Commentary on Harrison’s “Open Letter”

Julia Polese of the Institute for Religion and Democracy on LCMS President Matthew Harrison’s open letter on the Obamacare insurance mandate. (I draw your attention to what pro-infanticide ethicist Peter Singer has to say on the topic.)

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) recently released a statement on religious freedom expressing solidarity with the Roman Catholic Church in their fight against the HHS mandate requiring religious institutions to provide contraception to employees. In a video statement on the Synod’s website, President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison emphasizes the first amendment guarantee that religious people not only have freedom of assembly, but mentions that “Congress cannot make laws that prevent the free exercise of religion in this country,” which not only means freedom to assemble but freedom to “practice our religion in the public sphere in institutions that we have and run as Christians or other religious people.” The statement was signed by an ecumenical group of clergy and lay people, from Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan to Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals and Imam Faizul R. Khan, the founder and leader of the Islamic Society of Washington Area.

The statement comes at the beginning of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom” events. Centered around local dioceses, the events intend to rally Catholic laypeople to the cause of religious liberty with special prayers and marches. The left has shown typical paranoia about these events, questioning their funding (because, as we all know, you scratch a Catholic and find a Koch brother) and motives (Sammie Moshenberg: “It’s a marketing ploy.”). The LCMS’s statement, however, shows that the HHS mandate is not only a Catholic problem, but one for all religious people in the United States.

Rev. Dr. Harrison identifies the crucial difference in the invocation of the First Amendment in this debate. For many supporters of the HHS mandate, freedom to assemble is reinterpreted to mean freedom from public engagement from a religious worldview. Professor Peter Singer, the notorious utilitarian who has argued for infanticide in the past, articulates this angle in his latest piece. He asserts “the Obama administration’s requirement to provide health insurance that covers contraception does not prevent Catholics from practicing their religion. Catholicism does not oblige its adherents to run hospitals and universities.”

This limitation is not true freedom of expression, but instead an implicit command for bifurcation of the religious person’s life. Freedom of conscience is great until it butts heads with the conscience shaped by thinkers like Rousseau and Bacon. At its root, it is moving any religious mindset to a private sphere. Leave your beliefs in church where they belong. In a blog on the Washington Post website this morning, Bishop Lori articulated what is wrong with this conception of religious liberty. He wrote: “As we often say, we serve people because we are Catholic, not because they are. It is why so many Catholic schools enroll so many non-Catholics; Catholic hospitals don’t ask for baptismal certificates upon admission; and Catholic soup kitchens don’t quiz the hungry on the Catechism.” As a Reformed Southern Baptist whose alma mater stands both on the Potomac and the opposite side of the Tiber, I am thankful for this impulse to service and I must say that my education was best when unapologetically Catholic. A shared worldview can form partnerships in the public square between the sons of Martin Luther and those loyal to the Pope.

The HHS mandate is only a symptom of a grander impulse to demand religious people to abandon their views that do not overlap with modern liberalism in the public square. It is not just about contraception, but a clash of worldviews. For this reason, the ecumenical statement from the LCMS in support of the Catholic Church is encouraging in its explicit recognition of this problem and the Mainline Left’s response (or lack thereof) reveals where its true intellectual heritage lies.

via Lutherans and Catholics Together « Juicy Ecumenism.

President Harrison makes a very useful distinction:  Religious liberty is not just  “freedom of assembly,” as in “the right to worship” behind four walls, which is how some officials are construing it.  The Constitution specifically protects the “free exercise” of religion, which takes it out of just the place of worship into the public arena.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Orianna Laun

    An article in our newspaper last week talked about this idea of religious liberty and religious freedom. It is well worth the read.
    http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/colleen-carroll-campbell/colleen-carroll-campbell-how-religion-fosters-freedom/article_a5420af6-d4de-559b-931d-16e59d61793e.html

  • Orianna Laun

    An article in our newspaper last week talked about this idea of religious liberty and religious freedom. It is well worth the read.
    http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/colleen-carroll-campbell/colleen-carroll-campbell-how-religion-fosters-freedom/article_a5420af6-d4de-559b-931d-16e59d61793e.html

