Thursday, July 21, 2011


One of the greatest freedoms of this country is encapsulated in the first ammendment to the constitution:

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.

In this country, you are free to speak your mind. No matter how much it disagrees with someone elses'. You are free to practice your religion. You are free to assemble. Perhaps it is the ubiquity of this freedom that maybe makes us a little numb to it's importance. For most of us today, we have no real idea of what it might be like to NOT have these freedoms.

So here is where Civic Tami meets up with Religious Tami and they might have some conflict. This is a pretty good article about a proposed change in how health insurance is done. It says that health insurance providers must provide many preventative services, including contraceptives, without copay in their health plans. This is a good summary of the opposition to making contraceptive coverage mandatory without co-pay.

I encourage you to read both, but the basic idea of the first article is that being able to delay or prevent pregnancy is a good thing. Women are more able to participate in the work force at higher paying jobs. A good percentage of pregnancies in a given year are unintended and a good percentage of unintended pregnancies end in abortion. It makes sense that we would remove the barrier of cost as a matter of preventing abortions. At least it makes sense to me.

In the second article, you will find a good quote by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. What he seems to find objectionable is that many will be paying health insurance premiums and those premiums will fund contraception for someone.

I'm stymied by this line of thinking. An all-male, celebate clergy has for generations, forbidden the use of artifical contraception. Interestingly, those affected by this edict don't seem to follow the Vatican's way of thinking.

In a recent post, I pondered why it is that Herman Cain thinks that Islam is unique in that it is a belief system but also a system of law. The Rev. Dr. C. Weldon Gaddy did a good job of pointing out the flaw in that argument. But if lawmakers bow to pressure from the religious right, and contraceptive services/supplies are not covered, without copay, by health insurers, what message is sent?

This is the message I hear: "My religion trumps all. If I can finagle a way for every single policy regarding my pet issues to be religious in nature and if I can find ways to make it the law that my religious preferences are followed by all, I will surely do so."

Yeah. It's sorta confusing. And convoluted.

Is it wrong?

Should one faith tradition - Christianity - be able to tell the rest of our country to quit having sex? Should one faith tradition be able to tell the rest of the country who to have sex with, how to balance their family budgets and what to prioritize in their lives?

Yes. And no.

Yes. If you ask me, I'm going to tell you that if you're not married, you shouldn't have sex. There are myriad of different aspects of my daily life that arise directly out of my faith. I try not to tell even "little white lies." I try to be kind whenever I talk to people. I try to remember to listen once, twice and even three times before I speak. I try to be patient and slow to anger. All those things come from how I believe my faith is to be lived out. I would also expect that those who identify themselves as following my same faith tradition would have very similar ideas, habits and worldviews.

But here's where the no comes in. All those things come from inside me. They come from a relationship I have with a God I believe to be personal not just universal. I recognize that most of those aspects of my character have come from decades of practicing that religion and growing in devotion and faith. They don't come from pressure from the outside. The right-standing with God that I may or may not enjoy comes from my devotion to Him and His commandments. Not because I'm bowing to legal pressure.

So I'm left to wonder what the Catholic bishops and those who follow that line of thinking might be trying to accomplish.

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