Why should President Obama have thought the Catholic Church was serious?

From the Lonely Conservative:


Internal White House Debate on Catholics and Contraception Shows Obama Will Never Be a Moderate


February 10, 2012 | By

Some people think that if we elect a conservative Senate and House that President Obama will have no choice but to compromise with Republicans. Well, think again. Look no farther than the internal debate within the White House on the rule mandating Catholic universities and organizations to provide free contraceptives to employees.  According to ABC News, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Vice President Joe Biden – all Catholics – warned him against this. He didn’t listen. Despite the known political fallout, Obama went with the far left.

The debate within the White House on this issue was, sources say, heated, and President Obama was legitimately torn. Panetta wasn’t alone in his concerns. For months, Vice President Joe Biden and then-White House chief of staff Bill Daley argued internally against the rule, sources tell ABC News. Biden and Daley didn’t think the rule was right on either the policy or the politics, sources said. Joshua Dubois, head of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, also expressed concern.

The policy was wrong, the two Catholic men, Biden and Daley, argued, saying that the Obama administration couldn’t force religious charities to pay for something they think is a sin. Sources say that Biden and Daley in these internal debates emphasized the political fallout more so than the policy issue. Catholics are the ultimate swing voters, they argued. President Obama won the Catholic vote 54-46% in 2008, but he lost among white Catholics 47-53%, according to exit polls.

But Biden and Daley faced a strong group making the case for the rule within the administration – including Catholics such as senior adviser David Plouffe and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, senior White House advisers Valerie Jarrett and Pete Rouse, and then-domestic policy council director Melody Barnes. Others outside the White House also pushed hard for the rule, including former White House communications director Anita Dunn, Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards. (Some of the details of this internal division were first reported yesterday by Bloomberg’s Mike Dorning and Margaret Talev.)

Read the whole thing. According to the article, Plouffe, Sebelius and Jarrett were arguing for this assault on religious freedom based on “science,” saying birth control saves lives. But we all know it had nothing to do with science – women are still free to purchase birth control. It was about appeasing the abortion lobby and ginning up the base before the election.

In this case, it’s looking like they pushed the envelope just a little bit too far.

What I find ironic is that so many Catholic organizations were so gung-ho for Obamacare, and are now shocked that Obama would cross this line. Hello!

Hat tip to The Other McCain.

The Catholic Church is very much on the political left on economic issues,1 and has been very supportive of the idea of guaranteed health care coverage for everybody. It was never a surprise that the Church would support the proposals for universal health care coverage after Barack Obama was elected, though the bishops should have seen this coming with the way the Stupak Amendment was treated during the passage of the Affordable Care Act: it was accepted and used just long enough to get the bill through the House of Representatives, but once that was accomplished, it was deleted from the final bill.

However, if you read Jake Tapper's original, it is unsurprising that President Obama, who is not Catholic, and the other non-Catholic liberals in his Administration, did not anticipate this fight. The Catholics who did foresee the fight — Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and former Chief of Staff William Daley — were “Catholics” who oppose the Church's position on contraception and abortion, while other supposed Catholics, including Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and every Catholic Democrat in the United States Senate — including the supposedly pro-life Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) — either support full abortion rights or at the very least conveniently get out of the Democrats' way when abortion is the subject. The history of the Stupak Amendment, in which then Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI), a pro-life Catholic, was essentially bought off by the promise of an executive order, something which this President or any of his successors can rescind at any point, without any check on his authority. The Catholic bishops, though they did protest the removal of the Stupak Amendment and the substitution of Executive Order 13535, were still happy to have the health care reform bill passed. On so many other issues, the Church takes a politically liberal position.

Why, then, should we have expected a supposedly Protestant Christian, who appears to be more more secular and political in outlook than religious, to believe that the Catholic bishops and Catholic parishioners would actually be serious in their opposition? Why shouldn't such a man have concluded that any opposition would have been pro-forma and easily pushed aside? Now, having has realized that, hey, these guys were actually serious, the President is attempting to placate them with a proposal which amounts to nothing more than a shift in language: the Catholic institutions wouldn't have to pay for contraception, but the insurers with whom they contract would have to pay, as though somehow the insurance companies would simply accept increased costs without passing them on in the form of increased premiums.2 Given that he was able to buy off the pro-life Democrats like Bart Stupak and Bob Casey with the mess of pottage that is his executive order, why shouldn't he think that he could placate the bishops with meaningless words? As Benjamin Keach put it, 323 years ago:3

    I know not whether those who did our Rights betray,
    And for a mess of Pottage, sold away
    Our dear bought Freedoms, shall now trusted be,
    As Conservators of our Libertie.

Our President, canny politician that he is, surely knows that such has worked before, for many, many other people, as well as for himself.

