People Who Don’t Listen to Women

People Who Don’t Listen To Women have been in the news quite a bit recently.

We had John Piper, with his silliness about a “masculine” God and wanting the church to have more of a “masculine feel.” And then we had the weeklong trainwreck of Pink Ribbons Inc.’s partisan attack on a vital, irreplaceable institution for women. And finally we have the U.S. Catholic bishops declaring that the core of their religion is opposition to gynecology in all its forms.

This is the sort of foolishness that comes from not listening to women. More than that, it’s the sort of foolishness that comes from entrenching oneself for years in a pattern of not listening to women, so that one comes to forget that they’re even there and thus to think that dismissing and discounting them won’t have any repercussions.

But one big problem with not listening to women is that there are several billion of them not to listen to. If you choose to ignore them, they may return the favor, but only for so long as you’re not actively harming them. One your ignorance leads to harm, they’re likely to remind you, forcefully, that they do in fact exist and that they don’t in fact have to take your abuse.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure was emphatically reminded of that last week. They seemed surprised to be reminded of it. That surprise is the hallmark of people who have stopped listening.

Piper, a big fish in the smallish pond of Neo-Reformed American evangelicalism, is probably better insulated against the unpleasant surprise that fatally wounded Komen’s brand. He’s ensconced in a patriarchal church subculture within which he will only be congratulated for defending its patriarchy. He can thus get away with not listening to women because his life is arranged so as not to include many women he might have to listen to. Those women he does talk to either know him well enough to know that trying to disabuse him of his notions would be futile, or else they’re in a context in which saying anything would have repercussions, so they keep silent to preserve their livelihood or their membership in that community.

So the only consequence for Piper in saying such foolish things is that he becomes the sort of person who says such foolish things. By creating a context in which he is not exposed to any women who trust him enough to tell him the truth he has also created a context in which he will be a man who cannot hear that truth and who does not know that truth. He becomes the enforcer of his own ignorance.

The U.S. Catholic bishops have made their ignorance a very public matter, so they will be much more exposed to its repercussions. They are more likely to experience the kind of harsh surprise that Komen encountered.

Ta-Nehisi Coates observes that Komen seemed ignorant of what he calls “Planned Parenthood’s Deep Bench“:

I don’t think that [ousted Komen VP Karen] Handel, or her allies, quite understood the nature of their adversaries. … It’s interesting to look at how Plannned Parenthood has weathered under targeting from the Right, as compared with other groups. This is not like ACORN. Whatever their significant work in poor communities and black and Latino communities, Planned Parenthood has touched women across race and across class, and thus indirectly, touched men across race and class too. …

The thing about Planned Parenthood is when you run against them you aren’t just fighting welfare, or chastising lazy food stamp addicts. And you aren’t simply bashing East Coast elites. You are making war against a free-floating nation with vassals, of all color and stripe, at the ready.

That last sentence sums up just what the bishops have done in staking their identity on opposition to health care coverage for women.

And let’s stop dressing this up as anything other than that. They’re opposing health care coverage for women. Cloaking this opposition in religious frippery by despicably dishonest appeals to “freedom of conscience” doesn’t change the bedrock fact here: Catholic bishops want to deny health care coverage for lady parts. Period. Full stop.

This is what the bishops have rallied behind as the core of their faith. Not the cross. Not the sacraments. But the insistence that they must never, ever be indirectly complicit in the provision of health care coverage for women’s reproductive organs. This is much ado about “nothing” in the original, raunchiest Shakespearean sense.

No matter how much the bishops and their evangelical “co-belligerents”* gussy it up with talk of conscience and liberty, the bottom line here is that they have staked their morality to something perverse and immoral. Liberty won’t serve as a mask for discrimination and oppression.

Yes, oppression. Those who pretend otherwise aren’t fooling anyone. If you provide preventive health care, but only for men, forcing all of your female employees to pay for their preventive health care out-of-pocket, then you are creating real and tangible and undeniable financial hardship for those female employees. That hardship will cause some of them to forgo this preventive health care, and for some that will lead to real, tangible, undeniable physical pain and suffering.

That is what the bishops are sowing. That is what they are promoting, advocating, defending and trumpeting in their cruel crusade against the newly invented cardinal sin of gynecology. That’s wrong. It’s frocked-up. It’s immoral, it’s cruel, it hurts people.

This is the sort of thing that men do when no women trust them enough to speak to them honestly. This is the sort of thing that men do when they have made themselves incapable of listening to women.

And, as the insulated and isolated execs at Komen discovered, this is the sort of thing that’s likely to spur women to compel them to start listening.

It may be too late for that, though. A long history of not listening won’t be easy to overcome. And much of what the bishops are about to hear will be silence. The silence of empty pews. The silence of the empty spaces left behind by the women who used to belong to their churches.

Those women will leave because they’ve been told one too many times that they’re not wanted there. They’re listening, and they hear exactly what the bishops are telling them.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* See, for example, at Sojourners (!), Alec Hill staking InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s reputation on support for second-class health care for women. Thanks, Alec! I’m sure young women at colleges across the country will be lining up to join a group that wants to make sure they pay more than men for health care!

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  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Wow. I started reading and assumed your first paragraph was satirical because it was so melodramatic and hyperbolic.

    The next paragraph or two revealed that you intended what you wrote seriously. That you so wrote it makes you hard to take seriously.

    Rather than engage Mr. Piper’s essay, you dismiss it as silliness. You characterize the SGK Foundation’s decision not to award $700,000 in grants to the much larger ($1 billion) non-profit because it doesn’t actually provide services in-line with the SGK’s mission (and lied about doing so) as a “partisan attack”. And you make a farce of yourself by identifying opposition to being forced to pay for morally-objectionable and perfectly elective services as “opposition to gynecology in all its forms.”

    You haven’t any serious thoughts in this piece – only distortions and slogans.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NR2MMC4EJXJWJMLH6IF457XL64 Alex B

    He had at least 6 separate posts covering each of the specific incidents here.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

     Great. He still grossly mischaracterized each.

  • http://Yamikuronue.wordpress.com/ Yamikuronue

    Even “SGK” themselves aren’t trying to claim that PP doesn’t provide mammograms, which it does, quite a few actually. Maybe you should check your own facts before claiming someone didn’t do research.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

     No, they don’t. PPFA recently admitted that none of their facilities is equipped for mammograms; they do perform manual examinations, but not mammograms. They refer for those.

  • http://Yamikuronue.wordpress.com/ Yamikuronue

    I stand corrected then. However, the reason SGK pulled funding was entirely unrelated to the fact that PP does education and referrals rather than on-site screenings. The stated reason, assuming it’s accurate, was about their being under investigation.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Right. While we are checking facts, Yamikuronue, we might discover that their initial statement on the matter, after PPFA alerted the media, was that they had made their decision for two reasons. Firstly, PPFA does not provide any of the services that SGK promotes (mammograms, etc.); secondly, SGK had a pre-existing, stated policy of not funding any organization under investigation. PPFA is under congressional investigation for misappropriation of funds, and is under criminal investigation in a number of states for violating (constitutionally legal and judicially upheld) parental consent laws, etc.

  • Laertes

    “SGK had a pre-existing, stated policy of not funding any organization under investigation”
    Are you sure that this bit is true?  Every report I’ve read indicates that the policy was new, and specifically tailored to serve as a pretext for ending the Planned Parenthood grants.

    Here’s a cite backing up my version of events:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/02/top-susan-g-komen-official-resigned-over-planned-parenthood-cave-in/252405/ 

    Got one for yours?

  • Laertes

    No reply, Mr. Haber?  Do you still stand by your claim that the SGK’s policy of not funding organizations under investigation predated the PP incident, rather than being aimed specifically at PP?

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    SGK said that the policy predated the PPFA incident. I don’t have a copy of their policy manual or board meeting minutes, so I can only take their word on it, not withstanding the Atlantic’s assertions to the contrary, which I haven’t read.

  • Laertes

    Well, you should probably read them if you’re going to persist in disbelieving them.  And you might produce some kind of cite to support your position.  Otherwise it’s impossible to avoid the suspicion that you’ve got your fingers in your ears.

  • Anonymous

    Firstly, PPFA does not provide any of the services that SGK promotes (mammograms, etc.)

    Please stop lying.

    Planned Parenthood of Central Texas is proud to provide comprehensive breast cancer screening for our patients, including mammography when needed. Through grants from the Central Texas affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and our participation in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening (BCCS) program (through the Texas Department of State Health Services), PPCT provides referrals and pays for mammograms and diagnostic follow up treatment for our patients at area radiology and surgical clinics.  

    Through these grants, in 2010 PPCT patients received 609 screening mammograms and 125 diagnostic mammograms; breast cancer was detected in 20 women. For most of these patients, Planned Parenthood is their only healthcare provider.

    -Felicia Chase Goodman, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central Texas

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201103310031

  • Woman voter and Christian

    What about all the other other organizations SGK supports who are also under investigation? There are many. The early rationales of SGK have been shown to be completely inconsistent. 

  • Woman voter and Christian

    What about all the other other organizations SGK supports who are also under investigation? There are many. The early rationales of SGK have been shown to be completely inconsistent. 

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Oh look, another man who doesn’t listen to women. It’s like he came here just to prove Fred right.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

     Um, which women? Did you know that 51% of women, according to a recent Gallup poll, oppose legalized abortion? Do you mean those women? Or just the self-styled advocates for a particular vision of feminism?

    Moreover, disagreeing with someone is not the same as failing to listen to them.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    Please provide citations for your claims.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    My mistake. Gallup says it was 49%. I guess those 49% of women shouldn’t count.

    http://tinyurl.com/qcuthm

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    I missed the part where abortion politics has anything to do with the 98% of Catholic women who apparently use or have used contraception? The ones whom certain bishops right now seem determined to pretend don’t exist?

