The Catholic Church vs. the Government

14 Feb

I rarely go into political or religious issues on this blog but I am so angry that I can’t keep quiet on this one. I’m sure most of you know that Obama has mandated that religious organizations, include Catholic organizations, are required to cover birth control and abortion medications in their health plans.  This requirement directly goes against the core beliefs of the Catholic Church.

The first and most important point is that it is unconstitutional for the government to force a religious organization to go against their beliefs. Period. It’s pretty simple really. I’m sure you have heard many, many news articles covering the issue of religion in schools. Many people believe that there should be no prayer or mention of religion in school. While I think that may take it a bit too far, their reasoning is separation of church and state. Religious organizations cannot tell the government what to do and the government cannot tell religious organizations what to believe in. It completely blows my mind that anyone can think this mandate is acceptable. Even if you do not agree with the Church’s stance on birth control and abortion, you should be able to see that this mandate is wrong and sets a very dangerous precedent.

One of the statistics I have heard is that 98% of Catholics use birth control. This statistic has been refuted (http://www.lifenews.com/2012/02/13/figure-that-98-of-catholic-women-use-birth-control-debunked/). If that source is not enough for you, take this into consideration. The CDC conducted a study that showed only 62% of women in the U.S. aged 15-44 actively use any form of birth control (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_029.pdf). How is it possible that women who belong to a religion that rejects birth control as one of it’s core beliefs, has an average 30% higher than the national average? It’s not.

In reading blogs I have seen many people try to defend this mandate. Inevitably, someone will throw out that Catholic priests rape children and the Church covers it up. Guys, come on. Yes, there were some horrible men that abused children and it was wrong and awful. Those priests have either been jailed, forced to resign or defrocked. Some leaders of the church did try to cover it up which is completely wrong. Pope John Paul II “declared in 2001 that “a sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue by a cleric with a minor under 18 years of age is to be considered a grave sin, or delictum gravius.” (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases) The church has enacted new policies in order to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening again. The Catholic Church does not condone rape or molestation of children.

Furthermore, people seem to assume that only Catholic priests abuse children, when in fact, there is no higher rate of abuse in the Catholic Church than in any other religion or even in the general population (http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/04/07/mean-men.html). If that source is not enough for you, let me know and I will provide others.

Another point people keep trying to make is that Obama amended the mandate to say that the insurance company has to provide the birth control and abortion medication coverage so the Catholic organizations will not be paying for it. That is not true. Most employers pay for a majority of their insurance premiums. For example, the company I work for pays 75% of the medical premiums. Employees only pay 25%. Some organizations are self insured which means they pay all or most of the insurance premiums. So if the organization pays the majority of the premium and that premium covers birth control and abortion medications, the organization is paying for the birth control and abortion medication coverage. Obama changed nothing. He basically just reworded it hoping that many people would be fooled.

Most people do not know how much good the Catholic Church does. Did you know the Catholic Church was the main reason education is available to those outside of nobility? Did you know that the Catholic Church has a nonprofit hospital system that has 637 hospitals that treats 1 in 5 patients in the US every day? Did you know that in Chicago alone, the Catholic Charities will provide 2.2 million free meals to the needy in that area? What about the fact that in the US, the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students every day, at the cost of 10 billion dollars a year to parents and parishes. If there were no Catholic schools, those students would have to be educated in public schools and that would cost taxpayers 18 billion dollars. (source for this paragraph is from the book Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly.)

If you take only one thing from this blog post, let it be this. The government does not have the right to force a religious organization to go against their core beliefs. This cannot continue.

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8 Responses to “The Catholic Church vs. the Government”

  1. Mat Barker February 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    I see your point, however, I think you are missing the fact that this law does not require the church itself to enact these changes, they are exempt. Where it does cover is religious affiliated charitable organizations and other such institutions like hospitals. In those cases, the insurance company is required to provide these services free of charge to those who desire them.
    This is necessary because, not everyone who works at these institutions is Catholic. A Doctor who is not a member of the Catholic church should be allowed to have these services if she deems necessary.

