Contraceptive mandate an issue of religion

Last week, President Barack Obama’s contraceptive coverage mandate, requiring religiously affiliated institutions to pay health care providers to cover contraceptive care, was attacked by 2,500 pastors who wrote a letter to Obama condemning the mandate as wrong.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a signee, made a statement that highlights the very base of the debate: “This is not a Catholic issue. We will not tolerate any denomination having their religious freedoms infringed upon by the

Luke Glaser

Luke Glaser

government.”

Despite what proponents of the mandate will have you think, this is not an issue of abortion or contraceptive care. While the Catholic Church does not believe in these practices, they are the law of the land and must be respected as such.

This issue has been, and regardless of what is otherwise said, will always be about religious freedom.

Catholic’s doctrine teaches that all life is sacred, and as such it is a sin to use contraceptive coverage or receive an abortion in order to prevent life. Supporters of Obama’s mandate, crying foul against the primary antagonist that is the Catholic Church, point to the issue as one of women’s health, to beliefs that the church holds on contraceptives to be archaic, unsafe and unrealistic.

Maybe so. Maybe the church is holding on to old views, ignoring the fact that 98 percent of Catholic women have engaged in contraceptive practices.

That does not dilute the fact that these are unshakable and uncompromising religious beliefs. Hypocrisy of the followers of a religion is not an excuse for a government to impose regulations that directly conflict with what a religion holds as belief.

Catholic institutions that will be affected by this mandate (hospitals, schools, etc) do not ban their employees from using contraceptive products. Men and women employed by these institutions are free to do as they wish with their bodies.

But these institutions will not, and by right of the first amendment are justified, in not paying for or covering these practices.

Other critics have pointed to the Church as hypocritical in not standing up for other beliefs that the government has intervened in, such as the Mormon belief of polygamy.

An important distinction must be made here. The 1897 Supreme Court Case Reynolds v. United States, which struck down the Mormon view of polygamy, ruled that the government has a right to legislate against religious practices if they view such practices to be antagonistic to civic aims.

The difference here is that the Catholic Church is not participating in a practice, but rather refusing to do so.

And still others point to the president’s willingness to compromise. I too admired our Commander-in-Chief’s willingness to extend the hand, until research showed that the mandate is the same gift wrapped in a different package.

Per the words of University of Notre Dame professor Richard W. Garnett, “Under the promised new version, it is supposedly the insurance companies, instead of employers with religious objections, that will pay for employees’ abortion-causing drugs and contraceptives.

But, of course, even the president cannot make these items free. Someone will foot the bill and, in the end, it is not going to be the insurance company.”

A last demographic I wish to address is those who point to the fact that these institutions are willing to accept government money, but unwilling to accept the rules that come with. That one may not have one’s cake and eat it, too.

The prevailing argument in this issue is that the government may take these funds away at any time they wish. There is no mandate that forces these two institutions to financially assist one another. The government provides assistance to schools and hospitals that undeniably promote good, both religiously and civically.

The unshakable bottom line, regardless of all else and all accusations, is that the president is requiring the Catholic Church’s institutions to pay and cover practices they religiously view as a sin of murder.

One would hope that a progressive society such as ours would respect this view, like it or not.

This issue is not about abortion or contraception. Individual views on abortion or contraception should not matter. This is an issue of a religious belief, and while the president is to be commended for attempting to compromise, there is very little room for compromise when it comes to Constitutional rights.

The evangelical protest against Obama’s mandate is a testament to the fact that all who hold our constitution and its first amendment dear should stand up to this regulation as oppressive, illegal and wrong.

Luke Glaser is an English junior and the Kernel’s feature editor. Email lglaser@kykernel.com.

Jordan says:

Another Woman’s Perspective:
So, the only way to improve access to the contraceptive services needed by women is to force religious objectors to pay for it? We couldn’t try interstate competition of health insurance, remove gov’ts costly regulations that require health insurance plans to cover things like acupuncture and penis enlargement pumps, in an effort to allow insurance companies to offer dirt cheap contraceptive tailored plans to those seeking “access”?

The Issa “hearing was not even about contraception. It was about whether the regime has the authority to mandate that anybody provide contraception to their employees, either free or for charge. It was a hearing about whether or not there is massive presidential-executive branch overreach here. Issa was conducting a hearing into whether or not this had anything to do with the Constitution, whether it was permissible.” -Rush Limbaugh (Threw that in there just to see whose head would explode lol)

Instead of “contraception” try inserting “vanilla ice cream” into the statement.

Jordan says:

Another Woman’s Perspective:
I was simply asking you to cite where you pulled your stats from…I guess google scholar is an acceptable citation for college work these days?

