Archive for February, 2012

A few weeks ago Catholic churches were dealt a significant blow in regards to the new health-care mandate that President Obama’s administration has thrust upon America.  The churches themselves will not be required to provide birth control to their employees.  However, if the church runs a business – such as a hospital, which many Catholic churches do – they will have to provide birth control to their employees.  This goes against the tenets of the Catholic faith.

I am not a Catholic – I used to be one but converted to the Baptist faith 20 years ago.  Likewise, I frankly find the idea of birth control being a sin to be somewhat ridiculous.  But I stand with the Catholics on this one.  It’s not my place to tell the Catholic Church what they can and cannot believe, and it’s not President Obama’s place either.

How do you tell a religious organization that teaches one thing that they must pay for something that goes against the thing they teach against?  How do you do that in a country that has as one of its principal freedoms the right to practice the faith that you wish?  How do you do that and claim you are not attacking that very freedom?

I’ve heard all the arguments over the last several days.  Well what if a Jehovah’s Witness church wouldn’t pay for a blood transfusion?  What if a Christian Scientist church wouldn’t pay for any health care at all?  Great questions and 100% not related to the point at hand.  I agree with the idea that church cannot endanger a person’s life.  So, I’m ok with and look forward to the courts determining what exceptions there are in regards to these types of arguments.

Not taking birth control does not guarantee you are going to die.  I’m sure there are people who will inundate me with cases where birth control is needed to regulate a problem a woman is having and not to prevent a pregnancy.  But I will argue back that in many of the cases where the Catholic Church is being asked to violate their belief system those women are not taking birth control to save their life.  The primary use of birth control is to prevent pregnancy and that is also done by other means.  Protection for the man.  Abstinence.  Paying for the birth control yourself.  Quitting your job and working for a place that does pay for it.  There are options.  The idea that this is the only option is just plain silly – and goes a large way in showing the mentality of many that demand that others provide for their needs.

The other thing that is truly frightening is the military response to this.  Last week, the Catholic Church had its priests read a letter indicating they will not obey this unjust law.  This was to be read by the military priests too.  Except leaders in the military tried to prevent it from being read.  Some priests openly defied those leaders and I commend them for it.

Before anyone says that the military leaders did the right thing, let me ask you a question.  Back in 1991, while I was in the Marines, I wrote a letter to the local paper lambasting the military about the fact they don’t accept gays.  This is a position I held as a young man that I hold to some degree today with minor changes because the issue is more complicated than my 21 year old self realized.  I was taken to task severely by the NCO in charge of me and told I could not write any further letters without having them read by him.

Was he wrong? He told me I could not take a pro-gay point of view because I was in the military and the military at that point was not pro-gay.  If he was wrong at that point, then the military is wrong now for their trying to suppress the rights of the Catholic priests for speaking about something they morally object to.  It can’t be ok only if the reason the military did this is for the reason you agree with.

One other thing.  I’ve also heard that many Catholics also do not agree with the Church’s position on contraception.  This is not a valid argument for allowing this to happen.  Every person of faith has the right to determine if their beliefs coincide with that of their church.  That’s between them, the church and God.  That doesn’t mean the government gets to step in and say that it is time to change because many of your faith don’t practice this anyways.  What is happening here is a very subtle attempt to incite a rebellion in this faith.

I think the Obama administration has seriously miscalculated their position here.  I grew up Catholic and I truly believe the Church will shut down these businesses before they violate their principles. They did it with adoption agencies not too long ago and I really think they’ll do it here.  Then many people will be out of work and without health care access at all.  How’s that going to play out on an election year?

This is a ridiculous law and it needs to be removed.