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US Catholic Church Demands Exemption From Obama Contraception Mandate

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Contraception is hardly a controversial subject, unless you bring select tenets of certain religions into the equation.

As almost all of us surely know by now, President Barack Obama has mandated that most American employers include free birth control services in health insurance packages for their employees. Undoubtedly, this was done as a means of reaching out to the pro-reproductive rights community, which has been less than flattered with the president’s record as of late.

While the lion’s share of public and private sector entities impacted by Obama’s mandate seem fine with its impositions, there are a few notable exceptions, and they are speaking up loudly. Chief amongst these is the Roman Catholic Church. In addition to being our country’s single largest organized religion, it runs a multitude of hospitals and educational institutions from coast to coast. According to recent polling data, virtually all Catholics use contraception themselves, but church teaching nonetheless forbids it for purely theological reasons.

Now the Church hierarchy wants the federal government to make a special exception for Catholic institutions; to shield them from the same standards that apply to everyone else. There are a few other religions pursuing similar courses of action, but the Catholic Church is by far the most aggressive and influential. The president has not yet budged in face of this criticism, which grows increasingly severe by the day. I personally hope that he opts against creating exclusive privileges for select groups simply because they have the ability to utilize a unique bully pulpit.

No sane man or woman can argue that the religious twist to this quagmire should be ignored. For fundamentalist Catholics, using birth control is a terrible sin of sorts, and no one has the right to force them to do something against their own will. However, this is the beautiful thing about life in a free country; as a consumer, you can pick and choose what you want and do not want. If hardline Catholics, or members of any other religious denomination for that matter, do not like contraceptives, then they should avoid them. Case closed.

That the Church’s American leadership feels entitled enough to demand special treatment of this magnitude is a serious problem. If it truly wants to limit the use of birth control, then perhaps it should focus on the harsh reality that nearly all American Catholics are currently going against doctrine in this pivotal regard. Using the feds as a means to the end of controlling congregants’ private activities simply will not do. The United States is a nation built upon the idea of equal rights for citizens and legal residents alike. Why should certain members of these two groups be deemed more equal than others? Is it because of their religion? Would this not be a violation of the First Amendment which clearly states that church and state must remain separate?

Of course it would be. Those complaining about being held to the same set of rules as everyone else, though, could care less. As far as I can tell, it goes back to the aforementioned entitlement mentality. Just because America is home to untold millions of Catholics does not mean that their church has the ability to legislate its own set of public policy measures in the halls of government. Let us hope that, in time, cooler heads prevail when it comes to decidedly delicate matters along these lines. I would imagine that the vast majority of mainstream American Catholics are inclined to agree with me.

In any case, one thing is for sure; when the government favors a non-public institution over the other, it is called corporatism. Can it be explained why church corporatism is any more favorable than crony capitalism? Any answers? No? I did not suppose that there would be. As I stated above, case closed.

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About Joseph F. Cotto

  • Clavos

    It seems to me that the violation of the First Amendment in this controversy is being committed by the administration as it seeks to impose its liberal views on a religion.

    The First says, in part:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;… (emphasis added)

    It is the second clause which the administration appears to be violating — it is attempting to force the Church to rescind an internal policy which affects only Catholics, and thus is “prohibiting [the Church’s] free exercise [of its religion].”

    Whether the teaching against contraception is or is not observed by the individual members of the Church is immaterial because it is an internal teaching of the Church and none of the government’s business.

    The Obama mandate is yet another egregious attempt by the liberal establishment to impose (by force) its tenets on the rest of the population.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I do sympathize somewhat with the Church’s concerns, although as Joseph so deftly highlighted, it lost credibility on this issue (and many others) long ago.

    I don’t see why the Roman Catholic Church as an employer – or an employer affiliated with it – should be forced to provide contraceptive services as part of its health insurance package, any more than it would be reasonable to force Planned Parenthood as an employer to provide abstinence-only family planning services as part of its benefits package.

    On the other hand, birth control is a pretty basic medical need, and it seems unfair for an employee not to be provided with coverage merely because their employer Doesn’t Wanna.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    In the New Testament we are told in at least two places that we are to follow the law of the land, and Jesus followed the law of the land even unto His death on the cross. Now I really can understand the RCC’s position, but in order to build and operate a hospital, an organization (religious or otherwise) must follow federal regulation without exemption.

    If the RCC had wanted to avoid this situation, they should have refrained from building a hospital and instead simply paid other medical institutions to provide medical services which are not against RCC doctrine. Of course, the RCC couldn’t make a profit on that, but there it is.

  • Clavos

    FYI, Glenn, the Church doesn’t make a profit on its hospitals.

    And the book of fiction you refer to as new testament has no standing regarding Federal government regulations or any other secular law, for that matter.

  • http://www.realcatholictv.com mortimerzilch

    I fail to see where the Government of the United States has the standing to force religious organizations to act contrary to their clearly stated and long standing beliefs. The Constitution clearly states that the Government shall not interfere in free religious practice. If someone works for the Church, it goes without saying that the Church will not pay for your abortion, or abortifacant. That THIS Executive is attempting to coerce this violation of the Constitution, and may have packed the Supreme Court so as to agree with him, MERITS IMPEACHMENT…if this Executive had not also the Legislative Branch in his pocket too. So what we have is an immoral and illegal law demanding enforcement. Did I say “NAZI!”…yes, I did.

  • Arch Conservative

    “If hardline Catholics, or members of any other religious denomination for that matter, do not like contraceptives, then they should avoid them. Case closed.”

    I do believe they do avoid them Mr. Kotter er I mean Cotto.

    How about this one though………..

    If hard line secularists have the need for contraceptives, they should not seek employment or medical care from a Catholic hospital but instead go to another medical provider that believes in the use of contraceptives. Case closed.

    “If the RCC had wanted to avoid this situation, they should have refrained from building a hospital and instead simply paid other medical institutions to provide medical services which are not against RCC doctrine.”

    So what you’re saying basically is that the Catholic Church does not have the right to provide medical care if they are not going to provide it in a manner consistent with the left wing worldview Glenn?

  • FrKeyes

    Author misses the point. Of course,, I as a catholic will not use or condone the use of contraception. But I do pay taxes and now the mandate is requiring me to pay for contraception and abortion against my conscience. Regardless of the opinion of this author, I am sane and I disagree with him. His decision to belittle my faith is unbecoming of civil discourse.

  • Arch Conservative

    You’re right FRkeyes, the author and some of the ensuing comments don’t try very hard at disguising the disdain felt toward religion. Of course they’ll come up with some clever (at least they will think it’s clever) bullshit about why that’s not true, but we know that it is.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    How would the rights of the employees of the Catholic hospital be jeopardized if they were required to use other-than-Catholic medical facilities for their contraceptive needs.

    This seems to be the crux of the matter, which thus far doesn’t appear to have been addressed.

  • Dr Hussein Eegor

    I do pay taxes and now the mandate is requiring me to pay for invasions and bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan against my conscience.

    I do pay taxes and now the mandate is requiring me to pay for unwanted children against my conscience.

  • Jason Menges

    Life begins at conception. OC work to prevent implantation which occurs after conception. Church cannot support such meds.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/joseph-cotto/ Joseph Cotto

    Clavos,

    That certainly is one way of looking at the situation. I think it boils down to you and I interpreting the First Amendment differently in this matter. Regardless of our respective opinions, I believe that we both want to see religious liberty sustained and upheld. Perhaps we each have different perspectives on how this might be done.

    Dr Dreadful,

    Excellent points all around. This is why I find the mandate to be acceptable; it holds everyone to the exact same standard. No special treatment or favors brought into the picture. It is hard to argue with that.

    Glenn,

    It would appear that, despite our vast political differences, our respective lines of reasoning are aligned here. If the feds force one sector of employers to provide a basic, non-controversial health insurance service, then the same should hold true for all employers. Creating loopholes and exemptions might seem nice in the short run, but in the long term, all it does is create serious problems.

    mortimerzilch,

    Unless speaking about anti-Semitism, anyone who uses the “Nazi” argument is immediately disqualified from the hall of rational debate. Thanks for stopping by, though.

    Arch,

    “If hard line secularists have the need for contraceptives, they should not seek employment or medical care from a Catholic hospital but instead go to another medical provider that believes in the use of contraceptives. Case closed.”

    Not such a bad idea. I do not know if this practice is already used by most hardline secularists, but if it is, they would score points for a total and complete lack of hypocrisy. I strongly doubt, however, that this is the case.

    FrKeyes,

    I respect your opinions and the desire to see your tax dollars spent wisely. However, as taxpayers, much of our money goes towards programs that we might find unfavorable. This is simply the result of living in a society which has a remarkable freedom and diversity of ideas. I never even hinted, nor do I believe, that those who disagree with me are not mentally sound. Honestly, I have no clue as to how you came to this conclusion. Also, I never denigrated the Catholic faith in any fashion. It works fine for untold millions, and that works fine for me.