_________________________________

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  1. Your editor, who is Catholic, would also be on the political left on economic issues, being the charitable soul that he is, if liberal economics and the welfare state actually worked. He is an economic conservative precisely because liberal economics, socialism and the welfare state don't work to provide a better and wealthier society.

  2. In his proposal, President Obama showed just how ignorant and amateurish his Administration is: many of the larger Catholic institutions, especially hospitals, are self-insured, meaning that even under the new language, they would have to pay directly for contraception, including abortifacients such as “Plan B.” That fact renders the President's proposal useless, even if the Church were willing to look the other way when it comes to outside insurers, but it appears as though not a single soul in the Administration was aware of the self-insurance problem.
  3. Benjamin Keach, Distressed Sion Relieved, line 3300. (London, 1689)

39 Comments

  1. The “fight”, which the President set up either accidentally or with political purpose, has been put to rest by his compromise supported by a majority of Americans and Catholics alike.

    This compromise removes the mandate that health care coverage include contraception, and that the coverage by insurers be free for those who want it.

    And if you think about the “free” part, this makes sense because the insurance companies benefit from having to cover fewer and much more expensive services for pre-natal, birth, and post-natal care.

    Andrew Sullivan has written an excellent piece on this subject of contraception, tying this issue in with gay civil unions, planned parent hood, and tax fairness, which is discussed here.

  2. WW writes

    The “fight”, which the President set up either accidentally or with political purpose, has been put to rest by his compromise supported by a majority of Americans and Catholics alike.

    No, it hasn’t been “put to rest.” Nothing is “free.” Insurance cos. will put the cost somewhere, and chances are it will fall back to those who pay for the insurance in the first place — the employers.

    And if you think about the “free” part, this makes sense because the insurance companies benefit from having to cover fewer and much more expensive services for pre-natal, birth, and post-natal care.

    Right. Because, of course, if one’s insurance doesn’t cover contraception, one automatically just tosses away the idea of using birth control at all and as such will take one’s chances w/o it. *Sheesh.*

    Andrew Sullivan has written an excellent piece on this subject of contraception, tying this issue in with gay civil unions, planned parent hood, and tax fairness, which is discussed here.

    I’m sure you’d be very interested in an article written by an extreme rightist Birther, right, WW? Since we know you wouldn’t, why should we be interested in something written by a Trig Palin conspiracy theorist?

  3. Wagonwheel says:
    February 12, 2012 at 09:41 (Edit)

    The “fight”, which the President set up either accidentally or with political purpose, has been put to rest by his compromise supported by a majority of Americans and Catholics alike.

    This compromise removes the mandate that health care coverage include contraception, and that the coverage by insurers be free for those who want it.

    And if you think about the “free” part, this makes sense because the insurance companies benefit from having to cover fewer and much more expensive services for pre-natal, birth, and post-natal care.

    What if the Diocese is self-insured? What Insurance company “pays” for the “Free” stuff. I always like how liberals, progressives, socialists are generous with other people’s money.

  4. WW wrote:

    The “fight”, which the President set up either accidentally or with political purpose, has been put to rest by his compromise supported by a majority of Americans and Catholics alike.

    This compromise removes the mandate that health care coverage include contraception, and that the coverage by insurers be free for those who want it.

    Apparently you haven’t been keeping up with the news: the bishops have rejected the so-called compromise.

    One wonders how the Ave Maria Fund, a mutual fund company which stresses Catholic values and which restricts its investments to corporations which do not violate Catholic values, but which is completely separate from the Church, would be treated. Ave Maria Funds specifically exclude all investment with corporations which are involved in abortion, but the President’s new regulation would force them to provide insurance which covers the “Plan B” “morning after” abortifacient drugs.

    A real compromise would be along the lines of saying that the United States would prefer that insurance covered contraception, and attempt to point out that contraceptive coverage might, in the long run, reduce their total costs, but not attempt to force the issue. If the insurance companies are persuaded that providing contraceptive services would reduce their eventual total costs, then it would become a rational business decision to provide them. The President could even offer, as a compromise, that the regulation isn’t providing free contraception, but that the insurers must pay all costs for childbirth, with no deductibles or co-pays, which would change the calculation on the costs of contraception vis a vis delivery even more in the direction of providing contraception. Then, the insurance companies would have to have a contraception/non-contraception set of plans, to meet the objections of religious institutions, with the contraception-providing coverage being less expensive.

    Now, that is not to be taken as a statement that I am advocating such a compromise, because what I am advocating is the complete repeal of the ObaminableCare law in the first place. All it is is a statement of where a compromise could be reached that the Church would certainly find not only acceptable, but would gladly embrace.

  5. “What if the Diocese is self-insured? What Insurance company “pays” for the “Free” stuff. I always like how liberals, progressives, socialists are generous with other people’s money.”

    The point is, that contraceptives reduce pregnancies and births, which are more expensive than the contraceptives alone, thus a net saving for the health insurance company. From the standpoint of the insurers, where is the downside to providing contraceptives free of charge?

