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It’s Not About Religious Liberty. It’s About The Church’s Opposition to Contraception.

| February 19, 2012

Anxieties over the separation between church and pill.

By Cary McMullen

So it is about contraception, after all.

In fighting insurance coverage for contraceptives under the new healthcare law, Catholic bishops and some Republican politicians repeatedly said they objected to a government mandate because it infringed on religious liberty.

A proposed federal rule to require religiously affiliated nonprofits to provide contraceptive coverage violates the Catholic belief that contraception is immoral, the bishops protested. Although use of contraceptives is almost universal, even among Catholics, the bishops appealed to the public on the grounds the rule was about violating religious freedom, not contraception.

“When the government tampers with a freedom so fundamental to the life of our nation, one shudders to think what lies ahead,” Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

It worked. Even moderate Democrats and liberal Catholics urged Obama to accommodate the bishops’ objections.

Cary McMullen

florida voices columnists flaglerlive

And so last week, the Obama Administration announced the rule would be changed. While religious nonprofits must still provide health insurance, coverage of contraceptives would be offered only to employees who ask for it. However, the charities would not have to pay for it. Instead, insurance companies would pick up the tab since contraceptives are cheap, while pregnancy is expensive.

So the bishops’ concerns about religious freedom were placated, right? Guess again.

In an internal memo from five senior bishops, and later in a statement issued by the U.S. Conference, they still objected. A chief complaint is the government’s distinction between the church as a religious organization, which is exempt from the rule, and the church’s charities, which employ non-Catholic workers and serve the public.

The bishops argue, correctly, that the church’s charities are extensions of itself, undertaken out of religious convictions, so there should be no distinction. But now that the church’s charities are also exempt from the rule, why continue the fight?

The answer is that the rule might raise religious liberty issues for others, too. “Our concern remains strong that the government is creating its own definitions of who is ‘religious enough’ for full protection,” the bishops wrote.

And so was drawn a new battle line: business owners who are devout Catholics and object to the rule would not be exempt from it. “Secular employers must provide coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs,” they wrote with disapproval.

In other words, it’s no longer about the church. Religious liberty is window dressing for the bishops’ real objection, birth control.

It’s worth noting that Catholic charities do a lot of good for the public, and they do so out of sincere Christian faith. It’s also true that some on the left have nothing but contempt for the Catholic Church and would just as soon force-feed birth-control pills to Catholic schoolgirls.

That said, the Obama administration has addressed the most important religious liberty concerns about contraception coverage.

A Public Religion Research Institute poll showed that 55 percent of Americans, and 52 percent of Catholics, supported the federal rule, even before it was softened. Bishops who insist the accommodation does not satisfy all their objections will be seen as the worst kind of religious extremists and play into the hands of those eager to portray them that way.

Republicans who used the bishops’ complaints for their own partisan purposes may continue to rail about Obama’s “war on religious liberty,” but it’s unlikely we will see them standing beside the bishops as they complain about contraception.

Because contraception is what this fight is now about.

Cary McMullen is a journalist and editor who lives in Lakeland. He can be reached by email here.

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37 Responses for “It’s Not About Religious Liberty. It’s About The Church’s Opposition to Contraception.”

  1. Fred Peterson via Facebook says:

    Well I oppose War, Why do I have to finance wars ? I morally object to wars just like they morally object to Contraception, Why do they get their way and I don’t? Government of the People, Not government of the Church………………

  2. Anita says:

    I’m sure by now most Americans are wondering why Catholic Bishops are lobbying for secular law to uphold their religious convictions; convictions, coincidentally, which the Holy Mother Church is finding it nearly impossible to enforce among her parishioners.

    The subject is not abortion which has been momentarily and for all practical purposes, benched, but the prevention of conception by means other than abstinence. In other words, unless you pay the preacher, say,”I do”, and have the means to pay for contraceptives, you will either avoid hetero sex, learn ‘alternate’ methods of pleasure or bring unwanted children into the world which my taxes WILL likely have to support.

