February 9th, 2012

The church, contraception coverage, and Obama

If the Obama administration thought they could sneak this one in (mandatory coverage of contraception) under the rubric of women’s rights, they must be surprised at the depth and breadth of protest it has aroused:

Abortion rights organizations, pro-choice Democrats, and the media have all characterized the debate over this contraception coverage rule as a struggle between the White House and the Catholic bishops. In its editorial supporting the decision, the New York Times praised the Obama administration for “with[standing] pressure from Roman Catholic bishops and social conservatives.” But that’s not accurate.

The list of Catholics who have lobbied the administration to consider a broader definition of “religious employer” than now exists — one that would cover institutions like Catholic universities and hospitals — includes politically progressive Catholics who have been close allies of the White House, like Father John Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame who stood up to conservatives who wanted Obama disinvited from giving the school’s commencement address in 2009.

Those “progressive” Catholics who supported Obamacare—and without whose support it probably would not have been passed—feel double-crossed. But they have no one to blame but themselves for trusting that this administration would protect the rights of Catholic institutions (other than churches, which are exempt).

The controversy is part of a much larger power struggle which one could frame this way: how far is the federal government allowed to go to “protect” us? Health care insurance is a major front in this battle, whether it be the individual mandate (personal freedom) of the mandate for contraception coverage (religious freedom). At the same time we demand liberty, many of us demand coverage for the poor and the sick who are not able to pay for insurance, which is a contradiction that takes us out of the realm of what’s usually called “insurance” and into the realm of a government entitlement program. And, since health care is very expensive, that takes us into the realm of big bucks.

And these days, even the issue of religious freedom is poorly understood by many people. For example, in the comments section to the post I linked above, the lead comment at the moment contains this quote [emphasis mine]:

Many of us who have worked for Catholic institutions are not Catholic; many are Catholic, but all of us retain the American right to our own opinions and legal private behaviors. The government should not be attempting to force women to follow the church’s belief systems.

Keep in mind that these institutions are not funded solely by the church and the people who use them. They are heavily funded by the government and most would fail miserably without that money…

The real problem here is that a bunch of once revered, now mostly irrelevant old men are still trying to control women’s sexual behavior with a lot of verbal logistics that almost no women are willing to buy anymore.

I missed the part where Catholic hospitals were forbidding their employees to use contraception. I missed the part where not having something paid for is tantamount to stopping a person from getting it. But doesn’t this perfectly illustrate a certain liberal mindset? It goes like this: pay for it for me or you’re infringing on my right to obtain it.

By the way: when last I checked, contraception didn’t cost all that much, depending on what type is used. So I Googled it, and here’s what I found (these figures are from 2010, so I assume there hasn’t been a whole lot of change). If you go to the website, you can see that we’re talking about a range of from about $60 a year (for example the diaphragm, after an initial expenditure of a doctor visit and about $75 for the diaphragm itself) through $150 or so (condoms and a number of other methods) and all the way up to a whopping $600 a year max (for the most expensive type of birth control pill).

Compare that to the cost of a cell phone or cable TV, for example, which most low-income working people (which is what we’re talking about here) seem to be able to pay for. Is this cost really so onerous a burden that the consciences of Catholic institutions must be compromised in order to save its employees the money? But apparently, this is the hill on which the Obama administration wants to fight.

And that hill’s a slippery slope.

42 Responses to “The church, contraception coverage, and Obama”

  1. expat Says:

    “many of us who HAVE worked”

    This idiot probably got fired for being incompetent or a troublemaker or both. And now medicaid is paying for her pills.

  2. Occam's Beard Says:

    but all of us retain the American right to our own opinions and legal private behaviors.

    And to go elsewhere if an organization’s policies contradict one’s views. Why, it would serve that organization right if the authoress of that comment just up and went somewhere else. Yessir.

    What about the Church’s right to its opinions?

    But doesn’t this perfectly illustrate a certain liberal mindset?

    It does indeed.

