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Apology Is In Order

By Ken Poland
Opinion | February 13, 2012

women-not-pre-existing.jpgCOLBY, Kan. - The debate over proper function of civil authority in matters of personal choice is being obfuscated intentionally by fundamental conservatives who are successfully making it a religious battle by declaring Christianity as our national religion. We don't need a couple stubborn old men using your platform to argue our differences. Water rights and human reproduction rights have very little in common with each other. They may both have moral and ethical issues that are related, but arguing them in the same debate session will benefit neither one.

Public education and health care are both very important areas to be considered in the debate over Pro Life and Pro Choice issues. Religion should not hold either of these issues hostage. They are biological and physical regardless of religious orientation.

Making this a religious battle is exactly what the authors of our constitution intended to avoid by declaring religious rules would be left in the domain of religious institutions and civil rules and laws would be settled by debate that was not dependent or defended solely on any particular religious group's theology. And religious groups would not have to consult civil authorities to get approval or permission to set their own policies concerning theological questions or standards. Civil government has no say concerning who religious organizations accept and who they don't accept for membership. In the same token, religious organizations cannot require civil government to enforce their canon. Nor should civil government deny government services to anyone on the basis of their religion or lack thereof.

[Vickie, I apologize for carrying my disagreement with another writer over the appropriation of water in Kansas into the comment section of your post concerning women's freedom of choice and control over the use of their bodies.]


41 Comments

Perhaps you've wondered why there aren't many conservative replies in the comments on this site - or why they seem to frequently turn a bit ugly when they do show up. Here's Exhibit A:

"The debate over proper function of civil authority in matters of personal choice is being obfuscated intentionally by fundamental conservatives who are successfully making it a religious battle by declaring Christianity as our national religion."

"obfuscated intentionally" Its not that they just disagree, or have points that you think are outweighed by other concerns? Nope, they are intentionally mucking up the debate and not arguing on the merits.

Ken on Feb 10th: "calling someone a liar is a pretty confrontational and divisive accusation".

Is it any less confrontational and divisive when you dress up "liar" as "obfuscated intentionally"? Note that Ken's comment was in response to a comment by Jonathan that also did not actually use the word "liar".

"Christianity as our national religion" Um, really? Its a recurring theme with my comments that I ask for a link, and/or a quote to support some of the more over-the-top statements made about Conservatives on this site. And usually, I'm left wanting. So please share with me a comment from this site, or a semi-prominent Conservative who is arguing that Christianity is or should be our national religion as it relates to the current fight over free contraception.


My one sentence aside to Ken Poland in the referenced blog was a heads up to him that I would be posting on the "takings" issue. I'll use one more sentence to suggest that the cranky old irrigation addict's windy "apology" here would better have fit as a comment under the Ms. Stangl's blog.


It’s kind of ironic that secularism has touched on this topic. In order for secularism to advance its agenda (or religion), in this case abortion, or a woman’s supposed right to contraception under the guise of healthcare, it has to diminish the competition – in this case it’s the Catholic Church. Believe it; secularism is at war with its competition – Christianity.

It is fallacious to equate the fact that when a non-profit religious organization, like the Catholic Church, has earned 100 percent tax exemption status to open and operate much needed hospitals, that somehow that is the same as receiving federal tax dollars from the taxpayer.

Hopefully, the Obama administration will lose this one in court. And hopefully, religious liberty and the Constitution’s built in First Amendment clause (which our Framers intentionally wrote in just to prevent this sort of controversy from materializing) will rule the day.


When the Catholic institutions, including hospitals, social service agencies, and domestic violence shelters, stop taking taxpayer money to do their work, then they are free to say the government has no right to tell them what to do. As long as they are on the government dole, they must dance to the tune of the government that funds them.

As for living by one's conscience, it's against my conscience to go to war. Yet, the bulk of my taxes go to pay for the U.S. war machine.


Diane: on both points, you are mistaken:

"stop taking taxpayer money to do their work, then they are free to say the government has no right to tell them what to do."

The new contraception mandate doesn't just apply to employers taking federal funds - it applies to everybody. That means that private companies are being forced (mandated) to provide this insurance coverage to their employers regardless of whether they receive federal funds. The Church cannot fix this issue simply by refusing federal dollars.