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Once again Peter Singer illustrates how dumb he really is. Why do people still ask his opinion? Considering his asinine works concerning bioethics I am not surprise that he doesn’t see the connection between compassion and hospitals, etc.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Once again Peter Singer illustrates how dumb he really is. Why do people still ask his opinion? Considering his asinine works concerning bioethics I am not surprise that he doesn’t see the connection between compassion and hospitals, etc.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    It is a pleasure to know that we Lutherans have a leader w/ a ‘spine’ –Yehhh Harrison!
    Carol-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    It is a pleasure to know that we Lutherans have a leader w/ a ‘spine’ –Yehhh Harrison!
    Carol-CS

  • fws

    My understanding is that churchs can do whatever they want here if they are willing to give up public funding.

    In the state of Mass, the Roman Catholics had to close their adoption service when gay marriage was legalized. The mormon’s did not. why? Mormons used no public funds for their operation, so they were not oblidged to follow government regulations.

    Can someone tell me if this is correct information or not?

  • fws

    My understanding is that churchs can do whatever they want here if they are willing to give up public funding.

    In the state of Mass, the Roman Catholics had to close their adoption service when gay marriage was legalized. The mormon’s did not. why? Mormons used no public funds for their operation, so they were not oblidged to follow government regulations.

    Can someone tell me if this is correct information or not?

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    FWS — since no one has responded …

    No, this is not correct. In fact, it has things almost completely reversed.

    What makes this such an important issue in terms of religious liberty is that the HHS mandate is telling religious organizations that they have to spend *their own funds* to pay for, i.e. cover under health insurance, things they believe to be religiously and morally wrong, such as contraception, plan B abortifacients, etc. The HHS mandate gives religious groups no ability to “opt out” other than to simply stop offering health insurance — and the only “exceptions” HHS has offered are either far too narrow to actually allay any concerns or are mere shell games that fool no one.

    This is a huge and a new issue because churches in the USA have never had their liberty threatened in this way before.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    FWS — since no one has responded …

    No, this is not correct. In fact, it has things almost completely reversed.

    What makes this such an important issue in terms of religious liberty is that the HHS mandate is telling religious organizations that they have to spend *their own funds* to pay for, i.e. cover under health insurance, things they believe to be religiously and morally wrong, such as contraception, plan B abortifacients, etc. The HHS mandate gives religious groups no ability to “opt out” other than to simply stop offering health insurance — and the only “exceptions” HHS has offered are either far too narrow to actually allay any concerns or are mere shell games that fool no one.

    This is a huge and a new issue because churches in the USA have never had their liberty threatened in this way before.

  • fws

    Jeff @ 5

    can you show me a link or something? I thought that the only recourse the government would have would be to cut off government funding to the institution that failed to comply.

    Please show me otherwise. I am not doubting you. I dont really have a dog in this fight. I would just like to see a footnote is all. Thanks!

  • fws

    Jeff @ 5

    can you show me a link or something? I thought that the only recourse the government would have would be to cut off government funding to the institution that failed to comply.

    Please show me otherwise. I am not doubting you. I dont really have a dog in this fight. I would just like to see a footnote is all. Thanks!

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Wow. It’s hard to know where to point you. This has been all over the conservative media for months — and even much of the rest of the media has not disputed the basic facts, just whether those facts should make a difference or not.

    I found this: http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/no-rule-decree_640527.html
    which might be helpful. This might, too: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204795304577223003824714664.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

    Otherwise, I’ll just suggest that you do a search on “HHS” or “HHS mandate” at some of the more reliable news and commentary sites to look for more detailed info. You could also check out “Conscience Cause” http://www.consciencecause.com/

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Wow. It’s hard to know where to point you. This has been all over the conservative media for months — and even much of the rest of the media has not disputed the basic facts, just whether those facts should make a difference or not.

    I found this: http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/no-rule-decree_640527.html
    which might be helpful. This might, too: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204795304577223003824714664.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

    Otherwise, I’ll just suggest that you do a search on “HHS” or “HHS mandate” at some of the more reliable news and commentary sites to look for more detailed info. You could also check out “Conscience Cause” http://www.consciencecause.com/

  • fws

    Jeff @ 7

    My thesis is:
    the Feds are ordering private charities to do stuff.
    Refusal means that their public funding gets cut off.nothing more.