    Roger,

    An astute question deserving of an article-length answer.

  • Glenn Hussein Contrarian

    Clavos –

    And the book of fiction you refer to as new testament has no standing regarding Federal government regulations or any other secular law, for that matter.

    Your viewpoint concerning the Bible doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the RCC claims to follow the commands of Jesus and the apostles, and in this case is having a real problem doing so. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with pointing out someone’s hypocrisy when they don’t follow the rules that they claim to uphold.

  • Fred0321

    What the author of this article neglects to say is that the Church, and all churches, are guaranteed freedom to practice their faith by the Constitution of the United States. Whether individual Catholics follow the moral teachings of the Church is immaterial. The Church is guaranteed the right to practice her faith without government interference. This means that the Church cannot be forced by the state to violate her beliefs.

    For those who support the state’s insistence that the Church be forced to act against her moral teachings, the question is, “who is next?” If the state can compel the Church to act against her beliefs, who is safe in this society? The case is definitely not closed.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Although members of churches should be free to follow their religion, I don’t understand why any church is allowed to run a business.

    It is already bad enough that churches are not taxed on their incomes but a church running a business is crossing the line.

  • Clavos

    Although members of churches should be free to follow their religion, I don’t understand why any church is allowed to run a business

    If you’re referring to the RCC’s hospitals, Mr. Rose, they are businesses, yes, but non profit ones, and they aren’t the only church-affiliated hospitals in this country; among others, there are Jewish hospitals and Presbyterian ones, as well as Baptist and Methodist institutions.

    It’s not a question of their being “allowed,” as you put it, it would be unconstitutional for them to be prohibited. Operating a business is not a crime; not even if operated by a church.

    I agree with you in re their tax exempt status.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    “Non-profit” is not the same thing as “not making money”. Think about that the next time you walk down the aisle at the supermarket and see “Newman’s Own” products lining the shelves. With all the tax breaks a ‘non-profit’ has, it’s actually a pretty good business model.

    But the point is this: hospitals have to operate within federal guidelines. Not requiring them to do so is setting the industry up for all kinds of problems.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    I take your point, Clavos, and thought Glenn’s point was worth taking note of too.

    I remain uncomfortable about church’s running businesses though; if they want to support a business they can always make donations to it, but all businesses obviously need to be regulated and running any business – and particularly a hospital – along any kind of religious lines is a clear source of conflict, as we see in the debate about contraception.

  • http://rwno.limewebs.com Warren Beatty

    Re:comment #1, Clavos, you could not have expressed yourself better! Bravo!

    FWIW, follow this link and this link for more infomation.

  • Zingzing

    clavos, you do realize that exempting the catholic church from a law would be against the first amendment, right?. It’s the same as writing a law that only they have to follow. Subjecting them to the same laws as everyone else… where’s the trouble?

  • Clavos

    Subjecting them to the same laws as everyone else… where’s the trouble?

    Subjecting them, zing, constitutes government interference in a religious matter — in violation of the First Amendment.

    But I can see where the liberal administration would be true to its situational ethics and anti-religion mindset — I can see, but do not approve.

    I’m anti religion, but only for myself; I have no problem with religious practitioners who do not attempt to impose their beliefs on me — either directly or indirectly, through the government.

  • Clavos

    Oh and I do not believe the government should be imposing lifestyle decisions on the citizenry. Thus, I do not agree with the government dictating that any entity should supply contraceptive information (or the contraceptives themselves) to anyone — there are too many citizens who do not support that practice, and their taxes should not be forcibly used to impose something to which they are opposed, no matter how much “good” for society liberals think would be attained.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Surely health care professionals should provide such information?

    That isn’t imposing a lifestyle decision on anybody is it?

    Going back to my point about churches operating businesses, even on a non profit basis; isn’t that how they extend their reach and seek to impose their views on others?

    As to citizens getting a say on what their taxes are used for, that has to be a total non-starter.

    Government would become totally impossible if using tax income on things to which citizens objected wasn’t allowed – or if tax expenditure was only allowed on things to which the citizenry didn’t object.

  • Clavos

    Well, that’s your good liberal opinion, but it is the right of all entities in a democracy to proselytize their viewpoints — it’s in fact essential to a democracy to defend that right to freedom of speech, which may well be the most basic tenet of a democracy.

    As for using taxes for non-approved ends: if enough people disapprove in a democracy (i.e., whatever constitutes a legal majority), then yes, the government should immediately cease that practice to which they object.

  • Clavos

    Surely health care professionals should provide such information?

    Not necessarily; i.e., if they disagree with a practice, and such disagreement does not endanger life or the patient’s health, it would be unconstitutional to force them to provide it.

    Patients who disagree with such practices (non life or health threatening) in any given medical facility can always seek another.

  • Zingzing

    Ok, clavos. Then i guess it’s ok to beat your woman if your firm religious belief is that you should. why should religion get an exception? Does that part not bother you? The religious person still has the ultimate choice in this situation. The legal entity that is the business arm of the catholic church shouldn’t be a concern.

  • http://cinemasentries.com El Bicho

    While free birth control services in health insurance packages for their employees, sounds like a good benefit, how can the govt. demand what an employer offers in its benefit package? Plus, if anyone has a problem that the benefit isn’t offered by Catholic Church, no one is required to work for them. Or am I missing something?

    The end of the article is bizarre as author asks a question then before anyone is allowed to respond in comments claims he won the argument, like a child

  • Baronius

    El B – That’s especially true given that the author goes on to tell Dread that his “closed” position is simply a matter of interpretation.

    Zing – The Catholic Church isn’t looking for an exemption for the Catholic Church. It’s looking for an exemption for anyone on the basis of religious beliefs (at least as I understand it). There used to be such an exemption.

    The timeline seems to be missing from this article. Catholic hospitals in the US predate the US; they were definitely around long before hospitals were a business. The exemption exists currently. The new law is going to remove the exemption.

    The First Amendment puts the onus on Congress to justify its intervention into a religious matter, be it birth control or wife-beating. I think the case can be made against wife-beating on its merits. The fact that we exist currently with the exemption in place, and have since the founding, suggests that it’s at least debatable.

  • Igor

    #1-Clavos is just wrong. Your practice of your religion does not supercede my civil rights. “Render unto Caesar…”

    “It seems to me that the violation of the First Amendment in this controversy is being committed by the administration as it seeks to impose its liberal views on a religion.”

    No. Catholics may personally still observe their religious requirements. They just can’t impose them on others, as is proper.

    Otherwise religious law would supercede civil law, which leads to warfare.

    The First says, in part:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;… (emphasis added)

    It is the second clause which the administration appears to be violating — it is attempting to force the Church to rescind an internal policy which affects only Catholics, and thus is “prohibiting [the Church’s] free exercise [of its religion].”

    No, it’s just telling them they’ve got to treat US citizens under civil law.

    Free exercise of religion doesn’t include coercing others.

  • Cannonshop

    Meh…and who says Libs favour a separation of Church and State? The whole thing is, from the supporters of the policy, a move to assert the Primacy of the State over religious exercise-which is, fundamentally, as bad as the other side trying to inject “God” into politics.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But the primacy of the State is the essential aspect of the modern condition, Cannon, even in liberal democracies which try to distinguish themselves from totalitarian regimes.

    The State has become our God and acquired godlike qualities, all the rights and privileges.

  • Zingzing

    if the church’s insurance covers contraceptives, and no on wants to use the benefits to pay for it, all is good. If a person on the payroll oF the catholic church wants to use the benefits to pay for the pill, they should be able to.

  • Zingzing

    so now fucking without any form of contraceptive is a “religious exercise”? well, I suppose it is in a way…

    this is just the church having a fit. If you don’t want to use contraceptives, don’t. no reason for the church to lead it’s employees by the genitals.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    “if the church’s insurance covers contraceptives”

    Why should the govt tell the church or any business what benefits they have to offer? What’s stopping all these promiscuous Catholics from going to the drug store and picking up condoms on their own dime?

  • Baronius

    I also don’t understand why this story is on Joseph’s radar.

    This story would interest a social conservative because it has to do with religion and the state. It would interest a libertarian-type conservative because it’s about an encroachment of the government. It would interest a philosophical conservative because it constitutes a change.

    To clarify or maybe just to repeat myself, this policy rankles me because I oppose contraception, but also because I don’t want to see the government pushing the First Amendment boundaries, but also because I don’t want to see the government push any boundaries. I’d expect Joseph to be uncomfortable with it for the second reason, and maybe the third. But he seems to be okay with it based solely on the first reason – it seems he supports it simply because it offends social conservatives. It’s this kind of thing that makes me think that Joseph doesn’t want a bigger tent; he just wants to move the tent.

