Conversely, if somebody is going to force me to pay for their supplies and consequences, don’t tell me it’s none of my business.

  • Scott W.

    Keep your ovaries off our rosaries.

    • Misty

      I really really needed that laugh this morning. Thank you. I’m going to steal this.

    • Joseph

      Awesome. I had this image of a monkey throwing its turd at you. You were dressed as a Jedi. You held out your hand, the turd stopped in mid-air, then you gestured forward with your hand and it flew right back at the monkey, splattering all over its face. After that, all that was heard was the screeching of the monkey and watching it wildly toss about trying to desperately wipe its own turd off of its face.

      • kenneth

        I see psilocybin is not dead after all! So much the better….

    • Naomi

      ewww. That image is just gross.

      • Naomi

        I meant the rosary/ovary thing. I like the image of the monkey and the jedi.

    • Teacher

      No kidding!! It’s about time we started fighting back!!!

  • S. Murphy

    Keep your Moloch-worship out of our wallets.

    But, when we oppose abortion and abortifiacient birth control, we are asking to ‘pay for the consequences’ of choosing to welcome the stranger.

    • Scotty Ellis

      Whatever else you make this about, it hardly makes sense to make it about money. Supplying free contraception is likely to be a money-saver overall. A condom costs far far less than the price of neonatal care, birth, and childhood health care.

      • Therese Z

        It is not my employer’s job to supply me with contraception. I’ll take care of that myself should I want to. I can get the pharmaceutical version for virtually free from PP, or at less than a buck a throw for barrier methods.

        My employer and my government are NOT MY NANNY. You want a nanny? Hire one.

        • Scotty Ellis

          The government sets standards for goods and services (a practice I assume you approve; would you rather restaurants be able to put sawdust in their meat? [at least, more than they already do]). The government is simply setting new standards for health care services. This means that it IS your employer’s responsibility to provide you with health care, and now that health care includes contraception.

          By the way, the new exemptions mean that almost no religious organization must pay a dime for its employees to get access to contraception.

          In any case, you have confirmed my point that the provision of contraception can hardly be challenged on a financial basis, since, as you admit, they are so cheap.

          • Confederate Papist

            So why force someone who doesn’t use them, (me) or are against using them (the Church and individual women who object to using them) to pay for them?

            “Switching” the burden to the insurance companies does not relieve the religious organisations and churches paying for these services as the insurance companies will have to increase their premiums. And what of the self insured religious organisations and churches?

          • cj

            I would encourage you to take a good hard look at the economic policies towards women in Europe and Russia right now. Specifically all of their legislation towards mothers. You think that this is a cost saver, but when it accelerates the decline in our population to a point where our newborns cannot support the elderly (who will inevitably have longer lives), there will be all kinds of money going back into supporting motherhood – exorbitantly more than what you’re talking about – in order to encourage women to have children.
            This experiment has already been done and the effects are catastrophic and irreversible. Europe is a dying society and they know it. They realized the consequences (that a healthy society needs workers and workers create jobs when they spend…the fewer workers there are, the more difficult it is to grow the economy. They’re trying to reverse the course with all kinds of policies attempting to encourage motherhood, but with no luck. Once you encourage women to think of motherhood like a disease it appears that it’s very difficult – if not impossible – to undo the result. But then maybe you’ve abandoned hope in the future, so you’re ok with America becoming the next great civilization on its way out. The victory goes to the culture that survives. That means babies. That means women that want to have them.

            • dpt


              Great point. Contraception and abortion reduces people to things and the cost of this materialism will play out for years ahead. As you mention, it is already happening in Europe and, I might add it is underway in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan as well.

          • Jack

            Abortion and contraception are NOT health care for the simple reason that pregnancy is NOT a disease.

      • Teacher

        Oh well, gee! That makes sense…DUH!! The LAST thing it’s about is MONEY!! It’s about the government forcing it’s “religion” down private, religious institutes! They need to keep their evil morals out of our private business and expecting us to fund their evil out of our pockets!!! Get the money from those others who don’t object to evil!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00805469860229478026 Irksome1

    It occurs to me that, whether or not they were paying for condoms, abortifacients or VD treatments, that some would still find some rationalization to make what happens in someone else’s bedroom their own business. So, the statement here, while superficially clever, isn’t really the most honest representation of opponents of contraception.

