Following the recent rulings from the Supreme Court of the US (Hobby Lobby, etc.), I caught a link for Pierce’s piece for Esquire, from March 25th, 2014, “The Hobby Lobby Case and Our Diminishing First Amendment”. I thought his conclusion was very good…
The whole thing is a depressing reminder that almost the entire debate over the role of religion in our politics is conducted, in one way or the other, on the grounds of human sexuality. In this, alas, and especially in this case, because it involves a woman's right to control her reproductive health and the role of birth control therein, the political brawl is a precise parallel to what happened among Roman Catholics in the aftermath of Paul VI’s dreadful Humanae Vitae encyclical in 1968. Suddenly, the whole question of papal authority, and the magisterium, and the deposit of faith, and almost the entirety of Catholic doctrine pivoted vitally on the question of birth control. The Church went mad over it, and it hasn't recovered from it yet. In Bare Ruined Choirs, historian Garry Wills best summed up the situation in a way that resounded through the arguments raised in the Hallowed Chambers today.
“Thus are the ‘keys to the Kingdom’ reduced to mere smithying of intellectual chastity belts.”
And thus, today, in the Supreme Court, was the First Amendment to the Constitution reduced to exactly the same thing.
Charles P. Pierce is the author of Idiot America, a fantastic must-read book on America’s history of quacks and “How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free”. Cover is below, and you can read my review here.