  3. Occam's Beard Says:

    Liberal philosophy, distilled to its essence: everything that is not prohibited is mandatory.

  4. George Pal Says:

    Liberalism has devolved to the point where it simply can be said of it that there’s no end to it, i.e., liberalism has no limitations – there’s never a line in the sand and a sign next to it – “thus far and no further”. Everything constitutes a ‘right’, and every ‘right’ may be extended, and every meaning distended to include everyone. Everything is a right and everyone’s got a right to it (everything).

    As for the poor affording cell phones!

  5. Mr. Frank Says:

    As Nancy said, you have to pass the bill to learn what’s in it. Some conservative Democrats got conned on this one.

    How’s Bart Stupak doing these days?

  6. Doug Indeap Says:

    Largely lost in the fuming over some supposed moral dilemma is that THE HEALTH CARE LAW DOES NOT FORCE EMPLOYERS TO ACT CONTRARY TO THEIR BELIEFS–unless one supposes the employers’ religion forbids even payment of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion). In keeping with the law, those with conscientious objections to providing their employees with qualifying health plans may decline to provide any health plans and pay an assessment instead or, alternatively, provide plans that do not qualify (e.g., without provisions they dislike) and pay lower assessments.

    No moral dilemma, no need for an exemption. That the employers must at least pay an assessment is hardly justification for an exemption. In other contexts, for instance, we have relieved conscientious objectors from required military service, requiring them instead to provide alternative service in noncombatant roles or useful civilian work. In any event, paying assessment does not pose a moral dilemma, but rather a garden-variety gripe common to most taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action of the government. Should each of us feel free to deduct from our taxes the portion that we figure would be spent on those actions (e.g., wars, health care, teaching evolution, subsidizing churches, whatever) each of us opposes? The hue and cry for an exemption is predicated on the false claim–or, more plainly, lie–that employers otherwise are forced to act contrary to their religions.

    Questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith are entirely real, but not new. The courts have confronted such issues and have generally ruled that under the Constitution the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, fraud, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. Were it otherwise and people could opt out of this or that law with the excuse that their religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

  7. ELC Says:

    Those “progressive” Catholics who supported Obamacare—and without whose support it probably would not have been passed—feel double-crossed. But they have no one to blame but themselves for trusting that this administration would protect the rights of Catholic institutions (other than churches, which are exempt).

    Dupes? Or rubes? Or dubes (both)?

  8. Curtis Says:

    Of course this action by Obama shows that health care is the vanguard issue for government control. Your records, your diet, your health (what isn’t your health) is all the government’s concern and subject to its control. Marriage is the same type of vanguard issue and it’s not so much whether or not one should care what other consenting adults do, but that enforcement will require re-education of adults and inculcation of the young from a one-sided perspective that prohibits “bullying” and “discrimination.” On every front possible, traditional and religious values and beliefs become unlawful or regulated. This sort of upside down rationale is the same as an article I read in defense of Saul Alinsky which practically made the guy out to be a tea partier.

    I remember a sign in my high school physics teacher’s room: “The universe is not stranger than we think; it’s stranger than we can think.” That idea is very appropriate when dealing with Obama and those like him whose thinking is “stranger than we can think.”

  9. ELC Says:

    @ Doug. What the law requires is for private organizations to purchase a service from another private organization in violation of their conscience, or pay a penalty. If you don’t see a difference between that and paying taxes, it’s beyond my poor powers to splain it to ya.

  10. Doug Indeap Says:

    ELC,

    It is a law generally applicable to all employers; it does not single out religious ones. All employers may choose whether to provide health plans or instead simply pay an assessment. Some employers are considering choosing the latter option for ordinary business reasons. The option is there for the taking–for business or religious or any other reasons.

    This fake “moral dilemma” is being manufactured to stir up political support for an unnecessary exemption that will simply allow “religious” employers to retain control over their employees’ health plans, limit employees’ choices to conform to the employers’ religious views, and avoid paying the assessments that otherwise would be owed.

