Birth Control and “The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition”


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently responded to the concerns of some religious groups and individuals by proposing yet another plan to provide prescription birth control insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although this HHS initiative respects religious concerns and ensures access to birth control, it received a negative response from the Catholic Bishops, just as the other initiatives had. New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, explained the rejection, saying, “In obedience to our Judeo-Christian heritage, we have consistently taught our people to live their lives during the week to reflect the same beliefs they proclaim on the Sabbath.”

Now, it would be reasonable to come away from these words thinking that all Jews and Christians are of one mind about birth control—that is to say, opposed. On the contrary, many U.S. rabbis and ministers have long recognized the moral wisdom of ensuring wide availability of safe and effective birth control. Beginning in the late 1920s and the ’30s, many Jewish and Protestant groups formally endorsed access, including rabbis from Reform and Conservative Judaism, and ministers from Episcopal, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches. Clergy came forward with the support of their faith teachings, underscored by their real-life experience. The pastors were invited into the daily and private lives of congregants to witness, first-hand, that the ability to control one’s child-bearing makes for healthier children and mothers and for stronger families and communities. Today, one thing is certain: Differences in religious teachings remain, and no religious group or leader speaks for all of the nation’s faithful about birth control insurance coverage under ACA.

The recent HHS announcement affects employees of religiously-affiliated hospitals and the like; churches, synagogues, and mosques remain exempt. The reality is that these hospitals are not the same as houses of worship that conduct weddings or confirmations. They are not-for-profit businesses serving the larger public with secular services that are not specifically religious, like setting a broken ankle or performing an appendectomy. What’s more, a hospital employs staff from all walks of life, including faithful individuals in our communities whose fully informed moral decision may lead to a conclusion that differs from the faith of an employer. Besides, these workers earn their insurance along with wages and pension. The insurance belongs to the worker; an employer’s religious objection is irrelevant. A woman’s private decision about her birth control has a higher moral standing than her employer’s problem with her using it. And all we are talking about is insurance paperwork passing quietly through a human resources office—no one is being asked to use birth control.

Notably, the ACA’s birth control insurance provisions resemble those of New York state and California. These insurance requirements, tested in the highest courts of those states, were upheld as an equitable accommodation. And, as clergy, we emphasize that imposing a religious teaching about birth control into the private, personal home life of an American is an egregious violation of church-state separation. But all this is not enough to satisfy birth control opponents.

Arthur A. Cohen’s book, The Myth of the Judeo-Christian Tradition, encouraged a robust dialogue on our religious difference. He argues that the term “Judeo-Christian tradition” represents “a myth which buries under the fine silt of rhetoric the authentic, meaningful, and irrevocable distinction which exists between Jewish belief and Christian belief.” So let’s take Cohen’s advice and recognize that no one religious body or leader represents all Jewish belief—or Christian belief, for that matter. Where religions disagree, policymakers must not play umpire and pick their favorite “team.” Instead, they need to respect the boundary of church-state separation, leave it to the woman to decide about her health care, and ensure her access to the safe and legal preventive medicine she decides she needs.

Cohen calls our religious differences “meaningful.” So let’s ditch the rhetoric, embrace the wonder, grace, and strength of spiritual diversity, and enter a full-hearted and “meaningful” conversation across denominational lines and within religious groups about pressing issues, such as addressing the needs of the poor, the homeless, and immigrants. And let’s take the moral high ground by recognizing that women own their health insurance and deserve protection from the religious objections of others.

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  • Marlowe53

    Well said, Rabbi.

  • Jonathan Darnel

    This article refutes itself. A tradition is something handed down consistently through many generations. This article notes that “Christian” acceptance of contraception and abortion began in the 1920s. That means it’s NOT part of our tradition, but an aberration brought on through the corrosive influence of the death culture and its lies. One thing is for certain: God, the creator of life, does not permit us to destroy innocent life just because it is inconvenient to us.

    • http://twitter.com/rbctwit123 Richard Cook

      Well stated, Mr. Darnel. You articulate very fully why the civil courts and the legislatures cannot pick your “side” since you would coerce all whose beliefs do not track your own.

    • HeilMary1

      Mother killer, you are willfully ignorant of ancient contraception. If God/Goddess and Jesus H. Christ themselves disapproved of marriage- and mother-saving contraception and abortions, God/Goddess wouldn’t allow 100% of pregnancies to miscarry as women hit their late forties, nor would God/Goddess have given women several hundred abortifacient plants, including the coffee, tea and holy wine consumed in your kitchen and served at Catholic Masses. If you’ve served these abortifacients to fertile women who just had sex, then YOU are a “God-playing baby-killer” yourself! And if Jesus H. Christ himself agreed with your murderous misogyny, he never would have turned water into miracle wine and served it to the female guests and bride at the infamous Cana wedding. Moreover, he would have lectured the couple against relying on Jerusalem’s popularly harvested RU-486-like Queen Ann’s lace seeds and mid-wife ABORTIONISTS! Safe sex only became a sin when misogynist pedophiles hijacked the early Christian church. No woman deserves ruinous, deadly obstetric bladder and bowel fistula incontinence as punishment for sex and creeps like you immediately divorce such mothers. Just check out the adultery and divorce scandals of your looksist, fascist GOP.

    • Lynn Allen

      About half of fertilized eggs are discarded by the female body before the egg has a chance to implant. Since it occurs before the woman even knows it’s there, who is responsible? Since God created the female body, could God be responsible for this destruction of innocent life? Just a question. Is it okay for God to destroy this innocent life because he perceives an inconvenience or because of an error in DNA? In the Bible God is responsible for a great deal of death as well as life. If God is the creator of life, then it is obvious by evidence in the Bible that God is also the creator, or perpetrator, of death. Both.

      You don’t know the answers because you and NO ONE can know the mind of God. But you insist you do. You are wrong because that’s impossible. Blasphemy? Is this blasphemy?

      Consider the possibility that you have no business interfering in a religious matter like this because it’s none of your mortal business and you can’t know what God has in mind for anyone else. You are wrong in assuming you can know and dictate what’s good for others. You don’t know and you have no right to say you do.

      • HeilMary1

        Thank you! And if he should argue that abortions are only OK when performed by God (and many fetal fascists stupidly agree), then they should also eschew ALL medical treatments since man-made medicine “interferes with God’s Will”.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

          We are commanded to heal the sick, but it is God who sets the length of our days. Whether we are given one day or 40,000 is totally His call.

    • zzz05

      Yeah, about that…

      “A Catholic hospital in Colorado has argued in court that an unborn child should not be considered a “person” for purposes of a wrongful-death lawsuit.”

      http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=16895

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1822507852 Suz Just Suz

      I’m so very glad you feel that way. As soon as the anti-choice lobby succeeds in abolishing the constitutional protection of a person’s right to body autonomy I am going to insist that everyone be forced to get type matched for living organ donation. After all, the person dying for want of one of your kidneys has a right to life, too. And if you’ve worked so hard to destroy the protection of bodily autonomy then I’m sure you’ll be very pleased to be one of the first to offer a kidney, marrow, blood, and half of your liver. Think of all the innocent life that will be saved with it. It’s ok, if you don’t want to we’ll make you and call it God’s Will. No worries.