    Yeah, I guess those women don’t count either. Which is, shockingly enough, the point Fred was making.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    The question isn’t really whether Catholic women use contraception.
    Most Catholic women don’t see it that way, anyways, at least, not the
    ones I’ve listened to, both those who admit and deny using
    contraception. The question is whether the state has the right to compel
    the Church to violate its conscience; whether the state has the right
    to coerce people to fulfill its own agenda.

  • Anonymous

    That’s not what the poll says; the poll has 76% of respondents saying abortion should be legal under all, most or few circumstances, with only 23% saying it should be illigeal in all circumstances. What the poll says is that 49% of women self-identify as pro-life, which, in this poll at least, is not the same as opposing legalized abortion. Not even close.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    Interesting…

    Of course I note the results when people are only given the choices “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are curious in light when you look at a more nuanced question.  For example, the same research shows that only 23% of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in all situations, whereas 22% believe that there may be some cases in which it should be legal and 53% of people believe that it should be legal under any circumstances.

    Yet, 51% of Americans say they are pro-life.  To make that jive, one has to assume that everyone who said abortion should be legal in some cases plus a small number of of those who think abortion should be legal in all cases would still have to identify as pro-life.  That’s a rather strange definition of pro-life, and one I doubt you’d personally adopt.

    Unfortunately, the article you provided doesn’t provide the more nuanced comparison for women only.  However, I think it’s safe to say that using this data to make a blanket statement that “51% (or even 49%) of all women think abortion should be illegal” is most unwise.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Read further down the poll. It does break down by men and women.

    Moreover, you have the interpretation exactly backwards. In a country where abortion on demand is legal without qualification, here is a poll where about 75% of Americans think its legality should be qualified – not after a certain gestation period, only for certain reasons, and so on.

    If abortion were illegal in most circumstances, this poll would show Americans wanted a relaxation of the law. As it is, it is clear most Americans want it a good deal tighter than it is. That, in spite of fifty years of pro-abortion propaganda from the Fourth Estate.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    Have you noticed that you added “on demand” after the word “abortion” since your original claim?  I have.  That tactic is called “shifting goalposts.”  Whoever declared you a troll got it right.

  • Daughter

    It only breaks down men and women by how many consider themselves pro-life or pro-choice. It doesn’t include gender breakdown for those who would allow for abortion in all, most, some or no circumstances. As others have noted, when you look at those stats, a majority of people want abortion to be legal in at least some circumstances.

  • Daughter

    In addition, a lot of people who call themselves pro-life are like I was for many years. I said that abortion was wrong (and I still think it is regrettable), but I didn’t want it to be illegal because I didn’t want women to resort to illegal and dangerous abortions. Instead, I wanted–and still want–more focus on prevention, hence my support of contraception.

  • Woman voter and Christian

    So what does that have to do with breast cancer??

  • Anonymous

    Fuck it. Everyone, do not feed the troll.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

     Ha ha! I love it! When we’ve run out of arguments, we call names and sling ridicule. Fine, man. Bring it!

  • Anonymous

    Do you make a habit of trolling blogs for fun?

    I think Fred wrote a post for you:

    Just say no.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    No, actually. I bumped into this blog when I clicked the wrong icon. I had meant to stay in my own territory. I am happy to find such openminded people here, though, let me tell you. Now, I notice you call me a liar. Where have I lied, may I ask?

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    He may be here from Bad Catholic – I linked to posts on Fred’s blog a couple of times when engaging with the misogynistic teenager who runs that Patheos blog. (The boy who runs BC objects to the idea that grown women who work at his Catholic school could get their birth control, should they need it, paid for by their employer’s healthcare plan.)

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Nope. Try again. But you do get more points for name-calling, lolol. I know it’s more challenging than answering arguments, but I give you kudos for the mental exercise it must have caused. Lololol.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    Sadly, he probably won’t. Agree that engaging with Ryan is a waste of time: he’s right there illustrating Fred’s post with examples of Man Who Does Not Listen To Women with every comment.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. I just clicked on his website. The slogan is, “a pilgrimage of faith for those who hope to grow in charity.”

    I’m not entirely sure how charity means trolling blogs he dislikes just to get another hit of anger.

    Then again, he links to an essay (which I didn’t read) about a woman’s journey “from feminist to faith,” so I think he is pretty clearly a case study of people who don’t listen to women.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Lol. Oh, another woman who doesn’t count? Did you read her story, or is she not worth listening to. Disagrees with you, and all.

    And I believe I mentioned that I bumped onto this site by accident. But now I am having so much fun, that I just can’t leave.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Also, you’ll notice that my little blog doesn’t have any advertisements. I don’t care whether I receive a hit or not.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    “”a pilgrimage of faith for those who hope to grow in charity.”

    Really? LOL

  • Anonymous

    The man seems to have serious emotional issues.

    I can’t decide if he’s here for the lulz or if he’s here because he enjoys getting angry. Either way, this isn’t emotionally healthy for anyone.

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    “Then again, he links to an essay (which I didn’t read) about a woman’s
    journey “from feminist to faith,” so I think he is pretty clearly a case
    study of people who don’t listen to women”

    The fact that the title of the essay is framed so that “feminism” (you know, the radical notion that women are human beings and deserve to be treated as such) is something diametrically opposed to “faith” says a lot. Like saying “I once cared about women having the same rights as men, but then I got faith and grew out of that silly notion.”

    Having said that, I might actually go read that essay, just to be fair.

  • Anonymous

    To be fair, it was “atheist feminism,” but the fact that he feels the need to group both of them together — and that he’s grouped them together on this board — says a lot.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Sorry, abortion != breast cancer screening or contraception. Your poll is irrelevant.

  • Trolololol

    Yea, there haven’t been any studies linking those two things…oh wait….shit…

  • Anonymous

    Emphasis added:

    In February 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a workshop of over 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Workshop participants reviewed existing population-based, clinical, and animal studies on the relationship between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. They concluded that having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/abortion-miscarriage

  • Anonymous

    Real studies, you mean?

    And, actually, there’s evidence that hormonal contraceptions that prevent ovulation actually reduce the risk of breast cancer.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Read lower down the poll, friend. I was asked to provide a poll backing up my claim that half of American women oppose legalized abortion on demand. The poll was intended to answer that concern.

  • pgbach

    Ryan, you are lost in never-never-land… do yourself a favor & keep your mouth shut… when you open you mouth, you betray your ignorance… better you continue communing with your pedophile bishops…

  • Anonymous

    The bishops and their evangelical backers (because poll after poll has proven that lay Catholics aren’t lining up behind the Bishops) must think that women are dogs. An owner decides when a dog gets spayed/neutered, not the dog. An owner decides when a dog has had enough litters of puppies, not the dog. The owner decides if it wants to bring home another dog, not the dog. (Like when Newt Gingrich expected his second wife to just tolerate his infidelity) You seriously have to believe that women are subhuman to think that they are too stupid to be allowed to control their own bodies.

    The Catholic church has already agreed to the Affordable Care Act provisions in the 28 states that mandate coverage of contraception in employee health care policies. They use public dollars for their hospitals and universities and accept non-Catholics to work at those institutions. If they stop accepting our tax dollars, then the government should let them opt out of this provision. Until then, they have to comply just like everyone else. This is all just a political ploy to try to get more anti-choice bigots to the polls this fall. The timing of their “outrage” is indeed no coincidence.

    The Affordable Care Act does not cover abortion as opponents of it continue to lie and say that it does. No one is being forced to be complicit in any way to an abortion. These so called “conscience clauses” are a ruse to allow anti-choice misogynists to degrade and shame sexually active women. You can exercise your conscience by going into some other line of work. The Catholic church is not being forced to open hospitals and schools. No one is forced in medical school to become an ob-gyn and have to deal with the issue of abortion. Become a podiatrist instead. No one is forced to become a pharmacist and have to fill prescriptions for RU486 or the morning after pill. Anti-choicers can exercise their conscience by doing something that will keep them far, far away from womens health care.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Actually, DCFem, you’re very much mistaken.

    First of all, the timing was very much the Administration’s. If they had pulled this stunt a year ago, we would have been outraged a year ago.

    The bishops do not believe that women are dogs, but we – including many liberal Catholics, Catholics who use contraception, and unreligious people – do not believe that the Catholic Church or other churches are simply social service agencies and arms of the state. We actually believe in the First Amendment.

    Think about the implications of what you are arguing: that the government may prevent me from providing a perfectly legitimate service (operate, say, an emergency room) if I do not consent to provide another one as well (in this case, provide contraception). Can you imagine the Administration telling a Jewish delicatessen that it may not sell sandwiches unless it will also include meat and cheese on the same platter?

    The question isn’t linked to government funding, either – Catholic institutions aren’t being required to fulfill this human right because they receive government grants, but because they employ people.

    Except, small businesses aren’t so required. Odd, isn’t it? If this is a human right, I mean, that employers should be forced by law to pay for. And it’s odd that a whole new human right should be discovered so late in the game. And wonder, before medical contraception existed, how such a right could possibly be fulfilled?

    The question isn’t really whether Catholic women use contraception. Most Catholic women don’t see it that way, anyways, at least, not the ones I’ve listened to, both those who admit and deny using contraception. The question is whether the state has the right to compel the Church to violate its conscience; whether the state has the right to coerce people to fulfill its own agenda.

  • Daughter

    Small businesses are exempt due to undue hardship (generally not having the financial means to provide their employees with health insurance). Small businesses are likewise exempt from some of the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which has been in effect since the early ’90s–it would be, for example, an undue hardship for a one-room shop to install a handicap restroom. So it’s not so odd.

