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Facing the Truth: The Church Cannot Control the Women

By Vickie Stangl
Opinion | February 9, 2012

tent-revival-3.jpgWICHITA, 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.


Thank you, Vickie. You have presented some very compelling argument. Separation of Church and State does not mean separation of religion from those who choose their form or brand of religion. What it does, it separates religion from using the State to inforce their doctrine and separates the State from promoting or denying any religious doctrine.

Some will argue that if you want insurance to cover something that the religiously affiliated Dr. or hospital doesn't support, you can just go to another Dr. or hospital. That was the argument on segregated schools, too. But, separate but equal was not a fact in schools and in the case of medical issues, all communities do not have choice, regardless of perceived quality.

When religion is allowed to dictate 'civil law' those laws become uncivil!

First of all, the Catholic hierarchy DOES care about religious freedom and DOES NOT block anyone’s right to pursue accessible healthcare, so stop with the lies. Unless, you just can’t help yourself, because with this pathetic post and others in the past, it is painfully obvious that you hate the Catholic Church.

Second, birth control measures (contraception and abortion) has nothing to do with women’s healthcare (it is well documented that a woman who has an abortion increases her risk of breast cancer) and shouldn’t be allowed to hide under the umbrella of healthcare – what it has to do with is the Left’s decades old obsession with population control. If you want to “roto-rooter” the baby out of you, then pay for it yourself. If you want to “pop” birth control pills, then pay for it yourself. But, I guess there are enough sick and twisted mines out there who think that child birth can introduce disease into the world and that pregnancy can bring about emotional and mental distress.

The timing of this Obamacare mandate from the White House is curious. It’s an election year, and Obama desperately wants to keep his job, but he has virtually nothing to run on except for hate and division. With all the talk of “faith” coming out of the Republican debates, it makes sense that Obama would take another swipe at the First Amendment by throwing this Obamacare order in the face of the Catholic Church. The fallout would generate more hate and division, thereby rallying his voter base to “circle the wagons” and come out to vote Democrat next November. Yes, it’s about birth control. Yes, it’s about unconstitutional edicts. But most of all, it’s all about a narcissistic man’s re-election efforts.

The truth is that the Catholic Church DOES have a great deal of power over a woman’s birth control decision, but not with a pen and the Oval Office, but with education, faith, and the truth!

A modest proposal.

The male-dominated Roman Catholic hierarchy, to actually illustrate its freedom, should refuse any and all taxpayer dollars in support of its hospitals and schools. Inasmuch as the "Church" should be free of government interference, the taxpayers in general should also be free of supporting the "Church." Fair enough?

Roman Catholic schools and hospitals, insurance groups, etc. should employ only official members of Roman Catholicism. The Pope should excommunicate the estimated 98 percent of Roman Catholic women, employees or simply communicants who routinely use birth control methods,advocate them or request free access to them. (Are women thumbing their noses at the Priest? Looks like it.)

As for Roe v. Wade, I've noted that the most vocal opponents of birth control and abortion under any and all circumstances are those unlikely to become pregnant are either men (Jonathan, for example) or women past menopause.. The official Roman Catholic position (and some among Protestant fundamentalists) is that once women are screwed, they must stay screwed.--no matter what. Male ego.

Frankly, more and more Roman Catholic women (and other women as well) are wearier and wearier of male-dominance over female bodies.

Incidentally, the rate of abortions per 1000 women has declined over several decades, principally because of sex education and birth control.

[The notion that abortion leads to breast cancer is NOT well-documented. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/reproductive-history ]

We, or at least I, welcome your comments and opinions. But, calling someone a liar is a pretty confrontational and divisive accusation.

Jonathan, you seem to think anyone who doesn't agree with you is a liar. Are you or your compatriots the only ones who have 'truth'? And, by the way, I don't 'hate' the Roman Catholic Church and I've not perceived that Vickie hates the church, Catholic or any other. She, along with many doubters have justifiable reason to question religion and how it is being used to control and limit the free will of not only women, but all of mankind. Yes, the Catholic church has a great deal of control over women, who wish to enjoy the blessings of the Catholic church. And quite frankly, there are a lot of women (protestant, evangelical conservative and non religious) who don't care whether they have the blessings of the Roman Catholic Church. As far as constitutionality, the church has no constitutional mandate or authority to control any women, or men, who are not constituents of that faith group.