As for this discussion not being about abortion, that is not true. Since the mandate would require the use of contraceptives (which can in cases lead to the loss of the fertilized embryo, i.e life to a Catholic) and ABORTIFICANTS. Which is what got the Catholics all riled up to begin with.

But, in regards to why I mentioned the study in the first place it was in regards to women having ACCESS to contraceptives in the type of case (unexpected pregnancies) reported with PP. Of those, no one mentioned not having access leading to their unplanned pregnancy. Again, I would gladly look to have you post some study/statistic about women, access to contraceptive/abortificants, etc.

It seems to me that you just pointed out in your comment above that the Guttmacher Institute reported that insurance plans that cover contraceptives/abortificants are already available in every single state.

Court Cases: Title VII & Preg Discr Act, for which the court cases highlighted in your comment above are based, does provide an exemption for religious organizations, though the courts have interpreted the exemption narrowly, w/out congressional legislation (well, Obama mandate now through HHS) it’s probably going to be argued in the Supreme Court. (unless Obamacare is overturned, then so will this latest mandate as well)

Freedom of religion and freedom from religion are all great as far as I’m concerned, but do you not see the “oppression” of forcing a religious/moral objector to pay for your contraceptives/abortificants?
They aren’t saying you can’t have it, they aren’t saying they’ll fire you if you take it, and despite contraceptives/abortificants to which the Catholic institutions have objected being so readily available (free if need be, and not “just the foam” or “condoms”), instead of availing yourself of those options, we are going to force a religious objector to provide them to you for free.

Another Woman's Perspective says:

Clay, your solution is not a solution.

Everyone else, food for thought:

Clay says:

If you don’t like the fact that employers at catholic affiliated institutions don’t have to give its employees contraceptives then find somewhere else to work. Plain and simple.

My Dad says:

My dad, my dad my dad dad. My dad? MY DAD! My dad dad my dad my dad, my dad my my dad my dad. Dad my dad my dad my dad, “my dad My Dad my dad my dad my dad, my dad.” My dad, dad, my dad my dad.

Another Woman's Perspective says:

Jordan, you must not have searched very hard. There are a host of articles on the connection between women’s health and empowerment and access to contraception from a state level to the national level to the international level. Try google scholar or a research database. That’s where statistics are typically reported.

You brought up a study that relates contraceptive use to abortion, which is not at all what this discussion is about. Your statistics are irrelevant, and I’m tired of people bringing up abortion in order to derail these kinds of discussions. But since you raised the study, I will point out that the Guttmacher Institute reports the following:

-”In states with contraceptive-equity laws, women’s access to contraceptive coverage has expanded dramatically. Insurance plans in these states are more likely to provide a full range of contraceptive methods.”

-”Nationally determined insurance plans, in use both in states with and without contraceptive-equity laws, typically provide contraceptive coverage in all states in accordance with the mandates.”

The trend of more insurance companies providing coverage for contraceptives is due in part to a steady precedent of court cases in which women have sued when when their employer’s health plans deny contraceptive coverage. They have won in court because it was determined that this constituted sex discrimination. A list of a few of cases related to this issue:

-Erickson v. Bartell Drug Co.
-Mauldin v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
-Dow Jones & Company Settlement
-EEOC v. United Parcel Services

I am all for freedom of individuals to practice their own religion but I also think that means freedom FROM religion for those that choose not to adhere to an ideology. When your religious freedom results in sex discrimination, a line needs to be drawn really quick.

Jordan says:

AnotherWomen’sPerspective:
I know that contraception is not only meant in regards to women’s health in preventing pregnancies, but I’m having trouble finding statistics on women not having access to contraceptive services. So…. figured if anyone had it, planned parenthood would. The closest I could find was the Guttmacher Institute that is closely tied to PP.

“A January 2011 fact sheet by the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute listed all the reasons that women who have had an abortion give for their unexpected pregnancy, and not one of them is lack of access to contraception. In fact, 54 percent of women who had abortions had used a contraceptive method, if incorrectly, in the month they got pregnant. For the 46 percent who had not used contraception, 33 percent had perceived themselves to be at low risk for pregnancy; 32 percent had had concerns about contraceptive methods; 26 percent had had unexpected sex, and 1 percent had been forced to have sex. Not one fraction of 1 percent said they got pregnant because they lacked access to contraception. Some described having unexpected sex, but all that can be said about them is that they are irresponsible, not that they felt they lacked access to contraception.”

