The Compromise That Isn’t

The White House has offered something it calls a compromise on the so-called contraception mandate — and by “compromise” the Obama administration apparently means offering a symbolically tweaked plan to go forward with trampling Americans’ religious liberties while pretending to accommodate them. In truth, nothing of substance has changed from the administration’s January 20 announcement that religious employers will be forced to provide services they find morally objectionable. 

Here’s what the Obama plan would mean in practical terms: If a “non-exempt religious employer” — that is, a religiously affiliated employer, such as a Catholic social-service agency, that is not exempt from the mandate as a house of worship — chooses to offer health insurance to its workers, that insurance must always include among its benefits free contraception, sterilization, and access to abortion-inducing drugs. Which is to say that if they offer health insurance at all, many religious employers would be complicit in funding products and services that are in direct violation of the fundamental norms of their faiths. The substance of the “compromise” is the fact that the requirement to provide these services free of charge would be relocated, moving out of the employers’ insurance contract and into a federal regulation governing what insurers must include in the policies they sell to non-exempt religious employers. In effect, religious employers will be told that they can buy whatever policies they want, but insurers will be able to sell them only policies that cover contraception, sterilization, abortifacients, and the like. This “compromise” leaves religious employers in precisely the same position they were in before: with no way to offer insurance that does not include coverage they find morally objectionable.

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  • Arkady967

    Anyone not alarmed by this doesn’t understand what’s happening.

  • Wil Burns

    Catholic bishops talking against contraception medications makes as much sense as Catholic nuns talking against erectile dysfunction medications.

  • 1Haole_Boy

    Subordinating and Fashioning The First Amendment to Serve a “Greater Good”: Women’s Reproductive Rights!?
    __The First Amendment has been demoted from an “Unalienable-Right” to a function of what the Progressive Left call “A Graeter Good” and a tool not an end unto itself.
    __When we allow the tradition of these rights to modify the written constitution, it goes by the wayside similar to the usurpation of the authority to declare war from the US Congress to the President. “The Congress shall have the power to declare war” has been muddled by the abuse of the English language the same way that “McCian-Feingold” abridged freedom of speech by parsing, what was never meant to be parsed, “Political-Speech” from “Commercial-Speech.” The government has already threatened the Tax-Exempt status of curches that spoke about politics from the pulpit.
    __The government has already parsed words with what “War” means and subsequently usurping that power by the President from the Congress. This has been a concern of the Ron Paul Campaign. The past presidents have declared “police actions” without the consent of Congress; The past presidents including Obama have been “widening of the sphere of influence” in the form of millitary invasion without the consent of congress all of which spurred the passing of “The War Powers Act” which in itself usurps for a time the Congress’ Constitutional authority in declaring or not declaring a war.
    __The progressive world view has been such where The President is now empowered, without the consent of congress, to intervene anywhere in the world on behalf of anyone who The Whitehouse perceives as powerless. This is how the left is having its way with our federal budget by abusing the meaning of the constitution in order to prosecute its agenda.
    Likewise with all other precise language in the constitution is the second amendment right “To Keep and Bear Arms”. Let’s see you walk down the street in Chicago with a pistol strapped to your hip just to keep yourself from being “Pack-Robbed” like many seniors are now victim!
    __The Greater Good, whether it’s the subordination of “Freedom of Religion..Freedom of Speech”; the authority to declare war; the “right to keep and bear arms”; it si the dangerous erosion of our GOD-GIVEN-RIGHTS at the caprice of an all powerful government which we, as Ronald Reagan noted are only one generation away from extinction.

  • stan chaz

    I was raised as a Catholic….or perhaps lowered. :-) Whatever. But seriously: I strongly disagree with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops statement, which denounces President Barack Obama’s attempts at compromise as “needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions”. On the contrary, the Bishops comments are themselves a needless religious intrusion upon the proper and legitimate functions of government…functions that serve to promote women’s rights, equality, and fairness for ALL. No one is coming into our Churches and trying to tell parishioners what to believe. BUT If the Bishops want to start businesses that employ millions of people of varying faiths -or no “faith” at all- THEN they must play by the rules. Just because a religious group in America claims to believe something, we cannot excuse them from obeying the law in the PUBLIC arena, based on that belief. They can legally attempt to change the law, not to deny it outright. And if they want to plunge overtly into politics from the pulpit, then they should give up their tax-exempt status. Did I miss something, or when it comes to the “sanctity of life”, is every single righteous Catholic still a card carrying conscientious objector, refusing to take up arms, totally against the death penalty, and against contraception in all its forms? Oh well, hypocrisy is at the heart of politics, and politics masquerading as religion even more so. This country is an invigorating mixture of all the diversity that life has to offer, drawing its strength FROM that diversity. We need to work together to preserve, enrich, and strengthen this unique experiment – NOT to tear it down with poisonous, paralyzing, and un-Christian demonization of each other.