    And this is nonsense: “And wonder, before medical contraception existed, how such a right could possibly be fulfilled?” Before democracies existed, how could a right to vote possibly be fulfilled? Does that mean that there should be no right to vote, since it hasn’t existed for millenia? The concepts of rights are not set in stone; they have expanded over the centuries

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention, “medical contraception” has existed, in various forms, for millenia. Safe, highly effective, non-abortificant contraception is a bit more recent, but there’s at least been ways to space out births for a very long time.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    That’s not the view of our nation’s founders. They believed that our rights were built into our nature by our Creator.

    If our rights keep expanding, how do we get these new rights? Where do they come from and who decides on them?

    Of course small businesses are exempted because it would be an undue hardship. But then, why does their hardship weigh against a human right? An entitlement like contraception?

    Another question: Why are Quakers and Jehovah’s Witnesses exempted from the draft? Surely fighting is no more of a hardship on them than on anybody else? I mean able-bodied JWs and Quakers, here, not disabled ones. Shouldn’t they have to sign up for the Selective Service like every other young man?

  • http://lost-erizo.livejournal.com/ LE

    Um, as far as I know, Quakers and Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t exempt from Selective Service.  Pacifists can qualify for alternative service.  If they don’t want to do either, they can (and have in the past) go to jail.

  • Anonymous

    This is a lie:

     but we – including many liberal Catholics, Catholics who use contraception, and unreligious people – do not believe that the Catholic Church or other churches are simply social service agencies and arms of the state. We actually believe in the First Amendment.

    If you actually believed this you would not take a single cent of tax payer money for your services. As you do take tax payer money you are acting as the arms of the state. What you actually want here is to have your cake and eat it to. You want free money but not have to abide by the laws that dictate how that money is used.

    Can you imagine the Administration telling a Jewish delicatessen that it may not sell sandwiches unless it will also include meat and cheese on the same platter?

    If the government is subsidizing that deli, then it is perfectly within their rights to require it to provide for the dietary needs of its entire client base.

    The question isn’t linked to government funding, either – Catholic institutions aren’t being required to fulfill this human right because they receive government grants, but because they employ people.

    Switching horses midstream I see? That’s poor debate skill. Imagine that! Employment law does not magically change because of the religion of the employer. Talk about someone who has truly ridiculous levels of entitlement and privilege. The 14th Amendment is still a thing that exists, even if you are Catholic.

    And it’s odd that a whole new human right should be discovered so late in the game.

    You really need to brush up on your history.

  • http://lost-erizo.livejournal.com/ LE

    Sorry, I’m late to the game and haven’t gotten through all the comments yet, so maybe someone has already addressed this but…

    You’re right, Catholic institutions are being required to do this because they have employees and those employees have rights.  However the point that is being missed in a lot of this is that Catholic institutions in the US (the whole country, not just the 28 states with their own rules to this effect) who offer health insurance as part of their compensation to employees have been required to offer birth control since 2000 under EEO rules.  And lots of Catholic universities and hospitals did just that, quietly and without making a national issue about it –  apparently it took them 12 years to work up to the current hissy fit.

    They can offer a full health care benefit package.  Or they can pay the monetary penalties involved in offering either no health insurance or one that doesn’t meet the requirements, which should assuage their conscience.  What they can’t do is demand to pay no penalty at all while they blatantly discriminate against their female employees.

  • pgbach

    Ryan, “the Church” does not have a conscience… btw, the bishops are not the church, never were, never will be…. they are pedophiles…

  • Trolololol

    “The Affordable Care Act does not cover abortion as opponents of
    it continue to lie and say that it does.” This mandate requires contraception to
    be provided (paid for by the Employer). I’m sure you don’t even know how certain
    pills work, but to be save a lot of time, its why they are called
    abortafacients. The pill will in some cases abort a human being. One that has
    its own unique DNA. So while it doesn’t fund abortions, as you know them, of a
    doctor sucking a baby out of a woman’s uterus, it does support abortions via the
    pill.The outrage has NOTHING to do with the fact that there are selfish,
    irresponsible, immoral women in America who have no problem killing the person
    in their womb. It has to do with the government using strong arm tactics to
    force a religious institution to step in line with the “state religion” of
    Atheism/Abortionism.The Constitution reads as follows:”Congress
    shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
    free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or
    the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government
    for a redress of grievances.”

    Now to address this d3rp remark: “The bishops and their evangelical backers (because poll after poll has proven that lay Catholics aren’t lining up behind the Bishops) must think that women are dogs.”

     You’re the one advocating contraception because women are sexual and can’t control themselves and should be able to take a pill to let them act like a dog in heat at all times….

    Second – http://publicreligion.org/research/2012/02/january-tracking-poll-2012/ This shows many Catholics do support the Bishops and I wish these self identifiying “Catholics” would say whether they attend Mass. It is one thing to call yourself Catholic, and to be Catholic. 

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure you don’t even know how certain 
    pills work, but to be save a lot of time, its why they are called 
    abortafacients. The pill will in some cases abort a human being.

    Er, no, it won’t. And they aren’t, except by right-wing extremist groups.

    If it did (for example), one could skip the Pill for a few days and still not have to use backup birth control. 

  • Anonymous

     You’re the one advocating contraception because women are sexual and can’t control themselves and should be able to take a pill to let them act like a dog in heat at all times….

    Wow. That’s unbelievably misogynistic. Do you *identify* as Catholic? Because you’re definitely not helping anyone here.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    Wow….The things I miss when I decide someone is being too trollish to justify reading their comments.

    Good response on your part, though.

  • Lori

     
     You’re the one advocating contraception because women are sexual and can’t control themselves and should be able to take a pill to let them act like a dog in heat at all times….  

     

    The nerve of women to want to be able to have sex without getting pregnant. How dare they? 

    If your god only wanted humans to have sex for reproductive purposes than he really screwed up the design of the human reproductive system. But don’t strain yourself letting facts get in the way of your misogynist crap.

  • Anonymous

    To return to the topic:

    Apart from his total misunderstanding of the purpose of Plan B, Alec Hill’s post concerns me in another way: he explicitly singles out “sterilization services and the morning-after pill” as being two items of special moral concern.

    I’m not sure what to make of this exactly, mainly because I’m not following mainstream evangelical politics. Is sterilization somehow a special evil relative to contraception?

  • Lori

     
     Is sterilization somehow a special evil relative to contraception?  

    It’s mostly a scare tactic. Certain people like associate voluntary sterilization for purposes of permanent birth control or to deal with certain health conditions with involuntary sterilization. It’s an easy way to score points by getting people to think about Nazis and others who practiced eugenics. 

  • Natalie

    If anyone was curious, Planned Parenthood never claimed to provide mammograms, nor did SGK think Planned Parenthood was providing mammograms with the grant money. PP clinics provide clinic breast cancer screening (i.e. a doctor or nurse practitioner mashing your boobs to check for lumps) and then refers someone to a mammogram provider if they believe it’s necessary.

    Regular breast cancer screenings are part of the standard of care for women under 50 (the vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s female clientele). Regular mammograms aren’t recommended until after age 50, absent certain risk factors.

    I must admit, this is the first time I’ve heard this particular bullshit reason for the decision to pull funding.

  • Lori

     
    I must admit, this is the first time I’ve heard this particular bullshit reason for the decision to pull funding.  

     

    It’s coming straight from Koman. It was either their 2nd or 3rd excuse. I lost track. 

  • Anonymous

    “Can you imagine the Administration telling a Jewish delicatessen that it may not sell sandwiches unless it will also include meat and cheese on the same platter?”

    I can imagine them saying a Jewish deli can’t forbid its workers from going to McDonalds for lunch.

    “The question is whether the state has the right to compel the Church to violate its conscience; whether the state has the right to coerce people to fulfill its own agenda.”

    The Church need not violate anything. The individuals that make up the Church are free to use ot not use contraception as their consciences dictate. The state isn’t coercing anyone to use contraception anymore than they are coercing me into praising the Iraq War by collecting my taxes. Employers must provide basic coverage, otherwise it is they who are corecing their employees to the company’s agenda.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    The Church isn’t forbidding anybody from using contraception, either. It is only insisting that it shouldn’t have to pay for it.

  • walden

    (Oh boy….abortion wars right here on slacktivist).  
    I think its time to bring on Nicolae Carpathia — is anybody with me!!

  • Anonymous

    “In a country where abortion on demand is legal without qualification”

    What country is that?

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

     This country.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     Just how dumb do you think we are if you expect anyone here to buy that?

    I’m out, you’re not worth the time.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, stick around — just avoid the stupid.

  • Matri

    This country.

    That’s right. The Sovereign States Of Fundyland!

  • P J Evans

     Provide evidence, because I have yet to see any to support THAT statement.

  • Anonymous

    What *is* it with the angry, misinformed newbies today?

    Usually, we’d have a good discussion by now. Currently, I’m hoping Disqus allows me to block people.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    What’s a good discussion? One where everyone agrees with you?

  • Lori

     
    What’s a good discussion? One where everyone agrees with you?  

     

    Wow, you sure have us figured out. The fact that you’re being dishonest, apparently have no idea how to read a poll, and generally can’t back up your assertions has nothing to do with our estimation of you. You just can’t stand it when someone disagrees with us. You are so clever to have figured that out so quickly. 

    Man, why is faux-martyrdom always the go-to position of jerks and trolls? 

  • Lori

     
    Currently, I’m hoping Disqus allows me to block people.   

     

    Sadly, no. Disqus doesn’t support that and, per an email exchange one enterprising slacktivite had with them, they have no plans to do so. 

  • Anonymous

    That’s depressing.

    I have a lot of issues with Disqus (the fact, for example, that comment threads are stored on the website rather than as a part of the text means that the instant that Disqus dies, every single conversation carried on in every blog that used Disqus — and that includes this one and Ta Nehisi Coates’ blog — will be gone). The lack of an ability to block people just makes things worse.

  • Tricksterson

    IIRC Thursdays used to be the traditional day for Flame Wars, don’t know if it still is.