You can't seem to keep your facts straight. In the same sentence, you say. "Birth control measures (contraception and abortion) has nothing to do with women’s healthcare (it is well documented that a woman who has an abortion increases her risk of breast cancer) — —". First you say it doesn't and then you say it does. Then you later say that child birth can't introduce disease into the world and that pregnancy can't bring about emotional and mental distress. No, you didn't say 'can't', but, you infer that anyone who thinks differently, from you, is not being truthful. Emotional and mental distress isn't an issue in pregnancy? Come on fella! That emotional and mental distress may not justify abortion, in your mind. But, I'll almost guarantee that any woman who has gone through a pregnancy might just disagree with you, about emotional and mental stress. And, if that distress has been serious enough, any decent and careing Dr. would advice against another pregnancy for that woman. Is celabacy the only option, then? How many kids have you got? That's none of my business, but just wondering.

It just might behoove us men to refrain from legislating what is acceptable in regards to women's submission to our religious or political edicts, concerning their bodies.

Your argument shows about as many holes as my patio cover does during a rain storm.

If the Pope should excommunicate those who routinely use birth control, then for the Pope to show consistency, he should excommunicate ALL sinners – including himself – because (the Pope included) we are ALL not above the state of sin. So, that's not going to work, is it?

“ . . . , they must stay screwed.” Since when is the miracle of child birth the same as getting screwed?

Unbelievable. Give me a break, Hooper.

No! The Catholic Church does NOT have a great deal of control over women who enjoy the blessings of the Church – you don’t know what you are talking about. You make it sound like Catholicism is some sort of dictatorship. Free will and personal responsibility abounds. And just for the record, being given permission to abort your child is not a blessing – it is sheer evil. But don’t take my word for it - I know many, many Catholic women you could ask, “Do you feel controlled or oppressed as a member of the Catholic faith?” I am confident every one of them would say, “Absolutely not!”

Garden variety abortions and contraception are not healthcare. Breast cancer is a healthcare issue. Smoking is not a healthcare issue – lung cancer and emphysema are. Clear as mud now?

We have 3 kids. My wife will gladly tell you that she has experienced much more emotional and mental stress having to deal with me and how to spend my paycheck, rather than dealing with 27 months of pregnancy. My job gives me emotional and mental stress – should I just quit and become dependent on the government? Reading Everyday Citizen gives me emotional and mental stress – should I stop reading it?

Sorry about your patio, and about your woeful patio and oranges argument.

I do agree that the Pope, the hierarchy writ large, and zealots like yourself have their shortcomings...one of which may be their attitude toward birth control that nearly all Roman Catholic women turn up their noses at. It is good of you to be so humble.

Incidentally, I've always wondered why Roman Catholic priests are commonly called "Father" (at least to their faces) since they have never had children of their own.

And absent in vitro fertilization (or immaculate conception, which seems to have gone out of favor), while I realize the word is colloquial in both uses, childbirth doesn't seem to occur without screwing (usage #1) and to intrude on the right of a screwed female to decide whether or not she brings to fruition a two-cell zygote through stages into a child she doesn't want, is to most women the very essence of big, intrusive government--and being "screwed" (usage #2) in the sense of being dictatorially commanded regarding here own body.

Most of us, myself included, are not PRO-abortion as you might frame it, but pro-choice --recognizing that the situation can be agonizing and the decision painful. You are free, of course, to offer your own opinion, but not to impose your opinion on others. Your wife can make her own decisions, and you can advise her as you wish. She can seek out others (with whom she can deal less stressfully) of her choice. But the decision belongs to her, not you, not the government, not the local priest, not the Cardinal, and not the Pope.

Sick. Disgusting.

(Pro-abortion. Pro-choice. All in the same.)

Pro-gun, pro-war, pro-death penalty...pro life?

I assume this lame little remark is directed toward me and conservatives at large.