    IF I am right, then the issue is not about freedom is it? Agreed? It is about something else in that case. Do you agree Jeff? IF I am right.

    The first article you pointed to compares this federal mandate to truman ordering private steel companies about in the 50s. Doesnt apply if my theory is right or even not.
    a) Wartime. b) Militarily strategic industry. c) most importantly to my thesis: Industry was not funded by the government. This was not about cutting of public funding to a private org.

    and your second article still doesnt address my thesis does it. So you are so hot on this issue, as is prez harrison. IF the only “penalty” the feds can levy is a cutoff of private funds , then … well…. this is not an issue of liberty or freedom is it?

    And as to that second case. All the precidents they cite are about the rights of individuals to not be forced to do something. They transfer this case precident to privately owned insurance companies or charities. I am not sure this works.

    Further, we are made to pay for stuff we dont agree with even on moral grounds all the time. It is called taxes. The problem with having a problem with a universal health care mandate requireing people to pay into a universal health care system is to call that payment a tax. Poof. no more issue. And it really is a tax. Early Christians were told to pay their taxes to a government that used those tax monies to literally feed other christians to the lions and crucify them. Ok. Not good. But your point here is?

  • fws

    Jeff @ 7

    My thesis is:
    the Feds are ordering private charities to do stuff.
    Refusal means that their public funding gets cut off.nothing more.

    IF I am right, then the issue is not about freedom is it? Agreed? It is about something else in that case. Do you agree Jeff? IF I am right.

    The first article you pointed to compares this federal mandate to truman ordering private steel companies about in the 50s. Doesnt apply if my theory is right or even not.
    a) Wartime. b) Militarily strategic industry. c) most importantly to my thesis: Industry was not funded by the government. This was not about cutting of public funding to a private org.

    and your second article still doesnt address my thesis does it. So you are so hot on this issue, as is prez harrison. IF the only “penalty” the feds can levy is a cutoff of private funds , then … well…. this is not an issue of liberty or freedom is it?

    And as to that second case. All the precidents they cite are about the rights of individuals to not be forced to do something. They transfer this case precident to privately owned insurance companies or charities. I am not sure this works.

    Further, we are made to pay for stuff we dont agree with even on moral grounds all the time. It is called taxes. The problem with having a problem with a universal health care mandate requireing people to pay into a universal health care system is to call that payment a tax. Poof. no more issue. And it really is a tax. Early Christians were told to pay their taxes to a government that used those tax monies to literally feed other christians to the lions and crucify them. Ok. Not good. But your point here is?

  • fws

    Jeff @ 7

    Try this for an alternate view of the “facts” of religious persecution and descrimination. I suggest that the Roman Catholics and even us Lutherans are not being entirely honest about this whole issue.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/12/28/1049435/-New-York-Times-reports-on-Catholic-Charities-pull-out-in-Illinois

  • fws

    Jeff @ 7

    Try this for an alternate view of the “facts” of religious persecution and descrimination. I suggest that the Roman Catholics and even us Lutherans are not being entirely honest about this whole issue.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/12/28/1049435/-New-York-Times-reports-on-Catholic-Charities-pull-out-in-Illinois

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Frank, I think you’re letting your “thesis” obscure a clear reading of the issue. And the Daily Kos article you cite proves that you’re just not getting it — because a) it predates the HHS mandate, and so therefore has no bearing on it, and b) is about a completely different kind of issue.

    Unfortunately I neither have the time to do your research for you nor can I take responsibility for educating you on this particular issue. I’m not trying to make any “point” — I was trying to give you some quick references because I thought you were sincerely looking for information to explain something you didn’t understand. My mistake — sorry to have raised your hopes!

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Frank, I think you’re letting your “thesis” obscure a clear reading of the issue. And the Daily Kos article you cite proves that you’re just not getting it — because a) it predates the HHS mandate, and so therefore has no bearing on it, and b) is about a completely different kind of issue.

    Unfortunately I neither have the time to do your research for you nor can I take responsibility for educating you on this particular issue. I’m not trying to make any “point” — I was trying to give you some quick references because I thought you were sincerely looking for information to explain something you didn’t understand. My mistake — sorry to have raised your hopes!

