Religion deserves no special treatment under US law

So a bunch of Catholic leaders are complaining about how allegedly unjust it is to require insurance plans provided by large employers to include contraception. They think Catholic organizations should get an exemption based on their religious convictions, you see. Dan Fincke currently has parts one and two up of a debate with a friend of his about it. I started reading it… and then couldn’t bring myself to finish. The position of the Catholic church on this one is just too damn ridiculous.

There’s nothing inherently noble about religion. Simply because a conviction is religious does not make it a good conviction. If you wouldn’t grant someone an exemption from the law based on their non-religious convictions, they shouldn’t get an exemption based on their religious convictions. Ideally, at least. Because religious convictions are so deeply held, I can recognize that it might be the pragmatic move to let religious believers have their way to avoid a fight… but every time the government decides to have the fight, it’s a fight for how things really should be.

And that’s what’s actually happening here: there is an exception for organizations like churches that employ and serve primarily people of one religion. There just isn’t going to be an exception for hospitals and schools and such that happen to claim whatever religious convictions. That’s a step in the right direction.

All this stuff about religious freedom and rights and how this is supposed to turn religious believers into “second class citizens” (in the words of one bishop) is bullshit. All that the Obama administration is doing is limiting the extent to which religious organizations can claim to be exempt from the law simply because they’re religious. This is a perfect example of how too many religious believers think loss of special privileges is “persecution.”

Incidentally, there’s speculation/rumors that if the rule takes effect, Catholic organizations will go the route of simply not providing health insurance to their employees anymore. That would suck for a lot of people, but one person I don’t expect it to hurt is Obama. Instead, the Catholic Church will just show the world that it cares more about its dogma on birth-control than it does about the well-being of the people work for it. (By the way, if someone could give me a link to confirm the rumors, that would be great.)

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