Bill Murchison

Sex is the realm in which the secular spirit, seeking satisfaction, collides hardest and most often with religion. Religion, with both eyes on some divine personage no telescope has ever revealed, lays down understandings, formulates rules it commends in one form or another to everyone. Secularism says in response, hey, you can't talk to me like that! I'll call the government in!

The government duly comes in, with guarantees, formulated to suit the occasion, of the American right to do pretty much what an American desires to do with his body. Or hers. The secular understanding of what you ought to be allowed to do pretty well trumps the religious understanding -- as old as civilization itself -- that there are certain things you ought to want to do, and other things you ought not to want to do. All you have to prove in federal court these days, seemingly, is that you reject someone's attempt to regulate your instincts out of deference to some old book or religious code.

The religious understanding that the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga companies advance before the Supreme Court is pretty much -- sad to say -- the understanding to which courts these days display cool indifference. Maybe particular birth control devices, as alleged, do cause abortion. So what? That's a religious scruple the Supreme Court generally shoves aside in behalf of the secular claim that, hey, it's my body we're talking about! Which it isn't: not when a second body figures prominently in the case. But that's Religion, right? We don't do that stuff around here much anymore.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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