Jordan says:

Jack: I’m still curious as to why you want to know if I am Luke Glasser (which I’m not). As for the anonymity of online users, the Kernel at one time required facebook as a login, but since facebook doesn’t verify identities, that could be fudged too I suppose…
You could file a complaint, then the Kernel would seek to verify my identity through email verification, ip address (which may or may not be legal depending on the terms of use of this site, etc); but those are also easy enough to obfuscate and falsify, so what’s the point of seeking out someone’s identity?
I could sign my name Snuffleupagus, but it should be the content of the argument that garners a response. Unless you’re seeking to make a personal attack of some sort I guess. (though I do chuckle at Snowflake and Sunshine’s names and posts)

Jordan says:

AnotherWomen’sPerspective: I take it from your last comment that you are not going to make an attempt to defend the illegality ( violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits a governmental burden on religious freedom without “a compelling governmental interest.”) and unconstitutionality of the contraceptive mandate, but argue that it stand based on the “need” of access for women’s health?

Nor do you address the imposition of your beliefs through secular government enforcement upon a religious institution and those who conscientiously object on religious or other moral grounds.

As for your statistics etc, sharing a source would be helpful. Especially considering that it’s not just planned parenthood, but over 1,000 federally funded clinics, plus you can walk in to any doctors office, clinic, urgent care, etc, as well as talk to your school nurse/counsilor to obtain free “women’s reproductive” services if qualified or compelling reason (abuse, etc)

But, let’s go with your argument for the sake of it.
Millions of women are struggling to access contraceptives/abortificants.
Ok, why does this situation exist? B/c the Catholic church and related religious institutions don’t provide it to them for free? (you mentioned women being “driven” from their jobs to find this basic fundamental health care, but are they simply going w/out it now? how are the bodies and babies not piling up in the streets?)

What impact will forcing Churches and religious affiliated institutions (schools, colleges, hospitals, etc) have on women’s access? Does it provide a “compelling government interest” to allow contraceptive/abortifcant access despite the demonstrated adverse health effects such as increased risk of unintended pregnancy, stds, cancers, etc (see the multiple study links at americanthinker.com/2012/02/the_false_promise_of_contraception.html )

If this is about a woman’s right to health care, how come we haven’t mandated that all breast cancer screenings, cardiograms and numerous other diseases/health issues that affect women have not also been mandated to be provided for no deductibles/no fees?

And though you mention viagra, (which is not provided for free)men are expected under Obama’s mandate to pay for condoms, vasectomies, and the male pill (as soon as it is perfected) out of their own wallets. How sexist.

“It is a black-letter legal principle that the existence of a right, even a right of constitutional magnitude, does not imply a companion right to have the government or any third party pay for its exercise — you don’t hear anyone claiming that Catholic organizations need to provide firearms for their employees.”

Jack says:

Jordan: Yes because it would be so difficult to post something using a different name (Sunshine, Paul Pierce, Anonymous, etc.) Swine.

Rick Santorum says:

Guys! I just won AZ! HOWDY HO!

Another Woman's Perspective says:

“Is any adult American female unable to secure birth-control pills if she wants them? Is there even one American woman who cannot walk, bike, ride a bus, or ask a loved one or neighbor to drive her to a local drug store to pick up the Pill, contraceptive foam, intra-uterine devices, or other birth-control products?”

Jordan, I think you need to go back, reread the statistics I plainly laid right in front of you, and try to actually absorb them.

-Did you read the part that said that there ARE millions of women struggling to get/maintain access to birth control? So YEAH Jordan, there IS “even one” adult American woman in this situation and a hell of a lot more than one, you ignorant fool.

-Did you read the part where this is not about just being able to get your hand on any old form of birth control? Apparently not, since you are suggesting that the solution is for a woman to have her “neighbor run to the local drug store to pick up contraceptive foam.” Seriously? What we are advocating for is that women deserve to have access to the type of birth control that is right for them. Many of these are used for reasons other than pregnancy prevention, as I said before, which you also obviously didn’t read. Many of these are also prescription only and highly personal, not the kind of thing you send your neighbor out to grab. Once again, the ignorance here, even from a man, is ASTOUNDING!

Now let me get this straight. After apparently reading virtually none of the statistics on women’s health I offered, you are suggesting that because “every state has at least one planned parenthood,” ALL women can easily access birth control no problem? That planned parenthood has the funds to provide affordable birth control for 800,000 more women?

Are you REALLY suggesting that it is good idea for hundreds of thousands of women to be driven to leave their jobs and seek employment elsewhere in order to gain A BASIC AND FUNDAMENTAL form of medical care?

This would never happen to men, who get their VIAGRA covered at a higher rate than women get their birth control covered. As far as I can tell, you have neither read the research on birth control access for women nor do you understand its implications. How sad for you to be so utterly in the dark.

Jordan says:

Jack: why the question in the first place? Pretty sure the Kernel still maintains it’s perplexing policy of not allowing it’s contributors (even in opinion pieces for some odd reason) from contributing to the online forum.

