From the very founding of the Nation, the Constitution has been understood to protect private religious beliefs from government intrusion. The same is not true for private moral values or convictions.
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President Obama and his aides are continuing to struggle over ways to avoid violations of religious doctrine (mainly, Roman Catholic dogma) as they move to implement a provision in the new federal health care law requiring health insurance coverage of birth control for employees.
The language of rights, and especially of constitutional rights, is sometimes not used with precision. More can be claimed by a simple suggestion that rights exist than is, in fact, true.
Aside from the sometimes heated rhetoric recently in the Republican presidential race about “dictatorial” judges, there is an ongoing, civil discourse about various ways to ensure that the Supreme Court does not have the last word on the Constitution’s meaning.
In an awesome display of Digital Age political power, the shuttering of major parts of the Internet in protest on January 18 had an almost instant impact in Congress, stopping in its tracks a strong push to pass new laws to shut down websites suspected of stealing copyrighted movies, music and books.