Friday, February 10, 2012

Bishops just say No.

Catholic bishops are defying the Obama administration's mandate that forces religious employers to pay for contraception and abortion pills. Archbishop Dolan of New York has spoken out courageously on this outrage:

Religious Freedom and Obamacare

Wall Street Journal Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - op ed.
By TIMOTHY M. DOLAN 
Religious freedom is the lifeblood of the American people, the cornerstone of American government. When the Founding Fathers determined that the innate rights of men and women should be enshrined in our Constitution, they so esteemed religious liberty that they made it the first freedom in the Bill of Rights.
In particular, the Founding Fathers fiercely defended the right of conscience. George Washington himself declared: "The conscientious scruples of all men should be treated with great delicacy and tenderness; and it is my wish and desire, that the laws may always be extensively accommodated to them." James Madison, a key defender of religious freedom and author of the First Amendment, said: "Conscience is the most sacred of all property."
Scarcely two weeks ago, in its Hosanna-Tabor decision upholding the right of churches to make ministerial hiring decisions, the Supreme Court unanimously and enthusiastically reaffirmed these longstanding and foundational principles of religious freedom. The court made clear that they include the right of religious institutions to control their internal affairs.
Yet the Obama administration has veered in the opposite direction. It has refused to exempt religious institutions that serve the common good—including Catholic schools, charities and hospitals—from its sweeping new health-care mandate that requires employers to purchase contraception, including abortion-producing drugs, and sterilization coverage for their employees. 
Last August, when the administration first proposed this nationwide mandate for contraception and sterilization coverage, it also proposed a "religious employer" exemption. But this was so narrow that it would apply only to religious organizations engaged primarily in serving people of the same religion. As Catholic Charities USA's president, the Rev. Larry Snyder, notes, even Jesus and His disciples would not qualify for the exemption in that case, because they were committed to serve those of other faiths.
Since then, hundreds of religious institutions, and hundreds of thousands of individual citizens, have raised their voices in principled opposition to this requirement that religious institutions and individuals violate their own basic moral teaching in their health plans. Certainly many of these good people and groups were Catholic, but many were Americans of other faiths, or no faith at all, who recognize that their beliefs could be next on the block. They also recognize that the cleverest way for the government to erode the broader principle of religious freedom is to target unpopular beliefs first.
Now we have learned that those loud and strong appeals were ignored. On Friday, the administration reaffirmed the mandate, and offered only a one-year delay in enforcement in some cases—as if we might suddenly be more willing to violate our consciences 12 months from now. As a result, all but a few employers will be forced to purchase coverage for contraception, abortion drugs and sterilization services even when they seriously object to them. All who share the cost of health plans that include such services will be forced to pay for them as well. Surely it violates freedom of religion to force religious ministries and citizens to buy health coverage to which they object as a matter of conscience and religious principle. 
The rule forces insurance companies to provide these services without a co-pay, suggesting they are "free"—but it is naïve to believe that. There is no free lunch, and you can be sure there's no free abortion, sterilization or contraception. There will be a source of funding: you.
Coercing religious ministries and citizens to pay directly for actions that violate their teaching is an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience. Organizations fear that this unjust rule will force them to take one horn or the other of an unacceptable dilemma: Stop serving people of all faiths in their ministries—so that they will fall under the narrow exemption—or stop providing health-care coverage to their own employees.
The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone. The Amish do not carry health insurance. The government respects their principles. Christian Scientists want to heal by prayer alone, and the new health-care reform law respects that. Quakers and others object to killing even in wartime, and the government respects that principle for conscientious objectors. By its decision, the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease.
This latest erosion of our first freedom should make all Americans pause. When the government tampers with a freedom so fundamental to the life of our nation, one shudders to think what lies ahead.

One can frame this quite credibly as a matter of the Constitutional right of Catholics to freely exercise our religion. Contraception and abortion are grave sins, and we will not participate in them. While there are situations in which there is a pressing government interest served by forcing religious people to violate the precepts of their faith, this is not one of them.