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      Well, our point is that it’s God’s business, and we try to point that out. Still, we don’t make it OUR business until we are asked to pay for it (contraception) or someone is getting hurt (abortion)

      • kenneth

        You DO make it your business regardless of whether you’re being asked to subsidize it or not. It’s your instinct to make it your business. For a long time in this country, you managed to criminalize many acts between consenting adults which had no bearing on your pocketbook or abortion. Fortunately the Supreme Court halted that nonsense.

        For centuries your sort has taken it upon themselves to try to control what people read, view and do in their private lives. The end game in this battle over the contraception mandate is not mere autonomy for Catholics and Christians. The end game is a theocracy.

        Let’s say for the sake of a thought exercise that Obama has a change of heart. He gets hit by a ray of light like the Blues Brothers or Saul. He not only rescinds the contraception mandate. He apologizes and then drafts a Constitutional Amendment forever safeguarding religious rights as YOU wish them to be understood. The next day the Supreme Court reverses Roe in a unanimous decision.

        The bishops and their legion of comboxers (you among them), would, of course, have something to say about all this. I would bet my last dollar that you all would not call it a “victory.” You would call it “a start.”

        • Confederate Papist

          So what you’re saying is that you support the government pointing a gun at the bishop’s heads and forcing them to comply?

          Again, for the umpteenth time, this was not started by the bishops, this was started by the regime…and while there still is some semblance of a Constitution left…we still have a right to say “no” to this. While the forcing of the contraception and abortofacient (sp?) drugs is the issue, I content that the whole ACA is against the law.

        • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

          Who is the “you” you are referring to? I certainly never did any of those things. The Catholic Church certainly never did any of those things, except as a minority concurring with the stance of the dominant Protestantism.

          It would be considered both a “victory” and a “start”. The full victory will never be won on this Earth, as error and sin will always have to be battled. As long as one child is being killed or abused somewhere in this world, that is one child too many.

        • Dennis


          It IS our business because your sort are all about forcing your views onto others through the media and law. The acts may be private in most instances, but the perverse worldview is all over television, the internet, newpapers, etc. It is this administration that is trying to control what people say, do, hear, and read. If you are going to criticize “my sort,” at least make sure you are consistent and criticize the government and “your sort” as well.

          • kenneth

            I have lots of criticisms of the government in general and this administration in particular. Some of them, believe or not are shared with Mark.

        • Scott W.

          We are already under a theocracy of relativism.

          • kenneth

            That’s Einstein’s fault, not mine :)

            • S. Murphy

              Two points! That was funny.

              • Scott W.

                Perhaps. But one person that would not have found it funny was Einstein himself, who was appalled that his theory was conflated with fundamentally incoherent and reductionist moral relativism.

        • http://www.virtue-quest.com/ Robert King


          It’s your instinct to make it your business. For a long time in this country, you managed to criminalize many acts between consenting adults which had no bearing on your pocketbook or abortion.

          Thought exercises are simple speculation. Let’s talk about history, which is factual.

          Not having made a study of this, I’m open to correction. But my understanding is that such laws were only enforced when the offending behavior spilled beyond the bedroom and into the public sphere.

          I’ll grant that there were individuals who went questing to root out vice, but they were few and far between. I note this because of your language of “your sort,” which implies a systematic effort by a homogenous group.

          Do you have evidence of a systematic attempt to legally punish “acts between consenting adults” that are restricted to the individuals’ bedrooms?

          • kenneth

            Well, for starters, there were all of the state sodomy laws which were on the books and enforced until finally overturned in Lawrence v. Texas. Those laws had nothing whatever to do with abortion or public behavior. They were a direct intrusion by government into adults private lives and basically an effort to enforce religious doctrine in civil law.

          • kenneth

            There are also many other examples. There were laws banning use or sale of contraceptives which was overturned in Griswold v Conneticut and the lovely Comstock laws which made it a federal crime to send such things or anything not G-rated through the mail.

            In more recent times, we had the Communications Decency Act, which attempted to make the government our parents on what we could see or read online, all in the name of protecting children, of course.

            So yes, the instinct to enforce doctrine on all is very much a part of our country’s history and is alive and well today. I’ve seen nothing at all to indicate that most of the Christian Right would not do this again, given half a chance.