    Ironically, America once feared the notion of Catholic, John Kennedy’s, influence from the Oval Office. Now, we have ‘Sanctus Sanctorum’ and the Bishops trying to make a hit single of birth control and implement Vatican policy in American politics.

  3. Prescient33 says:

    It is a fundamental precept of the Roman Catholic Church that unnatural means of birth control is a grievous sin. It is likewise a basic tenet that abortion, no matter what the objective and the means (the morning after pill) is a grievous sin. These are religious principles that have been unchanged throughout its existence; they were not cooked up to bolster the Republicans. The writer may strongly disagree with the Church’s core beliefs in these important matters, but the Church and its loyal members have the right guaranteed by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution to hold to their beliefs in these fundamental ideas. They further are guaranteed to do this without Congress or the President by law or executive fiat contumaciously seeking to deny them these rights.
    Assume, for the sake of argument, that the fight is about contraception, as the author asserts, is she so blind as not to see that requiring religious institutions to surrender their right to believe that practice is inherently evil is an all out assault on their religious liberties? I suggest she read the 1st Amendment, or have someone read it to her. It states, in the plainest of language, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; * * *.” The illegal actions of Obama and Sebelius attempting to require religious to subordinate their core beliefs to the demand of their regime is as egregious violation of the 1st Amendment’s religious liberty guarantee as is possible.

  4. jespo says:

    The Church or Rome not being truthful about its motives? Never. Bishops standing in opposition of womens’ free will and health care? Shocking. Conservatives of America decrying their loss of dogmatic control over the rest of humanity? Unheard of.

    This was always about birth control…and who was going to PAY for it. The Church got what they wanted. Whar remains to be seen is this: will the Church’s right to fire non adherants extend to those who use birth control? To whom does the employee have to make the request too in order to get contraceptive coverage? This is one case where I do see a devil behind the doorway, just one in red robes and a pointy hat.

  5. Will Allen says:

    It’s funny that here we are talking about the same thing I remember discussing ‘way back when’
    with my room mates in college: The evil, sinful, diabolical PILL! The liberator of male conscious,
    and the freedom from having your wallet look like it held a pocket watch. Women took matters
    into their own hands and gave themselves the one precept of the bill of rights guilt was associated
    with; the pursuit of happiness.

    But now I’m old, yet once again contraception has become an issue. And we listen to the not so
    puritanical puritans preach against ‘birth control.’ Oh the folly of our president to offer contraception
    ‘free of charge’ by your insurer or employer. He robs us of our liberty by granting us free access to
    pleasure. And he once again wants insurance companies to pay for it. How devilish! Why, I’ve almost
    completely forgotten about the men in dresses sex scandals.

  6. SAW says:

    Amazing, that in today’s world, a church that is totally dominated by unmarried males, is still able to make important policy, policy which directly effects the health and well being of their female congregate.

  7. Sally says:

    The controvery about this issue is the best reason we should have a single-payer health care system! Employers are not competitive with companies from other more progressive Western nations because they pay the bill and more importantly EMPLOYERS SHOULD NEVER TELL EMPLOYEES WHAT KIND OF HEALTH CARE THEY SHOULD RECEIVE! These decisons should be between a patient and their doctor.
    Another option: why not give the employee a voucher – (large enough to really buy something) and let them get it on the open market. Wouldn’t that be a “free market” solution possibly acceptable to those crying “Socialism” (although many who do, don’t really know what that is!)?

    If the Catholic bishops and all those who are using this as a political football get their way – what kind of health care will those who work for the Christian Science Monitor get? Prayer? (good to pray…, I do,… but it IS 2012 and Americans deserve better!).