  • fws

    Jeff @ 10

    My thesis is that Catholic Charities would lose contracts, government funding if they dont comply with hhs mandates.
    I am saying that what Daily Kos describes from the past is the same issue again coming up in the HHS mandates.

    Why is the daily kos article relevant. It shows that the RC Church has a pattern of crying “violation of religious liberty” when that is really NOT the case at all.
    Why should I suspect that the LCMS is not also playing the same game? After all, look what they do with making all workers “ministers”. That is deception. It is not true to our doctrine.

    Your are saying that what I am suggesting simply CANT be true, and that it would take considerable research to prove that!

    So things are not so obvious as you say eh?

  • fws

    Jeff @ 10

    My thesis is that Catholic Charities would lose contracts, government funding if they dont comply with hhs mandates.
    I am saying that what Daily Kos describes from the past is the same issue again coming up in the HHS mandates.

    Why is the daily kos article relevant. It shows that the RC Church has a pattern of crying “violation of religious liberty” when that is really NOT the case at all.
    Why should I suspect that the LCMS is not also playing the same game? After all, look what they do with making all workers “ministers”. That is deception. It is not true to our doctrine.

    Your are saying that what I am suggesting simply CANT be true, and that it would take considerable research to prove that!

    So things are not so obvious as you say eh?

  • fws

    Ok . I have read up on this now.

    1) The HHS is mandating that ALL employers make contraceptives “available” to all employees .
    2) Religious groups will not need to pay for them.
    3) If a religious operation (eg catholic charities) refuse to do this they may lose their tax exempt status as non profits. And they may be denied the award of contracts.
    4) I read that about 90% of the catholic charities budget is from government grants and contracts. (!)
    5) we are not talking about abortifacients. We are talking about contraceptives.
    6) No one plans to point a gun at the head of any individual and make them take contraceptives. So no individual liberties are compromised.
    7) What about the religious liberties of a pharmacist ordered to make contraceptives available you ask? This is really the question that gets to the heart of the matter I think. I suggest this is the center of discussion.
    8) Catholic charities can continue to deny contraceptives if they are willing to give up their tax exempt status and stop taking government funding to support what they do. I think that would be an excellent idea for both the Catholics and Lutherans to immediately put into practice!
    9) I suggest that the LCMS a) give up tax exempt status for the LCMS in general, as a matter of principle and b) take no government funding at all for mercy work. Poof! Issue resolved.
    10) when the LCMS insures its workers, we can think of it as a tax. Our tax dollars are often spent for things we consider to be immoral. Often. Our principles are not compromised until we are personally ordered to do something immoral. Insurers are to follow the rules that the state sets for them. As with the FDA and Dept of Agriculture. If I were Jewish, based on the thinking here, I would be furious that my tax dollars are supporting the inspection of pork! No . I wouldnt be. Not unless the govt required individuals to eat it.

  • fws

    Ok . I have read up on this now.

    1) The HHS is mandating that ALL employers make contraceptives “available” to all employees .
    2) Religious groups will not need to pay for them.
    3) If a religious operation (eg catholic charities) refuse to do this they may lose their tax exempt status as non profits. And they may be denied the award of contracts.
    4) I read that about 90% of the catholic charities budget is from government grants and contracts. (!)
    5) we are not talking about abortifacients. We are talking about contraceptives.
    6) No one plans to point a gun at the head of any individual and make them take contraceptives. So no individual liberties are compromised.
    7) What about the religious liberties of a pharmacist ordered to make contraceptives available you ask? This is really the question that gets to the heart of the matter I think. I suggest this is the center of discussion.
    8) Catholic charities can continue to deny contraceptives if they are willing to give up their tax exempt status and stop taking government funding to support what they do. I think that would be an excellent idea for both the Catholics and Lutherans to immediately put into practice!
    9) I suggest that the LCMS a) give up tax exempt status for the LCMS in general, as a matter of principle and b) take no government funding at all for mercy work. Poof! Issue resolved.
    10) when the LCMS insures its workers, we can think of it as a tax. Our tax dollars are often spent for things we consider to be immoral. Often. Our principles are not compromised until we are personally ordered to do something immoral. Insurers are to follow the rules that the state sets for them. As with the FDA and Dept of Agriculture. If I were Jewish, based on the thinking here, I would be furious that my tax dollars are supporting the inspection of pork! No . I wouldnt be. Not unless the govt required individuals to eat it.

