirical Look at Recent News

John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire column for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties that our nation’s Founding Fathers tried to protect.

Please do us a favor. If you use material created by The Arizona Conservative, give us credit, and DO NOT change the context. Thank you.

Dedicated to Channels 3, 5, 10, 12, NPR, CNN, and the Arizona Republic, East Valley Tribune, and Arizona Daily Star: Dumb, Uneducated, and Eager to Deceive

By Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist

In the aftermath of the abominable media coverage of Arizona’s religious liberty bill, an editor shared his hypothesis that journalists care about freedom of speech and of the press because they practice them. And journalists don’t care about freedom of religion because they don’t.

But one of the most interesting things about modern media’s deep hostility toward the religious, their religions, and religious liberty in general is that press freedom in America is rooted in religion.

The John Peter Zenger case of 1735, argued successfully by Andrew Hamilton, wasn’t just an important legal event but an important symbolic event in the development of American freedom of expression. We remember Hamilton’s now-famous plea that truth should be admitted as a defense.

But perhaps we don’t understand that the members of the jury ruled in favor of press freedom because of their belief in the foundational importance of religion and religious liberty. The Zenger press freedom case was a “disputation on truth and on how truth is revealed to man,” noted David Paul Nord in 2006′s “A History of American Newspapers and Their Readers.” This is another way of saying “religion.” In the Cato letters printed in Zenger’s New York Weekly Journal, it was argued that each individual had not just the right but the duty to seek truth in his own way. From the book (emphasis mine):

“Every man’s religion is his own,” Cato declared, “nor can the religion of any man, of what nature or figure soever, be the religion of another man, unless he also chooses it; which action utterly excludes all force, power or government.”

The media now call people who agree with this notion “bigots” or “Jim Crow” types. Sometimes they’re more nuanced and just write shockingly biased articles about religious liberty issues. (My favorite was the time a media outlet — Religion News Service, of all places — defiantly put scare quotes around “religious liberty” and then defended the obnoxious practice.)

Anyway, back when individual reason and conscience were the way to divine truth, the authority of human law could never be absolute. Nord wrote that Americans have been “strangely intolerant libertarians, often suppressing individual liberties in the name of a more transcendent freedom.” Or we used to be, at least. Now we hear from some of media’s biggest elites that transcendent freedoms are to be obliterated in favor of individual liberties, and that opposition to this notion is the real enemy. More on that in a bit.

The First Amendment begins with religious liberty because (and even our non-traditionally religious Founders agreed with this), all freedom of expression — speech, press, assembly, etc. — is rooted in the importance of man determining truth according to his own conscience.

So What’s That Have To Do With Our Modern Media?

Moving forward nearly 300 years, we have a press that loathes and works actively to suppress this religious liberty, as confident in being on the “right side of history” as they are ignorant of natural rights, history, religion and basic civility.

A broad religious liberty bill — renamed by a juvenile and nakedly activist press as “anti-gay” — gives us a good opportunity to see this dynamic in action.

Perhaps a framework for understanding the truth-avoiding goat rodeo the media participated in is in order. Here’s one provided by Jon Swerens, which he calls the “OOOOOPSI” model:

Opportunity: First, we need a hot-button event that is a proper catalyst for the cycle. Recent examples were supplied by Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Susan G. Komen, and now, Arizona’s proposed law. Outrage: Next, those on the opposite side of the culture wars make a lot of noise about “fairness” and “bigotry” and “tolerance.” Maybe they have a point, or maybe not, but it’s an important step in the news cycle. Opposition: Then, the national media by and large adopts the definitions brought to them by the outraged. For example, in this week’s Arizona story, the media labeled the bill “anti-gay,” without the scare quotes. Such labeling was a tremendous victory for the outraged. Oversimplification: As a part of its coverage, the media fails to add any nuance to the debate or closely examine the actual facts of what’s being argued, preferring to cover the horse race of two competing interests beating each other up. Overreach: At some point, a mainline media outlet gets too cocky and goes a step too far in its boosterism. Other media momentarily shrink back in embarrassment. Pendulum: Prompted by this misstep, a few media commentators rub their chins and publish thoughtful analysis pieces that ask if everyone is being a little too hard on the accused. The accused is still wrong, mind you, but we can be nicer about it. Silence: After this, coverage ceases as the nation’s attention runs elsewhere. Introspection: Finally, months later, on a Sunday news program, journalists will gather and ruminate about how they unfairly overstated one side of the debate. They pledge to do better next time.

Let’s agree to pretend that the media ever hit the Introspection stage and let’s also set aside the Opportunity and Outrage issues. Note the key point in “Opposition,” which is that the media adopt the labels of one side in a dispute. This couldn’t be more common, which explains why “religious liberty” gets scare quoted but “same-sex marriage” does not. In most cases, the media only scare quote those things they think are highly debatable or untrue. So even though religious liberty is fairly well ensconced in the Constitution and in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and what not, it gets scare quotes. “Abortion rights,” which opponents believe is an oxymoron since no one actually has the right to take the life of another, even if the Supreme Court of the United States say otherwise? Well, missy, that’s settled law. And if you’re confused about it, you can ask the Susan G. Komen Foundation what we in the media do to people who don’t toe the line. We destroy them… for fun. On this issue, we help our friends (Wendy Davis, Kermit Gosnell) and we destroy our enemies (War on Women, anyone?).

