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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan 15, 2014/ 14 Shevat, 5774

A man for one season

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com |

As if the president's Signature Accomplishment, aka Obamacare, doesn't have enough problems, it's been put on hold by a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court who recognized still another obstacle it faces: religious objections. These were raised by an order of Catholic nuns in Colorado. It seems the Little Sisters of the Poor run a nursing home and hospice there, and they don't want to sign on to Obamacare's requirement that they help provide contraception, sterilization or abortion through their health insurance plan.

Defenders of the requirement explain that the sisters don't actually have to provide all that themselves. All they need do is certify that they object to such procedures and they can opt out of the requirement. Their insurers will do the rest -- pay for it all, at least in theory, and have willing providers do what the Little Sisters find objectionable.

The nuns aren't the only ones who have raised conscientious objections to Obamacare's requirements. By now a whole array of Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and dioceses refuse to sign on to this arrangement.

Behind them in this line are Americans of all denominations or none who want nothing to do with taking innocent life. The ranks of conscientious objectors to Obamacare are varied and growing. And headed for the courts.

So what's the big problem? It's just a piece of paper, a formality, a "certification" if you prefer that term to oath. If it makes religious organizations complicit in actions they deem sinful, it makes them only slightly complicit. A third party will do the dirty/bloody work, and even that at a safe remove. The nuns' consciences will be clear, or so the federal government assures them. Even if it involves them in something they consider evil. But it's just a touch of evil, and that at a distance. Just a little evil never hurt anybody, right?

No, that's not the voice of the suave gentleman in red socks whispering in the nuns' ear but that of our own Justice Department. And if the nuns still won't take this handy out, the feds point out that they can just stop offering their nuns and priests, their doctors and nurses and other medical professionals any health insurance at all. Nobody's forcing them to provide it. Problem solved. Except for the small one of failing to do right by those who work in and for the order.

So much for this administration's real regard for workers' rights. When those rights get in the way of its ideology, it's the rights that must give way.

What we have here is part of the all too widespread assumption in modern American society (and many another) that not just church and state can be separated but religion and life. Religious convictions are reduced to just another "lifestyle choice." And we're assured we can discard our convictions without losing what makes us us -- our core beliefs, our very selves. It's another illustration of the diminished sense of self in the modern world. What moral imperative? If it's inconvenient, just shuck it. As if we could separate ourselves from our convictions and remain our selves.



It's not easy to explain the problem to those who have no deep attachment to religious convictions, or at least to others' religious convictions. What problem? The worldly lawyers at Justice can't see any. Any more than Henry VIII could understand why his long-time adviser, supporter, and learned envoy -- a distinguished and sophisticated man of the world like Thomas More, whom the king himself had knighted -- wouldn't just swear that the King of England ruled its church, too. It was a small thing His Majesty asked. A small thing to the king, anyway. All he asked was that his old supporter be "reasonable," that he keep his head. Literally.

And yet Sir Thomas, who would eventually become Saint Thomas More because of this "little" matter of conscience, wouldn't. Any more than the Little Sisters of the Poor would please just sign this slip of paper and put all this behind them and the administration. Why they won't seems to honestly puzzle those of a particular secular mentality. Robert Bolt tried to explain it to modern readers in the finer preface to his fine play, "A Man for All Seasons":

" ...(W)hy do I take as my hero a man who brings about his own death because he can't put his hand on an old black book and tell an ordinary lie? For this reason: A man takes an oath only when he wants to commit himself quite exceptionally to the statement, when he wants to make an identity between the truth of it and his own virtues; he offers himself as a guarantee. And it works. There is a special kind of shrug for a perjurer; we feel that the man has no self to commit, no guarantee to offer. Of course it's much less effective now that for most of us the actual words of the oath are not much more than impressive mumbo-jumbo than it was when they made obvious sense; we would prefer most men to guarantee their statements with, say, cash rather than themselves. We feel -- we know -- the self to be an equivocal commodity. There are fewer and fewer things which, as they say, we 'cannot bring ourselves' to do."

But what is all that to the lawheads at Justice? Or for that matter to a president who is a lawyer himself, and so has considerable experience at interpreting, waiving, canceling and generally explaining away any law that gets in his way. And that includes the immense, rambling, eponymous and still not completely explored statute he himself insisted in ramming through Congress and into law -- although he seldom if ever refers to it as Obamacare any more. For obvious reasons.

So when Obamacare runs athwart the clear language of the Constitution, his Department of Justice solemnly argues before the high court that, when the First Amendment declares that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, it doesn't mean no law.

Once you get your head around that simple proposition, you'll have no problem seeing the Little Sisters of the Poor as just a nitpicking nuisance, a minor obstacle to Progress.

Coming up next: The case of private companies--like Hobby Lobby--whose owners also object to being made a party to things like abortion. Don't they understand that, when they open for business in the morning, they're supposed to check their religious convictions at the door? It's little enough to ask. At least it is for this administration.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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