February 10, 2012

Memo to Bishops: Don't Fall For It

Justin Katz

The Washington Post has collected a spectrum of religious reactions to the Obama administration's "compromise" — apparently announced as such without first consulting with the parties implicitly involved in the negotiations (a sure sign that Obama is more concerned about appearing to compromise than actually doing so). Religious leaders and others concerned about religious liberty — in particular those concerned about our ability to work through cultural avenues distinct from government to help shape society — should pause in their deliberations about the specifics of this overture.

Note what position the President's games put us in: We're not arguing about the morality of contraception (including abortifacients). We're not even arguing about the legitimacy of the government's declaration that everybody should have access to them free of cost (at least free of immediate cost to them). We're merely arguing about who else must pay — who has to chip in for the pills that address pregnancy as an illness to be treated and against which to be inoculated.

One hopes that the administration's initial overreach was enough to awaken the bishops and others to the reality that a deal with the Devil is always, always conditional on his ability to force you to the next-least-moral space on the playing field.

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Putting aside for a moment the moral and constitutional issues, Pres. Obama once again reveals that he is either pathetically ignorant or blatantly dishonest.

He says that the religious employer will not have to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients, the insurers will have to provide them "free of charge."

Does he not understand that the cost of providing these products "free of charge," will have to be factored in to the rates that the insurers charge the religious institutions/employers?

Or is this simply another dishonest claim about Obamacare, similar to the phoney "you can keep your plan if you like it," promise?

We can count on the mainstream media to answer these questions . . .

Posted by: brassband at February 11, 2012 7:19 AM

I don't think our history of religious tolerance is what we have been taught. We are tolerant of religions that do not step too far out of the mainstream, for instance the Amish and Mennonites. Can you imagine VooDoo getting a foothold? Who wants a mosque in their neighborhood? Anti Semitism stil has many adherents. I have actually seen a synagogue torched.

Abortion and birth control are now American norms, and the Roman Church is outside of the norm. Look how we treated (killed) the Mormons for their tolerance of polygamy. That is why the Romney family moved to Mexico. I don't know of anyone who ever died from polygamy, or even got ill.

Personally, I respect the postion of the Catholics. If they are to be true to their beliefs, they can sail no other course.

I think we are too quick to pat ourselves on the back for "tolerance". Abortion and birth control may be the "law of the land"; but I do not see peaceful opposition too differently from not doing the speed limit. Perhaps a poor analogy, some states do post a minimum speed.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at February 11, 2012 8:01 AM

The president has proven with his latest shell game that he thinks all Americans are idiots.

Posted by: Max D at February 11, 2012 9:54 AM

'The president has proven with his latest shell game that he thinks all Americans are idiots.'

All? Well, perhaps not all, but enough to get him to 270 electoral votes . . .

Posted by: brassband at February 11, 2012 11:46 AM

Max D
Because you say it does not make it so.

What you need to do is introduce some facts, then have your conclusion fall from the facts. Ever heard of a syllogism?

Running to a conclusion without presenting facts merely exposes blind prejudice.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at February 11, 2012 11:51 AM


Before Obama's "compromise" employers were obligated to pay for health plans that provided contraception free of charge regardless of whether that violates the employer's religious beliefs.

After Obama's "compromise" employers are obligated to pay for health plans that provide contraception free of charge regardless of whether that violates the employer's religious beliefs.

Anyone who doesn't understand that Obama's "compromise" essentially changes nothing is an idiot.

Obama apparently expects that a substantial number of Americans will accept this "compromise" at face value.

Ergo Obama thinks that a substantial number of Americans are idiots.


I realize this falls short of proving that Obama thinks all Americans are idiots but one should allow for a certain degree of rhetorical excess.

Posted by: David P at February 11, 2012 12:41 PM

The insurers will happily provide free birth control coverage since IT SAVES THEM MONEY in the long run.

Get it? Churches don't pay for a single condom or pill. Insurance companies do. Because condoms and pills ARE CHEAPER THAN BABIES .

The only people opposed to this are:

1. those praying for the apocalypse, who think that a human's duty is to cram the earth full of as many TITHE-GIVING, pew-filling bible thumpers as possible until food runs out, and Jesus comes back to make it all ok.

2. people who are opposed to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING obama does.