            • Confederate Papist

              I agree with you on the sodomy laws and the other things you cited above. Whether these laws were influenced by a church or clergy or self-righteous individual(s) and were overturned for that reason, is fine with me. Just as I am against the government telling the Church what to do, I am against a theocracy as well.
              Really, the matter at hand this time is the government crossing the line. The media are trying to make this about contraception, etc., but it’s just a diversion designed to make the bishops and the Church look bad, stupid, archaic, etc.

            • http://www.virtue-quest.com/ Robert King

              I’m not talking about the laws on the books. I’m talking about the enforcement of them.

              In other words, yes, sodomy was illegal almost everywhere. But (with rare exceptions) the police weren’t trying to hunt down sodomites in any systematic way. They only prosecuted when it left the bedroom and became a public matter.

              Rather like enforcement of marijuana laws here on the west coast. Many cops simply say, “Please don’t smoke it where I can see you.”

              In other words, I’m saying that the laws only came into play when those actions which are “none of my business” actually became public, and so part of my business as a citizen and a human being.

              • kenneth

                Such laws were used often enough. They weren’t the meat and potatoes of law enforcement to be sure, but they were a very useful tool for blackmail or crushing unpopular people or just to remind them who was really boss from time to time.
                I’m not willing to grant people unreasonable power to intrude and then count on their benevolence not to abuse it.

        • Athelstane

          “The end game is a theocracy.”

          If you want to be technical about it, it’s a confessional state.

          Which I’d be happy with. But I’m hardly insisting on it. And neither are the bishops.

  • Joseph

    If you spend some time at your local Gay Rights parade, I think you’ll realize that they wouldn’t mind at all making what goes on in their bedroom public. This is also illustrated in the great propaganda push in our public schools.

  • astorian

    The photo reminds me of a popular rap music video from about 15 years ago.

    When Salt ‘b’ Pepa chanted “If I wanna take a guy home with me tonight, it’s none of yo’ bizness!”

    Which always made me wonder… if your sex life is none of my business, why are you on TV singing about it all the time?

  • Joseph

    @kenneth: “I would bet my last dollar that you all would not call it a ‘victory.’ You would call it ‘a start.’”

    Actually, you wouldn’t have to bet your last dollar. More than likely, we Christians would take that last dollar and use it as kindling to start the raging fire at your feet as you stand tied to your stake in the same way we set alight all of the suffragettes we mistaking labelled as witches amisdst the self-inflicted ingnorance of the Dark Ages. Then after that, we’ll begin a new phase of the Spanish Inquisition where all of ye heretics will be forced, FORCED, I say, to sit in the COMFY CHAIR! Then, when we are done with that rampage we will ignite the fires of the glorious Crusade again so that we, Christians, can once again ravage entire swaths of innocent human beings for no other reason that our lust for blood and power! Hahahahaha!

    • Rosemarie


      I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.

      • freddy

        But then, nobody does, do they? :)

  • Cecelia Tone

    What is meant by the phrase “sex life”?

  • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

    Can we stop pretending that the Catholic Church is some sort of ideally liberal institution? There is no absolute, non-culturally- and non-socially- relative line which we can draw between “public acts” which fall under the jurisdiction of the community and might get punished by the state and “private acts” which any decent right-thinking person keeps his nose out of just so long as the shades are drawn.

    The liberal principle of Catholic social teaching starts by asserting that error and evil have no rights, absolutely speaking. The sword of the state is there to punish wickedness in general – potentially any wickedness – for wickedness in general affects us all, but that there is some evil the correction of which would cause more harm than good. This was the Church Fathers’ reason for continuing to allow slavery, even though almost none of them thought it was a good thing in itself. To abolish slavery would at that time have brought down the entire economy and cast thousands upon thousands of former slaves loose in the society without adequate social, political, and familial ties that would allow them to live decent lives. (This was also the reason why SS Thomas and Augustine argued against outlawing prostitution: another evil we’ve been able to get rid of -ish.)

    But of course the Church has never considered slavery a positive good, just a necessary and tolerable evil, so when the moment arrived that the economy of the world no longer relied upon it, she cheered on those who worked to abolish it. And we today consider it a good thing that slavery is outlawed and no longer part of our society and economy.

    So the judgment of which evils we tolerate and which evils we do not is relative to the amount of harm we would cause in a particular society by attempting to stamp it out in that society. Our judgment of the nature of a particular evil is not relative, but our judgment of the tolerability of that evil quite definitely is.