      • HeilMary1

        Exactly! And let’s confiscate his sin-promoting Viagra while we’re at it!

  • StevenBrungard

    zygote, embryo, fetus, me: we must have permission to use the body of another person

    • disqus_e0s8we914N

      But who is the “we” to whom you refer, Steven? You have a voice and, I presume, you can vote. However, an unborn baby, who depends totally on her mother for life itself, speaks to us all through the silent, but compelling voice of conscience.

      • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

        How about leaving the choice of what to do with a pregnancy up to–oh, I don’t know–maybe the woman who’s actually pregnant? Novel idea, I know, but I just thought I’d put it out there.

        • disqus_e0s8we914N

          I simply was objecting to “Steven’s” use of “we,” above, as if he were commenting on abortion, since, after all, whatever “permission to ‘use the body of another person’” may mean to Steven, he, as an adult, is not remotely the same “we” as an unborn baby, who has no voice other than the silent voice of conscience and whose very existence is the result, in large part, of adult actions and wholly beyond the control of the unborn baby.

        • disqus_e0s8we914N

          However, you, Jennifer, feel about abortion and whatever passes for “women’s rights” lately, Catholics deeply revere the choice that Jesus’ unwed mother, Mary, made in faith — to accept joyously what an angel told her about God’s plan for her own life. THAT model of selfless obedience to God and gentle, joyful acceptance of and support for the lives that God sends uniquely to women is the Catholic ideal of family life. Keep in mind, too, that Mary’s betrothed, also a devout Jew, Joseph, chose, similarly, to accept the message of an angel and to, as a result, protect Mary and her baby, rather than abandoning them, as he legally could have done.

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            Yes, Mary made a choice. And Joseph made a choice. And the idea behind a choice is that it’s able to be freely made, not mandated in law.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Just so, the federal government has no legitimate right to mandate the Roman Catholic Church’s participation in an activity that is directly reprehensible to this Church’s longstanding moral teachings. Because many Protestant denominations endorse use of contraceptions and abortion is not any JUSTIFICATION for the U.S. government to REQUIRE that the Catholic Church must provide contraceptives and abortifacients for its employees, in direct contradiction to longstanding Roman Catholic teachings.

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            You know, my grandparents on my father’s side freely made the choice to have seven children–five boys and two girls and they were an Air Force family going all over the world. Not because they were ‘joyfully submitting to God’s will’ or making someone’s quiver full of arrows–but because they had both grown up in large farm families and they decided that’s what they wanted for themselves. They loved kids and they chose to have seven–it might have been eight if not for a miscarriage. Likewise, my maternal grandparents chose to have three children and my own parents had three. The choice to determine family size, whether that family be large, small or in between, is different for each person. Some people are going to want to have big families and some are not.It’s a personal matter. And either decision is okay.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Jennifer — While I cannot imagine how you concluded that your grandparents’ large family was NOT the result of ‘joyfully submitting to God’s will,’ nonetheless, however, since you apparently favor choice so very strongly, I think you can, as a result, appreciate the constitutionally protected right of the Roman Catholic Church to continue, as always before, to adhere to its own, unchanging doctrines, free form the overstepping, unwelcomed and unconstitutional impositions of the federal government.

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            You can’t imagine how?? I mean, really?. How about the fact that I live in the same town as my grandparents and this is actually an issue that we’ve talked about? Is that actually hard to believe?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

            They made the choice to joyfully submit to God’s will, even if that wasn’t consciously their motive. Having a large family for its own sake is a form of joyfully submitting to God’s will.

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            You’re assuming they had some belief in a God.

          • cjvg

            There is absolutely no proof that mary joyfully submitted, the bible gives no direct quotes from her, just what disciples wrote down at least 200 years later.
            The fact that they followed that religion might have had a tad to do with the fact that they did not write down that she was despondent and vilified as a whore in her town!
            Also, unfortunately for her, a legal and save abortion was almost impossible to come by at that day and age, if it was available we might not have been having this conversation.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Interesting history, CJVG!

            Plainly, you have nothing good whatsoever to say about the Roman Catholic Church, despite the many universities and hospitals it has created all over the world. Still, today, parochial schools produce better educated children at less expense than public schools.

            In the city where I live, the dean of two colleges within one of the largest universities in the United States, the University of Florida, was, himself, reared and educated in a Catholic orphanage. He seems rather highly functional — as far as I can tell.

            But no one would dare attempt to suggest that your narrow and wholly negative view of the Roman Catholic reflects some personal bias of your own.

            Meanwhile, in regards to the U.S. government’s illegitimate attempt to force the Roman Catholic Church to provide for that which it consistently abhors, please explain for us all: What has your loathing of the Roman Catholic Church to do with the HHS Mandate?

            Are you aware that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted other, far smaller, Protestant or nondenominational churches exceptions to federal requirements, such as the draft and educational requirements?

            We already understand that you despise the Roman Catholic Church. We really do understand that you think the Roman Catholic Church is evil incarnate.

            WHAT has that to do with the U.S. government attempting to force a private, religious organization to conform to YOUR views?

          • cjvg

            I I, have no personal bias towards the catholic church, I abhor all of Christianity and the other desert religions for the unending atrocities and brutalities they inflicted upon humanity.

            Riligious private school did not hold up when actually tested by an independent third party as any better then a decent well funded public school.
            Pretty much all of northern Europe only has public schools that are not religious and state funded, we blow all your Christian schools out of the water!
            Lets not even mention the Japanese and Chinese public non religious schools that leave your Christian schools even farther in the dust.

            The church is exempt from providing contraception so lets stop using that deliberate and easily refuted lie right now!
            Any business that hires secular workers and accepts the money from secular customers, to fund their secular business, has no right to then turn around and claim religious principles.
            Even worse scream about religious discrimination while forcing others to adhere to their faith.

            No one has to adhere to my faith, in fact I have never even allude to whatever if any faith I might possible have!
            I have not done so because it is not relevant!

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  • Rev Trev Jones

    Aside from Constitutional separation of church and state, there is no reason that a church, RC or other, to interfere in civic affairs, as they have done re contraception in health insurance. I wonder what would happen if the state “interfered” in church affairs and ruled that the requirement for celibacy in RC priests, and the exclusion of women from that form of employment amount to discrimination in the workplace and are therefore illegal?

    • Dragonstaff

      I would love to see someone bring this to trial, because I believe that this form of discrimination actually is illegal.

      • disqus_e0s8we914N

        The HHS Mandate is patently anti-Catholic, and that kind of discrimination is illegal! The U.S. Supreme Court has previously backed various other exemptions from federal requirements for other religious groups, such as the Amish and the Quakers. It’s high time the U.S. High Court did the same in this matter that is so acutely offensive to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

        • http://www.facebook.com/Feral.9.Hex Carla Clark

          Uh, wrong. They interfere in state affairs and states provide many an exemption for Catholic Churches over other churches. So sorry.

    • disqus_e0s8we914N

      The government IS interfering n church affairs by attempting to coerce the Roman Catholic Church to provide/support something it has consistently opposed on moral grounds.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Feral.9.Hex Carla Clark

        It’s not consistent and it’s not moral.

