The media is all atwitter over employers having to pay for birth control, even if their fundamental belief systems dictate otherwise and all that. I understand why everyone’s upset. I think.
A lot of people view making religious institutions pay for birth control as forcing them to do what runs contrary to their tenets, restricting the religious freedom of, say, a Catholic hospital. Of course, employees do not always share the faith of their employer. As such, a non-Catholic researcher at a Catholic hospital who is denied birth control may feel that her or his religious employer is making decisions for her or him and is thereby restricting her or his religious freedom. If legally mandated employer-provided birth control is going to be an issue, some entity, the religious institution or the individual employee, is going to feel that their religious freedom is being assaulted. Okay, that makes sense. If that sums it all up nicely, I understand why everyone’s got their panties in the proverbial bunch
Also, if the above is the case, shouldn’t the individual win? I’m certainly no constitutional scholar, but doesn’t the great document protect the religious freedom of individuals first? And, if so, isn’t the solution clear? Or is this a case of a majority religion forcing itself onto a new generation, wherein many Catholics, for instance, don’t see anything wrong with birth control? Last I checked, the majority of Catholics don’t have an issue with birth control, but our church fathers tell us what’s okay, not our own consciences, apparently.
If you’re Catholic, working at a Catholic hospital, and you disagree with the tenet about birth control being such a big deal that it’s worth making a bigger stink about than good works, and then your employer decides you’re not a good enough Catholic and makes the birth control decision for you, is that the worst way to assault someone’s religious freedom? Or does it matter?
Just like the issues regarding other people’s sex lives religious people and anti-religious people get so upset about, I find myself by with this one. Aren’t there better ways to spend our time? There are priests all over the national news who are using that platform to make sure they don’t have to pay for the pill, rather than asking for donations and/or volunteers to help the needy and the sick. Is the main concern of a major Catholic hospital really that they shouldn’t have to pay for their employees’ birth control? See the Bible, especially all the good works performed by Jesus, who was more interested in doing good things than putting his business into other people’s bedrooms. But, dang, talking like that sounds preachy, and I think our favorite carpenter’s son was more interested in us doing what he did, not preaching about how bad other people are because they, wow, for some reason don’t behave according to our beliefs, holy smokes, don’t you know.
But I really wanted to think about the constitutionality of the issue, not how foolishly some religious people are acting about this whole thing. I’m really asking this: Does the Constitution of the United States provide for my religious freedom, or my employer’s? And if both, who wins?
If the Constitution protects institutions before citizens, well, is it worth even having around? Isn’t that how the people in power stay in power, while the persons without it wonder where their (our) rights went? Is the cynical response the correct one: that’s exactly what the Constitution is meant to do, keep the power where it is? If that’s true, and everyone found out, what would happen?
Nothing? I hope not.