Secular?

by Stephen H. Miller on February 5, 2012

Alas, David and I are never going to agree on the matter of forcing Catholic insitutions to provide contraceptive services to their employees, but I will respond to David, below, that I don’t consider Notre Dame University or Holy Cross Hospital (for instance) to be secular businesses – they are Church affiliated and view themselves as fulfilling a religious mission in the world (same for various Catholic charities).

Defending “contraception” is pretty easy – even if the issue is a government dictate that Catholic institutions buy condoms and IUDs for their employees. David avoids the uglier issue of abortion-inducing drugs. I would, too, if I were defending his position.

What next, forcing Jewish hospitals to serve their employees ham? Because we think ham is good for you and the kosher prohibition strikes us as superstition (and after all, we’re liberals and we know best)?

As for David’s contention “Insurance is a product, and people buy it.” Many employers self-insure – creating a set of benefits for their workforce with an insurance provider. Only very small businesses these days tend to buy insurance off the shelf for their workers. And it’s the employer who almost always still pays most (and sometimes all) of the premium.

{ 6 comments }

North Dallas Thirty February 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Defending “contraception” is pretty easy – even if the issue is a government dictate that Catholic institutions buy condoms and IUDs for their employees. David avoids the uglier issue of abortion-inducing drugs. I would, too, if I were defending his position.

Exactly.

David Link and his syncophants are doing everything in their power to avoid the fact that the law requires Catholic organizations to pay for abortions.

I think they should man up and admit that their law forces Catholic organizations — as well as any other organization that opposes abortions — to pay for abortions.

Again, the hypocrisy is amazing. These are the same people who insist that if you don’t want to follow rules that benefit them, you should find another place to work. But if they don’t like the rules, you are violating someone’s “rights”.

North Dallas Thirty February 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm

And don’t forget the latest: the Obama administration is silencing Catholic chaplains by saying that calling the law “unjust” is a call to civil disobedience.

To see the hilarity and hypocrisy of that one, Google “DOMA unjust law”, and you’ll be amazed at how the Obama Party and the gay and lesbian community are all about calling for civil disobedience when it benefits them.

Bigots. Straight-up bigotry. Obama supporters like David Link are amoral bigots — and demonstrate that gays and lesbians are overwhelmingly antireligious bigots.

Jorge February 5, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Well come on, North Dallas Thirty, even you have to admit there’d be no Black Panthers without the Ku Klux Klan.

John D February 7, 2012 at 11:23 am

I think the real comparison here isn’t “forcing Jewish hospitals to serve their employees ham,” but “Jewish hospitals coming to the homes of their employees, Jewish or not, to make sure the homes are kosher.”

Some yours ago, my husband intereviewed for a position at a Notre Dame. Did they even ask his religion? No. Could a gay Jewish man really work at a Catholic university? It would appear. Do you think they were planning on making Mass attendance compulsory for him? Of course not.

Let’s run with this. If a gay man who works at a Catholic university finds that he’s HIV-positive, can the university cancel his participation in the health plan because they oppose homosexuality? See, he should have been in prayerful celibacy.

When religious institutions mingle in the world of commerce (and in running schools, universities, and hospitals they are doing just that) then they have to follow the same rules as everyone else.

The claim that their values are being ignored because their health plans must include contraception and abortion is as intellectually weak as their claim that same-sex marriage of non-Catholics somehow violates their religious freedom. In both cases, they’ve taken a line that unless they get to deny others religious freedom, theirs is somehow taken away.

Jorge February 8, 2012 at 1:36 am

I think the real comparison here isn’t “forcing Jewish hospitals to serve their employees ham,” but “Jewish hospitals coming to the homes of their employees, Jewish or not, to make sure the homes are kosher.”

Nobody is forcing the Jewish hospital in your example to pay for their employees’ shamefully non-kosher homes.

The Obama adminsitration is forcing religious institutions to pay for abortion drugs.

When religious institutions mingle in the world of commerce (and in running schools, universities, and hospitals they are doing just that) then they have to follow the same rules as everyone else.

These “rules” are stupid. They were created in an arbitrary and abusive manner by a narrow set of people. They are a betrayal of what health care reform was sold as. And they are being applied in a way that singles out religions opposed to contraception and abortion–to block them from participating in the full range of public and private activities.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebellius must be dismissed for this outrage. This action must be repealed by executive order in January 2013. And the Obamacare law must be repealed to prevent further abuses from happening again.

Tom Scharbach February 8, 2012 at 8:34 am

An observation, an opinion and a reminder:

The observation: The kosher/non-kosher analogies are not on point. The closer analogy would be that the regulations, as drafted, would force Jehovah’s Witnesses, if they ran a hospital or college, to pay for health insurance that covered blood transfusions.

The opinion: The administration made a real mistake when it didn’t insist on a public option. If there were a public option available, the “religious exemption” could be significantly more broad because employees would not be locked into the employer’s plan.

The reminder: I want to keep reminding us all that the whole fracas revolves around the definition of “religious employer” — drawing the line between a religious activity (exempted) and a non-religious business activity (not exempted). This is a “hard case”, in the sense that I have been using the term, and it is too easy to let the emotional tug from one side or the other take our focus off that simple fact. The definitional issue exists in many areas of law, from real estate tax exemption, to differential income taxation, to social security contributions, to … It exists at local, state and federal levels. With respect to health insurance coverage, this issue has been decided by many states, with somewhat differing results, but 28 of the 50 states have laws and regulations in place that are very similar to the regulation in question. This is not a new or novel question.

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