• The Left’s Anti-Christian Gag

    March 10, 2024
    George Orwell, Public Domain.

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    State Representative Jillian Gilchrest, a Democrat from West Hartford, is vigorously supporting a legislative proposal that would, according to a piece in CTMirror, “ban religious objections to reproductive health care in Connecticut.” She is “one of several lawmakers who recently unveiled legislative priorities for reproductive rights.”

    Christians, anti-Christians and practical atheists will note the distortion in language here: Reproduction rights – that is, abortion rights – rarely result, when broadly exercised, in the reproduction of the species. The expression “reproductive rights” is used most often on the left as a euphemism for “abortion rights.”

    Gilchrest and a supportive group in the State’s General Assembly, the legislature’s Reproductive Rights Caucus and Reproductive Equity Now censors, are likely to be disappointed once their legislation, if passed, wends its way through appellate courts that regard the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as more than a passing fancy.

    Three rights are bundled together in the Constitution’s First Amendment: religious rights -- “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” – freedom of speech and the press – “[Congress shall make no law] abridging the freedom of speech or of the press” – and freedom of association and petition -- “[Congress shall make no law affecting] the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court transfer to states the imprescriptible rights affirmed in the First Amendment. The “Congress shall make no law” clause applies as well to state legislatures and municipal governments.

    Any criminal worth his salt may be familiar with the doctrine "Nulla Poena Sine Lege" -- where there is no prohibitive law, there can be no punishment, a bedrock concept in criminal law ensuring fairness and predictability that protects individuals from arbitrary prosecution.

    “Reproductive [abortion] rights advocates are eyeing a change in state law that would no longer allow medical providers to deny a patient reproductive [abortion] health care based on a religious or conscientious objection,” CTMirror advises. The “change in state law” advocated by Gilchrest and abortion rights advocates in the General Assembly, dispassionate observers will note, is incompatible with the First Amendment.

    “To combat these refusal laws in the state,” officials from Reproductive Equity Now wrote in a memo, “Connecticut [legislators] can act to ensure health care institutions, such as religiously affiliated hospitals, do not prohibit providers from providing medically accurate information regarding a patient’s health status, counseling, and referrals for care that may not align with an institution’s moral or religious beliefs.”

    Rhetorical contortionists will admire the misuse of language here by officials from Reproductive Equity Now. What has abortion, the termination of life in the womb, to do with “health care”? Are not most laws – say, laws that punish bank robbery, rape and incest – “refusal laws”? Should bank robbers and bank tellers be treated equitably because both handle cash?  And why should religious hospitals  -- doctors, nurses and staff – be stripped of their First Amendment rights, their “moral or religious beliefs,” so that some legislators may with an unbruised conscience feel free to violate what used to be called the religiously informed conscience of individuals luxuriating in their First Amendment rights. Would members of Connecticut’s media settle for an originalist interpretation of the freedom of speech and the press clauses of the First Amendment if advocates who favor neo-progressive rights were to agitate against the wide berth of freedom afforded to members of the media by the First Amendment?

    It was liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, close friends with Justice Antonin Scalia, who reminded her colleagues, “We are all originalists now.”

    “It is morally obtuse and unconstitutional said Chris Healy, the executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference, “to require a health care provider to perform an abortion or any medical procedure that conflicts with their religious rights as well as the religious tenets of the provider. There are plenty of options available to women, but the abortion lobby can’t control their extremism and want to dictate to people of faith. Catholic hospitals are the targets, and we will vigorously oppose it to protect the religious rights of dedicated health care workers.”

    George Orwell, who remained a socialist all his life, considered himself a custodian of the English language – and so he was. When he submitted Animal Farm for publication, it was rejected by one prominent publisher because, “We do not publish children’s books.”

    Orwell’s Politics and the English Language is well worth reading even today – most especially today.

    “In our time,” Orwell writes, “it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing. Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions, and not a ‘party line’. Orthodoxy, of whatever color, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestos, White Papers and the speeches of Under-Secretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, home-made turn of speech. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases – bestial atrocities, iron heel, blood-stained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder – one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favorable to political conformity.”

    In the United States, the orthodox neo-progressive left makes use of its own hackneyed and deadening -- pun intended -- phraseology.

    Orwell’s undying message is -- corruption, in all its various guises, follows the corruption of the language.

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    Don Pesci

    Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.

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