Why Are Catholics Still Whining About the HHS Mandate?

The first amendment was the first damn thing we thought of when we decided not to give the American Government unlimited power over the human person. And the first part of the first damn thing we thought of reads as follows:

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

It seems apparent — though perhaps I’m romanticizing the entire situation — that the First of Firsts should be upheld, if only for the fact that (a) it sounds awesome, and (b) that Firsts are foundations on which rest Seconds and Thirds. If man has not the freedom to believe a thing and act on that belief — which is the unadulterated essence of religion — who cares if he has free speech? He won’t say anything interesting.

Now how would a government abandon allegiance to this First of Firsts and “prohibit the free exercise of religion”?

Since scientism and porn are gentler practices than faith, we have scooped out our religious natures like the last slop of ice cream, and it is currently difficult, if not impossible, to have a clear conception of what — precisely — constitutes an injustice to the religious man.

Burning down his church? Killing his priest? Funding art that pisses on his God? Yes, but these offenses are entirely expected by the man who has decided to live against the world. To really offend the religious man, he must be prevented from loving his neighbor. To understand this, we must understand the basic claim of Judeo-Christian religion:

This is why we exist: We were made by a God who loves us. This is the meaning of life: It is an invitation to love God in return. This is sin: The failure to love, and thus the failure to be who we are — creatures made to give and receive love.

Now I’ll admit that this all sounds crazy, give that the meaning of life is clearly to eat Cheetos in the desperate hope that the next season of How I Met Your Mother will bring lasting peace, joy and the fulfillment of the human person. Nevertheless, there exist actual human beings who believe this to be the case, and this belief, expressed in various forms, constitutes the vast majority of religion in America.

It is vital for the non-religious to understand this ridiculousness, for it follows that the real crime of a government against the religious man is not violence, but the attempt make it impossible for him to love God and neighbor. This is the ultimate prohibition of the free exercise of religion. This is the injustice that hammers the heart of the religious man and raises him to fury.

And though we are told in so many words to stop saying it, and to — like good Catholics — read less of our Bishops and more of the Huffington Post, this is precisely what the HHS Mandate does.

I am a Catholic. I belong to a Church that claims to contain within its teachings the revealed truth about how best to love. One of its teachings is that the use of contraception represents a failure of love, in that it treats sex as an act with no purpose, marriage as a covenant separate from the total self-gift of creation, woman as an object to be altered, man as an animal who cannot master his actions (and thus needs the eradication of responsibility), and the child as an unintended consequence. I ask none to believe it. I merely ask one to consider the positively medieval possibility that there are people who do believe the act of contraception is a sin, and thus want no part in it.

It is a failure on the Catholic’s part to willingly practice contraception, knowing it wrong. But far worse than personal sin is for a man to lead others to sin. Jesus Christ is a fountain of mercy, but when he speaks of a man leading little ones astray he says, and I quote, “it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck.”

And as God says in the Old Testament:

When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.

The federal government is demanding that Catholic institutions pay for their employees’ contraception. They thus demand that we lead others astray. There is simply no way to put money in a person’s hands labeled “for the specific purpose of your upcoming tubal ligation” without it being a sin to do so. It doesn’t matter if we are giving the money to insurance companies who then give the money to employees, any more than hiring a hitman would make us innocent of murder.

The idea that because the government isn’t sneakily slipping condoms on Catholics having sex, Catholics should be fine with paying for other kids’ contraception is an argument decrepit as disco: Don’t like birth control? Don’t use it! But don’t deny your employees the right to use it!

To not pay for some one’s supply of Trojan Extra Charged Ribbed Flavored Glow-in-the-Dark Yeah Au Natural is not to deny them their right to use it. As Notre Dame, happily suing the U.S. government for trampling on the first amendment noted:

Those services are, and will continue to be, freely available in the United States, and nothing prevents the Government itself  from making them more widely available. But the right to such services does not authorize the Government to force the University of Notre Dame (“Notre Dame”) to violate its own conscience by making it provide, pay for, and/or facilitate those services to others, contrary to its sincerely held religious beliefs.

The U.S. Constitution and federal statutes protect religious organizations from governmental interference with their religious views—particularly minority religious views. As the Supreme Court has recognized, “[t]he structure of our government has, for the preservation of civil liberty, rescued the temporal institutions from religious interference. On the other hand, it has secured religious liberty from the invasion of civil authority.” Through this lawsuit, Notre Dame does not seek to impose its religious beliefs on others. It simply asks that the government not impose its values and policies on Notre Dame, in direct violation of its religious beliefs.

They join Priests for LifeDomino’s PizzaHobby LobbyAnnex Medical IncorporatedBelmont AbbeyWheaton College, Ave Maria University, EWTN, Springfield Iron and Metal LLC, American Pulverizer Company, Hustler Conveyor Company, City WeldingCriswell College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Lousiana Baptist, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., and whole mess of multi-religious people in suing the federal government. The multitude of religions joining in protest against this particularly insidious bit of injustice goes to show that the HHS Mandate is no small inconvenience to the religious man in America. It is the reason he left England to live in America in the first place.

It is repellent to be told by an faceless power that we cannot love our neighbors. We will continue to oppose the HHS mandate, at the high cost of everything, for the freedom to love forever outweighs this mighty temptation offered by the Government of the United States.

Bettering Your Boring Christian Playlist: Jenny & Tyler
Sexuality and the Land
The Difference Between a Martyr and a Victim
No, Christianity's Not Eurocentric (But You Kind Of Are)
  • musiciangirl591

    somewhat relevant to this, after obama won, i put up a fairly pissed off status on facebook, i said something about religious freedom being violated, a girl posted on it, no one’s interfering with the practice of your religion, so you should shut up about this, well as long as obama is taking a crap on my freedom of religion, i won’t stop talking about it, and i will never stop until this mandate is dead, ok random rant of the day is over :P

    • Godfrey’s Dragon

      Kindly inform your friend that the “practice of religion” is not limited to temporary occupation of certain buildings once a week, thank you very much. And perhaps she could also learn that it’s unwise for one to enter a conversation by demonstrating ignorance of the subject.