People can buy their own condoms. Hell, taxpayers already give Planned Parenthood a half-billion dollars a year to contracept us and kill our children. Do we really need to force the Catholic Church to chip in?

But there is a deeper issue here, that transcends esoteric debates about Constitutional law.

We are at war. We are at war with people who hate Christianity. There are people in this country who want to see Catholicism in particular, and Christianity in general, crushed. They are assaulting us continuously, in courtrooms, in the press, in regulatory offices with judicial censorship, calumny, and regulations that transgress the Constitution and transgress simple respect for conscience.

We need to understand what is happening, and we need to fight back.  

52 comments:

  1. And what of the religious freedom of the workers working for these institutions? Do employers really have the right manipulate the sexual and family planning practices of their employees? Yes you can work for us, but understand we reserve the right to make it as difficult as we can for you to have consequence free sex or determine when you have children.

    On this issue, like so many others, the liberty Christians are fighting to maintain is the liberty to force their religious practices and morals on those that don’t share their faith.

    -KW

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    1. KW, you're an idiot. And an anti-Christian bigot.

      The government is not doing this to protect the "religious freedom" of the people who work for these organizations. Those people CHOSE to work for explicitly religious organizations, by the way. The employee has to conform to the organization's religious mission. The organization does not have to conform to the secular employee.

      But the point is that no one--absolutely NO ONE--is stopping anyone from having condoms or birth control, or abortions, or what have you. Those employees who want them can pay for them out of pocket. What you want is for the government to FORCE religious people to provide non-religious people things that their consciensce prohibits them from doing. All in the name of "religious freedom".

      "On this issue, like so many others, the liberty Christians are fighting to maintain is the liberty to force their religious practices and morals on those that don’t share their faith."

      The only one compelling or prohibiting here is your side.

      The Torch

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    2. hey KW,

      If my employer doesn't pay for my rosary beads, that means he's trampling on my religious freedom. My employer should have to pay for my rosary beads. Secretary Sebelius should make them. And if they don't they're forcing their secular practices and morals on those who don't share their lack of faith.

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    3. A more apt analogy would be your employer forbidding the company store from selling rosary beads.


      -KW

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    4. If it's their company store, it's their decision.

      But no, that's not a good analogy. Because in this case, the employer is footing a portion of the bill. The employer is paying for it.

      If my employer doesn't buy my rosary beads, they're trampling on my freedom. Call the government and have the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through dictatorial mandate, force my employer to buy my rosary beads. Do it right now.

      The Torch

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  2. This "outrage" by the pious men in their silly dresses is all a carefully orchestrated campaign to rally the religious conservatives against Obama. Someone remind me again why churches don't pay tax.

    Catholic employers have been covering contraception for a long time in plenty of states. But now there is the well-timed outrage.

    If a Jehovah's Witness employer refuses to cover blood transfusions, would that be OK?

    If a Christian Scientist employer refuses to cover any medical intervention, would that be OK?


    We are at war. We are at war with people who hate Christianity. There are people in this country who want to see Catholicism in particular, and Christianity in general, crushed. They are assaulting us continuously, in courtrooms, in the press, in regulatory offices with judicial censorship, calumny, and regulations that transgress the Constitution and transgress simple respect for conscience.

    You're a lunatic.

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    1. Dr. Egnor's not a lunatic at all. Your bigoted remarks prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the war is raging full blast. You're the belligerent party and you think that we'll lower our defenses if you can convince us that there is no war on our religion.

      "If a Jehovah's Witness employer refuses to cover blood transfusions, would that be OK?

      If a Christian Scientist employer refuses to cover any medical intervention, would that be OK?"

      In both instances, the issue at hand is an immediate threat to a person's life. In other words, the clock is ticking and a person is going to die. In the case of the JW's, yes courts have ordered that JW parents cannot refuse life-saving blood transfusions FOR THEIR CHILDREN. They can refuse the blood to themselves. In any case, no one's going to die if they don't get their birth control pills. The analogy is faulty. Same with Christian Scientists.