  11. MissJean Says:

    And this part makes me shake my head:

    “Keep in mind that these institutions are not funded solely by the church and the people who use them. They are heavily funded by the government and most would fail miserably without that money…”

    The reason that government start funding programs at Catholic institutions (and other Christian organizations) is that they were doing a better and cheaper job at reaching a demographic. It’s the same reason that the USPS sends some parcels via UPS, FedEx etc. It’s also why in my area, the Catholic hospital is the only one committed to making obstetricians available in sparsely-populated areas where some of the bigger systems are refering women to urban centers. From what I understand, some of the obstetricians are semi-retired and doing this as a calling (I forget the word; it begins with a ‘v’.)

    I wish I could find the article I read just a couple days ago. The writer documented the billions that taxpayers would pay if the US government took over Catholic organizations dealing with health care.

    The latter part seriously misunderstands what “failure” means to serious Catholics. I knew an older couple who ran a clothing/appliance distribution center from their home when there wasn’t a Salvation Army or St. Vincent de Paul within miles. To them, “success” meant helping others.

  12. physicsguy Says:

    All the focus on contraception ignores the mian issue which is an assault on the 1st Admendment. Is anyone really surprised by this from this president?

    He met with the soon to be Cardinal during the Obamacare debates and assured him there would not be such a provision. Guess what folks?!

    This is a blatant atempt at control and marginalization of a large religious institution by the federal government. Even the Baptists are upset about it (see drudge)

    If he gets re-elected, then I expect he will take the mask totally off and the US is in for a real surprise.

  13. momo Says:

    I love how contraception is always a “woman’s issue”.
    Women have 6 million types of contraception available to them.
    Men have 3: abstinence, condoms, and vasectomy.
    .
    No one cares about the extremely limited choices men have if they don’t want children.
    But if a guy gets a girl pregnant the first question asked is “Why didn’t he wear a condom?”
    .
    AFAIK, none of these health regulations require insurance to pay for men’s condom purchases.
    .
    .
    Oh that’s right .. feminism has gone from “The radical belief that women are human” to “The commonly held belief that men are sub-human.”

  14. Occam's Beard Says:

    pay an assessment

    How should I make out the check? To Democrat National Committee, CPUSA, Hope’n'Change, what?

    Were it otherwise and people could opt out of this or that law with the excuse that their religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

    Yeah, I agree, the rule of law is just not compatible with waivers from it.

  15. Occam's Beard Says:

    I think the next Republican Administration should mandate that everyone subscribe to Fox News, or pay an assessment.

  16. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    how far is the federal government allowed to go to “protect” us?

    Apparently, all the way. Today it’s the RCC. Tomorrow, it’ll be women who are capable of having children getting implants, and having to apply for a license to have children.

    If you do the first, the later isn’t so far behind.

  17. Curtis Says:

    There’s also another sinister misdirect, physicsguy, well, come to think of it, it’s the same one you mentioned, I’m just kind of stating the same thing differently!

    It goes something like this: Since the focus is on requiring the RCC to pay for procedures which are anathema to their conscience, the public forgets that funding for abortion and other matters relating to woman’s reproductive rights should not be required of any employer or gov’t agency. Why should Intel or the City of Springfield fund abortions? If you are a stockholder or a taxpayer, you have a right to withhold funds based on your vote.

  18. Mr. Frank Says:

    Depending on your perspective, Obama is a fox or a snake. In short order he will make waivers available for organizations that have religious objections to specific aspects of the health care mandate. Thus the law remains intact and his power is preserved.

    Obama has time and again shown an ability to rise above principle when it is advantageous.

  19. Baklava Says:

    Interesting choice of word Neo.

    Rubric

  20. foxmarks Says:

    I am amused by the justification offered that most Catholics use contraception anyway. I conclude most Catholics aren’t Catholic. We do not get to vote on Church doctrine.

  21. Parker Says:

    “The reason that government start funding programs at Catholic institutions (and other Christian organizations) is that they were doing a better and cheaper job at reaching a demographic.”