Jack says:

Hey “Jordan”. Are you actually Luke Glaser?

Jordan says:

Reason: A gun? well, not exactly. Anyone who doesn’t comply with the new unconstitutional mandate will be forced to pay a huge fine. And, if you don’t pay the fines, eventually someone wearing a gun WILL show up to arrest you, haul you to jail, and confiscate your property to pay the fines. So yes, forcing is the correct term.

I think your confusing the argument as if the gov’t is forcing Catholics to take/use contraceptives/abortificants. That’s not true, nor the argument. (see comment above)

Jordan says:

Is any adult American female unable to secure birth-control pills if she wants them? Is there even one American woman who cannot walk, bike, ride a bus, or ask a loved one or neighbor to drive her to a local drug store to pick up the Pill, contraceptive foam, intra-uterine devices, or other birth-control products? (every county has a health care clinic, every state has a planned parenthood-often more than one, in every school you can obtain resources, often free, to obtain contraceptives etc)

And if any woman happens to be insured by a Catholic organization or other anti-birth-control group, is it too much to ask her either to find contraceptive coverage elsewhere or go work somewhere that offers such insurance? No one forces them to work for a church run institution, or keeps them from buying and using contraceptives/etc, and if a women desires that type of coverage, choose to get a job from an employer that offers it.

Your argument is that Catholics are imposing their religious beliefs on others. Not true. Those insured by Catholic Churches and Organizations are free to use contraceptives/abortificants (readily available anywhere for everyone and FREE if qualified) if they so choose, but the Church and its Organizations are defending their right to not provide it.
You are seeking to do exactly what you have accused Catholics of doing, forcing a secular governments beliefs on to the Catholic organizations by forcing them to abdicate their beliefs and be saddled with yours.
What’s the difference between ordering religious organizations to cover contraceptives/abortificants for free, and in the future having Catholic hospitals perform abortions, fund them, or make their insurers do so?

Any woman can obtain insurance for “female reproductive health”, but under what authority are they entitled to have someone else pay for it?

The government has no constitutional right to force ANY individual or group to buy or sell a product or service against their will. It’s not just a religious issue, or an issue for women, but an issue for every American.

Insight Cable says:

GO CATS!

Reason says:

Jordan: There you go using the word “forcing”. As if the government has a gun to the heads of everyone that has been offered this. Just because something is offered doesn’t mean it HAS to be used. And not ALL Catholics still believe that contraception is murder. Stop generalizing! I’m a Catholic and I use condoms! Religions progress! Just look at Mike’s very first comment when he won the entire debate!

oldkentucky says:

Every timr the federal government mandates what you must do, it takes freedom away from you.

Another Woman's Perspective says:

“No one is restricting the right to obtain contraceptives.”

By allowing employers not to cover something as fundamental as contraceptives, you are automatically restricting access. I’m not saying it is absolutely impossible to obtain, but assuming that women in every corner of the U.S. will have access to free or cheap alternative sources of birth control simply doesn’t make sense. You can’t just assume that there is a planned parenthood located on every corner.

Here’s some stats for you: Women age 15-44 pay 68% more for out-of-pocket health care costs than men in the same age range. This is largely due to the cost of reproductive health needs. In 2006, about 36 million women did not have access to the type of birth control they needed. A 2010 survey found that more than 1/3 of female voters have struggled to afford prescription birth control at some point in their lives and have been forced to therefore use it inconsistently. Even when only paying co-pays, birth control can cost up to $600 a year. Without coverage, it is even less affordable, especially for young women.

Here’s some more stats for you: Approximately 800,000 Americans receive benefits through Catholic hospitals. They would lose these benefits and have to find, leaving 800,000 women scrambling for an alternative source for BASIC health care. The Catholic-affiliated health care system is also quite large, serving one in six Americans! Don’t forget that there are about two million students and workers under the umbrella of religiously-affiliated universities. A huge number of these individuals are NOT CATHOLIC, which means this is an issue of religious freedom…the freedom to choose not to have other’s beliefs imposed upon you.

This debate is not just about being able to get your hands on a condom and a condom on his penis. This is about women being able to CHOOSE the type of birth control that fits their health needs and to have that covered as what it is…basic preventative care (birth control is used for a variety of health reasons beyond just preventing pregnancy, not that pregnancy prevention is not reason enough). In the past few years, we’ve made progress on this issue…contraceptive equity laws make a REAL, tangible, crucial difference in women’s lives and their ability to control their bodies. Saying that employers can exclude birth control from their coverage for any reason is not protecting religious freedom, it’s sex discrimination. The last thing we need to do is take that enormous step backwards.

Jordan, since you are a man, I don’t necessarily expect you to automatically understand how cutting off insurance coverage for contraceptives can and will affect numerous women’s access to birth control, their ability to choose to use birth control, and ultimately their overall health and freedom as women. I can only hope that now you know better.