  • Anonymous

    Guess what trolls? I work for the government so you’re already subsidizing my health care insurance and that of millions of other women who work for government agencies. There’s no “conscience” clause for taxpayers.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Lol. No joke. But that’s not what we’re talking about. Paying taxes is a duty. We then try to influence how the government will use those taxes: for roads, schools, wars, whatever we happen to like. We each contribute our voice. That’s not the question.

    The question is only whether I should be forced to provide my employees something that I consider morally objectionable to deal with. And if so, under what legal principle?

  • Anonymous

    The question is only whether I should be forced to provide my employees something that I consider morally objectionable to deal with. And if so, under what legal principle?

    Yes you should. Under the principle that your moral objections do not get to determine the choices or access of your employees. The fact that you actually think your “moral objections” trump their actual lives is sickening and disgusting.

  • LL

    Yes, but will they? Leave the church, I mean. I hope they do, but it’d be interesting to see some numbers. 

    I’m disheartened by the number of women who still support religion of any kind. I understand most here are not atheists, and that’s fine, just sayin’. Most religious institutions would find themselves in serious trouble if they were deprived of the labor and support (including money) of the female members that they appear to have little but contempt for. I just wonder why so many women continue to support institutions that hate them so much. 

    And it is hatred. You don’t treat people you like (much less love) the way most religions have always treated women. 

  • Lori

     
    Yes, but will they? Leave the church, I mean. I hope they do, but it’d be interesting to see some numbers.   

     

    My guess is no. AFAIK only a fairly small number of people left the Church over the sex abuse scandal. That basically revealed the Church hierarchy to be pure, distilled evil* so if that didn’t do it I don’t see why yet another round of anti-woman BS would do it. 

    *Don’t believe me? Check out Cardinal Edward Egan withdrawing the apology he made for the scandal in 2002 and lying his pointy-hatted head off doing so. 

    http://www.businessinsider.com/cardinal-edward-egan-who-just-withdrew-his-apology-for-the-catholic-sex-abuse-scandal-is-a-monster-2012-2

  • Anonymous

    AFAIK only a fairly small number of people left the Church over the sex abuse scandal. That basically revealed the Church hierarchy to be pure, distilled evil* so if that didn’t do it I don’t see why yet another round of anti-woman BS would do it.

    One of the most tragic scenes in “Deliver Us from Evil” — even for me, as a long-term ex-Catholic atheist — was one in which the father of a now-grown child was recounting the conversation he had with his daughter in which she revealed that their revered priest had been raping her. [*] He says after that that he can’t believe in the church anymore — that that event made him stop believing in God.
    Behind him, his daughter (now in her forties or so?) doubles over in tears. Other conversations with her show that she’s still devoutly Catholic, even though the experience basically destroyed her emotionally. (She makes it clear that the trauma of her experiences prevented her from getting married and having children — even though she desperately wanted to do so.)

    [*] Her father had told her, at one point, that if anyone did anything to her, he would kill them. When the priest started molesting her, she asked a friend what happened to people who murdered other people. When her friend told her that those people went to jail forever, she decided to keep quiet because she didn’t want her father to go to jail. It was only when her parents straight-out asked her that she told them what had happened.

  • Lori

     
    Behind him, his daughter (now in her forties or so?) doubles over in tears. Other conversations with her show that she’s still devoutly Catholic, even though the experience basically destroyed her emotionally.  

     

    I have to admit that the only response I have to this is utter horror. Given the totality of the Church’s response to its rapist priests the only way I can imagine a victim remaining devout is with a significant amount of self-blame and that’s horrible.

  • Anonymous

    Given the totality of the Church’s response to its rapist priests the only way I can imagine a victim remaining devout is with a significant amount of self-blame and that’s horrible.

    No, it’s pretty clear she doesn’t blame herself: she just thinks the Catholic hierarchy is pretty corrupt.

    To be fair, “Deliver Us from Evil” does feature a few priests (one in particular) who have been directly addressing the issue, usually with serious reprocussions for their careers.

  • Lori

     
    No, it’s pretty clear she doesn’t blame herself: she just thinks the Catholic hierarchy is pretty corrupt. 

     

    One more thing to go one the list of shit I don’t get. 

  • Anonymous

    Oh, fully agreed. But it’s her life.

  • Linnet

    It depends on how its framed and how far flung its influence goes. 

    One of the things I used to like about the Catholic church was how very fragmented ideologically it was compared to the monolith it is portrayed as.  Just because bishops say something doesn’t mean all congregations adhere to it.  You look for a congregation you fit in with…until in my case I got tired of looking.

    But I could see staying with *your* church because while some bishops somewhere said something awful, your actual priests/nuns/admins are decent human beings who vociferously denounce the bishops’ statement.

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    I’m going to repeat a comment I saw earlier today elsewhere, because it summed things up so well.

    “1. If an employer remunerate­s employees with cash, and the employees choose to use that cash to buy illicit drugs, is the employer “buying” the drugs for them?

    2. If an employer includes paid vacation in the pay package, and the employee chooses to go to Las Vegas for her vacation, is the employer “paying” the employee to go out and drink and gamble?

    3. If an employer includes a normal (nonreligi­ous) insurance policy in the pay package, and the employee chooses legal health procedures that go against the employer’s religious beliefs (i.e. blood transfusio­ns, birth control, organ transplant­s, etc., is the employer “providing­” those services to the employee?

    Is there any substantia­l different between these three cases? I think not.”

    The government isn’t “strong-arming” anyone. If an organization wants public tax dollars, then they have to abide by public law. And that law says organizations that provide health care must make birth control AVAILABLE. Not *manditory*, available. You know, so people can exercise their First Amendment freedoms and CHOOSE
     

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Hey, 20 comments in and I’ve already got a BINGO on my Unrecognized Male Privilege Game Card.  Is that a new record?

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Why was the post linking to a bunch of studies about contraception taken down? Why was that post removed? Are you people even interested in a fair and open discussion?

  • Lizzy L

    Mr. Haber, bottom line: American women should not have to consult their employers in making decisions about managing their own health care. In the cases covered by the HHS regulations, the Catholic Church is functioning as just another employer, who should as an employer have no authority over the health decisions of its employees. And, speaking as a Catholic woman with a well-formed Catholic conscience, just as I would object to a law insisting that payment for blood transfusions be exempt from health insurance written for employees of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, so do I object to allowing hospitals, etc. affiliated with my church to avoid paying for legitimate medical prescriptions for their employees. What those prescriptions are, and what medical need they might be for, are between each employee and her doctor.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    And whether the employer pays for them should be between the employer and the employee, like all the other parts of the compensation package. You are free to work where you will. Nobody has ever been forced to work for a Catholic hospital or school to the best of my knowledge.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    And whether the employer pays for them should be between the employer and
    the employee, like all the other parts of the compensation package

    Minimum wages, how do they frickin’ work?

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    I guess Ryan’s a libertarian, which proves Fred’s point: libertarians don’t listen to women.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    I am no such thing. What about my question: which women? Is it a matter of not listening to particular women, or to particular opinions?

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    You got me there, BringTheNoise. Man. Because our government prohibits paying children $0.50/hr, it is free to do to employers whatever it likes. For starters, it can demand employers pay for contraception. Then it can demand they pay for lunch. Then it can demand they hire workers they don’t need, to buoy up the economy. Great idea.

  • Laertes

    Your claim that SGK’s no-investigations policy predated the PP incident have been pretty firmly shot down.  You really need to respond in some way, or it’s going to start looking like you aren’t arguing in good faith.

  • P J Evans

    He apparently believes that employees have control over their pay rate.

  • Anonymous

    “The question is only whether I should be forced to provide my employees something that I consider morally objectionable to deal with.”
     
    So Tom Cruise’s production company should be allowed to opt out of mental health coverage?

  • cyllan

    Why does Disqus not have the ability to block people again? Why? 

    I will take this opportunity, however, to sing the praises of Planned Parenthood.  When I was young and broke and sexually active, they provided me with birth control, medical exams and a very kind shoulder to lean on.  The Susan G. Komen foundation — for that I am highly approving of cancer-prevention in general — lost my support with their actions. 

    I had been leaning away from them generally as I favor a broader-based approach than they support.  When the mess blew up, I immediately went and donated to Planned Parenthood. In the future, anytime someone wishes to fund-raise for the For the Cure campaign, I will send any and all donations that I would direct their way to Planned Parenthood.  Some bridges can’t be unburned.

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    Heck, when I was young and not sexually active, PP was willing to give me pap smears!  ;) 

  • P J Evans

    I was going out with a guy who got a vasectomy through PP. (He recommends taking a designated driver along.)

  • Akachei

    Ryan Haber:It is exceedingly clear that Komen pulled funds from PP due to the latter’s support for abortion; insiders have attested to this, it matches with their recent hires (and fires), and the investigations policy has not been applied to Penn State, which is also under investigation (and would fall afoul of the rule about “administrative improprieties”).  Assertions that it was about anything other than Komen’s caving to pro-life organizations’ placement of the abortion issue above everything else is implausible.

    And while 49% of women may consider themselves pro-life, this does not mean 49% of women supported Komen’s initial decision; I can’t find a poll among women easily, but among all americans it was 53% against Komen, 39% for.  Just because pro-life organizations place abortion above all, does not mean everyone who identifies themself as pro-life does.

    Re: Piper, Fred has talked about him earlier.

    And let’s stop dressing this up as anything other than that. They’re opposing health care coverage for women. Cloaking this opposition in religious frippery by despicably dishonest appeals to “freedom of conscience” doesn’t change the bedrock fact here: Catholic bishops want to deny health care coverage for lady parts. Period. Full stop.

    I don’t think you can conflate “we don’t want to pay for this” with “we want to ban this” (and paying directly for health insurance =/= tax dollars); although I’m sure the Catholic Church leadership would be happy with both, they are here only arguing for the former.  It’s still grossly immoral, and if they wake up after the fight with empty pews, that will be naught but justice.  But compelled support is its own issue.