  • zingzing

    el b–what bothers me about this isn’t the church’s stance on contraception (no matter how backwards and stupid it is), nor is it really the church and state thing. i can see why some people might get a bit rankled… it’s going to happen when the church and state butt heads on an issue.

    what bothers me is that the church thinks it gets an exception. this kind of policy does not step on any individual’s toes and tell them they have to get contraceptives. it is available, and covered, that’s all. if someone’s employee wants to get some damn birth control, that’s none of her employer’s business, whether that employer is mcdonalds or jesus’ bank on earth. any employee (even catholics,) has the right to make up his or her own mind about it.

    such a policy as this does not change one catholic’s ability to still not use contraceptives. not one. so unless this is purely a money issue… well, then it better not be a religious issue.

    i think we can all get behind the logic that making contraceptives covered will make them more readily available to people. and thus, there will be fewer unwanted babies, and fewer abortions.

  • Clavos

    No. Catholics may personally still observe their religious requirements. They just can’t impose them on others, as is proper.

    They aren’t trying to. If you don’t like the rules in a Catholic hospital, don’t go there, don’t work there.

    When I worked for corporations, I had to abide by their rules; there’s no difference.

    Plus, EB is absolutely right when he says: Why should the govt tell the church or any business what benefits they have to offer?

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Trying to stay on course, but I am utterly baffled at Baronius’ claim that he opposes contraception. Hope he joins the 20th century at some point because that position is only going to lead to more abortions, unless Irene is going to claim that penetration now counts as a human being.

    zing, what bothers me is more businesses aren’t fighting back. You’ve never answered the question, “Why should the govt tell the church or any business what benefits they have to offer?”

    Forget the religious aspect. What if a company decides they can’t afford a medical plan that offers free birth control services in health insurance packages for financial reasons because “free” ain’t free? You want to see people laid off so others can get free contraception?

    Should the govt be allowed to mandate all businesses have to provide turkeys for Thanksgiving? The turkey farmer lobby is pretty powerful. Where does it end? Again, if you don’t like the benefit package, don’t work there.

    “i think we can all get behind the logic that making contraceptives covered will make them more readily available to people.”

    Yes, but what about the logic that the govt has no right to order employers to offer them?

    And what guy doesn’t have contraceptives readily available? I can get condoms online, at many different stores, and see them offered occasionally in public dispensers.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Interesting aside: the Chinese government is promoting the use of a natural way of limiting pregnancies that is more than twice as effective as the IUD, and is morally acceptable to Catholics who use it as well. This way is also being taught in other countries where not many can afford all the chemical paraphernalia available in the U.S. Apparently the science of working with nature has come a long way since “the rhythm method.”

  • Igor

    37-Clavos: If you don’t like the rules in the USA, Move your Catholic hospital someplace else.

    “If you don’t like the rules in a Catholic hospital, don’t go there, don’t work there.”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    From my non-Catholic perspective, the two debates on birth control and abortion strike me this way. Catholics truly believe that they are taking up for innocent human life when they oppose abortion. So looking at the motivation of Catholics who speak out against abortion, I see a desire to defend human rights rather than a desire to impose morality on people–otherwise they’d be wanting to make artificial methods of birth control illegal for everyone, too.

    The requirements that I’ve seen coming down the pike in the last few years, that people (not just Catholics) be required to perform or provide services that are against their consciences seem…spiteful.

    Hasn’t the US made exceptions, even in the military, for conscientious objectors?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Good analogy, Irene.

  • zingzing

    “You’ve never answered the question, “Why should the govt tell the church or any business what benefits they have to offer?””

    that’s true, i haven’t answered. if you believe in gov’t oversight of the health insurance business (and given the skyrocketing costs of health insurance, i suppose some is in order), i guess it comes part and parcel. i think it’s a good thing and is a sensible way to combat unwanted pregnancies and abortion. catholics don’t have to be sensible, but as a corporation, they should be subject to the same laws as everyone else.

    “You want to see people laid off so others can get free contraception?”

    no. and if you have to do so, i’d say your company has other issues.

    “Should the govt be allowed to mandate all businesses have to provide turkeys for Thanksgiving? The turkey farmer lobby is pretty powerful. Where does it end?”

    bestiality, i’m sure.

    “Yes, but what about the logic that the govt has no right to order employers to offer them?”

    do you really believe that? or should there be some basic line of benefits that an employer has to provide? most insurance benefits (that i’ve come across at any rate,) cover birth control. cheapskates and those stuck in the dark ages aren’t exactly the best line of defense against this terrible encroachment of free bc upon our nation’s women.

    “And what guy doesn’t have contraceptives readily available? I can get condoms online, at many different stores, and see them offered occasionally in public dispensers.”

    i don’t think condoms are the point, really. you can pick up free condoms in a lot of places. birth control and other non-barrier methods are what i’m talking about.

  • jamminsue

    OK, everyone, I, a sort-of Christian have worked for a Jew, and had to have my pay docked for not working Christmas, and worked for a Catholic and had Abortion and birth control exempted from my medical insurance. So whats the big deal? That is the cost of being an employee at that kind of business. Obama has written tons of exemptions for all kinds of stuff already.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Thanks Roger. El Bicho makes a good point when he brings up powerful lobbies. What a bonanza to the pharmaceutical industry when the government helps it to force its way into Catholic hospitals to shill its product!

    It’s been really difficult and confusing for US women to get straight-forward answers (google “Women’s Health Initiative”) about the long-term effects of artificial hormones, and this is partly because of the powerful influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the government.

    They could potentially have nearly 100% of the adult female population using their products, both during their reproductive years and, through hormone replacement therapy, into menopause.

  • Clavos

    37-Clavos: If you don’t like the rules in the USA, Move your Catholic hospital someplace else

    I don’t like the USA, let alone its “rules.” But again, as both EB and I have pointed out,the government has no right to dictate to employers what benefits they’ll provide.

    I say to the Catholics: in terms of membership, you are the largest denomination in the USA; vote the jerks, starting with the jerk-in-chief, out of office.

    Oh, and it’s not “my catholic hospital.” I don’t believe in god, much less catholicism.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    But you were talking about turkey lobbies, weren’t you? My bad. Wouldn’t want to put words in your mouth. I have a feeling you already know how offensive that can be.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s to their credit, Irene, that both El Bicho and Clavos are aware of the fact that the government isn’t always the solution but sometimes the problem.

    Turkey lobbies? What’s next in this great country called the US of A?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Turkey lobbies? Sure. Small farmers are often concerned about the influence Big Farma (agribusiness) has on the FDA, which last month, after 34 years of research and warnings on the ill effects of antibiotics in the feed of agribusiness’ animals (namely, resistance to antibiotics in humans) quietly announced that it is going to relax its pressure regarding antibiotic use.

    Regulation is a funny thing. Its use, and its withholding, is so often a political tool, rather than something that actually helps people.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jordan –

    And that is a fabulous link you gave!

  • Zingzing

    I can’t believe we live in a society where the idea of birth control being covered by health insurance is a problem. If a catholic doesn’t believe in birth control they are still absolutely free not to use it. If a catholic wants to believe in god and all that and still wants to use birth control, that’s their damnable choice. “freedom of religion” has jack shit to do with it. People need to get a fucking grip (although I’m sure you’ll go to hell for that as well).

  • Zingzing

    BIRTH CONTROL is a HEALTH issue and should be covered by HEALTH insurance. If not, what kind of insurance should cover it? Collision? Property?

  • Zingzing

    continuing #51, if an employee of the catholic church wants to work for the catholic church and use birth control, they should be covered. Your employer’s stupid, outdated moral bullshit shouldn’t decide what your health issues are or are not.

    If the employees were to freely submit themselves to catholic laws, this wouldn’t matter one bit. It would be covered but no one would use it. It’s simply restricting the freedoms of the catholic church’s employees to decide what’s best for their individual self, and I’d think–but god knows that would be dumb–that not doing that would be the higher goal here.

    People still have a right to decide what’s best for themselves, even if it goes against the teachings of the fucking Vatican, right? Since when are your employer’s rights more important than your own? Madness.

  • Clavos

    People still have a right to decide what’s best for themselves, even if it goes against the teachings of the fucking Vatican, right?

    Yes. And,

    People still have a right to decide what’s best for themselves, even if it goes against the teachings of the fucking president, right?

  • zingzing

    yep, clavos. they can still decide whether they as an individual are going to use birth control. the president isn’t forcing them to in any way.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    The difference is that the Vatican doesn’t want the patient to have a choice, whereas the president is demanding that the patient has a choice. Which is more important to you – the Vatican or the patient?