    So, to be frank, kenneth is right. Given the right sort of society and the right situation, we should probably vote to outlaw fornication, whether between man and woman, man and man, woman and woman, or what-have-you, and punish it by some power of the state. But it’s pretty clear that we don’t live in that society, nor anything like, so people knockin’ da boots in the wrong bed don’t really have to worry about Christians trying to enforce that bit of the moral law.

    But let’s stop pretending that the Catholic Church has ever said that the state has “no business” telling people what to do about particular things. She has said quite the opposite, over and over again.

    • kenneth

      That’s all true, and it’s also why the Church will find precious little sympathy from the non-Christian/secular public at large on this issue and many others.
      As Americans, we have a lot of sympathy for the average guy just fighting to keep the jackboots of the state from walking all over his personal autonomy. We fight for the little guy, by and large. On the other hand, there’s nothing in contemporary rhetoric or action or 15 centuries of history to convince me that the Church, or more broadly, the religious right, is that little guy.
      It is, rather, more akin to a dispossessed dictator whose grievance is not the lack of a citizen’s autonomy. They are incensed at the idea of being a “mere” citizen and their bottom line demand is not to be free of the jackboot, but to be wearing it and doing the stomping themselves. That, as one might expect, does not evoke a whole lot of sympathy from the masses or inspire us to become “freedom fighters” in a cause which will obviously lead to our own bondage.

      Why should I go to bat for the autonomy of an organization within a plural democracy when it demonstrates a raw contempt for the idea of pluralism and democracy itself, something in its mind which is an “evil we tolerate” and which ought to be disposed of the minute circumstances one day allow?

      • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

        Why should I go to bat for the autonomy of an organization within a plural democracy when it demonstrates a raw contempt for the idea of pluralism and democracy itself

        But the point is that President Obama himself is here demonstrating a “raw contempt for the idea of pluralism and democracy”. He’s suggesting that there are goods of medical care that society owes to women, and he’s willing to use the state to make sure that society provides those goods, even if it means stepping on the conscience of those who think those goods are actually evil.

        “Pluralism” is nice and all until we see some evil committed by some other that threatens the foundational premises of our plural democracy. President Obama thinks that refusing to provide birth control to women threatens pluralism, and I understand that. But many Catholics think that a lack of support and respect for “traditional” marriage and the moral and philosophical Christian foundations of Western society threatens our pluralist society. Who’s right? Merely invoking “pluralism” can’t resolve our disagreement. The foundations of pluralism itself are what is at stake.

      • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

        Basically, I’m arguing that the position of President Obama, et al, is essentially the same as the Catholic Church’s. We all have ways of life and practices that we think cause so much harm to society – that actively threaten the ability of people in that society to live good lives – that we probably should work against them. At that point, we (whether Catholics, Protestants, atheists, agnostics, liberals, and conservatives) make a judgment: will the damage caused by attempting to correct this wrong be worse than the harm we are correcting? If it will be, then we tolerate it. If it isn’t, then we seek to correct the wrong that threatens society.

        Liberals like to claim they just seek freedom for all, and up till recently, because liberals were seeking freedom to do things that traditional society frowned upon, they could argue plausibly that they were merely desiring such freedom for everyone and nothing more. It is now becoming apparent that they themselves are working with an understanding of the good life and the common good that demands a kind of cooperation from everybody – just like the Catholic vision of the good life demands a kind of cooperation from everybody. This is why society now places all kinds of pressure (including legal pressure in certain cases) upon people who express moral opposition to homosexual behavior. Society recognizes that homosexuals cannot live full, healthy lives – the kind we want everyone to be able to live – if they are subjected to explicit condemnation from people, the effects of which are subtle but nevertheless real. Hence Shea’s (true) observation that the ultimate goal of the homosexual movement is not tolerance: it is approval.

        All that to say: everyone has a moral foot, but no moral foot need wear the jackboot. And tolerance really is just that: a tolerance of evils, not a celebration of goods. I want the liberals in society to recognize that just like I want traditionalists in society to recognize that. Only when we begin to figure out where we are will we be able to know how to get where we might want to go.

        • Chris M

          Jon, that’s the best comment I’ve read all week. And it’s only Monday.