      • musiciangirl591

        i did, and i promptly unfriended her because she was being rude

        • Godfrey’s Dragon

          Good girl.

          Never apologize for what you believe in, unless you actually hold it to be worth apologizing for.

      • WSquared

        Yes because “practice of religion” also begs the question of what that religion worships. I’ll second Mr. Barnes’s bit about sitting on the couch, munching Cheetos and watching How I Met Your Mother.

        “And perhaps she could also learn that it’s unwise for one to enter a conversation by demonstrating ignorance of the subject.”

        Particularly when that ignorance is profound when it comes to what Catholic Christians even mean by “God” in the first place.

  • Dave G.

    The problem is, this only works if the First Amendment says what this post suggests it says. There are many I’ve read who would take issue with this notion of the First Amendment’s purpose.

  • Obliged_Cornball

    “I ask none to believe it. I merely ask one to consider the positively medieval possibility that there are people who do believe the act of contraception is a sin, and thus want no part in it.”

    I believe you believe it, and I stand with you against HHS (and I am no Catholic).

    • http://www.facebook.com/marcjohnpaul Marc Barnes

      You’re the man. (Well, perhaps. You could be the woman.)

    • scrzbill

      You can believe any of the medieval religious goop you want, don’t ask others to do it. Don’t Catholics also preach that sex is for procreation only?

      • HigherCalling

        “Don’t Catholics also preach that sex is for procreation only?”

        Unequivocally, emphatically, decidedly, positively, flatly… no.

      • Andrew O’Brien

        Nope.

      • Obliged_Cornball

        …what?

      • John Wright

        One reason why I became Catholic after my conversion from atheism was the purely pragmatic consideration: it was the one denomination whose teachings were always misrepresented. On the general principle that “people who have ammo don’t shoot blanks” I soon came to suspect that the criticism of Catholic belief were bogus. And, if the criticism is bogus, this lends weight to the suspicion that the belief criticized is both true and fearsomely so.
        Were I not a Catholic because of this, I would become one now on the same principle. The criticism is bogus. The critic here pretends he cannot tell the difference between the victim and the victimizer, or pretends that refusing to fund for another man’s free indulgence in his sins is the same as oppressing him.
        In an hour when the Catholics are being commanded to offend one of their most famous religious beliefs, one of the few that makes us different from Protestants and Postchristians, the prohibition on contraception, is not the hour when a condescending child should be telling us not to “ask” other folk to obey Catholic moral teachings.
        Does “ask” here mean “lecture” or does ask mean “coerce”?
        If the child is lecturing us that we should not lecture, not preach and spread the good news of our faith, then this is a contractions in terms. He is lecturing us not to lecture, telling us not to tell, asking us not to ask, preaching against preaching. Then this is illogical and outrageously illogical.
        If the child is lecturing us, we who are being forced to violate
        our consciences, that we should not coerce others — something we have
        neither done nor contemplated. No roving gangs of drunk Nuns are kicking
        in doors and midnight and yanking condoms off crotches in mid-coitus
        — then this is a lie and an outrageous lie.

        • Steven

          +1 to this comment. I am glad I was not drinking anything when I came across that excellent last sentence. That is a vividly funny image as it seems like some people believe that actually happens.

  • Joe Cool

    I read an article recently about a German judge who upheld a ban on infant circumcision for non-medical reasons in one district in Germany. Aside from the obvious “Germany oppresses Jews” take on it, my first thought was, what, exactly, is this judge expecting? Jews to just give up on thousands of years of their cultural practices?

    I think a similar thing applies to the HHS mandate. What, exactly, is the federal government expecting? Do they think the Catholic Church (and myriad other Christians) will just say “oh well, it was nice while it lasted,” and give up on 2000 years of tradition? And if not, are they ready for the end game? Are they really willing to use force to stop Christians from practicing Christianity?

    • http://www.facebook.com/ericrboersma Eric Boersma

      I expect that the US Government is fully willing to use force to enforce the laws of its own country. Brown v. Board of Education was only 60 years ago, but apparently you forget that the National Guard was happily called in to make sure those black kids got to school safely.

  • Nicholas Escalona

    “I ask none to believe it.”

    Aren’t you conceding the whole field to the secularists by taking this angle? Giving in to the lie that there is a public space in which religion and religious arguments have no place? What happened to the opportunity for evangelization? Everyone’s curious why Catholics oppose contraception, and most Catholics are extremely under-prepared to make a natural-law defense.

    Isn’t it dangerous to talk about “religious freedom” as if we meant the same thing the secularist means, and the Protestant influences on the Constitution meant? Religious freedom is not blind to the truth. In its fullest sense, it applies only to Religion in its fullest – the religion taught by the Church. Error has no rights – although a person may still have the right not to be interfered with by the government regarding those errors. It’s still a big difference!

    The other problem is that religious freedom is manifestly not absolute. The jihadist form of Islam, for example, ought to be very restricted by law in its practice. Yet you, and (it seems like) everyone else, never mention these limits to religious freedom. Without them, it’s not a precise concept and we do not look like serious thinkers.

    But contraception is always and everywhere wrong and never justifiable. The American Church is missing an opportunity by pretending that this is just one of those eccentric Catholic doctrines, don’t look twice, just let us have it. When it, with the Gospel, is the answer to nearly every one of the worst points of American society! How is that pastoral?

    • Obliged_Cornball

      “Isn’t it dangerous to talk about ‘religious freedom’ as if we meant the
      same thing the secularist means, and the Protestant influences on the
      Constitution meant? Religious freedom is not blind to the truth. In its
      fullest sense, it applies only to Religion in its fullest – the religion
      taught by the Church. Error has no rights – although a person may
      still have the right not to be interfered with by the government
      regarding those errors. It’s still a big difference!”

