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Posts Tagged ‘catholic church

When Your Body Violates Their Rights

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"Basically people that don't live like I think they should live are violating my rights." - Bishop William E. Lori, paraphrased.

“Religious leaders told a House panel Thursday the Obama administration was violating basic rights to religious freedom with its policies for requiring that employees of religion-affiliated institutions have access to birth control coverage.”

Ladies and gentlemen, but mostly ladies, I give you… the CULTURE WARS.

So President Obama pushed a policy a few weeks ago that would require religious institutions (schools, hospitals, etc, that are linked to a particular religious group, not churches) to offer female employees insurance coverage for contraception. It was an ill-conceived idea in today’s hyper-reactive climate where everyone wants to feel like their rights are being violated by everything, and was immediately met by a firestorm of complaints from religious leaders (note: not the religious masses, who support the effort), on the grounds that it violated their religious freedom.

So naturally, our president who has been said to be at war with religion pressed on undeterred, right? He jammed his ideological agenda right down their throats like the mindless Socialist he is? Is that what he did?

No, he made a compromise, and took all the responsibility out of the religious institutions’ hands, and put the onus on insurance companies to offer preventative care, including birth control, to women. Pretty anti-climactic for a battle in the CULTURE WARS, but at least something got done to protect women’s health and we can all go back to living our lives. Right?

Wrong.

The Republican party, in a gross miscalculation of the American public’s values, decided to keep browbeating the issue, and today held a committee before Congress to talk about the ramifications of this policy, complete with various “witnesses”. Who were these witnesses? Well, every one of them was a religious leader. Every one of them opposed the policy. And every one of them was a man.

Said former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “The Republican leadership of this Congress thinks its appropriate to have a hearing on women’s health and purposely exclude women from the panel. I may at some point be moved to explain biology to my colleagues.”

"I don't know... I heard something about ovaries and whatnot. I wasn't listening because I assumed it didn't make sense."

Differences between boys and girls aside, what did the Republican-called witnesses have to say to the panel? Bishop William E. Lori, from US Conference of Catholic Bishops, compared the ruling to a law that would force all food providers, including kosher delicatessens, to serve pork. A powerful comparison… if the president were still asking religious institutions to provide the coverage. But, since he’s not, and insurance companies are the ones responsible for the coverage, a more apt comparison would be that all OTHER food providers would be required to allow their customers access to pork, even if those customers sometimes visit kosher delicatessens. Which, as it turns out, happens.

Lori went on, continuing to impress with his ability to dance around the issue at hand without ever actually stepping on it, “Does the fact that large majorities in society, even large majorities within the protesting religious community, reject a particular religious belief make it permissible for the government to weigh in on one side of that dispute?”

When the issue at hand is completely removed from the grounds of any religious institution? Absolutely. Some sects in Islam say women shouldn’t be allowed to drive. Our government disputes that. Some Jewish sects ban women from gathering together to pray on religious holidays, going so far as to call it illegal. Our government disputes that. It has over time become pretty standard practice for the laws of the land, laws for everyone of any religion, to disregard the archaic stance of any one religion.

Remember, nobody is forcing them to do anything against their religion. They’re just requiring that people be given -access- to certain health measures that they don’t even have to take advantage of if they don’t want to. But, nonetheless, there’s more to argue.

“… it is ironic that the religious organizations should have their rights crushed in the name of health care,” said Dr. Craig Mitchell, Baptist minister and head of the ethics department at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Because, to him, allowing women the right to preventative healthcare is crushing religious organizations rights to… what? Crush women’s rights?

Maybe it’s just showing my ignorance as a part of the unwashed masses, but I don’t see how anyone is being hurt by this policy. Women that don’t want to use birth control because of their religious beliefs don’t have to. Religious organizations can continue to rail against birth control in their services, and encourage their followers to stay away from it, as they’ve always done. The new policy does nothing to shift religious beliefs or practices, just makes sure women can have a certain kind of coverage if they want it.

Calling that a violation of religious freedom is confusing your own personal religious freedom with allowing your religion to infringe on the rights of others. Even if that’s what your religion claims you are capable of, I’m afraid the Constitution of the Unites States says otherwise.

"And, I say, won't it be fun to see how badly they misinterpret this one hundreds of years down the line!"

Written by oobiedoo

February 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm