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18 February 2012 – “This morning, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding a hearing titled ‘Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?’ The topic, as you might guess, is the recent administration decision to mandate birth control coverage.

As you might not guess, the first panel of witnesses doesn’t include a single woman. The five-person, all-male panel consists of a Roman Catholic Bishop, a Lutheran Reverend, a rabbi and two professors.

Democrats on the panel were told they were allowed only one witness. They selected a young female Georgetown student, Sandra Fluke, who was going to discuss about the repercussions of losing contraceptive coverage. But Representative Darrell Issa, the chairman, rejected her as ‘not qualified.’”

This comes from a news article posted on the website for The Nation magazine,  My first issue with this, not the primary, but first, is that the Republicans were allowed to pad their line-up with as many witnesses as they want, allowing their opposition to have one.  On top of it, they kicked her out for not being “qualified.”    I’ll let that slide for now.  For now.

My second issue is with their argument regarding this trampling the Freedom of Religion.  The last I knew, this freedom applied to citizens of the United States to practice their own faith as they wished without fear of persecution.  Using logic, this means that any person who consciously objected to birth control for religious reasons would not be forced to go onto birth control.  It does not mean that the religious edifices get to play policy-maker.  They are being told they have to offer it; no one is telling the Catholics, and Jews, and Lutherans, or anyone else that they HAVE to take birth control.  They do, however, have to offer it.

Their stance is that it goes against their moral edicts.  That’s fine, but churches and temples had already been exempted from this; it is now being debated as it applies to religious-run organizations like Catholic schools, hospitals, and the like.  There is no question in my mind: you have to offer it.  You have more than just Catholics, or just Jews, or just Lutherans, ad nauseum, working for you who may not object to it they way you do.  And you are taking them from their right to choose.  This makes you the oppressor.

There was a comment made by Bishop William E. Lori of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that this ruling would be comparable with a ruling that would mandate kosher delicatessens to serve pork.  Not only is this terrible logic, it also isn’t even relevant.  Comparing the consumption of a food to a medical compound that many women depend on just to function thanks to horrible menstrual cycles is stupid.  Plain stupid.  What is being discussed here is the requirement of contraception being offered, not the forced intake of contraception.  Again, freedom to practice religion, not freedom to have religion dictate policy.

One of the things desired when the new nation was formed was a relief from theocracy, that is, the rule of religion over governmental decisions.  This would come to be called the Separation of Church and State.  It was also enacted so that no Governmental body could dictate the edicts of religions.  This legislation regarding health care in no way states that the religions must accept it as a new doctrine in their church.  It does, however, require that they offer it to employees of religion-sponsored secular organizations and businesses.  They are still free to admonish the use of contraceptives and to reject it, but they must offer it.  The churches seem to forget that many people that may work for them may not share their sentiments.  They also seem to forget all too quickly that in many cases, their own followers strenuously disagree with their edicts.

Many women need birth control for a number of reasons: prevention of ovarian and endometrial cancer menstrual and pre-menstrual symptom relief (migraines, sometimes crippling, cramps, etc.), endometriosis relief, polycystic ovarian syndrome relief.  Every one of these is a serious medical issue that can be prevented, alleviate, or avoided by contraceptive use.  I know of one woman who, if she did not take her birth control regularly, experiences migraines so bad that she must take a heavy narcotic in order to function in any way.  And functioning on a heavy narcotic is not functioning at all.

These men want to take that option away from women that are employed by them, or even from women MARRIED TO MEN WHO ARE EMPLOYED BY THEM because they feel that contraceptives are morally wrong.  They exist only to allow us to copulate like bunnies without responsibility for our actions.  Well, let me say this: if you were doing your job as a moral authority, and teaching your lessons in accessible ways, you wouldn’t have to worry about that, would you?

No, it isn’t acceptable, and I won’t stand for it.  Hell, I’m a man and I find this horribly offensive.  Who’s with me?



  1. In his letter to the diocese this past week (I saw it front page of the church’s bulletin), the Bishop of Detroit claimed that this ruling would require church-run charities and soup kitchens to ask for people’s baptism certificates before they could provide service to them. Which, I’ll be honest, seems to come out of left field. There was a small rant about Mother Teresa practicing religion whether she was in the chapel or on the streets.

  2. They are grasping at straws here, trying to find any and all argument with any tentative logic to connect it to their argument. It is because they know that, according to our laws, they are dead wrong.

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