      If you take “religious freedom” to mean something other than what is meant by the Constitution, then you lose the argument from Constitutionality. I won’t tell you not to do this, but understand that a neutral person will feel no less inclined to defend your interpretation than the HHS Mandate’s. What you’re saying Catholics should do is wage war on the 1st Amendment – you’re just waging it for a different reason than the Obama Administration is. If you think you can win, and make America a Catholic nation (not just a nation with lots of Catholics), go for it. I just ask that you do so without pretense of fairness.

      • Nicholas Escalona

        I’m not suggesting we mount an attack on the First Amendment. The Church’s doctrine remains the same and maybe one day there will be a return from modern liberalism to sensible government. What I’m suggesting is that a focus be placed on the immoral nature of contraception.

    • http://twitter.com/gailfinke Gail Finke

      No, Marc is not doing that. I don’t have the believe that God requires male infants to be circumcized in order to understand that Jews believe that God requires it of them, and to say it is their right to practice their religion by doing it. Marc is saying that secularists don’t have to agree with us on this issue, but they do have to accept that we believe it and so CANNOT pay for it.

  • Zane

    This really made it clear to me why the Church is so opposed to the HHS Mandate. I’d heard it discussed in many homilies, but never from the perspective of love, as it was here. That really strikes at the heart of the issue, I think. It’s not a political issue for the Church; it’s an issue that concerns our very souls.

  • http://twitter.com/Pmccrsp Fr. Peter Calabrese

    Not just institutions but also individuals who own businesses need to be protected.

    • HigherCalling

      Exactly. In a pluralistic society any government takeover of healthcare must necessarily include mandates like the HHS Mandate, funding for abortion, and all other manner of violations of universal truth. So, either the pluralism goes, or the governmental takeover goes. Either the pluralism is wrong, or the takeover is wrong. Either we eliminate the pluralism, or we eliminate the takeover. Protecting the rights of institutions and individuals in this society can only mean one thing — the takeover must go, because IT is the source of the problem. Anything capable of such violations of basic rights must be flawed at its very core.

      The very fact that Obamacare demands these things and smashes religious liberty, all in one fell swoop, should be a glaringly obvious clue to educated Catholics that the whole notion of a governmental takeover of healthcare is fundamentally flawed. That many Catholics support such a takeover as written, calling it social justice and Christian virtue, is terrifying but understandable given the pick-and-choose, Protestant-esque Catholicism of so many modern American Catholics whose politics trumps and defines their faith. That many Catholic bishops would support such a takeover, were it not for that pesky contraception and abortion thing, is beyond belief. What ever happened to Catholic principles? Single-payer/nationalized healthcare fundamentally violates those principles. It upsets the proper definition of what and who healthcare is all about, and it upsets the proper ordering of how and from where it is delivered. Obamacare is no less a violation of the natural law and the moral order than are contraception, abortion, same-sex “marriage,” restrictions genuine religious expression, and even restrictions on keeping and bearing arms. They are all metaphysical absurdities. Obamacare will do, and is already doing, what all violations of universal truth do — it will introduce more disorder into society and will ultimately expand the culture of death.

    • scrzbill

      The people that need protecting are the ones who are employed by religious fanatics. Pushing your religious beliefs on others is not a first amendment issue. Tell the truth, doesn’t the Catholic Church preach there should be sex only for procreation. So once every nine months at best. The Catholic church has been making outrageous demands on people since their inception. What about all the pedophile priest, is that love?

      • Andrew O’Brien

        The Catholic Church doesn’t force people to work for it. Nobody should force anyone to be employed by anyone, religious fanatic or anti-religious fanatic.

      • John

        scrzbill, I’ll presume you’re perfectly capable of reading the Catechism as to your “question” about the Church’s teaching on the meaning & purpose of sex. But I’ll also sum it up for you: unitive & procreative.

        And yes, Christ’s demands may seem outrageous to those unwilling to follow. Many of His disciples turned away upon hearing the teaching of the necessity of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. If you too turn away you won’t be the first nor the last. None are forcing you to accept and submit to what the Church teaches. It’s perfectly voluntary.

        And no. A priest (or anyone for that matter, because believe it or not it happens in other places also) sexually abusing anyone is not love. That was an absurd and petulant question. Love is not merely warm, fuzzy feelings but desiring the highest and best for the sake of the beloved.

      • John Wright

        Pardon me for repeating myself, but the child is repeating himself, and one cannot answer lies with silence.
        The criticism is bogus. The
        childish critic here pretends he cannot tell the difference between the victim
        and the victimizer, or pretends that refusing to fund for another man’s
        free indulgence in his sins is the same as oppressing him.
        In an
        hour when the Catholics are being commanded to offend one of their most
        famous religious beliefs, one of the few that makes us different from
        Protestants and Postchristians, the prohibition on contraception, is not
        the hour when a condescending child should be telling us not to “ask”
        other folk to obey Catholic moral teachings.
        Does “ask” here mean “lecture” or does ask mean “coerce”?
        If
        the child is lecturing us that we should not lecture, not preach and
        spread the good news of our faith, then this is a contractions in terms.
        He is lecturing us not to lecture, telling us not to tell, asking us
        not to ask, preaching against preaching. Then this is illogical and
        outrageously illogical.
        If the child is lecturing us, we who are being forced to violate
        our consciences, that we should not coerce others — something we have
        neither done nor contemplated. No roving gangs of drunk Nuns are kicking
        in doors and midnight and yanking condoms off crotches in mid-coitus
        — then this is a lie and an outrageous lie.

  • Elizabeth

    “Now I’ll admit that this all sounds crazy, give[n] that the meaning of life is clearly to eat Cheetos in the desperate hope that the next season of How I Met Your Mother will bring lasting peace, joy and the fulfillment of the human person.”

