Explaining the HHS Mandate

If you’re challenged to explain why Catholics are upset about the HHS Mandate and someone trips you about contraception, step around it like this:

This is not about contraception or abortion or sterilization. It’s about religious freedom. You may think abortion and contraception and sterilization are okay. You can think that, but we don’t think they’re okay, and we claim the religious freedom to believe what we think is right and act on it, and we think it’s wrong for the government to force us to do otherwise.

Let’s say a report comes out saying that bacon sandwiches are the best thing for you. Everyone should eat one once a day. Everyone agrees that bacon sandwiches are just the thing to cure all ills. So the government says everyone should have the choice to eat a bacon sandwich every day. That’s okay. They can say everyone can have that choice. Even Jews can have that choice. But what if they say that Jewish schools and hospitals have to pay for everybody’s bacon sandwich? Not good. Jews should be allowed to decline eating bacon and decline paying for other people to eat bacon.

That religious freedom is far more important than the issue of eating pork. That’s what we’re protesting about.


  • Kubrick’s Rube

    Jew here. It would take a lot more “ifs” to get this analogy to line up- how people primarily acquire food as the biggest discrepancy- but if instead of money employees were given food plans which covered some but not all food items, with more items included as the plans get better, then I’d be prefectly fine with requiring the school/hospital to include bacon in the list of basic food items necessary for a plan to meet the lowest standard of nutrition. It would be a shanda otherwise. Especially since the grocery store would offer the bacon directly to those employees of these hypothetical schools and hospitals which refuse to meet food industry standards directly.

  • BHG

    It is more important even that this entry points out: The HHS mandate defines in law what it means to be a religious institution. Under the mandate, a religious institution serves primarily religious purposes (yet to be defined, but probably will end up mostly relating to religious services) and serves primarily those of its own beliefs. This is, of course, contrary to the mandate given by Christ to us as Chrtistians, to love and serve all–regardless of their faith– as an exercise of our religious faith. Permitting the government to define what it means to be Christian–and what beliefs are worthy of goivernment respect–is dangerous indeed.

  • snafu

    > we claim the religious freedom to believe what we think is right and act on it, and we think it’s wrong for the government to force us to do otherwise.

    Here’s another analogy.

    I’m a Jehovah’s Witness who is also an ER doctor. I claim the religious freedom to believe what I think is right and act on it. When a child comes in who needs a blood transfusion, I let them die (with all due care and compassion) rather than perform the procedure or refer them to another medic. The government and general population should support this religious freedom of mine, and not force me to act against my conscience in public life.

    No, I didn’t think many people would agree with that. The problem is that we (meaning society in the general sense) are not obliged to entertain every silly belief that comes along. At some point we can rule out some religious beliefs as ridiculous and/or harmful and legislate accordingly. If your conscience is trampled upon, then ultimately, you needed to make a better argument for your position.

    Back to the immorality of contraception. For the purposes of this brief comment, I will gladly admit it’s not as clear-cut as the example above. My point is that you **must make a positive case** for your position. And the fact that the Church authorities have all but given up promulgating teaching on this issue as the laity ignores it en-masse does not help at all.

    • http://msn Nelda

      After reading this post I will rethink openly trusting an E R doctor with my child. How dare you inflict your religious belief on a child or any one. That’s not your call-it’s the parents call or other family memeber decision not yours. This is why my husband and I both have living wills and directive to physicians explaining exactly what we want and what we do not want. I am a christian Catholic, but I would never inflict my belief onto you. Shame on you!!!!

  • S. Murphy

    My refusal to underwrite your recreational f*ing is not analogous to a Jehovah’s witness physician’s – if there is such a being – refusal to save your life.
    There’s nothing that would stop the Church from providing insurance coverage for women who were prescribed hormonal birth control for polycystic ovaries or some such. The claim the freedom to f* whoever, whenever, is a medical need is a great propaganda coup; but that’s all it is.
    It might be better if BC wasn’t covered by insurance, but was pay-as-you go. Probably a lot of other medical services would work better this way. I don’t know- I read it in some financial column. It seems to me employer provide health care is the cause of these conflicts, and wasn’t as good an idea as it must’ve seemed at first.

    • rafaf

      To go along with the Jahovah’s witness analogy. Lets say a Jehovah’s witness gets a new job with a Jehovah’s witness Church/nonprofit organization etc. Being that this is a full time job, the new employee will have full health insurance coverage from the Insurance company the Church/organization uses. Part of this health insurance package is the coverage of blood transfusions in case the new employee gets in a wreck/accident or whatever. BUT, since this person is a Jehovah’s witness, this will never be used as blood transfusions are against their religion. As such, should the government make all health insurance companies remove the cost of blood transfusions in some way so that Jehovah witnesses will not pay for something that they are religiously opposed to, even if it is not the Church/organization that pays for the blood transfusions but the insurance companies?

      • j

        I would say this was a valid argument if and only if the only people you employed were Jehova witnesses. In that case purchasing an insurance plan with options no-one would ever recognize value from would be wasteful… however if they employ a non-Jehava witness they shouldn’t die because they need a blood transfusion.

  • tl02474

    I’d support this ‘Religious Freedom” claim, if the Church wasn’t so into the government themselves. If the Church wasn’t trying to legislate their own morality on the rest of the population. You can’t play in the sandbox, and then claim it’s not fair when the rule of the sandbox is applied to you. Stop taking the tax exemptions – truly live independent.

