When I argue that abortion under most circumstances should be illegal, I am charged with trying to legislate morality.
When I say divorce ought to be harder to obtain, not easier, I am accused of trying to legislate morality.
And when I say states should be free to make laws concerning adultery, homosexual behavior, contraception, or premarital sex, I am accused again of trying to legislate morality.
Yet when Barack Obama and the Democrats propose making it a crime to not carry health insurance, no one seems to notice that they are very aggressively trying to legislate morality.
In fact, the same people who object to my proposed legislations of morality seem to think it’s a wonderful virtue that he wants to do so many “good” things for the poor people who can’t currently get health insurance. And if that plan entails criminalizing the decision to forego such insurance, well, why wouldn’t we fine people or put them in jail for refusing to repent of their obstinate immorality in obstructing such a virtuous social project?
We have been told that poor people, children and people with pre-existing medical conditions are all being mistreated by our current health care system. We have been told that it’s embarrassing to be the only developed nation in the world to not provide universal health coverage to its citizens. And we have repeatedly been told, “The status quo is unacceptable.” The only possible meaning here is that it is “morally” unacceptable.
But President Obama hasn’t merely claimed that “we must” (read, “it’s morally necessary that we”) help people get insurance, he’s actually gone a significant step further by grounding his moral vision in arguments from the Bible. The president has said that opposition to his plans comes from people who are unwilling to obey the Biblical mandate to “be our brother’s keeper.” He’s not just legislating morality. He’s doing so on the basis of religion. If a conservative dared to offer such rationale, “Republicans Seek Theocracy” would be the Newsweek cover, not some picture of a former vice-presidential candidate in running shorts.