    Best apologist ever.

    • http://www.facebook.com/greg.lapinski.9 Greg Lapinski

      The problem is “How I Met Your Mother.” Now, if you were watching “Duck Dynasty” all would be rainbows and butterflies. . .

      Aside from that, well said. It’s remarkable how so many people don’t see this as a problem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BdnOcampo Brandon Ocampo

    “This is why we exist: We were made by a God who loves us. This is the meaning of life: It is an invitation to love God in return. This is sin: The failure to love, and thus the failure to be who we are — creatures made to give and receive love.”

    Dude, you just summed up Catholicism in a few sentences. Love this post by the way. You rock!

    • scrzbill

      I guess made by God would be true if you ignore science. The church is using this to control the members of their church. Forget the fact that birth control does more than prevent pregnancies, it saves lives, helps some women procreate, and is a remedy for other medical problems. The church should stay out of politics or start paying taxes. SIN. What bull crap. More made up crap for the church to have control over your life.

      • John Wright

        How is it that you, who do not even know the basics of what the Church has publicly taught and proclaimed for two thousands years, have such insight into the secret workings of the hearts of the priestly leadership, that you know their true motivations, when they themselves do not?
        Name the names of three priest you know personally. Tell me how often you have spoken to them, how they revealed their hidden motives to you?
        Or do you claim this is not a secret? If so, tell me the document published by the Church where the Church says that this is her motive?
        If you cannot, you must contemplate the possibility that your theory is in error, check your axioms, look for errors in your logic.
        ———————————-
        PS, Christendom invented modern science, and Catholics are not necessarily biblical literalists nor creationists. You betray an ignorance of the topic greater than that you accuse others of.

  • Mungling

    As a Canadian watching this whole mess unfold, I have to say that the HHS Mandate was one of the most egregious violations of personal freedom (let alone religious freedom) that I have ever seen. Why should anyone fund another person’s sex life? Furthermore, if the government feels that contraception is a basic, human right then should the government be paying for the public’s contraception rather than telling others to do so? It makes no sense!

    I am glad that you decided to frame your question in terms of the First Amendment. I continually forget that the First Amendment exists for purposes other than taking down manger scenes and statues of Jesus and our Blessed Mother. It seems weird that many not explicitly atheistic groups (I’m looking at you ACLU!) would not tackle this with the same vigor and ferocity that they do when defending a perceived slight against secular humanism. It’s almost like they have some sort of agenda… weird.

    Finally, I’m glad that you continue to tackle the HHS mandate but I’ve found myself consigned to the fact that despite our best efforts most people simply won’t get it. People love their contraception, people see nothing wrong with their contraception, and the fact that anyone could be morally opposed to contraception is a beyond most people’s comprehension. People don’t care that it’s a violation of first amendments rights since people seem to feel that this particular application of the first amendment is not worth protecting. I’m not at all sure how American Catholics and the USCCB plans to tackle that,

  • avalpert

    Great so I am sure you are on the front lines fighting for the legalization of polygamy

  • imjustmusing

    This is only the first of many more “mandates” to come. Justice Robert’s set a precedent with his decision which calls this a tax. There is now nothing to stop the government from imposing taxes on anything and everything they want mandated.

    As a practicing Catholic and a believer in the US Constitution as written, I believe we must absolutely everything we can to stop this erosion of our freedoms from happening. We may not be able to reverse Obamacare, but we can work to stop it from happening again.

    How? By working to enact an amendment to the Constitution which will “prohibit Congress for establishing any law mandating the purchase of any services or products. Please join us at http://www.mandateamendment.com and help us any way you can. This affects all of us, no matter what religious or non-religious practices we adhere to. You can also like is at http://www.facebook.com/mandateamendment

    • TheodoreSeeber

      I’m sure your server will be targeted by a drone before 2016. There is no way the eugenicists will let that pass.

  • Howard

    My only problem with this is that contraception is not something that is only wrong for Catholics, like eating meat on a Friday during Lent. Contraception is wrong for everyone. Nor is it knowable only by special revelation that contraception is wrong for everyone; this can be shown by reason alone. Contraception is like adultery; yes, we have a religious commandment against it, but even if we did not, adultery (and contraception) would still always be wrong for everyone — even the nonbeliever. This is the whole truth about it, and we need to get into the habit of insisting on that whole truth — no matter how unpopular it will make us — rather than a partial truth about religious freedom.

    • Antigone10

      How is it bad for nonbelievers? More sex, more stress relief, it’s funny, it’s healthy, and a woman doesn’t have to risk her life/health and both don’t have to risk their livelihood. This is nothing but win all around!

      • Andrew O’Brien

        Funny. Most of my friends have more stress when they have sex with the wrong person.

        • avalpert

          Wow, how many people do you who have sex with the wrong person – are they blindfolded or something? It seems like a pretty difficult mistake.

          • WSquared

            …I dunno, the kind who screw them and then leave them eventually while they were hoping for more? Plus, the tendency of most people to reduce love to mere emotion– and warm, fuzzy feelings– is often deceiving.

      • WSquared

        Antigone10, correct me if I’m wrong, but did you just reduce other people as a means to “more stress relief”?

      • WSquared

        Sorry, that should have read “reduce other people TO a means OF ‘more stress relief.’”

  • TheodoreSeeber

    As far as I’m concerned, if this goes through, I will consider the government of the United States to be a criminal organization no different from the Mafia. They will have made illegitimate the entire Constitution and everything that it stands for.

  • Antigone10

    My philosophical and religious beliefs follow that war should be limited in scope, and for clear and necessary reasons. My tax dollars still support a government that doesn’t agree.

    My philosophy states that organized religion is a harmful institution. My tax dollars still subsidize churches, mosques, temples, and other places of worship.

    I live in a pluralistic society. I put up with the fact that my beliefs are not going to reign supreme all the time.