      • cj

        You seem to not realize that the historical foundation of this nation is based upon the free choice of individuals to practice their faith without the intrusion of the state. End of story. This principle is embodied first and foremost in the Constitution because the founders had already seen what intolerance of religious creed leads to, and were acutely aware of : 1)the correlation between God-fearing men and the creation of institutions/organizations that cause society to grow (see: schools, universities, hospitals) and 2) the grave danger that is posed to the common good by those individuals who would audaciously (and often…arbitrarily) impose their vision of human life upon the populace. They had already seen the face of tyranny and hoped to protect future generations from such experiences by creating “balanced branches” of government. And thus they wanted to create a society importantly welcoming towards individuals of any creed or faith.

        So regardless of your suspicions and adverse feelings towards the Catholic Church, whose notions of morality you seem to disagree with, you would be assisting in a great evil – that is to say, standing idly by as this radical administration dictates a new vision of what human life should be – and of how we ought to live that life. You would exemplify a shocking callousness towards our personal beliefs, and our right to practice these beliefs if you were to watch as our objections (and importantly, the very constitution itself) are ignored, and our freedoms are lost.

        When you abandon the religious person – who is more likely in my experience to be grounded in a desire to create peace and to extend kindness and patience towards others due to the dictates of their respective creeds (surely you’ve heard of the good samaritan) – then you allow for the removal of the loudest and most organized voices who would be willing to go to bat on your behalf should injustice befall you. In your sweeping analysis of the conservative right, you seem to hastily (or deliberately, I cannot tell) disregard all of the good that has been done by people of faith in this nation. Indeed, it is just that faith in something larger than ourselves that has motivated us in the past to believe in the possibility of great change, and to make great sacrifices to bring them about. Do you think the civil rights movement could have been successful apart from it’s distinctly Christian underpinnings? What man is not afraid of the state, unless he is afraid of something far larger and more significant? And what of the hospital system in this country? Did you not realize that they began as a response to the words of Christ – “whensoever you clothe, or feed, or do any good to these least ones, you do it for me.”? Objectively speaking, secularists place their hope in humans. In human institutions, namely a very large and inefficient government. Who is to prevent that government from becoming evil if you remove from your company the very people who have the most invested in defining what evil is?

        The Judeo-Christian belief system is not a thing to be amputated from society. It has done remarkable good in the world, and continues to. And yet, if you permit a radical agenda like the Obama Administration’s to undermine and effectively initiate the removal of its influence from your nation, you would have no one to blame but yourself for enabling a government that is conducive to population-wide coercion to conformity with its vision of America. And you would be naive if you believe that this is where it would end. Once the power-grab is permitted, it will not stop until all aspects of human life are under the lock and key of those elites whose philosophies you once believed to be harmless and benign. If you cannot see the blithe manner in which Obama maneuvers with his laws in one direction, while issuing statements and speeches with warm and fuzzy feeling words and promises that sound very nice (like free contraception) that make us look the other way, then you have your eyes closed. Obama’s education put him in touch with ideologies that encourage the manipulation of the little guy you spoke of, effectively because the little guy isn’t educated enough to know what is good for him. But his administration will be happy to tell him what is good for him, so it’s ok. The new America he is working towards won’t respect rights, but it will issue laws and dictates according to the vision of what the leadership says is good. Sounds like tyranny with a sugar coating.

        And in this new america, set free of the influence of religions and morals and ethics, who do you suppose, among the secularists, would continue to serve the needy and feed the poor? Wouldn’t you all simply opt for a state institution to pay for someone to do the job? Out of sight out of mind, yeah? Then you can congratulate yourself for conquering another evil, yeah?

        But when you go to the DMV, do you get great service? When you go to any state-operated service, do you have the sense of joy and of willingness to be hospitable? Catholics and Christians have long forsaken riches to do answer the call of our faith, which is to minister to the poor, feed them, and protect the weakest among us. Obviously it isn’t a perfect track record, but statistically, it is doing better than the secular culture on things like sexual abuse, pedophilia, money laudering, theft, murder, etc. Christian non-profits do what the government could not possibly do at the same cost. When someone is selflessly involved in an act of kindness, it is love which compels them to aid their neighbor not money. This administration would happily take our capacity to serve our neighbor, and the poor, so that it can do that job itself (read: do with them as it pleases). And pass the cost on to each of us. And in this vision of the future free of religious influence, don’t be surprised when the poor are subjected to eugenics and sterilization because Christians no longer have a legal basis to minister to them and protect them.