    This is what happens when private organizations, in this case the Catholic institutions, get in bed with DC. Once you allow DC to put its foot in the door you will soon find DC telling you how to arrange your furniture, what sort of art work to hang on the walls, what meals you may prepare, where to set the thermostat, what sort of lightbulbs you may buy, and so forth.

    DC is the first on my list of the enemies of individual liberty. The towel wrapped too tight around the head crowd come in a distant second.

  22. ELC Says:

    @ Doug. It is a law generally applicable to all employers; it does not single out religious ones. I know that. And it’s a completely irrelevant point.

    You did not address the vital distinction between paying taxes to the government and being required by that government to purchase a certain service, that violates conscience, from a private company. (Your Bogus Analogy # 1.)

    Moreover, I neglected to address your analogy to military service. The federal government has the constitutional authority to require military service, which has been held since the time of the Civil War, I believe, to be necessarily implied in the authority to establish and fund an army and navy. (Your Bogus Analogy # 2.)

    Since you have demonstrated no capacity for making necessary distinctions, your lame assertion of a “fake” moral dilemma deserves as little respect as your bogus analogies.

  23. Occam's Beard Says:

    Well done, ELC.

  24. Occam's Beard Says:

    I remember a sign in my high school physics teacher’s room: “The universe is not stranger than we think; it’s stranger than we can think.”

    When I was in college there was a physicist, Professor X, who had gone into the humanities. On the morning of our final exam in physics with Professor Y someone had written on the blackboard, “Physics will not save your soul – Professor X.”

    Underneath some wag had written, “But humanities will not save your ass – Professor Y.”

  25. Doug Indeap Says:

    ELC,

    What you claim to “know” but dismiss as “irrelevant” is actually the critical starting point of any legal analysis of this issue. The operative legal principle, as noted in my first comment and as reiterated by the Supreme Court in its decision about a month ago, is that under the Constitution the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, fraud, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0494_0872_ZS.html

    So, as the health law establishes a requirement generally applicable to all employers, that law is within the government’s constitutional powers. That much is established. The question, then, is whether, as a matter of grace, some employers should be given an exemption in order to relieve them of being forced to take actions contrary to their religious beliefs. My point is that there is no need for such an exemption, since the law actually does not force employers to act contrary to their beliefs. They have the option of not providing health plans they deem offensive and, instead, simply paying an assessment to the government. The employers may not like paying assessments or like what the government does with its money, but that is hardly a moral dilemma. It is rather a garden-variety gripe common to most taxpayers as I observed above–hardly justification for an exemption from the law.

  26. RandomThoughts Says:

    THANK YOU for stating this so clearly: …not having something paid for is tantamount to stopping a person from getting it. But doesn’t this perfectly illustrate a certain liberal mindset? It goes like this: pay for it for me or you’re infringing on my right to obtain it.

    A liberal former friend of mine actually said something like this to me when I asked why she didn’t just plan to set aside money for contraception the way she did for her car payment, her satellite TV, her cell phone and her upcoming travel plans. She (as they all apparently do) equated my insistence that she pay for her own contraception with a denial of her right to use it at all.

    The absence of logical reasoning in the liberal mind is staggering.

  27. expat Says:

    It seems like part of the problem is that only the Catholic church is being defined as a religion here. As Random Thoughts’s last sentence pointed out there is an absence of logical reasoning in the liberal mind, ergo liberal beliefs are beliefs as codified as those of any named religion. Have a Down syndrome baby as Sarah Palin unapologetically did, and you are excommunicated. Question AGW, and you are excommunicated. Use a plastic shopping bag or drive a car, and you have sinned and must do penance. The inquisition is overall. Only this time, the bishops don’t wear miters.

  28. Janet Says:

    I am a Roman Catholic who is very involved in her parish. I was mystified when, during the 2008 election, no mention was made about Obama’s track record on abortion – no mention of his support of partial-birth abortion either or even his non-support of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA). But the week after the election, we had a letter from the Bishops read during Mass telling us to let our elected officials know just how we felt about all of the life issues.

