March 8 2012

Booing Blunt

Charlotte Hays

I have to admit that this is one of the most depressing things I’ve read in the last few days:

Blunt Gets Booed at Night of Student Performances

The Blunt is Senator Roy Blunt, author of the defeated Blunt Amendment, which would have exempted employers with moral objections from having to pay for insurance policies that provide contraception and abortifacients. He was being honored for his support of education in the Senate at a benefit held at the Kennedy Center.  Here is what happened:

While Blunt was being introduced, an audience member shouted, “Blunt is the devil.” A tense moment passed without comment before the ceremony continued. As Blunt took the stage, the heckler loudly booed.

Okay, to be fair, it was one heckler, and, according to the Washington Examiner, which reported the incident, those present were “unfazed” by the rudeness. But that this took place at the Kennedy Center, a citadel of Washington cultural life, clearly in retaliation for Blunt’s attempt to uphold freedom of conscience, is a (bad) sign of the times. Is a senator to be vilified for offering an amendment that exempts people from doing something that goes against their consciences?

In what has become perhaps the strangest episode in the long history of the culture wars—we’re really talking about contraception?—standing up for a right guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, the right of religious freedom, is suddenly backwards and anti-woman. Jonah Goldberg quotes two Democratic senators offering a bizarre portrait of those who seek to exempt employers with moral objections from the HHS mandate:   

“Let’s admit what this debate is really and what Republicans really want to take away from American women. It is contraception,” Senator Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) outrageously claimed while opposing the Blunt amendment. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) said the GOP was yearning to return to “the Dark Ages . . . when women were property that you could easily control, even trade if you wanted to.”

Also quoting this passage from Jonah’s column, my friend Pundette says:

I find it unseemly to go around screaming "liar" all over the place. But they've gone a bit far this time.

What is being described as a “war against women” is really another kind of war: a desperate war for women’s votes, staged by a party that can’t afford to talk about the economy or anything that really matters. But, as I said: contraception?

We really have to find a way to get this discussion back on the real issue. We owe it to George Mason.

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