    “Apparently you haven’t been keeping up with the news: the bishops have rejected the so-called compromise.”

    Of course, the bishops are happy to force their dogma on the rest of us, if they can. Recall that they are totally opposed to contraception, any kind, (other than the rhythm method), period. I see the bishops being big government advocates, an irony really, since we look on them as Conservatives. Of course, they wish to conserve their anachronistic dogmas, and define the breaking thereof as sins which must be confessed to a priest in order to be forgiven. Individual choice is an anathema to Roman Catholic Bishops, as they wish to impose their dogmas on their sheep, with no back-talk permitted.

    “Ave Maria Funds specifically exclude all investment with corporations which are involved in abortion, but the President’s new regulation would force them to provide insurance which covers the “Plan B” “morning after” abortifacient drugs.”

    First of all, Ave Maria Funds would come under the Obama compromise, I would think, since it is a religiously affiliated institution: “Under the new plan, religiously affiliated institutions will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees. Insurers will be required, however, to offer complete coverage free of charge to any women who work at such institutions.”

    If the insurer is a religiously affiliated institution which provides health insurance to its employees, then they would not be required to offer free coverage for contraceptives.

    Secondly, to call the morning after pill an “abortifacient” drug is a real stretch, since the egg either has not been fertilized, or if fertilized, the fertilized egg has not yet been implanted such that it can be nourished and grow. Therefore I argue that it is a contraceptive in the same sense that a condom or diaphragm are contraceptives. In other words, on the morning after, conception has not yet occurred, thus the morning after pill is a contra ceptive. Are we to use the abortifacient term as being applicable to a couple who chose to apply the rhythm method? I mean, isn’t the rhythm method also perventing conception? This shows how really silly the Roman Catholic dogma is on this issue.

  6. Wagonwheel says:
    February 12, 2012 at 13:37 (Edit)

    “What if the Diocese is self-insured? What Insurance company “pays” for the “Free” stuff. I always like how liberals, progressives, socialists are generous with other people’s money.”

    The point is, that contraceptives reduce pregnancies and births, which are more expensive than the contraceptives alone, thus a net saving for the health insurance company. From the standpoint of the insurers, where is the downside to providing contraceptives free of charge?

    WW, the point you are missing is the First Amendment where these organizations will be forced to break their religious freedoms.

  7. “WW, the point you are missing is the First Amendment where these organizations will be forced to break their religious freedoms.”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/10/politics/contraception-controversy/index.html

    —-
    Under the new plan announced by Obama, religiously affiliated universities and hospitals will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees. Insurers will be required, however, to offer complete coverage free of charge to any women who work at such institutions. Women who work at churches, though, will have no guarantee of such contraception coverage — a continuation of current law.
    —-

    How exactly is it breaking their religious freedom?

    Jewish law forbids eating bacon. If someone who works for a Jewish hospital eats bacon during their lunch time, does this violate Jewish freedom of religion as well?

  8. Miss Nova, you have it backwards. The Jewish hospital, assuming it keeps kosher, would not be obligated to provide that bacon sandwich, but could not prevent someone from bringing something non-kosher to work for his lunch.

    I saw, somewhere, a silly discussion about a hospital serving pork to a Muslim patient, as an example. Hospitals have dietary staffs, and there are all sorts of special diets and restricted diets that patients may have. All that would be required is for the hospital dietary staff to be notified that a certain patient can’t have pork — the reason need not be given — and that patient’s meals will not include the forbidden foods.

    However, if a patient insists on kosher foods, and the hospital doesn’t keep kosher, the patient’s family may have to bring in those foods for such a patient.

    Similarly, a Catholic employer couldn’t prevent an employee from using contraception, or even from having an abortion, but the Catholic employer should not be obligated to provide such or pay for such.

  9. WW wrote:

    First of all, Ave Maria Funds would come under the Obama compromise, I would think, since it is a religiously affiliated institution: “Under the new plan, religiously affiliated institutions will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees. Insurers will be required, however, to offer complete coverage free of charge to any women who work at such institutions.”

    No, actually: Ave Maria Funds is run by laymen, and though it adheres to the teachings of the Church, it is not affiliated with the Church.

    If the insurer is a religiously affiliated institution which provides health insurance to its employees, then they would not be required to offer free coverage for contraceptives.

    This is where we see the difference: you see that as reasonable, because you don’t agree with the Church’s teachings, but the bishops clearly find the President’s suggested compromise unacceptable.