    I think that (consented, wanted) abortion is a wonderful procedure that helps women have to suffer less from biology. My tax dollars, however, still DON’T support it, and condemn others to death in other countries because so many people believe abortion is wrong and harmful.

    My boss, who does not provide health insurance of any kind, does not believe in birth control. I and my husband, happily do. I’m so glad that she has absolutely no ability to tell me what I can get with my husband’s health care or my paycheck. I would consider any health insurance that didn’t cover things that women need (like birth control, abortion, and pre-natal and pregnancy care) to, by definition, not be health care. If I had health insurance that did not cover birth control, I would consider it to be akin to something that didn’t cover vaccinations or hospital visits. You can call it whatever you want, but calling a duck a goose doesn’t make it any less likely to go “quack”.

    You say “contraception is a sin”. I don’t care about your concept of sin, and neither should the government. The government is there to worry about facts, not our spiritual health. You SHOULDN’T want the government to worry about if this law or that law is a sin, because then they have to become a theologically adjudicating body- that should be terrifying to anyone of any religious (or lack there of) belief.

    You say that denying me contraception is loving your neighbor. If that is the case, I do not want your love. Your love is abusive and controlling.

    • Phil

      I will say that you have a very different understanding as to what is needed than the rest of us do. Food is needed. Water is needed. Love is needed. But birth control is needed? Nope. If one doesn’t eat, one dies. If one doesn’t drink, one dies. If one doesn’t consume birth control, not a damn thing happens. No one dies, or gets horribly depressed. Just abstain from sex for a week and have the same effect of not getting pregnant, plus none of the increased risk of cancer, blood clots, stroke, or heart attack.

      • Antigone10

        “Love” isn’t some sort of word or notion. Expressing love actually involves actions. It involves listening, caring, communicating, and sometimes just being there. And for romantic love, it also involves physicality. Back rubs, hugs, kissing and in a maturish relationship- sex. Would I die if I didn’t have sex when I wanted to every time? No, like every other sexual person on the planet I haven’t been able to have sex every time I wanted to. But there sure as hell as is a difference between “Damn, I’m single and horny” or “I wish dear husband wasn’t out flying tonight” and “I can never have sex again ever”. Which is what my life would be without birth control*. One of them is an inconvenience, an irritation akin to coming home to a crabby husband that I have to deal with. A pattern of not having sex in a relationship is a sign that it’s not romantic love, akin to a spouse that is CONSTANTLY crabby at you. Bit of difference, really. And actually, you don’t know that without birth control someone doesn’t get horribly depressed. I know that if I were to get live a lifetime of abstinence OR get pregnant (without being able to get an abortion), I would be depressed. I’m fairly certain that would push me to the “suicidal” stage pretty damned quick.

        I find this standard of “It’s not medically necessary to keep you alive” to be quite a disturbing standard for what constitutes health care. I don’t need antibiotics if I get strep throat- I would probably not die. I might, but the antibiotics are there to make sure that the disease goes away quickly. If I broke my leg skiing a splint probably would heal without killing me, but a cast would be the more expedient way to solve it. Same with vaccines- I probably won’t get whopping cough, and if I did I’m in the right age category for it to not kill me, but I’m sure glad I’m vaccinated against it.

        If the standard of health care is “it won’t kill you” than all we can cover is rudimentary emergency care and long-term treatments. That, I think, would be a terrible standard of care. I think that the “it enables you to live your life to the best of your ability and the best of our technology” is a much better standard of care.

        *I’m skipping the “Just abstain for a week” comment in the main text comment. Aside from the fact that the Rhythm method is way less effective than good old fashion orthotricyclin**, a) I’m not regular enough for it to be effective for me and b) it is an unnecessary pain-in-the-nalgas for no damn good reason. The increased risk of cancer, blood clots, stroke, or heart attack is MINUSCULE compared to the risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack that a pregnancy would give me. And the increased risk of cancer is less than going outside without sunscreen for an hour.

        **Yes it is. http://www.womentowomen.com/sexualityandfertility/birthcontrolmethods.aspx
        I’m not “open to new life” if that “new life” is sucking up my nutrients, blood, oxygen, and going to explode out of me in a particularly painful fashion.

        • Frank

          So then pay what you need to so you don’t get pregnant.. You have that freedom.

          • Antigone10

            I only have that freedom because I have (through my husband) health insurance, and access to healthcare. I couldn’t afford to doctor’s visit to get the prescription, and at $9.50/ hr. I most definitely couldn’t afford the birth control pills that work for me sans insurance. And if my boss decided to not pay me so I couldn’t afford the copay for them, I would especially have less freedom. Which is what you are suggesting- that bosses pay women less because s/he feels that birth control is wrong.

          • Frank

            That’s great! It’s also great that you can afford the pills but if you cannot, condoms work well too if used properly and in many places you can get them for free.

          • Antigone10

            No condoms for me- latex allergy, non-latex are expensive, I don’t enjoy the sensation, don’t have the added benefit of controlling my very painful periods and clearing up my skin. And while I am comfortable telling complete strangers about the various reasons why I choose to use contraception, I don’t demand that other women be. You don’t actually have a right to know why women choose one form of birth control over another. Maybe they, like I, need for endometris as well as wanting it to not have kids. Maybe they lack the language they need to get a partner to comply with condoms, or the social power. Maybe there are latex allergies. Maybe they just don’t like how it feels. Maybe they do wear condoms, because they want to have added protection to not having children because they don’t want children, but also don’t want to have an abortion if they do get pregnant. There are plenty of really good reasons to want to choose having hormonal contraception.