As to where your taxes go, White House budget tables 3.1, 3.2, 4.1 and 4.2 show Defense spending accounted for about 18% of Federal outlays in 2011. That is not the BULK of your taxes.

There is also a distinction between the government taking your taxes (an enumerated power) and using them for defense (an enumerated power), and the government forcing you as an individual to purchase something that violates your religious beliefs. Is that not obvious?

The problem with all this is not the Church, or the contraception, or abortion - its the mandate. Its unworkable, it has no limits except that which the current govt places on itself (and I'm sure you are confident in what the Republicans will mandate if they take over after the next election).


Schyler: "... private companies are being forced (mandated) to provide this insurance coverage to their employers regardless of whether they receive federal funds."

A couple of counter points.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 98 percent of Roman Catholic women of child-bearing age routinely use birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies (and my guess would be an equally overwhelming of non-Catholic women, including Protestants and non-believers do as well.

The historically male-dominated hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church is being soundly out-voted by women. And, one might reasonably believe that the significant others (the husbands and responsible lovers) are just as supportive of the women they love. If the Roman Catholic clergy are so negative toward abortion in any and all stages and situations, they should consider supporting the availability of birth control. The frequency of abortions is directly related to unwanted pregnancies.

It might be interesting to see an objective poll of the Roman Catholic laity, particularly those females of child-bearing age, that 98 pct. and the 2 pct. Ya think?

As it now stands, the employers' insurance company will offer contraception free of additional charge directly to employees who want to use the coverage. Nobody is forced to do take advantage of the opportunity of access to birth control. There is no added financial cost to the church. Insurance companies like it because birth control is quite cheap compared to costs involved with an unwanted pregnancy carried to childbirth..

One source (which I think is credible) says "the average cost of an uncomplicated natural childbirth without insurance will cost from $9,000 to $15,000 or more." And even with insurance the parent(s) is/are often responsible to pay the deductible of $500 to as much as $3,000--depending. That's just the beginning, of course.

Incidentally, the Catholic Hospital Association supports the recent modification. So has the group Catholics United. It's time for controlling, egotistical males to back off.


Wow! Schlyer, you are sharp. The best I've read here on this web site to date. Where did you come from? Do you have your own blog web site? Your facts are precise and well coordinated.


It's time for controlling? Really, and who exactly do you want to administer the controlling - the Obama Administration?


The Obama administration might just be better than the religious right (sorry if that nomenclature is wrong) or the corporations who wish to control by economic advantages and power.

Yep! Schlyer is the sharpest knife in the drawar. He/she doesn't know the difference between obfuscating and lying. He/she needs some direct quotes or links before believing that some fundamental conservatives have declared that we are a Christian nation and that our constitution was written by devout fundamental Christians. And that means all our laws and rules are valid only if they are exact replicas of Bible laws.

And by the way, Hooper, this cranky old irrigation addict is addicted to a few things, but it isn't irrigation. He's addicted to his chosen profession as an agricultural producer. He's addicted to believing property rights are defensible and that that defense is, perhaps, a function of civil government. He is addicted to freedom of religion and freedom of choice in how he practices his religion. He is addicted to the opinion that disparaging adjectives and name calling are not effective ways to change anyone's opinions.

This cranky old irrigation addict, as you have called him, might be better described, simply, as an adelpated old man. He readily admits it.


"He/she needs some direct quotes or links before believing"

Imagine that - requiring some actual basis in fact for an opinion. What a crazy concept.

"that some fundamental conservatives have declared that we are a Christian nation and that our constitution was written by devout fundamental Christians. And that means all our laws and rules are valid only if they are exact replicas of Bible laws."

And here is the problem. Your first sentence is very supportable. But the last sentence is you taking somebody elses beliefs and distorting them so far beyond belief that it not even funny. Again, find me a conservative saying that "all our laws and rules are valid only if they are exact replicas of Bible laws". Because thats not the conservative position in general or on this issue - thats your strawman creation of the conservative position.

