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.