I have an irrate commenter who is very good at verbosely rattling off President Obama’s talking points. In short:
- nobody is forcing religious employers to pay for contraceptives; the insurance companies will pay for them
- it isn’t true that anybody is forcing anyone to buy contraceptives at all: you could just pay the fine/assessment/tax/whatever Obama is calling it this week
- you people need to stop believing everything the bishops tell you
Hmmm. I could make snarky comments about him, but I’ll just make a lazy post by copying my reply.
Ok, so here’s the HHS statement on its final ruling. Yeah, that’s what I said it said, thanks.
You may note that it clearly states that all health insurance plans that do not qualify for an exemption must provide contraceptive services. Even those who qualify for an examption and don’t provide contraceptives will probably be required, the statement says, to inform their employees about where to get contraceptives for free.
So, every Catholic school, hospital and charity will be required to provide contraception (because they don’t fit under the new, narrow definition of a “religious” entity). Even parishes and convents that fit under the definition should be aware that HHS is already contemplating how to force them to promote contraception to their employees. The so-called compromise only means that these institutions will be forced to buy insurance that, for “free”, provides contraceptives. NEWS FLASH: when the hotel says the wi-fi and breakfast are “free”, they aren’t; you’re paying for it, they just add it to the room price. When the insurance company says, “Sure, we provide contraceptives for free,” um, no, YOU’RE PAYING FOR THAT.
(And you’re happy that dioceses will be forced to buy insurance from someone else? Why? Adding the bureaucracy of an insurance company won’t make health insurance cheaper for the employees. Is it because the government can bully the insurance companies more easily? Or are you just anti-Catholic and want Catholics to please keep their unauthorized opinions to themselves, unless they’re standing in a church?)
And, holy crap! how generous!, HHS has allowed that those institutions that do not fit under the definition but have objections can have an extra year to, as Cardinal Dolan put it, “Figure out how to violate our consciences,” as long as they prove that they even qualify for the extension.
The last time I checked, in this country, we do not generally give out rights only to those who can PAY THE FINES FOR THEM. If you have to pay a fine for it, it ISN’T RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. I am not interested in being a dhimmi in my own country, thank you very much.
Yes, I’m yelling. Here’s my short version:
The federal government has a definition of what constituted a religious institution; this administration chose to use a definition that excludes most religious institutions. Why? Are they trying to drive religious institutions out of the public square?
If I pay for insurance that provides contraceptives, I am directly complicit in something I hold to be sinful, no matter how the accounting is done (this has nothing to do with paying taxes; that is a much more remote connection between my money and behavior I may hold to be immoral). So, no, the latest “compromise” isn’t worth anything.
If I have to pay a fine to exercise my religious freedom, then my “right” has been reduced to a calculation of how much money the government can get out of me, money that the government will directly use to fund something I object strongly to. And once I’m out of money, my right to religious freedom is gone. Somehow, I seem to remember from high school government class that that is not how our Bill of Rights is supposed to work. (But Obama was a Constitutional law prof; I’m sure he’ll tell us that, since he sees the Constitution as a living document, “bill” must be reinterpreted in the modern way, so it now means, “You get rights, and the government will send you a bill.”)
And if you think, “Well, I don’t care about contraception; I want it covered,” then please consider what else is legal that you or your church might object to funding: abortion, sex-change operations, and euthanasia. If they force the Catholics to bow (and we are the largest single denomination in this country and our hospitals care for 1/6 of American patients), do you think they are going to stop here?