If you are going to continually mis-represent the arguments of the opposition, I'm going to call you out on it. And if you cannot support your opinions with actual facts on occasion, I'm going to call you out on it.


Bob Hooper - there are some statistical problems with the 98% figure

Also, I'm not sure how your post is a counterpoint to "private companies are being forced (mandated) to provide this insurance coverage to their employers regardless of whether they receive federal funds."

Diane specifically claimed "as long as they are on the government dole" they have to comply. That was false.

How does the 98% figure (flawed or not), or the CHA's support of the mandate, address that issue? Or are we just changing the subject and saying its OK to step on the religious liberty of 2% of Catholic women instead of 100%.

"It's time for controlling, egotistical males to back off."

There's this one guy in DC that seems to think he knows better than everyone else. To the point that he's actually forcing individual citizens and companies to buy health insurance. And he's also so sure of himself, that he's even presuming to tell us exactly what medical conditions we have to be insured for.

I'd be thrilled if that dude would back off.


Facts: Churches don't have to cover their employees for contraception. Churches and church-related entities also dont' pay taxes, nor do they get tax money.

More facts: Church-related charities do get taxes in the form of grant money, at least here in Wichita. Here is a list of such agencies: Lord's Diner, a Catholic agency for feeding the homeless; Episopal Social Services, an Episcopal social service agency for feeding the homeless, helping homeless people find jobs and housing, and giving them whatever other help they need; Catholic Charities, a social service agency for the poor and the homeless; United Urban Ministries, a social service agency under the auspices of the United Methodists. I'm happy that my tax dollars are going to these agencies. When I was younger, I volunteered at Episcopal Social Services and I still donate on a regular basis. I know the employees of these agencies don't all follow the same creeds that the sponsoring agencies espouse. The employees who use the health insurance of those agencies should have the same coverage as employees of any other agency or business.

Health care reform is long overdue. Several of our activities are under the mandate of the federal government. I can remember a time when the black kids in my home town went to a different school from the white kids. The the feds stepped in and said that was illegal. Now kids from all races go to school together, at least in public schools.

I will say to you what people have often said to me when I've been unhappy about governmental policies--move somewhere else. Surely there's a country that better suits your beliefs. The last I looked, Roman Catholicism is still the official church of Italy.
I don't want a bunch of bishops, who are themselves a suspicious group of celibates, telling women who aren't Romans how to live their lives. I didn't elect those bishops to office and they have no say-so over anything, as far as I'm concerned. I do have my religious freedom to consider, as do many non-Catholic women who work for Catholic agencies. If they don't want to take birth control pills, no one is forcing them to.


Diane - "stop taking taxpayer money to do their work, then they are free to say the government has no right to tell them what to do."

So the argument now is not to stop taking taxpayer money and get your freedom, its to accept that freedom be damned and the mandate is a good thing.

"If they don't want to take birth control pills, no one is forcing them to."

Correct, but they are forcing them to pay for it.

"move somewhere else"

Or, we could just have laws that allow people to make their own decisions about what products and services they wish to purchase based on their own individual circumstances. And when their employer or other affiliated organizations do things they don't agree with - they could change jobs, etc. But no. Now I just have to leave the country instead to get relief. What a reasonable alternative. "Land of the Free" - ha!


Amen, Diane. Nobody is forced to use birth control. (Most Roman Catholic women do, and that ruffles some male feathers..who won't be getting pregnant anytime soon).

The coverage costs the "church" nothing, saves insurance companies and individuals money, and lowers the abortion rate. The Roman Catholic Church and a relative few (but quite vocal)members of the laity need to arrive in the 21st Century, since they missed the call of the 20th.


Halleluja!


Interesting, Ken, that you haven't responded directly and on subject to my post just previous to yours: "It's not your water, Mr. Irrigator."

By posting your "apology" so quickly, were you maybe trying to remove it from too much attention? Just wondering...

Not addicted to irrigation? Surely you jest.


The Roman Catholic blog you reference, says that what Guttmacher found "has been misrepresented.

From Guttmacher. "Only 2% of Catholic women rely on natural family planning; even among Catholic women who attend
church once a month or more, only 2% rely on this
method (not shown)."