            And none of those reasons are anybody’s business but my own. They most certainly aren’t the business of my or any other person’s boss or any other person for that matter. Wouldn’t that concern you to have your boss privy to your private medical decisions. Would you want them to know about heart medication you take? Insulin? Elestra? Viagra? Anti-depressants? Anti-psychotics? There are various religious stripes that oppose all of these, from Christian Scientists to Scientology. Do they each get to opt out of each of these plans? If they did, I bet dollars to donuts you see a rise in companies suddenly becoming dedicated Christian Scientists so they can offer nothing but happy thoughts and calling it health care (while still getting the tax break).

          • Claude

            Tell it, Antigone10.

            Really, Bad Catholic is an antidote to any thoughts of “coming home.” How much bandwidth here is devoted to obsessing about the consensual sex lives of others! I trust Marc spends as much time following Jesus’s command to care for the poor as he does shilling for the Vatican.

            By the way, I had to force myself to read beyond the weak introduction to this post. The first amendment prohibits the government from establishing a state religion and persecuting religious expression (“sounds awesome,” really?). That is all. The USA is no place for theocrats.

          • jdens

            Brava!

          • amycas

            Hormonal birth control and condoms are not the same thing. They do not necessarily serve the same purpose. A majority of women on “the pill,” choose the pill for medical reasons other than birth control. To tell me or any other women to just use a condom, is telling us to ignore the medical reasons that we chose to use the pill.

    • Andrew O’Brien

      “I think that (consented, wanted) abortion is a wonderful procedure that helps women have to suffer less from biology.”

      You must be miserable, feeling that half of humanity suffers from their biology.

      • Antigone10

        Well, if my biology class was any indication, half would be a rather low estimate of the number people that suffered from their biology. :)

        But to be less glib- I suspect that everyone goes through periods where their body betrays them. That it isn’t as fast as one would like, that it gives pain that one would rather not have, it has reactions that are uncomfortable. Medical technology helps fix a lot, though not all, of them. Abortion is one such technology- it helps women not have to suffer through an unwanted pregnancy. Not half of humanity- some women will never get pregnant and others actually want to be pregnant. But for those who DO get pregnant and don’t want it? It’s a relief (afterwards, at least. From the friends who have done it they tell me it’s uncomfortable as hell- like getting the worst pap smear ever with some bad period cramps afterwards). It is a wonderful procedure to help get their bodies more under their control and yes, frees them from normal biological suffering.

        • RobJ

          When a married couple makes love without contraception, they are united as one. When two people have sex while using contraception and/or intending to abort, they are just masturbating with each other.

          • Antigone10

            Okay? If that’s how you want to view sex, have fun. I’m not going to judge your kinks- as long as you have a consenting partner. I happen to know sex as a necessary part of romantic love, that can result in deep bonding. If you want to view it as mutual masturbation, go ahead. Actual mutual masturbation can be a loving part of physicality as well (sometimes- it doesn’t satisfy everything). Why would you think I’d have a problem with actual mutual masturbation, to the point that I’d be insulted to call sex that?

          • Antigone10

            Okay? If that’s how you want to view sex, have fun. I’m not going to judge your kinks- as long as you have a consenting partner. I happen to know sex as a necessary part of romantic love, that can result in deep bonding. If you want to view it as mutual masturbation, go ahead. Actual mutual masturbation can be a loving part of physicality as well (sometimes- it doesn’t satisfy everything). Why would you think I’d have a problem with actual mutual masturbation, to the point that I’d be insulted to call sex that?

          • Antigone10

            To all- I can’t hit an all-reply button, but I’ve got to go. I have work to get to, chores to see to, friends to visit and a husband to have sex with. I’d really like to continue the discussion, but unfortunately, vacation is over and life calls. Sorry :(

          • RobJ

            What exactly is “kinky” about a married couple making love without chemicals or condoms? I fail to see your point there.

            When a couple has sex while using contraception, they are telling each other, “I like you enough to have sex with you right now, but I don’t love you enough to risk having children with you.” The “romantic love” you espouse, when paired with contraception, is love with specific limitations, which therefore is not really love at all.

          • avalpert

            What a load of crap. I’ve been happily married and in love for 13 years to the right person and have great sex and a very fulfilling relationship while using contraception.

            what we are telling each other is we respect both of us enough to plan together when, and how many children we will have.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ericrboersma Eric Boersma

            Sex can be an expression of love without risk involved. To think otherwise is…broken. I can’t even express it. It’s so unhealthy as to be unthinkable for the vast majority of the population.

          • WSquared

            Spot on. And this is how contraception ruins sex between the right people.

        • Frank

          You already have control of your body. You control whether you have sex or not. You control whether you use birth control or not. And sadly at least at the moment you can choose to kill the life you created.

          • Antigone10

            Yes, and I’m trying to preserve this control, and preserve it of others who happen to work in a organization that calls themselves Christian.(though I find it rich that companies like Domino’s and Hobby Lobby are suddenly getting deep spiritual epiphanies- considering that they were ALREADY covering birth control before the HHS mandate).

          • Frank

            You have made an informed decision and so have they. Why is your decision right and theirs is wrong? No one is trying to outlaw birth control. People should however should take that responsibility themselves.

          • Antigone10

            Because my decision effects nobody but the people involved. Theirs is making unconsented judgments for another person.

          • Zach Anderson

            It effects them when you make them buy it for you.

          • amycas

            Health care coverage from your job is a part of your compensation package for working–which is rolled into your salary. My boss can’t tell me how to spend my salary, so why should my boss be able to tell me how to use my insurance? My boss can’t reduce my salary so as to make birth control unaffordable for me, so why should my boss be able to reduce my health care package to do the same?

          • jdens

            Yes. Personally, I don’t think health insurance should be tied to employment anyway, but that’s the system we’ve got. I wonder if we had a single-payer healthcare system, would there be this same level of indignation?

          • amycas

            I don’t like employment based health insurance either, but people foamed at the mouth in response to a single payer system. If businesses don’t want to have to offer health insurance to attract good employees, then they should lobby for the government to take over that responsibility.

