"The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone. The Amish do not carry health insurance. The government respects their principles. Christian Scientists want to heal by prayer alone, and the new health-care reform law respects that. Quakers and others object to killing even in wartime, and the government respects that principle for conscientious objectors. By its decision, the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease."
- Cardinal-elect Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York
Something tells me that this may just be a frequent topic in posts to come. I have already started praying for the courage, strength, and wisdom in the struggle ahead...and have already started bothering quite a few people. I don't like bothering people...but I cannot help but stand up for something that is so essential to my faith. I cannot help but stand up for my own freedom of religion if I one day decide to run my own business.
Yes, I understand that some out there may not understand where I am coming from.
The Catholic Church was one of the biggest voices that spoke out against the eugenics movement when it was all the rage in the earlier part of the 1900s. This was a time when we were just beginning to find out about genetics and exploring the idea of creating a superior race by preventing certain people from having children, etc. In these days, the masses were perfectly fine with the idea that we should breed ideal human traits in order to rid ourselves of certain "unsatisfactory" traits.
While I do agree that this mandate is not necessarily about eugenics...this mandate, like the eugenics movement, does silently suggest that not all life is sacred. It silently forces employers and institutions to follow laws that violate their conscience and forces them to take part in a movement that views pregnancy as a disease...and inconvenience...as something wrong.
As it stands, employees have a choice of where they will or will not work. The system allows for individuals to opt out of working for institutions that do cover contraception, etc....just as it allows employers to opt out of covering these items. The system allows employers to choose the healthcare policies that they wish to offer employees...policies that do not violate their beliefs. The mandate seeks to restrict what employers can and cannot offer their employees. It forces employers to provide employees with coverage that the government deems as appropriate....regardless of whether or not the coverage is in violation with that individual's/institution's belief system. Forget about religious freedom.
I know that not everyone understands why we pesky Catholics seem to treasure the unborn so much...why we pesky Catholics simply refuse to support abortion, abortifacients, sterilization, birth control, and all sorts of other things that society deems acceptable. Not everyone understands the messages in Humanae Vitae or JPII's Theology of the Body. I don't even expect everyone to understand why I strive for chastity in my own relationship even though we've been together for 6 years...even though it would be monogamous...even though we're pretty sure that we'll get married one day.
Call me an old-fashioned prude...but moral relativism just isn't my thing...and it certainly isn't the Catholic Church's thing. I've tried it, saw it for what it was, and have tried to avoid it ever since. I simply have come to respect life that much...to respect my body that much...because I simply don't see sex as the rest of the world sees sex. It's not just a physical act for us Catholics. It's something...dare I say it...HOLY....spiritual...and potentially life-creating. It's something that is far more than just a physical act. I understand that this isn't a belief that everyone shares and I do understand where they come from....because I used to be one of those people. Believe me, it took me quite a few years to come to the realization that there is SO MUCH MORE to sex than the physical act in and of itself. I haven't turned back since...regardless of how difficult the journey has been....or how unpopular.
I love my country and want the best for it. I understand where both sides of this issue are coming from. I really do. However, I cannot stand by and simply allow my country to deny the rights of some...for the sake of what they view as right. I cannot allow my country to ignore my conscience and force me to comply with its own ideas of what is right and wrong.
With that said, I am joining the fight along with Defend us in Battle, Shoved to Them, Bad Catholic, Why I am Catholic, Aggie Catholics, and countless others.
May God help me.