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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This Isn't Going Away: Why You Should Care About the Religious Health Care Debate

I haven’t wanted to get into the debate over the health care regulations in the Catholic Church BUT I feel I must and here is why:

After talking to liberal friends and hearing their less than satisfactory defenses of our Governments intrusion into a groups religious beliefs, I feel I must speak up to the countless others who are not thinking this through.

Here are the arguments I have heard supporting the mandate that the Catholic Church disregard their fundamental beliefs and my rebuttals- in no particular order:

1)       Obama is just trying to make health care equal for all womenLet’s forget for a moment that women CHOOSE to work at Catholic institutions and know BEFORE hand what their healthcare package will include/exclude and let’s think about all the other options available for women:  Planned Parenthood, Spouses Insurance, Private Insurance, Paying out of pocket, and more.  Women have been happily working in Catholic organizations for YEARS and have managed without these new provisions by our Government.  It is part of the free market, if women do not want to work for these organizations they wouldn’t and these organizations would go out of business. Speaking as a person who WILLINGLY CHOSE to work for TWO different Catholic Hospitals, I was more than happy to give up contraceptives for the other privileges of working there.  I also chose to have my baby born in a Catholic Hospital, if I didn’t want to abide by their regulations I would have CHOSEN to go to another facility. 

2)      Conservatives picked this battle because it’s an election yearSERIOUSLY!  That should not even be an argument.  Republicans, Libertarians and anyone who is tired of the Liberal agenda being pushed down their throats did not start this controversy.  THE LEFT DID!  The left chose to violate the First Amendment and mandate what a private religious organization should include in their healthcare packages.  In fact, if you want to go here: please help me understand WHY THE PRESIDENT CHOSE TO DO THIS IN AN ELECTION YEAR- THIS IS ALMOST POLITICAL SUICIDE…so why did he do it?  I’m serious; help me understand because it doesn’t add up.  Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you either and that is why you assume conservatives have picked this battle.  Let’s look at some facts:  From stats I have found, Catholics make up approximately 70 million of the voting population and have recently supported part of Obama’s healthcare reform, why tick them off now?  In 2008 Catholics voted 54% for Obama and 45% for McCain.  Obama also has the majority of the Hispanic vote (comprising of 50 million Hispanic/Latino Americans, of which approximately 70% identify themselves as being Catholic) which comprise more than 40% of the total Catholic votes in the USA.  This is not making sense.  Why is he waging this battle- is it really so important women have these mandates?  I mean is there an epidemic I am not aware of?  Why is he going after a basic tenant of the Catholic philosophy?

3)      Catholics use birth control; they don’t follow their own rules so why shouldn’t they have insurance coverage?  First:  That is between them and God.  Second:  Just because some of them don’t follow their own rules doesn’t give the Government the right to ignore them, unless the Catholic Church changes its beliefs, this is a violation of the constitution.  Third:  While the media is focusing on the birth control aspect, there are two other mandates that violate the Catholics beliefs- drug inducing abortion medications and sterilization.  Again, I say we live in a free market.  If people regularly use a Catholic doctor but want an abortion, they know they have options.  If a man or woman want to ensure they cannot have children and they normally see a Catholic physician they can go to a different hospital and have those procedures performed.  They are not limited, they are not forced…they have options- they simply must exercise their brains and use other venues to achieve their goals.  I repeat- FREE MARKET!  Being Catholic or working for a Catholic organization does not mean you do not have access!  THIS IS NOT ABOUT EQUAL HEALTH CARE COVERAGE- THAT IS AN EXCUSE, IT IS AN ESCAPE GOAT- FOR WHAT I DON’T KNOW- BUT I DO KNOW THIS ARGUMENT IS NOT MAKING SENSE.

4)      Separation of Church and StatePlease learn history.  The first time this phrase was used (to my knowledge and I admit I learn something new every day) was in 1580 when King Henry the VIII wanted an annulment from his wife and the church said NO. This didn’t sit well with the King, so he took matters into his own hands.  Long story short, this lead to this phrase.  The meaning behind it comes from those in the church arguing that a Government should not be allowed to attack a person’s conscious and make them act contrary to their religious beliefs.  As long as those beliefs do not break laws- murder, rape, stealing…you get the picture- the 10 commandments.  The Government should not be allowed to shape policies to fit their personal mindset/beliefs and thereby force others to act contrary to their own.  When our founding fathers made reference to the separation of Church and State they too meant that the Government should not enact laws that make a religious body act against their consciouses.  When Thomas Jefferson made this statement it was in a letter to a Baptist church- not a political document like history likes us to assume- reassuring them that the Government would not create One religion that the new country would have to follow, like the Church of England.  

5)      It is constitutional, it is a right to have birth control. First- Why is it a right?  Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness are all unalienable rights given to us by God, the rest are all manmade.  We all have access to birth control, it’s not like some people can never have it.  Second- IT IS NOT CONTITIUTIONAL!  First AmendmentCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;  Did you catch that?  The Government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion.  Making the Catholic Church violate part of its beliefs goes against the constitution.  It is that simple.

6)      This wasn’t originated with Obama, stop blaming him.  I really don’t care who originated it, he has endorsed it and is carrying it out.  If he didn’t support this initiative we all know he wouldn’t have let this go on, he would be pointing fingers at the real culprit.  

7)      It’s only birth control, what’s the big deal…most Catholics use it anyway?  The media is focusing on the birth control aspect, but from what I have read, it also includes abortion inducing medications, like the morning after pill.  Abortion is very much against Catholics beliefs, even if there are some who chose to go against that principle.  Sterilization- tubal ligation and vasectomies- are also included in this mandate.

8)      Women should have the right to choose to have a baby or not.  I’m not going to go into pro-life vs. pro-choice - it is a very personal issue and I do not want to “push” my beliefs onto another and I will not judge another on how they view this issue.  I will say however, that the Government should also show this respect for the Catholic Church- they are Pro-life and they do not prohibit women from seeking abortions, they simply do not want to help fund it.  They should not be made to violate their collective consciouses.  Our Government is overstepping its boundaries here and needs to be a respecter of persons and religion.  They like to talk about tolerance, where is the tolerance for the Catholic beliefs?   Catholics are not forcing people to accept their beliefs and they are not prohibiting women from making individual decisions- there is no need for the Government to step in.  

9)      Didn’t you hear, Obama recently compromised and the Catholic facilities don’t have to pay for these services now…the insurance companies do!  That’s great, keep those blinders on and don’t look at the bigger picture.  How are insurance companies going to like this- being forced to pay for a service for a religious organization?  They aren’t.  In fact, to cover the costs of having to pay for this mandate they will have to PASS THE COSTS ON TO THE CONSUMERS- THAT’S RIGHT, ALL OUR INSURANCE COSTS WILL GO UP!  How else are they to afford this?  And when my insurance goes up because the Catholic Church won’t pay for sterilizations, contraceptives and meds that end life, I will either be angry at the evil insurance corporations that are sucking the life out of me, or I will be angry at the Churches.  Either way, anger prevails.  There is one other option:  The insurance companies will refuse to cover Catholic organizations.  How would you, the employee, like to have no insurance paid for by the organization for which you work?  Or maybe, just maybe, this is the bigger goal- get more people dependent on Government health care!  Obama Care anyone? 

These are the arguments I have heard supporting this mandate against the Catholic Churches, so far I am not convinced.  Are you?  What other arguments, for or against, this policy do you hear or believe in?  Please share in a respectful manner. 

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