Nobody's taking their freedom NOT to use birth control. Nor requiring them to do so. The Roman Catholic clergy doesn't want women to be free of doctrinal control, and the clergy is exclusively (reactionary)male.


"The coverage costs the "church" nothing"

False, many of the church charities affected are self-insured. They are both the employer and the insurance company. It most certainly costs them money.

Bob - I never said anybody was being forced to USE birth control, I said they were being forced to buy it. I find that unacceptable, and an encroachment on their ability to practice their religion as they see fit.

Stop misrepresenting my argument.


Bob - I don't understand what you mean to convey with this:

"From Guttmacher. "Only 2% of Catholic women rely on natural family planning; even among Catholic women who attend church once a month or more, only 2% rely on this
method (not shown)."

The 98% figure is problematic because it was derived from information from "sexually active women who are not pregnant, post-partum, or trying to get pregnant". The church teaches that sex out of wedlock is problematic. So a 21 year old unmarried girl not having sex because she isn't active would either be excluded from the study or fall into the 98% 'not natural family planning' method. That's problematic, and like I mentioned, the # of people affected shouldn't matter, its the principle.


Guttmacher's reportage looks fine to me. Ninety=eight pct. of females of Roman Catholic faith (or routine attendance) who are fertile (or consider/fear themselves so) use artificial birth control to avoid pregnancy they'd rather not have. But whether or not 98 pct is precisely right(even good polls have a margin of error), the argument that a very, very significant number do so. They are not letting you, the Monsignor,the Pope, Pat Robertson, the ghost of Jerry Falwell, the Pope, the local ministerial alliance, or the state/local/federal government determine what decision they will make in the matter. The brouhaha from the religious Pharisees of the day is ridiculous. And I'm guessing the husbands/lovers of that 98 pct. (give or take) agree.


I've always been amused about "the rhythm method" approved by the hierarchy. It's basically saying, "You shouldn't have sex when you know you won't get pregnant but, look, here's a way you can roll loaded dice. So, then if you do get pregnant, God must have been really determined to see your belly swell."


A discussion of the legality of this mandate and religious exceptions. There are 2 relevant Supreme Court decisions.


OOps! Schlyer, is that hear say or should you give us specific notation of case number, etc.?? There are a lot of Supreme Court decisions to hunt through, and some might even use situation differences that render a slightly different decision. Good lawyers ferret those decisions out to improve their chances of favorable decisions for their clients. Good grief ! Don't come back in with half a page of legal references, I'm well aware of the issue and that the Supreme Court has not been absoulutely consistent on constitutional issues. Believe it or not, social norms and public pressures come into play.

The Supreme Court has been a very staid and stable institution over the years. But, if you are any kind of a scholar, you will find that it has varied from time to time concerning States Rights, Federal Rights, and individual rights. Thank our founders, God, or maybe luck we are not locked into decisions made 200 years ago or last year that do not fit today's situation or condition.


Really Ken? Which do you want?

"or should you give us specific notation of case number, etc."
"Don't come back in with half a page of legal references,"

Did I say those were the ONLY 2, or that the link I provided was a COMPREHENSIVE discussion on the issue?

Its also not hearsay because I'm not simply asserting my opinion/facts about the issue (like your original post), I'm linking to the source, and they link to their sources and it includes the actual Supreme Court case names. So if you disagree with their characterization, you can refute or add to it.

Or, you can just attack me some more and ignore the merits.


scyler, I'm not attacking you any more than you attack me or anyone else by discounting our opinions unless we anchor them with links that you approve or agree with (like my original post). What does that imply? My original post is merely my opinion, therefore it is not worthy of any merit? I must give specific bill numbers or can I just say that some bills or a bill? I can't read the headlines, news stories, opinion columns, etc. and then compose my take on all those sources and opinions, with out assuring you of where they came from? You and Jonathan and others say criticism of Catholic doctrines are false (or maybe even lies) but you don't give us the documentation that refutes our concept or that clarifies the correct position. I don't expect you to and I don't feel obligated to provide that detailed information. We are not putting together legal strategies that some astute lawyer can't tear apart. We are all, including you, trying to present opinions that will persuade others to think like we do. Most of us are not advocating passing laws or mandates that force others to abide by our narrow interpretation of God's laws or throwing out any reference to God's laws. We all (liberals, conservatives, naturalists, or — —) profess to want correct interpretation of the original intent of the authors of our constitution. Problems arise when we can't agree on what that intent was.