    Secondly, to call the morning after pill an “abortifacient” drug is a real stretch, since the egg either has not been fertilized, or if fertilized, the fertilized egg has not yet been implanted such that it can be nourished and grow. Therefore I argue that it is a contraceptive in the same sense that a condom or diaphragm are contraceptives. In other words, on the morning after, conception has not yet occurred, thus the morning after pill is a contra ceptive. Are we to use the abortifacient term as being applicable to a couple who chose to apply the rhythm method? I mean, isn’t the rhythm method also perventing conception? This shows how really silly the Roman Catholic dogma is on this issue.

    The Church disagrees, and the morning after pill is designed to prevent the implantation after conception; the Church certainly sees it as an abortifacient, and I agree. Of course, you sort of backhandedly agreed with my point with your last sentence: you define the Church’s position as silly, as though you — or the government — is somehow the arbiter of whether what a church hold to be true is silly or not. It is not, and should not be, your decision.

  10. WW wrote:

    Of course, the bishops are happy to force their dogma on the rest of us, if they can. Recall that they are totally opposed to contraception, any kind, (other than the rhythm method), period. I see the bishops being big government advocates, an irony really, since we look on them as Conservatives. Of course, they wish to conserve their anachronistic dogmas, and define the breaking thereof as sins which must be confessed to a priest in order to be forgiven. Individual choice is an anathema to Roman Catholic Bishops, as they wish to impose their dogmas on their sheep, with no back-talk permitted.

    Is the Church attempting to make artificial contraception illegal? Yes, the Church holds that artificial contraception is sinful, but you don’t see the Archbishop of Philadelphia pushing for a law to make such illegal.

  11. “WW, the point you are missing is the First Amendment where these organizations will be forced to break their religious freedoms.”

    Right, Yorkshire, I should have specified private insurers not affiliated with Catholic institutions and/or enterprises. The compromise plan does not mandate that these Catholic institutions/enterprises need provide coverage of contraceptives.

  12. “Miss Nova, you have it backwards. The Jewish hospital, assuming it keeps kosher, would not be obligated to provide that bacon sandwich, but could not prevent someone from bringing something non-kosher to work for his lunch.”

    —-
    Under the new plan announced by Obama, religiously affiliated universities and hospitals will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees.
    —-

    “Similarly, a Catholic employer couldn’t prevent an employee from using contraception, or even from having an abortion, but the Catholic employer should not be obligated to provide such or pay for such.”

    —-
    Insurers will be required, however, to offer complete coverage free of charge to any women who work at such institutions.
    —-

    “Is the Church attempting to make artificial contraception illegal?”

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/mcconnell-gop-will-push-to-let-any-employer-deny-contraception-coverage.php

    —-
    Not satisfied with President Obama’s new religious accommodation, Republicans will move forward with legislation by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that permits any employer to deny birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Sunday.
    —-

  13. “Is the Church attempting to make artificial contraception illegal? Yes, the Church holds that artificial contraception is sinful, but you don’t see the Archbishop of Philadelphia pushing for a law to make such illegal.”

    No they don’t, so you are correct.

    But it is against church doctrine to practice “artificial contraception”, which if you think about it is a dictatorial stance, especially nowadays when most people ignore the dictate, regardless of what the Church says. I understand that the original intent of the doctrine was to populate the world with Catholics; in other words, it was a political motivation.

    I find it ironic that one who has strong Libertarian leanings, like yourself, that you would agree to dictates of this kind. So you were right earlier, that I don’t understand this phenomenon, when it involves practices that make no common sense at all. Regarding self-discipline, I think we can focus on that as individuals, perhaps with the guidance of the church, but without the dictates.

  14. “Not satisfied with President Obama’s new religious accommodation, Republicans will move forward with legislation by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that permits any employer to deny birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Sunday.”

    That’s exactly right, Anna Nova. So much for their claims of small government. It’s big government when they oppose something, but not big government when are in favor, a double standard based strictly on politics.

  15. MS. Nova:
    “Is the Church attempting to make artificial contraception illegal?”

    The answer to that question is NO. Under the First Amendment the Constitution guarantees that it will not be “prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”. What is happening here is the Federal Government is dictating how a Church or affiliated groups must do something against their religion. And that is prohibited in what is called the Establishment Clause. It would no different than the Government telling Muslims they can not build Mosques or practice their religion. The Catholic Church would fight along the side of the Muslims to prevent that.

    Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    This Amendment stems from when the British established the Church of England with the Monarch as the head of it. The Founding Dads did not want the mixing of Religion and Civil Government.

  16. “What is happening here is the Federal Government is dictating how a Church or affiliated groups must do something against their religion.”

    —-
    Under the new plan announced by Obama, religiously affiliated universities and hospitals will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees.
    —-

    “And that is prohibited in what is called the Establishment Clause. It would no different than the Government telling Muslims they can not build Mosques or practice their religion”

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=494&invol=872

    —-
    The Free Exercise Clause permits the State to prohibit sacramental peyote use and thus to deny unemployment benefits to persons discharged for such use. Pp. 876-890.