        You’d do well to remember the poem by Martin Niemöller about groups of people being removed from existence due to a state attitude of intolerance – and a disregard for the inherent goodness of life and the fundamentally basic right to practice a religion.

        • kenneth

          I guess I don’t share your assessment of institutional Christianity as an inevitably good defender of an inevitably evil government. Both forces have, at best, mixed records. Both have done good things, sometimes because of their core beliefs, sometimes in spite of them, sometimes by pure accident. Both, however, at their core, have a lust for secular power and a very minimal respect for the autonomy of individual conscience, whether they admit it or not.
          I don’t propose to amputate the Judeo Christian belief system from society. I do propose to contain it within the bounds of all legitimate private interests. That is to say, I want them to have the freedom to swing their fists all they want up until the point it reaches my own nose, and vice versa. I’m a big advocate of a wall of separation between church and state. No, not a wall. A mountain range that dwarfs the Himalayas. That is for the protection of religion as much as the state, though no contemporary political Christians seem to appreciate that. They want religion and government to be inseparable – until, of course they end up on the wrong end of a power struggle within that seamless partnership.
          Admittedly, how that fist-nose balance is struck is a delicate and imprecise business. I don’t happen to think the contraception mandate, especially in the renewed compromise – is a hideous encroachment of free exercise. My reasoning is that free exercise cannot be absolute any more than any right can be. When we’re talking about billion dollar health care corporations, to me that’s an awfully strained interpretation of the law to say that you have to have absolute immunity from civil law or regulation in order to be a practicing Catholic.
          This is, of course, one guy’s opinion, and a rank amateur of Constitutional theory at best. I’m willing to concede I may be wrong. I’d be more than willing to let the appellate and Supreme Courts sort this out. I’m not all that passionate about the underlying issue either way. As flat as I am these days, I can still afford my own “supplies” where that is concerned.

      • Dale Price

        Why should I go to bat for the autonomy of an organization within a plural democracy when it demonstrates a raw contempt for the idea of pluralism and democracy itself, something in its mind which is an “evil we tolerate” and which ought to be disposed of the minute circumstances one day allow?

        For starters, it doesn’t. No, seriously. You need to take a crack at learning a little Catholic history and theology. Bellarmine was demonstrating the compatibility of Catholicism and democracy back in the 16th Century.

        More to the point, libertarian minded individualists are slitting their own throats on this issue: if the statist left can steamroll the Catholic Church on a First Amendment issue, (not to mention private businesses by forcing them to offer “free” stuff on demand), they will succeed in crowding non-government actors out of the public square. The atomized individual has much less of a chance.

        Of course it’s being very cleverly done, offering “free” aids to horizontal refreshment. Bread, circuses and now sex–it’s a winner. Meanwhile, a sixth of the economy has now been nationalized, an unaccountable bureaucracy makes all the rules, and you’re cheering it on.

        You’re intent on fighting the last war, or, more accurately, last century’s war. The administration you claim to be opposed to in certain unspecified particulars could not be happier.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Why you should would seem rather simple, Kenneth.

        Because you value pluralism and democracy and liberty and all those other things.

        See, I freely admit I’m no pluralist and I further lack this democracy fetish. But I’ll argue with you on those grounds, because they’re ideals you cherish.

        Only now I find out your commitment even to those is paper thin.

      • Rosemarie


        >>>Why should I go to bat for the autonomy of an organization within a plural democracy when it demonstrates a raw contempt for the idea of pluralism and democracy itself

        Because, as Hezekiah rightly says, if you believe in such pluralism and democracy, yourself, you will also want to see it extended even to those with whom you disagree.

        If the government can take away the freedom of religion from members of one faith tradition, it can take it away from others as well. As a Catholic, I don’t agree with the religion of Santeria. I don’t believe in their orishas or think their animal sacrifices are necessary. Yet I support their right to perform those sacrifices since it is part of their religion. If the state can tell them that they can’t practice that aspect of their religion (which it has tried to do in the past) then it can turn around and tell me I can’t practice some aspect of my faith. And if you have a particular faith or spirituality, it could do the same to you as well.

        • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

          Yeah, but the right of religious freedom isn’t absolutely absolute.

