After Voting to Strip it From DC Residents, Boehner Claims to Champion Religious Freedom

As you know, on Thursday, House Republicans voted that employers not only have the right to know if female employees are on the pill, but have the right to fire them if they are. Calling religious freedom “liberal fascism,” Ted Cruz Friday urged Senate Republicans to do the same thing.

This is what Republicans call “religious freedom”: imposing their religious beliefs on others. Nancy Pelosi rightly called the House measure, “Hobby Lobby on steroids.”

To illustrate just how twisted their thinking is, John Boehner released a statement on Thursday explaining his actions, and claiming to be a champion of the religious freedom he had just trampled:

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today applauding House passage of H.J. Res. 43:

“America was founded on the principle of religious freedom, and faith-based employers deserve the ability to hire people who share their beliefs. The measure passed by the D.C. Council, however, discriminates against religious and pro-life Americans, violates their conscience rights, and runs completely counter to the ‘free exercise’ clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. As a proud pro-life Catholic, I condemn this form of discrimination and urge the president to reconsider his veto threat of our joint resolution.”

NOTE: Under Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress has direct oversight of the District of Columbia. Under the Home Rule Act of 1973, Congress has the authority to review – and disapprove – all policies passed by the District of Columbia City Council and signed by the District of Columbia Mayor.

You will note that Boehner has clearly categorized religious freedom as a form of discrimination, while repressive Republican measures are hailed as religious freedom.

Conservative opposition to D.C.’s RHNDA has been predicated on the idea that it stripped companies of their religious freedom as though companies were people.

For example, over at American Thinker I found this claim being made:

The court’s decision in Hobby Lobby protects closely-held private employers from having to violate their conscience in providing contraception as part of their employee health care plans. As the Hobby Lobby decision expressly prohibits what RHNDA seeks to enforce, it is rather peculiar then that the council claims that it does not apply to the District.

But it is somehow not a violation of conscience for employers to impose their religious beliefs on their employees.

“America was founded on the principle of religious freedom,” Boehner said. It’s just a shame Republicans think only corporations have that freedom, that corporations have rights of conscience but individuals do not.

If ever less thought went into thinking, it will have to be proven to me.

To help justify the House move, Beohner goes on to say,

In December, then-Mayor Vincent Gray urged the City Council to postpone voting on the so-called Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA) “until significant legal concerns … are resolved.” Gray, a Democrat, wrote that:

“the bill raises serious concerns under the Constitution and under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA). Religious organizations, religiously-affiliated organizations, religiously-driven for-profit entities, and political organizations may have strong First Amendment and RFRA grounds for challenging the law’s applicability to them. Moreover, to the extent that some of the bill’s language protects only one sex’s reproductive health decisions, that language may run afoul of the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection guarantee. … While I applaud the goals of this legislation, as currently drafted, this legislation is legally problematic.”

You have to love how the RHNDA is legally problematic but “Hobby Lobby” is not, how forcing other people to abide by your religion is perfectly okay but forcing corporations to respect their employees’ religious freedom is somehow persecution.

Boehner is right in saying that America was founded on principles of religious freedom. He is wrong to say that what he is doing is promoting that religious freedom.

The only thing the House of Representatives is promoting is religious tyranny, and in direct violation of the United States Constitution’s First Amendment.

The fly in the buttermilk is that as Bridget Bowman pointed out at Roll Call yesterday, “As with any D.C. law, the D.C. Council transmitted RHNDA to Congress for a 30-day review process during which time Congress can formally block the law by passing a joint resolution of disapproval. That review period ends Saturday.”


In other words, Congress waited too long to act and lost their chance to strip D.C. residents of their freedoms. Bowman notes that, “House conservatives are pushing for lawmakers to incorporate a policy rider in the District’s spending bill to block implementation of the act, though it is not clear how exactly a rider could do so.”

Delmore Schwartz said in 1937, “Time is the fire in which we burn.”* Time, even more pointedly, is the enemy of the catastrophically Republican 114th Congress, which is so good at doing nothing that it did nothing just a little too well, and so lost their chance to oppress the residents of Washington, D.C.

* “Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day,” 1937

21 Replies to “After Voting to Strip it From DC Residents, Boehner Claims to Champion Religious Freedom”

  1. Someone needs to sit Boehner down and read the Constitution to him word by word and illustrate it with cartoon figures. Maybe, after repeating this over and over, he might begin to understand what it means.

    My “religious freedom” as he and his fellow Koch-ites like to say is not encumbered in the least by women taking birth control pills or by women choosing to have an abortion or by gay couples getting married.

    What is encumbered by their gross misinterpretation of the First Amendment is their obscene intrusion into the personal lives of American citizens and their need to control women. If the Koch-ites get their way, we women will become slaves and have no access to good medical care, education, employment, or, above all, no access to the voting booth. Then they’ll go after men who are ethnically different from the Koch requirement.

    The burning question to me is: why do the Koch brothers want to do this?

  2. I don’t think its the kochs. They could give a rats ass about social issues. The only issue that concerns them is making money. Now they are doing this to appease the religious fanatics. They have to show them that they are doing something for their ultimate cause. Theocracy

  3. The gopers keep losing because more and more people have figured out the “code” words and phrases being pushed by the dominionists. The religious right has become a joke for 60% of the American public. They are a dangerous joke, but their ill intent proceeds them. They are on their way out…

  4. In order to understand Boner’s Mind (?), you have to understand the Religious Mind.

    Just about every religion’s goal is to impose said religion upon everyone else. That is the primary ‘freedom’ every religious war is about.