    (a) Although a State would be “prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]” in violation of the Clause if it sought to ban the performance of (or abstention from) physical acts solely because of their religious motivation, the Clause does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a law that incidentally forbids (or requires) the performance of an act that his religious belief requires (or forbids) if the law is not specifically directed to religious practice and is otherwise constitutional as applied to those who engage in the specified act for nonreligious reasons. See, e. g., Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145, 166 -167. The only decisions in which this Court has held that the First Amendment bars application of a neutral, generally applicable law to religiously motivated action are distinguished on the ground that they involved not the Free Exercise Clause alone, but that [494 U.S. 872, 873] Clause in conjunction with other constitutional protections. See, e. g., Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 304 -307; Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 . Pp. 876-882.
    —-

  17. Wagonwheel says:
    February 12, 2012 at 17:53 (Edit)

    “WW, the point you are missing is the First Amendment where these organizations will be forced to break their religious freedoms.”

    Right, Yorkshire, I should have specified private insurers not affiliated with Catholic institutions and/or enterprises. The compromise plan does not mandate that these Catholic institutions/enterprises need provide coverage of contraceptives.

    This is where practically every Democrat, Liberal, Socialist (read “Progressive”) has absolutely no idea what the US Constitution says. Absolutely no understanding of what the US Constitution says.

    The pertinent Amendment (in fact the very first of the Amendments deemed necessary before several of the 13 States would even consider ratifying the US Constitution) in its entirety:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    You can find the link to the US Constitution online by following my name to my site and scanning my “Worthwhile Links” section.

    I highlighted the pertinent part of the Amendment. Just so you on the fringe Left (WagonWheel) understand, I highlighted the very first part of the very first Amendment, which was necessary before various of the 13 States would even consider voting for it! That means it was absolutely, and extremely important to the regular people of the United States that that be very, extremely, clear.

    And what does that highlighted part say?

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

    There is nothing in that absolute restriction on Government (it is understood, through reading the US Constitution, that only Congress can make laws) that says the US Government can make a law restricting someone’s religious freedom, so long as that someone isn’t a recognized organization. If I, as a secular business owner and not a Church, deem abortifacients to be immoral and murderous (and, yes, a drug that causes the body to reject and eject a fertilized egg as part of its goal is a murderous drug) due to my religious belief, the “free exercise” clause of the FIRST AMENDMENT demands that the US Government cannot force me to violate my beliefs by paying for my employees to get that drug “free”. I don’t have to be a Catholic Church. I only have to have that as part of my religious beliefs. And, according to the US Constitution, the Government cannot restrict my exercising my belief in the sanctity of life, in any way, whatsoever.

    And that’s what any “compromise” does. It violates the US Constitution. Period.

    “When Good compromises with Evil, Evil wins.” Or, “Don’t you know that a little leaven, leavens the whole loaf?” Yeah, look that up. It is most definitely a very important quote-from-memory, that is not even talking about bread or cooking but is, rather, a word-picture to a stiff-necked group of people who whined about absolutes.

  18. Pingback: The Compromise Is Worse Than The Original Demand « Truth Before Dishonor

  19. “If I, as a secular business owner and not a Church, deem abortifacients to be immoral and murderous (and, yes, a drug that causes the body to reject and eject a fertilized egg as part of its goal is a murderous drug) due to my religious belief, the “free exercise” clause of the FIRST AMENDMENT demands that the US Government cannot force me to violate my beliefs by paying for my employees to get that drug “free”.”

    —-
    Under the new plan announced by Obama, religiously affiliated universities and hospitals will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees.
    —-

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion

    —-
    The Free Exercise Clause permits the State to prohibit sacramental peyote use and thus to deny unemployment benefits to persons discharged for such use. Pp. 876-890.

    (a) Although a State would be “prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]” in violation of the Clause if it sought to ban the performance of (or abstention from) physical acts solely because of their religious motivation, the Clause does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a law that incidentally forbids (or requires) the performance of an act that his religious belief requires (or forbids) if the law is not specifically directed to religious practice and is otherwise constitutional as applied to those who engage in the specified act for nonreligious reasons.
    —-

  20. WW wrote:

    But it is against church doctrine to practice “artificial contraception”, which if you think about it is a dictatorial stance, especially nowadays when most people ignore the dictate, regardless of what the Church says. I understand that the original intent of the doctrine was to populate the world with Catholics; in other words, it was a political motivation.

    I find it ironic that one who has strong Libertarian leanings, like yourself, that you would agree to dictates of this kind. So you were right earlier, that I don’t understand this phenomenon, when it involves practices that make no common sense at all. Regarding self-discipline, I think we can focus on that as individuals, perhaps with the guidance of the church, but without the dictates.

    “Dictatorial.” To quote Inigo Montoya, from The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    Membership and participation in the Church is completely voluntary, WW. The people you see as “dictators” don’t have the power to arrest you or throw you in jail or apply electrodes to your genitals or seize your bank accounts if you don’t agree with or follow their theological guidance.