This is a no-brainer. But a lot of no-brain people are upset. Because Limbaugh and Fred Phelps tell them to

Posted by: Sammy in Arizona at February 11, 2012 12:51 PM

Thanks OTL, I stand corrected. The President doesn't think all Americans are idiots. Those he doesn't consider idiots he just considers his sheep. If you believe his 'compromise' is not a shell game then you would fall under the latter.

Posted by: Max D at February 11, 2012 4:11 PM

Max D
No I wouldn't.
You just don't get it.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at February 11, 2012 4:33 PM

Bishop's being forced to the next-least-moral space; that's funny considering the moralless space they willingly went to during the various abuse scandals.

Posted by: Paul at February 11, 2012 4:34 PM

obama invited the NY Bishop to the Oval Office and told him he would not make the Catholic Hospitials pay for contraception. The Bishop left "hopeful" but the NEXT DAY obama the tyrant make the opposite announcement.

The guy will lie to anyone and say anything to stay relevent and elected.

Posted by: dave at February 11, 2012 4:51 PM

"Churches don't pay for a single condom or pill. Insurance companies do."

And where do the insurance companies get this money to pay for the pills? Not from the premiums paid by their customers? Can't wait to hear an honest answer on this one.

Oh never mind...

Posted by: Patrick at February 11, 2012 5:42 PM

David P,
Your major premise,i.e. "Anyone who doesn't understand that Obama's "compromise" essentially changes nothing is an idiot" is faulty. Therefore your syllogism falls on its face. And what you claim as QED is decidedly not. You are calling several influential people on either side of the argument "idiots". To wit":
Before making his announcement, Mr. Obama on Friday called three people: Sister Carol Keehan (see below), Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood and Archbishop Dolan of New York.
From Sister Keehan and, Ms. Richards, he got unqualified endorsements. Even the archbishop offered, initially, a grudging acknowledgment that it was “a first step in the right direction”...

Sister Carol Keehan, DC, is the ninth president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA). She assumed her duties as of October 2005. She is responsible for all association operations and leads CHA's staff at offices in Washington, DC, where she is based, and in St. Louis.
Sister Carol has worked in administrative and governance positions at hospitals sponsored by the Daughters of Charity for more than 35 years. Most recently, she was the board chair of Ascension Health's Sacred Heart Health System, Pensacola, Fla. Previously, she served for 15 years as president and chief executive officer of Providence Hospital, which includes Carroll Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, in Washington, DC. In the early 1980s, she served as Providence Hospital's vice president for nursing, ambulatory care, and education and training. In addition, she has served in leadership positions at Sacred Heart Hospital, Cumberland, Md., and Sacred Heart Children's Hospital and Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center, Pensacola, Fla.

But, of course, the Obamaphobes were left unhappy and screaming – See comments in this blog. There is nothing that the president can do to make the fanatic right happy, and I hope he stops trying to do so. He has apparently satisfied a prominent Catholic nun, the president of Planned Parenthood, and mollified the Bishop of New York. None of that satisfies many of those who blog in this thread. And, por supuesto, Senor Katz is morally outraged.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at February 11, 2012 8:00 PM


I am not calling any of those people idiots since I don't think any of them failed to realize that Obama's 'compromise' is meaningless. I think Sister Keehan and Ms. Richards endorsed Obama's proposal because they recognize that it is essentially the same policy announced by HHS. I think Archbishop Dolan was being diplomatic in the hope that a real change in policy might still be possible; but calling it "a first step in the right direction" is hardly a ringing endorsement.

Posted by: David P at February 11, 2012 9:17 PM

Without tap dancing around, please enlighten us as to what changed as a result of the compromise. You say I don't get it but you haven't explained what 'it' is.

Posted by: Max D at February 11, 2012 9:47 PM

Max D
"It" is your inability to understand the difference between a wildly stated unsupported statement, "The president has proven with his latest shell game that he thinks all Americans are idiots", and a fact.

Until you support the statement with facts, you are expressing an unmaintained opinion which may be of import to you, but cannot be applied on a broad or general basis.

That is what "it" is!


Posted by: OldTimeLefty at February 12, 2012 11:20 AM

Majority of Americans would rather pay for a pill than an anchor baby, or any baby for that matter.
You will never make the "every sperm is sacred" people happy, so why try?

