At nearly 1700 pages, the collection gave Garner a lot to read, so he might be forgiven for writing summarily, although not dismissively.
Greenhouse’s epiphany occurred while traveling in Ireland, a country which recently “threw off the shackles of the Catholic Church” by liberalizing its abortion laws.
This emancipation enabled Ireland “to claim the secular freedom its people now enjoy,” in contrast to a “disingenuous politics” which will “hurl us backwards to a place many of us never imagined.” While “Ireland marches boldly into the future,” the US becomes increasingly theocratic.
Would it allow for the provision of basic public services to religious organizations, even if the taxpayer makes no use of, or has no use for, that organization?
Must the Establishment Clause be used in the most restrictive ways possible, to insure the complete absence of religion in public life?
Like Garner, Greenhouse believes that objections to abortion ultimately and exclusively arise from religious beliefs.
Granted, Greenhouse does provide accompanying evidence indicating that, in some instances, restrictions on abortion were accompanied either by overt religious justifications or implicit religious assumptions, or adorned with religious language.The connections to her general reading of the Establishment Clause are obvious.What sorts of broad public accommodations might the Constitution provide for religious groups?Absent is any notion of a public or a common good, or a serious discussion about how insurance plans actually operate in terms of the management of risk pools.Should all persons buying into an insurance plan be required to cover risks they’re not inclined to, whatever the reason? Why would it be the case that only secular persons might be victims of coercion?Indeed, the Court has now, according to Greenhouse, created a rule “that the Establishment Clause permits any religious favoritism short of actual coercion of non-adherents.”At the policy level, Greenhouse claims, this will mean that some women will be made “second-class citizens” when their benighted employers don’t provide the women with the “health care benefit” which is a statutory right serving an essential secular purpose.Employers may also refuse to fund insurance policies that cover gender-alteration therapies to transgendered persons, in both instances motivated by antiquated notions of sin.A reader doesn’t, however, need to search much to find what Berry has to say about abortion. In that essay Berry argues there should be no laws against abortion, and in general his essay cannot be said to be a defense of the “pro-life” position.My guess is that Garner read only a small part of Berry’s works, but the gratuitous inclusion of the abortion reference raises the suspicion that writers for on abortion and the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.highlight a common (mis)understanding concerning the politics of abortion, and in the process reveal much about the state of political disagreement, particularly as it involves the role of the Constitution in public life.the Library of America’s release of the works of Wendell Berry.