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  • Mary Jack

    Frank, I’d keep looking through links because your list disagrees with the understanding President Harrison is fighting against. One important point to remember is that, for some the term contraception prevents implantation while others name that an abortifacient. Since pro-lifers define pregnancy as beginning with fertilization while others define pregnancy beginning at implantation this is a common communication error in most media.

  • Mary Jack

    Frank, I’d keep looking through links because your list disagrees with the understanding President Harrison is fighting against. One important point to remember is that, for some the term contraception prevents implantation while others name that an abortifacient. Since pro-lifers define pregnancy as beginning with fertilization while others define pregnancy beginning at implantation this is a common communication error in most media.

  • fws

    mary jack @ 13

    well now. this is not the argument.
    Roman catholics define any contraception as immoral.
    The HHS mandate requires ALL insurers to make contraceptives available. If you want to define abortion as a drug that prevents adhesion to the uterine wall then we are arguing the definition of “conception”. It is an unnecessary argument. Why? Rome is against ALL contraceptives. ERGO your distinction simply does not matter in this case. Even if “abortifacents” were excluded or even if the pill were excluded, if the HHS mandated the provision of condoms, Rome would STILL object.

    So to make this into being about abortion and sterilization is dishonest and manipulative mary jack.

  • fws

    mary jack @ 13

    well now. this is not the argument.
    Roman catholics define any contraception as immoral.
    The HHS mandate requires ALL insurers to make contraceptives available. If you want to define abortion as a drug that prevents adhesion to the uterine wall then we are arguing the definition of “conception”. It is an unnecessary argument. Why? Rome is against ALL contraceptives. ERGO your distinction simply does not matter in this case. Even if “abortifacents” were excluded or even if the pill were excluded, if the HHS mandated the provision of condoms, Rome would STILL object.

    So to make this into being about abortion and sterilization is dishonest and manipulative mary jack.

  • helen

    fws:
    As I understand it, religious groups are not being asked to supply “preventive” methods “free”. (They are relatively cheap anyway.) They are supposed to supply abortifacients, etc., “free”.

    Religious groups will be required to pay for them, IF they are allowed to keep their self insured heath policies.
    I have heard that “self insurance” (such as Concordia Health Plan) would be illegal for religious groups under Obama, and so LCMS would be forced on to the open market where , as fws says, “all insurance companies” (most anyway) cover abortions, etc. In that case, they would also be forced to pay for them.

    fws, this is not just a Roman Catholic argument. Freedom of religion is supposed to be for all of us, not only liberals who are indistinguishable from unbelievers.

  • helen

    fws:
    As I understand it, religious groups are not being asked to supply “preventive” methods “free”. (They are relatively cheap anyway.) They are supposed to supply abortifacients, etc., “free”.

    Religious groups will be required to pay for them, IF they are allowed to keep their self insured heath policies.
    I have heard that “self insurance” (such as Concordia Health Plan) would be illegal for religious groups under Obama, and so LCMS would be forced on to the open market where , as fws says, “all insurance companies” (most anyway) cover abortions, etc. In that case, they would also be forced to pay for them.

    fws, this is not just a Roman Catholic argument. Freedom of religion is supposed to be for all of us, not only liberals who are indistinguishable from unbelievers.

  • fws

    mary Jack and Helen

    Go to the other post on “and the ruling on the health care law is…

    Google LCMS hhs ruling. There is no proof that any contraceptives in the mandate are abortifacents you will read there. The LCMS wants more studies to make absolutely certain that this is so before they make up their minds on whether or not to follow the HHS mandate.

    Sterilizations are NOWHERE in the HHS mandate. This is something that the catholic bishops decided to “assume” is in the definition of “contraceptives”. It is NOwhere in the HHS mandate.

