Home > posts > Return of the Amish
January 12th, 2010 11:30 pm
Return of the Amish
Posted by Print

Back in September, I chronicled the controversy that accompanied health care reform in the Amish community, where government assistance is usually refused as a matter of faith.

Now comes word that heavily Amish communities have lobbied to get themselves exempted from Obamacare’s insurance mandates, a set-aside that could extend to other, similarly situated groups such as Christian Scientists or Old Order Mennonites.

My hat is off to the religious groups that have been able to carve out an exemption. One wonders how far this trend will go. By the same standard, wouldn’t it be legitimate for Catholics to seek an out if they feel their faith is compromised by the abortion provisions in the new bill? What if Jehovah’s Witnesses are required to carry insurance with provisions for blood transfusions?

Of course, we don’t allow untrammeled discretion to religious beliefs.  If your religion sanctioned murder or theft, you wouldn’t get a pass from the state. Rather, the western tradition of liberty has always been strongly influenced by the concept of natural rights — that the aspects of individuals that constitute their inherent dignity as human beings should be immune from coercive influence by the state.

Health care is an area that overlaps with those rights so frequently that these early controversies will prove to be only the tip of the iceberg. Thus, health care reform doesn’t just represent government overreach — it involves a paradigm shift in the relationship between the government and the governed. If we were truly adhering to this nation’s natural rights tradition, every American would get the same right of refusal as the Amish.

Comments are closed.