  • Clavos

    No, but he is trying to force their employer, which is unconstitutional; he doesn’t even have the right to force their employer to supply any health insurance at all.

    But, liberals don’t much care about the constitution as long as they can continue to grow the government’s size and power so as to “make the country (and by extension, the world) ‘better.'” Their definition of “better” is plastic, of course, but always involves control of the masses.

  • Clavos

    Which is more important to you – the Vatican or the patient?

    Glenn, the Vatican, like you, believes in a fantastical imaginary being, so clearly I don’t care about it. I care about the patient, but I care more about the constitution, which your guy is trying to suborn.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Right, Clavos–and its particularly important to remember in this case “the patient” and “the employee” are actually the same person. Many medical professionals (Catholic and non-Catholic) choose to work in institutions where abortions are not being performed, and if that means working at a Catholic hospital that won’t pay for birth control pills they may not want anyway, they would be fine with that.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    If I were an employee like that, I’d be responding to zing’s concern on my behalf by saying, “don’t do me any favors.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    So when the Founding Fathers required an individual mandate for health care for all private sailors on all private ships back in 1798, they didn’t care about the Constitution either? You mean the Founding Fathers were trying to suborn the then-eleven-years-old Constitution then, too? Gee, what a VAST left-wing conspiracy!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @57

    “But, liberals don’t much care about the constitution as long as they can continue to grow the government’s size and power so as to “make the country (and by extension, the world) ‘better.'”

    There’s nothing wrong with trying to make the country and the world better. What’s debatable is whether the instrumentality of government is the optimal means to accomplish such ends. I submit it’s not always the case. It’s in this respect that the liberals are found wanting.

    Furthermore, I wouldn’t put too much credence in the constitutionality argument as representing the be all and end all expression of the first principles. Like any text, it’s a historical document and subject to historical limitations — only a stepping stone, as it were, to subsequent and improved formulations. In particular, it suffers from an erroneous conception of an atomistic, well-formed individuals underlying it, individuals always in a state of strife and conflict, whereby the individual rights (rather than indebtedness and responsibilities to the community) are the primary focus of attention. Again, that’s wrongheaded, I’d like to argue, a mere outgrowth of the underlying conception.

    But that’s the communist in me.

  • zingzing

    “No, but he is trying to force their employer, which is unconstitutional; he doesn’t even have the right to force their employer to supply any health insurance at all.”

    i don’t know that he is forcing them to have health insurance, although i guess that once a corporation reaches a certain size, they kinda have to (and should), but that’s nothing new.

    that said, i couldn’t give a fuck about the catholic church’s rights, especially when they’re trying to destroy someone’s ability to choose (if through their wallet).

    and all of this is not clearly unconstitutional. it’s up for debate.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Were the Butchers, the Bakers and the Candlestick Makers (in other words, every other Tom, Dick and Harry who owned a business) required to pay for healthcare? No, a special law was passed, to make an exception for sailors, because, as the article goes on to explain, trade was the lifeblood of the new nation. Able-bodied sailors were essential for trade, and because of the physically challenging nature of their job, they were at high risk for injuries. The sooner injured sailors were back on their feet, the easier it was for the captain to get the crew he needed to set sail.

    (I wonder if Glenn has looked up “coreligionist” in the dictionary yet)

  • zingzing

    irene: “If I were an employee like that, I’d be responding to zing’s concern on my behalf by saying, “don’t do me any favors.””

    why would you say that?

  • zingzing

    clavos: “But, liberals don’t much care about the constitution as long as they can continue to grow the government’s size and power so as to “make the country (and by extension, the world) ‘better.'” Their definition of “better” is plastic, of course, but always involves control of the masses.”

    that’s hyperbolic nonsense, as has been a rather disturbing trend for you lately. how is covering birth control “control of the masses”? it gives individuals the choice. that little facet of this argument is something you’re ignoring. why?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    I don’t think you were addressing #59 and #60, zing, but that wasn’t about the Catholic church’s rights. That was about the rights of health care workers who wanted to be employed by a private institution where they wouldn’t be required to perform abortions.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Oh I posted that before you posted that, so…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    The reason I would say, “don’t do me any favors” is this:

    That expression (I’ve heard it, but maybe not everyone has) is used when someone is doing something that they think someone else would be really pleased by, whereas they would actually really be displeased by it. It’s a sarcastic expression used by people who are really exasperated that people who claim to know what is best for them are actually working against what they want…and even need.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    #59 is a long way up, so I’ll repost here:
    Many medical professionals (Catholic and non-Catholic) choose to work in institutions where abortions are not being performed, and if that means working at a Catholic hospital that won’t pay for birth control pills they may not want anyway, they would be fine with that.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    Do you really want to debate universal health care? Really?

    I think you’ll find that doctors and hospitals back then were much less prevalent than they are now. Ports were major cities then (as now), and were often the only places you’d actually find what passed for an actual hospital back then. It would have been flatly impossible to cover everyone back then because of the physical inaccessibility of health care.

    Irene, business – or a nation – cannot work without infrastructure – the roads, the power, the communication networks. But there’s one major set of infrastructure that is greater in size and importance than all others: people.

    THAT is why America is now 37th on the list of nations by life expectancy, and all but one of the nations with higher life expectancy have universal health care.

    And when the population is healthier and lives longer – as they do in nations with universal health care – they’re better able to work and earn and yes, even pay taxes. THAT is the benefit that conservatives are simply not getting, that people are our most important infrastructure and the nation as a whole benefits from having a healthier population.

    That, and America’s the ONLY first-world nation where people go bankrupt due to medical expenses…and that’s the source of HALF our bankruptcies.

    Oh, but wait – we need the FREEDOM to go bankrupt and lose our homes because we got cancer! We need the FREEDOM to get sick and not be able to work and earn a living! We need the FREEDOM for our health insurance companies to drop our coverage because we didn’t tell them that we got the flu twenty years ago! Yeah, FREEDOM!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Oh…I see the where the disconnect might also be…”choose to work in institutions” should be “specifically choose to work in institutions.”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    No Glenn, actually, I don’t want to debate you. I was answering zing.

  • Igor

    Just as we don’t allow Muslims to kill their unmarried pregnant daughters, and we don’t allow Hindu widows to immolate themselves, so too we can put requirements on catholics, as long as they apply equally to everyone.

    Both religions can talk about their beliefs, publish papers, solicit converts, etc., but they are not allowed to practice their weird beliefs in contradiction with the law.

  • Igor

    The USA needs UHC, if for no other reason than to save the excess $300-600billion per year that propping up our rickety old Potemkin health system costs us now. It just isn’t worth it to create a fantasy of a capitalist system actually working.

    It doesn’t work. We have proven that healthcare doesn’t fit a capital model.

    At the cost of many lives, much misery, and financial ruin.

  • zingzing

    irene, well i wasn’t talking about abortion. just contraceptives/birth control. i hadn’t connected #59 to #60, so that’s where the disconnect was. i thought you were responding to what i said, rather than what you said.

    forcing catholic hospitals to perform abortions is a bit further out there than forcing catholic institutions to cover birth control. #1, no one’s doing anything they don’t want to do, and #2, a person can always go get an abortion at another institution, but a person can’t go use another employer’s health insurance plan (without switching jobs).

  • Clavos

    how is covering birth control “control of the masses”?

    In and of itself, it isn’t. But it’s one more brick in the edifice of control and nannyism. Forcing it upon employers, particularly in violation of their religious beliefs, certainly appears to be.

    And you might not “…give a fuck about the catholic church’s rights” but that’s a stupid and narrow-minded attitude, reminiscent of the attitude of the Jews who ignored Hitler’s purges before he began to focus on them.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @64

    Nice account, Irene, of how many of our laws are passed not in the interest of some greatest good but for some other reason.

  • zingzing

    “In and of itself, it isn’t. But it’s one more brick in the edifice of control and nannyism. Forcing it upon employers, particularly in violation of their religious beliefs, certainly appears to be.”

    then it isn’t, clavos. it’s giving the choice to the individual. how you get from there to “control of the masses” is beyond me. do you not see the logic? it’s not controlling you, it’s letting you control your own life. you’ve got it all backwards. how is it “nannyism” to allow individuals the ability to make up their own mind? what snapped in your brain that’s got your wires all crossed?

    “Forcing it upon employers, particularly in violation of their religious beliefs, certainly appears to be.”

    the hr department at the catholic church does not have religious beliefs, and every person who works at the catholic church can still apply their religious beliefs as they wish and as if nothing has changed. not one single person’s religious beliefs are in any way violated. not one. you know this.