Pro-gun, you bet. I’m all for the 2nd amendment, and libs need to just leave it alone. Does that mean I like to take my gun and shoot innocent people? Of course not. Maybe I like to collect guns, or maybe I like the sport of hunting and trap/skeet shooting. Or maybe I like to protect myself against home invasions.

Pro-war? Does that mean I think we should make war some sort of national pastime? Of course not. But, we do as a nation have the right to defend ourselves against foreign invaders, and that is the job of our federal government, under the guidelines of our Constitution, to declare war against those who want to take away our freedom and kill us. Unless, you don’t have any problem with an enemy like Nazi Germany, the Japanese Empire, or radical Islam completely running us over.

Pro-death penalty? My religious faith preaches against the death penalty, so I should show obedience to that. But let me say this – don’t we as a civil society have the right to protect ourselves against the Dennis Rader’s of the world who can’t stop stalking and killing innocent civilians? What do we do if the Dennis Rader types somehow escape prison only to kill again?

Pro-life, anti-abortion? You bet.

Sir, your argument is like the sentence structure you presented – fragmented.

I've had three kids and I can guarantee neither getting pregnant nor giving birth was a miracle. I love my kids with a love beyond reason, but the miracle was finding birth control pills so I wouldn't continue to have more kids. Who knew I was so fecund?

Actually, contraception is health care. Every pregnancy takes a toll on a woman's health. Jonathan, you have no idea. You're a man. You will never have that drain on your body.

As for Catholics, many of my friends are Catholics. One of them, the mother of seven children, is strongly pro-choice. She is also strongly pro-peace.

Here's my take on all this--there is no one way to live a life. If you are opposed to birth control, abortion, or women making decisions about their own bodies, don't use birth control, don't have an abortion, and since you're a man, you already have control over your own body.

Just as a side note--my dad taught me to shoot when I was a kid. Many of my friends have concealed carry permits. I don't care as long as they don't bring their guns to my house.

So, what? The 2nd Amendment guarrantees the right to own surface-to-air missles? A 50 calibur sniper weapon in the hands of a paranoid schizophrenic? Dennis Rader might be one example. Scott Roeder would be another. Point: the 2nd Amendment has its reasonable limits. More than many would admit, a gun fixation is often a phallic fixation.

Most would agree on the right and obligation of "our" government to defend the nation against foreign invaders. The threat of "radical Islam" is being hyped--the fear factor rules. Those that hate "us" mostly do so, not to take away our freedom writ large, but because our troops have bases in their lands, and the US government has supported too many tyrants to secure access to resources or commercial interests and, in doing so, has made enemies. It is hardly uncommon throughout history that "religion" is used as an intoxicant to justify and energize anything and everything but godly purposes. (Suggestion: read Michael Scheuer's book "Imperial hubris")

All men should have the right not to have abortions themselves (unless they choose) and no rights over women who feel otherwise for reasons they best understand.

Note the considerable disconnect here: the rabid right rabidicizes (coined word) about "big" government but wants a "big" government to rule over women's private parts

Come to think of it, it all fits the guns equal phallus profile. Ah,sex in the human bean.

Contraception is NOT healthcare. Viagra is NOT healthcare. I don’t care what Left-wing nut jobs like Boxer and Pelosi have to say about it. They don’t care about our health and wellbeing. All they (and their cohorts) care about is making you and me dependent on them and big government.

“The threat of ‘radical Islam’ is being hyped . . .” Ah yes, how quickly some of us forget about what happened on 9/11/2001. Hooper, you (and unfortunately so many others) are seriously clueless. As soon as you can pull your head out of the sand, you need to read “The Grand Jihad” by Andy McCarthy. Don’t wait for another 9/11 style attack. We still are at war with these bastards.

I would pick up McCarthy's book with a shovel and deposit it.
Scheuer (Imperial hubris: why the west is losing the war on terror) is a former CIA agent whose primary job was to profile Bin Laden and followers and determine what drove them to desperation. That, says Michael Scheuer, is critical for Americans to understand. While the threat of terrorist acts cannot be dismissed, multi-national police work is up to the job of dealing with it. The Bush administration, had they listened to advice from the previous administration, might have prevented 9/11 with good police work as well. But even afterward, the declaration of a "preventative war" (illegal and unnecessary) against Iraq just has made the problem worse.
A similar adventure against Iran will be worse yet.