    • disqus_e0s8we914N

      The government IS interfering n church affairs by attempting to coerce the Roman Catholic Church to provide/support something that this church has consistently opposed on moral grounds.

  • http://twitter.com/natalieasera Natalie A. Sera

    SO happy to see someone acknowledge that there is no such thing as a “Judeo-Christian” tradition. Being Jewish, I have known all my life that my beliefs and traditions had nothing to do with Christian beliefs and traditions. I respect Christians’ rights to their beliefs, but I really don’t want them forced down my throat. And I learned THAT as an AMERICAN!

    • disqus_e0s8we914N

      As far as “Judeo-Christian traditions,” even if you are not a Christian, you probably know that Jesus was Jewish, right? Did you know that Jesus’ mother was a descendent of King David? Did you know that Jesus’ last supper was Passover? Did you know that all of the first Christians were Jews? If you are not a Christian and have never read the New Testament, you may not know that Jesus, being a Jew, repeatedly, throughout his earthly ministry, made reference to the holy scriptures of Judaism. For all of these reasons, Christians revere the Jewish scriptures, which we refer to as the Old Testament and the Psalms. For these same reasons, it is important to the predominantly Christian nation of the United States to back the state of Israel, and many fundamentalist Evangelical Christians firmly support the state of Israel for those same reasons, as well. So, while you may not like Christians or want to have anything to do with Christians, for many Christians, Jesus’ Jewishness is unavoidable, central and essential to Jesus’ identity. Additionally, a lot in the seasons and rituals of the liturgical churches — Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, and Episcopalian – is drawn from Jewish traditions. These are some reasons for the phrase, “The Judeo-Christian tradition” although, I understand, your interest is simply in the Jewish tradition. For many Christians, the two are inextricably interwoven because Jesus was Jewish.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Keven.Paul Keven Paul Lewis

        Just so you are aware, the church wasn’t always so happy about the Jewish connection… Martin Luther, who Im sure you know about, is a great example. His book titled “On the Jews and Their Lies,” highlights his hatred for the jewish people, and their rejection of Jesus. Furthermore, outside the so called genealogies in the New testament, both of which are attributed to Joseph, and neither of which are proof positive of said lineage. In fact the genealogy in Matthew is incomplete, leaving out several figures within that timeline. Also both of go through Solomon, when the “Messiah” is actually to be descended through Davids son Nathan. Furthermore both use Jeremiah’s King, Jehoican, over whom it was prophesied that a king from his line would never sit on the throne again. Just these few things question the validity of those genealogies, as well as your claim that the Christians theology is interwoven with Judaism. It is much more that Christianity took a few key ideas, decided to keep the original, twist and mutilate it until it fit the predominate theology of the new religion.

        • disqus_e0s8we914N

          Keven, I am well aware that people who have small differences and also people who have large differences choose to use whatever differences distinguish them as a reason to hate each other. In some cities in the United States, those who wear red bandanas are hated by those who wear purple bandanas and vice versa, and their hatred leads to killing. In Northern Ireland, the Protestants and Catholics despised and killed each other. It would be absurd to suggest, if that is what you are doing, that I am not aware of animosities between different groups at various times, including between Jews and Christians. My description of the role of Jewish scripture and worship traditions in the liturgical churches was provided only as an explanation of the phrase “Judeo-Christian traditions. Someone who is not Christian, especially someone who is not a member of any of the liturgical churches might be unaware of how central Jesus’ jewishness is to his identity for Christians. Jesus was not a Muslim or a Protestant, after all. He was Jewish. And for Christians, his Jewishness is not accidental.

        • PeninaD

          Ever wonder why nudity was depicted in art, EXCEPT for Jesus? Many scholars believe that Jesus was always shown on the cross with a loincloth, not for modesty sake, but to cover up the truth of his Jewishness/circumcision.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Fascinating detail! I never considered that!

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

            Cover up the truth of His Jewishness? Have you seen the sign nailed above His head? INRI: Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudeaorum- Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

      • Trishdy

        Actually, according to the Bible, Joseph was a descendant of King David, not Mary.

        • disqus_e0s8we914N

          In any case, for Christians, especially for members of the liturgical churches — including (but not only) the Roman Catholic Church, Jewish traditions and teachings remain important; therefore, “Judeo-Christian traditions.” Obviously, for Jews who are not Messianic, “Judeo-Christiain traditions” are irrelevant. Again, however, those traditions are real and meaningful for by far most Christians. I realize that, as at other times in history, too, it’s trendy to hate on Christians. Whatever your personal views may be re: Christianity, the emphasis on “Judeo-Christian traditions” is a Christian thing. It’s not surprising that a Jew — such as the author of this article — might not understand what “Judeo-Christian traditions” are, in fact. But how would this Rabbi feel if Christians authors presumed to speak up “authoritatively” to “explain” to the public why dearly held Jewish traditions are nonexistent or irrelevant for Jews?

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            You seem to have a lot of hostility towards WASPs in the United States. Is there an actual reason for that?

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            I am as WASP as they come. Blonde, blue-eyed, college educated and with two children. My ultra-WASP upbringing is how I recognize the anti-Catholic, WASP prejudices that are — so very often in the United States — arrogantly and erroneously presented AS IF WASP values are “normal” or even “universal.” While WASP culture has much to embrace, I recognize — and defend — the right of others to differ from WASP values, and I expect the high court in the United States will recognize the Catholic Church’s right to be different from American WASPs, too.

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            Not to be mean, but you seem to look at the Catholic Church through glasses that are somewhat rose-colored–maybe it’s because it’s a novelty and different from the way you grew up? The grass is always greener, as they say. You may want to listen to some of the people here who lived the reality and had less than ideal experiences within the Catholic Church. Because they could tell you some stories.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Perhaps it is because I am NOT Roman Catholic that I can more easily perceive and address what is at stake in this Church’s legitimate, constitutionally protected objection to the federal government’s HHS Mandate. Widespread use of contraceptives and abortifacients in the United States is NOT the issue at stake in this controversy that the Obama Administration has created. After all, contraceptives and abortifacients are ALREADY ABUNDANTLY AVAILABLE in this country, even without the Roman Catholic church providing any of those for anyone.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Jennifer, your remarks about people who “lived the reality and had less than ideal experiences within the Catholic Church” only underscores what I have pointed out repeatedly; the HHS Mandate is INTENTIONALLY PUNITIVE to the Catholic Church.
            IF you believe that people in Protestant denominations (or within nondenominational churches) have not had “less than ideal experiences,” your views about religion are severely distorted — against the Roman Catholic Church.
            The U.S. government’s intentional hostility to the Roman Catholic Church is ACCEPTABLE to most Americans, who always have been hostile to Catholicism, which is OVERTLY DIFFERENT FROM the ever-dominant WASP culture of the United States.
            Catholics have a constitutionally protected right to maintain their longstanding DIFFERENCE, no matter how much you — and many others — obviously DISLIKE, to put it very mildly, Catholicism.
            “Less than ideal experiences within the Catholic Church” is not, in fact, a justification for the U.S. government’s unconstitutional imposition of a requirement that, as everyone plainly understands, is acutely reprehensible to Roman Catholics, but not only to them.

