WICHITA, Kan. - Is the Catholic Church above the law and therefore, exempt from the law? We can't have a stable society if we allow a religious group that has set itself up in the secular world with its hospitals,charities and other organizations, to run for cover under the 1st Amendment's freedom of religion protections.
The 1st Amendment is about the right of individuals to freely believe what they wish to believe without the government arresting an individual for their personal religious, or nonreligious beliefs. It is about the freedom to worship in one's house of prayer without the fear of a government entity barring the doors and preventing such access, or forcing those of no belief to attend services or face a heavy penalty.
The 1st Amendment is not about allowing a giant religious conglomerate to operate in the secular world with the mindset that any citizen who enters a Catholic hospital or works for a Catholic institution, must obey the teachings of that church regardless of their own beliefs.
There is certainly no religious freedom in America if one religion is allowed to oppress and force their beliefs on their employees and the public for the use of their facilities or services.
It is an interesting political dilemma in America culture. For years religious charities and hospitals have existed as a privileged group with wide latitude to spread their brand and message to the community with taxpayer support. Now,when the government has rightly decided insurance should cover contraception needs for ALL women, those same religious institutions respond that Nazism is just around the corner if this decision is allowed to stand.
Let me break this down in simple terms to the Catholic Bishops: You are not elected officials, nor are you medical doctors to speak for the healthcare needs of all women. You represent a religion and you have every right personally to follow your doctrines but you should not be able to force your doctrines on your employees or the people who use your facilities even if you are a Catholic organization as long as you are taking federal money. You can only encourage and persuade others to follow your dictates, but you cannot block another groups freedom to access healthcare in America.
The government may not endorse your faith or promote your faith above all others and that is exactly what you are asking the Obama Administration to do. This is 2012, and if the Church wants to operate its facilities within a secular state, they must obey the laws like everyone else. The only option to this rule would be to admit only Catholic patients or clients,refuse federal dollars,and then I suppose the Church could force female employees to go without contraceptive insurance coverage.
The Bishops don't care about religious freedom in America, they only care about spreading their power and control over America's secular government. Just as kings and presidents have rightly been told they are not above the law, religion must exist within the confines of secular law when it involves all of society, not just the people of that faith.
If the Bishops feel so strongly about this mandate, then they can order their Catholic employees and employers to choose not to take advantage of this insurance option but of course, they know that will never happen because the majority of Catholic women want this coverage! The only way to force women into their doctrinal position is to claim the government is denying religious freedom,but no one is buying that argument.
Like the biblical story in Kings 3:16-28, and wisdom of Solomon, the Bishops represent the lying mother that would rather kill the baby than do what's right because the Bishops have such disregard for women's reproductive healthcare, they would rather start a cultural war than accept the truth. Th truth is the Church has no power over American women's birth control decisions, not even women of their own faith.