I appreciate your opinions and comments, until you attack others with inuendos about their being 'nut cases', dummies, liars (or just lying), and a few other choice derogatory adjectives. I may not be as smart as you are, but i'm sure there are some in here that may even have higher iQs and more extensive knowledge than you.

The majority of the main authors on this blogg are progressives or liberals and most of us write with the hopes of influencing public opinion. We don't always agree, even among ourselves and sometimes go too far in our criticisms of one another. We accept the fact that conservatives and fundamentalists who read our articles will not agree or have different opinions. The title 'KansasFreePress' indicates your freedom to contribute your opinions, criticisms, etc. I used to belong to some chat rooms where the majority of the members held quite different views on social, rligious and political issues from mine. I didn't last long if I attacked with ridicule of their ignorance or informed them of their misplaced trust of their sources.


"I'm not attacking you any more than you attack me or anyone else by discounting our opinions unless we anchor them with links that you approve or agree with (like my original post)."

Any link - any supporting documentation - anything at all other than your personal assertions would be helpful. You'll have to excuse me if I don't just blindly believe assertions made without any factual support - especially when it appears (as I've shown in this thread) the opinions are based on FALSE assumptions or FAULTY information. Its only when I see what your basis for the opinion is that we can discuss it rationally. An opinion without a basis in fact is nothing more than faith.

"My original post is merely my opinion, therefore it is not worthy of any merit?"

It might be worthy of merit. But you haven't DEMONSTRATED the merit of your opinion by providing a rational basis for it. What you've given me is your feelings on the issue.

"You and Jonathan and others say criticism of Catholic doctrines are false (or maybe even lies)"

This is a perfect example. Where did I say that? Where have I defended the Catholic doctrines? If you can't point to where I said it or to a line a reasonable person could infer it - then you've simply made it up. How can we possibly have a discussion on the merits of the issue, if you are dealing in nothing but feelings and assigning me positions I don't hold.

"until you attack others with inuendos about their being 'nut cases', dummies, liars (or just lying), and a few other choice derogatory adjectives."

That's a pretty long list of very specific derogatory terms or apologize. Show where I've used one of them. Note, that me providing information that corrects someone else's misstatement is not the same as calling them dummies. It may make you FEEL like they are dummies, but I can't control those.

"most of us write with the hopes of influencing public opinion"

You will not influence anyone without a basis in fact for your statements.

"I didn't last long if I attacked with ridicule of their ignorance or informed them of their misplaced trust of their sources."

Sorry to hear that, but I'm not ridiculing anyone here. I'm challenging some assertions and policy suggestions by providing additional information and alternative viewpoints. If an author or commenter's argument can't stand up to that challenge, the author or commenter should have spent more time honing their argument.

When I can spend 1 minute on Google to find factual contrary information (like all the Church has to do is refuse Fed money and they don't have to follow this mandate), shouldn't everyone WANT to know that information? People don't want to be misled with bad information.


Schyler. Don't want to interrupt things too much, but you had said that some (not all) RC charities were self-insured (by the RC Church). Could you give me a specific instance or two--title of charity/location? Is it only RC charities that are self-insured, or are some hospitals and schools also self-insured. And does that self-insurance include health insurance?

I could see a more legitimate complaint from the Church hierarchy where there was in fact good self-insurance by the Church, and more-so if the employee were uniformly RC or signed a waiver relinquishing any claims contrary to the RC philosophy against birth-control or abortion.

As for the larger issue, I continue to believe that effective birth control is the best way to lower abortion rates, and that women are justified in their defiance of a male-dominated religious hierarchy. And that is most dramatically true in those countries which are already poor, over-populated, and HIV is rampant.


Bob: I've replied and got this message: "Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner."

I'm assuming its because I included several links.