Jordan says:

Reason: where is your reasoning? The issue isn’t about contraceptives, or whether anyone wants to use them or not. It’s about forcing an individual to act against their religious beliefs w/out any sort of compelling evidence/argument that in interfering and violating that individuals rights comes close to meeting the prerequisites necessary to do so as set by our Constitution and the Supreme Court.
Contraception/abortificants are the vessel of the argument, not the meat of it. Can’t you see that?

There are also the private property, 10th amendment concerns of the President dictating a private entity/individual being forced to offer a product and at what price; that will largely be resolved in court with the constitutionality of Obamacare I’d wager.

Paul Pierce says:

Why is everyone ignoring the cats? Just because they had to type their comments with their paws doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be in this debate. As a member of the NBA Player’s Union and a robot, I can give credible recognition to Snowflake and Sunshine’s arguments. And what about their litters as well? Should they be controlled based on their own opinions or the government’s? Telephones work both ways.

Reason says:

If they don’t want to use the contraception then they don’t have to! It’s that fucking simple you idiot! And if it’s cost your complaining about then how bout looking up how much one of Cheney’s Halaburton tanks costs. Stop bitching for the sake of bitching.

Jordan says:

Another womens’ perspective: um…no one is restricting the right to obtain contraceptives, be it pill, condom or any of the other. Nor is anyone advocating that women not have access to any of those things. In fact, right now, all those things are available to anyone who wants them, for free if they aren’t currently covered or can’t afford them.

So, tell me again what this has to do with a women’s right to health care and how it’s not a Constitutional issue?

Jordan says:

Anonymous: how’s this? George Washington was a Christian, “separation of church and state” applied to the state staying out of religion, not vice versa. The Supreme Court has determined religious grounds exist to exclude churches/organizations from various state/federal laws.
Treaty of Tripoli: affirmed our status as a Christian nation, but not the same as the European Christian nations of the Crusades.
For citations, see the really long post above. Or don’t, save 5 minutes of your life for god knows what and continue to wallow in your self imposed ignorance

Another Woman's Perspective says:

Glad to see a woman jump into this thread above. Here is an excerpt from a recent article that sums up my feelings quite well.

“When I read stories in the news about countries where women are prevented access to birth control, or the freedom to work, or the right to make choices about their bodies and their lives, I wonder how a leadership with such crazy ideals could ever gain power. But as I look at what’s happening in the debates leading up to this presidential election in our own country, it has become chillingly evident.

As a nation, we are at the precipice of a slippery slope where men in power are arguing about how to take basic rights away from women. I shudder to think what lays at the bottom of that slope, but if Rick Santorum has his way we will all soon find out.”

Birth control began gaining popularity in the US the 1950s. There is really no need to go back in time more than half a century and argue about it now. All women should have easy access to a variety of forms of birth control, period. Measures that might impact a woman’s access to birth control totally have everything to do with women’s rights, so the author of this article is deluding himself if he thinks otherwise.

Women, if you have ever been grateful that you have the right to ask a partner to wear a condom, or that you can choose to regulate your fertility with birth control, speak up. And I know there are many men out there than also support women having access to these products, so thanks to them, too!

Anonymous says:

Jordan’s post above needs to be tagged with one of those TL;DR tags. (Too long; didn’t read), as I’m sure that most people will skip right over it. Being able to state your points concisely is a really important debate skill, especially in online forums. It’s just a headache to read such rambling arguments that blow a lot of steam with not much substance.

Sunshine says:

Snowflake,

Your ideas are entirely irrelevant to the Obama mandate. As a cat in a middle class household, I see no problem with this idea. He is just trying to do the best that he can, and has provided the opportunity to receive Meow Mix and pieces of string to all cats, regardless of social class. His efforts to legalize catnip are also to be respected. You simply fall back on old cat beliefs and refuse to accomodate modern feline progressivism. I poop on your doorstep sir. RISSSSSSS

Jordan says:

Mike: whenever possible, always go to the source, such as George Washington’s own writings, and those closest to him. “Washington’s own contemporaries did not question his Christianity but were thoroughly convinced of his devout faith–a fact made evident in the first-ever compilation of the The Writings of George Washington, published in the 1830s.” Whenever possible, just read Washington’s own words. here’s a list to get you started:
1) George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, Publisher, 1838), Vol. XII, pp. 399-411.
2) George Washington, The Religious Opinions of Washington, E. C. M’Guire, editor (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1836).
3) William Johnson, George Washington The Christian (1917).
4) William Jackson Johnstone, How Washington Prayed (New York: The Abingdon Press, 1932).
5) The Messages and Papers of the Presidents, James D. Richardson, editor (Published by the Authority of Congress, 1899), Vol. I, pp. 51-57 (1789), 64 (1789), 213-224 (1796), etc.
6) George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States, Late Commander in Chief of the American Army, to the People of the United States, Preparatory to his Declination (Baltimore: George & Henry S. Keatinge, 1796), pp. 22-23.
7) George Washington, The Maxims of Washington (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1855).