          If the state can tell [the People's Temple cult] that they can’t practice that aspect of their religion [...] then it can turn around and tell me I can’t practice some aspect of my faith.

          There are some things that are beyond the pale, whether they are part of someone’s religion or not. If the military had arrived while Jim Jones was serving out the Flavor-Ade, it would have been a heinous act to sit back and watch all those people commit suicide because, hey, freedom of religion.

          • Chris M

            Then the question becomes who gets to decide what things are beyond the pale.

            • kenneth

              To a large degree, anyone who votes gets a say in that question. When it comes to the big questions of what is beyond the pale relative to the Constitution, the Supreme Court gets to decide. Shaky as both can be, I still have much more faith in their long-run ability to get it right than I do in the system of tribal grievance and mob anger that many these days propose as a primary mechanism of arbitration of public policy problems.

          • Rosemarie


            I never said it was absolute. I would certainly not say that practices like human sacrifice, suicide or ritual rape should be protected under freedom of religion. Animal sacrifice, however, is not in the same category, as distasteful as I may find it personally.

            Circumcision is a similar matter. While I don’t believe that it has spiritual value since Christ instituted the Sacrament of Baptism, I disagreed with the recent attempt to have it banned in San Francisco. I want to support the freedom of others to practice their religions as much as possible, within reasonable limits, of course.

            • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

              Right, but that does mean that a rational course of action would involve us arguing why our position is not beyond the pale, not merely crying out for our “religious freedom”.

            • kenneth

              That last part of what you said is key to this and every other contentious debate around religious freedom. “Within reasonable limits.”
              Figuring that out is the devil in the details. Like everyone walking the planet, the bishops thing their religious beliefs and practices are inherently and self-evidently reasonable. Therefore anything they feel they need to do to enable that practice is inherently and self-evidently reasonable, and anyone who questions that is evil and oppressive.
              For the simple act of suggesting a complexity in balancing rights of expression against others, I am regularly cast as a Stalinist, Nazi, culture war hit man for Obama (all synonymous in their eyes).
              The issue is never as simple as whether or not someone can profess a belief in something or to practice it. The rub is in how much latitude must we give someone to accommodate what they say is necessary to practice their faith?
              In the case of Santeria, we can say we must allow them some means by which to practice animal sacrifice. Does that mean we must not impinge on it in any way shape or form? Can we not impose some basic regulation relative to health and welfare, the sanitation issues of raising poultry in an urban environment, rules about disposal of the carcass etc?
              Proponents of free expression as an absolute right would say, no we can’t touch it. But at some point, the unrestricted right to one group’s free expression damages the rights of others. That’s why we have courts and a system of checks and balances to sort that out, to find imperfect but workable solutions.
              I don’t know whether the courts will find Obama’s mandate to be a Constitutional overreach or not. It may well be, and if the courts so rule, then he must obey the law and grant the Church whatever degree of exemption required.
              I can accept that. I cannot accept the characterization of the rule as an inherent and self-evident evil or some sinister plot to grease the skids to put all Christians in the gulag. That is simply absurd. To assert that is to assert that government is only legitimate when it rules in favor of our personal tribe 100% of the time.

  • Bruce in Kansas

    It’s hard to find a law that isn’t making some kind of a moral judgment. But even if we grant the whopper that there is some kind of a constitutional right to birth control, the requirement to provide it free of charge is even more of a whopper. The right to bear arms is quite clearly written out in the Constitution, but imagine if the government provided guns and ammo free of charge – or required all employers to provide free guns and ammo to their employees!

    • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

      But even if we grant the whopper that there is some kind of a constitutional right to birth control

      The perceived right comes because birth control is absolutely required if women in our society are to enjoy the same kind of individualist freedom as men. A man can have sex whenever he wants and, for most intents and purposes, walk away from the consequences of his actions. Even if the state makes him pay child support, he does not deal with the myriad physical, emotional, and practical entanglements that come from carrying a child to term (or even dealing with a pregnancy when that pregnancy is terminated).

      Once we stopped enforcing laws against fornication and adultery we, as a society, essentially said that it was not the public’s business when, how, and with whom people had sex. It was a very small jump from that position to the observation that if we were going to allow individuals to do what they liked in that regard, we needed to take steps to make sure that the burden of that behavior did not fall disproportionately on one particular kind of individual (namely: women).

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