Schyler, you are an expert. Jonathan had it right, you are sharp. You qualify to be, as us hicks from the sticks in rural America would say say, a slick "Philadelphia Lawyer". That's not meant to be a compliment. You have successfully challenged and picked apart most of what Bob, Diane, Vickie, Ken (sorry if I missed anyone) have posted. You are quite skilled in convoluting the issues. You could cross examine a witness and leave them not knowing for sure what they had testified. The intention being to discredit the witness and confuse the jury.

I'm sorry if I've assumed, improperly, that you have no problems with Jonathan's unsubstantiated, as you call them, assertions and, sometimes, demeaning adjectives. I am left to think you agree with him when he talks about (not just in this particular run of comments) nut cases, dummies, liars, lying, heads in the sand, haters, and the list can go on. And, NO I'm not going to go back and 'copy paste' every example. We've been hearing from him for some time, and I think he expects and enjoys the reactions he gets. He had a little difficulty when he first started posting, and then he figured out he had to tone it down just a little, and to my knowledge he has been able to post without incident, lately.

I hope you will continue posting comments, but don't just discredit everyone elses comments and leave it there. Your opinions are just as important as anyone's and I, for one, won't tell you you're not acceptable if you don't dot every i and cross every T. I'm well aware of the fact that most people form their opinions on the basis of a variety of different sources. I also know that we are all pretty apt to use those sources that validate our own opinions, or at least claim to use the same standards as we do.


Bob - not sure when/if my original response with links will be published. Do a google search for "self insure catholic ny times" and "new hampshire self insure catholic" (both without the quotes) for the sources on these. There was even a NY Times article about it today in the Business Section - they think its a majority of the Catholic charities that are self-insured.

Archdiocese of New York
Diocese of Brooklyn "as well as the Catholic Charities organizations within their territories"
Catholic HealthCare Partnership of New Jersey
Catholic Medical Center in NH
New Hampshire Catholic Charities
Fordham University
Notre Dame University


Oh Ken - I'm just a "hick from the sticks" too.

"I'm sorry if I've assumed, improperly, that you have no problems with Jonathan's..."

Ken, you've not ASSUMED anything - you've OUTRIGHT ACCUSED me of saying things, "you attack others with inuendos about their being 'nut cases', dummies, liars (or just lying), and a few other choice derogatory adjectives" that I DID NOT WRITE.

"And, NO I'm not going to go back and 'copy paste' every example."

Why would I want you to 'copy paste' Jonathon's statements to me? Did I write them? I'm not Jonathon's editor. If you've got a problem with him - take it up with him, not me.

"I am left to think you agree with him"

Why? Am I being held to the standard that everything I don't explicitly comment on, I agree with? Little unfair, don't you think?

"I hope you will continue posting comments, but don't just discredit everyone elses comments and leave it there."

If a comment is incorrect or mistaken, I will most certainly do my best to discredit it. And please - if I post something incorrect - CORRECT ME! I hate being wrong, and sometimes the only way to find out I'm wrong is for other people to tell me so.

"use those sources that validate our own opinions"

If you don't read the other side's arguments, your own ideas will never be challenged, and you'll have nothing but a vague notion of what the other side actually thinks. In hindsight, this one phrase explains alot.


It's a good thing my computor can't read my mind and post my thoughts! If I had a voice activated word processor, I might have to bite my tongue. But since I have to type letters and words, I sometimes have to nearly break my fingers to keep them from posting some rather unkind adjectives.

After reviewing all my resources of information that helps me determine my own position on the issue of procreation, contraception/birth control and abortion, I firmly affirm my opinion that it is the women's absolute right to make her own decision on those issues! That does not absolve men of their responsibility in creating the situation that makes those decisions necessary.

Now, Schlyer do your thing! Turn that comment upside down and inside out and tell the readers just exactly what I meant, since they are incapable of getting all the facts straight without our self appointed copy editor's translations.

Thank you all and I rest my case on this issue!


I'm curious as to what I'm supposed to find objectionable about your opinion here? Unlike previously, you haven't claimed people who disagree are arguing on bad faith, and haven't claimed Christians are trying to make theirs the national religion.