Posted by: Jim Jebow at February 12, 2012 11:55 AM

I don't ask others to pay for my Makers Mark or gambling trips. I can't see why I have to pay for others abortions and contraceptives either directly through taxes or indirectly through higher insurance premiums.
Next they will be making us pay for the homosexuals rent-boys.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at February 12, 2012 12:00 PM

I'd "rather" pay for contraceptives than abortions, but I'd "really rather" pay for neither.

Posted by: Dan at February 12, 2012 12:09 PM

Ah yes...let the insurers pay. I'm sure they will not pass down the cost to the very people that objected in the first place. This is just the beginning of HusseinCare. Wait until you have to decide on which relative to euthanize...HusseinCare does not provide for that. Which procedure to delay...HusseinCare tells you to wait for the rationed care.

Free lunch for all!! Just before you are beheaded.

Posted by: ANTHONY at February 12, 2012 2:11 PM

It's true, there is no such thing as free. What is troubling to me is that despite writers latching on to that basic fact, not one of them have bothered to look a little further into Obama's 'compromise', to make sure there wasn't a Mickey slipped in there, as Obama is so fond of doing.

The 'compromise' is as bad, in fact worse than the original, as now it's not just religious hospitals, universities, schools, etc.. whose insurance must supply birth control, abortifacients, et al.. but actual churches, dioceses, all religions (exccept Islam, which gets it's Obamacare waiver). It gets trickier too, as there are religious, and/or church owned insurance companies, and they will be forced to provide such things now too. This is an out and out, in your face slap to the first amendment. Let's start examining things, actually reading text before holding forth with a proclamation, people

Posted by: Jenny at February 12, 2012 4:16 PM

Apologies for the OT, but I couldn't find an appropriate article to attach this to as a comment. I found this articled via a hyperlink posted on twitter, on a subject that we're all too familiar with here in Rhody, but one that is to frequently allowed to fly beneath the radar. How corrupt politicians profit through patronage. In this case, it's Lt Gov Tim Murray of Massachusetts, but it lays out how this corruption works very clearly: bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2012/02/12/tim-murray-patronage-politics-show-deeper-problem-mass/nfJvwYbtbY5fSv21gtrsgM/story.html

One particular candidate for a long over due audit and investigation is Warwick mayor, Scott Avedisian. I've never seen a reporter mention how Avedisian's wife has a highly paid state job, and that this job was obtained after he got elected. Or the fact that Avedisian's contributors and their children (adult children included) seem to stumble into well paid city positions. One example to consider is the daughter of a local merchant who went from working the counter at daddy's store, to an appointed position on the city's sewer board, then to a highly paid position in the city's housing authority. Who knows how far his sphere of influence extends? We're a small state and he seems to have spread his influence rather far and has grown contemptuous of his constituents and others daring to ask questions.

Posted by: Jenny at February 12, 2012 4:37 PM

"Until you support the statement with facts, you are expressing an unmaintained opinion which may be of import to you, but cannot be applied on a broad or general basis."

You're attacking my opinion to obfuscate the fact that nothing has changed in the President's compromise. The American population should be insulted by his arrogance. He has compromised nothing. Remember who said, "You can put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig."

Posted by: Max D at February 12, 2012 9:14 PM

I understand that the Catholic Church objects to contraception, and as such, doesn't want to pay for it (or doesn't want any of its dollars going towards funding it). I do understand that.

But why does the government care what the Catholic Church wants, any more than any other group?

Many members of Deaf culture don't believe in cochlear implants -- they consider them child abuse. Yet, if they participate in a health insurance plan, part of their premiums are going to go towards covering cochlear implants for children. Why don't we defer to the Deaf community's desires?

Oh, because it's just a "cultural" thing, and not a religious thing?

OK. Kosher Jews pay taxes into food stamp programs, which allow recipients to buy bacon.

Hindus believe a cow should never be killed, but yet doctors are putting using killed-cow heart valves in patients.

Muslims eschew pig products, but pig hearts and pig heart valves are also used in medicine.

Why do the Catholics have a say in the services that get paid for with their premiums, but the Jews and the Hindus and the Muslims don't?

Posted by: Kerri Hicks at February 19, 2012 1:11 PM
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