        • disqus_e0s8we914N

          Regardless of which Jews Jesus’ mother descended from, Jesus is regarded as Jewish for the same reason all those who are born Jewish are regarded as such; his mother was Jewish. She celebrates her miraculous conception by glorifying her God, who is also the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.
          “And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
          And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
          He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
          He has helped his servant Israel,in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
          Luke 1:46-55English Standard Version (ESV)
          Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

          Joseph and Mary were both descendants of David. Joseph, furthermore, was of the royal line.

  • http://profiles.google.com/seorsa10 George McHugh

    Sure the made up differences between all the made up religions are important to understand…unfortunately this type of argument just perpetuates a system of non-sense and allows people to take it seriously, but as deluded as the people are that claim a “judeo-christian” tradition, they are no more deluded than those who claim that their tradition is the right one.

  • juliabliss

    I’ve never understood why using BC is considered “playing god” but wearing glasses or getting cavities filled is not. Not to mention taking blood pressure pills, or getting a hip replaced, etc, etc.
    Is the idea that man-made medicine is here because the Creator intended it that way too hard to understand?

    • disqus_e0s8we914N

      Not everyone regards contraception — or abortifacients — as “medicine.”

      • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

        What about for things such as endometriosis and poly-cystic ovaries? And these are not rare conditions–I know about five women in my immediate circle who have or do struggle with these–and birth control helps control these conditions. Unlike viagra, which is purely recreational, birth control has many medical uses.

        • disqus_e0s8we914N

          Again, as we know already, the United States is not a theocracy. This is not Iran. As a result, contraceptives are abundantly available in the United States without the Catholic Church providing any contraceptives whatsoever. Just so, as the Catholic Church continues to oppose the unconstitutional HHS Mandate, contraceptives will continue to be available to Americans, as before the acutely anti-Catholic HHS Mandate was innovated by an administration led by a President who already has a disgraceful track record of abusing American’s civil liberties.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            The issue at stake is the Catholic Church’s longstanding, consistent position opposing use of contraception and abortifacients and the government’s illegitimate, unconstitutional (and blatantly anti-Catholic) plan to force the Catholic Church to violate its own moral teachings. Again, in regards to other (non-Catholic) religious groups in the United States — much smaller than the Catholic Church and with a much shorter history than the Catholic Church — the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of respecting those (non-Catholic) church’s rights to retain the moral integrity of their religious teachings over federal requirements (from which others who were not members of those churches) were not exempted, such as, for just one of several such examples, American Quaker’s conscience objections to the draft.

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            You didn’t actually address my point, which is that contraception can actually be medicine and used for medicinal purposes. Unlike viagra, which is covered by insurance plans and yet used only for recreation.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Regardless of the purposes for which contraceptives and abortifacients may be used, contraceptives and abortifacients are already in ample supply for everyone in the United States WITHOUT the Catholic Church providing them for anyone.

            IF — as it appears — the Obama Administration wishes to EXPAND FURTHER the availability of contraception and abortifacients, the government can accomplish that goal without engaging the Catholic Church in what really appears to be the Obama Administration’s mission to reduce the human population. As you may know, the Affordable Care Act also allows minors to choose sterilization without parental consent.

            Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has an unchanging right — protected by the U.S. Constitution — to maintain, as always before, its long-held moral teachings, regardless of the government’s outrageous attempts to engage the Church in the government’s advocacy of birth control, abortion and sterilization.

            In fact, the Catholic Church is under no obligation to conform to the federal government’s HHS Mandate, which is DIRECTLY (and it really appears, too, intentionally) offensive to the longstanding teachings of the Catholic Church.

            Various Catholic lawmakers who helped Pres. Obama to achieve the Affordable Care Act — BECAUSE of the Catholic ethic to care for the sick and the poor — feel betrayed by this President’s subsequent insistence that this Church must conform to his HHS Mandate.

            The issue at stake — which (as I have mentioned several times) the Supreme Court has already addressed previously, in cases involving NON-Catholic churches — is NOT your access to contraceptives and abortifacients for WHATEVER PURPOSES you may choose to use those.

            The issue at stake in the Church’s unbending objections to the HHS Mandate is the constitutionally protected right of the Church to be free from government imposition of a requirement that is in direct opposition to the long-held moral teachings of THIS CHURCH.

            The Obama Administration’s HHS Mandate is a blatant betrayal of the Catholics whose support was critical to this President’s success in achieving the Affordable Care Act. If Obama imagines the Catholic Church is going to back down on this issue, which is so central to this Church’s teachings over millennia, he is an idiot who (like so many Americans) knows way too little about the history of this Church.

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            Why should a woman have to go through the inconvenience and additional cost for a medically indicated drug while men can get little blue playtime pills with no copay?

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            There is an excellent question for a Women’s Studies class! I suggest you pose your question in such a setting. My concern remains the right of a longstanding religious organization to maintain its long-held doctrines, free from the imposition of a government that blatantly favors Protestantism and its kissing cousin, secularism.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Feral.9.Hex Carla Clark

            Why does YOUR Catholic Church not oppose this drug that may lead to more abortions, if they are so consistent? THAT is the question, moron.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            WHAT drug “may lead to more abortions”?
            Surely you can express your thoughts — whatever they may be — without resorting to name calling, such as, for example, “moron,” which only illustrates so vividly the lack of reasoning in whatever it is you may be trying to articulate here.

          • cjvg

            It is extremely offensive to me that the RC church is so hypocritical that it accepts the tax breaks and grants and other moneys that the secular tax payers pay for.
            Tax payers who use birth control and use abortions and do not attend your church or believe in it.
            The church greedily accepts all that sin full money coming from sinners who did not voluntarily donated but were forced to.
            That is considered stealing so your church is stealing from me and wants to force their religion on me on top of that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Feral.9.Hex Carla Clark

            Really, the raped girl who was impregnated with twins by her stepfather, they treated her ethically and with concern? Are you a complete moron? She was Catholic, so requested treatment in a CATHOLIC HOSPITAL. Seriously, grab a brain. Also, ethics is defined by support for INDIVIDUALS not imposition of the CHURCH, moron.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            You are under no obligation to join the Roman Catholic Church. Just so, the Roman Catholic Church is under no obligation to conform in anyway whatsoever ever to your personal views regarding “morality.” The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in the world, with well over one billion members globally. Cling to your views if you must. The Roman Catholic Church will not change in response to your vitriolic name calling. Deal with it!

      • disqus_e0s8we914N

        Not everyone regards pregnancy as a malady that is best prevented or, if not prevented, then terminated.

      • cjvg

        Then they are extremely ignorant and probably willfully so.

        Before the event of birth control 1 in 100 women died in childbirth, even more died from pregnancy complications (these numbers are from just before the birth control pill became widely available)

        In fact child birth and pregnancy was the single biggest killer of women before the BC pill!

        Go visit an old graveyard, most men had 2 or more wives because their previous wife died when their health became compromised from to many pregnancies

        Even to this day 400 women die from childbirth or pregnancy complications EACH year in the US.

        Many many more die in developing countries from unrelenting and continuous pregnancy/childbirths.

        The RC church was all set to accept birth control in 1964 until a small minority of 4 theologians and 6 cardinals (fallible men) heavily lobbied the Pope Paul VI to vote against it!

