Monday, February 13, 2012

Who decides for whom?

Remember the political struggle we went through in Illinois when Catholic-affiliated groups that deal with adoption and foster care decided they didn’t want to have to comply with state laws that make it clear gay couples can’t be excluded from consideration just because of their orientation?
OBAMA: Get this man a political backbone!

The same principle is what has been at work during the past week with regards to the idea of the cost of contraceptives being covered by insurance programs.

THE COURTS THUS far in Illinois have decided that if these religious-affiliated groups want to be involved in finding adoptive and foster parents for abandoned children, they must comply with the laws.

Or else, get out of the business.

I can’t help but think that the same line of logic ought to be used on the contraceptives matter – except that it would be the federal laws of the United States that would need to be complied with.

It also seems that the Catholic Church seems to want to fight this issue out, just as they are with regards to the child care issue – even though courts thus far have upheld the viewpoint of Illinois state government.

I ONLY WISH President Barack Obama weren’t so eager/willing/capable of giving in on this issue – as he appears to have on Friday when he said he would allow for changes in a health insurance mandate to let the church feel like it is getting its way (which is to say that they won’t make such contraceptives available to people who could use them).

Then again, it’s not like the Catholic Church is behaving in any manner that would make you think they are ahead in this political fight. In the Chicago Archdiocese, Cardinal Francis George took actions to ensure that Catholic parishes across the metropolitan area heard a statement condemning Obama’s actions.

Which means Obama gets no credit for his “concessions,” which as far as I’m concerned, he shouldn’t have had to make in the first place.

So what’s at stake here?

OBAMA HAD WANTED a health insurance mandate that would require employers to offer plans to their workers that would cover contraceptives at no cost.

But the Catholic Church is taking up its rhetorical line about birth control somehow being one step short of murder, and claiming they shouldn’t have to offer it up.

We’re not just talking about people working for a church proper. We’re also talking about many of the organizations that often get significant amounts of their backing from churches and religious organizations, such as hospitals.

In short, this could have the ability to create confusion and chaos, along with preventing some people from getting something they could use for medical purposes.

NOW LET ME make one point clear. I don’t object to any individual Catholic having such beliefs about contraception – even though I believe they are wrong.

If there are Catholic women out there who want to believe that it is somehow wrong – if not outright sinful – to use contraception, that is their right. That is their choice. I would not advocate anyone forcing a pill of any kind down their throats for any reason.

The problem becomes when the Catholic bureaucracy starts thinking that their views are to be forced onto others – regardless of their religion. Because that ultimately is what actions like these become.

“Mother Church” thinks it is here to impose its will upon us – and cast off to Hell those people who might choose another faith. It is that kind of attitude that winds up creating hostility against the Catholic Church (of which I myself was baptized in as a mere baby).

IT IS TIMES like this that I get ashamed to have to admit to being Catholic, because it is moments like this that the church turns itself into the equivalent of a schoolyard bully who is all too eager to validate himself by forcing everybody else to go along with his nonsense.

If anything, moments like these show just how much our society has changed during the past five decades. For the John F. Kennedy who became the first Catholic elected U.S. president had to convince the electorate that he would not let his policy decisions be dictated by the church.

Now, Obama is making concessions to the church – which whines that it is not enough.

And what is more embarrassing is that such behavior does serve to anger entities against the church.

FOR I NOTICED a report in the weekend newspapers about a proposed strip club that wants to locate in west suburban Stone Park – on property right next to a missionary filled with nuns.

The nuns are trying to claim the strip club doesn’t belong there. But the potential owner is taking the attitude that the nuns are trying to impose their views on the populace.

Which strikes me as the ultimate in arrogance, coming from a guy who wants to make his money from “Girls, Girls, Girls!” But after seeing and hearing the church’s attitude on more serious matters, I can’t help but wonder if a part of him is dead-on accurate!


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