Vickie, are we circumventing the real issue? How in the world did we get from "The Church Cannot Control the Women" to a debate over terrorism and Iraq?

There should be nothing negative in being Pro Choice. I can personally be against abortion, until I am involved in a personal choice. Then 'situation ethics' comes into play. I can be Pro Life until murder enters the scene and it is close to me, then I may see justice in requiring a life for a life. If I am Pro Life and the medical experts point out that mother and fetus cannot co-exist. Now, which life do I choose? Who should be involved in that choice?

I have a very strong opinion that demands 'Separation of Church & State'. Does that in any way make me Anti Religion? It simply means that I don't want State supporting or hindering any religious group.

I absolutely believe in Freedom OF Religion. And freedom of religion can only exist if we have freedom from religion.

I don't think women should have dictatorial say in whether I get 'fixed' or I take 'enhancing drugs' or who I can become intimate with. Neither do I think men should have dictatorial power over womens reproductive systems or intimate relationships.

Pro Choice is (in my religious interpretation) a gift given by God or nature (if you will) and it means just exactly that YOU CHOOSE, so long as your choices do not take unfair advantage of others freedom of choice and well being. The collective voice of society will have a decided influence as to defining unfair advantage. And the collective voice of society is arrived at by the diversity of that society. Our system of government is (supposedly) designed to protect the minorities from the majority, just as much as it is to protect the majority from a minority.

The Catholic Church nor the Baptist Church nor the No Church is free to enforce their theology or denial of theo deity on everyone else.

And, quite frankly, it is very difficult to believe that theology is not leading the fight over women's freedom of choice in matters that should be private between themselves and whoever they choose to seek counsel or direction from.

Yes, I think we have traveled a bit off the path but Ken this posting is excellent. Unfortuntely, we can provide one good reason after another until we are blue but there are always going to be individuals who take a position based upon their claims that it violates their God or beliefs and therefore it is wrong and will not budge.

And, that is exactly the problem, allowing one's faith to trump all other facts and arguments. I don't feel comfortable ever using religion in that manner because if you do this-debate is closed and I don't want to live in a society controlled by someone else's faith but a society where we are free to act according to our own conscience (as you state without harming others) and I beleive at the end of the day, a mother must decided if she lives or if she wants to risk her life and give birth. I don't think the state has a right to make that call and I certainly don't think a religion has the right to force that decision on ALL women.

Religions can certainly embrace the prolife position for their own flock, but demanding everyone else do the same is religious absolutism and if that is the case we would never be able to call ourselves a free society under the yoke of another man's faith.

Jonathan pretty well cuts off rational discussion by referring to those who disagree with him as "nuts" or by saying they "need to pull their heads out of the sand." Where's the rationality in any of that rhetoric?

"This is 2012, and if the Church wants to operate its facilities within a secular state, they must obey the laws like everyone else. "

Just a clarification - this contraception issue isn't a LAW. Its a regulation created by HHS. And HHS has issued lots and lots and lots of WAIVERS to its other regulations over the past year. Right? But a waiver in this case would be inappropriate because...?

"And, that is exactly the problem, allowing one's faith to trump all other facts and arguments."

While that may be what some commenters have done, is that what the church or conservatives at large have done here? Is there no argument against what the govt is doing other than a faith based argument? Or have you allowed someone else using faith as an arguing point trump all their other facts and arguments?

"I don't feel comfortable ever using religion in that manner because if you do this-debate is closed and I don't want to live in a society controlled by someone else's faith but a society where we are free to act according to our own conscience (as you state without harming others)"

Except, isn't this mandate causing the church to act against its own conscience?

"I don't think the state has a right to make that call and I certainly don't think a religion has the right to force that decision on ALL women."

Anyone that supports the healthcare insurance mandate on a Commerce Clause basis has granted the state the right to "make that call". You may feel comfortable for now that the state is on your side, but how about if the other party controls the govt?