      "Catholic employers have been covering contraception for a long time in plenty of states. But now there is the well-timed outrage."

      In other words, the federal government can violate our religious liberty because the states have been getting away with it for a few years. The argument is bunk.

      You are trying to legislate your morality.

      J.Q.

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    2. "Someone remind me again why churches don't pay tax."

      It's not entirely true that churches don't pay tax. They don't pay federal income taxes, much like 47% of Americans. Property axes? Sure, plus a myraid of other hidden taxes.

      But if you really want to know why they don't pay federal income taxes, it's because Lyndon Johnson, when he was a senator, was getting a lot of grief from the clergymen of his state. He proposed a new rule that got a lot of support from other politicians. The new rule is that churches don't have to pay taxes, but if you organize as a church you have to accept certain restrictions on your speech. The restrictions mostly have to do with criticizing/supporting candidates. Speaking about issues from the pulpit is another thing.

      As it turns out, gobs and gobs of other politicians thought that this was a great idea. They didn't like being criticized any more than LBJ did.

      And so LBJ got his way. As you might expect, enforcement is spotty and prejudicial. Liberal Democrats still feel free to drop by black churches and promote themselves, but if you write something negative about President Clinton in the church bulletin the IRS is going to make you pay dearly.

      If it were up to me, anyone would be able to say anything they want from the pulpit, without paying the speech tax.

      J.Q.

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    3. "But if you really want to know why they don't pay federal income taxes, it's because Lyndon Johnson, when he was a senator, was getting a lot of grief from the clergymen of his state."

      I think you need to go back and study your history a bit more. Churches don't pay income taxes because they are non-profit institutions. The law Johnson proposed and which was passed by Congress had nothing to do with whether non-profit institutions pay taxes or not. If a Church wants to organize as a non-profit, it has to follow the rules of non-profit institutions, and Johnson's bill does affect those rules concerning political speech. But non-profits have been tax exempt for far longer.

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  3. "...and we need to fight back."
    Hear, hear!

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  4. Whenever the subject of religious liberty comes up, these anti-Christian people lose their ever-loving minds. Yeah, if we allow religious freedom that means that we're going to have to allow Muslims to kill apostates. And forcing the Catholic Church to pay for abortions is kind of like forcing a Jehova's Witness to provide blood transfusions to their child in an emergency.

    And if we allow gay marriage we're going to have to allow grown ups to marry six year olds. It's a slippery slope!

    J.Q.

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    1. “And forcing the Catholic Church to pay for abortions..”

      That’s not what’s happening here. The Church is exempt. We’re talking primarily about hospitals, schools, and other organizations that have”Catholic” in their title. I suppose if I wanted my organization to decimate against women by denying them healthcare services I could simply call it Catholic. Joe’s Catholic Auto Repair, fixing cars and fighting to keep women barefoot and pregnant since 2012.

      -KW

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  5. Be forewarned. If the government wins this one, there is absolutely no reason they can't force churches to perform same-sex marriages. No, the First Amendment doesn't protect us. That would mean that we would have to allow Muslims to kill apostates! And Jehovah's Witnesses to allow a six year old to die without a blood transfusion!

    The Torch

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  6. @ JQ & Torch,
    Could you folks explain the connection between an infant (of any creed) getting required blood transfusions, the Christian/Catholic position on abortion, and Islamic death sentences?
    I understand that you are connecting the via religious expressions/freedoms - but HOW?
    I ask this in all sincerity, as a lost outsider.


    I see it like this:
    Transfusion, if used to save or prolong a life, is a medical service that could only be refused by a competent adult, or medical professional. It is a medical procedure and is between the patient and doctor. A child? Obviously the Doctor is the one to make the call. The parents, regardless of ideology, are separate legal entities - OTHER people.

    The Apostasy killings are a cultural/religious activity that falls under criminal. Murder. Nothing grey here. Simple.


    The Church's position on Abortion and it's relation to charity is another matter entirely.

    The only connections I see are that abortion is a) clinical - like a medical procedure and b)killing.

