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Thread: A few thoughts about freedom of religion and health insurance.

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    Default A few thoughts about freedom of religion and health insurance.

    I am certainly all for the idea of religious freedom, but I am also in favor of the separation of church and state. To me religious freedom means first- the right of individuals to make their own choices in regard to matters of faith and second- the protection of individuals from institutions gaining the power to enforce its dictates on anybody except those who freely choose to be a member, especially if that power is derived from public policy or state support.
    While I am sympathetic in some ways to the perceived "war on religion" this particular issue seems quite out of the ordinary and is at best very cloudy thinking on the part of the church, or at worst a blatant political stunt or even (more frighteningly) a power play that involves the use of state power to enforce the Catholic Church's demands not only on its members, but upon many outside of its flock.

    A few thoughts:

    1) I would have more faith in the sincerity of the church's position if they had in fact already held similar positions or made similar demands on the one group it has a right to dictate to- its own members. Until the church announces a policy that requires its members to drop any health insurance they use that has contraception coverage or face ex-communication, I simply must question their motives for asking such a thing for people outside the flock. They will not do this because many of its members already disagree with this and freely choose not to comply, and would leave the church before complying. Since they are powerless to stop this, they are seeking public policies that enforce on people what people of their own free will refuse.

    2) Furthermore, if the sin is no longer use of contraception, but any support of the general distribution of contraception even if to those outside the church, then it simply can not stop with health insurance. The church should require its members, (and latter everyone else) to not shop at stores that sell contraception, and stores that do not offer it, but use warehouses or distribution chains that support the sale of it, and stores that use banking and credit card institutions that are used by stores that distribute it, or travel on streets, roads, the internet or any other apparatus that supports the sale or distribution of contraception.

    3) There needs to be a clear understanding of hybrid institutions. Catholic colleges and hospitals are not the same thing as Catholic Churches. They do not have the same rights to dictate to those who are a part of the those places as they do for their laity. They accept public dollars, federal and state aid, insurance (many of which offer contraception) and are built and function today because of the hard work and dedication of millions of non-Catholics- including Baptists, Methodists, Jews, Lutherans, Hindus, Sikhs, Eastern Orthodox, Bhuddists, Presbyterians, Atheists, Agnostics, Rationalists, Eupraxians,- just to name a few. All of them, and the employed Catholics themselves, would see their freedom on this issue seriously eroded. The church has a right to demand compliance from its flock, because they can choose to leave, but certainly they have no right to dictate to these other institutions and their employees, clients and patrons.

    4) It seems to me that the religious freedom that the Church is arguing for is mostly about empowering itself to dictate to people it has little right to dictate to, and their asking to employ federal policy to do so. It is freedom of the church, not the people they are concerned about. The miniscule freedom from contributing in tiny ways to contraception for non-Catholics under health insurance in hybrid institutions seems ridiculous compared to the the use of state power to take it away from thousands that are not even members of the church, or against the appalling precedent of using public policy to back an institution's right to demand compliance from any group of individuals. No is being required to use contraception, you are being required to support everyone else's individual free choice in the matter.

    It seems to me that this is not a case of a war on religion, but a war by religion. This is a war by Religious institutions against individual freedom and they are looking for the state to accomplish what they can not. If the state has one prime purpose, it is to protect the individual's rights to choose in matters of faith and their actual opportunity to make real choices.
    Last edited by NYGriffin; 02-09-2012 at 09:42 AM.

  2. #2
    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: A few thoughts about freedom of religion and health insurance.

    Quote Originally Posted by NYGriffin View Post
    There needs to be a clear understanding of hybrid institutions. Catholic colleges and hospitals are not the same thing as Catholic Churches. They do not have the same rights to dictate to those who are a part of the those places as they do for their laity.
    Thank you, NYGriffin. I couldn't have said it better. I agree with your entire post, but I feel that the part I quoted above is the crux of the matter. If churches want to get into the hospital business, they have to play by hospital rules. A hospital has a responsibility to provide the best medical care . . . period! They have ethics boards to help them decide some of the difficult choices that must be made, but religion (except for that of the patient) must not enter into the decision.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: A few thoughts about freedom of religion and health insurance.

    I couldn't disagree more with your post Griffin. I respect your views but I don't think you are quite understanding the church's views. I will do my best to explain the difference in their's and your view on the situation. I am no expert, nor claim to be. I am also not Catholic, but I can understand their views. So.....

    Until the church announces a policy that requires its members to drop any health insurance they use that has contraception coverage or face ex-communication, I simply must question their motives for asking such a thing for people outside the flock.

    You are assuming that the church is requiring something from insurance companies, employees and their own members. They do not require anything from any of them. They teach their beliefs. They live their beliefs. In the concience of the church itself, they can not live with themselves if they help provide a service to someone that they believe God will judge them for. God has always given people free will. Let's face it, he's God. If he wanted to make people do certain things he can. He wants them to do the right thing because they "see the light" and know it's good. Same thing with the church itself. They hope the members do the right thing, but requiring it would also go against God's teachings. So by not wanting to "damn the church" so-to-speak, they just don't want to be actively involved in supplying contraception or abortion or sterilization. I don't see how requiring them to do so is not an attack on religious freedom.