  • donna100

    If government can mandate you to pay for things you find morally objectionable they can also mandate that you be subject to objectionable procedures as well.
    It’s about freedom everyone and it is slipping away

  • http://www.laetificatmadison.com Elizabeth D

    But bacon is not entirely a good analogy, because Jews not eating pork is a purely religious law applicable to Jews, whereas Catholic opposition to contraception is based on natural law. Jews don’t believe bacon in itself harms people (in moderation anyway!), but Catholics understand that contraception is both always sinful and actually humanly harmful to women, men, children, families and society. Part of why we don’t want to supply contraception is that we don’t want to participate in that harm.

    • MJ Power

      One is still free to practice their religion. The HHS Mandate does not prevent that. It only mandates that such institutions no longer be tax-exempt if practicing their religion does not follow standards of medical care.

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        Practicing one’s religion is more than what one does in church. The mandate infringes moral choices in daily life determined by our religion.

    • javier

      “whereas Catholic opposition to contraception is based on natural law.”

      Might I suggest a book to you? It is “Navigating Right and Wrong:Decision Making in a Pluralistic Age” and Daniel E. Lee, the author, states on page 52, “Those who purport to see moral values in nature tend to pick and choose. Robins and other songbirds that provide for the nutritional needs of their offspring provide a good role model. Lions that devour their young are quite a different matter. In the final analysis, those who claim to derive ethical values from nature are in reality making certain value assumptions about nature–value assumptions that provide a screen to sort out what they like from what they don’t like.. In short, instead of deriving ethical values from nature, they are bringing their set of ethical values to nature and interpreting nature in light of these values”

  • Grits S

    I am a Christen not Jew, nor Catholic but a person that belives in God as do the Jews and Catholics and all belivers, and I also belive in Christ. I have no abjection to contraception, but abortion for birth control or sex determination is another story. The problem with HHS Mandate it that the Government is forcing me to pay for it and I don’t want to and the US Constitution did not give the Government the right to force me to pay for something I don’t want to. As donna100 says The Government is taking away your freedoms, one at a time. Just think about all the things you have to have the Governments permission to do now that we did not have to have 20, 30, 40, or 100 years ago. Wake up America before we lose it all.

  • Liz

    According to your beloved church I’m still catholic, even though it won’t recognize my letter of apostasy. Full disclosure. Now let’s get to this.

    Those paying into the insurance pool would like some value for their services. It might be hat for you to believe but contraception isn’t harmful and is given at the discretion of the doctor. It’s usually cheap enough to have been covered by premium payments. So it looks like your precious church just wants to keep its money and make a stink.

    Besides, we all have to pay for the babies in our healthcare pool, and the ones covered by Medicaid. They cost a little more than the pill or Norplant. And no one asked me if I wanted to pay for them. Personally, I’d rather pay for the Norplant.

    But you have your “morals.” Yeah… The same ones that lead your church leaders to play hide-the-pedo for years. No, not impressed with your morals. You have no moral ground, as far as i can see.

    Religious freedom? Um, tell the polygamist Mormon sects about that. And the branch Davidians. Society reserves the right to contravene when a cult acts against the piblic interest. The only reason people humor this anti contraception nonsense is because the church claims a billion members.

    Which brings me full circle. You don’t have a billion members. You have a billion infant baptisms. Many of us left years ago.

    • http://msn Nelda

      Well as a Christian that happens to be Catholic and a Catholic in good standing resents the government interferring in all of our lives. It’s not just about the Catholic Church. We know a lot of Priest that are wonderful God loving men who wouldn’t hurt a fly much less do anything inappropriate to anyone especially a child. I think it is despictable how some people few that these kinds of things only happened within the Catholic faith. If that’s what you believe then you are completley and totally blind. I happen to know that sex offenders come in all shapes, colors, religion, genders, pastors, Priests, scout leaders, teachers etc. So before you go pointing your finger at the Catholic Religion for something you better look around at other parts of society. And as for HHS – it’s dispictable that the government is taking over all of our lives. What happened to those people out there. Don’t you see government is taking over our lives, not help, but taking over. It’s sad, scary and pethetic. I am angry and sad about HHS. How dare our governement pass something like this the way they did it. It was wrong!!!!

  • Jon A. Hall

    Thank goodness you are not Hindu or Vegan. The school lunch programs have had you paying for other people’s meat for a long time……

    • nick

      Isn’t a gov. funded lunch different? The gov. isn’t paying for these abortions they are making Catholic organizations do it. Your argument is weak because the hindus are not paying for the fedral lunch program. Oh and vegan is not a religion, so I am pretty sure the 1st amendment wouldn’t cover it. PS – sweet beard

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  • Jacob

    I’ll agree to keeping government out of the Catholic Church as soon as the Catholic Church agrees to keep out of government.

  • http://philgroom.wordpress.com Phil Groom

    For what it’s worth: here in the UK, we all contribute towards the NHS through our taxes & National Insurance contributions: there are no exemptions, irrespective of whether or not we agree with certain treatments being made available: it’s the only practical way of administering a universal healthcare system – everyone contributes, everyone benefits, and anyone is free to decline treatment if they don’t want it for themselves.

    As it happens, we all also contribute to the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal — as do you guys. How come I hear no one kicking up a stink and witholding taxes in the USA because you object to the country being capable of destroying the planet? Surely that’s a bigger issue to get hot under the collar over??