        They warned that they would create a split in the church if he approved the majority opinion (blackmail is apparently an acceptable roman catholic virtue)

        In 1967, the commission’s report was leaked to the press, revealing that a significant majority of its members favored lifting the ban, including 60 of 64 theologians and nine of the 15 cardinals.

        Catholic leaders quickly criticized the decision. Father Bernard Haring of Rome, widely regarded as the leading moral theologian at the time, called upon Catholic women and men to follow their consciences, rather than the pope’s decree. Countless parish priests agreed and gave sermons to that effect.

        The pope’s decision had little impact on Catholic women’s use of contraception. Two years after the decree, two-thirds of Catholic women were using contraception often with full knowledge and permission of their local priests.

        69 in favor and 10 against, seems that most of the RC church found it perfectly acceptable!

        • disqus_e0s8we914N

          We understand very well already – even without your many
          statistical examples – that you strongly favor use of contraceptives and
          abortifacients, and you despise Roman Catholicism.

          Nor is your anti-Catholic bias is even a little surprising. It is so predictable, in fact, that Wikipedia — in a long and quite up-to-date entry titled “Anti-Catholicism in the United States” – provides many examples of this historic and continuing “irrational bigotry,” including offering various examples of how widely respected intellectuals have identified and described this particularly American phenomenon:

          “Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr. characterized prejudice
          against the Catholics as ‘the deepest bias in the history of the American
          people.’ Conservative writer Peter Viereck once commented that (in 1960) ‘Catholic baiting is the anti-Semitism of the liberals.’ Historian John Higham described anti-Catholicism as ‘the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.’”

          AS unsurprising as your fierce anti-Catholic bigotry, the apparent connection that exists within your presumed “reasoning” between your bigotry and your advocacy of contraceptives and abortifacients is
          also predictable. As a New York Times report from 2007 notes, “the eugenics movement in the early 20th century” is one example of anti-Catholicism in the United States.

          In any case, however, your personal prejudices – regardless of how you justify them to yourself – do NOT remotely justify the federal government’s attempts to force the Catholic Church to provide in anyway whatsoever
          for that which this Church opposes, contraceptives and abortifacients.

          The Roman Catholic Church – like other groups, including NON-Catholic churches (the Quakers and the Amish), for which the U.S. Supreme Court has granted various exceptions from federal requirements – has every right to define itself.

          We understand from your analysis that you disagree strongly with, not only how the Roman Catholic Church has defined itself, but you also disagree with the process by which the Roman Catholic Church has defined
          itself.

          It may be that your vast and vehement dislike of the Roman Catholic Church will lead you to, somehow, rally the many Roman Catholics that
          you believe oppose their own church’s leadership, and, thereby, effect some change in the leadership of this historic institution and/or its longstanding teachings in regards to contraception and abortion.

          Until then, however, the Roman Catholic Church opposes the Obama Administration’s HHS Mandate and has vowed that it will continue to oppose this pointedly anti-Catholic mandate.

          One irony – to put it mildly – of the Obama Administration’s HHS Mandate is the fact that this President could not have won passage of his Patient
          Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) without the support of several Roman Catholic lawmakers, who voted in favor of the legilsation because of their church’s enduring mission to care for the sick and the poor. This President, being who he is, has, subsequently betrayed the trust of the Roman Catholic lawmakers without whose votes this legislation would not have become law.

          Meanwhile, your energetic advocacy of contraceptives and abortifacients remains IRRELEVANT to the constitutional issues at stake in this
          church’s legitimate right to define itself. After all, even though the Roman
          Catholic Church today continues, as always before, to make no provisions
          whatsoever for contraceptives or abortifacients, either, these remain, nonetheless, abundantly available in the United States.

          You have obviously chosen to ignore the fact that that the Catholic Church’s unchanging refusal to conform to the federal government’s illegitimate HHS Mandate does not lessen the access you already have to
          contraceptives and abortifacients.

          Unlike you, however, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi appears
          to have no difficulty understanding the DIFFERENCE between this institution’s constitutional right to define itself and your compulsion to punish a church that you detest, by imposing an illegitimate federal requirement that aims directly to violate this church’s enduring traditions and moral teachings.

          By the way, Ms. Bondi, who is middleaged, childless and twice divorced, has been cohabitating for many years with a male companion. For all I know of her private life (NOTHING), it may be that Ms. Bondi is a virgin
          or sterile or both or otherwise entirely. OR it may be that she has some

          acquaintance with contraceptives. As far as I am concerned, in any case, such matters are entirely her private business.

          Regardless of whatever Ms. Bondi’s procreative concerns may
          or may not be, she is, anyhow, the “lead attorney general in the lawsuit
          seeking to overturn Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) –
          Florida et al v. United States Department of Health and Human Services. In this lawsuit, the State of Florida [is one of] 26 states [that] have argued that the individual mandate provision of the PPACA violates the Constitution.” One aspect of that lawsuit addressed “whether the obligations required of employers are constitutional.”

          What’s at stake is NOT Americans’ access to contraceptives and abortifacients, as, I suspect, you understood before you climbed back on your soap box to, predictably, whip up anti-Catholic bigotry while you stridently advocate for fewer births and more use of contraceptives and abortifacients. After all, this President’s PPACA also allows minors to elect sterilization without parental consent, further advancing the Obama Administration’s apparent objective to “decrease the surplus population,” as Ebenezer Scrooge described such objectives.

          • cjvg

            I list a notable number of highly placed dignitaries in the roman catholic church who also do not agree with this policy, and I’m accused of being a anti-catholic bigot?!

            What would you call those roman catholic priests, cardinals, bishops etc who made their whole life the roman catholic church?!
            They must also be roman catholic bigots then, since I ‘am merely following in their lead.

            You are so incredibly dishonest and ridiculously transparent about it, that there is no use at all in responding to someone who elevates lying, denial and evasion of the truth to such an art form.

            You and yours, who vehemently deny the atrocities and fallibility of mere men by accusing the victims and vilifying the whistle blowers are the reason that the RC church is dying.
            All we can say is thank god, he must have finally paid attention to the cess pool of suffering the RC church has made.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Dear CJVG — Why so much vitriol?

            How hard is it for you to grok that NO ONE — NO ONE — is suggesting taking away your birth control and abortifacients? You get to use them, same as ever.

            Do you understand THAT YET?

            THE ISSUE — to which the Roman Catholic Church and other Christians, too, object — is the federal government’s illegitimate, overstepping attempt to force those who oppose the use of contraception and abortion to provide for it.

            Once again, NO ONE is depriving you of your birth control and abortifacients.

            Have you understood that YET?

            The issue in the controversy over the HHS Mandate is the federal government’s illegitimate, overstepping attempt to force those who oppose the use of contraception and abortion to provide for it.

            We all understand beyond any doubt all ready that you LOATHE the Roman Catholic Church. However, this church is not involved in a popularity test, and its members already understand that fact. Holy scripture warns Christians NOT to conform to the world.

            Your (more-than-apparent) loathing of the Roman Catholic Church does not justify — not even a little — the U.S. government forcing this church to do what it morally opposes.

