Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: To be blunt about Blunt Amendment |

Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: To be blunt about Blunt Amendment

Richard Carnes
Vail, CO, Colorado

Dems say it’s yet another attack on women’s rights, and Republicans say it’s to combat yet another attack on religious rights.

The Blunt Amendment (which was bizarrely yet somehow strategically placed inside a highway bill, of all things) basically said an employer could refuse insurance coverage for any specific subject if they had a moral or religious issue with it.

Bad idea.

No, strike that. Really stupid idea.

If passed, a Jehovah’s Witness employer could deny coverage for blood transfusions or childhood immunizations for their employees; a Seventh Day Adventist could deny coverage for any medical attention on Saturdays; a Mormon could deny coverage for stomach ulcers for coffee drinkers; a Scientologist could deny coverage for anti-depressant pills; Sheldon Adelson could deny coverage for those affected by liberalism; etc.

Support Local Journalism

Luckily, it failed in the Senate (51-48) last week. But the issue is still front and center, thanks to inane attempts by a certain GOP presidential candidate to continue losing the female vote and the nonsensical ramblings of the GOP’s apparent leader and Howard Stern wannabe, Rush Limbaugh.

I truly thought that once Rick Santorum, who desires and says it is constitutional to ban birth control, performed the inevitable crash and burn (which might be happening today, in fact), this silly issue of contraception would fade away like Newt’s political career. Wrong.

I guess some people just will not be happy until the 19th Amendment is repealed and we toe the Taliban-styled line of governing. While the Bubbas and Cooters of the world (no offense to Mr. Overcash) would like to see fewer educated, healthy and empowered women, the rest of us think smart and healthy women are far more fun.

Anyway, Limbaugh had the perfect opportunity to make a valid point, which was Georgetown students are likely more capable of paying for their own contraception than middle-class workers who would have subsidized the new rule in the form of higher insurance premiums, yet instead he blew it with his puerile attempts to insult a college student.

He has since apologized, but what a complete waste of media time, not to mention yet another black eye for conservatives.

Besides those who are confusing “access to” with “forced use of,” the real issue here is the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment.

As of now, nobody, not even those who believe in supernatural boogeymen, is trying to take away a women’s right to birth control, but religious freedom is at stake.

No, that was not a typo.

The 1st Amendment goes both directions. It protects us non-theists from the self-righteous intrusions of supernatural beliefs while also protecting theists to freely practice their supernatural beliefs, whether it is Scientology or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or anything in between.

It is the proverbial slippery slope if we allow the federal government to prevent any religion (no matter how silly) from freely exercising their rights, as long as they are not impinging upon the rights of others simultaneously, and I don’t blame them for being concerned.

Just because all of the evidence since man’s ability to collect evidence all but proves the lack of a supernatural world, it doesn’t mean I will not stand up and defend the constitutional rights of those who choose to ignore said evidence.

Stop acting so surprised.

Either way, there are far more important issues to be dealing with right now, like that whole economy thing, right?

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at

Support Local Journalism