"Religions can certainly embrace the prolife position for their own flock, but demanding everyone else do the same is religious absolutism and if that is the case we would never be able to call ourselves a free society under the yoke of another man's faith."

They aren't demanding everyone else embrace the prolife position. They want to be able to embrace it personally, without the government's interference.

If there is truly a concern with access to healthcare, particularly among low income women, just think what would be the consequence if these religious hospitals shut down.

Ken,most conversations eventually leave the track. On the other hand, emotionally, the issues are related, I'd say. The common denominator here is machismo.

By the way, I'll soon post a note to the Ogallala blog regarding the difference between water appropriation permits and real estate deeds. I'll be interested in your response. BH

On the pro-choice issue, Vicki has it right, I'd say.

Yes, Bob, conversations quite often leave the track. Usually it is to avoid honest discussion that addresses the original subject.

And yes typical male behavior is stupid at times. The male members of most animal species, which man is a member of, are continually in contention for dominance not only over other males but also the females in their species.

As for the 'water issue'. You still have not defined exactly what the legislators were calling 'real property right' in regards to appropriation rights. No, it does not give title to the water in the aquifer. But it does give title to an appropriated amount withdrawn from that aquifer for a specific purpose and in a specific quantity.

The issue of settling the argument over water rights and women's rights will both be ultimately decided by the courts. If the court rules against my opinion, I will reserve the right to declare the judge as being an 'activist' judge.

I don't always agree with either you or Vickie, but we are all three in agreement more of the time than not. We might, (notice I said 'might') have less conflict in the world if everyone would just agree with me! Now that is NOT machismo, or is it?

"Now that is NOT machismo, or is it?"

In your case, an accurate diagnosis would be addiction.

To ALL before we close shop on this one.

Secularism. It’s kind of ironic that the above article touches 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 and 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.

Do I understand Jonathan and Diane correctly--that they both believe the Federal government exceded its authority 150 years ago when all plural marriage by members of the Mormon religion were outlawed in the Utah Territory? Were the First Amendment rights of my great-grandfather (and Mitt Romney's grandfather)denied by imprisoning my great-grandfather until one of his wives died (leaving him with the legal number) and forcing Mitt's grandfather to move to Mexico with his four wives to avoid imprisonment? Do both of you believe Muslims in America should be allowed more than one wife? Or does the federal government have the right (and duty) to outlaw only dogma YOU don't find appropriate? Was the institutional racism practiced by Mormons until the mid seventies really divinely inspired and then God changed his mind?--or did pressure from the Feds cause the mucks in the Morman church to rethink their dogma? When the "prophets"(the bishops, the Pope, the heirarchy) of the Catholic Church were proven wrong about the Earth being the center of the universe (it's not even the center of our solar system) they were proven to be false prophets and their opinions to be not from God, but from men and therefore without divine inspiration--their opinions are no more valid than mine--their dogma is made-up crap with no more validity than any of the made-up crap of any of the other hundreds of religions that claim to worship "the One True God"--any religion that has been touched by the hands of men is a religion of men--not a religion of God. BUT--as religions, they are protected from government control by the first amendment--although the first amendment does not give them the right to violate U. S. law. Even if it is a silly law about health insurance, and who pays for what coverage--not nearly as threatening as "you MUST divorce all but one of your wives or go to prison" even if your teachings allow more than one wife and absolutely do not allow divorce.

Secularism is not a religion but the opposite. A religion-to be a religion, has to have some belief in a supernatural being and secularism most certainly does not believe in an invisible force that is all powerful, all knowing, all seeing etc., but is simply a state without ties to religious orders, teachings or sacred ideas.

I do think Jonathan did hit on what is really going on. Many within the Church as well as conservative Christians feel very threatened by any institution, philosophy or idea that run's counter to their doctrines thus, they are unable to admit the obvious i.e. childbrith and pregnancy are of course, healthcare issues not religious issues, and refuse to admit that contraceptives have done more to save women from an early grave or miserable pain and suffering. It is prescribed for many reasons besides birth control-which is a health issue i.e. too many pregnancies cause all kinds of serious health issues for women: strokes, bladder issues, etc., thus no matter how you slice it-this pill has made a woman's life free from so many untold healthcare problems and miseries.