            Otherwise, regardless of whatever your nationality may be, it does not change the fact that in the United States, the history of anti-Catholicism is longstanding and entrenched, frequently noted and identified by many respected intellectuals: “Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr. characterized prejudice against the Catholics as ‘the deepest bias in the history of the American people.’
            Conservative writer Peter Viereck once commented that (in 1960) ‘Catholic baiting is the anti-Semitism of the liberals.’
            Historian John Higham described anti-Catholicism as ‘the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.’”

            As far as your absurd assertion that the RC Church is “dying,” it remains, in reality, by far the largest Christian denomination in the world, with well over one billion members.

            If reality is just too hard for you to think about, amuse yourself by reading comic books or something like that. Your adamant assertions of conditions that are nonexistent are simply laughable.

          • cjvg

            As coming from an irrelevant and dishonest number that has no objection to forcing everyone else to live according to his/her religion while keeping out their greedy hands for the secular money to be had from the secular government!

            That hypocrisy alone disqualifies you and your hysterically screaming religion from even pretending to have morals!

          • cjvg

            By the way, stop the lying, the church does not have to provide contraception.
            All these business that they run are however not allowed to force their employees that they voluntarily hired, to adhere to their religion.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Feral.9.Hex Carla Clark

        Then they are interfering in medical terminology. So much for state and church separation. Pregnancy IS a medical condition. Something that returns one to their former state of health IS medical treatment.

        • disqus_e0s8we914N

          Do you imagine anyone as suggested that pregnancy is NOT a medical condition?
          What I wrote was the following:
          “Not everyone regards pregnancy as a malady that is best prevented or, if not prevented, then terminated.”

  • disqus_e0s8we914N

    It is unfortunate, but not surprising, considering this is the United States, that such blatantly anti-Catholic views have been published as anything other than personal prejudice. These authors have teamed up to assert their anti-Catholic bias AS IF their personal opinions are objective reality. Furthermore, in arrogantly asserting their opinions AS IF those opinions are normative, these authors — neither of whom is Catholic — have summarily dismissed, disregarded and disrespected the many people, in the United States and throughout the world, who do not share the opinions that these authors hold. The authors seem unwilling even to acknowledge the fact that a view DIFFERENT from theirs is widely held. These authors write, for example: “. . .the ability to control one’s child-bearing makes for healthier children and mothers and for stronger families and communities.” WASP anti-Catholicism has always included that same, prissy abhorrence for large families. (Did neither of these learned men ever see “Caddy Shack”? WHAT can they possibly understand about being Catholic in the United States?!) For a different (and less glorious) view on “birth control,” consider, for example, the meaning of “pest control.” These learned men might begin their badly needed FACT CHECKING with actual conversations with members of Catholic families, thereby to learn THESE FAMILIES’ VIEWS on “healthier children and mothers and . . . stronger families and communities.” These authors might, for example, ask members of the Kennedy family, concerning THEIR VIEWS on “healthier children and mothers and … stronger families and communities.” If these authors were to risk conversation with Catholics, these authors might discover the narrow mindedness of the opinions that they have expressed, above. Otherwise, as far as whatever views Jews or Protestants may or may not hold regarding birth control, those groups are more than welcome to THEIR VIEWS, of course. However, such views do not diminish, not even slightly, the significance of the Catholic Church’s position on the HHS Mandate. The Catholic church is BY FAR the oldest Christian denomination, and it is BY FAR the largest Christian denomination. (You knew that already, right, fellas?) With well over 1 billion members globally and a head start of 1,500 years on Protestantism, the Catholic Church is, in fact, UNIQUELY qualified to speak to “Christian tradition.” Additionally, as I guess you also are aware, other Christian groups ARE in agreement with the Catholic Church re: its position on the HHS Mandate, especially in regards to insurance coverage of chemical abortifacients, which do not prevent conception, but — similar to the IUD — terminate a pregnancy very soon after conception.

    • HeilMary1

      If you practiced your own crap, you’d be criminalizing hundreds of GOD-GIVEN abortifacient plants in your own kitchen and cult services, like fetus-flushing coffee, tea and HOLY WINE! Jesus never condemned mother-saving mid-wife/abortionists and even served “baby-killing” miracle wine to the Cana bride and her female guests. You better get busy stopping caffeine and alcohol abortions, and throwing your own “baby” tampon funerals! You may be Catholic but you sure aren’t CHRISTIAN!

      • disqus_e0s8we914N

        What you have written strongly implies that you are an advocate for women’s health, especially as it relates to female sexuality. For that reason, I expect you will want to know about the remarkable and distinctively low rate of maternal mortality (reported internationally) among Irish women.

        According to the World Health Organization, the United Nations and other respected groups that document health issues nationally and internationally, in Ireland — where abortion is socially discouraged due to Roman Catholic traditions, and where abortion is also illegal, except in the case in it preserves the mother’s physical life — maternal mortality is notably lower than in the wealthier nations of the developed world.

        For example, Ireland’s remarkably low rate of maternal mortality puts to shame wealthier Britain and the United States, which both have liberal abortion laws AND higher rates of maternal mortality than economically disadvantaged Ireland, where abortion is, not only outlawed in most cases, but also strongly discouraged by social/religions traditions.

    • sharculese

      Disagreeing with the Catholic church is being anti-Catholic? Someone hates the first amendment!

      • disqus_e0s8we914N

        I have no problem with any differences of opinions that are expressed AS differences of OPINION. As I noted in my comment above, my objection was because these two authors present their VALUE-LADEN OPINIONS AS IF those opinions are universal or even a statement of fact. These two authors BEGIN their argument with an assertion that, although they present it as a normative given, is, in fact, merely the value-laden view of these authors. They write: “the ability to control one’s child-bearing makes for healthier children and mothers and for stronger families and communities.” AGAIN, that view is nothing more than personal opinion, and it NOT an opinion shared by Catholics. However, the view these authors express is normative in a traditionally WASP nation, such as the United States, that has for most of its history been dominated by WASPs. By asserting the distinctly WASP ideal of family life AS IF it is a fact of life, these authors are expressing their own strong anti-Catholic bias, a bias/prejudice that, because it has been routine throughout U.S. history, right to the present day, seems not to even be note as a bias.
        If these authors cared to climb down off their arrogant pedestals to actually talk to Catholics about Catholic family life, the authors would discover that the value-laden presumptions these authors have arrogantly asserted as reality NOT a view shared by Catholic families, such as, for example, the Kennedy family, whose members would very likely NOT agree with these authors that birth control (so much like pest control) makes either mothers or children “healthier” and would NOT agree with these authors absurd and narrow-minded assertion that birth control makes “stronger families and communities.” The view these authors are expressing — AS IF THAT VIEW IS NORMATIVE — is extremely WASP. I understand and recognize this WASP mumbo jumbo about birth control because I AM A WASP! Like all WASPs, I, too, come from a long, long line of WASPs. Generation after generation, no one in my family married any Catholics, or Jews, or Hispanics, or Italians, or Chinese or Africans, Egyptians, Middle Easterners etc. etc. I AM one of those pale, skinny, college-educated, WASP women with 2 children (or less). And I am urging you to take careful note of the arrogant presumption of the dominant (but not for long) WASP culture in the United States, that attempts — especially through Planned Parenthood chapters — to impose its anemic, wan views on family life and community life on everyone else. The Catholic view of family life and community life is, not only DIFFERENT from the WASP norm that dominates in the United States, but the Catholic view of family life and community life is ALSO COMPLETELY VALID AND REAL AND VALUABLE. ADDITIONALLY, these authors — who are presented as erudite men, knowledgeable regarding religious matters — have FAILED in their discussion to present the Catholic Church as it is, in fact, overwhelming the largest and by far the most long-lived of any Christian denomination. These authors appear to have — due to their own strong personal biases against the Catholic Church — omitted these kinds of basic facts of what the Catholic Church is. But the reality of what the Catholic Church is — with well over 1 billion members worldwide — is WHY the views of the Catholic Church matter hugely, even inside the WASP-dominated monoculture of the United States.