  8. notasenior says:

    Sorry but religious liberty and the objection by the Bishops are one in the same. The preservation of life is a basic tenet of the Catholic church. You may misinterpret that any way you like, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Catholic church has a First amendment protection to observe their faith as they see fit. There is no danger to the safety of society, thus the federal government has no business imposing its will on this or an other church. There is no compelling government interest, as prescribed by the Supreme Court, as there are still other ways women (or men) can recieve contraceptives. In Sherbert v Verner the Court made it clear that one should not have to forego thier religious beliefs in order to comply with the law.
    Finally, until this decision I had a “Obama 2012” sticker on my car. The President gave his word to the Church that his administration would not force contraceptives down their throat. He went back on his promise and it’s not the first time.
    This is not a question about contraception, which is not guaranteed under the Constitution, but a matter of religious freedom, which is guaranteed. In your anti-Catholic venom you can color the issue any way you want, but it still won’t change the truth.

    • Anita says:

      Sorry, but since life begins at conception, according to the Catholic Church, Bishops should be on their feet giving contraceptives a standing ovation, not trying to have contraceptives excluded from health care. Notice: not Viagra, just contraceptives, just as women were excluded from their conference. Are you starting to get the picture? And, what is the Church’s remedy for those men and women who cannot afford contraceptives? Rhythm? Abstinence? Those work awfully well, don’t they?

      Has the Obama Administration: made any law respecting the establishment of religion?, prohibited the free exercise therof?; abridged freedom of speech, or of the press? THESE rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment. Which of them were violated? President Obama understands better than most that he is the leader of a pluralistic society, a Democracy and not a Theocracy. Having won certain concessions from the Administration regarding the coverage of birth control by Church-run businesses, the Bishops now seek to extend those concessions to ALL employers of the Catholic faith. For a group that doesn’t ‘pay the piper’, they sure as hell want to call the tune.

      You have your religious freedom and I support that wholeheartedly as well as your right to vote for whomever you will. But, if you think you’re going to force laws which discriminate against those of us who personally and vehemently abhor those beliefs, you are as loony a fanatic as Santorum.

  9. Katie Seamore says:

    Are there any Catholic women or men here who can honestly say that they have never used any “artificial” means of birth control? That is to say, anything other than the natural rhythm method that is approved by the Church.

  10. tjm says:

    The Obama administration is attempting to take away Religious freedom from our Constitution by mandating that ALL RELIGIOUS institutions must provide this. EVEN though he “backed down” he really did not do that. By making the insurance company still provide the coverage at “NO COST” it will be buried into a premium increase. And those who drink the tea that it would cost them nothing are like the lambs going to slaughter.

    Socialism does not work in Europe. So why does he think it will work here. Look at Europe now with the financial problems they are all in. LOOK hard at Greece and the RIOTS there…

    Then take a look back at Argentina. They were the Industrial Capital of South America in the early too mid 1900’s. Then they became a NANNY State like what Obama wants to create. It will destroy our basic foundation in this country. NOW they are a Poor Country with high public assistance and unemployment.

    NOW take a look at our largest Allie in the world. England. They too went to socialism and created a voter block on government assistance. Now they can not get off that treadmill.

    When Obama got elected his primary supporters were from the HIGH CRIME, HIGH PUBLIC ASSISTANCE AND HIGH PUBLIC HOUSING sectors of the major cities in this Country. I read the article from the Wisconsin Professor. Then researched it myself by going to various states that I knew the counties. States like Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and a few more. Don’t believe me. do your own research and your eyes will get opened.

    I am not a RACIST but have a white man do this an see what he is called

    OR have any white only organization out there and they are racist. Let there be White Entertainment TV or a White only Miss America. OR a White version of the NAACP or the WHITE CAUCUS in government in DC.


    • Anonymous says:

      Have a white man push his beliefs on others and what is he called?…..Santorum, that’s who. Obama is telling your wonderful church that they have to provide health care to women and it is health care we’re speaking of since pregnancy effects a woman’s health. Sanscrotum is telling you that a 52yo wife who was impregnated by her religious husband should face the fact that she might very well die giving birth at her age, or that a 12yo girl who has ben raped by a classmate should buck up and thank god for her fortunate state since god loves all the litle children. This has nothing to do with race…uugghh.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m white too, just not with the angry bitter thing going on. This has nothing to do with race buddy, nothing at all so hang that ugly hat up. This has to do with providing health care to all Americans regardless of race/sex/creed. No one is shoving stuff down people’s throats here, that’s the priests job. This is about providing people with the opportunity to care for themselves as they see fit; if they choose not to partake of contraception they can go without it. It’s called free will. I think I’ve heard that phrase somewhere…hhmmnn….