    The question here, seems to me, to be one of powers - not rights.
    Does the government have the powers to alter the national course drastically, as it seems to be with theses charities, without a public mandate to do so?

    Again, we see a fundamental shift in the way government will interact with populace with no popular consent. No debate. No vote. No interaction other than an order handed down from on high.

    Once again, it seems to me, the US Federal powers are making changes without the mandate to do so. Or perhaps, more accurately, the US voting base is conferring power via mandate to vague ideas - and not to specifics - and thus opening themselves up to subtle yet profound political changes. Perhaps what we see is voter laziness and selfishness translated into a very cynical political game.

    I must be missing something here? Right folks?
    Fill me in.

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    1. @Rex:
      "Transfusion, if used to save or prolong a life, is a medical service that could only be refused by a competent adult, or medical professional. It is a medical procedure and is between the patient and doctor. A child? Obviously the Doctor is the one to make the call. The parents, regardless of ideology, are separate legal entities - OTHER people."

      I'm not sure if this is illegal, in terms of refusing blood transfusion to save a life. Rex are you saying you see no issue with this? If your child is terminally ill and needed a transfusion to survive, but it went against your religion, wouldnt you then be a murderer?

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    2. No, you have misunderstood me or I have not been concise/precise...or both :P
      I am suggesting I can see no connection, other than the most broad religious and medical.
      I see the issue of the JW child being a medical/ethical one. WHO is responsible for the child and their decisions in such a decision is analogous to who is holding the scalpel, or IV. This is a question of personal rights and professional responsibilities.

      The question of catholic adoption agencies, charities and schools being punished financially over their position on abortion is another matter entirely!
      It is a matter of a Government exercise of power.
      Is it a correct or moral exercise of that power? That is the issue at debate, as it seems to me.

      The Islamic Apostasy stuff is even more removed.

      I just do not see the connection. That is what I am saying, Mulder.

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    3. **WHO is responsible for the child and their decisions in such a situation is analogous to who is holding the scalpel, or IV.**

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    4. Also, allow be to crystal clear on this issue of the JW child: I feel that the child SHOULD be given the (safe/ethical) blood, if it will save or improve his life.

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    5. "Also, allow be to crystal clear on this issue of the JW child: I feel that the child SHOULD be given the (safe/ethical) blood, if it will save or improve his life."

      So you do think there are limits on the protections offered by the free exercise clause.

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    6. Try to remember I am not American.
      I do not revere these documents as you do, and so am not sure exactly what the short-hand all stands for.

      I see their value, but they are not culturally central to me, any more than the Quebec Act of 1774 is to you.
      That said, I see this as more of a matter of contrasts.

      Short answer: Yes.
      I see the limits of the protections (if I am correct about which ones) as when they infringe on the fundamental personal rights of another. In your constitution I believe those basics are framed as 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..' or something along those lines. I suspect they are in that order for a reason.

      Basically the limit is the same as any constitutional right.
      Examples?
      1. A child is dying, he needs blood. Father says 'No. We are JW'. So what? The child did not and cannot, as he is a minor. This is now the doctors responsibility to give the child the blood as required. The expression of the father is not at issue , the right to LIFE of the child is. Two people involved child and doctor. Easy.
      2. An adult is dying, he needs blood. The adult says 'No. I am JW.' He is sound of mind and calm. He KNOWS what this means.
      Then it is his choice. The conflict for the Doctor is real, but I can see no legal reason to FORCE the blood on the patient. You cannot force chemo or HIV treatments, so why blood?
      More difficult considering the position of the physician, but just as clear morally.
      3.A child or adult is dying. He needs blood. The Doctor says 'No. I am JW'....
      WAIT! He cannot. Why?
      The Doctor has no choice, morally (nor - I hope - legally).
      He cannot refuse to help the patient morally, he is a doctor and sworn to help. Further, his right to express his faith (liberty? pursuit of happiness?) cannot be allowed to infringe on the most basic LIFE right (highest order) of another individual.

      This last example is the only one I could see as even coming close to the apostasy stuff mentioned earlier.

