Patheos Peeps: Diana Butler Bass (and Others) on the HHS Contraception Mandate

Every Friday, I post a link to a blog post written by one of my fellow bloggers at Patheos, a web portal devoted to religion and spirituality. I encourage my blog readers to click through to read these posts, comment, and if you like what you read, follow these bloggers as well.

A big controversy is playing out in the news as the Catholic Church reacts to the Obama administration’s mandate requiring Catholic institutions that serve the public to include contraception in their employee insurance coverage. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops regards the mandate as a fundamental violation of religious freedom.

Patheos blogger Diana Butler Bass wrote about the controversy this week, arguing that as American citizens, people with various religious convictions must accept that U.S. law will sometimes require them to support ideas and practices in opposition to their faith, such as pacifists who pay taxes knowing that some of that money will support the military.

As a good liberal mainline Protestant like Butler Bass, I am sympathetic to her argument. However, I’ve also read two compelling editorials this week from religious folk who think that the HHS mandate truly does threaten religious freedom, including this editorial in Commonweal, and this column from journalist David Gibson on the Sojourners “God’s Politics” blog.

I’m still not sure what to think. But I do agree with New York Times columnist Gail Collins, who had this to say:

This new rule on contraceptive coverage is part of the health care reform law, which was designed to finally turn the United States into a country where everyone has basic health coverage. In a sane world, the government would be running the whole health care plan, the employers would be off the hook entirely and we would not be having this fight at all. But members of Congress — including many of the very same people who are howling and rending their garments over the bishops’ plight — deemed the current patchwork system untouchable.


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