    I think they should probably be exempt from the requirement, although instead of a straight opt-out giving them the alternatives of something likea) some sort of healthcare voucher that could be used for plans, including one covering contraception; orb) adding a (no-charge) government contraception plan that employees can opt into if their employer does not offer contraception coverage.should be done in that case.  (Ideally, we should have a healthcare system not based on employer coverage for a number of reasons, which would sidestep this, but that’s a discussion for another time).

    Amaranth:No, No, (More or less) Yes.  If you’re paying for health insurance, you’re paying to cover specific services – and therefore said services – whether or not the services are used.  It’s a more direct link than a simple paycheck.

    As far as forcing Catholics to “violate their consciences”, I wasn’t aware the anti-contraception was the cornerstone of what it means to be Catholic.

    Fred made a similar comment, but this doesn’t work.  The government isn’t threatening the cross, or the sacraments.  The members of the Catholic Church at an organizational level are opposed to contraception.  That they object to paying for it does not make it the cornerstone of what it means to be Catholic, merely part of what it means to be Catholic.

    If they stop accepting our tax dollars, then the government should let them opt out of this provision.

    The requirement applies regardless of government funding.  (Also, would you count taking Medicare and Medicaid patients as “government funding”?).

    Why was the post linking to a bunch of studies about contraception taken down? Why was that post removed? Are you people even interested in a fair and open discussion?

    It probably wasn’t taken down, it probably just got caught in the moderation queue.  It happens occasionally, particularly when the post has links (and even more likely if you made multiple links, which can resemble spam to the anti-spam bot).

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    On posts with links getting “lost”  – the commonly used Akismet spam system defaults to any post having more than 2 links going into the moderation queue.  

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure you don’t even know how certain pills work, but to be save a lot of time, its why they are called abortafacients [sic].

    Please stop lying.

    In his attack on the birth control rules, Archbishop Timothy Dolan,
    president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has gone so far as
    to claim “the contraceptives mandated as ‘preventive services’ [to be
    covered by employers] will include abortifacients.” This is false.
    Contraceptives prevent pregnancies. They do not end them. Otherwise,
    they would be classified as abortifacients, not contraceptives.

    -Dr. Jennifer H. Tang, OB/GYN

    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/02/01/2974528/obamas-contraception-exemption.html#storylink=cpy

  • Akachei

    A followup on this comment from my post, since I realize I could have been clearer:

    Fred made a similar comment, but this doesn’t work. The government isn’t threatening the cross, or the sacraments. The members of the Catholic Church at an organizational level are opposed to contraception. That they object to paying for it does not make it the cornerstone of what it means to be Catholic, merely part of what it means to be Catholic.

    I didn’t mean I think the 98% of Catholics not opposed to contraception aren’t Catholic, they are. But the immorality of contraception is a formal position of the Church, and opposing it is a part of the Catholic faith for those that accept that position. So objecting to being required to fund it doesn’t make it central to the Catholic faith of those objecting; it makes it part of the Catholic faith of those objecting.

  • Anonymous

    But the immorality of contraception is a formal position of the Church, and opposing it is a part of the Catholic faith for those that accept that position. So objecting to being required to fund it doesn’t make it central to the Catholic faith of those objecting; it makes it part of the Catholic faith of those objecting.

    I think the real solution here, then, is for the Catholic church to divest itself of its involvement in hospitals, schools, and other usually-secular organizations. The alternative would mean that organizations created by Jehovah’s Witnesses could require the creation of new health care plans that don’t pay for blood transfusions, and therein lies madness.

    The immorality of homosexuality is also a fundamental part of the Catholic faith, but that hasn’t stopped the state of Illinois from telling Catholic charities they can’t discriminate against gay couples looking to adopt a child. Why should women’s health issues be different?

  • Lori

     
    The immorality of homosexuality is also a fundamental part of the Catholic faith, but that hasn’t stopped the state of Illinois from telling Catholic charities they can’t discriminate against gay couples looking to adopt a child.  

     

    Actually, the state of Illinois did not tell the Church that. (Neither did DC.) What the Church was told was that they could not discriminate and continue to receive government funds in violation of the law

    That’s honestly not a nitpick. It’s the difference between describing the situation accurately and buying into the Church’s dishonest talking point. 

  • Anonymous

    Ah. So the situation is even more analogous.

    I still stick to my original suggestion: if the Catholic church wants to object to various important forms of medical care, it can get out of the businesses where it might be required to provide said care to anyone.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     

    The alternative would mean that organizations created by Jehovah’s
    Witnesses could require the creation of new health care plans that don’t
    pay for blood transfusions, and therein lies madness.

    Would a Christian Scientist employer be able to get out of providing ANY medical care?

  • Tricksterson

    Following Ryan Haber’s logic yes.  On the other hand Ryan why don’t you be honest and admit that what you really have in mind is http://thedevilspanties.com/archives/6335 this

  • hapax

     Last I checked, opposition to sexual activity outside of marriage is also part of standard Roman Catholic teaching.

    So if Roman Catholic employers are allowed to opt out of including contraception in their employee health plans on the grounds of “conscience”, does that mean that they will also be allowed to opt out of including pregnancy and childbirth expenses for unmarried employees? 

    Does that mean that Jewish employers will be able to opt out of including emergency care for employees who have shellfish poisoning?

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    If you cannot see the failure of your analogy, I’m not sure I’ll be able to explain it to you. I’ll go slowly.

    The Church doesn’t object to people having babies. Even out of wedlock. The Church happily takes care of lots and lots of orphaned babies around the world. The question is trivial. Moreover, Jewish employers that I’ve heard of have no objection to treating ill people – again, the comparison is goofy at best.

  • Matri

    The Church doesn’t object to people having babies. Even out of wedlock.</blockquote

    BWAHAHAHAHAhahahaaa! Oh man, I'm gonna laugh myself silly! HOHOHOHO!!

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    No. The Church teaches that fornication is a sin. Fornication and childbearing aren’t the same thing. In fact, moat people fornicating also try diligently to avoid childbearing. Hence, abortion.

  • Lori

     
    The Church teaches that fornication is a sin. Fornication and childbearing aren’t the same thing. In fact, moat people fornicating also try diligently to avoid childbearing. Hence, abortion.  

     

    So, let me get this straight. Sexual intercourse which the Church labels “fornication” can be, and in fact is, separate from procreation so getting pregnant out of wedlock doesn’t bother the Church*. Sexual intercourse within marriage however, can’t be separated from procreation and therefore birth control is bad. 

    Do you even realize that what you’re saying makes no sense? 

    *Not true. There have been pregnant-out-of-wedlock Catholics among my family and friends. The Church does not react particularly well, especially if you don’t rush right out and get marriage before the baby is born. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Not true. There have been pregnant-out-of-wedlock Catholics among my
    family and friends. The Church does not react particularly well,
    especially if you don’t rush right out and get marriage before the baby
    is born.

    Actually, one of the reasons a priest can *refuse* to perform a marriage is ifthe intended bride is pregnant by the intended husband. The inventory of personal questions they ask you before authorizing your marriage includes that , and flags you as being something you really need to ‘splain before they can sign off on it (There’s no one thing or even one prescribed combination of things that disqualifies you; they just rank answers according to how concerned they ought to be, and you have to discuss the answers with your priest before he signs off). They don’t like out-of-wedlock pregnancies, but they also don’t like the possibility that one party or the other could come back later and claim they were pressured into it (As that might be grounds for an annulment)

  • Anonymous

    Actually, one of the reasons a priest can *refuse* to perform a marriage is ifthe intended bride is pregnant by the intended husband. … They don’t like out-of-wedlock pregnancies, but they also don’t like the possibility that one party or the other could come back later and claim they were pressured into it (As that might be grounds for an annulment)

    Wow. Given the cultural stigma in conservative circles against out-of-wedlock pregnancies, that’s a bit … weird.

    When was that policy implemented, anyway? Historically, pregnancy has often been seen as a good way to guarantee a marriage. (Not so much in the US: starting in the 1820s, men were able to travel west, so pre-marital pregnancy became a much riskier strategy.)

  • P J Evans

     Which is a joke, because most US Catholics support birth control. (Including, of course, all of those using it.)

  • Mary Kaye

    My one difficulty with this post is its implicit assumption that listening to a woman would necessarily show the misogynist that s/he is a misogynist.  Or in other words, that if an individual woman is free to speak her mind she will necessarily espouse positions that are good for women.

    We know this isn’t so.  On average women will tend to support pro-women positions, but any individual woman–maybe, maybe not.  She may be speaking her honest mind, but have placed herself in a position where she identifies more with another group than with women.  I have seen this happen with race and social class as the alternative grouping.  A black woman, forced somehow to choose between a policy good for black people and a policy good for women, could rationally go either way.

    It is also possible for a woman to take anti-women positions out of the feeling that since *she* has managed to deal with misogyny, other women should have to as well.  My mother told me that this was her position early in her life–until she had a daughter.

    And there is always the possibility of honest disagreement about which policies are anti-women.  I would never describe the withholding of medical care as being good for the person from whom it is withheld, but there are people who in all conscience would argue the opposite.

    I think you have to listen to women *in general*.  It’s perfectly possible to surround yourself with a female echo chamber, and no coercion need be involved.  The PP official who adopted this anti-women policy was, after all, female.  So is Beverly LaHaye.  So is Phyllis Schlafly.  These are mature adults who have to be presumed able to make their own decisions; it is demeaning to suppose that in all cases they are being coerced.

  • http://plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/ mr_subjunctive

    One forgets sometimes that there are assholes out there who will charge into the comments on a blog they’ve not read before, accuse the author of having no serious thoughts and being impossible to take seriously, and then spend the next dozen comments complaining that nobody is treating him with the respect he deserves by addressing each of his arguments immediately and in great detail and/or being immediately won over by the asshole’s dazzling intellect and arguments.