Where I differ from you is that I also think it is the woman's (and any directly involved man's) responsibility to pay for the healthcare they've chosen (thru insurance or directly), rather than govt mandating that we all pay for it.


Schyler. First of all, thank you for the nformation about self-insured Roman Catholic organizatons. As I find time, I'll be checking a random number of those out to learn details. Then, as to the taxpayer (or church) "paying" for contraceptive coverage either specifically or as an addition to premium case, that may sound logical but it isn't true. Insurance companies are happy to provide the coverage to employees at no additional cost because it actually saves insurance companies money in claims paid out in the event of unwanted pregnancies--even those which are "uncomplicated" childbirth. But the larger question is whether the essentially male-dominated religious sects, including hierarchical Roman Catholicism who oppose contraception are anti-woman troglodytes in doing so. Most Americans seem to believe they are (as I do as well).


"Then, as to the taxpayer (or church) "paying""

This is an important distinction. The govt has the power to take our taxes, and spend them on providing free contraception for women. It wouldn't be any more popular, but it would be a valid thing for govt to do. The crux of the matter is does the govt have the ability to COMPEL INDIVIDUALS TO ENTER INTO ECONOMIC TRANSACTIONS THAT THEY DON'T DESIRE, or to which they profess religious objections to.

"Insurance companies are happy to provide the coverage to employees at no additional cost because it actually saves insurance companies money in claims paid out"

Really? Happy to do it? Are they happy enough to do it in the absence of the Federal Government forcing them to do it? If this was such a good deal for the insurance companies bottom line, how come its not more wide spread right now?

"But the larger question is whether the essentially male-dominated religious sects, including hierarchical Roman Catholicism who oppose contraception are anti-woman troglodytes in doing so. Most Americans seem to believe they are (as I do as well)."

That's actually the smaller question. This mandate applies to everyone - whether religious or not. And a side small question is whether we believe freedom of religion ends when society views your beliefs as 'troglodyte-ish' or whether we have content neutral rights.


I love it when men debate women's reproduction issues. Don't get me wrong--it's good when men have sense enough to know that women are capable of making their own decisions without others telling them what they should do, but it doesn seem strange women aren't involved in the discussion. As they were not in the testimony before the congressional committee last week. What a sight--all those men talking about contraception, with nary a woman in view. Here's what I know. Having access to birth control pills after my third child in four years was born kept me sane. I do believe contraception covered by health insurance is no different than having an appendectomy covered by health insurance.

Are we living in the '50s again?


Sorry to disagree. The reptilian attitude of the male-dominated Roman Catholic hierarchical minority is precisely the larger issue. (My prediction: they'll be harvesting an even greater political hailstorm.)

From "The Week" -- Apr. 2010

"It’s 'the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history,' says the National Catholic Reporter. Worldwide, the Roman Catholic Church now has 1.1 billion members, compared with 1.5 billion Muslims and 593 million Protestants. In the U.S., all the major denominations have seen their numbers decline in recent years, but the Catholic Church has taken the biggest hit. Since the 1960s, four American-born Catholics have left the church for every one who has converted, according to a 2009 Pew study. In 2008 alone, Catholic membership declined by 400,000. More than 1,000 parishes have closed since 1995, and the number of priests has fallen from about 49,000 to 40,000 during that same period. Some 3,400 Catholic parishes in the U.S. now lack a resident priest. 'Catholicism is in decline across America,' says sociologist David Carlin."

The strategy of vilifying birth control can have only one motive: to keep women shelling out babies and the pews less empty. Hasn't it always been the case?

-------------

The "mandate" is to provide the the opportuniry of insurance-covered birth control. There's no mandate that women exercise the benefit. The Pope may excommunicate Roman Catholic women who avail themselves of birth control methods. (Maybe arrange for a Jesuit under-the-covers operation. The Inquisitional rack?) The reason that doesn't happen is that to do it, or even threaten it, would make the Pope a laughingstock.
-----------

From Guttmacher

"The argument that contraception services save money over time is an old one in family planning circles. Adam Sonfield of the Guttmacher Institute says it simply costs the health care system less money when couples plan their pregnancies.

