"Faith first, government second for GOP candidate," blares a teaser headline on MSNBC.com. They say that like it's a bad thing.
Of course, to MSNBC it is, when religious freedom objections stand opposed to ObamaCare, so MSNBC.com writer Morgan Whitaker sought to explain to Lean Forward partisans all the ways that Ben Sasse is supposedly a danger to civil society, including a ludicrous suggestion that his views could allow for establishment of Sharia law (excerpt below; emphasis mine):
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Nebraska Republican and newly minted Senate candidate Ben Sasse appears to believe that religious freedom trumps government law, according to text on his website highlighted Wednesday by Think Progress.
“Ben Sasse believes that our right to the free exercise of religion is co-equal to our right to life,” the website reads. “This is not a negotiable issue. Government cannot force citizens to violate their religious beliefs under any circumstances. He will fight for the right of all Americans to act in accordance with their conscience.”
Sasse, a Republican with the backing of Sen. Ted Cruz, former Gov. Sarah Palin, and other major conservative heroes, is the heavy favorite to win retiring Republican Mike Johanns’s Senate seat this November.
The passage on his campaign website comes under the heading of Sasse’s views on “religious liberty” and is prefaced by his take on Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius, one of two recent cases heard by the Supreme Court that challenges the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate on the grounds of religious freedom, in which an order of Catholic nuns challenges the requirement that they fill out a form to seek a religious exemption to the law.
The phrasing of his support for religious freedom on the website has some questioning if Sasse believes it is acceptable to commit a crime as long as it is in accordance with one’s religious beliefs. Such a belief could indicate a support for Sharia law, an issue many conservatives have warned about in recent years.
Sasse has made his opposition to the Affordable Care Act a centerpiece of his campaign so far, and even ran an ad starring his daughters in which they discussed their father’s desire to “destroy” the law.
Of course, plenty of conservatives in various state legislatures have expressly fought to codify in state law bans on the use of Sharia law in civil court proceedings -- including and especially family court disputes. The Left, including MSNBC, have typically denounced those attempts as bigoted attacks on Islam itself rather than an effort which fits well in the liberal tradition of trying to ensure a "wall of separation" between the church -- in this case mosque -- and state.
What's more, the hint that Sasse's beliefs are cover for committing crimes is offensive and absurd. No one has a right to claim religious exemption for killing, raping, or mugging an individual. In such cases, the individual's right to life and liberty, the right to be left alone, is grievously violated. No, the concern for protecting religious liberty from government interference is in protecting the individual's right to be left alone to quietly and peacefully live his or her life in accord with his or her religious beliefs. The fight against the HHS contraception mandate is anchored on that principle, and MSNBC does a grave disservice to its readers to muddy the waters.