    One doesn’t usually get to forget this very often, or for very long, but still.

  • Anonymous

    Trolls on Slacktivist. What is this world coming to?

    Otherwise: I wonder if the bishops (and Mr. Dogs-in-heat up there) have considered that not all women or beuterused people take contraception for the explicit purpose of preventing children. If I may use myself as an example, oral contraceptives are part of a bevy of hormonal pills I take to keep myself stable and, you know, not suicidal. My best friend takes it so she’s not crippled by PMS for a week every month. I know people who’ve taken it so they have their periods on time, or because they have very severe acne. This stuff you’re so adamantly against providing has tons of uses besides the IMMORAL! ones, you know.

    Oh, sorry, I forgot. They just don’t give a shit about quality of life unless it’s theirs.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    But it’s quite clear: when the Catholic Church acts as a secular employer, it is legally obliged to provide all of the benefits of a secular employer, and to stay within the law as a secular employer.

    A Catholic priest who is headmaster of a school may not, when acting as the school’s headmaster, demand to know what the school’s employees are doing with their health insurance or their pay or in their private lives. They can opt to take contraception, have abortions, marry an atheist in a civil ceremony, convert to Mormonism, and march in a Pride parade – as the secular headmaster, he can’t do a thing about that.

    If any of them come to him as a priest to say their confessions or to receive communion, he can exercise his authority as a priest in their religious lives. He can have a woman who worked for him excommunicated for having an abortion, but he can’t get her sacked.

    …or at least he shouldn’t be able to. In an ideal world. With complete freedom of religion for everyone, and full protection of employment rights. :-(

  • Anonymous

    Bleargh. Long day and I expressed myself poorly. Let me clarify:

    I know that the Church (currently) has to provide health care including contraception for its employees when acting in a secular capacity. My intended point was more that their desired situation (not providing coverage for contraception) could very well have outcomes they haven’t thought of, namely unintentionally punishing people who take birth control for non-sexual reasons. Or if they *have* realized that might be an issue, they’ve decided that punishing sluts is a higher priority and are arguing against covering birth control regardless. Basically the stupid-or-evil dilemma.

  • Jenny Islander

    TMI ALERT–LADYPARTS AND THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO THEM

    I went on the Pill because my “normal” cycle was 7 days of thirst, bloating, cramps that messed with my ability to think and speak, and extremely heavy bleeding–like, soaking through an overnight maxi every few hours–followed by 21 days of PMS.  Doc told me it was “normal,” anyway.  I went on the Pill and now have just enough of a cycle to show that everything still works.  Love it!

  • P J Evans

     I think I’d have killed the doctor somewhere in there. Or at least filed complaints with every possible agency. Because that’s a severe case of not listening to women.

  • Anonymous

    LADYPARTS AND THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO THEM

    Go on…

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Lol. I’m trying to keep up with y’all, but also have to finish up work. Maybe if you all could nominate a spokesperson and channel your rage at me through him/her, I would be able to respond to each burst of anger in an orderly manner. Lolol.

    I do notice that someone seems to have played the old “Priest Abuse Scandal” card. Bingo! That’s almost as good as playing the “Nazi” card. I mean, because how does one really respond to that?

    I did not abandon the Catholic Church when I found out that she included sinners because I already knew that; and more to the point, I already knew that is what she is for. Most importantly, I know that I am a sinner, even if my particular sins are different in kind and number.

  • Anonymous

    You know, I think you’re the only one exhibiting rage here. The rest of us are mostly either debunking your arguments or calmly having discussions among ourselves.

    The fact that you believe that you yourself are important enough to justify rage on our parts (rather than bafflement or irritation) is suggestive of serious egotism on your part.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     I did not abandon the Catholic Church when I found out that she included
    sinners because I already knew that; and more to the point, I already
    knew that is what she is for.

    It’s not including sinners that most people find problematic – it’s hiding them from being prosecuted for incredibly serious crimes that most people get annoyed about.

  • Anonymous

    I did not abandon the Catholic Church when I found out that she included
    sinners because I already knew that; and more to the point, I already
    knew that is what she is for. Most importantly, I know that I am a
    sinner, even if my particular sins are different in kind and number.

    I find this a relatively reasonable statement from you. However I must ask, is there any severity of sin that could cause you to abandon the church? We already know that the following are insufficiently sinful to make you leave:

    1) The rape of young people entrusted to the care of the church
    2) The covering up of said rapes
    3) The protection from lawful investigation (until such time as public media pressure became too much to bear) of the rapists involved

    As an areligous person myself, I can only consider my own memberships in organizations whose goals I shared and in whose company I found enjoyment or fulfillment on whatever level. Had I found out that one of those organizations was covering up numerous rapes of young boys and not handing the rapists over to law enforcement, I’d like to think that I would have left the organization. Possibly for a different organization of a very similar purpose, but at least I would leave the rape-covering-up organization.

    But then no organization I’ve ever belonged to has ever done such a thing, so who’s to say where my threshold for evil is? Perhaps I could hang in all the way up to ritual sacrifice?

    So anyway, back to you, Ryan. How bad must the sin be before you would leave? To set perhaps an Evilness End-Point, let’s consider church-sanctioned, public auctions of human beings for sexual slavery. Imagine every Bishop holds the microphone at the auction desk for each yearly Festival of Religious Freedom (just made that up out of thin air; I’m sure better names could be imagined) where young (virgin, of course) men and women are auctioned off to church members. Would that be sufficient sin for you to reconsider whether you want to be associated with such an organization?

    Now now, before you say “That’s a stupid, inconceivable hypothetical,” not 10 years ago I could have used “widespread rape of young boys, covered up by the church” and you could have tossed out the same objection. And yet…here we are.

    Once we determine endpoints, then we can haggle over the middle ground.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    I read this on the op-ed page the other day.  “Essentially, the new law forces them to either forfeit their most fundamental beliefs or face prohibitive penalties” —  Kathleen Parker

    Parker apparently doesn’t know what the word ‘fundamental’ means.  Since the contraception law has nothing to do with any defining feature of either general  Christianity (i.e. the divinity of Christ) or Catholicism (i.e. the Bishop of Rome as rightful mortal head of The Church).  It’s funny how people are more less open about believing that their religious liberty to tell strangers what to do is the most important kind of religious liberty.  And it’s tragic that even as the power of the religious right slowly erodes the notion that ‘correct’, normative belief carries with it a right to social control has bled out of that fringe and into the polite mainstream.  The ‘Moral Majority’s’ backing of Reagan was quite a long time ago, after all.  And this element has had a megaphone in the halls of power for more than long enough to influence those ‘swing voters’ who are most pathologically obsessed with normality and ‘common sense’.  A demographic that Parker is the ultimate embodiment of.  So even as the religious right dies the bitter, bitter death it so richly deserves the rest of us will still have contend with this virus they’ve installed for a long time to come; the impression upon middle-class conformists that freedom of religion means the church’s right to legal deference and that conservative sex mores are The Way Things Have Always Been Done.

  • Akachei

    Switching horses midstream I see? That’s poor debate skill. Imagine that!

    Aren’t you switching horses?  First you say the government is allowed to do things when it subsidizes people, basing justifications on that:

    If the government is subsidizing that deli, then it is perfectly within their rights to require it to provide for the dietary needs of its entire client base.

    And then when that is pointed out as inapplicable in this case, you’re citing employment law

    Employment law does not magically change because of the religion of the employer.

    You even do this in this same post.  I read the post you were responding to, and I don’t see how he was switching horses; can you clarify?

  • Anonymous

     Aren’t you switching horses?  First you say the government is allowed to do things when it subsidizes people, basing justifications on that

    Darling, literacy is your friend. Haber started off arguing that Catholic services were not arms of the government, then switched mid-argument to Catholic employers should have employment law tailored to them. Obviously I had to change arguments in the middle of that post because his argument changed in the middle of that post. Reading! It’s fundamental!

  • Akachei

    Haber started off arguing that Catholic services were not arms of the
    government, then switched mid-argument to Catholic employers should have
    employment law tailored to them

    No, he didn’t.  He started off arguing that Catholic services were not arms of the government, then noted that the argument “Hey, they’re government funded” did not in fact apply in this case because that wasn’t how the regulation was being applied.  That’s not switching horses; that’s dealing with the extremely predictable (you even made it!) argument before it comes up.

  • Anonymous

    No, he didn’t.  He started off arguing that Catholic services were not arms of the government, then noted that the argument “Hey, they’re government funded” did not in fact apply in this case because that wasn’t how the regulation was being applied.  That’s not switching horses; that’s dealing with the extremely predictable (you even made it!) argument before it comes up.

    It is funny how the evidence that debunks a lie is “extremely predictable.”

    His first statement, “[we] do not believe that the Catholic Church or other churches are simply social service agencies and arms of the state.”

    His second statement, “Catholic institutions aren’t being required to fulfill this human right because they receive government grants, but because they employ people.”

    The first statement was about “churches,” the second statement was about “institutions.” The first statement was about churches acting as social service agencies, the second was about institutions hiring people. The first argument is about catholic churches being forced to follow the rules of applying to social services agencies, the second was about institutions being forced to follow employment law. They are two different arguments about two different types of organizations following two different types of laws. Again, reading its something you should look into.

  • Akachei

    The “Catholic Church” includes Catholic institutions, and not just the churches.

  • Anonymous

    The “Catholic Church” includes Catholic institutions, and not just the churches.

    First off, no it does not. It includes some Catholic institutions and doesn’t include others. Secondly you failed to address over half that post.

  • Akachei

    First off, no it does not. It includes some Catholic institutions and
    doesn’t include others. Secondly you failed to address over half that
    post.

    I disagree, particularly given that using it that way would make no sense given with Fred’s topic.
    As for the rest of the post, in short –

    do not believe that the Catholic Church or other churches are simply
    social service agencies and arms of the state. We actually believe in
    the First Amendment.

