Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ramesh Ponnuru: "PolitiFact vs. Senator Cruz"

Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review takes note of a recent PolitiFact (Texas) flub:
At CPAC, Senator Cruz (who is, I should note, a friend) said that Democrats had told the Catholic Church, “Change your religious beliefs or we’ll use our power in the federal government to shut down your charities and your hospitals.” PolitiFact Texas is on the case, and it finds that in fact Democrats never used those exact words to describe the import of their policies. Its ruling: Cruz’s statement is “incorrect and ridiculous” and therefore merits a “Pants on Fire” rating.
 Ponnuru explains that Sen. Cruz was correct:
The administration’s policy gives these institutions — that is, tells them they have — two choices. They can comply, even if they think doing so violates their consciences (and they are, presumably, the right judges of that question). Or they can refuse to comply and be driven out of operation.
PolitiFact Texas admitted the possibility that the federal government would levy stiff fines that might make it impossible/impractical for various religious entities and businesses to continue operation.  But supposedly found no evidence of a threat to the Roman Catholic Church:
The Catholic bishops have said that potential accumulated fines resulting from refusals to carry out the contraception mandate will cause some institutions to shut down.

Perhaps. However, such prospects do not reflect a direct threat from Democrats or the government. To the contrary, the administration has moved to widen the mandate’s exemption for religious employers and provide a workaround for those who act as their own insurance providers -- with the goal of allowing affected parties to continue their work without violating or changing their beliefs.
Ponnuru likewise points out the trouble with this line of reasoning from PolitiFact.  Visit National Review Online for the rest of the story.

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