    • Jack says:

      I certainly respect the position of Catholic Bishops that church related institutions such as universities and hospitals are appendages of the church and therefore exempt from civil law. Given that position, and the well established separation of church and state, it follows that those institutions should be ineligible for any financial support from taxpayers. Therefore, not only should all such support stop immediately, but, taxpayers should expect a refund for previous support. You have your dogma, I’ll keep the change. LOL!

      • Prescient33 says:

        Be careful what you wish for-if you think the government is in a position to assume the tremendous burden of the educational, medical, social and prenatal services performed by the many religions in the USA, try withdrawing all support for them and watch the results.

  11. Kip Durocher says:

    This has zero to do with deeply held beliefs by the Catholic Church and by extension
    the Christian right.
    This has zero to do with an assault on “religious freedom.”
    Catholics in the United States pay for things, thru taxes, that their religion has a stance against
    all the time without this much clamor. Rather, without a peep at all.
    A man was put to death on Wednesday of this week in Florida and not one bishop of USA
    said a word about it, nor did Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York issue a statement of outrage.

    Is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Church pro-death penalty?

    I hear no complaints from the bishops about the slaughter of civilians.
    The Catholic church has chaplains assigned to Army combat units.

    Taxes are paying for wars going on right now ~ is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
    and the Catholic Church pro war?

    The hypocrisy of the Catholic Church is all encompassing.
    What this is called is situational morals.
    A person or group with these type of morals may as well have none.

  12. Beatrice Stone says:

    This is not just a Catholic issue. Last week in the hearings were also the President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, two Southern Baptists and a Jewish Rabbi. It is also not just about contraceptives. It is about contraceptives that kill the fetus. And they all agreed that sanctity of life and the requirement of the health bill to include contraceptives that essentially kill the fetus should not be required for religious organizations.. They all believe life begins at conception, and killing that life is a travesty.

    Don’t just pick out the Catholics to crucify in this issue. I am very proud of Reverend Matthew Harrison, leader of my church body, for his presentation Tuesday, and stand by the other gentlemen in their convictions in this issue. They speak for this woman who shares their belief that killing the unborn is wrong.

    • Anita says:

      You are absolutely right, Beatrice. There were representatives from the Lutheran, Baptist and Jewish congregations as well as the Catholic Church, none of whom are capable of human reproduction without the presence of women. Ask yourself why, since we are half of the equation, we were so blatantly ignored?

      Contraceptives prevent the union of sperm and egg, thereby preventing the existence of a fetus. They do not, and cannot “kill the fetus” or even the zygote because it never comes into being. If you believe that abortion, even in its earliest stages is murder, then consider the possibility that contraception prevents just that; and that by preventing the creation of an unwanted fetus you reduce the probability of abortion. It would seem to be a win-win situation. That being said, ask yourself why the war on contraception by religious hierarchy?

      Most well-adjusted people don’t deliberately set out to be disrespectful of anyone’s religious beliefs.
      And, we all see out taxes being paid out for programs for which we don’t necessarily agree, but that is the nature of our society. Churches/Synagogues may preach, counsel and urge their members as they see fit, but when organized religions set out to change a society to fit their tenets, then they are in clear violation of the United States Constitution.

  13. Outsider says:

    “Because contraception is what this fight is now about.” To the administration, this is what it was always going to be about; George Stephanopolous gave us a preview in the January debate when he peppered the candidates with questions about banning contraception when noone had even remotely hinted that was going to happen. Obama wanted to steer the conversation away from issues that he wouldn’t fare so well on and try to convince everyone the Republicans were going to ban contraception. The Catholic church, and myself saw it as yet another clear attack on the Constitution. It’s kind of telling when they’re trying to force EMPLOYERS to pay for their EMPLOYEES’ birth control; if they are EMPLOYEES then they are collecting a PAYCHECK, and they can buy their own darn pills, condoms, or whatever. I’m sure these people have cellphones, cars, and occasionally go out to lunch, which is much more expensive than a pack of birth control pills. I’m getting sick of paying for everyone’s “needs” when the same people have cellphones, new cars, satellite TV, cigarettes, beer, etc. But alas, that is in line with the ultimate goal of having everyone dependent on the government for everything so they’ll keep electing Democrats.