          • Zach Anderson

            Are you aware of the purpose of health insurance? The purpose of health insurance is to allow every employee to have access to medical treatment. The HHS mandate requires companies, schools, and charities to purchase contraceptives, which is not medical treatment. Your boss has the right to make sure you are using your health insurance to stay healthy, not for other motives. That’s the whole reason he is paying for it.

        • HigherCalling

          You’ve some very strange, indeed absurd, notions of “wonder” and “freedom.” Calling the brutality of abortion “wonderful” and saying that it “frees” a person from anything is a falsification of those definitions and a monstrous insult to humanity. Freedom is only found in truth. Falling away from truth is to fall into falsehood. Abortion, like its predecessor, contraception, is a universal falsehood. It is a cosmic crime, while being a temporal legality. For any person, particularly a woman, to expect “freedom” from the ultimate violation of her nature, shows an artificial and unnatural separation from the proper understanding of human nature, from the natural law, from the moral order, from biological reality, and from universal truth. That is only accomplished in one way — the way it’s been accomplished throughout recent history — through bad education, indeed, brainwashing.

          The vast majority of women who have abortions, either immediately or some time later, in moments of spiritual and intellectual honesty, experience the very opposite of freedom. They are enslaved to a life of grief, pain, and longing. Where’s the freedom? Where’s the liberation? The unnatural separation of sex from life, started by the reliance on the tools of contraception, is taken to a hideous next level in the separation of a mother from her child in abortion. Where’s the wonder? The problem of our time is centered on resisting truth, even seemingly small truths, at every level. We reject the truth because we think it is limiting or confining. The Church has always taught, as Christ said, that it is the truth that makes us free. Accepting truth is the most wonderful and liberating thing any person can do. Ask any former Catholic-bashing convert to Catholicism if he has lost freedom by entering the Church, and he will laugh. True freedom (which produces wonder) is found inside the four walls of the Catholic Church which has protected and offered universal Truth to the world, in Christ, for 20 centuries.

    • John Wright

      “My philosophy states that organized religion is a harmful institution.”— Not to worry. Our Church is very disorganized. The harms we have done include things like abolishing slavery, inventing empirical science, and preserving the Greek and Roman literature, law, and civilization.

      • Vision_From_Afar

        So being the only game in town when all others have been eradicated (we’ll not go into the means and ways), means you get to brag about being there when things happen, as if without the Church’s guiding hand none would have occurred. Delightful toot of your own horn, and historically impossible to prove or disprove.
        That doesn’t mean the Church now gets to dictate US Gov’t policy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/agni.ashwin Agni Ashwin

    “To not pay for some one’s supply of Trojan Extra Charged Ribbed Flavored Glow-in-the-Dark Yeah Au Natural is not to deny them their right to use it.”

    What if you hire someone to do a job. Do you refuse to pay them, on the suspicion that he/she might use that salary to pay for condoms?

    • Andrew O’Brien

      Seriously? that’s your argument? How can people not see the difference between somebody paying for their own condoms and ME paying for their condoms?

      • amycas

        Because health insurance coverage from your job is part of the compensation for working there. Many people choose employers based, not on the monetary salary they will get, but based on the extra benefits that are offered. Plus, employers don’t even pay for the health insurance package, the employees pay into it. An employer telling an employee how they should use health insurance is akin to an employer telling an employee how they can spend their salary.

        • http://www.facebook.com/paul.grimm.14 Paul Grimm

          Yes the operative word was health insurance. Fertility is not a disease. In fact the opposite is true. Providing contraception to people to take there state of wellness from ease to dis ease and giving them a class a carcinogen to boot is about as healthy as me to pay for someone’s tan.

          • amycas

            Is pregnancy a disease? Why does health insurance cover pregnancy? Should Catholic employers also be allowed to say they won’t offer health insurance coverage for the pregnancies of single women, or those women who are married but not under the Catholic church?

            By the way, you completely don’t understand that hormonal birth control is used to treat many different things other than just as birth control. Pcos is a disease.

            And fuck off for not understanding that just about any substance can be carcinogenic if used wrong.

  • scrzbill

    I have read some garbage in my life but this really tops it off. No one makes any use contraceptives. What about Jehovah Witness? They believe blood transfusions are wicked and sinful. Should anyone who works for them be denied the coverage? If you want to believe that the act of contraception is a sin, don’t take or use contraceptives. You want to force your medieval religious tenants on others.

    • John Wright

      Pardon me for repeating myself, a second time, but the child is repeating himself, and one cannot answer lies with silence.
      The criticism is bogus. The childish critic here pretends he cannot tell the difference between the victim and the victimizer, or pretends that refusing to fund for another man’s free indulgence in his sins is the same as oppressing him.
      In an hour when the Catholics are being commanded to offend one of their most
      famous religious beliefs, one of the few that makes us different from Protestants and Postchristians, the prohibition on contraception, is not the hour when a condescending child should be telling us not to “force” other folk to obey Catholic moral teachings.
      Does “force” here mean “lecture” or does ask mean “coerce”?
      If the child is lecturing us that we should not lecture, not preach and
      spread the good news of our faith, then this is a contractions in terms.
      He is lecturing us not to lecture, telling us not to tell, asking us
      not to ask, preaching against preaching. Then this is illogical and
      outrageously illogical.
      If the child is lecturing us, we who are being forced to violate
      our consciences, that we should not coerce others — something we have
      neither done nor contemplated. No roving gangs of drunk Nuns are kicking
      in doors and midnight and yanking condoms off crotches in mid-coitus
      — then this is a lie and an outrageous lie.

      • jdens

        Please stop being so derogatory. No need to call someone a child instead of actually addressing the argument. He asked about the example of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Answer him instead of repeating a condescending monologue.

  • scrzbill

    This is so much bull. The church teaches birth control. So if some women want to engage science for their birth control, the church is against it. Nothing new here, the church has always been against science.