    “that’s a stupid and narrow-minded attitude, reminiscent of the attitude of the Jews who ignored Hitler’s purges before he began to focus on them.”

    oh, for fuck’s sake. the JEWS? really? this is NOTHING like the holocaust. i’m saying that as a corporate entity, the catholic church has no right to deny what should be an individual choice. they are a business at that point. businesses aren’t people. they don’t have morals. they don’t get to tell you what to do with your body.

  • zingzing

    oh, clavos… why does it seem you view corporate rights as being above individual rights? i wouldn’t have thought you think that way, but here it is. unless you’ve got some other explanation.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    @76. There’s still a disconnect, Zing (Thank you for requesting clarification, instead of making wild accusations or insults. That’s what communication, and even debate, I’d suppose, is about.)

    Yes, you were talking about birth-control, not abortion, but I re-introduced abortion into the discussion because it was germane to your concern for the employees of the hospital.

    There are many healthcare workers who don’t want to perform, support or even be around, abortion procedures. Some have even lost, or risk losing, jobs in institutions where they may be called upon to do these things. Catholic hospitals (and private institutions like them) are places where such healthcare professionals (and others with a heart for supporting people medically) can work without being required to do things that are against their conscience.

    They aren’t concerned that the Catholic hospital isn’t paying for their birth control pills, which they might not use anyway. They wouldn’t see your concerns for their birth control needs as being helpful. Watching precedents being set for governmental disregard of conscientious objections is, in fact, very threatening to them.

  • zingzing

    irene: “They wouldn’t see your concerns for their birth control needs as being helpful.”

    because they don’t want it, right? good for them. not concerned with them. i’m concerned about those who do want it, but are forced to pay for it out of their own pocket (remember, this is a health issue, which should be covered by health insurance). and remember, catholic employees aren’t all doctors and surgeons, some of them sweep up the bathrooms. and not all catholic employees are catholic.

    “Watching precedents being set for governmental disregard of conscientious objections is, in fact, very threatening to them.”

    again, an employee of the catholic church is not necessarily a catholic. i don’t think an employer has the right to put its morality into your insurance policy. and when your concientious objection leads directly to another thing you concientiously object to even more violently, well… your concientious objection doesn’t seem to have much logic to it, and you’re doing yourself a disservice. it’s idiocy.

    people who believe that prayer will heal their cancer-stricken child, and so refuse any medical treatment for the child, can be prosecuted. so someone’s ignorance and stupidity is not really a valid line of defense.

    “(Thank you for requesting clarification, instead of making wild accusations or insults. That’s what communication, and even debate, I’d suppose, is about.)”

    sometimes, i try. i was also more than a bit baffled, so i didn’t know what i was supposed to be mad at, if anything, so i wasn’t.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @82

    “i’m concerned about those who do want it, but are forced to pay for it out of their own pocket (remember, this is a health issue, which should be covered by health insurance). and remember, catholic employees aren’t all doctors and surgeons, some of them sweep up the bathrooms. and not all catholic employees are catholic.”

    Except for janitors, etc., health care professionals are the least impacted segment of the population by the unemployment crisis; they do happen to be fortunate enough to be able to find comparable employment in most any other than Catholic hospital or health-providing institution.

    I could understand the objection if Catholic-run hospitals were to receive part of their funding from the Federal government; then it would be required to abide by federally-stipulated rules. But they do not. Which still makes them “equal-opportunity employers,” with certain provisos. It’s certainly not “idiocy.”

    One could easily imagine a situation whereby Catholic hospitals were to restrict their hiring policy to Catholics alone. It’s not very obvious, offhand, whether, being private institutions, they’d be guilty of discrimination; in any case, that would have to be argued.

    Are Catholic schools required to consider self-proclaimed atheists as candidates for teaching positions? Shouldn’t a Peace Corp recruitment policy include, say, “dedication” as one of the important criteria in evaluating the applicants? Would it be unreasonable for an organization such as Peace Corp to be screening their applicants so?

    Just posing some questions, to suggest the issue at hand is not so cut-and-dried.

  • Zingzing

    we’ve been concentrating on hospitals, but remember that the catholic church does more than just hospitals.

    “Are Catholic schools required to consider self-proclaimed atheists as candidates for teaching positions?”

    The flip side of that is should public schools not hire religious people? Of course they can’t discriminate based on religion… As far as catholic schools go, I can see where an atheist teaching religious studies might get awkward in a catholic school. But science, math, literature, art, nearly everything else can be taught just fine by atheists to students with religious parents. Unless catholic schools function as indoctrination camps.

  • Zingzing

    As to the “idiocy” comment, that wasn’t about hiring practices. it was about the church’s attitude towards contraception. with the proper use of contraception, 99% of abortions would never happen. Which do they hate more? Dead babies or people fucking? It’s apparently people fucking, and that’s just stupid.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Zing, why wouldn’t a non-Catholic custodian want to work in a Catholic hospital, or another hospital that did not perform abortions, if he’d gotten burned out carrying out fetal trash someplace else? Don’t be so hard-hearted.

  • Zingzing

    I hope that’s a joke, Irene… What non-catholic doesn’t love carrying around “fetal trash”?

    And what about the custodian at the church? Sunday morning toilets are hell, even there.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Or if she’d been forced by her boyfriend to abort (and there are a LOT of cases like this, so yeah, I too wonder at the passion with which some males go into this debate)…how would she feel about having to see reminders of that…of having to PARTICIPATE in it, day after day?

    I’m not a Catholic, so I’m not in a position to be shamed into silence over the descriptions of Catholic ethics as “stupid.”

    I can use offensive words and images in this discussion if I want to, also Zing. I think my perspective offers a lot more “ammunition” in that regard than yours does. Remember, I’m not Catholic, so I’m not persuaded to shut up just because someone is trying to shame someone out of speaking by describing their church’s teachings as stupid.

    But it’s a nice day outside, and I don’t want to anymore.

  • Zingzing

    Not trying to shame you, Irene. you’re bringing up rather extreme examples of why a person would want to work for a catholic hospital. I’m sure those examples exist. But I’m not just talking about hospitals and I’m not just talking about abortion. I’m sure there are millions of Catholics who are good Catholics, but they just don’t take to the contraceptive ban. And I’m sure there are a good many non-catholic employees of the catholic church. As a corporation, I really couldn’t give a hoot about the corporate catholic chuch’s religious beliefs, for a corporation has no beliefs to begin with. The individual employee of the catholic church, catholic or not, catholic law following or not, still has complete religious freedom to make up there own mind about using contraceptives whether or not it’s covered by their insurance policy.

  • Zingzing

    Inb4 clavos re: there/their…

  • Joe Catalenni

    1st Amendment – separation of church and state. We seem to constantly acquiesce to Muslim law these days – let’s respect the church’s position and keep gov’t out of health care

  • Clavos

    i’m saying that as a corporate entity, the catholic church has no right to deny what should be an individual choice.

    Not only the catholic church, but ANY employer can choose not to provide ANY health insurance to employees. I have worked in such places more than once in my lifetime. Had it bothered me, I had the option of moving on to a job that DID provide whatever it was I sought: health insurance, a pension, paid vacations and holidays — whatever.

  • Clavos

    And zing, if you can’t see that the liberal mindset is to have the govt. involved in ALL aspects of the citizens’ lives, you’re blind. And if you don’t realize that the ultimate goal of that involvement is control of the citizenry, you’re stupid.

    It’s all about control — all of it.

  • zingzing

    if i don’t believe your hyperbolic shit, i’m stupid, eh? i’m in a liberal mindset, but i don’t want the gov’t involved in all aspects of the citizens’ lives, and i don’t want the gov’t in absolute control of the citizenry. i think i know my mindset better than you do, and i think your hyperbolic shit just makes me more sure that you don’t know your enemy. you have some caricature in your head. you’re fighting a ghost of your own imagination. good luck with that.

    YOU want corporations to control individuals. i think it’s ok that the gov’t tells profit-minded corporations to shove it and leave it up to the individual in this case. YOU want your employer to tell you how to live. i think that’s up to you, not your fucking employer.

    if you want me to turn it around on you, the conservative mindset is all about money, and how to get more of it and how to horde it, and how to tell other people they don’t deserve the rights you do. that would be just as fucking asinine as what you just said.

    you can state your bullshit as if it’s truth, but it’s not. be reasonable.

  • zingzing

    “Not only the catholic church, but ANY employer can choose not to provide ANY health insurance to employees.”

    why? health insurance is supposed to be for the good of the individual, not for the company. the company has no health, it has no morals, it has no nothing. it’s just a money-making machine. and birth control is actually good for that machine, but don’t let that bother you.

    why would you hand control of your private parts to a fucking corporation, clavos? i certainly wouldn’t. then again, i like my freedom to choose what i do and do not do. you have it your way, corporate puppy.