  14. Outsider says:

    Kip, Catholics have to pay taxes which may be used for things they’re against; if they didn’t they’d be in jail. The Catholic CHURCH doesn’t pay taxes.

  15. stan chaz says:

    I’VE HAD ENOUGH! In this Holy War on Religion, of Religion, and by Religion. I SURRENDER! I’m a lover, not a fighter.  Instead… I’m gonna start my OWN religion, and get in on the good stuff: tax exemptions, and lots of taxpayer money to do what I want, in the name of religious liberty. Most definitely! Hey NEWT -wanna join? We’re gonna have open marriages and multiple wives and all SORTS of neat stuff that you’re just gonna love! But don’t you worry your little head Newt: we’ll have no -I repeat- NO nasty stoning of adulterers. None of that stuff. I Promise! As for SANTORUM, he just LOVES to tell other people how they should live. He’ll make us a REAL fine preacher-man. In fact, we’ll make him Saint Santorum. AND fix his Google search results! As for Mr. Obama,  obviously, we’ll need to (severely) demonize him, even further. And his dog Toto too. Last but not least: MITT and RON. Hmmm. Hey, I know. Just for you two guys: we’ll insist on NO TAXES AT ALL for church members…AND human sacrifice of illegal aliens. Out with their hearts! Televised! Live! Whoooppee! WHAT A COUNTRY!  :-)
    By the way, please don’t mention the REASON that Mitt Romney’s dad was born in Mexico (i.e. The fact that Mitt’s Mormon grand-dad left the United States in the 1880’s. He went to Mexico BECAUSE laws against polygamy were passed in the U.S. ; Being a Mormon back then, Mitt’s grand-dad wanted to keep his multiple wives. Hey, who wouldn’t?) Bottom line: if we follow the “logic” of the people crying crocodile tears about a non-existent “war on religion”, then the U.S. should have allowed polygamy (and who knows what else) just because a particular religion claimed it as their cherished belief. GIVE ME A BREAK!
    Absolutely NO ONE is coming into our Churches or places of worship and trying to tell parishioners what to believe…..or forcing them to use contraception. BUT If the Bishops (and other denominations) want to continue running businesses that employ millions of people of varying faiths -or no “faith” at all- THEN they must play by the same rules and rights that other workers have and enjoy…especially if their businesses use our tax dollars (and skip paying taxes) in the process. This is not a “war on religion”. It’s a war on women and men who simply want to plan their families and control their future. Now that’s REAL religious liberty!
    p. s. I come from a religious background. I know that their are MANY good people out there, in various faiths (and outside of those faiths); many good people searching for answers, for community, for a way….in this all-too-harsh world. There’s only one thing I can say to you: think for yourself, be yourself, trust yourself. Don’t just accept something because it comes from a “voice of authority”. That’s why you have a conscience: to choose, not just to follow….

  16. elaygee says:

    And who cares what a bunch of men in frilly dresses, funny hats, satin shoes and gaudy jewelry (who have never had a meaningful sexual relationship with another adult) say?

    Maybe when they wipe the santorum off their privates from the little children they molested and from hiding their fellow molestors.

  17. Prescient33 says:

    As a young lad, my late father cautioned me not to discuss religion and politics in a social setting. From some of the comments above, that advice seems to encompass comments on a web site. From the vitriol and vile comments of those who hate the church, there apparently exists an anti-Catholic hatred that would have encouraged the sheet wearing night riders of the KKK. The right to the free exercise of religion is apparently one that a considerable number of the commenters believe has no business in the United States Bill of Rights. One can only pity them, and pray they amend their ways before it’s too late.