    I told my pastor after Mass that “that horse is out of the barn and sitting in the Oval Office already”.

    I don’t have a lot of sympathy for anyone – bishops included – who are ‘shocked’ by the heavy- handedness of this mandate.

    At this point I say that all Catholic institutions should ditch any federal funding. Drastic, yes, and it may mean the closure of some institutions but so be it. Then after the federal funding is gone, we maintain our beliefs, stick to our guns and truly live our faith. When we hear about how we are all called to ‘carry our cross’, well, this is it, folks. Just like I teach my kids in our Confirmation class every week – show some fortitude and get to work.

    Ideas have consequences, like the idea of letting a far, far left President try his hand at the wheel of this ship of state just because you’re tired of the incumbent. Let people witness the consequences of their votes back in 2004. Maybe next time, they will take a few minutes of their busy, busy lives to research the candidate to whom they entrust the future of their country.

    And the idea that somehow women will not be able to afford or find contraception without this mandate is ludicrous. You can afford an iPhone, iPad, cable TV – you name it – but not $30 worth of pills a month? Please.

    You want all the choice in the world for ‘reproductive issues’ but you can’t make the choice about what is really important to spend your money on? The amount of women who TRULY cannot afford contraception is infinitesimal compared to those who claim they do.

    There are lots and lots of us women who do NOT think that this is a ‘women’s health issue’. It is a matter of religious freedom. And no amount of preaching, cajoling or ridiculing from Kathleen Sebelius, Valerie Jarret, Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray or any other luminary of the left is going to make us believe that rot.

    And one more thing – if this mandate stands, I want to know how the beliefs of conscientious objectors will hold up if, God forbid, there is the breakout of a serious war and the draft is re-instated.

  29. George Pal Says:

    Janet,

    Here, here and Brava – especially for “Catholic institutions should ditch any federal funding”. Not a bad course for institutions and individuals nation wide.

  30. John Mclachlan Says:

    While a state senator, Obama usually voted present but did vote in accordance with his conscience, against a bill which would protect infants who had survived a late term abortion, by requiring that they be cared for and not disposed of as clinical waste. For aesthetic, rather than doctrinal reasons, such infants were usually placed in cupboards, to die, before they were disposed of.

    The gun-running programme, of which Operation Fast and Furious is the best known, although little publicised in the media, could have had no legitimate law enforcement purpose and was designed to promote mass murder of Mexicans, in order to generate support for an attack upon the second amendment and American’s right to bear arms. This operation and other similar ones require cooperation between many separate federal agencies and so could not have been performed without presidential approval.

    Obama’s justification for depriving infants of protection as human beings was that doing so would jeopardise Roe vs. Wade and the assumed right of women to have an abortion. This implies a purely political objective.

    The mass murder in Mexico, promoted by the Obama administration for another political purpose should indicate that he has no regard for any alleged sanctity of human life.

    The execution of an American citizen, regardless of alleged crime, without a trial by a jury of his peers is a serious attack upon the Constitution.
    T
    he president’s singular Obamacare, with its unconstitutional mandate to purchase healthcare and now for employers to violate their consciences should form no surprise to anyone.

    Obama has already publicly stated that he regards the Constitution as deeply flawed, mainly negative rights, which he has obviously decided should not restrict his government.

    When Obama was negotiating with US bankers, over TARP, he issued a veiled threat, stating that he was all that stood between them and the mob.

    When GM was saved from bankruptcy, the legal order of creditors was ignored in favour of his political allies.

    Obama is a supposed constitutional scholar, who gives no regard for the US Constitution.

    He does not recognise the right to freedom of conscience and believes that the coercive power of the state can and therefore should be applied to all dissenters.

    I believe that America will very quickly to descend into tyranny or civil war, unless the American people re-evaluate what constitutes a fundamental right and recognise that a declared right is fictitious, if it requires coercing others to provide it.

