Legislating into a holy war with the Catholic church, really?

Kate Dalley is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 96.7 FM . The opinions stated in this article are solely hers and not those of St. George News.

OPINION – I think our politicians need something important to do.

Just a few weeks ago, President Obama announced he was backing a law that would force religious organizations such as universities and schools to provide contraception as part of the health care benefits offered all of their employees. Churches are still exempt from this law but church businesses , such as faith-based nonprofits, hospitals, schools and charities, would now have to offer contraception.

Those that are pushing this law (namely just a small handful of female democratic law makers) are saying we in fact need this law to protect the First Amendment rights of the employees who may want contraception.

These congresswomen believe that if you are a non-Roman Catholic janitor or nurse employed by a Catholic hospital, the Church does not have the right to push its religious agenda on you.

The  Roman Catholic Church says that to be forced to offer contraception, which clearly goes against its conscience, violates First Amendment rights and religious freedoms.

The Republican Party candidates have declared that this is an all out war on religious freedom and human rights.  But is it?

I don’t remember seeing or hearing declaration of a holy war.  Was there even an attack, a problem, a fight or even a stern look of discontent that provoked this newfound holy war?

I must have missed all those news stories about all of those non-Catholic janitors and nurses who work for Catholic hospitals, storming the White House with bullhorn in hand to stop this miscarriage of justice.

I also don’t remember when the federal government was asked to come in with a white flag to negotiate a peaceful outcome after 28 states have already made their own seemingly peaceful, adequate laws on the subject.

It seems our lawmakers are so intent on protecting our religious freedoms through millions of laws that they are in fact killing our religious freedoms.

Here’s an idea for our lawmakers in Washington: Instead of trying to write new laws about little-known loopholes that no one seems to care about, or that have remained a nonissue, how about just instilling some good ‘ol common sense? I suggest:

1. Let the states decide; 28 of them already have laws in place that cover birth control in health care benefits. If you don’t like your state laws, consider moving. I know that seems drastic but this is exactly why the states should have the ability to keep government at the state level and not a one-size-fits-all federal law. You can always move to another state if you do not like the laws that govern the state in which you live.

2. Let the employers decide if they want to cover contraception. Most of the 28 states that have laws in place on this matter leave it rather ambiguous, letting the employer decide if they want to pay for certain items in the heath care benefits they offer. If you got a job with a religious organization and you do not like their beliefs or the fact they won’t offer birth control as part of their health care package – get another job.

3. If your employer doesn’t want to cover birth control but you like your employer, spend the $30 dollars a month and get it yourself.  Or go to a clinic and sometimes you can get it for free.  You can even put a jar on your desk asking for donations to your birth control fund. It would be a great conversation starter at the very least.

4. Be thankful you have a great job and health care benefits. Your benefits may not cover everything you want as ideally as you’d like to but there is a very long line of people behind you, people who would probably love a job with health benefits of any kind during this recession. I know that some of my own previous employers opted out of providing certain areas of coverage, maternity and chiropractic care among them. Thankfully, I’m sure our lawmakers are right on top of it and getting more laws enforced, to get me my wants, even as I am writing this.

Sarcasm aside, I am starting to wonder just how many laws we can rid ourselves of with some good old fashioned common sense.

Editor’s Note: The White House’s position on the subject matter of this opinion piece, and the Roman Catholic Church’s response to the president’s proposed compromises, are both in flux as we move towards publication of this piece. This is an opinion piece on the general subject matter and may not reflect the current status of the pending legislation discussed.   

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Copyright 2012 St. George News. 

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  • brian February 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    This seems like news. Because all I heard about was a proposed rule from HHS. This wouldn’t be a law just an understating of how to.execute the law. While most of your piece is still fine it’s not a new law and there is a difference

  • stan chaz February 13, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    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.

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