  21. Anna copied and pasted:

    the Clause does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a law that incidentally forbids (or requires) the performance of an act that his religious belief requires (or forbids) if the law is not specifically directed to religious practice

    So, exactly how is the Church’s doctrine on contraception and abortion not “specifically directed to religious practice?”

  22. WW should apply the term “dictator” where it’s actually appropriate:

    ’The president has the authority under the Affordable Care Act to have these kinds of rules take effect,’ [Obama Chief of Staff Jack] Lew said in response to the question of how the president can force a private company to provide a product free of charge.

    That statement was in reference to Obama havin the ability to force insurance cos. to provide contraception “free of charge.”

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/wh-chief-of-staff-obamacare-allows-the-president-to-tell-a-private-company-they-have-to-offer-a-product-and-offer-it-for-free/

  23. From Paul Kengor’s February 6, 2012 article in Crisis Magazine.

    …When ex-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a lifetime Roman Catholic, said that we’ll learn the details of Obama-care after Congress passes the legislation, this is a perfect illustration. The Devil is truly in the details.

    In response to this screaming train-wreck, Catholics sent letters to Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary, who happens to be Roman Catholic. When she was governor of Kansas, Sebelius was so terrible on abortion, and so defiant of Church teaching, that her bishop ordered that she be denied Communion. Catholics protested directly to Sebelius.

    On January 20, Sebelius and Barack Obama answered Catholics. As Bishop Zubik put it, “On Jan. 20, the Obama administration answered you and me. The response was very simple: ‘To hell with you.’”

    Zubik writes: “This is government by fiat that attacks the rights of everyone …. At no other time in memory or history has there been such a governmental intrusion on freedom…. It undermines the whole concept and hope for healthcare reform by inextricably linking it to the zealotry of pro-abortion bureaucrats. The mandate would require the Catholic Church as an employer to violate its fundamental beliefs concerning human life and human dignity…. It is really hard to believe that it happened.”

    All of the bishops are frustrated. Bishop Timothy Dolan of New York said that the Obama administration has basically told American Catholics that they have one year “to figure out how to violate our consciences.”

    In Phoenix, Bishop Thomas Olmsted appeared to urge civil disobedience. In a letter read to every church in his diocese, Olmsted wrote: “Unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law.”

    Also vowing non-compliance is Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay and Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati. LifeNews.com reports that 86 bishops (thus far) have spoken against the mandate.

    The Obama administration has forced the bishops’ hand. President Obama and Secretary Sebelius are not backing down. They are true believers.

    Where are liberals on this issue? We know they support the so-called “right to choose,” politically sanctified by Roe v. Wade in January 1973. But the Constitution predates Roe by a good 200 years. The First Amendment that begins the Bill of Rights starts with religious freedom. Are liberals so devoted to “abortion rights” that they will trump the conscience of their fellow Americans?

    Apparently so. They’ve already ensured that my tax dollars fund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. It was only a matter of time before they forced me to fund abortifacients. The direct funding of actual abortion procedures is no doubt next. It’s amazing, when it comes to abortion, pro-choice liberals have everything they want, but it isn’t enough. Now they want to force pro-lifers—and our churches—to pay for their choices.

    Sadly, all of this was so painfully predictable back in November 2008, when a majority of professing Roman Catholics voted Barack Obama president.

    Well, you reap what you sow.

  24. “So, exactly how is the Church’s doctrine on contraception and abortion not “specifically directed to religious practice?””

    The Supreme Court of the United States makes rulings on the law of the United States, not the doctrine of the Catholic Church. This is why the opinion stated “if the law is not specifically directed to religious practice”.

    The case involved Native American religion and the taking of peyote. The Court ruled that since forbidding drug use was a general ruling, it was permissable for states to penalise people who took it religiously just as they penalised others. Congress then went back and rewrote the law to give Native Americans an exception.

    When the Volstead Act prohibited alcohol, a specific exception was allowed for sacramental and medical uses – otherwise the Catholic mass would have been illegal – because the prohibition was not aimed at Catholics in particular.

    There is a general law forbidding murder. You cannot claim that human sacrifice is part of your religion and get away with murder based on a religious exception. Therefore if there is a law saying women must have access to contraception, the Catholic Church cannot forbid its employees from having that access based on a religious exception.

    And Obama’s compromise now puts the Church as a third party – access is a decision made by teh women affecting the insurer. The Church doesn’t pay for it. What the American bishops want now is to interfere in the ability of any woman to get contraception based on their beliefs – which would be much the same thing as the Church of Scientology trying to prevent anyone from getting psychiatric services from insurers, or a Jewish group trying to get pork and bacon removed from school lunches.