      But let us be frank :
      Condoms are not life giving fluids like plasma or blood. They are protective devices used to engage in sexual activity when there is fear of an unwanted pregnancy or disease.
      So how does this factor into the whole JW blood thing? That was my question.
      That condoms save lives?
      The ONLY argument I can see here is one of STDs etc. Condoms could/will/do prevent the spread of aids, it is argued.
      The thing is: So does abstinence. So does real monogamy. These are total preventative behaviours and require no device.
      This leads us to the counter argument that condoms and other prophylactics do NOT encourage abstinence or monogamy. Quite the contrary.
      This argument is also very well grounded.
      We see a catch 22.
      So I would suggest the moral path.
      Make the prophylactics available to those people who feel they need them, but do not hand them out in schools. No sublime, no ridiculous.
      Just normal, old fashioned common sense.


      Abortion pills and other legally grey stuff are another matter entirely.
      IMO, there should be a legal distinction made between a thing like condom or diaphragm and morning after or other forms of chemical abortion pills.
      I suppose there will be such laws and distinctions in most western countries over the next decade or so... a case of the law catching up to the tech, again.

      Anyway, I hope that makes some sort of sense to the readers, and I hope that answers your question Anon.

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  7. A law requiring contraceptive coverage has been on the books in Arizona for years. The Dignity Health group of three Catholic hospitals has provided such coverage since 1997. No one filed a free exercise claim about that law. (Note; the Dignity Health group recently disassociated itself from the Catholic Church, but operated for years as Catholic hospitals and provided the required coverage).

    Twenty-seven other states have similar laws. In 2004, the California Supreme Court rejected a challenge to their version of this law brought by Catholic Charities concluding that the state can enact employment laws to protect workers, even if these laws conflict with the employers' religious beliefs. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Catholic Charities' appeal.

    New York's highest court rejected a similar claim by Catholic Charities on grounds that the law didn't target religious beliefs and that a broad public interest is served by addressing gender disparities in medical costs. This is not a new question, and has been tested many times already. If a law is generally applicable, then the free exercise clause does not allow you to avoid its application. See, for example, Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990).

    Quoting Scalia from his opinion in that case: "It is a permissible reading of the [free exercise clause]...to say that if prohibiting the exercise of religion is not the object of the [law] but merely the incidental effect of a generally applicable and otherwise valid provision, the First Amendment has not been offended....To make an individual's obligation to obey such a law contingent upon the law's coincidence with his religious beliefs, except where the State's interest is 'compelling' - permitting him, by virtue of his beliefs, 'to become a law unto himself,' contradicts both constitutional tradition and common sense.' To adopt a true 'compelling interest' requirement for laws that affect religious practice would lead towards anarchy."

    DePaul, Georgetown, and numerous other Catholic universities already provide their employees contraceptive coverage. As do all Catholic hospitals. This is because they know that they have been required to provide such coverage since 2000 when the EEOC ruled that failing to do so violated Title VII. The only change here is that they are required to provide such coverage at no additional cost, as with everything else that falls within the auspices of the Affordable Care Act.

    Clutch your pearls all you want, but this is a wholly fake controversy, and one that the bishops have already lost, and that your hysteria will do nothing to change.

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  8. Obama has compromised. If a religiously affiliated institution doesn’t want to pay for birth control they don’t have to, but the insurance companies must still provide the coverage.

    Checkmate crybabies.

    -KW

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    1. Insurance companies pay for condoms and the pill in the states? Holy Mole, batman.
      I had no idea.

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    2. Indeed, this is the bullshit you have to deal with when you don’t have a national healthcare system. We are the only developed country in world that doesn’t have government sponsored, not-for-profit, universal healthcare. As a result we pay twice as much for less care and poorer results while the corporate types skim billions off the top to line their pockets. The sicker we are, the more money they make. It’s obscene.

      -KW

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    3. Obscene indeed. Why aren't more Christians fighting against this profiting from others' misery? It's sick.

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    4. @KW,
      Not sure what all that has to do with insurance companies paying for condoms? Isn't their government funded clinics handing out condoms? Can't you buy them at Boots or Pharmaplus or 711?