Or take marriage, which natural marriage supporters believe is a euphemism, more or less, for “penis+vagina=elaborate consequences.” So for them, “same-sex marriage” is an ontological impossibility, or at the very least an issue on which some thought should go into the consequences of redefining that equation. After the media malpractice on this issue, one wonders if we’ve been fully brainwashed away from even understanding this topic in any way. Basically, some people, known colloquially as “all people throughout all space and time in all religions and lands until 15 minutes ago,” believed that marriage was a nice way of saying “men and women are different and complementary and this is the way we organize their relationship in all its complexity, including all the norms and benefits and dangers that occur when a penis enters a vagina.” Marriage used to be the way we said that, more or less. And the penis and vagina parts are actually key to this entire shebang. See: human history. Or, if you are in any way confused about this, ponder how your own existence came about. Hint: penis and vagina. In any event, it’s easier to remove scare quotes, adopt the language, and hunt down and vilify all those who disagree.

For a particularly crafty look, here’s CNN redefining religious liberty not as “religious liberty” but as the “‘freedom’ to discriminate.” Brilliant. Even if, you know, terrifying and Orwellian. And I do mean Orwellian. Here he is on the matter:

At any given moment, there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas, which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that, or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it . . . [And] anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, whether in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.

Particularly Egregious Idiocy

In this case, wholesale adoption of activist language is particularly egregious. What Arizona was considering was known as a RFRA bill. The original federal legislation was adopted after a bad Supreme Court ruling delivered by Antonin Scalia that limited religious freedom for Native Americans who smoke peyote as part of their religion. Congress realized this was a big problem and so they authored the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, introduced by none other than Chuck Schumer. From Wikipedia:

The Smith decision outraged the public. Many groups came together. Both liberal (like the American Civil Liberties Union) and conservative groups (like the Traditional Values Coalition) as well as other groups such as the Christian Legal Society, the American Jewish Congress, and the National Association of Evangelicals joined forces to support RFRA, which would reinstate the Sherbert Test, overturning laws if they burden a religion.[8] The act, which was Congress’s reaction to the Lyng and Smith cases, passed the House unanimously and the Senate 97 to 3 and was signed into law by U.S. President Bill Clinton.

And for those who worry about government encroachment against religious liberty, the bill has turned out to be a godsend. Hundreds of Americans of various religions have used RFRA to have even an opportunity to fight back against government violations against religious liberty. States have also adopted RFRA legislation, to help navigate the difficult borders of religious liberty vs. government action.

Have you heard of the Little Sisters of the Poor? Their only chance in their fight against the government is RFRA.

And so Arizona was tweaking its own RFRA statutes to expand in a couple of areas. A group of 12 law professors, some of whom support same-sex marriage and some of whom weren’t even sure the legislation was a good idea, but all of whom are religious liberty experts, tried to speak into the media-induced blindness regarding this bill:

SB1062 would amend the Arizona RFRA to address two ambiguities that have been the subject of litigation under other RFRAs. It would provide that people are covered when state or local government requires them to violate their religion in the conduct of their business, and it would provide that people are covered when sued by a private citizen invoking state or local law to demand that they violate their religion.

Most RFRA cases don’t deal with the sudden clash between religious liberty and same-sex “rights,” but some do. And even though most Americans probably wish tolerance were a two-way street — where some people need to work to tolerate those attracted to members of the same sex while others need to tolerate those with different religious beliefs — I think current jurisprudence favors the sentiment expressed by Chai Feldblum, a legal scholar and gay-rights activist later appointed by President Obama to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

“There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner.”

Outside of American newsrooms, Feldblum’s views aren’t universally shared. In fact, some find that in a choice between sacrificing religious liberty and expanding gay rights, they might go the other way. There are always conflicts with religious liberty — our first freedom. And they’re difficult to navigate. Religious liberty — and having the freedom to determine truth without government force — was what the Zenger trial was all about and no one is (yet) claiming that it was actually about bigots against gay rights. Of the hundreds of RFRA cases, I’d be surprised if more than a tiny handful had to do with gay anything, in fact. We do know that no reporter investigated how many RFRA cases involve gay issues. Is it greater than zero? I don’t think we know.

Either way, a broad religious liberty bill, one that in its national version was introduced by Chuck Schumer and signed by Bill Clinton after passing with overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress, becomes, in the high-brow parlance of the Associated Press and the Washington Post, “anti-gay.”

By this standard, all legislation could be anti-gay. How many gay people are harmed by restrictions on gun rights? Ergo, gun control is anti-gay. How many unborn gays are terminated via abortion? Pro-choice laws are anti-gay. How many taxes are levied on gay people? All taxes are anti-gay. It only makes sense to call religious liberty anti-gay if you think that the only people in America are that tiny fraction of gay people that might ever be involved in suits where RFRA is argued. And even if you took that position, RFRA still wouldn’t be “anti-gay” since, as that rag-tag group of religious liberty professors put it:

But nothing in the amendment would say who wins in either of these cases. The person invoking RFRA would still have to prove that he had a sincere religious belief and that state or local government was imposing a substantial burden on his exercise of that religious belief. And the government, or the person on the other side of the lawsuit, could still show that compliance with the law was necessary to serve a compelling government interest. As a business gets bigger and more impersonal, courts will be come more skeptical about claims of substantial burden on the owner’s exercise of religion. And as a business gets bigger, the government’s claim of compelling interest will become stronger.

Of course, we can safely assume that none of the reporters or editors who promulgated the “anti-gay” rhetoric had read the legislation, however brief it was (all of two pages). By way of example, see what the New York Times deceitfully wrote here with the quote above:

“The measure would have allowed business owner [sic] to refuse to serve gay people and others if doing so ran counter to their religious beliefs.”