        • sharculese

          Omigod that was long and boring and I didn’t read any of it. Be less ranty next time.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Omigod! Take a nap next time, rather than pretending to participate in any conversation about constitutionally protected religious freedoms.

          • sharculese

            Yeah, no sorry. Nothing about the Constitution empowers you to use your religious beliefs to bully other people. You know nothing about our legal traditions and your pseudointellectual whining demeans a document that deserves better.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Lady — Your wacko description of “our legal traditions” certainly suggests that it is you who lack in understanding of the U.S. Constitution if you actually believe it only protects those who hold the same views you hold! As far as bullying goes, it is the federal government — under the same President that has already trod heavily overAmerican civil liberties in his expansion of the Patriot Act and his arbitrary, extrajudicial “kill list” — that is trying, without success, to bully a massive and long-enduring international organization into supporting and providing something that it has consistently opposed on moral grounds.

    • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

      Birth control is not abortifacient–period. Neither is an IUD. No matter how many times you may repeat this lie, it’s simply not so. Secondly, I have no problem with Catholics having large families and not using birth control–if they don’t wish to contracept that’s their business–not mine. However, I do have a problem with them trying to force the rest of us to follow the dictates of their particular church by denying contraception to those who do not follow their church.

      • disqus_e0s8we914N

        The Catholic Church (as well as other denominations and other groups that support the Catholic view on the HHS mandate) is asserting its right to continue to define itself. Those who object to the Catholic views on contraception (and object to the Catholic views on the abortifacients that Planned Parenthood describes as “contraception”) are under no obligation to seek employment in any organization — school, hospital, orphanage, etc. — operated by the Catholic Church. It has a right to be what it is.

        • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

          And what about a secular business which happens to be run by a Catholic individual? Employment law doesn’t permit an employer to ask me about my religion before hiring–should I be permitted to ask them before accepting a job?

          I just don’t understand how your religious freedom is being compromised because you can’t refuse me contraceptive coverage. If someone was forcing you or your spouse to take it, it would be another matter.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            The often-repeated suggestion that the Catholic Church is preventing any American who wants to use contraceptives from using contraceptives is patently specious, as you very well know. Contraceptives are already abundantly available in the United States, even without the Catholic Church providing any of them! There will be NO FEWER CONTRACEPTIVES available in the United States as long as the Catholic Church continues — as it has said it will — to oppose the President’s HHS Mandate. Of so many ironies in the actual (not imaginary) issues involved in the debate over the HHS Mandate is the fact that the Catholic Church has a long, proud tradition of providing health care, which, I imagine, is probably why, as Henry Cohn noted above, his local P&Z board — after careful review of several proposals for a new hospital — awarded the project to a Catholic-affiliated group.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

            Absolutely, you should be permitted to inquire about your perspective employer’s policies and the compensation package, both of which will be informed by his morals. I can’t imagine how anyone would object to asking such questions. Indeed, I would expect you to ask such questions.

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            I don’t actually want to know my employer’s religion, nor he mine. I consider that to be a personal and private matter.

          • http://www.almostnotcatholic.com/2011/08/myth-buster-constantine-founded.html Jay_tea

            My religion is based on my relationship with God, so why should I be forced to choose between paying for something that I see as harmful to that relationship and closing a business I put some of my life into? Have you no sympathy?

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            Unless you or your spouse are being forced to personally use it yourselves, frankly….no.

          • http://www.almostnotcatholic.com/2011/08/myth-buster-constantine-founded.html Jay_tea

            So if a conscience doesn’t match yours it doesn’t matter? That sounds a bit like fascism to me… I would think that your position would bother your own conscience at least a little.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Contraceptives anad abortifacients are already widely available without the Roman Catholic church or others who object to the use of those providing any of it.

            Opposition to the HHS Mandate does not suggest or imply any reduction whatsoever in the contraceptives and abortifacients that are already widely available in the United States.

            Instead, in fact, in reality, some groups – including, most notably, the Roman Catholic Church – object to being forced by the Obama Administration to participate in its broad policy of reducing the human population by means of a law that, after all, ALSO allows minors to “choose” sterilization without parental consent.

            NOT everyone supports this President’s objective of reducing the human population, and we should NOT be obligated to support those policies, which some, such as the Roman Catholic Church, regard – consistently over time — as immoral.

        • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

          Because you see, all things considered, I’d rather not know the religion of my employer, and I’d rather that he not know mine, In my opinion, that is a personal and private matter.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Whenever I am evaluating an offer of employment, health insurance benefits are something I review very carefully. I don’t imagine that I am unique in this kind of studied, careful consideration of benefits that are or or not provided by a potential employer. Anyone who would actually base their employment decision on whether an employer-provided health insurance includes contraception should, naturally, check out the details of the health insurance plan available from that employer before accepting any offer of employment. I don’t see anything new or different in that kind of usual consideration of whether what an employer is offering is acceptable for a potential employee.

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            Health care coverage plans should be based on the needs of the employees, not dictated by the whims or religious beliefs of the employers. Unless the employer is being forced to ingest contraception, I don’t see why his personal beliefs should even be a factor.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Your comments suggest you are a devotee of a very popular religion, secularism.

        • crowepps

          Certainly the Catholic Church has the right to be what it is, and its adherents have the right to live as they wish and disapprove of whom they wish, but neither the Church nor its adherents have the right for their schools, hospitals or orphanages to be supported with general tax monies extracted from non-Catholics. If Catholics want to finance those organizations as charities with their own monies, that’s exemplary. If they want Medicaid and Medicare and government grants to support the organizations, they have to follow the same rules everyone else follows.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            I believe the justification for the federal $ the Catholic Church receives has to do with the many services that the Catholic Church capably provides to a genuinely broad range of Americans and others living within the United States. The HHS Mandate is patently anti-Catholic, but that bias may seem normal to many Americans due to the long-enduring anti-Catholic bias in the predominantly WASP United States.

  • Gary Doupe

    I can’t imagine a clearer or more compelling description of why birth control should be available to all women who find it essential to their health and well-being. Many thanks, colleagues.

    • disqus_e0s8we914N

      We do not live in a theocracy, folks. Contraception is not illegal in the United States. Contraception is available many places and often for free. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has a right NOT to be coerced by the government to provide or support something that is counter to the church’s teachings and morality.

      • carlos the dwarf

        Catholic agencies and Catholic-owned businesses =/= the Catholic Church.

        • disqus_e0s8we914N

          Of course.