    • jespo says:

      I hope you learn to live your life as a free person…happy, free minded, and unconditionaly loving…before it’s too late.

  18. Outsider says:

    Oh God, you people just don’t get it. Forget about the stupid contraceptives; this is about this President trashing the Constitution. He tried to force a religious organization to fund abortion pills against it’s centuries old doctrine. They’re trying to make it sound like Republicans are going to seize your french ticklers… ain’t gonna happen and noone is even proposing that. He trashed the law of the land when he made his “recess” appointment to the CFPB. He disregarded 90 years of precedence and decided for the Congress that it wasn’t in session when Congress declared it was in pro-forma session, just as Harry Reid declared on November 16, 2007 when he was blocking George Bush’s attempt at a recess appointment. There was only one difference in that case; George Bush acknowledged the pro-forma session, just as EVERY president in the previous 90 years did, and declined to attempt a recess appointment. The law which created the CFPB, Dodd-Frank, REQUIRES the president to seek the “advice and consent” of the Senate; because this president decided he’s so special, he declared the Congress in recess, even though that pesky little document we call the Constitution clearly gives each branch of government sole authority to make the rules as to when it is in session. Now, many of you think that it’s okay for the president to disregard the Constitution because you agree with what he’s doing, but what happens when you don’t agree? You may want to look at what the SEC is proposing; they would like to be able to freeze YOUR money market funds in the event of a “panic.” Gee, who will determine what a “panic” is? Maybe next they’ll want to go the way of Italy and prohibit all cash transactions of over 5,000 euros. There is some talk of lowering this limit to 500 euros. There are some in this administrations higher levels who would like to see this. So, forget about the stupid rubbers already; it’s much bigger than that (pun intended.)

  19. Brad says:

    The bottom line to the issue . . . it is an issue about religious liberty and not what side of the contraception debate you are on. In all honesty those that are for “choice” are actually on the same side as the Church on this particular matter but do not want to recognize that.

    Here’s the real issue . . . if people and the Church can not be free to exercise their religious beliefs and values, how can any individual expect their freedoms that are non-religious to be protected? The First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” ‘Prohibiting the free excercise thereof’ is a pretty important part of that. So many think that the idea of ‘separation of Church and State’ as mentioned by Thomas Jefferson was about protecting the State, but it was moreso about protecting religious liberty. For if you can’t have religious freedom, you can’t be free at all.

    So what’s that got to do with this? The Church should not be forced to provide or promote (even through affiliation) medical products or services that it finds conflicting with it’s religious values. Just as those that oppose the Church’s stance towards reproductive matters shouldn’t have to have that forced upon them as it conflicts with their values. So one might say, “But what about the one’s that aren’t Catholic and work for these companies or organizations?” Since when do employees get to dictate everything they want in a workplace. If you go to work for an organization that is obviously Catholic do you have the right to complain about “religion in the workplace”?

    I agree with a lot of the Health Care legislation, but I don’t agree with the this mandate or the individual mandate. As a free citizen, we should not be forced to purchase services from private companies and/or provide services which are in conflict with our values. It’s that simple.

    • John H says:

      Perhaps the people who are upset over the various Church’s objection to this infringement might want to read the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Ratified December 15th, 1791

      “Prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” IS WHAT THIS ARGUMENT IS ALL ABOUT!!! If we allow this grossly inept and corrupt government to dismantle this portion of the 1st Amendment – how long will it be before this same government tramples “the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble, and to petition the Government for the redress of grievances.”

      It’s the CONSTITUTION that is at risk here – NOT contraception!!!!!!

  20. Outsider says:

    Hallelujah to Brad! Someone on here freakin’ gets it! I’m really sick of politicians putting on these shows for the brain-dead.

  21. John Boy says:

    Time for women of the country to join with Lorena Babbitt to ensure their husbands show some respect to the weaker sex. Politicians take note, this is directed at you. Strongly suggest that you sleep with at least one eye open and put locks on the knife drawers in your kitchen. Men should not be making decisions that affect women’s health.