    Refusing to pay for contraceptives or abortions for some women is not depriving them of a right, it is only asserting that someone else’s rights or wants confer no claim upon the money or conscience of others.

    Communism is not the triumph of socialist law over bourgeois law. It is the triumph of socialism over law.

  31. CV Says:

    Janet,

    I don’t have a thing to add except, amen sister.

  32. Curtis Says:

    So, as the health law establishes a requirement generally applicable to all employers, that law is within the government’s constitutional powers.

    Any questions?

    No. I didn’t think so. What? You dare oppose? The state graciously sentences you to death to be carried out immediately. There are no exemptions to the law.

  33. FenelonSpoke Says:

    Some people will never get it. I have a dear friend of 40 years standing who only ever watches CNN or reads “Time” or the NYT and I’m almost positive voted for Obama although I never actually asked her because I didn’t really want to know. I discussed my objections to Obama throughout 2008 and before the election. I just had coffee with her and explained my objections as a clergyperson-not RC-to the mandate on the RC church. She said, “I’m sure Obama is not out to hurt the church” and can see no reason why the church shouldn’t be forced to pay for contraception and abortion inducing drugs. She doesn’t get the point that this is a much bigger issue about religious freedom and freedom in general. I have never been mad at her in my life; I finally said “I know far more about Obama than you do. I love you but I’m leaving now.” At this point I have no intention of calling her and apologizing although I suppose I will at some point. It is unbelievable to me how deluded some otherwise intelligent people are. If I even, “You have no idea how bad things will get if he gets another term” she looks at me like I’m crazy. Unfortunately, all my friends without exception are liberals. The only support I get are from my own immediate family and going on political blogs like this. Thanks for this safe place, neo.

    P.S. She had no idea who Dietrich Bonhoeffer was and didn’t understand the parallels with this issue and the “Confessing Church” In Germany.

  34. uncleFred Says:

    @Doug,
    “So, as the health law establishes a requirement generally applicable to all employers, that law is within the government’s constitutional powers. That much is established.”

    Actually it is not established. You see the penalty that the government charges for non-compliance is a fee or tax to offset government costs. Once you open the door to taxing a religious institution, you are deep in the middle of the first amendment. Were there no financial penalty there would be other issues to litigate, but the penalty amounts to taxing a church which is beyond the power of the state.

  35. Curtis Says:

    Don’t waste your breath, time, or energy uncleFred. Doug is a good example of “stranger than we can think.” Doug’s postmodern thought process is always directed by his superiors who have taught him that any power or authority by an institution of the West (RCC, constitutional gov’t) is bad, but the authority of an Hegelian state- complete with it’s ability to morph into any type of creature–is good. The idea of a constitution that transcends time and culture and relying on natural law declared by a Sovereign power outside of nature and time cannot be allowed because that allows for a Sovereign other than man.

  36. Occam's Beard Says:

    The question, then, is whether, as a matter of grace, some employers should be given an exemption in order to relieve them of being forced to take actions contrary to their religious beliefs.

    But employers should be given an exemption in order to relieve them of being forced to take actions contrary to their financial beliefs, if they have donated heavily to the Democrat Party.

    In addition to 722 self-insured employers, 417 multi-employer plans (for unions) and 34 non-Taft-Hartley union plans. The list includes such worthies as

    United Federation of Teachers Welfare Fund
    Teamsters Local 522 Welfare Fund Roofers Division
    1199 SEIU Licensed Practical Nurses Welfare Fund
    SEIU Local 300 Civil Service Forum Employees Welfare Fund
    IBEW Local 3 NYC Electrical Division Health & Welfare Fund
    New York City SEIU Local 246 Welfare Benefits Fund
    ASEA/AFSCME Local 52 Health Benefits Trust
    Local 25 SEIU
    1199 SEIU Greater New York Benefit Fund
    Teamsters Local 210 Affiliated Health and Insurance Fund

    I believe we were discussing exemptions…

    Looks like the Pope didn’t pony up, eh? That much is established.