    For many Xtians- they want you to accept Jeebus. You know, free will and all that rot. But if you don’t then they’ll force you to convert, thus negating the importance of that free will.

  5. OMFG, for the last time: Not wanting to buy something for someone else is not imposing on them. Demanding someone buy something for you IS imposing on them. Also look up the terms “closely held”, “unreasonable burden”, “compelling interest”, and “least intrusive means”. Please, oh please, for the love of God, can you learn just a little bit about this subject and stop writing this same damn stupid article over and over again.

  6. WTF are you talking about? The question is should you b fired for using birth control. Plain and simple. You can dress this up all the fuk you want but in the end do you want government and corporations denying your right to make a living for using a legal device. I thought this was settled
    Griswold v. Connecticut

  7. Erica, return with a cogent argument/objection, and we will debate the issue. You clearly do not understand it.

  8. pretty sure the Republicans actually tried to read the Constitution when they took control of the House in 2010(?)… they failed at that… pages stuck together and were missed… they skipped the part they didn’t like or want to be reminded of, slavery…

    they couldn’t even get all of their members properly sworn in… remember the clowns holding their hands up in front of the TV?

    it was a preview of the clown show that has rolled on since…

  9. The Republiczns are trying to impose their curious brand paranoid, repressive Christianity on the land. If they succeed, how soon does it become before the modern day puritans start burning each other in metaphorical fires?

  10. Ok, lets start with “unreasonable burden”

    “The Undue Burden standard states that the Legislature cannot make a particular law that is too burdensome or restrictive of one’s fundamental rights.”

    Emphasis on the word LEGISLATURE. Pretty self-explanatory.

    “compelling interest”

    ” In order for the statute to be valid, there must be a compelling governmental interest that can be furthered only by the law in question.”

    What compelling interest by the GOVERNMENT is there in allowing an employer to question a woman’s use of birth control?

    “least intrusive means”

    In general applies to GOVERNMENT seeking information. How does this apply to private enterprise?

    “closely held”

    UP 29 million people affected by this meaning.

  11. I’m sorry. The GOP’s “religious freedom” policies are for Christians only.
    Didn’t you read the fine print?

  12. These guys have no idea what religion is all about. God did not to intend to impose on anyone about religion. That is why he gave us free choice. Free choice was not meant to allow you to do what ever you wish, but to decide if you accept God or do not accept God. These repukes use religion as a tool to force their evil beliefs and ways down our throats. Everything they believe in is against the Bible as I know it, which says we are made in God’s image. To the so-called religious right it’s God is made in their image. They will find out soon enough, what the scripture means sayin, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows that he will also reap.”

  13. Erica — Why don’t you just skedaddle over on to those reichwing sites where everyone will agree with your reichwing misinterpretations of the Constitution and judicial statutes? Oh wait……they don’t pay you for your posts over on those sites, do they?

  14. Republicans idea of religious freedom is Christians having the freedom to persecute others with their religion. If Boner understood the Constitution he would realize that this is what our founding fathers were escaping. Thus, the separation of church and state.

  15. he is the worst speaker ever in this country and he is taking his advice not from the Koch Brothers but his own bartender cause he and his bartender is BFF!

  16. I’m going to say it: The entire Right Wing is full of hypocrites.

    How it is ‘Religious Freedom’ when a company can fire a woman for using the pill and real religious freedom is considered ‘Liberal fascism’ when these maroons wouldn’t know what fascism is unless a book about it hit them in the face.

    Companies aren’t people. They’re soulless creations that exist only to make money. They have no heart, no soul, no feelings.

    True religious freedom should be the right of all people, not just some who can afford the right or those who are hypocritical.

  17. All these wonderful comments, how many will act on them by voting out the incumbents in 2016? It’s easy to sit here and write all about how this person is and that person is, but in the end, the incumbents are still there, on both sides of the isle……What will it take to get voters out to change not only congress, but their own state governments? Until that happens, we will cheerfully go on filling comment spaces with our woe is me ideas, and feelings, because we have very little else to do to make our lives bearable in the new republican religious tyranny society, and make no mistake, it will be unbearable . I keep having to think and look twice when I write these things, God forbid I malign or offend someone of the RR. I hope you get the idea…

  18. Ways to disengage women from society, politics, and business:

    1. Prevent birth control and abortion.
    2. Make sure they are paid less.
    3. Keep them from voting (ie. voter ID and getting child care, Pre-K and after school programs
    4. Make it harder to get an education while killing public education. The majority of teachers are women.
    5. Do nothing about violence against women.
    6. Use a double standard when judging their performance
    7. Don’t let them be heard and minimize what they say (don’t listen to them)
    8. Take credit for their work
    9. Make food stamps and welfare for families harder and harder to get, while reducing funding for food stamps and welfare
    10. Prevent the public option for health care
    11. Spread disinformation and propaganda parading as news
    12. Leave them out of history books, the media and movies in key roles. (Video games too)
    13. Use religion as an excuse for subjugating women.
    14. Don’t hire them.
    15. Leave them out of the loop.

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