In the silly ‘War on Religion’ being humped by Republican candidates and leadership over health insurance for birth control, Catholic organizations and individual Catholics aren’t buying what they and the Catholic bishops are selling.
Eugene Robinson asks:
Just how has this “hostility to faith in America” manifested itself? Obama issued a rule requiring some church-owned or church-run institutions to provide health insurance that pays for contraceptives, which are outlawed by Catholic doctrine – and used by the vast majority of Catholic women. Obama subsequently altered the rule to placate Catholic bishops, who responded by declaring themselves implacable.
In his speech at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, Obama cited New Testament scripture in arguing for economic and social justice. Conservatives blasted him for, um, quoting the Bible.
This is a war? This is a march to the guillotine?
Honestly. If there is a war, it’s against women, accustomed to self-directing their own fertility, who don’t much feel like going back to being barefoot and pregnant their whole lives.
Laurie Goodstein writes in The New York Times:
A new New York Times/CBS News poll has found that 57 percent of Catholic voters supported the requirement for religiously affiliated employers, like hospitals or universities, to cover the full cost of birth control for their employees, while 36 percent opposed it (7 percent said they did not know). There was almost no difference between Catholic and other voters on the question. …
The contrast in responses from Catholic organizations has been more a matter of tone than content. They are all in agreement that certain issues still need to be worked out, like what to do about Catholic institutions that are “self-insured,” meaning that they act as both the insurer and the employer.
Yet some struck an optimistic tone, greeting the White House’s announcement as a good-faith step forward. Those groups included the Catholic Health Association, which represents 600 hospitals and 1,400 health care facilities, plus Catholic Charities, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. They said that details like what to do about “self-insurance” could be worked out.
The Rev. Gregory Lucey, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, which represents 28 institutions, said: “I really am appreciative of what the president did last Friday. I’m optimistic and hopeful, and I feel the religious liberty issue is addressed.”
This is the kind of stuff that realistic people work out, not go to battle over. But the Republican Party, as has become routine, goes straight for the extreme.
Thank God for Stephen Colbert.
White House Fact Sheet here.