We are the 99%

October 24, 2012

I was robocalled by The Catholic Association

Yesterday morning I received a recorded call by "Sue." "Sue" said she wasn't trying to tell me who to vote for, BUT instead of trying to get folks jobs, President Obama was spending his time trying to take away the religious freedoms of Catholics. Uh-huh. I'm not even sure the call mentioned birth control.

The recording said the call was paid for by The Catholic Association. I'm assuming that I got the call because I'm a super voter, registered Democrat in Western PA with a Catholic-sounding name(?). (What exactly would that computer algorithm look like anyway? First name "Maria"/"Angela"/"Carmela"/"Theresa" and last name ends in a vowel?)

I will repeat what I said back in February:
Let's get it straight. The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to cover contraception without co-pays. It does not, however, require religions, churches, parishes, dioceses, archdioceses, etc. to cover contraception -- they are exempt (if you're a secretary working for a church you're shit out of luck). What we're talking about are public institutions like universities and hospitals -- non-profit businesses (much in the same way that UPMC, for example, is a "non-profit") -- who take government money and who take money from the public being required to follow the law to not discriminate against women when covering their health care costs.

That's it.

If the Catholic Church does not want to follow the law, they can stop taking federal funds or they can get out of the business of running businesses.

That's it.

That's their choice.

(Jesus' choice -- from all available evidence -- would seem to be to sell everything and give it to the poor. Just saying...)
But, now I'll add this from a Republican-appointed judge's ruling in federal court late last month who upheld the Obama Administration’s birth control coverage rules:
The burden of which plaintiffs complain is that funds, which plaintiffs will contribute to a group health plan, might, after a series of independent decisions by health care providers and patients covered by [an employer's health] plan, subsidize someone else’s participation in an activity that is condemned by plaintiffs’ religion. . . . [Federal religious freedom law] is a shield, not a sword. It protects individuals from substantial burdens on religious exercise that occur when the government coerces action one’s religion forbids, or forbids action one’s religion requires; it is not a means to force one’s religious practices upon others. [It] does not protect against the slight burden on religious exercise that arises when one’s money circuitously flows to support the conduct of other free-exercise-wielding individuals who hold religious beliefs that differ from one’s own. . . .

[T]he health care plan will offend plaintiffs’ religious beliefs only if an [] employee (or covered family member) makes an independent decision to use the plan to cover counseling related to or the purchase of contraceptives. Already, [plaintiffs] pay salaries to their employees—money the employees may use to purchase contraceptives or to contribute to a religious organization. By comparison, the contribution to a health care plan has no more than a de minimus impact on the plaintiff’s religious beliefs than paying salaries and other benefits to employees.
Or as Think Progress explains it:
A key insight in this opinion is that salaries and health insurance can be used to buy birth control, so if religious employers really object to enabling their employees to buy birth control, they would have to not pay them money in addition to denying them comprehensive health insurance. An employer cannot assert a religious objection to how their employees choose to use their own benefits or their own money, because religious freedom is not a license to “force one’s religious practices upon others.”
Cause that would hardly be "small government" now would it?

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