Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Is it the role of the federal government to force religious institutions to pay for contraception and abortifacients?

Re: David's comment. I am really not looking to get in a battle (I don't have time for it). But, respectfully, here is my response (since I was mentioned in your post): I am the aforementioned "newly ordained priest" and "idiot" mentioned in this post. I was David theology teacher during his sophomore year (not some random person that worked at the school). Years later, after they graduated from high school, I accepted the Facebook friend request of many of my former students. My recollection is that David sent a friend request to me and I accepted it. If I see someone write something that I think to be inaccurate or unfair about the Catholic Church, I will add my two cents. I always try to do that respectfully (even though some of the posts people have put up are pretty distasteful and hateful). David, I don't think that I attacked your status, at least, my intention was not aggressive, so I apologize if it came across as a personal attack. I did challenge your opinion. I know that you said I exhibited a "myriad of logical fallacies" (I do not know which ones I allegedly committed since you did not identify them) and attempts to obscure the point, but my point was quite simple, and I stand by it. I will restate it: 1. Contraception and abortifacients are not health care since fertility is not a disease (and contraceptions are full of toxins that do everything to screw a woman's body up). 2. The government cannot compel citizens to purchase a service such as health care; to do so represents an over-reach by the government into the lives of its citizens. 3. The government cannot force a religious institution or employer to pay for something that violates its moral teachings. (note: Christianity opposed abortion and contraception from the earliest centuries as is evident in the writings of the ancient Church fathers; it was not until the 1930 Lambeth Conference that the Anglican Church was the first Christian group to reverse its teaching on contraception, many Christian communities have followed suit; the Catholic Church has held to the traditional moral teaching on contraception. I do not care if this is the minority opinion. Polls do not determine objective truths. The mere fact that a lot of people believe something does not make it true). 4. The Catholic Church has every right to resist the Obama Administrations efforts to compel it to pay for contraception and abortifacient drugs. It will resist these efforts and close its hospitals, universities, and schools before giving into the government's demands. (in other words, the Catholic Church is not going to become a tool of Obama's Planned Parenthood cult of abortion and contraception). 5. There are alternatives for people to purchase affordable contraception or means of birth regulation that are not as toxic (Natural Family Planning, a scientific method of charting and learning one's fertility cycles, etc.), such that it is not necessary to force the Catholic Church to pay for contraception just because the Obama Administration is enamored by Planned Parenthood's view of "women's health". 6. The Catholic Church is not asking to be exempted from a just law, but rather is arguing that the law itself is unjust, unconstitutional, and a violation of inherent rights. (You can disagree with that position, but it does not make Catholics "hypocrites"). In other words, the Church does not think that she alone should be exempted from a mandate to pay for contraception, she does not think that ANY ONE should be forced to pay for contraception (but especially those who morally object to it). In that Facebook dialogue you brought in a bunch of other issues into play: the morality of war, Republican-Democrat politics, a friend of yours threw same-sex marriage into the mix for no reason (and peppered me with snarky comments, of course). You suggested that you have to pay for wars that do violate your moral beliefs. That is an interesting point. But, I said that I believe there is a distinction. We have to have a military for common defense of the nation. Our taxes support military action. You and I can disagree with the proper use of that military and the wars they engage in (and I would very likely agree with you on arguing that some of the uses of our military are wrong... and the Catholic Church does have a just war teaching). At any rate, the use of the military as defense is one of the major reasons why we have a federal government--even if current military policy might violate the principles of just war. At any rate, you can vote politicians out of office for wrongly using the military. I am not an expert on American history nor constitutional law (neither are you, of course), but I do not think that the founding fathers of our country envisioned a federal government that would mandate that everyone must buy medical insurance. I certainly do not think they envisioned that we would have a federal government so that we could enforce employers and religious institutions to pay for people's contraception and abortions and call it "health care"! And this HHS mandate is not a health care tax, but rather forcing the private sector to purchase health services. Even if there was a "contraception tax" there has long been an understanding that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for such things as abortions that are seen by many Americans as moral evils (e.g. the Hyde amendment). Again, the federal government has to support an army for defense (thus taxes) and how that military is used--i.e., individual wars or military action, can be morally justified at times and at times not. Abortion is always intrinsically evil (the killing of innocent human life, and irreparable damage done to the woman). So, the Catholic Church is not arguing for an exemption from the law (not all laws are logical or just or constitutional), Catholic citizens pay their share of the tax burden like everyone else. The Church is merely asking the government to not overreach its role. They are not asking to be treated as an exception, but rather are defending what are universal rights of conscience and religious liberty. Also, you said that "angry" Catholics were the only ones opposing the HHS mandate. That is not true. Many Protestants and even people of other religions have united with the Catholic Church in protest (and this is ironic, since most Protestant sects have no opposition to contraception, per se, but they do recognize the unprecedented extent of government intrusion). You can disagree with me on points 1-6, of course. We will see what the Supreme Court will decide on the constitutionality of Obamacare. It is clear that you and I disagree with what religious freedom entails in this country. You do not think that the government forcing a religious institution to pay for something it deems to be an intrinsic moral evil is a violation of the Establishment clause. I sure do. All of your other points in your post are things I have seen before, of course (attacks on the book of Leviticus that show no understanding of the purpose of the purity code in the historical situation of the Hebrew people living in the midst of idolatrous tribes... Christianity, of course, sees this code no longer being morally binding after the revelation of Christ because it was no longer necessary), Catholic Church oppresses racial minorities and women, the typical "systematic child-rape" taunt that is always thrown around when the Catholic Church says anything, etc (and for the record, of course molestation sickens me and infuriates Catholics, but the Church has taken as many steps as can be taken to address the charges--if you looked at it objectively-and the idea that the Catholic Church is the only place where child molestation happens is ridiculous. Scandal is scandal, there is no denying that. However, sexual abuse is a problem worldwide, and it is everywhere--note: the internet porn industry, the global sex trade, sexual abuse in public schools and in families, etc... though not all of these get the same publicity for their scandals). Has there been racism in the Church, of course, there is sin in any institution. But for everyone example of racism in the Church there were also the St. Katherine Drexels and St. Francis Xavier Cabrini who set up schools to educate black children in the U.S., or St. Peter Claver, who ministered to and served the slaves who were brought to the Americas. Catholic proclaims the dignity of the human person. It is obvious that you despise the Catholic Church and have no respect for those who speak up for her. As a Catholic Christian, I do not require nor desire the respect of the world (although, it is a nice feature of human decency if we could extend some level of respect to one another). When you speak about the Catholic Church, however, you are making sweeping generalizations and the result is a caricature, a straw man. Christian Fundamentalists and radical atheists, who share an irrational hatred for the Catholic Church, both excel at doing that. It might feel good to vent and knock the straw man down, but in the end, it is not an accurate portrayal of the Church. I would suggest that you allow people to disagree with you without going into such polemics about how evil the Catholic Church is and how stupid people are who disagree with you. Atheists, agnostics, and anti-Catholics always revel in how intelligent they are and how stupid Christians are. Arrogant self-satisfaction is no substitute for the truth.