As an example, Washington’s First Thanksgiving proclomation starts with “WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God…” doesn’t really follow with the supposition of “deism” there does it.

There isn’t any doubt, aside from those who seek to use Washington for their own terms, that he is a Christian, not a diest. As were the vast majority of the other 250 founding fathers of our country (those who signed the declaration, constitution, bill of rights etc)

In regards to Jefferson’s letter, which is often cited, it wasn’t until 1947 that it was used to reverse the policy of the gov’t not interfering in the private OR PUBLIC practices and expression of religion. (Everson vs Board of Education, supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/330/1/case.html)
Before the court case of 1947, past Supreme Courts and others (for example, Commonwealth v. Nesbit and Lindenmuller v. The People), “identified actions into which – if perpetrated in the name of religion – the government did have legitimate reason to intrude. Those activities included human sacrifice, polygamy, bigamy, concubinage, incest, infanticide, parricide, advocation and promotion of immorality, etc.

Such acts, even if perpetrated in the name of religion, would be stopped by the government since, as the Court had explained, they were “subversive of good order” and were “overt acts against peace.” However, the government was never to interfere with traditional religious practices outlined in “the Books of the Law and the Gospel” – whether public prayer, the use of the Scriptures, public acknowledgements of God, etc.”

As Governor of Virginia, Jefferson instituted a day of “Thanksgiving and Prayer” for the state of Virginia, which was an example of Jefferson’s belief that the States could act in this manner, but not the Federal gov’t. You should also read his writings when he set up the University of Virginia: excerpt: “the proofs of the being of a God – the Creator, Preserver, and Supreme Ruler of the Universe – the Author of all the relations of morality and of the laws and obligations these infer – will be within the province of the Professor of Ethics.” (Thomas Jefferson, “Report of the Commissioners for the University of Virginia,” August 4, 1818 [The Rockfish Gap Report], from The University of Virginia )

In response to your EEOC lawsuit as limiting the Catholic Churches and other religious institutions (including their MINISTRIES of schools, hospitals, clinics, shelters etc) ”
“In what may be its most significant religious liberty decision in two decades, the Supreme Court on Wednesday for the first time recognized a “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws, saying that churches and other religious groups must be free to choose and dismiss their leaders without government interference.” (outsidethebeltway.com/supreme-court-upholds-religious-exemption-to-employment-discrimination-laws/) This mandate that churches, hospitals or even INDIVIDUALS should be forced to provide contraceptives/etc products against their will is soundly unconstitutional for both the 1st amendment and religious freedom as well as (again) constitunality of telling a private individual/business what product he MUST offer and for FREE. for a better synopsis see nationalreview.com/blogs/print/291299

TREATY OF TRIPOLI:
What is the origin of the phrase “America is in no sense founded on the Christian religion”? What does it mean?
“This quote comes from a line in the Treaty of Tripoli from 1797. While this line is regularly invoked by critics in a futile attempt to prove that America never was a Christian nation, this line is only a small incomplete portion of the full quote. It is taken from a 1797 treaty approved by America in the midst of our first War on Terror against Islamic terrorism. In it, the Muslims acknowledged that America was a Christian nation, and America reminded the Muslims that we were not a European Christian nation with an inherent hostility against Muslims – that is, that we were not a European, Middle-Ages type of Christian nation.
To see the full and complete quotation, and for a more thorough analysis of this phrase and why it was used, see WallBuilders’ article “Treaty of Tripoli.” (wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=125)

A Woman's Perspective says:

A (Catholic) woman’s perspective.

A Woman's Perspective says:

Surprise! This thread that has implications for women’s reproductive health is an absolute sausage-fest! I’m so shocked!

Given the male-dominated discussion on this issue, from this mediocre college opinion piece and its corresponding comment thread all the way up to the Catholic Church to Congress, it’s no surprise that people choose to argue that this issue is ONLY about religious freedom. No, women have NOTHING to do with it at all.

I agree that this debate has something to do with religious freedom. But religious freedom in America has a dual meaning. It also means freedom FROM religion. This debate goes beyond the religious arguments. It is ABSOLUTELY relevant to women’s reproductive health and women’s rights. Those who disagree are…probably men.

