2/10: Health care and religious institutions

Moderated by Tom Sabulis
The new federal rule requiring religious schools and hospitals to include birth control and other reproductive services in their health care coverage continues to draw headlines.

Today,  Atlanta’s Catholic archbishop writes about the government’s “dangerous interference” with religious groups, while a local  Baptist pastor says the law is “essential” and fundamentally fair.

What do you think?

32 comments Add your comment


February 11th, 2012
9:26 am

Churches want to get into politics and influence government as to what should and shouldn’t be done. But, now they moan and whine that government is trying to influence them? Oh, my heart aches for them (NOT!). Be careful what you wish for. The entire reason for the 1st Amendment edict of “religious freedom” is to not only protect the government from religious bias, but also protect the religious from government meddling. You can’t be political without accepting the consequences. The Catholic Church and the SBC have made their beds, with extra pillows even, in the political realm. Now shut up and sit down, you’re getting the consequences.

Road Scholar

February 11th, 2012
8:38 am

Good. Those against contraception can pay higher healthcare premiums. Also, if you can get this through your minds, is that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY IT OR USE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is the reality of what is going on. Not having to buy something you don’t want….now that is oppression! Or, is the Catholic church going to check on their employees about their lifestyle and medicine use?

And I just love what the Repub candidates, esp Newt, are saying about KNOWING what President Obama is thinking and will do in his entire second term. Listen Bubbas…we are learning what the candidates are going to do and everytime they open their mouth, which makes them less electable. Oh, and Newt, while you are at predicting the future…I need just 6 good numbers to win the lottery.


February 10th, 2012
8:02 pm

The President certainly likes to spend other’s money on his image.

Michael H. Smith

February 10th, 2012
7:02 pm

jconservative@ This is not about contraception.

If it were strictly about contraception and didn’t include the morning after pill or other abortion drugs or abortions of any kind I wouldn’t object but until these morning after drugs and or abortion procedures are prohibited in the law I vehemently oppose one penny of my money paying for these things by what ever government means are use to extract it. (Precluding my pre-ROE v WADE positions of course.)

Michael H. Smith

February 10th, 2012
6:49 pm


The morning after pill is contraception that aborts life. Don’t try to force me to pay for contraception that aborts life. That may be your choice but it is not mine. You and others like you can pay for your own abortions.




February 10th, 2012
6:29 pm

Sex, contraception, abortion, addiction. As a nation we exhibit great confusion and duplicity about these things. Until we get them sorted out, safer to have no laws at all regarding them. Otherwise, enormous injustices, multiplied many times many, will ensue.


February 10th, 2012
5:36 pm

In 1928 my father cast his first vote for Herbert Hoover because he did not want the Pope dictating policy to Americans I thought that was a silly notion. When John Kennedy ran for president he assured us that he would not use church doctrine to formulate his policies nor would he take his orders from Rome I believed him. Now, however, I am rethinking my attitude. It appears that the Vatican, through the Catholic bishops, is destroying the implicit agreement that allows non-Catholics to vote for Catholics, secure in the knowledge that we would not be forced to accept their dogma. . If they are successful in this endeavor I shall never vote for a Catholic again.

This regulation is part of labor law. The Catholic Church has interests in businesses other than schools, hospitals and soup kitchens. The Church once owned a girdle factory in northern New Hampshire.The exemption covers the areas where only Catholics are bound to be employed. If employees in other businesses owned by the Church are not covered by the same laws as everyone else it is their religious beliefs that are being violated, not the Vatican’s. The hallowed First Amendment does not allow one religion to dictate to all the others.

But the most disgusting thing about this whole brouhaha is the Republican spin being placed on it by right wing radio and TV. They misstate the facts and blare their specious conclusions ad nauseum. I’m beginning to think this could be a clever move by the Obama administration to lure them into opposing contraception thereby alienating most women voters.

Hillbilly D

February 10th, 2012
12:02 pm

For people who are supposed to be great communicators and have great political savvy, this sure is a ham-handed, tone deaf play that they’ve made. I reckon all politicians have a tendency to overstep their bounds.


February 10th, 2012
11:48 am

The Southern Baptist Convention joined the Catholic Church in condemning the HHS mandate.
In fact, Richard Land of the SBC stated that if necessary “…we’re going to write our letters from the Nashville jail, just like Dr. King wrote his from the Birmingham jail,…”.

This is not about contraception. It is whether the government can tell a church how to worship and prevent a religion from the “free exercise” of its beliefs.

The 1st Amendment is pretty simple: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof:”.

The Obama administration just lost a case on religion in a 9 to 0 verdict by the Supreme Court. The EEOC tried to tell the Lutheran Church who it must hire as ministers of the Church. 9 – 0 verdict.
Imagine Scalia, Thomas, Sotomayor and Kagan all agreeing 100%.

If this gets to the Supreme Court it will be the same.

That is why the Obama administration is backing off. The only question is how far they will back off?


February 10th, 2012
11:36 am

Contraception is a choice and should be available in every medical insurance policy in this nations; just as the little blue pills the menu use. The “church” wants to compete in the marketplace for customers and their dollars, then they should have to abide by the same laws as everyone else.

We do not allow racial discrimination based on religion. We should not allow gender discrimination based on religion. Women, have for centuries been the victims of the “church’s” policy that has allowed rape, murder, torture, imprisonment, theft of personal property, the killing of women as witches or heretics, etc. Just because we don’t allow those activities anymore, is not a imposition on religion; we should not allow a religious afflication to dictate the type of medical care a women is allowed to receive.

What next, go to work for a boss who is a Jevoh’s witness and your blood transfusions are not allowed either on your medical insurance. Go to work for any number of doctors who are scientologist and don’t believe in the use of antibiotics, HIV drugs, transplants, etc and those things are going to be withheld also? Employers who try to dictate direct medical care via insurance coverage can find themselves liable for adverse events that occur in the employee’s medical lives.

But to allow a religious organization with such a bad history of mistreatment of women to dictate what thei drug coverage is going to be is folly. And, to allow this with the use of taxpayer dollars is unconstitutional as women would be subject to unfair and inequitable treament; not to mention having to pay the same insurance premiums as men, but not getting the services needed or desired.

This conscience clause is a ruse; where was the catholic church’s conscience when it allowed all of the child molestations to continue decade after decade. Where was the catholic church’s conscience when it transferred this pedophile priest from one parish to another unsuspecting parish? Where was the conscience clause when the bishops were shipped out the USA to avoid criminal procedings? Please, the conscience clause is being used to justify discrimination against women by an entity that is undeserving and corrupt at best.

The government of the USA is a secular entity and responsible to its citizens, and that includes women citizens. The laws of this land are for everyone; not religious entity should be allowed to discriminate against any citizen with the “blessings” of the government. And, if this entity is going to accept government money [in the form of Medicaide, Medicare, miliary benefits, grants, tuition and various taxbreaks], and also complete with the secular entities in the community, then is has to abide by the same laws as everyone else. It is my sincere hope that President Obama will continue to stand up for women and their rights to fair and equitable treatment irrespective of what a bunch of old celibate men want.