Believe it, some conservative Christians are at war against the very secular state that has protected them from harm-a secular state where religious freedom in America allows these same individuals to practice their faith even as they nip at its heels while biting the hand that feeds it the freedom it desires. What conservative christians want is their way or the highway. They do not want to co-exist, they want to destroy the secular state because they somehow believe a Christian nation will be a perfect world. We had Christian nations before-during the Inquistions,France, Italy, England, Russia, and these were not ideal governments or societies. The founders were well aware of the problems of allowing religion to dictate civil policy and wisely rejected clerics from political power in this nation. We do not have a Third Estate as they did in France with the clergy, or a president who is "Defender of the Faith" and for that, it has made all the difference in the spirit and freedom of this nation to exist without sectarian violence and religion has prospered.

And lastly, regarding hosptials, keep in mind that "for profit" hospitals have a hard time competiting against not-for-profit hospitals because not for profits receive more funding from other sources that are not available to "for profit" hospitals. I can assure you there are many citizens who wish their community had hospitals who were not affilated with a religious faith, when some medical services are not available in those religious affiliated hospitals and they have to go to the next town to receive that healthcare. Not real convenient for women, to say the least.

Bo--I don't care how many wives a man has or how many husbands a woman has. I've practiced serial monogamy myself and I'm glad I've been free to do so. I do believe the feds must step in when people are being discriminated against (African-Americans, other minorities. and women). I also believe government has a role in protecting people, especially the most vulernable among us, such as children, people in domestic violence situations, and the disabled.

As far as the religious being threatened, given how much latitude the religious have to do whatever they want, I think that's a laugh. I was among who testified before the USD 259 school board a few years asking them to keep the In God We Trust posters out of the classrooms. Not everyone trusts in a deity, nor does everyone have to. Someone it's supposed to be a feel-good thing to have that motto on the wall. What it does is diminish the power of any deity a person might believe in to the status of a Pepsi-Cola ad. I speak as a teacher and instructor who assigned readings from the Bible in my classes--after all, the Bible is literature and it's also a historical document. I also assigned readings from holy books so that my students could get a sense of what religion was.

When people whine and moan about attacks on the church, I have to ask how many of them are barred from entering their churches or synagogues or mosques to worship. How many of them have been rounded up, sent to concentration camps, and killed outright or worked to death because of their faith? As far as I know, not a one. The religious worship without interference, they stand on college campuses and hand out their little green Bibles, as they assume, of course, that we don't already have Bibles in our offices and our homes, and they preach at us every chance they get. If I, as a Unitarian Universalist, preached my beliefs the way Christians do, I would be run out of town on a rail.

Vickie, this eccentric, confused, and frustrated old man is going to declare that we, the progressive liberals on this issue, have won the debate!!! Does anyone disagree with that judgment? Of course they do! Keep right on debating.

I hope we get a few rebutals or challenges to that declaration. But, we don't need any more demands for quotes or links to back up our opinions, unless we start seeing some links and direct quotes from the opposition to back up their sources of information. We don't need to hear how we hate the Roman Catholic Church or anyone or anything else. There is ample evidence without citing 'links' to prove that there is extreme hate behind the opposition to Prsident Obama and others who are labeled as the liberal socialists. I don't need specific links to know that their are some who are anti Christian and some who are anti secular and some who are feminists and some who are chauvinists, etc. etc. All we need is your opinion and a little background as to why your opinion should be considered. Neither side needs to be called stupid, prejudice, hatefull, liars, or whatever.

I'm quite sure that the 'liberals' posting on this site are about as well read and educated as the 'conservatives'. I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I do know that I read and listen to both sides of the political issues. I, perhaps, know a little more about Roman Catholic doctrine, dogma, etc. than some people might think. I'm not ignorant about Islam, Mormonism, Deism, etc. I do know a little about history, both religious and political. That doesn't make me the expert that can declare anyone else ignorant, misinformed, or even insinuate that they are liars when they disagree with me. I'm not inclined to call my opposition 'nut cases' or fools, etc.