      @Troy,
      Do you mean American Christians? Most Americans are Christian and most of them want to 'fix' the current system.
      The disagreement is about how to do that, as far as I can tell.

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    5. Crusader, birth control pills cost about $600 a year. For many women in their 20’s it’s their largest single medical expense. Birth control pills are not only used for contraception, but to regulate the menstrual and result in lighter and easier menstruation. Many women value birth control pills far beyond their utility to prevent pregnancy because they demonstrably reduce the amount of suffering, discomfort, and inconvenience woman suffer monthly. You never thought of that did you? Hey just wear a rubber! Your fixation on rubbers is not surprising considering your profession.

      -KW

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    6. @Crusader:

      Yes, of course I mean American Christians. But I'm not so sure most them want to fix the current system. It is so *bleep* obvious that a universal single-payer system would benefit most, but it seems that the brainwashed masses consider that socialism and therefore evil.

      I don't believe in Christ, but from what he supposedly said I can't derive that a small number of middlemen should profit from the suffering of the many.

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    7. @Troy,

      "Yes, of course I mean American Christians. But I'm not so sure most them want to fix the current system."
      Pretty much all of the Americans I know do want the current system fixed. They are all over the spectrum politically, but most of them are Christians. Far more pious in their public worship than myself, in many cases.

      "It is so *bleep* obvious that a universal single-payer system would benefit most,..."
      It seems so to me also, but the American people must weight this. Many feel it should be a question for each State, and I tend to agree. That is what eventually worked for us (Province to Province).

      "...but it seems that the brainwashed masses consider that socialism and therefore evil."
      'Socialist' does not mean the same thing in the USA as it does here. Here it is generally descriptive of a specific program (ie welfare, healthcare, public housing, pensions etc), while in the US it seems to indicate an entire system. 'He is a socialist' etc.
      More like what Communism means here.
      I disprove of this blurring of lines, myself.
      I think it is lazy and dangerous.
      A socialist program is not the same as a Communist state. By combining the terms, it seems to me, that not only are respectable social programs slandered, but that Communism is made to look GOOD.
      I don't know about the 'brainwashed' part, Troy. But, I do agree on the whole fear generated with the term 'socialist' is unjust.
      If the debate is to be about entitlement dependency, then let's have at it.... but let's use the proper language!

      "I don't believe in Christ, but from what he supposedly said I can't derive that a small number of middlemen should profit from the suffering of the many."
      I do follow Christ, and I agree.
      There has to be a better way.
      But let's face it, there are much worse.
      The US does have one of the finest levels of health care on EARTH. That they want to make it even better is commendable, not reproachable in my view.

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  9. Please, please, continue to "fight back"!

    There is no better way to discredit conservative theists than ignorant legal attacks that the religious right is bound to lose, thus sapping the movement of energy and money.

    We just need a thousand more Egnors, and the religious right will be doomed forever.

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  10. Birth control of any form is just wrong. Nobody should control births. The sex act is a sacrament - a blessing from God. Any woman who doesn't wish to have a child can simply not enjoy the blessing.

    Also, everybody seems to ignore miscarriages. A smoking mother, or a mother who drinks caffeine or a mother who exercises when pregnant increases the chance she'll miscarry and another soul will be lost. These aren't "natural" miscarriages - these are abortions induced by the "lifestyle" choices of the mother. It is a sin to allow such loss, especially when it is so easy to reduce the chances of miscarriage. A woman who is "sexually active" can simply not drink, smoke or exercise strenuously.

    God created our bodies and sexual organs for the express purpose of sharing in the intimacy between a man and a woman within the bounds of matrimony for the purpose of bearing children. And God shows us the right path and gives us the will to choose. Women who choose birth control, who choose to drink or smoke or stress their bodies in vain attempts to stay thin are choosing murder, and will suffer for their sins.

    The Truth

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    1. So why did God create variation in Rh factors? Rh-negative women can miscarriage Rh-positive fetuses. What was He thinking?