    They will not do this because many of its members already disagree with this and freely choose not to comply, and would leave the church before complying.

    Again, they already know not all of their members agree with or follow strictly to their teachings. If they wanted to kick them out they would have already done so. They don't because of free will.

    Since they are powerless to stop this, they are seeking public policies that enforce on people what people of their own free will refuse.

    You've gotten a little confused here. The church is not seeking public policies that enforce on people what people of their own free will refuse. The government is the one trying to enforce something on someone's own free will. Since it is not a policy right now and the government is the one trying to make it a policy, they are clearly the ones trying to enforce something. The church is trying to keep it from being enforced on them.

    Furthermore, if the sin is no longer use of contraception, but any support of the general distribution of contraception even if to those outside the church, then it simply can not stop with health insurance.

    Not sure what this means. The church has never said they are trying to stop the general distribution of contraception even to those outside the church. They simply said they don't want to be forced to pay for something they don't believe in. You then go on with this made up idea and start saying what you think they should do with their members and where the members should shop. It reads well if the church was actually trying to stop contraception for everyone, but they aren't so it is really just rambling.

    The church has a right to demand compliance from its flock, because they can choose to leave, but certainly they have no right to dictate to these other institutions and their employees, clients and patrons.

    Employees have a right to leave also, so your side of the debate holds no water. And again, they are not trying to dictate anything to anyone. They just don't want to pay for it. They don't pay for it now and employees haven't been complaining about buying their own condoms, so why, all of a sudden, is buying your own condoms or paying for your own abortion such an issue?

    It seems to me that the religious freedom that the Church is arguing for is mostly about empowering itself to dictate to people it has little right to dictate to, and their asking to employ federal policy to do so.

    Again, you are confused on who is trying to dictate something. Since it is not a mandate now and the government is trying to make it a mandate, by simple definition, the government is the one trying to mandate something. I don't know where you get news and what influences you have on the spin of news, but you keep saying that the Catholic church is trying to mandate something. Someone has either confused you with their spin or you've read something wrong because they are trying to prevent the mandate.

    And now for one last question from me. Right now, we all have to pay a copay for blood pressure medication or diabetes or depression.....We will have to continue to do so under Obamacare. So why the completely free contraception, abortion and sterilization?

  4. #4

    Default Re: A few thoughts about freedom of religion and health insurance.

    Quinn, thanks for taking the time to read the post.

    I think where we significantly differ is in the idea of religious freedom. In my opinion, where rights of individuals cross the rights of institutions like churches, I almost always side with individuals.

    The pennies the church are expected to pay is nothing compared to allowing them to shape the public policy that shapes the choices of hundreds of individuals, many of whom are not even church members.

    This is not arbitrary govt.This is govt. protecting the freedom of individuals to choose what is appropriate in their health care without economic pressure from Religious Institutions.

  5. #5

    Default Re: A few thoughts about freedom of religion and health insurance.

    Hopefully the Obama Administration can eventually recognize a citizen's desire to be free from government. Wait, what am I thinking? We NEED the government to provide universal contraception. How else would anyone acquire contraception than through the government? Or healthcare, for that matter.

  6. #6

    Default Re: A few thoughts about freedom of religion and health insurance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flop The Nuts View Post
    Hopefully the Obama Administration can eventually recognize a citizen's desire to be free from government. Wait, what am I thinking? We NEED the government to provide universal contraception. How else would anyone acquire contraception than through the government? Or healthcare, for that matter.
    Exactly! People are always wanting government to do something they can do for themselves. Again, people pay for their own contraception now so why is it sooooo important that government or employers provide it in the future? A person can always choose to not have sex. People do have free will and since sex is a choice not an illness, I say buy your own condoms or pills.

  7. #7

    Default Re: A few thoughts about freedom of religion and health insurance.

    I don't mean to berate a point, but I just can't stop right now. Let's just break down this whole contraceptive/abortion/sterilization mandate and really think it over. I am asking for anyone reading this to really think about it.

    The government is requiring all insurance companies to provide free contraception/abortion/sterilization. Since it's not free now, why would this be such hot topic demand for them? Health insurance, as I've always understood it, is a big pot of money that someone pays into every week to collectively help themselves and others who may need to see the doctor or have a disease or may have had an unfortunate accident....Basically it helps pay for medical problems and procedures. The birth of a child is a medical procedure. However, I do think that people should be able to opt out of that coverage if they aren't going to have children, too old for children or whatever. That should be optional for extra cost, IMO. But, it is an actual medical procedure and therefore should be an option for those that want it. Blood pressure medication, diabetes medication, Alzheimer's...are all things that need medical attention. They are a problem that needs help to be resolved. They are considered diseases. That is what insurance is for. We never know if we may end up with one of these diseases and no one intentionally gets them, therefore insurance is what helps pay for the unfortunate ones that do have/get them. And they all come with a copay. The mandate on C/A/S, doesn't.