What I would like to hear or read are some comments that don't appear to be parroting Beck, Limbaugh, the Pope, James Dobson, etc. I can't claim that every opinion or idea I express is absolutely original from me without influence from someone else. I don't need to provide exact quotes or links to every source of information I use to form my opinions. And, I don't demand anyone else to provide footnotes or credits as to where they get their information.

“ . . . too many pregnancies cause all kinds of serious health issues for women: strokes, bladder issues, etc.” Is that right – I’ve always assumed that serious health issues, like the ones you’ve described (it would be interesting to know what exactly the “etc.” part entails), had more to do with poor genetics and “plain old not taking care of yourself,” rather than bringing lots of babies into the world. Unless you can provide a link to a credible case study to back up your assertion, I’m going to consider your assertion just a myth.

FYI; I know 3 women (one of which is my sister-in-law) who have given birth 13 plus times, and none of them walk around town trying to hide a catheter tube and collector bag.

I made a mistake in an earlier comment relating abortion to breast cancer. The true relationship was made by a Mayo Clinic study that showed a significant increased risk in pre-menopausal breast cancer and the use of the “pill” – OCPs are not quite the wonder drug you make them out to be.

I’ll tell you what I will believe Ms. Vickie - granted, some conservative Christians do think they’re at war with pro-choice groups and secularism, but it is not this so-called “secular state” that has protected us from harm, but rather a strong national defense, the U.S. Constitution, faith, and most importantly “prayer,” that has protected us from evil and harm – believe it.

Thank you Jonathan for granting that 'some' conservative Christians do think the're at war — —. I'm actively involved with a 'few' religious groups that include Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, and 'several' others. (It's improper to use 'etc.' ?? ) You're 'some' are either quite loud or they are considerable in number.

What do you think about smoking and alchohol consumpsion. I've known a couple old fellas that either had a cigarette or cigar in their mouth from the time they got out of bed till they got into bed. They reached the century mark before checking out of this old world. I also had a neighbor that never had a sober moment for 80 years. That should indicate that nicotene and alchohol are not to be blamed for anyone's health problems! I've also known a few women who had 12 or 15 kids and they lived active lives to enjoy over a hundred grand and great grand kids. But, I can name 2 or 3 women who didn't heed their Dr's warning to not have another pregnancy that died with a couple kids under 6 years of age. They didn't get a chance for their genetics to work. My mother lived to over 100 and was exceptionaly healthy right up to the end. She gave birth to 7 kids, milked cows, carried 100lb bags of feed, pitched bundles, inhaled grit and dust in the dirt storms of the '30s (she worked like a horse and it didn't hurt her much). That indicates my genetics are so good that I don't have to heed any warnings about things that might harm my health? If I have proper Christian faith, live by your interpretation of the constitution and we maintain a military force that exceeds the rest of the world, put together, I definitely have no worry about not matching my mother's longevity.

My faith gives me assurance of a greater eternal reward than anything I can imagine here on earth. But it doesn't assure me of a healthy, prosperous, carefree existance here on earth. Society (which includes all faiths), government, the church, and you can influence my life in ways that enhance my existance as well as withhold or restrain me from equal protection and freedom.

Still so much misinformation out there - , " A study, published in the Dec. 8 issue of The Lancet, researchers reviewed birth control studies, and found women who take the pill have a 12 percent lower overall death rate than women who don't. They also found risk of developing ovarian and endometrial cancers fell by up to 60 percent in pill users compared with women who have never taken it. The cancer protection lasted for 20 years, suggesting a clear long-term benefit of taking the pill, the authors said."

What makes this particular study so compelling is that it was long range. Not some few months but years of study. In fact, the study was so important that women are now encouraged to utilize birth control pills for cancer prevention never mind contraception. These are facts.

I believe health insurance should be for major, unexpected health issues and not for predictable, periodic health maintenance. To include expected, predictable expenses is more of an income transfer design, a transfer either from one time to the next or from one person to another -- and that's too expensive.

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