    If a woman is Catholic, she can choose not to use the pill. The bishops started out complaining about any woman who might work for a Catholic institution using the pill, and now wish to interfere with access by every employed woman whether they work for Catholics or not. They are trying to impose their religion on Protestants.

  25. Anna writes

    And Obama’s compromise now puts the Church as a third party – access is a decision made by teh women affecting the insurer. The Church doesn’t pay for it. What the American bishops want now is to interfere in the ability of any woman to get contraception based on their beliefs – which would be much the same thing as the Church of Scientology trying to prevent anyone from getting psychiatric services from insurers, or a Jewish group trying to get pork and bacon removed from school lunches.

    If teh Church doesn’t pay for it, who is? You honestly think insurance cos. will eat the cost? Or will teh institution that paid for it at the onset — the Church — continue to do so?

    As for the Church “interfering” with a woman’s ability to get contraception, absolute baloney. They’re free to get the prescription on their own, or get a different health plan. That’s what freedom is all about. Something the current administration doesn’t believe in very much.

  26. Ropelight from a quote:
    All of the bishops are frustrated. Bishop Timothy Dolan of New York said that the Obama administration has basically told American Catholics that they have one year “to figure out how to violate our consciences.”

    BO is coming after the RC Church FIRST! Who is next? Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, then the Jews. Sounds like Germany 1930′s.

  27. “If teh Church doesn’t pay for it, who is? You honestly think insurance cos. will eat the cost? Or will teh institution that paid for it at the onset — the Church — continue to do so?”

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/02/13/423660/romney-shows-he-hasnt-read-obamas-modified-birth-control-reg-during-rowdy-maine-town-hall/

    —-
    But it’s Romney who is being devious here. Actuaries and real world experiences in covering contraception in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) have found that contraception coverage is at the very least cost neutral within the context of the benefits of the health care plan. And in announcing its compromise on Friday, the administration pledged to work with insurers to issue future regulations that would specifically stipulate that if a religiously affiliated nonprofit chooses to avoid offering contraception in its health care plan, “there be no charge for the contraceptive coverage” for the employer or the employee.

    As a senior administration official explained to the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff, “Our policy is saying that the Catholic hospital doesn’t want to cover contraceptives, and they don’t include that in their policy. It also says that Aetna needs to provide contraceptive services for free to workers in the plan. Aetna sets the premium, but it cannot be higher than it would have been without birth control. The premium does not include contraception.” “There is a sort of bank account,” says the official. So, in this particular hypothetical, “Aetna is sucking it up.”

    In other words, providing contraception without additional cost sharing will become “a legitimate cost of doing business” for health insurers who work with religious nonprofits, and while they may not be all too thrilled at the prospect, administration officials expect them to agree “that this is going to be a cost-neutral benefit.”
    —-

  28. “Uh huh. Now back in the real world …”

    —-
    Actuaries and real world experiences in covering contraception in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) have found that contraception coverage is at the very least cost neutral within the context of the benefits of the health care plan
    —-

  29. “Uh huh. Now back in the real world …”

    —-
    Actuaries and real world experiences in covering contraception in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) have found that contraception coverage is at the very least cost neutral within the context of the benefits of the health care plan
    —-

  30. Actuaries and real world experiences in covering contraception in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) have found that contraception coverage is at the very least cost neutral within the context of the benefits of the health care plan

    Catholic Doctrine is not based on actuarial data. And for that much, neither is any other doctrine of any other Religion. Explain actuarial data to the Muslims.

  31. Editor says,

    “Why shouldn’t such a man have concluded that any opposition would have been pro-forma and easily pushed aside? Now, having has realized that, hey, these guys were actually serious, the President is attempting to placate them with a proposal which amounts to nothing more than a shift in language: the Catholic institutions wouldn’t have to pay for contraception, but the insurers with whom they contract would have to pay, as though somehow the insurance companies would simply accept increased costs without passing them on in the form of increased premiums.2 Given that he was able to buy off the pro-life Democrats like Bart Stupak and Bob Casey with the mess of pottage that is his executive order, why shouldn’t he think that he could placate the bishops with meaningless words? “

    There is no reason why he shouldn’t have. The history of the American Catholic Church in the latter half of the 20th century would give him every reason to assume success; given that so few of its bishops during the last 40 years could be expected to do more than whimper mild protests.

    As for who he is really interested in placating, it certainly isn’t Rome and or those few American prelates faithful to it’s teachings.

    The NYT

    WASHINGTON — For the White House, the decision announced Friday to soften a rule requiring religious-affiliated organizations to pay for insurance plans that offer free birth control was never really driven by a desire to mollify Roman Catholic bishops, who were strongly opposed to the plan. …

    Rather, the fight was for Sister Carol Keehan — head of an influential Catholic hospital group, who had supported President Obama’s health care law — and Catholic allies of the White House seen as the religious left. Sister Keehan had told the White House that the new rule, part of the health care law, went too far.