  22. some guy says:

    Why does “contraception” need to be part of a health care plan and have it paid for others then the one who wants it? NO one is stoping anyone from buying it on your own. Health INS. should be for when you are verry ill. I love how this id worded as a “womans health’ isue being pregnat for 99% is not a “health’ isue. Even in the church if the womans life is at risk temenation is seen as OK.

  23. jespo says:

    Hhhmmnn….I wear special colored robes on special days, light different candles on different days, and burn incense towards the heavens as I circle my altar. I drink wine and blessed bread from my altar while reading from my book. I have special prayers for special occassions, and some of them are mandatory. I believe in good and evil. I sing hymns with all my heart. I believe in an afterlife of beauty and wonder. I believe in praying to deceased loved ones and remembering them often. Most of all, i believe in treating people as I would wish to be treated and believe in harming no one. Who am I? If you said a Wiccan Priestess, you’d be right. (I’m not a wiccan priestess, just thought I’d illustrate the point). All religions have a place, but it isn’t in health care. Leave it alone, leave women alone, mind your own store, and stop pushing your faith as more important than any other faith.

  24. HomeSchool4me says:

    For: contraception, pro-choice, God, Country, 1st amendment & rest of Constitution
    Against: Religious zealots wanting to legislate their beliefs, the health care bill
    Will Settle: somewhere in the middle

  25. YAAS says:

    This not an attack of religious freedom. It is the government telling employers that they can’t use their belief system in the workplace and deprive them of a part of healthcare because they don’t believe in something. I suppose then that if the Kingdom Hall grew big enough to support employees of Catholic faith, they could have medical procedures denied because they would involve blood transfusions…

    The constitution was meant to protect INDIVIDUAL freedoms such as speech and religion not an employer’s. Also the purpose of preventing the endorsement of any church by the government was to protect other religions from biased laws that could cause another church problems in their faith’s practices.

    Put your emotions aside and see the logic of it all. Don’t faith lead you blindly into a land of oppressive lawmaking because we give churches too much say in our universal freedoms… let bishops tell you how to practice your faith, not run a country…

  26. Devrie says:

    I agree that the church has a valid point; however, we are not talking about the government mandating that the religious organizations provide contraception, only that they allow employees to make that choice on their own. An employee may decide never to use the health care coverage for that purpose. Health care coverage is compensation in the same manner as money. It’s compensation, and so far, I cannot think of one employer, religious or not, who can dictate how you spend your money. In other words, if I work for a catholic college, that college cannot say that I must never spend my income on a condom.

    As a free-willed individual, you might opt to work for a religious organization to spend your money on alcohol, cigarettes, prostitutes, abortions, or whatever. It’s your money, so it’s your choice. I feel the same is true about health care coverage. The organization only gives you the coverage, but YOU, not the religious organization, are given the opportunity to make the choice. If the organization wants to start a program where the employers openly pray that their employees do not get contraceptives, that’s fine. I think that’s legal too. So, giving employees a health care coverage plan that allows them to decide for themselves if they want to get contraceptives is not the same as giving each employee a contraceptive. The latter would be obstructive to religious freedom.

    • YAAS says:

      Well stated. The problem becomes that if a church as an employer can pick and choose what can be covered who is to say any other company can’t? It sets a dangerous precedent.

      People seem to have lost sight that this is about employment… not about what the church has to endorse on Sunday.

  27. palmcoaster says:

    Why those republicans don’t leave our dearest women private parts rights alone and instead get busy resolving the real issues like promoting /generating jobs, fixing the economy and stopping the oil companies and the Wall Street oil vulture traders/hoarders gouging us at the pump!
    Where are Stan Meyer’s plans and specs for that water combustion engine for automobiles?. That is a good one for Obama to search!

  28. some guy says:

    i do think the Rs are looking to ‘ leave our dearest women private parts rights alone ” If you wish for ‘conrtaception” use your $$ for it why should Contraception things be in a HEALTH CARE PLAN.
    Also (water combustion engine for automobiles?. That is a good one for Obama to search! ) water is not combustable.

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