Friday, February 10, 2012

Seriously? Religious Liberty means Thowing over Women's Reproductive Health and Freedom?

This is one of those issues that's really pissing me off. So much so I'm imposing the "You don't get to use my blog as a forum for your opinion".  That's right.   I don't want any comments about how this is about the constitution or religious freedom. You can spout that drivel somewhere else. Not here. And forget about trying to tell me how bad birth control is and how it's led to the objectification of women. If I could I'd make software that would smack you if you try to write that on my blog.

So this is the deal. The Roman Catholic church wants to run businesses, engage and yes profit in the world, but it wants to have special rules for itself, in that it doesn't want to have to include contraception coverage in their insurance for it's employees, like everyone else does.   And this is supposed to be about "religious liberty" and for that reason all us non-Catholics who care about religious liberty are supposed to say "SORRY WOMEN YOU LOSE AGAIN" and take up their cause. I call bullshit and say screw that.

I have no problem with making an exception for the church itself. I think if the Catholic Church doesn't want to provide condoms for their priests, then they should not have to. But if they want to venture out of the church and run a business in the world, then you play by the world's rules and you get your hands dirty. You can't have it both ways. And I say that for all churches who want to run businesses.

To me that is the bigger theological question. Not religious freedom. (and where in scripture are we told to force the State to give us rights?). It's about engaging in the world and how it can mean getting your hands dirty. And you can't engage in the world, profit from it or even help it and say "well I want to do this but I want you to make certain exceptions for me so I can be in business with you but can still claim that I'm better than you because I don't do these terrible things you do" .  Like provide reproductive healthcare for women.
But the fact that women are AGAIN the collateral damage from this is really what makes my head explode.


  1. Yup.

    Which raises a question to which I do not know the answer: do church-affiliated hospitals (and universities, and whatever) pay tax like secular hospitals, or like churches?

  2. I've been pissed too.

    Rev. Al Sharpton had a good response to all this, similar to yours, on HuffPo. And, bonus, he said men should stop telling women what to do.

    One person is not enough, but at least a high profile religious person is out there saying too. It's something.

  3. I thought they were non-profits and don't pay tax at all?

  4. I think that the issue of catholic related institutions is a cover to make the real aim more palatable. The general council to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke that the supposed problem would also apply to Catholic business owners who might be forced to cooperate with something they objected to. He is reported to have told USA Today that this means needing to remove the whole provision required full coverage of birth control. (See

    There has been a disconcerting shift amongst the RC bishops in the US toward strong activism with regards to anything related to sex and reproduction. It seems to, at least, border on a kind of political or social blackmail. You can't require this or allow that without impinging on our freedom of religion. Never mind the possible freedom claims of others, the "religious freedom" of those with a particular view are clearly to be given the greatest weight. We see this with gay rights, especially with marriage equality, as well. The campaign supporting the anti-marriage amendment in Minnesota reports fewer than a dozen significant donors. The largest is the MInnesota Catholic Conference, with donations running $350,000. And in the recent referendum on Maine's marriage equality bill, the local Catholic bishop provided significant monetary support (also in the six figures) while closing several parishes, claiming a lack of resources to keep them running.