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    2. Don’t worry Troy, all those little miscarriage fetuses have a special place in heaven. At least I suppose they need a special place because you wouldn’t want to step on them; that would be awkward.

      -KW

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    3. “God created our bodies and sexual organs for the express purpose of sharing in the intimacy between a man and a woman within the bounds of matrimony for the purpose of bearing children.”

      and for fucking sox apparently.

      -KW

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    4. @Troy,
      'So why did God create variation in Rh factors?'

      Rh variations are a current designation based on current understanding. Our understanding of human biology is in it's infancy. Surely you would agree to that.
      You may as well ask why God created the ether or protoplasm.
      I think what you mean to ask is why should there be any spontaneous miscarriage at all?
      That is not an easy question, and the answer is not simple.
      My position?
      It has to do with potential. A potential in what we could loosely call 'future', or 'complete' reality has been altered or redirected somehow. The path changed for some desired end result.
      Far from being an evidence against miracles or God, and much like the 'question of evil', these horrible losses underscore and contrast the victory of life.


      'What was He thinking?'
      Why not ask Him? Just make sure to remember you did when the answer arrives ;)

      On a final note, that may help you understand thinking Christians a bit more: It is not how God created (past tense), it is how he creates (present tense) that you should consider.
      We are Theists, no Deists.
      Our understanding of God is that he IS, not was or did. Creation (cosmological etc) is a CONSTANT event, in our view.
      There may be a date for Eve, the dinosaurs, or even the Earth's initial 'creation', but the process is ongoing and universal in our view.
      God is STILL creating and always will be.
      He simply IS.
      Hope that helps.

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    5. @Crusader:

      I appreciate your honest attempt to make sense of what doesn't make sense to me. I can see that your intentions are honorable.

      But. We understand perfectly well how Rh variation causes miscarriages. I wasn't asking why there should be any miscarriages at all.

      I just can't see how you can reconcile the idea of a benevolent creator and the loss of life that seems so unnecessary.

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    6. Crusader understands. You others don't know what's most important - human life.

      There wouldn't be miscarriages if women lived their lives correctly. It started with Eve, and innocent lives continue to be lost today. Even the Church is losing its way. Pope John Paul II said "Thank you women who work." What does that lead to? Miscarriages, birth control, "sexual freedom" - those are the legacies of this so called equality. God's plan is obvious but we ignore it at our peril.

      I'm sure Crusader's wife doesn't work, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke. Or Dr. Egnor's wife. I'm sure their daughters know that God's precious gift, the ability to make new life, is not to be sullied or squandered, but rather to be given priority over all else.

      Men are the fathers, the brothers, the providers. It is they who must study, work, sometimes travel far to succor and protect their families. It is women, with the greatest of God's blessings, who must dedicate themselves to carefully and tenderly shepherding new souls into this world.

      The Truth

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    7. There wouldn't be miscarriages if women lived their lives correctly.

      I call Poe. Nobody is this crazy.

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    8. @Troy,
      "I appreciate your honest attempt to make sense of what doesn't make sense to me. I can see that your intentions are honorable."
      You're very welcome... and thank you for recognizing my intentions.Your question is an EXCELLENT one, and deserved a response.

      @The Truth,
      "I'm sure Crusader's wife doesn't work..."
      I wish. No, my wife had to work during her last pregnancy to her last month. We are a military family, and have seen much hardship in the last few years. My wife is now on maternity leave (from 8th month to first year), and will eventually have to return to work.
      The upside is we each should be able to stay with our newborn son in 'shifts', thanks to my adult son also being at home and paying rent etc.
      So, thankfully we will not have to rely on daycare etc.

      "..doesn't drink, doesn't smoke. "
      Here you are spot on. She lived very clean during her pregnancy. A good diet, low stress, lots of fresh air and rest.
      She has never been a smoker or drinker.
      Me?
      I am a (somewhat) reformed and utterly repentant hedonist.

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    9. "Birth control of any form is just wrong. Nobody should control births. The sex act is a sacrament - a blessing from God. Any woman who doesn't wish to have a child can simply not enjoy the blessing."