  • zingzing

    just as a test, tell me how an individual catholic person could possibly have their religious beliefs denied by the gov’t in this situation.

    i dare you to show me how this is possible.

    then i ask you to tell me how giving the person a choice is in any way controlling their response.

    if you can make a person having a choice into the “control of the citizenry,” then i will applaud your creativity. it’s the catholic church trying to control their employees that you should be decrying here, but there’s some sort of ideological bullshit happening and you’re too blinded by that ideology to see it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The point is, zing, an employer no longer feels liable to provide those benefits to the employee. The good ole days are over.

    But think, even in the good ole days, it wasn’t mandatory, just a matter of common practice.

    It’s not a matter of what’s right or wrong, only of what you can get away with. And if you think for a moment the government can mandate any private enterprise what they should or should not offer their employees by way of compensation, other than a bare minimum, such as minimum wage, you’ve got another think coming. Once it’d nationalize the industries, of course it could, but we both know that’s not in the cards. So whatever else it is that we’re witnessing by way of our government “forcing” the corporate hand, rest assured it’s but a pretense, a case of make-believe.

    As Clavos had stated, it’s all about exercise of control under false pretenses, except that both government and business are in cahoots.

  • zingzing

    i dunno, roger. if you can name an employer as large as the catholic church that does not offer health insurance, i’d be surprised. and if it’s not mandatory, why do they offer it? because it’s bad for the company? no… because it’s good for the company.

  • Zingzing

    And I’m not counting the walmarts and home depots of the world that go out of their way to deny any benefits to quote unquote part time employees.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Health insurance, vacations, comp-time have always been regarded as adjuncts to payroll, an extra incentive; and I doubt their legal status has changed over time.

    I happen to think the government’s attempt to bear on these matters is an overreach — a pretense, if you will, to make it look egalitarian (while the stark reality clearly disproves it.) In short, it’s the democratic ploy.

    In any case, such matters have always been subject to negotiations between the employer and the unions. The sudden shift in that we see our government take a proactive role on behalf of the working man, precisely when the working man has no leg to stand on, is suspect in my eyes. It’s a story beneath the story. And that a religion-based employer would be singled out as a test case is doubly troubling, suggesting of scapegoating.

  • zingzing

    “In short, it’s the democratic ploy.”

    oh, no… that’s like saying a restaurant only serves delicious oysters because it wants you to eat there. do you want good government (assuming you want any government at all, which is not a good assumption when it comes to you…)? do you (for some reason) NOT want birth control to be included in health insurance? for what reason?

    “And that a religion-based employer would be singled out as a test case is doubly troubling, suggesting of scapegoating.”

    keep in mind that it’s the catholic church looking for an out here, rather than the gov’t singling them out. you’ve got the sequence of events backwards.

  • Zingzing

    Look, if the gov’t let’s the catholic church off on this one, I’m not going to go apocalyptic. I just think the gov’t should make laws irrespective of religion. But you don’t build the vatican or the national cathedral on a non-profit budget.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Am not talking about what’s included or not included in health insurance. Health insurance itself is the topic. And until it becomes a government sponsored plan, all bets are off. And until then, everything the government tries to do is a pretense.

    Maybe I got my sequence backwards, but the fact that the CC is looking for an out still suggests governmental meddling. So again, until it’s the government that runs the health insurance in toto, it’s nothing but interference designed to make it look good. So again, the birth control provision should be subject to negotiations as long as it’s for the market to decide, which is to say, unless you’re ready for some socialism.

    Can’t have it both ways, you know.

  • Zingzing

    Some amount of socialism, especially when it comes to social causes, is fine by me. But I think we’re talking past each other. I’m talking about this specific incident. so far, I haven’t seen the gov’t respond, only the catholic church object. If the gov’t mandated that the catholic church’s hospitals perform abortions, I’d object to that.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Perhaps we are, perhaps things haven’t come to a peak as yet.

  • Clavos

    zing, sometimes your responses seem to be thought up in your testicles, rather than your head. #94 is an excellent example.

    i’m in a liberal mindset, but i don’t want the gov’t involved in all aspects of the citizens’ lives, and i don’t want the gov’t in absolute control of the citizenry.

    Ah, but your liberal Democratic pols (especially Obama), do. Obamacare mandate, etc.

    YOU want corporations to control individuals…YOU want your employer to tell you how to live.

    Talk about hyperbole. When have I ever said that? Or even implied it?

    the conservative mindset is all about money, and how to get more of it and how to horde it

    I don’t think that’s the conservative mindset, but it is mine, and I’ve been pretty successful, at “hoarding” (that’s how it’s actually spelled, zing) (read saving) it, and at steering what I part with to where I want it to go.

    and how to tell other people they don’t deserve the rights you do.

    What have I said that gives you that impression? I think every American should have the same opportunities for bettering themselves, and I can truthfully say nothing in my lifestyle or personal behavior goes against that belief.

    it’s the catholic church trying to control their employees that you should be decrying here

    Hmm. Are they trying to control their employees? How, exactly? By telling Obama that contraception goes against their beliefs? In what way is that “control?”

    if you can make a person having a choice into the “control of the citizenry,”

    In this instance, the control sought is of the US Roman Catholic Church, not the individual. The secular US government presumes to tell a 2000 year old religion what it can and cannot do in matters pertaining to one of its most deeply held beliefs. As I said: control.

  • Zingzing

    Like any other political system, capitalism will eventually shit itself. You’re looking for the turtle head, and seeing it everywhere. But capitalism is just out for a walk right now, and it’s not going to do that in public. If something better comes along, I doubt it will be an old idea. Something new will come along eventually, but we have to wait for that before capitalism loosens up and is flushed into history. Humankind has nearly always found that way, but there have been times in recorded history where we certainly have not, at least on a global scale. But it’s always been progress and new thought that have gotten us, as humans, out of the doldrums. So if capitalism fails, what next?

    Capitalism has brought prosperity to many people and nations. That is undeniable. To be considered a success, whatever system takes its place has to bring prosperity to more people, and I think nations should be left out of the balance. Nationalism is an old and outdated idea, which served certain people well, and I was lucky to be born where I was. But I was born into a time of exponential change, and I hope I can just keep up with it.

    Whatever idea comes up may be an evolution or a revolution. We’re definitely at a breaking point right now, what with the economic downturn and digital tech taking the place of physical objects, but there are many paths we could take from this point. Things are relatively good for many of us right now, and those whom things are good for are the ones running the show. So I think they’ll try to find a way for their world to work again before they ditch it.

    It’ll never be the common man who wins, I guess. So stop waiting for your glorious future.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And #107 is a response to …

  • zingzing

    clavos: “Ah, but your liberal Democratic pols (especially Obama), do. Obamacare mandate, etc.”

    see, i don’t think you know their minds any better than you know mine. but you set it up as the “liberal mindset,” so if you weren’t including me, i wonder why. i don’t think it’s about control, i think it’s about being inclusive. why do women always have to get the shaft when it comes to religion and sex? (yes, that was a pun.)

    “Talk about hyperbole. When have I ever said that? Or even implied it?”

    in this conversation we’re having. you’re plenty okay with the catholic church invading the nethers of its employees, it seems. if that’s not true, i’ll be glad to hear why.

    “I don’t think that’s the conservative mindset”

    if you’ll read the end of that paragraph, you’ll notice i assign that as “asinine,” and not a true and full representation of the conservative mindset. why ignore that bit?

    “What have I said that gives you that impression?”

    absolutely nothing, except your stance on this. which is why i find it confusing coming from you.

    “Are they trying to control their employees? How, exactly?”

    by telling them the catholic church doesn’t approve of their fucking.

    “In this instance, the control sought is of the US Roman Catholic Church, not the individual.”

    the individual is king. the corporate roman catholic church is not even a person, and therefore i don’t give a fuck about their rights. the individual catholic is a god compared to the speck of shit that is the catholic church. the individual catholic has rights and should be respected. you couldn’t pay me enough (yes, you could,) to get me to care about the fucking catholic church.

    “The secular US government presumes to tell a 2000 year old religion what it can and cannot do in matters pertaining to one of its most deeply held beliefs.”

    don’t fucking care. that “deeply held belief” is contrary to its other “deeply held belief,” if not in the ultimate logic, then in the real world, where we all have to live.

    “”hoarding” (that’s how it’s actually spelled, zing)”

    gimme a break. been up since 6:30 am. brain won’t let me sleep.

  • zingzing

    107 was a response to you roger, although i’ll admit it’s rambling. today has sucked.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Just wondering, because when I spoke of things coming to a peak, it was in the restricted sense, context-bound.

    Sure have surprised me to hear you speak in such apocalyptic terms. But we’ll talk later. Take your well deserved break.

  • cher

    It is with great frustration that I find yet another sin that is being heaped upon this nation by the puppets of the devil. There is nothing we as Christians can do but get down on our knees and pray. The only comfort we have is that all those who are responsible for abortion and who support and condone it will be in HEll one day.