    Contraception/abortion/sterilization are used to stop/end a pregnancy. I realize that contraception can be used to stop STD's, but so can abstinence and it's free. So, based off of what the government is telling us (C/A/S should be in insurance) are they calling pregnancy a disease? Are they calling it an unfortunate accident? Are they saying that those who "suffer" from pregnancy need not only treatment for the "illness", but also preventative methods to stop it from happening in the first place?

    I think we can all agree that cancer is a world wide problem. Skin cancer is statistically the most common form of cancer. There are ways to prevent skin cancer that can be bought at the same stores that sell condoms. Why isn't the government demanding that everyone have free access to sun block? Why aren't there free slip-ons available at every beach entrance? I think a pack of condoms sells for around the same price as a bottle of sun block, yet there is no government outrage at the inability of people to purchase their own sun block. Skin cancer hits both sexes, all ages and all races, therefore out-numbering the possibility of those "suffering" from pregnancy. But yet, no government mandate. Hmmmm.......

    The government also says that this is help for women throughout the country. All women need this help, they say. What about the women who are married and have been trying for years to get pregnant, but can't? Why isn't the government mandating that insurance companies pay for fertilization or artificial insemination? I am pretty sure these women can win a debate against pregnant women on who is suffering more. And yet the government is silent for those women. Why?

    I truly believe the answer can be found in Agenda 21. I know people think I'm crazy, but on the Agenda 21 thread on this site, someone said they were going to read it for themselves b/c they thought I was crazy. I don't know if they read it or not. I'm guessing that the truth smacked them in the face and was just too embarrassed to say so (but I really have no idea). Population control IS going on around the world and it is not coincidence.
    Last edited by quinn14; 02-11-2012 at 02:09 PM.

  8. #8
    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: A few thoughts about freedom of religion and health insurance.

    Quinn, you seem to have shifted your argument. Do you oppose the mandate because it dictates that the church must violate its teachings or because insurance dollars would be better spent curing disease than preventing pregnancies? Probably your answer wil be both, but I suspect that if the church hadn't raised such a fuss, you wouldn't have bothered to consider the disease argument. BTW, I agree with the disease argument but disagree with the religious one.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: A few thoughts about freedom of religion and health insurance.

    My reasoning didn't shift. I was trying to explain my first post in a way everyone could understand. Maybe I failed in my attempt. Allow me to try to meld the two together.

    I firmly believe in the freedom of religion as long as people aren't hurting anyone else (Sharia law-type stuff). Catholics seem to have latched on to the whole "don't spill your seed" thing. I am not saying I agree with it, but the religion hurts no one by this belief or practice. It is firmly entrenched in the Catholic belief as a whole and they stand by their beliefs. Not everyone in the church feels that way, but since free will is in God's teachings, they aren't stoned to death or beaten with a cat-o-nine-tails for slipping on a condom or taking birth control pills. The government trying to force them to pay such practices goes directly against the 1st amendment. The government is not allowed to force citizens to purchase or provide anything, period. It is also not allowed to force religions to change their beliefs or do things against their faith. It is the same thing as forcing an atheist to pay for a church of any kind out of their own pocket. You wouldn't want to be forced to pay for a churches new gymnasium would you? Especially since you don't believe their teachings or use their services. As a reasonable guy that you seem to be, I am sure you don't picket local churches or feel your eyes burn whenever you see a cross. I'll bet you just go on your merry way and allow others to believe what they believe as long as they don't try to make you believe it. I am also pretty sure that a government mandate that would take your hard earned money for the sole purpose of giving it to a church you don't believe in would probably piss you off. If not you personally, I am VERY sure it would piss of the atheists who sue every time they see a cross in public.

    My last post was trying to point out the hypocrisy of the mandate. The government is trying to get this through by saying that all women need and deserve this service. Yet they don't demand sun block for an even bigger problem. They don't care about women who can't get pregnant, only those who don't want to. The government has created a false problem and convinced people that there is a problem and then are offering a solution to the non-existent problem. The administration was obviously too damn dumb to think about religious freedom when they created the false problem and they are now trying to find a way out by saying insurance will provide it for free so it isn't on the church's dime. What happened to the false problem they created when they got everyone to believe that insurance companies were evil and only look for profit? If that false claim were true then those same evil companies surely wouldn't offer a free service would they? The entire Obama administration seems surprised whenever a free American citizen points out their hypocrisy. I think that they really do think that they are smarter than everyone else.

    So, to sum up my thoughts: The Catholic church is right when they say they can't constitutionally be forced to provide contraception or abortion or sterilization. Catholic based employers are right when they say they aren't obligated to provide them. It is in the 1st amendment. Health care is not a right, it is a privilege. Anyone can think "it's just the right thing to do", but that is a slippery slope because some people think lynching black people or jews is the right thing to do too. That's why no one should force their beliefs on anyone else because there are always some people who don't agree. Our founding fathers created our Constitution based on freedom of religion because they were running from the tyranny of a government that forced its beliefs on the people. I think we should at least protect what they fought for.

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