Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Friday, February 3, 2012

Where the social conservatives go wrong

President Obama speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast and people get confused over his assertion of "(being) more explicit today than in the past about connecting his faith to specific policy measures…"

And then then say, "… some supporters are surprised and angry about a new administration health care policy that requires most employer insurance plans to cover birth control at no cost. The policy includes a narrow exception for churches with a religious objection of birth control but not, for example, big Catholic hospitals or universities. Spokeswoman Mary Ann Walsh of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says that's a violation of conscience."

Bullshit, and apples and oranges. Look, what President Obama is talking about is using your morality, religiously inspired, to craft legislation and give motivation to what we do. What the social conservatives try to do is legislate their religiously inspired morality. There's a difference between those two things.

The first means we develop a government and society that works for the people while respecting their religious identities and embraces free will. The later tries to tell people how to behave, and makes it illegal to behave any other way than what they think.

So if your organization is built of only those religious adherents, your can then say, "We won't pay for this." However, if employment can not be contingent on affiliation (say with a hospital, or social program), then you need to follow the rules of all the other employers. So if that religious organization only hired people of a certain faith for their doctors, nurses, administrators, and the people who sweep the floors, and then only open their doors to those of the same faith, you're good to go. However, try to run a hospital that way and you'll be sued for discrimination.

Now, I appreciate that Catholics don't support birth control (other than the rhythm or abstinance programs), and staunch Catholics shouldn't use that option of their prescription plan. And here's the thing, if you don't, the cost of the plan will be adjust to reflect that (or at least that's what insurance companies do for everything else, your premiums are based on underwriting and past usage). Finally, by excluding one class of drugs, it's not going to change your rate at an appreciable rate (even for 1000+ employee programs). Why? Because birth control pills cost fractions of cents to manufacture (that's not what you pay, but that's the profit of the pharmacy, which then gives kickbacks to the insurance companies). Anyway, the final result is the difference doesn't even come to one cup of coffee.

In fact, because you then throw all the women on your plan into a higher rate of pregnancy, you'll actually raise your rates (pregnancy and pediatric care are very expensive, which is why most insurance plans will fully cover sterilization). And here's the thing, 98% of Catholic women have used birth control during their lifetimes.

So, yeah, they're going to use that benefit.

It's like the abortion issue. It's a religious argument. And here's the thing, just because the service is available, you don't have to take advantage of it. See, there's this "Asian Massage Parlor" I pass every time I go down to Mom's house. Just because it's there doesn't mean I have to stop in and get the "happy ending."

Just because you don't believe abortion is moral, that's great. But you don't get to decide for everybody else. Just because your God says you shouldn't touch the skin of a pig, doesn't mean nobody else can do it. Just because you think the world was created by the verbal emanations of an invisible bearded guy in the sky doesn't mean everybody needs to believe that as well. Just because your messiah says you should smoke marijuana doesn't allow you to make all of us toke.

However, if your God tells you to kill your neighbors, then society does have the right to tell you, "No."

Are we clear here? As long as your beliefs don't interfere with anybody else's liberty, you're good. But once you say, "You must believe and act this way because my God says so," then we have a problem. Within your communities, unless there is a societal need or good which is subverted by your beliefs, you're good.

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