The Department of Health and Human Services announced that religious organizations must provide their employees with medical insurance that covers free contraceptives and sterilizations.
While churches are exempt, religiously affiliated organizations such as universities, hospitals and charities are mandated to comply with this government rule.
Catholics, in particular are opposed to this.
“Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, … in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, … proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.”
“Casti Connubii: Encyclical of Pope Pius XI on Christian Marriage, December 31, 1930”
Other Christians groups such as Baptists routinely compromise the tenets of their faith. So Baptist hospitals usually don’t say anything.
Catholics do, because the Pope absolutely won’t allow it.
Prior to the 20th century, contraception was generally condemned by all the major branches of Christianity (the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism) including the major reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin.
However, among Protestant denominations today they are all over the place on this issue of contraception. Some oppose it on moral grounds others see no problem in it at all, especially if they can get cash from the government.
The government has given religious groups and hospitals that accept money and tax breaks 1 year’s notice to comply with this government ruling. Those that don’t I guess lose out on the free cash and tax exempt status, which helps so called religious affiliated hospitals.
Catholics are the first to protest this.
Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops and New York archbishop, said it best: ‘‘In effect, the President is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.’’
Catholic lawyers I talk to say the administration is violating two provisions of the First Amendment: the free exercise of religion clause and the establishment of religion clause. The government is prohibiting the free exercise of religion because it is punishing Catholics for exercising their religious beliefs.
For their part the Department of Health and Human Services argues, not unreasonably, that contraceptive products are an integral part of preventive care. It could also be pointed out that birth control is not required under the law but merely made available.
Catholic want to have it both ways. They want the free cash, grants and tax exempt status and the right to deny certain things like contraceptives and sterilizations, which they say offend them.
“The easy fix is that they just don’t accept government funding, but were talking about hundreds of millions of dollars, so the likelihood of Catholics doing that is slim to none”, says Don Martin of Charlotte, a healthcare worker.
The Catholic church also opposed the Affordable Care Act by the way, which would help people get insurance to pay the high cost hospitals charge people who don’t have insurance, including so called “non profit religious health care providers” otherwise affiliated with the Catholic church.
Catholic lawyers say the government is “violating the establishment clause” by establishing a government religion, statism, because government is establishing its own moral standard that must be complied with…
They will argue this in court.