  37. Curtis Says:

    Point of clarification: Don’t waste your time arguing directly with Doug, but, of course, your point is a good one, uncleFred. Didn’t mean to be presumptive or dismissive of your thoughts.

  38. Occam's Beard Says:

    The question, then, is whether, as a matter of grace, some employers should be given an exemption in order to relieve them of being forced to take actions contrary to their religious beliefs.

    So … uh … yesterday that was a “no,” but today that would be a “yes.” Apparenty Soros changed his mind.

    Obama has caved.

    “The administration will expand the religious exemption for religiously affiliated universities and hospitals, the source said.”

    Shades of Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, eh?

  39. Mr. Frank Says:

    As I predicted last night, Obama is already trying to walk back from his huge mistake. He says that religious organizations will not have to offer coverage for services they have moral objections to. He said that the insurance companies will have to offer the services in question for “free.”

    We all know that free for a liberal means somebody else has to pay for it. In this case the insurance companies will have to raise their rates which means the religious organization will be paying for the services that are “free.”

  40. Curtis Says:

    As a matter of strategy, Obama gave up something he knew he could never get for something he would have to battle for. The idea of that there should be a policy of funding abortions to which “exemptions” can be granted is a win for Obama.

  41. Curtis Says:

    Here comes what the stranger than strange people intend for those of us who think they are stranger than strange:

    Some diagnoses – for conditions like “oppositional defiant disorder” and “apathy syndrome” – risk devaluing the seriousness of mental illness and medicalising behaviors most people would consider normal or just mildly eccentric, the experts said.

    http://tinyurl.com/7q5sy72

  42. Doug Indeap Says:

    Arguments for a “religious employer” exemption have gone from wrong to ridiculous.

    Those demanding such an exemption initially worked themselves into a lather with the false claim that the law forced employers to provide their employees with health care plans offering services the employers considered immoral. The fact is that employers have the option of not providing any such plans and instead simply paying assessments to the government. Unless one supposes that the employers’ religion forbids payments of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion), then the law’s requirement to pay assessments does not compel those employers to act contrary to their beliefs. Problem solved–except perhaps for an employer who really desires not just to avoid a moral bind, but rather wants to retain control of his employees’ health plans, limit their choices to conform to the employer’s religious beliefs, and avoid paying the assessments that otherwise would be owed. For that, an employer would need an exemption from the law.

    Indeed, some continued clamoring for just such an exemption, complaining that by paying assessments they would be paying for the very things they opposed. They seemingly missed that that is not a moral dilemma justifying an exemption to avoid being forced to act contrary to one’s beliefs, but rather is a gripe common to most taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action the government may take with the benefit of their tax dollars. Should each of us be exempted from paying our taxes so we aren’t thereby “forced” to pay for a war, health care, or whatever else the government does that each of us may consider wrong or even immoral?

    In any event, they put up enough of a stink that the government relented and announced that religious employers would be free to provide health plans with provisions to their liking and not be required to pay the assessments otherwise required. Problem solved–again, even more.

    Nonetheless, some continue to complain. They fret that somehow religious employers ultimately will pay for the services they oppose. They argue that if insurers (or, by the same logic, anyone, e.g., employees) pay for such services, those costs will somehow, someday be passed on to the employers in the form of demands for higher insurance premiums or higher wages. They counter what they call the government’s “accounting gimmick” with one of their own: the “Catholic dollar.” These dollars, once paid by a religious employer to others, e.g., insurers or employees, should be used only for things the religious employer would approve. The religious employers’ aim, we are assured, is not to control the actions of others, oh no, but rather is merely to assure that the employers themselves have not somehow acted contrary to their own beliefs by loosing “their” dollars into hands that would use them for things no self-respecting religious employer would himself buy. Their religious liberty, they say, requires not only that they be exempted from the law, but further that anyone to whom they pay money also be exempted and thus “free” to act according to their desires.

    I wonder what they would say if they knew they had some of my “atheist dollars” in their wallets that can be used only for ungodly purposes, lest I suffer the indignity of paying for things I disbelieve.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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