The bottom line is that, in this case, the government is not ruling on the validity of a religious doctrine. The Catholic Church can continue to freely preach abstinence to its future teen moms…IN CHURCH. And Catholics can continue to choose not to use birth control themselves, though most WILL use birth control. What employers cannot do is force others to make the same religious choices, especially when we are talking about religiously AFFILIATED organizations (aka, NOT CHURCHES!)These organizations pay taxes, employ non-Catholics, and don’t proselytize. They should not be allowed to manipulate employees who do not wish to adhere to the same religious doctrine.

That’s a woman’s perspective for you.

Mike says:

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” This is an excerpt from an 1802 letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists. http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpost.html -Link to the Library of Congress copy.

Also, Washington was a deist. He did not worship the same god that Christians do. http://www.deism.com/washington.htm

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission actually found this as discrimination based on gender in 2000, since prescription contraceptives are exclusively for women. This is in direct violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/decision-contraception.html

The reasoning behind the glasses has nothing to do with any type of discrimination based on religious practices, does it? This case, however, is entirely based upon that, which is illegal.

Just another little tidbit as further proof of the US not being founded on religion, Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli states ” As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”
The Library of Congress copy.
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac2&fileName=009/llac009.db&recNum=341

Jordan says:

Non-Catholic worker discrimination: here’s an example, my employer doesn’t offer vision with our insurance plan. I purchase it outside on my own dime. How dare my employer discriminate against those of us with impaired vision! Obama should mandate free vision care be offered by every employer for all!
See the point yet? No employees rights are being violated, since they can still obtain contraceptives, or any other service they want.

There is that “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” that most people leave off. As for “separation of church and state” was interpreted from the 1st amendment and writings that came what? Over a hundred years of when the Constitution was written? Talk about activist judge and inventing precedent. As an example, read George Washington’s Thanksgiving address, as well as the simple establishment of the Thanksgiving holiday to begin with.

Mike says:

I have to go for about an hour or two, but when I return I will read everything you have put forth, and respond to what I don’t cover here.

The separation of church and state comes from the exact wording of the 1st amendment.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
That’s saying that Congress won’t give any religion preferential treatment, while also not prohibiting their practices.
If they do not want to use contraceptives, they don’t have to do so. However, not all people that work for Catholic institutions are Catholics. Therefore, by allowing the institution to deny this plan, the non-Catholic workers are being discriminated against.

Also, could you elaborate further on how state secularism is a religion? I want some clarification before I return and wind up responding based on misconstrued inferences. Thank you.

Jordan says:

Mike: not asking for preferential treatment, simply pointing out that it is unconstitutional and that contraceptive/abortificants (or any service, health care coverage) should not be mandatory for anyone. If someone wants those services/coverage, they can obtain it themselves. If their employer doesn’t have the health benefits they desire, they are free to seek employment somewhere else.

As for preferential treatment, what about the waivers that allow unions, our federal representatives, and various campaign contributors to “opt out” of Obamacare? Where’s the equal protection under the law? We have no option of avoiding Obamacare unless we renounce our citizenship.
And just touching upon the gov’t being “neutral” in regards to religious preferences is ridiculous. Do some reading on where the phrase “separation of church and state” comes from. Wallbuilders.com is a good place to start. And then there’s the promotion of state secularism, which is its own type of religion, while restricting everyone elses right to the “free exercise” of their own beliefs.

Mike says:

Well, what you are asking for is preferential treatment for the Catholic Church. In order to maintain the neutrality of the government, nobody can be exempt. If we start providing exemptions based on religious beliefs, moreso than usual, then there would be no money being spent for wars, no subsidies for the pork or beef industries, etc. You would have to go through every single religion that exists or has ever existed, and any of their practices are now exempt from any kind of government interference. The government must remain neutral, or the US will end up as a theocracy, and history has shown us where that leads. (the Dark Ages and Iran currently)

Jordan says:

Mike: again, no one is attempting to deny anyone contraceptives or any other type of health coverage. The Church and other religious organizations are simply stating that it would be a violation of their religious beliefs and first amendment rights to force them to pay for it.
Employees are free to purchase it on their own, or obtain it free or reduced price from the health dept or planned parenthood.
Seems everyone thus far has ignored the other constitutional violation that has the President dictating to a private company what products it has to offer and at what price (free).

Mike says:

These verses are not taken out of context. The Bible is that reprehensible.

My satirical point is that by trying to deny the coverage of contraceptives, they are imposing their will on people who don’t share their beliefs.

We both would agree that too many births in this country occur in precarious situations, so the safest course to decrease the number is access to contraceptives for those that are sexually active. The truth is that you won’t be able to stop people having sex, though it’d be funny to see someone try, so the best method is to promote safety and try to minimize the risks.

