The Republicans talk a lot about “freedom.” They even had several signs at the 4th of July parade touting various “freedoms.” But they somehow missed two of the most glaring freedoms that affect practically every aspect of American life — reproductive freedom and freedom from religion. Let me explain.
Since the advent of widely available birth control, women have been able to decide when to have children and how many children they want to have. This freedom has opened up many opportunities for women to more fully participate in society. Women, especially in America and other developed countries, have been able to have careers outside of marriage and family. They can now become doctors, lawyers, scientists, astronauts, etc. Plus since the passage of Title IX, women have been able to participate in a wide variety of sports — leading to many female athletes competing and winning in the Olympics and other professional sporting events. Given all the benefits to society of giving women the freedom to choose when to have children, I am shocked that the Republican party’s “War on Women” is trying to make birth control so hard to get; example — the latest Supreme Court decision allowing a company (Hobby Lobby) to deny birth control insurance coverage on the grounds of “religious freedom.”
Which brings me to my second point — freedom from religion. During the early days of our country many people fled other countries and came to America so they could practice their religion without government persecution. To name a few, we had Puritan, Quakers, Protestants, Catholics and Lutherans. When the Founding Fathers drew up the Constitution, they realized the danger of creating a “state” governed by one religious sect over another. So the First Amendment to the Constitution created the principle of separation of church and state.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
So freedom from religion means that the government should not pass laws that impose one religious belief over another. If your religion is against birth control — don’t use them. If your religion is against abortion — don’t have one. If your religion is against gay marriage – don’t get married (if you are gay). The government has no business imposing these religious beliefs on the rest of the population.
So I would ask my Republican friends, if you believe in smaller government and less intrusion in your personal life then please support these freedoms and “Don’t tread on me.”
Nancy Eubanks, a member of the Nevada County Democratic Central Committee, lives in Rough and Ready.