Monday, March 5, 2012

Forcing A Kosher Deli To Sell Ham Is Akin To Forcing A Catholic to Pay For Contraception


Bishop Lori testified before Congress about the HHS mandate. This is what he said:
For my testimony today, I would like to tell a story. Let’s call it The Parable of the Kosher Deli.

Once upon a time, a new law is proposed, so that any business that serves food must serve pork.

There is a narrow exception for kosher catering halls attached to synagogues, since they serve mostly members of that synagogue, but kosher delicatessens are still subject to the mandate.

The Orthodox Jewish community — whose members run kosher delis and many other restaurants and grocers besides — expresses its outrage at the new government mandate.

And they are joined by others who have no problem eating pork — not just the many Jews who eat pork, but people of all faiths — because these others recognize the threat to the principle of religious liberty.

They recognize as well the practical impact of the damage to that principle.

They know that, if the mandate stands, they might be the next ones forced — under threat of severe government sanction — to violate their most deeply held beliefs, especially their unpopular beliefs.

Meanwhile, those who support the mandate respond, “But pork is good for you.”

It is, after all, the “other white meat.”

Other supporters add, “So many Jews eat pork, and those who don’t should just get with the times.”

Still others say, “Those Orthodox are just trying to impose their beliefs on everyone else.”

But in our hypothetical, those arguments fail in the public debate, because people widely recognize the following:

First, although people may reasonably debate whether pork is good for you, that’s not the question posed by the nationwide pork mandate.

Instead, the mandate generates the question whether people who believe — even if they believe in error — that pork is not good for you should be forced by government to serve pork within their very own institutions. In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is: No.

Second, the fact that some (or even most) Jews eat pork is simply irrelevant. The fact remains that some Jews do not — and they do not out of their most deeply held religious convictions.

Does the fact that large majorities in society — even large majorities within the protesting religious community — reject a particular religious belief make it permissible for the government to weigh in on one side of that dispute? Does it allow government to punish that minority belief with its coercive power?

In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is: No.

Third, the charge that the Orthodox Jews are imposing their beliefs on others has it exactly backwards.

Again, the question generated by a government mandate is whether the government will impose its belief that eating pork is good on objecting Orthodox Jews.

Meanwhile, there is no imposition at all on the freedom of those who want to eat pork. That is, they are subject to no government interference at all in their choice to eat pork, and pork is ubiquitous and cheap, available at the overwhelming majority of restaurants and grocers.

Indeed, some pork producers and retailers, and even the government itself, are so eager to promote the eating of pork that they sometimes give pork away for free.

In this context, the question is this: Can a customer come to a kosher deli, demand to be served a ham sandwich, and if refused, bring down severe government sanction on the deli?

In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is: No.

So, in our hypothetical story, because the hypothetical nation is indeed committed to religious liberty and diversity, these arguments carry the day.

In response, those proposing the new law claim to hear and understand the concerns of kosher deli owners and offer them a new “accommodation.”

You are free to call yourself a kosher deli; you are free not to place ham sandwiches on your menu; you are free not to be the person to prepare the sandwich and hand it over the counter to the customer.

But we will force your meat supplier to set up a kiosk on your premises and to offer, prepare and serve ham sandwiches to all of your customers free of charge to them. And when you get your monthly bill from your meat supplier, it will include the cost of any of the “free” ham sandwiches that your customers may accept.

And you will, of course, be required to pay that bill. Continue reading.

4 comments:

Paul said...

If anyone would like to see the video of Bishop Lori's testimony, it can be found here:

http://catholic-video.blogspot.com/2012/02/bishop-lori-testifies-before-congress.html

FrDarryl said...

I kept waiting for the timely punch-line referencing La Nouvelle Terreur.

French PM knocks halal, kosher as campaign heats up
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/05/france-election-idUSL5E8E56Y620120305

The French invented Irony, you know.

Nicole said...

Here's where that analogy, cute as it is, breaks down:

If you want - nay, let's say NEED, for medical reasons - a ham sandwich, you can simply find a deli that will serve it to you. After all, the kosher deli is not your employer, your source of livelihood, the only place you can go to get a ham sandwich at a reasonable cost. And if you *can* only get sandwiches from the kosher deli, is it not cruel to say, "You may not have the sandwich you need, but you may feel free to go without the other benefits of association with our deli while you try to find another."

I get the point this

Chris Duffel said...

http://chrisduffel.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/what-is-truth-pork-water-islam-catholicism-and-contraceptives/

I had a similar thought on the matter. You can read it at this link.