Snowflake says:

As a domesticated house cat I fully support Luke’s argument. Yet I am disappointed that he failed to mention a very key issue. According to section 2.4.2 B of the Cat Constitution, any male cat may commit rape on their female counterparts once every third crescent moon. Yet the Obama administration fails to recognize this even though it is a fundamental and God-given right to us cats. These radical liberals wish to iniciate a vicious rape tax in a feeble attempt to “reduce rape” and put money back into their own pockets to blow on schools and bridges. According to recent Catupp poll, 68% of domesticated cats believe that Obama is nothing more than a “selfish dick with a spray bottle”. A clear majority over the minority stray population who claims that Obama is “not that bad” and “a nice guy”. It’s clear that Luke and Jordan are genius cat owners that know their stuff.

Jordan says:

Mike: lol, interesting take away. You realize in this country that your constitutional rights are guaranteed…but so are everyone elses constitutional rights. I can’t prevent you from getting an abortion, nor from using contraceptives, though I may argue against it, but, you get to choose. On the same note, I can’t force you to do any of those things either. The constitution protects an individuals rights. All those verses you quoted (context anyone?) could be accepted as my religious beliefs, but in acting upon them I would violate the constitutional rights (as well as numerous Biblical doctrines) of others.
The Church isn’t imposing their viewpoint on anyone through law, but asking to not have the law impose others viewpoints on them. It’s very troubling that you’re not able to distinguish (or dont want to) the difference

Mike says:

I agree. Too long has the government been stifling religious freedom. I demand to be able to exercise my Christian duty to kill nonbelievers (2 Chronicles 15:12-13), homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:24-32), people who work on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:12-15), adulterers (Leviticus 20:10), and women who are not virgins on their wedding night (Deuteronomy 22:20-21). This is not an issue of murder, but one of religious freedom. I demand my 1st Amendment right of freedom of religion grant me amnesty in performing the work of the Lord.

Furthermore, I demand the right to rape a virgin, pay her father 50 pieces of silver and marry her (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)

Also, why are women allowed to teach me in schools. This is strictly against my religious beliefs (1 Timothy 2:12).

Once again, these are not issues of murder, rape, and equality, but issues of the government denying me my religious freedom.

Matt says:

Should an employer whose religious beliefs forbid blood transfusion (e.g. Jehovah’s Witness) be free to exclude transfusions from his employees’ health coverage?

This is indeed about religious freedom … but it’s about my freedom to not have my employer’s beliefs imposed on me. Luke’s definition of “freedom” seems to mean giving employers the “freedom” to impose their beliefs on others.

Jordan says:

Paul: your missing the entire argument. The argument isn’t about contraceptives, the argument is about the President dictating to churches, religious organizations and individuals their actions regardless of their religious beliefs. If you can’t see the ramifications of this, you need to work on using your brain.
Lee: equating the execution of a felon who has gone through the justice system and been sentenced to death (and the multiple mandatory appeals) and equating that to the ending of an innocent life in a womb is a bit of a stretch, don’t u think?
But, there are plenty of unconstitutional practices and laws in this country, just b/c we haven’t overturned them yet, we should bend over at the ankles and let them expand their power grab and further render the Constitution meaningless?
Again, the argument that this is over contraceptives is a total red herring. It’s not about women’s health issues, it’s about religious liberty and private property rights.

Lee says:

How is this a new issue? This country has been murdering felons and fetuses for years. I sure as hell don’t support either because I am a Christian, and yet I pay my taxes. We also had a pro-life president for 8 years and the number of abortions actually rose. So how is taking preventive actions to reduce unplanned births/disease any more illegal and unconstitutional than the illegal war/”operation” in Iraq. You have a point but this isn’t exclusive to Obama and the Dems. Sounds more like a neocon looking for an excuse to bash and vent. At least you do it in a well spoken manner.

Paul says:

I don’t get why contraception has suddenly become an act of murder. Why not try and prevent unplanned pregnancies and transmitted disease? Sometimes our leadership has to be progressive for the benefit of our country. If they weren’t we’d still have slaves and shit. This is retarded.

Jordan says:

Jake: care to expand upon your statement? Or are we supposed to be able to read your mind? I’m frankly confused on how you can call yourself conservative and yet, be ignorant of the Constitutional and conservative principles that Obama and the Dems have just walked all over.

The contraceptive mandate IS an issue of the President over reaching and transgressing on our first amendment rights.

There is also the troubling fact that Obama, thanks to Obamacare, has now dictated that the insurance companies must offer contraceptives, free of charge, to women.
For those of you who may wonder what the big deal is, the President has told a private company what product they WILL offer, and what to charge for it, free. (and though many act like it, deep down, everyone knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch)

Jake says:

I’m a conservative, and you’re making us look ignorant.