    • John Wright

      So the Church has ALWAYS been against science?

      I will make you a deal. I will list only those Catholic scientists who (1) were
      members of holy orders and (2) have craters on the moon names in their honor,
      and, for each one I name, you quote the passage in the Papal Bull, exegesis,
      circular letter, or Church document condemning the practice of physics, astronomy, biology, or any science. We will see who runs out of his list first, shall we?

      To keep things fair, I will not name Catholic laity like Descartes and Pascal and Albertus Magnus, and I will not name priest and brothers like Athanasius Kircher, Georges Lemaître, Gregor Mendel, or Nicolas Steno, who fathered Egyptology, Big Bang theory, genetics, and geology, because their names loom too large.

      Ready?

      Giuseppe Biancani (1566–1624) – Jesuit astronomer, mathematician, and
      selenographer, after whom the crater Blancanus on the Moon is named.

      Jacques de Billy (1602–1679) – Jesuit who has produced a number of results in
      number theory which have been named after him; published several astronomical tables; The crater Billy on the Moon is named after him.

      Paolo Casati (1617–1707) – Jesuit mathematician who wrote on astronomy and
      vacuums; The crater Casatus on the Moon is named after him.

      Laurent Cassegrain (1629–1693) – Priest who was the probable namesake of the Cassegrain telescope; The crater Cassegrain on the Moon is named after him.

      Bonaventura Cavalieri (1598–1647) – Jesuate known for his work on the
      problems of optics and motion, work on the precursors of infinitesimal
      calculus, and the introduction of logarithms to Italy. Cavalieri’s principle in
      geometry partially anticipated integral calculus; the lunar crater Cavalerius
      is named in his honor.

      Albert Curtz (1600–1671) – Jesuit astronomer who expanded on the works of
      Tycho Brahe and contributed to early understanding of the moon; The crater
      Curtius on the Moon is named after him.

      Gyula Fényi (1845–1927) – Jesuit astronomer and director of the Haynald
      Observatory; noted for his observations of the sun; The crater Fényi on the
      Moon is named after him

      Christoph Grienberger (1561–1636) – Jesuit astronomer after whom the crater
      Gruemberger on the Moon is named; verified Galileo’s discovery of Jupiter’s
      moons.

      Johann Georg Hagen (1847–1930) – Jesuit director of the Georgetown and
      Vatican Observatories; The crater Hagen on the Moon is named after him

      Maximilian Hell (1720–1792) – Jesuit astronomer and director of the Vienna
      Observatory; the crater Hell on the Moon is named after him.

      Giovanni Inghirami (1779–1851) – Italian Piarist astronomer who has a valley
      on the moon named after him as well as a crater

      Otto Kippes (1905–1994) – Priest acknowledged for his work in asteroid orbit
      calculations; the main belt asteroid 1780 Kippes was named in his honour

      Paul McNally (1890–1955) – Jesuit astronomer and director of Georgetown
      Observatory; the crater McNally on the Moon is named after him.

      Charles Malapert (1581–1630) – Jesuit writer, astronomer, and proponent of
      Aristotelian cosmology; also known for observations of sunpots and of the lunar
      surface, and the crater Malapert on the Moon is named after him

      Théodore Moret (1602–1667) – Jesuit mathematician and author of the first
      mathematical dissertations ever defended in Prague; the lunar crater Moretus is
      named after him.

      Nicolas Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580–1637) – Abbot and astromer who discovered the Orion Nebula; lunar crater Peirescius named in his honor

      Alexandre Guy Pingré (1711–1796) – French priest astronomer and naval
      geographer; the crater Pingré on the Moon is named after him, as is the
      asteroid 12719 Pingré

      Marcin Odlanicki Poczobutt (1728–1810) – Jesuit astronomer and mathematician; granted the title of the King’s Astronomer; the crater Poczobutt
      on the Moon is named after him.

      Johannes de Sacrobosco (c. 1195 – c. 1256) – Irish monk and astronomer who
      wrote the authoritative medieval astronomy text Tractatus de Sphaera; his
      Algorismus was the first text to introduce Hindu-Arabic numerals and procedures
      into the European university curriculum; the lunar crater Sacrobosco is named
      after him

      Gerolamo Sersale (1584–1654) – Jesuit astronomer and selenographer; his map of the moon can be seen in the Naval Observatory of San Fernando; the lunar crater Sirsalis is named after him

      Johan Stein (1871–1951) – Jesuit astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory, which he modernized and relocated to Castel Gandolfo; the crater
      Stein on the far side of the Moon is named after him

      Franz de Paula Triesnecker (1745–1817) – Jesuit astronomer and director of
      the Vienna Observatory; published a number of treatises on astronomy and
      geography; the crater Triesnecker on the Moon is named after him.

      Francesco de Vico (1805–1848) – Jesuit astronomer who discovered or
      co-discovered a number of comets; also made observations of Saturn and the gaps in its rings; the lunar crater De Vico and the asteroid 20103 de Vico are named after him

      Godefroy Wendelin (1580–1667) – Priest and astronomer who recognized that
      Kepler’s third law applied to the satellites of Jupiter; the lunar crater Vendelinus is named in his honor

      Giovanni Battista Zupi (c. 1590–1650) – Jesuit astronomer, mathematician,
      and first person to discover that the planet Mercury had orbital phases; the
      crater Zupus on the Moon is named after him.

  • Manny

    Excellent blog. One of your best Marc. This should go with the briefs to the Supreme Court.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.kendrick.5492 Chris Kendrick

    I’m pretty sure Domino’s is not suing the government. They make it a point on their facebook page to disassociate themselves with religion.

  • stardreamer42

    “Taking away other people’s right not to believe what you believe” = “loving your neighbor”. That’s SO deeply messed up.

    • http://www.facebook.com/paul.grimm.14 Paul Grimm

      Just because I’m not buying someone a condom doesn’t take away their right to use it


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X