      So let me ask you - how many children do you have? 2? 6? 10? Is that how many times you've had sex in your life? It must be, according to your statement here. Because if not, then you must be practicing birth control too. Whether its a condom, pill or pulling out.

      Also, everybody seems to ignore miscarriages. A smoking mother, or a mother who drinks caffeine or a mother who exercises when pregnant increases the chance she'll miscarry and another soul will be lost. These aren't "natural" miscarriages..."

      No kidding. Thats why Gynecologists TELL THEM NOT TO DO IT. Most miscarriages happen naturally. It's not 'murder.' As far as exercise goes, working out strenuously during the first 12 weeks is discouraged. But is also encouraged after that. You may have read info that some women who exercised miscarried, but correlation does not necessarily mean causation.

      "..And God shows us the right path and gives us the will to choose. Women who choose birth control.... are choosing murder, and will suffer for their sins."

      Whoa whoa whoa. So if you use a condom, or if a woman takes a pill to PREVENT pregnancy, it's MURDER?? What kind of warped totalitarian worldview do you live in, friend?

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    Replies
    1. There are those who live to fornicate and there are those who live to love.

      In the first case, it's a one night stand!

      In the second case, it's a lifelong commitment!

      The choice is yours...

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    2. Just correcting spelling errors!
      :-)

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    3. Good Lord. It doesn't get more simplistic than that. Either one-night-stands or lifelong commitment.

      Nothing in between, right?

      Why are you so obsessed with sex?

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    4. Very good point, Pépé.
      Much is lost in this material discussion of this and that. What about MEANING?
      You have hit the nail on the head, mate.

      Along these lines....I got to thinking about a direct comparison with gluttons.
      We have all sorts of very FAT people these days. Disgustingly obese, with no real medical reason to be. They just LOVE food. Junk food, fast food, good food, ANY FOOD! They eat for eating sake - To satiate, to scratch an itch. To fill a hole in their soul.
      The fornicator is the same, but even worse. His 'meal' is a person. The potential result of that meal is not a rough bowel movement or heartburn, but a living child (or the horrific alternative).
      The 'fat' or ill health comes in the form of mental issues and STD's...worse they SPREAD their 'fat' to their 'meals', often unknowingly.
      On the other hand there are those who LOVE to eat, and do so with gusto - but do not do so TOO much. They eat when hungry, and sane portions. They enjoy their food, the atmosphere, and the company.
      Their eating is a meal, not a feeding.
      These true diners are analogous to the lovers and couples that last.
      Most of us, I fear, are a mix of the two.


      Man... now I have made myself hungry :P

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    5. troy,

      Please explain your Nothing in between, right?
      What's this between?

      crusadeRex,

      There are those who love to live and there are those who live to love. Some will say I am repeating myself, but there is a huge difference in these lifestyles!

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  12. "If a Jehovah's Witness employer refuses to cover blood transfusions, would that be OK?

    If a Christian Scientist employer refuses to cover any medical intervention, would that be OK?"

    Appeals to analogy are known as the weakest form of argumentation for a reason. I am not Catholic and I do not agree with the Catholic Church re: contraception but the Catholic Church should not have to subsidize contraception when it violates their doctrine. It is not a matter of life-or-death and this is not the Soviet Union.

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  13. We are at war with people who hate Christianity.

    Or, perhaps, our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

    The people are our brothers; the spirits that take them are our enemies. The evil one loves it when Christians forget to make this distinction.

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    Replies
    1. You're right.

      But fighting evil often involves verbal conflict with people who cooperate with evil.

      But you are right that we are all loved by God, and that He suffered and died for each of us, without favor.

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  14. I for one, am with the religious employers on this. Its not a life or death situation, and its standard church policy to be against contraception. They do have the right to not want to pay for it.

    However, They should also take a hard look at their own people. There are many, MANY Catholics who use it - if there's a demand, then maybe the message isnt sinking in.

    Or doesnt make sense to them in the 21st century....

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