Friday, February 10, 2012

A Call to Civil Disobedience: Why Catholics' Panties are in a Bind, and Why Yours Should Be, Too!

Friends, Americans, Country people, Coffee Talkers,

The matter that brings us here today is the nonsense that is referred to as the HHS (Health and Human Services) Contraceptive Mandate, and today's alleged compromise. I think that most of us are confused on what is going on with the whole thing (myself included), and that with all the back and forth going on in the media, many have been left confounded by what the big deal is, anyway, especially for Catholics.

This is where I come in, to explain what I can of the Catholic deal.

First, let me address a couple common questions:

Question: Why do you Catholics have your panties in a bind over this whole contraceptive mandate thing, anyway? It's not like Obama is going to make you take birth control or abortion-inducing drugs personally, or make you go to get sterilized.

Answer: Let me address the second part first: not yet. But it is correct to say that, at this point, no one is forcing Catholics to use contraceptives, abortifacients, to get sterilizations, etc. However, the federal government is trying to force Catholic employers into PAYING for these procedures, which are contrary to the church's moral teachings. In other words, the federal government is trying to mandate material cooperation in a moral matter that the Catholic Church has always (and will always) preach, through her moral authority, as being gravely wrong. (If you'd like to know more on why the Church takes this position, read this excellent article from a totally secular source, shockingly titled "Time to Admit It: The Church Has Always Been Right on Birth Control.") In the past, there have always been exemptions for objectors for reasons of religion and/or conscience, not just in the realm of health care, and when those conscience clauses are taken away, all people who value liberty and good will among all people should be alarmed, to say the least.

Question: But doesn't the Catholic position violate the rights of others? What about non-Catholics (for whom birth control is not a moral issue) who work for Catholic employers? Shouldn't they have access to birth control, too?

Answer:  As I overheard one person amusingly explain, "the Catholic Church isn't saying that you can't get birth control or abortions; we're just saying, if you do, pay for it your own damn self!" Maybe the Church wouldn't use that exact language, but that's pretty much the sentiment behind the Catholic position. (Besides, there are plenty of ways that women can access these forms of non-health-care for free, if memory serves, but I'm not going to mention them here, because you are free to find out on your own from a non-Catholic source if you want them!) To explain another way, people are free to do or not do whatever they want. But when it comes to Catholic institutions, they are not going to give material cooperation to anything they see as a serious moral wrong.

Also, besides violations of religious liberty and attacks on freedom of speech, the next thing that really gets my goat (what does that saying mean, anyway?) is the misuse of rights language. In America, we agree primarily to the common rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No where in there do I see a person's right to require that their religiously-affiliated employer violate their own conscience and religious moral teaching to provide them with access to free abortifacients (which, by the way, violate the right to life of the newly formed person).

What follows is a poor analogy, so I apologize in advance, but maybe it will make the point more clear to some -- if I worked for a company that was run by observant Jews, and I personally had a dietary need for pork (let's even go so far as to say that my own non-Jewish doctor had directed it), it would not be my right to demand that my employer provide pork for me at all staff luncheons. It would make even less sense if I asked them to provide pork for all employees at these luncheons, and it would be patently absurd for the federal government to require all Jewish employers to start making pork readily available, free of cost, for all employees. Now, like I said, the comparison is rather weak, but hopefully you get the idea.

Also, if we extend this analogy to address today's so-called compromise given by Obama, here's what he's saying now: alright, you don't have to tell your employees that you are paying for pork for all of them to eat. What we'll do is hire a catering service (who, of course, you will have still contracted with and paid) and the catering service will provide the pork. So now, the employer is not paying for the pork specifically, but as a part of the larger package offered by the catering service.

Obama has offered a very similar 'compromise' in regard to the health care mandate, which in no way addresses the moral issue at hand, nor the issue of religious liberty. Read more about the so-called compromise here.

Also, this federal mandate goes against the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, attached to all federal health-spending bills since 2004 (except Obamacare, of course) which prohibits state governments from forcing any agency, including insurance providers, from paying for abortions, on pain of losing federal health funding.

This is much more than a Catholic issue -- it is an attack on conscience and freedom for ALL people.

I hope that it did not go unnoticed that religious liberty is not the only freedom under attack when military chaplains were recently silenced; they were prohibited from reading a letter to their Catholic congregations urging them to resist this federal mandate that would essentially violate their religious beliefs, consciences, and their ability to not give material participation in something they found morally objectionable. They were ordered not to read the letter, lest it be 'potentially misunderstood as a call to civil disobedience.'

I think  that the letter would not have been at all misunderstood. I think it would have been perfectly understood. The time for civil disobedience is NOW. Either the mandate gets rescinded, or those of willing to stand up for what is right and good will be willing to go to bat for true freedom -- even if these demands risking steep fines, imprisonment, or worse. Trust me, I'm not some sort of ridiculous dreamer with a goal of martyrdom -- I'm a working, single mom who would much rather practice my faith freely, keep my job working for the Catholic Church (who may not qualify for the very narrow exemption of the current mandate, even in it's 'revised' form), and care for my children. But while I'm still free to say so, may I mention to everyone that Obama is a two-faced liar (I say this not as a means of name calling, but as away of identifying what he did when he recently assured the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, that he would do all that he could to preserve the religious liberties of Catholics in particular, just before he had Sebelius issue the contraceptive mandate as a clear attack on Catholic institutions). This is not about politics, my friends, this is about freedom, and NOW is the time for civil disobedience, not just by Catholics, but by all men and women of good will who value liberty and free exercise of conscience (it's more than a cricket on your shoulder, my friends!).

I have more to say -- much more -- but you're in luck, as I'll commit myself to prayer and sleep for now.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and be assured of my prayers!

Peace and all good,


  1. You said everything I have been with my friends & the people I meet at the gym & all over every day. I have been talking about planned parenthood bullying the Susan G. Komen Foundation & related topics. Such as condoms and birth control are not medicine to be provided to you for free. Your sex life is not a taxpayers expense you are entitled to!

  2. Getting someone's goat presumably stems from a horse racing practice that used goats inside the enclosures of the pre-race animals as a calming influence. The administration is the nervous horse: reactive, sensitive, single-minded. You are the owner: the citizen, the individual. The goat is the rights of the individual. You hit the matter right on the horn, Leslie.

  3. Lorie, I agree that a lot of people have strange ideas about entitlement, don't they? And Tamara, thanks so much for teaching me something new today! That definition fits this situation so well. Thank you both for reading and commenting!