    Does not mean he is talking about only laws regarding social service agencies.  He is talking about government impositions on how religious organizations conduct themselves, particularly given the “arms of the state” part.
    The second comment isn’t switching from “social services” to “employment laws”, it’s dispatching a justification for said government imposition, by pointing out it is not done by government grants.

    You clearly disagree with me on this, so discussing this any further is going to go nowhere.  If you wish to consider me illiterate as a result, so be it.

  • P J Evans

     Well, it might help if you stopped assuming that the Catholic Church is always right, even when it’s clearly wrong.
    Also, LEARN TO READ.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree, particularly given that using it that way would make no sense given with Fred’s topic.

    Probably not. But it would make perfect sense with Haber’s other statements, as incoherent as they are. If Haber meant it any other way, he would have phrased it another way. We can only assume that he said what he meant and he meant what he said.

    Does not mean he is talking about only laws regarding social service agencies.

    Then why is he only talking about social service agencies? And claiming “institutions” as arms of the state is nonsensical when placed in that context.

    He is talking about government impositions on how religious organizations conduct themselves, particularly given the “arms of the state” part.

    Yes. Social service organizations. Exactly like he said.

    The second comment isn’t switching from “social services” to “employment laws”, it’s dispatching a justification for said government imposition, by pointing out it is not done by government grants.

    Then he would not have brought up social service agencies functioning as arms of the government in the first place.

    You clearly disagree with me on this, so discussing this any further is going to go nowhere.  If you wish to consider me illiterate as a result, so be it.

    If you actually thought “discussing this any further” was going to go nowhere, you would not have made this post in the first place. This is just cheap theatrics to attempt to get the last word in.

  • Akachei

    So if Roman Catholic employers are allowed to opt out of including contraception in their employee health plans on the grounds of “conscience”, does that mean that they will also be allowed to opt out of including pregnancy and childbirth expenses for unmarried employees?
    Does that mean that Jewish employers will be able to opt out of including emergency care for employees who have shellfish poisoning?

    In neither of these cases is the service itself (the pregnancy and childberth expenses, the emergency care) what the religion is actually opposed to (the sex, the eating shellfish).

    The immorality of homosexuality is also a fundamental part of the Catholic faith, but that hasn’t stopped the state of Illinois from telling Catholic charities they can’t discriminate against gay couples looking to adopt a child. Why should women’s health issues be different?

    Who you offer your service to is a different dynamic that what healthcare you are required to pay your employees; I have no problem treating them differently.
    And as I said in my earlier post, the way to resolve this should not be a simple exemption, but a way for employees of Catholic institutions to get the coverage if they want it without requiring the Catholic institutions themselves to directly pay for it.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     but a way for employees of Catholic institutions to get the coverage if
    they want it without requiring the Catholic institutions themselves to
    directly pay for it.

    Why should a religious organisation acting in a non-religious capacity be allowed to escape costs that other employers cannot?

  • Akachei

    Why should a religious organisation acting in a non-religious capacity be allowed to escape costs that other employers cannot?

    1) There are still indirect (vouchers, salary stipends) that could be used to pay for it without direct payment, meaning they wouldn’t escape the costs.
    2) As employee health insurance, despite federal regulations, can be quite varied in what it covers, the costs question is arguable.
    3) Is it actually acting in a fully non-religious capacity?  They are called to server the poor and ill.

  • Lunch Meat

    What if I believed that schizophrenia and epilepsy gave people visions from God, and that it was a requirement of my religion that everyone should desire said visions, and so medication that decreases the symptoms of those visions is wrong and evil? Could I refuse to offer health insurance to my employees that covered those medications?

    The medication and treatment a person gets is between that person and their doctor, based on what they need to function and survive. My pastor might have input on the medication and treatment I’m getting–if I ask for that input–but my employer certainly doesn’t, even if they share my religion. If you are providing health insurance, I expect you to provide for my actual health needs, not for what you want me to need.

  • Akachei

    What if I believed that schizophrenia and epilepsy gave people visions
    from God, and that it was a requirement of my religion that everyone
    should desire said visions, and so medication that decreases the
    symptoms of those visions is wrong and evil? Could I refuse to offer
    health insurance to my employees that covered those medications?

    First – a side question.  If you were running a church that believed such things, would you expect to be able to offer such a policy to employees such as the janitor for the church building?  The minister?  The leader of the church choir?

    Second – If the organization was being run for religious purposes (as can be argued for Church hospitals), a tentative yes given certain practical considerations.
    Consideration 1: There is some kind of compromise that allows the employees to acquire the medication necessary without trouble;
    Consideration 2: There is not an extremely large number of these exceptions that would make Consideration 1 impractical.

    The fundamental problem with the situation is I agree with both the sentiment

    The medication and treatment a person gets is between that person and
    their doctor, based on what they need to function and survive. My pastor
    might have input on the medication and treatment I’m getting–if I ask
    for that input–but my employer certainly doesn’t, even if they share my
    religion.

    and the sentiment that organizations should not be legally forced to pay directly for things against their conscience.

    Given the current situation I think this can be practically balanced to satisfy both as much as possible, without causing huge side issues.

    Given a theoretical situation of countless exceptions this would not be tenable (as Kevin Drum has noted).  My position would not hold in such a case; but that’s not the case we have.  If we’re going to posit such theoretical situations, my larger answer is we need to scrap the entire idea your healthcare should be tied to your employer (for innumerable reasons, not just this); replacing it with single player, an intelligent voucher system, or something else.

    [Incidentally, under current law you could just not offer any healthcare.]

  • Dan Audy

     

    and the sentiment that organizations should not be legally forced to pay directly for things against their conscience.

    I just don’t understand what makes you and other people think that employers get a say in what their employees do with their compensation.  My former boss was a Jain but his religious beliefs that it was immoral to cause harm to any living being no matter how small didn’t mean he could dictate that I was unable to buy meat or grain with my paycheck or even bring it to work for my lunch (though out of personal respect and friendship I tried to ensure meat products I brought in were at least subtle).  In the US, healthcare is simply another part of compensation and just like my employer was obliged to follow the law so to is the Catholic Church and the law says that health insurance must meet certain standards (including coverage of birthcontrol).

    The church has two simple choices if they feel following the law to be to onerous for their conscience to cope with.  First, they can, as you pointed out, stop providing any healthcare for their employees at which point they will rapidly discover that they don’t have any employees any longer.  Or two, they can close shop and go back to their church and focus on teaching about Jesus and leave hospitals and adoption agencies and whatnot to organisations that follow the law.

  • Tonio

     To expand on Dan’s point, one doesn’t have the “moral right” to disapprove of private behavior that doesn’t harm others, and this includes contraception use. “Moral right” is my clumsy way of articulating the principle of personal boundaries. The standard for deeming behavior to be immoral is any consequence the behavior has for others. If person refuses to use contraception, that belief should stop with that person, and the person should be neutral on contraception use by others. The same principle should apply to homosexuality, since there’s nothing objectively immoral about that, either.

  • Tonio

     To expand on my point, one can object to another’s self-harm out of concern for the person, but that’s not the same as moral indignation. The moral aspect of self-destructive behavior comes through its impact on others. The difference between getting drunk one time at home alone and driving while drunk.

  • Anonymous

    First – a side question.  If you were running a church that believed such things, would you expect to be able to offer such a policy to employees such as the janitor for the church building?  The minister?  The leader of the church choir?

    Yes, if I was running a church, the law is clear on my right to limit not just basic insurance plans, but all sorts of employment laws and regulations. Churches are run for religious purposes.

    If the organization was being run for religious purposes (as can be argued for Church hospitals), a tentative yes given certain practical considerations.

    Here’s where I disagree, and you may chalk this up to semantics but I think it is an important distinction. A hospital may be run for religious reasons, but it is not run for religious purposes.

    [O]rganizations should not be legally forced to pay directly for things against their conscience.

    But this isn’t really how insurance works (and everyone correct me if I’m wrong about this). The “organization” is nothing more than all the individuals whose resources are pooled to buy a plan. How much of each employee’s portion of that plan is “paid for” by the company and how much is paid for by each individual varies between organizations. The more that the company “pays for”- the less that is taken out of employees’ paychecks for the insurance coverage- the less employees get in take home pay, because those costs are factored into the overall costs of employment. So it isn’t the company “paying directly for things against their conscience.” It is each individual paying for a piece of a plan which includes something that is against the consciences of some of those in the pool and which they therefore are in no way obligated to use.

    Here’s where Fred’s point comes in. As he put it:

    If you provide preventive health care, but only for men, forcing all of your female employees to pay for their preventive health care out-of-pocket, then you are creating real and tangible and undeniable financial hardship for those female employees.

    Under a policy where employers can refuse to cover contraception, women are paying the same insurance premiums as their male coworkers without getting the same benefits. This is systematic discrimination, and while allowed for organizations with religious purposes, it doesn’t fly for organizations providing general services for religious reasons.

  • P J Evans

     But when they’re hiring non-Catholics to work for them, they’re a SECULAR employer. And when they’re operating hospitals and schools and clinics that are  open to the general public, they’re a SECULAR business. And they should be prepared to obey the SECULAR laws, or they need to go back to being the small powerless church they’re trying to convince you that they are (and they’re lying through their teeth as they do it).

  • P J Evans

     Because they’re a religious organization, apparently, which means that secular laws aren’t supposed to apply to them (except when it’s more convenient for their purposes). The Pope hasn’t figured out yet that clerics don’t get a get-out-of-jail-free card any more (they stopped getting that one some centuries back, but I guess he never got the memo).

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     The Church doesn’t object to people having babies. Even out of wedlock.

    It doesn’t? Then why does the Vatican’s own website declare having sex outside marriage a sin?

