Religious liberty includes the legal right of Christian business owners to discriminate against same-gender couples. Republican Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Republicans in ten state legislatures assert religious liberty extends to business decisions of business owners based on the religious convictions. Jindal claims a silent war against Religious Liberty in America, because Christian business owners face discrimination charges for refusing to sell product to same-gender couples.
Contrary to the common belief of conservatives and liberals alike, the Constitution denies government authority to protect or to interfere with religious freedom. The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting any establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof." This means that in the Constitution the people refused government authority over religious expression. No support or interference in religion by government means zero involvement of government. Federal Internal Revenue Service codes granting tax exemptions for religion expression that meets a government standard is a blatant violation of the First Amendment.
This First Amendment exclusion of government authority over religion is a sensible check given the personal nature of religious expression. The free exercise of religion combines the thoughts, conduct, and morality of the individual. In other words, religious convictions are internal qualities of the person and not authority to decide other people's conduct. Therefore, government would not have a real-world standard of law to settle disputes among personal religious convictions.
For example, a bakery refused to make or sell a wedding cake to a gay couple based on the owners asserted First Amendment right of religious expression. However, as discussed above, the First Amendment does not protect an individual's right of religious expression over rights of other people. It only denies government the power to interfere in that expression.
Americans do have government protected human and civil rights including the right to decide their associations. However, government can protect this right only if the person sets out a clear personal standard of associations that someone or some group violated.
The bakery business owner announced a retail policy inclusive of all public members as paying customers when he or she sought a retail business license from the government agency. Therefore, the business owner had no legal grounds to refuse service to certain couples based on the owner's personal convictions about their sexual orientation or other personal traits. The Gay couple only wanted to buy a special cake. All else about them was not the business owners' concern.
Someone may ask if the bakery owner could deny service to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual (LGBT) individuals based on religious convictions if he or she indicated this restriction on the business license application. Rules of logic dictate the answer must be no, because the business owner could not hold those religious convictions and operate a retail business.
Obviously, government agencies, power companies, and business suppliers employ LGBT individuals. Religious convictions allegedly prevent some Christian business owners from associating with LGBT individuals as paying customers. If so, those same religious convictions should prevent those business owners from buying products and services of government and businesses that employ LGBT individuals. Therefore, the practical requirements of retail business operation offer prospective business owners two choices. They can apply their religious convictions only to them. They can apply their religious convictions to other peoples conduct and refuse to buy the services and products their business needs to operate.
America's founders wrote a Constitution the set out the power and authority of representative government for the Republic. Currently rogue members of Congress violate those principles with a coup or pursuit for power that shut down the federal government. From ignorance and media framing, the people fail to recognize this loss of liberty and attempt to control government by coercion. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1816, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution says, "All legislative powers granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives."
The two-chamber Congress provides a balance of power between the House of Representatives with members based on state population serving two-year terms and the Senate with two members from each state serving six-year terms. This balance helps provide fresh ideas from frequent turnover in the House and institutional stability from longer-termed Senators. Otherwise, America could have a new Congress and different legislative philosophy every two years with a resulting unstableness of government.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution lists many powers of Congress. Some powers are to lay and collect taxes, pay debts, provide for the defense and general welfare of the United States, borrow money on the credit of the United States and pass laws to execute those duties.
Undoubtedly, passing a budget and setting a debt ceiling are within the equal authority and duty of both the House and Senate. This Congress agreed to pass a Continuing Resolution and delay discussion of complex budget issues. A Continuing Resolution is, "Legislation in the form of a joint resolution enacted by Congress, when the new fiscal year is about to begin or has begun, to provide budget authority for Federal agencies and programs to continue in operation until the regular appropriations acts are enacted." The Continuing Resolution fulfills Congress primary duty to guarantee a continuously operating federal government that provides for the general welfare of the Republic.
The House did not forward a simple Continuing Resolution for the Senate to agree with as a legislative body of equal power and authority. Instead, the House Republican majority one-sidedly added an amendment to the resolution that changed an existing law, Affordable Care Act. It sent this amended resolution as legislation the Senate must concede to or face federal government shutdown from lack of funding. Clearly, this one-sided action by House Republicans was a strategy to seize an unequal share of power and authority over government spending and legislation from the Senate not granted by the Constitution. This House Republican action supported by the threat not to agree with simple Resolution and to shut down government was an unconstitutional seizure of power.
So far, Republicans managed to justify their attack on the Republic as a strategy to defund the Affordable Care Act and prevent high health insurance and healthcare costs. However, the United States ranks seventh highest in national wealth although unevenly divided. Americans have poor reasoning ability that decide possible Affordable Care Act costs threaten their liberty and the welfare more than Republicans' threats to shut down government.
History shows the movement in a society to unify power in one group or person increase rather than decrease. Other groups with goals to control government power beyond constitutional limits will copy House Republican Party members' extortion methods if they succeed using threats to extend power over legislation.
Congress also has the duty to set a debt limit, use of credit, to pay for spending during this fiscal year or a shorter period. Using their strategy of coercion, Republican House members refused to agree with a debt limit unless Senate Democrats conceded to a reduction of entitlements like social security. Once again, Republicans argue deceitfully that they resist raising the debt ceiling to limit spending by the Democrat Party and President Obama.
A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) July 23, 2012 study about debt reduction policy disputes Republican claims about the purpose of the debt limit. It concluded, "The debt limit does not control or limit the ability of the federal government to run deficits or incur obligations. Rather, it is a limit on the ability to pay bills incurred." In other words, it limits the Treasury Departments ability to borrow money to finance the debt created by decisions already enacted by Congress. This conclusion is true given that tax revenue supports most government spending that can continue regardless of credit limits.
This same GAO study reported the federal government incurred more costs of billions of dollars when Congress delayed approving the debt limit until near its expiration date. This GAO description of debt management shows the insincerity of Republican Party members' reasoning for withholding approval of the debt limit.
The motives for Republicans' threats against the Republic are obvious if one ignores their rhetoric and decide them from the results they seek. They shut down the government to prevent the Affordable Care Act extending health insurances to lower-income families and Americans with existing health problems. They threaten to withhold approval of the debt limit and allow the Republic to default on debts to win concussions from Democrats to reduce social security benefits and Medicare coverage. Legislation to increase the federal minimum wage level or to provide for fair wages is objectionable to them.
I admit that much Democrat legislation and economic policy is economically unsound. Nevertheless, they promote policy motivated to improve the welfare of the people without threats to disrupt government operation. Congress can improve deficiencies in the proposed policies that mostly support goals set out in the preamble of the Constitution.
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
I do not understand how anyone can believe that a political strategy that threatens to circumvent constitutional limits on government authority or that disrupt government services is in their best interest.