    I have links at the other thread to …

    the lcms site
    the actually HHS mandate text and…. as a bonus…
    the letter from catholic bishops that started the lie that it is a “fact” that the hhs mandates sterilizations and also abortifacents. These are not facts. they are conjectures.

    I think the catholic bishops MAY be correct. The HHS mandate needs to be made to be more specific is what they should say. It NEEDS to be said!

    But… they did not say it that way. That to me is a gross dishonesty and is dishonorable on their part. It created this blizzard of google hits going back and forth that do not allow people like you and me to evaluate and distinguish between facts and assumptions. that is immoral.

    But it MUST be clearly identified that it is the catholic bishops made these assumptions, based upon….. (sound of crickets).

  • fws

    mary Jack and Helen

    Go to the other post on “and the ruling on the health care law is…

    Google LCMS hhs ruling. There is no proof that any contraceptives in the mandate are abortifacents you will read there. The LCMS wants more studies to make absolutely certain that this is so before they make up their minds on whether or not to follow the HHS mandate.

    Sterilizations are NOWHERE in the HHS mandate. This is something that the catholic bishops decided to “assume” is in the definition of “contraceptives”. It is NOwhere in the HHS mandate.

    I have links at the other thread to …

    the lcms site
    the actually HHS mandate text and…. as a bonus…
    the letter from catholic bishops that started the lie that it is a “fact” that the hhs mandates sterilizations and also abortifacents. These are not facts. they are conjectures.

    I think the catholic bishops MAY be correct. The HHS mandate needs to be made to be more specific is what they should say. It NEEDS to be said!

    But… they did not say it that way. That to me is a gross dishonesty and is dishonorable on their part. It created this blizzard of google hits going back and forth that do not allow people like you and me to evaluate and distinguish between facts and assumptions. that is immoral.

    But it MUST be clearly identified that it is the catholic bishops made these assumptions, based upon….. (sound of crickets).

  • fws

    mary jack and helen

    I was very disturbed that none of the sites i sampled did the courtesy of linking to a) the source HHS mandate text b) identify that it was the letter from Catholic Bishops that is the source of the “assumtions” that “contraceptive”=”abortifacents” and “sterilizations”.

    The purpose of such footnotes, or on the internet, links are to allow the reader to evaluate evidence first hand and make up his own mind. Who would think about questioning the Catholic Bishops? In their letter the state that abortifacents/sterlizations are “assumptions”. in 7pt type. But then in the descriptive header they say something like “The HHS Mandate of abortifacents and sterilizations”. That is the headline.

    This is a disservice. It will erode their credibility if it has not already. Any google will see this. no one outside of roman catholics and religious conservatives will come up in the first 10 pages of googling. And that is a shame. This deserves more attention.

  • fws

    mary jack and helen

    I was very disturbed that none of the sites i sampled did the courtesy of linking to a) the source HHS mandate text b) identify that it was the letter from Catholic Bishops that is the source of the “assumtions” that “contraceptive”=”abortifacents” and “sterilizations”.

    The purpose of such footnotes, or on the internet, links are to allow the reader to evaluate evidence first hand and make up his own mind. Who would think about questioning the Catholic Bishops? In their letter the state that abortifacents/sterlizations are “assumptions”. in 7pt type. But then in the descriptive header they say something like “The HHS Mandate of abortifacents and sterilizations”. That is the headline.

    This is a disservice. It will erode their credibility if it has not already. Any google will see this. no one outside of roman catholics and religious conservatives will come up in the first 10 pages of googling. And that is a shame. This deserves more attention.

  • Mary Jack

    Frank, in comment #12 you wrote: “5) we are not talking about abortifacients. We are talking about contraceptives.” I tried to tell you a basic but common journalistic error. I was not trying to manipulate. I made no argument except that I thought, upon further research, you would no longer stand by your number 5. So you call me dishonest and manipulative? Sheesh.

    I didn’t mention Roman Catholic anything. I don’t know why you threw that at me. Unless you’ve already classified this as solely a Roman Catholic issue, which should have been undermined by the different religious bodies already vocal against HHS mandate stuff whether or not they are pro-contraception use.

    For what it’s worth, most of what I followed regarding HHS was from Mollie Hemingway, who writes about media bias & calls journalists out for not checking their facts. Perhaps you would appreciate her notations. Although I’m not finding her over google as easily as I would have guessed.