"And that means healthier pregnancies and healthier infants," he says. "It means fewer preterm births and low birth-weight baby births. It means starting prenatal care earlier. All those things also can lead to cost savings."

"Unplanned pregnancies also mean lost work time and lower productivity for employers, according to Sonfield. The insurance industry doesn't really dispute that claim.

"One industry official who didn't want to be named said it's clear contraceptive services save money over time or are at least cost neutral."


Insurance companies will cover whatever risks you want them to cover, if you want to pay the premium. If the birth rates increase, the claims for care will increase and the insurance company will increase the premiums. This is not really an issue over paying for the coverage. It isn't even an issue over women's rights. It is an issue over whether religious dogma will deny coverage for specific treatments or not, and not only for their own followers but for everyone else.

I reference to the Catholic church, because they are the most dogmatic about birth control methods. Catholic families have decreased in size over the last 60 or more years. The old 'rithym' method wasn't working very well. The drummer and the flutist weren't in time with one another. It is quite obvious to me that the lay people are not listening to the tune being played by the hierarchy of that church. Religion has never been real quick to accept progressive wisdom and understanding of science or spiritual understanding of the people. Regardless of the flavor of the religious organization, the leaders are not prone to accept the followers straying too far from the established dogma of that religion or religious group..

This causes real strife and sometimes hardship for the adherents of that religious group. The quickest solution for the individual was rejection of the leader's control. When religion and civil governments become entwined, the privilege of rejection goes out the window. Study history as far back as recorded history goes and this is what you will find. Look at modern conditions in countries where some religious sect has control of government. Worse yet, look at countries where there is factional strife within similar religious groups who seek dominion over one another.

As has been pointed out by Bob's comment, mainline religious groups have been losing membership by defection for decades. Some have defected to other denominations or groups and some (maybe more than just some) have defected from any identifiable religious faith. Can an alliance of religion and government stem this trend? Do we want government to allow any religious group to demand anyone outside of their own voluntary followers to abide by their dogma?

NO folks, this isn't about insurance and who is paying for it. It is about religious dogma and who is in control of that. The so called Christian majority in this nation will eventually become embroiled in battle over just which set of Christians will determine National religious dogma. Does anyone think the non religious or anti religious will just sit idoly by? Wake up! Look at the situation in the middle east, Africa, Ireland, and some other lessor known places. We have strife between churches and mininisterial associations, in local communtites, now. What will happen if those differences are allowed to ignore the constitutional separation of religion and government?


It figures that you would think the Guttmacher report looks fine to you. It’s a Left-wing institution full of pro-choice biases. The sampling that led to this “98%” figure is flawed and corrupted – “cherry-picking” data so as to reflect a high number for the sole purpose of advancing birth control rights, and making the Catholic Church look hypocritical.


Yup! I've suspected all a long that we shouldn't and can't trust left wing statistics. Only the right wing sources can be trusted. Death Panels; forced end of life consultations, to name only a couple of those 'accurate' revelations by the conservatives or right wing. One of our laws will put preachers in jail if they preach against sin, is another FACT that we should all be aware of. Also Obama is a Muslim and isn't even a legal citizen of the U.S. Wake up folks! Listen to the true gospel as presented by the right side of all issues.

The Catholic Church can't be hypocritical, only people can be hypocrits. The Catholic Church is an institution governed by people, just like corporations ( and I don't think corporations are people). Maybe there are a few hypocritical Catholics. Might even be a few hypocritical Baptists. Can't trust anyone, can we. Unless you have total faith that God not man has appointed the governing authority. And, it is plain to see that God is the CEO of the conservative right organizations.

Oh! I'm sorry, I haven't given any links to all this gospel information have I. Well, I've heard it too many times in the coffee shop and read it too many times in emails and on too many op ed pages in the newspaper. I lost track of my list of sources. But, it surely must be right, because right wing folks never mislead or miss quote.


Not an exact match with the contraception issue, but pretty close.

State of Washington mandate that pharmacies sell Plan B to customers found unconstitutional.


Notre Dame just filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration over the contraception mandate. Who could ever have guessed such a thing?

Hint - me


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