Strange Bedfellows

When I learned last week about the Catholic Church’s opposition to certain provisions of healthcare reform legislation passed in 2010, I must admit that my first reaction was “Rock on Catholic Church!”  Yes, a woman who uses birth control, who believes that birth control is the key to female empowerment and the single most powerful weapon we have in the fight for women’s rights, is in support of the Catholic Church.  Liberty sometimes makes strange bedfellows.

I see it this way: if the government can order a private employer to provide birth control, then they can also order me, the employee of that private employer, to take birth control.  Governments have been known before in the United States and elsewhere, to enforce compulsory sterilization or one-child policies.  It happened right here in North Carolina from 1929 – 1975 (1).

I am not trying to be an alarmist.  I understand that on the surface, last week’s controversy is about access to contraception, something I very much favor.  I understand that it isn’t about the government telling a group of women, or even one woman, that they must utilize contraception.  Yet the potential for that is most certainly present.  The potential for the government to tell us not to take contraception is also there.

Whether you are someone who believes that birth control is a positive tool or someone who believes that it is a moral aberration, doesn’t it scare you a little to learn that our government has the power to enter our lives in this intimate arena?  It scares me.  More, it scares me that I’m not hearing much dialogue at all about this underlying concern.  Have we come to a place in America where we simply take for granted this high level of federal government intervention in the decisions of private enterprise, religious and otherwise?

This is why today I am proud of the Catholic Church: they are talking about it.  Post Obama-concessions, the Archbishop, and soon to be Cardinal Dolan, said this: “We are still afraid that we are being called upon to subsidize something we find morally illicit. There is still no attention to what you might call the deeper philosophical issues, namely, ‘What right does a federal bureau have to define the who, what, where and how of religious practice?’” (2).

Amen.  Awoman.  The Church is onto something.

I feel like our attention is being side tracked by detail haggling while the broad strokes are decided with nary a debate.  We are worrying about what procedures and prescriptions the government will include in their healthcare agenda rather than about whether we should give the government the power to make these healthcare choices in the first place.  Frankly, I don’t want the U.S. Government in charge of my reproductive health any more than I want the Catholic Church in charge.

It is imperative that as a nation we begin to engage those “deeper philosophical issues.”  I’ll start us off: “What rights does a federal bureau have?”

© Jennifer S. and harvestliberty.net, 2012.

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(1) via Victims of NC forced sterilization program tell their stories :: WRAL.com.

(2) via Obama Shift on Contraception Splits Catholics – NYTimes.com.

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3 thoughts on “Strange Bedfellows

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  2. “This is why today I am proud of the Catholic Church: they are talking about it. ”

    Agreed. No one else seems to have the fortitude to speak up. and Why? for fear of ridicule? Wasn’t Jesus ridiculed? Don’t most who stand for right and good get ridiculed in this world? It is a big mistake when people begin to allow popularity to take precedence over right and good. When they allow the opinions of others to put them off for standing up. It is time to “Put on the full armor of God, and the breastplate of righteousness”… as was necessary in other bad times… the times when the Nazi’s were allowed to rise to power. The Nazi’s only came to power to do the atrocity’s they did because no one had the courage to speak about what they saw as it was happening. “The only thing needed for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.”

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    1. Thank you for speaking up here! Now is the time to become quiet and grounded in personal truth and to arrive at the table of community ready to share that truth with courage and grace. I have been absolutely amazed at how quickly friends and family are shutting down when I try to open discussion on issues such as this. I feel like we used to talk to each other more, agreeing to disagree. Further, we have become so polarized to the surface issue of the moment that we aren’t listening to the bigger story beneath. This particular issue isn’t really about birth control, it’s about power and who gets to hold it. It’s about defining the scope of government. I vote, not surprisingly, for a lot less government power and a lot more power being held by each of us. That most certainly requires us to speak up when called, and perhaps even more importantly, to listen when others are called to speak. But all is not lost. In my life I still see many, many homes with a light shining in the window.

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