    2353 Fornication is carnal union
    between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary
    to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally
    ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of
    children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of
    the young.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

  • Anonymous

    Man, why is faux-martyrdom always the go-to position of jerks and trolls?

    A lot of them are bullies who aren’t used to being challenged.  As with the Church itself, loss of dominance feels like getting picked on.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Yeah. Hiding sinners is a pretty serious sin too. Like I said the Church is chock full of sinners.

  • Anonymous

    Criminals.  The word you’re looking for is criminals.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Yes. There are criminals in the Catholic Church as well. One died on a cross next to Our Lord himself. I for one wouldn’t kick someone out of the Church just because he had done something very very bad.

    But now we are getting very far afield, aren’t we?

  • Lori

     
    There are criminals in the Catholic Church as well. One died on a cross next to Our Lord himself.  

     

    First of all, the thief wasn’t a Catholic. There was no such thing as the Catholic church at the time. 

    Second, expressing faith in Jesus did not prevent the thief from dying on the cross. His expression of faith did not get him a “get out of civil punishment free” card and rapist priests aren’t entitled to one either. The Church has no right to act as accessory after the fact to help rapists avoid punishment. 

  • Kiba

    The Catholic Church in Vermont is trying to argue in court that paying big damage awards to victims of sexual abuse is against its First Amendment rights ’cause, you know, they can’t afford it and all and it will cause them to have to close up shop. 

  • Tricksterson

    Ah yes, the “Let us do what we want or we’ll abandon our parishoners” extortion racket, a fave of the Church.  And when parishoners make it clear that they’re more than happy to spend the money and effort to keep the churches open the heirarchy says no.  Because of course the Church is there for the benefit of the priests and bishops and if layfolk maintain the churches hey might actually…Gasp!… want a say in how it’s run.  No you just pray, pay and obey like good little sheep.

    Okay ex-Catholic done ranting.

  • Lori

     
    But now we are getting very far afield, aren’t we?  

    No, we’re not. An organization which for decades acted as a facilitator of child rape has zero credibility when it says that being required,in its capacity as a secular employer, to provide comprehensive health insurance for all its employees is just too offensive to its delicate conscience. “Rape is one thing, but birth control is just intolerable” is a shit argument. 

  • Kish

    We were very far afield the first time you responded to a post about the Catholic Church protecting criminals by blathering about sin.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    There are criminals in the Catholic Church as well. One died on a cross next to Our Lord himself.

    That guy would have been part of the “catholic” church, not the “Catholic” church. There’s a difference.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    And still nothing on the far more serious CRIMINAL issue. Imagine this in any other work environment – an employee goes to his boss and admits to raping lots of people in his care, and the boss’ response is to have him do the same job, but in a different area, and not involve the police. THAT’S what people are upset about, and what you are continue to ignore. The Catholic Church – up to its highest levels – has been involved in ignoring and even enabling THE RAPE OF CHILDREN – and all you can manage is “Nobody’s perfect”? Really? REALLY?

  • Anonymous

    “Sinners” is an awfully light word to apply to child rapists. I’d go with something more along the lines of “morally bankrupt evildoers.” For a PG-rated start.

  • Lori

     
     Like I said the Church is chock full of sinners.  

     

    And the ones who are felons need to be in jail. That goes double for the felons who prey on people who trust them as agents of the Church in order to commit rape.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Cule/100001621659800 Michael Cule

    The thing that strikes me as phony about the ‘under investigation’ excuse is that the investigation in question is (if I read the news report correctly) being carried out by one Republican congressman.

    This isn’t even an investigation by a House Committee let alone by a police or governmental body which may be expected to do it professionally and in an unbiased manner looking for real legal issues.

    This is one politician using his office to point fingers and make an organisation that he doesn’t like look suspect.

    If the practice were made universal then any politician of similar rank could close down funding to any charity they didn’t approve of merely by announcing ‘an investigation’.

    I would ask anyone who supports such a stand to imagine it being applied to charities they approve of by politicians who they don’t approve of.

    ROSENCRANTZ: Consistency is all I ask!
    GUILDENSTERN: Give us this day our daily task…

    -Tom Stoppard

  • MaryKaye

    I think what my Catholic kin would say is:  there are two things that could be called the Catholic Church.  There is an old, corrupt, political, fallible organization which has done awful things and needs to be disciplined and reformed.  There is the supernatural, eternal Body of Christ united in the sacraments.  The wickedness of human beings does not affect the latter, and that is what they feel connected to.  And for the former, they choose to try to make it better from the inside rather than the outside.  My mother said, “The Church is like family.  You don’t necessarily like or respect all of your family, but it’s hard to deny that you’re connected.”

    This does not work for me.  My relatives don’t hold that against me, and I don’t hold their faith against them.

    My Catholic stepfather, incidentally, had a vasectomy when it became clear that having another child would endanger my mother’s life.  I don’t personally have any truck with a morality that would say this loving act was wrong.  I don’t think he does either.  I have not asked, but I doubt VERY much that he considers it a sin of any kind–like almost all of his faith community except for some of the top leaders.

  • Madhabmatics

    If you were living under an Amish pope and decided to drive a car for fun, I would hope that you wore a seatbelt for safety

  • MaryKaye

    Tonio writes: 

    To expand on Dan’s point, one doesn’t have the “moral right” to
    disapprove of private behavior that doesn’t harm others, and this
    includes contraception use. “Moral right” is my clumsy way of
    articulating the principle of personal boundaries. The standard for
    deeming behavior to be immoral is any consequence the behavior has for
    others.

    The problem is that, like all  fundamental moral principles, this is an axiom.  It can’t be generated by logic; it has to be accepted or not.  Not all people accept it.  It doesn’t have any special claim to rationality over competing principles.

    I don’t think I accept it, for one.  I think that a man marooned on a desolate island is still a moral being able to make meaningful choices., even though they are between him, his natural environment, and his god(s) if any.

    I also think that, as formulated, this is a bit internally contradictory.  If I disapprove of your behavior, in private, by what you say here that would be morally wrong: but isn’t such disapproval in itself a private matter, and thus should be exempt?

    The fact is, people are strongly drawn to judge each others’ behavior.  We are social animals and wired to do this.  It’s a survival necessity for social animals, and the desolate island scenario is just not what we evolved for.  Trying to get people to stop doing this is, in my view, futile.  Better to put boundaries on what people *do* to each other, and not attempt to control their judgements or feelings.

  • Tonio

     The moral principle I’m articulating can indeed rest on logic and rationality. Why is it wrong to harm others and right to help others? Because put into practice, this benefits both individuals and society. I suppose that the idea that benefit itself is good could be an axiom. But at the least, anyone asserting a claim that a specific action is right or wrong should be prepared to defend the claim according to principles and logic, instead of resorting to some version of “Just because” or “My religion’s god says so.”

    Using your desolate island analogy, what standard would you use for “meaningful” choices? That wouldn’t be the same as morality, since right and wrong are by definition about how one treats others. Assuming the man is stuck there for the rest of his life and has no relatives, the chances of his actions affecting others are remote at best. (Imagine if he had the means to build a massive factory that dumped tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.)

    By disapproval, I mean the declaration “This action is wrong/immoral.” Implicit in the declaration is the claim that the person committing the action has no moral right to do so, and should be stopped from committing it. If the action isn’t harming others, then I see no reason to deem it wrong/immoral in the first place. The declaration itself could hypothetically cause harm if used to justify stopping the person from committing the action.

    Because we’re social animals, it’s important that each of us has some level of security in our personal boundaries. This means that our accountability to others covers only how our actions affect others, and that preserving one’s boundaries is essential to preserving one’s identity and self-determination. This means that personal choices like marriage partner and religious affiliation should be off the table for strangers. (A different standard would apply for relatives and friends, but this would involve interest in the person’s well-being instead of simple moral indignation, and even then it’s ultimately the individual’s decision.) The principle of personal boundaries is simply another version of protecting the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

  • Lunch Meat

    Caring for the sick is not a religious purpose. It may be something that people do for religious reasons, but it’s not a religious act. So the idea that a Catholic hospital could deny some forms of health care to its employees is just as wrong to me as the idea that a Catholic CEO of a secular corporation could deny some forms of health care because the leadership thinks it’s wrong. Again: it’s between me and my doctor, not between me and my employer.

    I understand the argument that employers should not have to pay for things that violate their consciences, but here’s the thing: my employer shouldn’t know what kind of health care I’m getting. Supposing my employer didn’t believe that you should treat mental illnesses–if, say, zie believed you should get an exorcism instead (which is a belief that real people have)–there’s no way for him to know whether or not I’m getting treatment for mental conditions. It’s a violation of privacy. So even if I was and zie was “paying” for it, it wouldn’t violate zir conscience. The only reason this is an issue is because we’ve stigmatized women’s reproductive and gynecological health care so that it can be separated from everything else, and then reduced it to contraception so we can ignore the rest of it. My employer shouldn’t know (and thus, not be bothered) by whether I’m using birth control, just like he shouldn’t know if I’m getting counseling for domestic violence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    Caring for the sick is not a religious purpose. It may be something that
    people do for religious reasons, but it’s not a religious act.

    I think that it can be, and often is, a religious act, but it is never a solely religious act. Which is why I agree that claiming a religious reason for refusing to provide certain care, or to provide any care under certain circumstances or to certain people, does not fall under the free practice of religion as protected by the First Amendment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I always find the “opposition between/reconciling feminism and Christianity” thing confusing, because for me feminism is inextricably bundled up with my beliefs. Just like support for marriage equality and opposition to slavery.

  • Rikalous

     

    I always find the “opposition between/reconciling feminism and
    Christianity” thing confusing, because for me feminism is inextricably
    bundled up with my beliefs. Just like support for marriage equality and
    opposition to slavery.

    And having read that essay Haber’s blog links to, I’m not sure where he got the idea that the author converted from feminism.

  • Anonymous

    ross douthat’s new nickname is Rubbers


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