  • Eli Puckett

    The Lord said. “Revenge is mine.” I am not mad at this administration. They will suffer the wrath of God. I actually feel sorry for them. They do not realize what they are doing…..But in the end they will. And there is nothing that can save them from it. Obama won’t be able to go in front of the Lord and say “It was Bush’s fault”.

  • http://www.retireinstyleblog.com RetireInStyleBlog

    It has always puzzled me that the Catholic Church will recruit parishioners to march against abortion and yet not offer a solution for preventing pregnancy. It really does speak to the credibility of the church’s actions.

    Because the birth control is available does not mean anyone has to use it. That should be a Catholic’s choice not that of their church.

    b

    It is my thought that the Catholic Church bears a terrible burden of responsibility when it urges people to do things that destroy their lives and that of babies. Don’t you think that is what is happening.

  • cher

    If all the people who support abortion had been aborted the world might just be a better place.

  • Zingzing

    Cher, you’re taking about an abortion holocaust on a scale of hundreds of millions, maybe even billions, and seem to think that a good thing. Congrats, you’re dreaming like a good little mass murderer…

  • http://cinemasentries.com El Bicho

    There’s no such place, Cher. You’ve been misled

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    I think Cher was just trying to be funny. As a variation, how about if all the world’s stupid people had been aborted, the world would definitely be a better place!

    Harsh?

  • Zingzing

    Or are the world’s Christians, who would all be in a better place?

  • Rae

    Joseph,

    As recently as last year, the Dutch parliament was attempting to ban the kosher slaughter of animals. Would not this bill be a violation of religious freedom?

    Would it not be disingenuous to argue that exempting certain religions from slaughterhouse regulations makes Jews “more equal” than other citizens?

    And are there not echos of Nazi Germany in these slaughterhouse regulations, as well as in some of the posted comments that suggest religious teachers could be barred from teaching in public schools?

    If we do not know our history, we will be doomed to repeat it.

    Have a great day.

  • http://blogcritics.jdowell.mtv-dev03.technorati.com/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    I’m a Christian, and I think our world is a better place to live than is the hellish Mars. Maybe the meek and spiritual really will inherit the Earth, as Jesus said they would, and can get back into the rhythms of living with nature, and adhering to the great ideal of faith, which is Love, even toward those who don’t believe as we do. The competitive members of the Church of Scientism with its doctrine of Survival of the Fittest, will deem us unfit for habitation on the New Planet, and leave us behind.

    Lets see which planet becomes a living hell first.

  • Zingzing

    acid’s coming on, eh, Irene?

  • http://blogcritics.jdowell.mtv-dev03.technorati.com/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    No, zing, just a cross-germination of the ideas of page 2 of Mars exploration thread and the current page of comments here.

    Coffee’s kicking in already, actually, and it’s time to get my mundane day rolling.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Irene, it really is amazing how consistently you post interestingly and/or thoughtfully on almost any subject except one!

    That exception is, of course, that set of superstitions we call religion where unfailingly you seem to lose all good sense and judgement and post absolute jibber jabber.

    Obviously Earth is a better place to live than Mars, now. But that wasn’t always the case and won’t always be the case.

    Mars is certainly far from hellish, being reddish due to extreme rustiness and also rather chilly.

    Trying to work with those parts of your #121 that have some semblance of coherence, I don’t really know how we can ever live (or have ever lived) in harmony with nature.

    Certainly not since we ceased being a nomadic species around 10,000 years ago, long before your deity was ever thought of.

    The only way living in harmony with nature is going to happen is with a global population of something like 20 million. At that level the planet could absorb all the pollution and waste humanity created.

    It’s sad to see you resorting to tired old clichés such as referring to the “Church of Scientism” et cetera. Perhaps you shouldn’t comment until the coffee has actually kicked in..?

    As to the colonization of Mars, it may well happen one day, but probably not in our lifetimes. There are too many unknowns and unachievables right now and the scientific developments and new products already emerging and expected to emerge over the next 20 or 30 years may make it unnecessary.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I have no idea how any of you can be putting up with mundane days.

    Working for a living … that’s for suckers.

  • Achz8

    I find it very ironic (idiotic) that you would boast that the beauty of a free country is that in a free country consumers have a right to choose what they want. This is exactly the freedom that Obama is taking away from Americans that do not want to pay for contraception or abortion. This is not a war between government and an institution. This is a war between the government and individual Americans. You have targeted the wrong “bully.”

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    So what do you do to keep the wolf from your door, Roger?

  • http://blogcritics.jdowell.mtv-dev03.technorati.com/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Don’t know about Roger, but I work per diem and it looks like this isn’t going to be one of those diem after all.

  • http://blogcritics.jdowell.mtv-dev03.technorati.com/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    I will say one more thing to Christopher et al about population, and to his remark about “working with nature,” and then I’ll get back to thinking deeply I guess. (Thanks for the qualified vote of confidence, sort of…)

    The most effective ways of addressing poverty and overpopulation at their primary locus (developing nations) are methods that work well with the cultures involved. (I’m thinking also of the “micro-business model” article where you recently left a comment.)

    In #39, I referred to a natural method of birth control (which the rest of us have the Catholics to thank for developing scientifically far beyond the “rhythm method.) I repost the link to a paper by Shao-Zhen QIAN, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences. It provided statistics about the success of this method (adopted by the Chinese government) in preventing pregnancies and abortions in China, where it revealed superior effectiveness in a test against that of the IUD.

    Another article, in the British Medical Journal, reveals this about its being taught to the world’s poor. (From the legible abstract at the bottom of an article in the British Medical Journal) R.E.J. Ryder, ‘Natural Family Planning': Effective Birth Control Supported by the Catholic Church,” British Medical Journal. 307 (18 September 1993)

    Increasingly studies show that rates equivalent to those with other contraceptive methods are readily achieved in the developed and developing worlds. Indeed, a study of 19843 poor women in India had a pregnancy rate approaching zero. Natural family planning is cheap, effective, without side effects, and may be particularly acceptable to and efficacious among people in areas of poverty.

    There’s not a lot of support for this method from big Pharma, which of course, has a potential market (for chemicals that end up in the water supply) of all the world’s women of reproductive age. “Working with nature” doesn’t mean being subject to its whims. It means being stewards of it, harnessing our increasing knowledge of it without destroying it.

  • carriekwi

    “If hardline Catholics, or members of any other religious denomination for that matter, do not like contraceptives, then they should avoid them. Case closed”

    Take out the word “contraceptives” and put in the word, “rapes”. Now you have an idea of the problem. We Catholics believe that contraceptives, particularly those that cause early abortion, are intrinsically evil and cause harm to all people. By your logic, if I do not like rape, I ought to avoid raping, but leave you free to rape away.
    And for the record, there is no such thing as a “hardline” Catholic. There are Catholics, and Dissident Catholics. If you claim to be Catholic then you are professing to uphold all the tenets of the faith. Don’t like them? Start your own church. We here in the US are very used to democracy and seek to impose it on every country and institution. The Catholic Church is not a democracy, and we who believe in it like it that way. For you dissident Catholics all I can say is that you knew what you were if for when you signed up.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @127, 128

    Guess I’ve been fortunate for the most of my life. The times when I worked for the man I was too young to mind. Then there was the professional student gig for twenty years or so; and then ran my own business for another twenty or so and was my own boss.

    All told, guess I was lucky as a dog, which is why I’m not really attached to money though it’s so very nice to have it.
    Only the last couple of years I fell on hard times and have to do some menial word at minimum wage to save enough dough to move back to CA. And then, I’ll be alright again.

    BTW, Christ, don’t your find it rather odd to declare Irene a rational being in most areas except one? It’s not exactly as though we were talking here about aptitudes or special, learned skills, expertise in some subject and not in others, but clear thinking in general — so those analogies don’t apply.

    What do you make of Irene? just being curious.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Christ — bet your sweet bottom the pun was not intended!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger #131 –

    I’m really happy to see that – I really am. Now I’m pretty confident about your future too. I wish you success in your efforts to get back to CA to get back on the horse again. You did it before, and you’ll do it again, and that’s nothing but good.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Roger, no, I don’t find it at all odd that people (including me) are not equally rational in all areas of their mentality.

    What we can think is shaped by what we believe and, as I was reminded earlier today “Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies”.

    I really like Irene except when she gets her spiritual warhorse on. Then she, like anybody else, tends to be more of an ass than a champion mare, if that isn’t straining the equine metaphor too far!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What I don’t understand, Glenn, where did you ever get the idea that I was looking for any pity or sympathy. I was just “bitching,” nothing more.