    “I felt like he had made a really bad decision, and I told him that,” Sister Keehan said of the president. “I told his staff that. I felt like they had made a bad decision on principle, and politically it was a bad decision. For me another key thing was that it had the potential to threaten the future of health reform.” …”

  32. http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/controversial-obama-birth-control-rule-already-law

    —-
    President Barack Obama’s decision to require most employers to cover birth control and insurers to offer it at no cost has created a firestorm of controversy. But the central mandate—that most employers have to cover preventative care for women—has been law for over a decade. This point has been completely lost in the current controversy, as Republican presidential candidates and social conservatives claim that Obama has launched a war on religious liberty and the Catholic Church.
    —-

  33. Ya know, people with brains know the difference between:

      preventative care and birth control
      preventative care and abortifacients
      preventive care and sterilization
      permitting an activity and forcing others, who object to that activity, to pay for it for the person who cannot afford to pay for that activity or who refuses to pay for that activity him/herself

    People without brains or a properly functioning morality code conflate all of that for their own desire to get something at the expense of others.

  34. “permitting an activity and forcing others, who object to that activity, to pay for it for the person who cannot afford to pay for that activity or who refuses to pay for that activity him/herself”

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/39899

    —-
    In Hawaii the employer is responsible for referring employees to places where they can obtain the contraception; Catholic leaders call that material cooperation with evil. But what the White House will likely announce later today is that the relationship between the religious employer and the insurance company will not need to have any component involving contraception. The insurance company will reach out on its own to the women employees.
    —-

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/39911_Now_the_GOP_Wants_to_Permit_Any_Employer_to_Deny_Contraception_Coverage

    —-
    The Republican Party’s descent into Dark Ages misogyny continues; now Mitch McConnell, sensing that the GOP is on a reactionary roll, is planning to introduce legislation to let any employer deny contraception coverage.

    Just amazing. In the space of a few months the Republican Party has gone from opposing abortion to opposing birth control — even though the vast majority of Americans use contraception of some kind.
    —-

  35. ““If teh Church doesn’t pay for it, who is? You honestly think insurance cos. will eat the cost? Or will teh institution that paid for it at the onset — the Church — continue to do so?””

    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/joshua-holland/41408/do-conservatives-understand-how-the-female-body-works-the-myth-fueling-the-right-wing-freak-out-over

    —-
    Do Conservatives Understand How the Female Body Works? The Myth Fueling the Right-Wing Freak-Out Over Birth Control

    Not only doesn’t it cost companies a single penny to provide free contraceptives to their employees, studies show they actually save almost $100 per employee per year when they do so. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of women’s health – of how human reproduction works – understands this.

    That’s why, in the real world, the Obama administration’s “accomodation” with the Conference of Catholic Bishops over contraceptive coverage should be seen as a win-win proposition. Women get contraceptive coverage at no cost, religious institutions with superstitions against interfering with the will of the Gods get to keep their hands clean of the whole affair and the media reported the whole kerfuffle as if the bishops still had some moral authority from which to speak.

    Of course, sound public policy has never stood in the way of a flood of conservative outrage being spewed at a Democratic administration. The right is up in arms, and Republicans in Congress have chosen to double-down on the issue. But their chosen narrative is unusually wrong; it in fact betrays a total lack of understanding of elementary biology.

    Their gripe centers around the supposed “costs” of providing that coverage, and they’re quite smug about it – as if they have a rare insight into some kind of shady scheme to get around religious objections. As the National Review’s Hannah Smith put it, “religious employers would still ultimately be paying for these services against their conscience, with the costs spread through higher insurance premiums for their employees.” That’s totally inaccurate, but at Red State, Michael Hammond agreed, writing, “Catholic hospitals and universities would pay insurance companies premiums, which would pay for contraceptives.” He added, in 15th-century style, “Evil doesn’t become good because it’s laundered through a third party.” Even Megan McCardle, the Atlantic’s “business editor,” is woefully confused about this topic. “The insurers have to provide it ‘at no cost’,” she wrote, “which of course means the Church will still be paying for it.”

    This flies in the face of a large body of peer-reviewed data which show that, on net, providing universal contraceptive coverage to women is absolutely free of cost to insurers. As a Department of Health and Human Services analysis noted, “Evidence from well-documented prior expansions of contraceptive coverage indicates that the cost to issuers of including coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptive methods in insurance offered to an employed population is zero.”

    And it’s not difficult to understand why. Doctor Kelly Cullwell, a clinician and birth control expert at the UC Davis Center for Women’s Health, told AlterNet that research into public health programs shows that “for every dollar spent on contraceptive coverage, you actually save close to four dollars in overall healthcare costs.” She added: “it’s probably one of the most cost-effective preventive care interventions that we have.”
    —-

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