    Additionally, this mandate is not targeted at solely Catholics. This mandate covers all religious affiliated institutions. Few of these groups have issue with contraception, particularly within a married union.

    Finally, there is the issue of Free Will that is a prevailing thought throughout the Christian faith. My understanding of Free Will and its place within a persons life would assume that in this instance, if a woman wants access to these medical coverages through her insurance company, she should be allowed to do so. In dictating from the pulpit/alter how and when women should be allowed to control their bodies, we stop all over the notion of Free Will.

    I think Sarah O’Leary put it best in her recent Op/Ed for Huffington Post
    “This is not a religious debate, no matter how much we’d like it to be. It is a debate about boundaries, rights, and free human will and a group’s compulsion to lord over another’s choices.

    If Catholic bishops can’t convince their flocks to abstain from birth control it’s their failure, and certainly not the job of our government.”
    (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-oleary/catholic-bishops-contraception_b_1268683.html)

    • Stereo February 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

      You summed up everything I feel about this perfectly.

    • Becs February 14, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

      Mat, I understand what you are saying. I think one issue that we will never agree on is that I don’t believe that insurance covered birth control is a right. I already think insurance companies cover way more than they should but that’s a whole other post.

      These organizations are not saying that those individuals working for them are not allowed to use birth control. Women can still get birth control even if it’s not covered by insurance (ex: Planned Parenthood). If someone chooses to use birth control, good for them. However, the Catholic organization should not have to PAY for it. Just like any religion, there will be people that follow the teachings more strictly than others. The issue is not that the Church fears this mandate will cause Catholic women to want birth control more. The issue is they shouldn’t have to fund it.

      I also think this sets a dangerous precedent. What if the government decides all Catholic hospitals should provide abortions? Where do we draw that line?

      I understand that this mandate is not targeted at Catholics. However, it is well known that birth control and abortion go against our beliefs. This mandate should not apply to us. If they can make an exception for churches (which is great, but not enough) they can make an exception for Catholic organizations.

    • June Sigler February 15, 2012 at 12:55 am #

      This is NOT a debate about rights or free human will. No one has said you can’t take birth control. No one is lording anything over anyone. The Catholic institutions object to PROVIDING it. It goes against their moral beliefs. Would you defend a government mandate that a Muslim hospital serve pork because their employees aren’t all Muslim and its healthy? This is fundamental to the church’s beliefs. Stop spinning this into something else.

  2. Layla February 15, 2012 at 4:01 am #

    I’m not Catholic, so I’m not sure how much my two cents is worth, but I think it’s definitely a case of the government over reaching, once again. And it doesn’t surprise me, sadly.

    • June Sigler February 15, 2012 at 4:20 am #

      I agree and sadly I’m also not suprised. No one is attacking anyone’s rights. They just don’t want to be compelled to provide something they’re morally against. I don’t know why saying “woman want it” is suppose to be an argument.

  3. Melissa February 15, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    You just outlined what is wrong with the American health system! So glad I do not live there! The whole insurance and employment tied together thing is so silly.
    The country I live in birth control has nothing to do with my private health insurance (paid 100% by me). In fact there is no rebate/discount for birth control from the public system.
    What if a women is on birth control pills because she suffers from really bad period pain or has PCOS? Would she not be covered under the silly insurance scheme that the States use because this medication can be used to prevent life?
    I greatly dislike the fact this is making world news as well.
    Do you know what is happening with the health systems changes in my country? And no I’m not in Canada.

  4. Lloyd March 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    What is really happening here is once a “CHURCH” applies for a 501c3 the government no longer views it as a church but an organization. Under that heading the government has been given complete control of the origanization by consent. Once that happens, by signing the 501c3 form all of that “organization” and the people in it become invisible to the government. The “organizaion” then is the only concern of the government. The organization has agreeded in the 501c3 to accept the government as the Supreme Power over the organization (formaly church). Please check me out, it’s the truth. What is the solution? It is easy but few are willing to comply. It will be necessary to abandon the 501c3 completely and fully rely on the First Amendment only. All power then reverts back to the CHURCH,even tax-exempt status.
    I speak the TRUTH.

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