Monday, March 5, 2012

It's about freedom of religion

The GOP has revived the same principle the Puritans upheld when they emigrated to the New World: freedom of religion.

Only the Puritans interpreted "freedom of religion" as "freedom of me to impose the standards of my religion on you." Thus it isn't good enough for a Republican fundamentalist pharmacist to not use the day after pill. It's against his religion to let you have it too--even when a doctor wrote the prescription.

And it isn't good enough for Catholic-owned businesses that employ non-Catholics to encourage the Catholic employees not to use birth control. The Catholic church demands the right to discriminate against employees who want their medical insurance to cover birth control pills (which are also needed for some medical conditions that have nothing to do with birth control). Somehow it violates your religion if I don't abide by its rules.

In all of these cases, the Republican Party interprets freedom of religion exactly as the Puritans did.

Suppose I owned a private business and belonged to a Christian Identity church that preaches that Negroes are racially inferior to whites, and thus I declared it my Christian duty not to employ qualified Negroes?

Suppose I owned a private business and belonged to a Salafist Muslim congregation and demanded that any female who worked for me wear a burqa to, at, and from work? (That's the fullbody covering required in Saudi Arabia.) My conscience requires that I not employ whores--that is, women who fail to wear burqas. Or I might just say no woman can work for me--their only place is in the home.

By their principles, the GOP must support these business owners' right to impose their religion's notion of morality on their employees.

And if my conscience demands that I use birth control to avoid adding to world overpopulation--apparently that doesn't count. Is it only the conscience of GOP-approved religions that count? Is that it?

The GOP retort is that women who want birth control are free to buy it themselves as long as they don't ask their employer to provide it, against his conscience (and it's always his conscience, not hers, isn't it?). And if the woman doesn't like it she can go work somewhere else. This is very Libertarian--there's no such thing as society. Just proud, manly individuals. And their consciences that you are required to abide by.

Of course the GOP believes we are a society when its values are concerned--hence all the legislation that gets implemented in our bedrooms and in our private lives. Thus alcohol is legal, marijuana is not--even though alcohol is clearly more dangerous by any measure. But when the values aren't GOP ones suddenly we're all individuals and "society" is just another word for "Com-yew-nist."

In this case society has agreed collectively that private businesses are not to discriminate by race, creed or religion, except for churches--not businesses run by churches, but by the churches themselves.

That includes ante'ing up for birth control pills and the like--and Republicans generally went along with this until just now. In fact 28 states require this explicitly, and the numerous Catholic organizations in those states complied without a whimper.

So why does it suddenly become freedom of my religion to exclude contraception coverage from my private health insurance that you help pay for? I'm not asking you to use condoms with your own wife. And why is this an issue now in a presidential election year, when it wasn't earlier?

In every country where the Catholic Church gains enough adherents (in America, largely through illegal immigration, which the Church staunchly promotes), it demands that the nation's laws obey Catholic dictates. Evidently the Church thinks it's approaching that tipping point here. Just a few tens of millions more illegal immigrants can seal the deal.

And the fact that 98% of Catholic women use birth control against Church orders makes this even better. A church that can't get its own adherents to adhere to its medieval family planning policies expects the general public to.


Lastly, before the Catholic church presents itself as a prime source of moral instruction, one might suggest some internal housecleaning first...

Catholic Church coloring book

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