Despite its seemingly endless permutations, the "right to privacy" has never been invoked to protect interests adverse to those espoused by social liberals. Why doesn't a private business owner have just as much right to choose whom he hires (even on the basis of race) as a homosexual man does to choose the gender of his sexual partner? Why should the government be allowed to place restrictions on drug use? After all, procuring drugs is no less a public act than purchasing condoms is. Why should the government be able to force children to attend schools? If a 13-year-old girl need not notify her parents that she intends to end her pregnancy, why can't a 13-year-old choose to work on her PlayStation skills instead of her math skills?
In truth, the "right to privacy" was conceived and invoked as a complete, "rights-based" challenge to the Judeo-Christian worldview. There is a certain instinctive appeal to the idea that the government has no place in our bedrooms. Justice William O. Douglas expressed such a concern in Griswold v. Connecticut: "Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives? ... We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights -- older than our political parties, older than our school system."
But Douglas never actually cites a source for this supposedly most ancient of rights, other than his own (historically inaccurate) opinion. That's because the basic thrust of biblical religion -- the system of morality the founders and citizens of the time understood to be the basis for all rights and concurrent obligations -- cuts directly against such a "right to privacy." The idea of an omniscient God opposes the idea of personal privacy. Whatever we do, from the marital bedroom to the kitchen to the workplace, is God's business.
Of course, government is not God. But American morality rests on the notion that citizens may choose to reflect broad Judeo-Christian values through their elected representatives, as long as those values do not establish a particular religion as paramount. To say otherwise is not only to remove the power from the hands of the people, but to place it in the hands of a select few secular-liberal societal engineers.
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