  • http://www.facebook.com/henry.cohn.7 Henry Cohn

    There is another issue here. Many local governments through their zoning and planning functions limit the number of hospitals being built. Where I live (a suburb NW of Washington, DC) the county government recognized the need for more hospital beds, and invited proposals for who would build and operate one. After careful review, they awarded the right to built the hospital to the operators of a Catholic hospital in the area.

    People trained in the health field living in this area (such as nurses, therapists, technicians) seeking employment at the nearby hospital should not be forced to give up their right to receive insurance coverage for what most considered an essential service because the local planning agency chose a Catholic-affiliated organization the exclusive right to built a hospital in this area.

    • crowepps

      In my opinion, exclusive rights to build hospitals should never be granted to organizations who, because of their religious foundation, refuse to provide full-service health care, including appropriate treatment of rape victims, birth control, tubal ligations, vasectomies, and medically necessary abortions in cases of pregnancy complications.

      • disqus_e0s8we914N

        Local government/P&Z boards are the proper place to bring such grievances. For the government to strong arm the Catholic Church into providing what it has consistently opposed on moral grounds would be unconstitutionally overstepping.

        • crowepps

          It would indeed be overstepping to strong arm any religious organization into doing anything, however it not overstepping to say ‘organizations willing to provide *these* services are the only ones that will be considered.’ If the Catholic Church cannot provide those services, they shouldn’t apply.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            But, WHO, “crowepps,” do you expect will “say” what you wish them to “say” to, thereby, exclude the Catholic Church and its outstanding history of service — through its schools, orphanages, universities, and hospitals (for only just a few examples)?
            If you ever lived in Miami, you might meet some of the Pedro Pan exiles. They came to this country long ago, as children, without their parents. These children were refugees from a political revolution over which they had no control, and many of them grew up in Catholic orphanages. Today, many of those former refugees are, not only U.S. citizens, but also among the most powerful, wealthy, and influential people in that amazing, multicultural city. Thank you, Catholic Church for the priceless service you generously provided for these children – and for this country — in the midst of a frightening, international crisis!

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            Yes, and you have to wonder how many of them in those Catholic Orphanages were abused by priests who were being shuttled from parish to parish rather than being treated like the common criminals they were. Thank you, Catholic Church.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Of the Catholics I know personally, all are horrified by the Church’s sexual-abuse scandal and eager for full prosecution under the law of the guilty parties, in part due to their desire to rid the church they love of such heinous criminals.
            Meanwhile, however, if you are, as it appears, flatly unable to appreciate the real good the Catholic Church has done — in this country and throughout the world — you are, like most Americans, biased against Catholicism and probably ignorant of the reality of the countless outstanding universities, hospitals, and orphanages the Catholic church has, throughout its long history, right up to the present, created for the purpose of humanitarian service.

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            That may be what the laity says–most of the Catholic laity are decent and sincere people. But higher up in the ranks that’s not what the Church has been doing–they’ve been trying to keep the abuse scandals under wraps and deal with it inside the church rather than involving secular law enforcement. In fact, the last Pope, who is now retired–wrote a letter when he was a Cardinal stating that such cases should be kept secret and dealt with inside the church.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            If I were a member of the Roman Catholic Church, I would feel betrayed by the church leaders who hid the pedophiles that continued to prey on kids. In fact, were it not for this Church’s sex abuse scandal, which began to emerge publicly about 10 years ago, I might have converted to R. Catholicism by now. As it is, I remain, as always before, still, a member of the universal catholic church, as an Episcopalian.
            But, as I’m sure you know, none of that bears on the Catholic Church’s constitutionally protected right to remain free of government dictates that contradict that church’s lawful right to act in accordance with its own long-held doctrines, such as, for example, its opposition to abortion and contraception.

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            Habemus Papem!
            ___
            Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby issued a statement, saying “We wish Pope Francis every blessing in the enormous responsibilities that he has assumed on behalf of Roman Catholics around the world.”

            The Archbishop called the new pontiff “a compassionate pastor of real stature who has served the poor in Latin America, and whose simplicity and holiness of life is remarkable.”

            While many observers assumed that Bergoglio took the name Francis in a signal he hopes to emulate the humility of the man who founded the Franciscan order, a man named Francis was significant in the early days of the Jesuits. Francis Xavier, one of the first seven Jesuits, was a student of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. Some consider the two to be the co-founders of the order. Early in their history, the Jesuits ran afoul of the pope, the Roman Curia and some nations more than once, but mostly for political and economic reasons rather than theological ones.

            Bergoglio had been archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998. He was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001. He is the first non-European to lead the Roman Catholic Church in more than 1,000 years, according to reports.

            Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires to parents of Italian heritage. It is said that Bergoglio refused to live in the palatial bishop residence in Buenos Aires and took public transportation to work rather than ride in a limousine. He is also said to cook his own meals. . . .

            About 39 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics live in Latin America. . .

            After giving his blessing, Francis I said: “Thank you for the welcome. See you soon, tomorrow I want to pray to the Madonna. Good night and good rest.”

            Retired New York Cardinal Timothy Eagan spoke about Francis I on NBC news during the announcement. “He is a scholar but he is a scholar who knows how to talk to the folks in the parishes, and that’s where it’s at,” said Eagan. . .
            http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2013/03/13/francis-i-is-a-pope-of-firsts/

          • disqus_e0s8we914N

            As you may have noticed, above, in Henry Cohn’s comments, “the local planning agency [where Henry lives] chose [after reviewing several proposals, to give] a Catholic-affiliated organization the exclusive right to built a hospital in this area.”
            Not everyone is so biased against Catholics that they are blind to the great and good services this church has provided, since antiquity, right up to the present time.

    • disqus_e0s8we914N

      Henry, you write: “Where I live (a suburb NW of Washington, DC) the county government recognized the need for more hospital beds, and invited proposals for who would build and operate one. After careful review, they awarded the right to built the hospital to the operators of a Catholic hospital in the area.” I tend to agree, at least in part, with the comment by “crowepps,” below; your beef lies, properly, with your local government P&Z board. Again, where the HHS Mandate is concerned, the Catholic Church is being consistently Catholic, after alll. It’s really not possible that any local government officials can, realistically, be surprised, at this stage, by the Catholic Church’s firm objections to the President’s HHS mandate. I can only assume that your local officials took those details into account when, as you have noted, they carefully reviewed proposals and awarded the hospital to a Catholic-affiliated organization. [Do you happen to live in Brookland/Little Rome?]

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  • PeninaD

    The predominant Jewish view is that the mother is an actual life, and an embryo/fetus/unborn child is considered potential life, therefore the mother’s health and well-being take precedence until the child’s head is out and the child takes it’s first breath. How is it right that any health care practitioner can negate my beliefs in my own health care? Why are my medical ethics not good enough to be imposed on everyone else, which is what Catholics and many Christian denominations wish to do to everyone else by taking over legislatures?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

      And Hippocrates the Physician made his students swear never to perform an abortion for any reason, nor ever to recommend an abortion. How can you ask a physician to do what he swore to God in a self-malefactory oath never to do? By doing so, you would be asking him to take the Lord’s Name in vain and bring down a grave curse on his own head. A vow made to God must be kept at all costs.

      • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

        If we lived in a theocracy, kid, that might make some sense. Thankfully we do not.

    • disqus_e0s8we914N

      “taking over legislatures”
      You have heard of the electoral process, right?