    With minor detours here and there, I’ve had a great life thus far and wouldn’t exchange it for any other — rich, eventful and absorbing. Have never been envious of anyone. Sure, a hundred grand in the bank would be nice, now that I’m old enough and wise enough not to blow it in a year. I’ve done that before, wouldn’t do it now. But even so, in spite of temporary financial difficulties, I’m really happy. Always have been.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So you regard her “spiritual tirades” as a blind spot?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Or perhaps as a symptom of the bipolar disorder, remember, we talked ’bout that?

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    I just think people need to be very careful about what they let themselves believe; that belief is generally a bad thing. I guess that could be seen as a blind spot, but bipolar disorder is something different.

  • Clifford

    Christians obey God not man. When their is a conflict between God and man, Christians choose God.
    It is true that one cannot be a Christian and a liberal/progressive. It’s an oxymoron

  • zingzing

    huh. clifford seems to have forgotten about a beardy jewish guy. natch.

  • Igor

    139-Clifford: “One cannot be a Christian and an American” one might state, using your premise that god takes precedence over man.

  • Zoey

    I realize that this article is about Religious beliefs, however, I am a Catholic and I am darn glad that the Bishops and the church are fighting this. I pose a question, why are Muslims being exempted from Obamacare because of their religious beliefs? This doesn’t quite seem right to me. One religion exempted, yet another is not? There is something wrong with this, and I think the Catholic church should bring this up to the administration?

  • Igor

    142-Zoey: why do you say “… Muslims being exempted from Obamacare because of their religious beliefs?”

    Can you cite something a guy can read?

  • Zoey

    Igor, I have heard others talk about this and I have heard it discussed on talk radio. I will research it further though, because this would be of utmost importance if it is true. I wish I could cite the actual program, but it’s been awhile back and I can’t recall at this moment.

  • Zoey

    Igor, Check out Senate bill H.R.3590 pages 273-274 exemption certificate section 1311(d)(4)(H).

  • Jordan Richardson

    The “Muslims exempt” rumour has been floating around the web and, no surprise, “talk radio” for a while, but it doesn’t appear to be true.

    Even this guy, who really dislikes Obamacare, says that there’s little to no truth to it.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Zoey, unless you can find where a Muslim-run business is exempt, these issues aren’t the same.

  • Igor

    145-Zoey: I’m not going to chase this just because you’re too lazy to quote it from the text and tell us if the legislation passed or not.

    Please post the quote and give us a citation.

    If you’re serious about your opinion you should be able to marshall the arguments in it’s favor.

  • Zoey

    Igor, I guess I must be one of the lazy Americans, that Obama says we all are. You will have to look it up for yourself.

  • Zoey

    El, I agree that it is not exactly the same. The bill allows for individuals to opt out for religious reasons. That would include, Muslims, American Indians, Amish and even Christian Scientists. Go figure. This time though, it is an attack on a whole religious group and they are fighting back as a group, as will other religions that will decide to opt out because of beliefs.

  • http://blogcritics.jdowell.mtv-dev03.technorati.com/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Things are currently in a state of flux as far as exemptions go, and it’s difficult to say what fine tuning will happen before 2014.

  • http://blogcritics.jdowell.mtv-dev03.technorati.com/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    The question I would ask is why SHOULD Muslims–individuals and businesses–be required by the government to purchase products that are forbidden by their religion?

  • http://blogcritics.jdowell.mtv-dev03.technorati.com/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Why should anyone be? Zoey predicts that, as Catholics are fighting back as a group, so will other religions who decide to opt out. I hope these religious groups — and non-religious people who see the tyrannical nature of a mandate like this — will fight back together.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s the spirit.

  • zingzing

    zoey, is this the relevant text?:

    “(5) EXEMPTIONS FROM INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS. In the case of an individual who is seeking an exemption certificate under section 1311 (d) (4) (h) from any requirement or penalty imposed by section 5000A, the following information: (A) In the case of an individual seeking exemption based on the individuals status as a274 member of an exempt religious sect or division, as a member of a health care sharing ministry, as an Indian, or as an individual eligible for a hardship exemption, such information as the Secretary shall prescribe.”

  • zingzing

    irene: “The question I would ask is why SHOULD Muslims–individuals and businesses–be required by the government to purchase products that are forbidden by their religion?”

    they’re not, of course…

  • http://blogcritics.jdowell.mtv-dev03.technorati.com/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Conscientious objections to healthcare mandates in general, Zingzing: purchasing or providing, products or services… that was the context of the general debate on this thread.

    One of the chief arguments was “why should there be an exemption for Catholics” and a few counterargued “why should Muslims have exemptions and not Catholics” and zoey’s predicting (and I’m expressing approval) of the idea that all who are opposed to this kind of coercion will object, not as separate interest groups but as united citizens.

    You won’t be a gung-ho part of that group, I’ve read and understand your arguments upthread, Zing. I am grateful that you don’t believe in medical personnel being required to perform abortions–or that you’d at least consider objecting to that.

  • zingzing

    is the catholic church against health insurance in general? or, i guess, does the catholic church, as a business entity, currently provide health insurance to its employees? i can’t get through all the chatter about this latest flap on contraceptives to see if they do or not. it seems to me that they do, however.

    and as far as i can tell, the catholic health association is pleased with the compromise that has been offered: “The Catholic Health Association is very pleased with the White House announcement that a resolution has been reached that protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions,” Keehan said in a statement. “The framework developed has responded to the issues we identified that needed to be fixed.”

  • Igor

    152-Irene: why should I be required to pay for several wars that I was against? Why should I be required to pay for several bailouts I was against? Etc.

    Only you can provide the answer.

  • http://blogcritics.jdowell.mtv-dev03.technorati.com/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    That’s good news, Zing. The news that Obama’s administration had found a compromise that suited both Planned Parenthood and the Catholic Church broke about five hours ago. A few hours before that, it was still a matter of debate.

    It’s a happy ending for all, I would say.

  • http://blogcritics.jdowell.mtv-dev03.technorati.com/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Why weren’t you out there protesting those wars? Why weren’t you out there protesting those bailouts?

    Only you can provide those answers, Igor.

  • http://blogcritics.jdowell.mtv-dev03.technorati.com/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Don’t blame me, toots, I was asking the same questions.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    I’m sorry I called you “toots,” Igor. That was just uncalled for.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Thank goodness you said that, Irene. I thought for a moment I’d wandered into a Humphrey Bogart movie.

  • Igor

    Ooohh, and I liked “Toots”!

    Anyway, I did many of those things.

  • Zoey

    Zing, There were a group of Catholic Sisters that were really pushing for Obamacare. I’ll bet when the contraceptive issue surfaced, they were regretting their push. Yes, Catholic hospitals provide insurance for their employees. They want all to have insurance, just not at the expense of having it go against the churches teachings and morals. I’m not so sure this compromise will work. I would want it carved in stone, that if Obama is re-elected, the administration will not renege.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    I’ll bet they weren’t, Zoey, considering a good number of Catholics practice contraception. But it’s good to see the Church take a stand on such an important issue. Too bad they didn’t show the same determination when children were being sexually abused for decades.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Dr. Dreadful. I borrowed it from Lady Elaine Fairchilde who called people “toots” all the time.
    Boomerang Toomerang Soomerang! You’ll all vote for Ron Paul now.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    El Bicho, better not let hear Joseph Cotto hear you talking smack about people mourning Joe Paterno’s death.

    How long was that mess (Sandusky) going on right under his nose? He didn’t try to cover it up, but others in the Monument to Misplaced Priorities that is College Football DID. It’s as unfair to pin sexual abuse cover-ups on Penn State fans in general as it is to pin it on faithful Catholics who have been quietly serving the poor and the sick, taking inspiration from Jesus (in a system that I don’t happen to belong to or agree with in all points) the best way they know how. That would include many, many Sisters of Mercy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A meeting of minds, as far as I can see, Irene Athena presiding.

    Hallelujah!

  • zingzing

    don’t jerk it too hard, roger, could be against the law in some (sarcastic) areas.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sperm is sacred, zing, don’t you know?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Nice try, Irene, but even if you did succeed in mesmerizing me into voting for Ron Paul, it would do no good. I’m not a citizen and therefore cannot vote, and even if I could, I don’t think my state has open primaries.

    I can say a few Nice Things about him if you like.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Dr. Dreadful, A Few Nice Things said about Any Topic at All would be much appreciated at this point.

    Carry on, I’m signing off.

  • Zingzing

    Since i was 12, Roger, when I discovered the meaning of life.

  • Zingzing

    (which is a little young to be doing so, I think.)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Oh, I don’t know about that, zing. I was a mere eleven years old when I first listened to The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on the radio and discovered that the Answer was forty-two.

  • Zingzing

    42, doc, is completely obvious.