Senator Harry Reid accuses his GOP counterparts of living in the past—but Senator Reid is living in fantasy land. In Senator Reid’s fantasy land, GOP Senator Roy Blunt’s Respect for Rights of Conscience Act is about contraceptives.

The amendment would rescind the Obama administration’s HHS mandate that all employers, regardless of their religious views about artificial contraception or abortion, must pay for health insurance policies that provide contraception and abortifacients. The amendment would do nothing to impede the use of contraceptives or abortifacients by people who so desire.

It would mean that people who wish to avail themselves of contraceptives and abortifacients would, if they worked for certain faith-based organizations, have to pay for them out of their own pockets. Apparently, that is considered cruel and unusual treatment, while forcing the Catholic employers to violate their consciences is just honky dory.

Nobody has captured the foolishness of Reid’s position better than my colleague Hadley Heath:

As one insightful woman noted, the so-called "contraception mandate" is as much about birth control as the American Revolution was about tea. Any government mandate that forces Americans to violate their 1st Amendment rights represents an affront to the very concepts of freedom and liberty. 

Our Founding Fathers understood this, that the biggest threats to freedom were not from foreign tyrannical governments, but from purported "good ideas" for which we are told we must sacrifice our liberty.

Reid can say, if he wishes, that these religious organizations are living in the past or are crazy as betsy bugs. But in the United States from the beginning of our history religious groups and people have been permitted to believe what they want to believe. We have not in the past believed that religious people should be forced by government to violate their consciences. As Senator Blunt put it in a conversation at the Heritage Foundation:

“We want to be sure we’ve established the principle here that the Constitution establishes — that President Washington understood and President Jefferson understood, and my guess is, every president between them and right now understood — and that is respect for conscience is respect for religious freedom,” [Blunt] said.

The Democrats know, despite their rhetoric, that contraception is not the issue. But in a year when the economy is in the tank and their signature achievement, Obamacare, is loathed, they evidently see political gain in pretending that Republicans are coming to take away their pills. This is a new low in misleading political rhetoric.