Family Research Council

July 09, 2014 - Wednesday

American Idle: Reid Competes for Most Futile Senate Ever

Being the "greatest deliberative body" in the world usually implies that you've done some deliberating. Not so for the U.S. Senate. While the Middle East, southern border, and economy implode, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) seems perfectly content to coast along in the sea of futility. Occasionally, he'll drop anchor -- but just long enough to push a political agenda that has nothing to do with the country's priorities. Case in point: the Democrats' decision to shift into legislative overdrive on the supposed shortage of free birth control.

As real issues like national security fall by the wayside, Sen. Reid has decided to focus on his party's primary concern -- reelection. Just 14 Senate bills have been signed into law this year (nine fewer than last year), and the Majority Leader is determined to make forcing religious groups to violate their consciences one of them. The Left is fast-tracking at least three bills in response to last week's Supreme Court decision, which gave companies like Hobby Lobby the right to opt-out of health care that conflicts with their beliefs.

Democrats, who are nervously trying to keep their grip on the Senate, are resorting to every progressive buzz word to incite their base before November. "The one thing we are going to do during this work period," Reid warned, "sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women's lives are not determined by virtue of five white men."

Unfortunately for Harry Reid, turning the Hobby Lobby debate into a racial issue didn't exactly work -- not when Clarence Thomas is one of the "five white men" the Senate boss tried to stereotype. If this is how desperate the Left is to re-impose its unconstitutional mandate, voters may not be as persuaded as liberals think. To most Americans, there are far more urgent challenges facing America -- a shrinking GPD, job growth, the Middle East, and immigration -- than the hardship of $9 birth control. Not to mention, a new report explains, that the rate of women enjoying no-cost birth control and abortifacients has skyrocketed from 14% from 56% -- in just one year. If that isn't access to reproductive "health care," I don't know what is!

Still, Harry Reid insists, "[Senators] are going to have to walk down here and vote [to force employers to provide these drugs]. And if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think they are going to be treated unfavorably come November." With all that's happening in the world, liberals honestly think this is a top priority for Americans -- forced employer-funded drugs that can end a pregnancy? The President's party is flying rainbow flags over its embassies and ordering businesses to cover potentially abortion-causing drugs and they think conservatives are out of touch? It's ludicrous enough to be a "Saturday Night Live" skit. The reality is, there are probably plenty of women who would love to stop using contraception and have children -- but because of Obama's failed economic policies, they can't afford to!

What's more, this entire Sandra Fluke-inspired crusade is built on the lie that this is about the freedom to live your life the way you choose. It isn't. It's about the Left's ability to force the nation to affirm, and in this case finance, an ideology of unrestraint. Exhibit A? Instead of just introducing a bill to fund millions more in free contraception and abortifacients, liberals are digging in their heels and demanding conformity. They've intentionally decided to go after religious employers and engage in unnecessary legislative arm-twisting that demands faithful people sacrifice their beliefs to grow the Left's sexual welfare program.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), House Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) all have bills that tag employers as "denying" coverage -- when the only thing that's truly being denied is the one thing liberals say they want: freedom to choose.

Left Suffers from ENDA Withdrawal

Speaking of ideological oppression, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is full of it. But apparently, not full enough to suit the radical Left. After months of demanding action, liberals are abruptly bailing on the legislation, which many of them called their top legislative priority. The about-face comes just days after the Supreme Court upheld the religious rights of businesses like Hobby Lobby. It's a ruling, liberals worry, could translate into new protections for employers with similar faith-based objections to homosexuality.

For President Obama, who was on the brink of imposing ENDA rules on federal contractors by executive order, this new split certainly throws a wrench into the White House's plans. Several of the LGBT's political heavyweights, including the ACLU, GLAAD, Lambda Legal, and the National center for Lesbian Rights and the Transgender Law Center, issued a joint announcement withdrawing their support for the Senate bill because of its religious exemptions. As far as these groups are concerned, the exemptions (which, ironically, were a condition of many Democrats' support) "allow religious organizations to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity."

The grumblings create a huge hurdle for the legislation, which was already a nonstarter in the U.S. House. "Given the types of workplace discrimination we see increasingly against LGBT people, together with the calls for greater permission to discriminate on religious grounds that followed immediately upon the Supreme Court's decision last week in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, it has become clear that the inclusion of this provision is no longer tenable."

For most Americans, this should be a teachable moment. Not only is the Left unable to present quantifiable evidence that there is a problem with workplace discrimination, but this latest twist pulls back the curtain on their own intolerance. For years, homosexual activists have insisted that this debate isn't about imposing their views on the nation. But if that were true, why would these organizations be willing to sacrifice their biggest legislative priority until it forces conformity on everyone -- including churches?

This is how extreme homosexual activists are. If they can't demand acceptance from every American, regardless of their moral views, then they aren't interested in enacting ENDA. Not until they can order Christian schools, daycares, summer camps, and other role model occupations into celebrating a lifestyle diametrically opposed to their faith. Leaders in Congress and elsewhere mistakenly think they can satisfy this radical fringe by climbing aboard the "special rights" bandwagon. They can't. The only satisfaction they're interested in is complete and utter surrender.

** What does the author of the most comprehensive same-sex parenting study have to say about the controversial research released this week?  Find out in Dr. Mark Regnerus's response, "Is Same-sex Parenting Better for Kids?   The New Australian Study Can't Tell Us." 


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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