  • Mary Jack

    Frank, in comment #12 you wrote: “5) we are not talking about abortifacients. We are talking about contraceptives.” I tried to tell you a basic but common journalistic error. I was not trying to manipulate. I made no argument except that I thought, upon further research, you would no longer stand by your number 5. So you call me dishonest and manipulative? Sheesh.

    I didn’t mention Roman Catholic anything. I don’t know why you threw that at me. Unless you’ve already classified this as solely a Roman Catholic issue, which should have been undermined by the different religious bodies already vocal against HHS mandate stuff whether or not they are pro-contraception use.

    For what it’s worth, most of what I followed regarding HHS was from Mollie Hemingway, who writes about media bias & calls journalists out for not checking their facts. Perhaps you would appreciate her notations. Although I’m not finding her over google as easily as I would have guessed.

  • fws

    mary jack @ 18

    no I am not calling you dishonest. sheesh. I am saying that those who say that the HHS is mandating abortifacents are being grossly dishonest.

    You can read the pdf at the LCMS page on the HHS mandate to see that for yourself.

    There they state that there is no clear evidence that any contraceptives work as abortifacents, but… there is “some” possibility of that. Maybe. And the LCMS would like more research and studies to be done. Why? to verify that .. for sure, for sure, none of the contraceptives would ever have an abortifacent effect.

    This is so very very far from how this issue has been characterized generally.

    I brought up the Roman Catholics because I think we should be able to trust them as being impecably honest and to shrink from even putting a spin on stuff.

    The contrary appears to be the case. it appears that it is the Catholic Bishops who started the internet buzz declaring it a “fact” that HHS has mandated abortifacents and sterilizations to be made available. This is a bald faced lie.

    The truth looks like this:
    1) The RC church is concerned that the HHS mandate is not specific enough as to what is or is not included in the definition of “contraceptives”.
    2)And there is some possibility, not even a probability, that some contraceptives, depending upon where a woman is in her menstrual cycle, could, maybe, possibly, sometimes, actually effectively work as an abortifacent. And some, like the LCMS think that more studies need to be done to determine IF this really is a possibility or not.

    Mary Jack. Do you think what I just stated in 1 and 2 would characterize what is presented on this on the blizzard of conservative posts on this subject?

    Go over to the post on the ACA approval. I have provided all the primary source links to catholic biships letter, lcms and the actual text of the HHS mandate. You can read for your own self and decide. I have yet to see a site that provides the courtesy of such footnoting.

  • fws

    mary jack @ 18

    no I am not calling you dishonest. sheesh. I am saying that those who say that the HHS is mandating abortifacents are being grossly dishonest.

    You can read the pdf at the LCMS page on the HHS mandate to see that for yourself.

    There they state that there is no clear evidence that any contraceptives work as abortifacents, but… there is “some” possibility of that. Maybe. And the LCMS would like more research and studies to be done. Why? to verify that .. for sure, for sure, none of the contraceptives would ever have an abortifacent effect.

    This is so very very far from how this issue has been characterized generally.

    I brought up the Roman Catholics because I think we should be able to trust them as being impecably honest and to shrink from even putting a spin on stuff.

    The contrary appears to be the case. it appears that it is the Catholic Bishops who started the internet buzz declaring it a “fact” that HHS has mandated abortifacents and sterilizations to be made available. This is a bald faced lie.

    The truth looks like this:
    1) The RC church is concerned that the HHS mandate is not specific enough as to what is or is not included in the definition of “contraceptives”.
    2)And there is some possibility, not even a probability, that some contraceptives, depending upon where a woman is in her menstrual cycle, could, maybe, possibly, sometimes, actually effectively work as an abortifacent. And some, like the LCMS think that more studies need to be done to determine IF this really is a possibility or not.

    Mary Jack. Do you think what I just stated in 1 and 2 would characterize what is presented on this on the blizzard of conservative posts on this subject?

    Go over to the post on the ACA approval. I have provided all the primary source links to catholic biships letter, lcms and the actual text of the HHS mandate. You can read for your own self and decide. I have yet to see a site that provides the courtesy of such footnoting.


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