The Federal Government is taking heat for allegedly restricting religious freedoms, specifically by mandating treatment concerning women’s healthcare by insurance carriers. Today, conflict exists concerning contraception and abortion, both legal procedures, and whether women should be guaranteed rights to these medical practices under the Patients Rights and Affordable Care Act. Some think for-profit taxable businesses owned by religious institutions should be allowed to exclude healthcare practices which conflict with the religious doctrine of the parent institute.

Beyond arguing for the general welfare of the people, the Obama Administration maintains that incorporation provides protection for the holder of US charter, and thus, the corporation must comply with all the laws of the land, including those mandating the common good of its citizens, as determined by the government. Religious institutions may dictate to their members, only where they do not enjoy the umbrella of limited liability protection afforded business entities.

For comparison, let us look at some earlier history pitting religious belief vs. secular law:

In 1862 Lincoln signed an Anti-Bigamist Law. It lacked teeth, due to another pressing drama called the Civil War. Then in 1882 an Anti-Polygamy Act was passed, making polygamy a felony. It gained traction, since the territory of Utah (polygamist central), was seeking entry into the Union. Big money was on the table.

In 1890 the Mormon Church lost their case vs the US in the Supreme Court and the Feds dis-incorporated the polygamist Church. The LDS quickly followed with the “1890 Manifesto“, disavowing polygamy. No tax-free institution, no treasure chest for the Elders to store bucks.

Back on the ranch, Miles Romney (Brother Mitt’s great-grandfather) fled with his three wives to Mexico, and continued their polygamist lifestyle with 2300 other Mormon polygamists. They settled and received land grants from the Mexican President Porfirio Diaz. Mitt Romney’s father, George S. Romney was born in Chihuahua Mexico in 1907. The Mexican revolution of 1912 (viva Zapata) forced many of these “cut-n-runners” back to the US, and Mitt’s grandparents capitulated on polygamy. Money and political stability in the US probably had nothing to do with it.

So specifically: Was it was wrong for the Federal Government to outlaw polygamy in 1882? Or does the common good of the people trump religious dogma?

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