This was a legitimate response (as quoted in the New York Times) from a senior Catholic official on why women who go to Catholic schools or Catholic hospitals shouldn’t expect to be dolled out birth control poppers left and right:
“No one would go to a Jewish barbecue and expect pork chops to be served.”
Well finally. After all this back-and-forth between bloggers about whether or not this has been a justifiable/good/correct/reasonable decision by the Obama administration, someone really needed to take all the hubub and break it down to the meat and potatoes for us average Americans. I mean, even all those super-defensive liberal blogger guys can’t figure out if they really-totally-maybe agree with the Executive Order.
Jonathan Cohn says it’s O.K., while also acknowledging the other side:
Again, reasonable people can disagree about this controversy: It’s a case of powerful, but competing, claims of religious freedom and the public good. But critics should realize that the injustice they perceive is already part of our health care landscape. Medicaid, the joint state-federal insurance program for low-income Americans, covers family planning. So do the majority of employer-sponsored plans, which benefit from huge taxpayer subsidies. That means your tax dollars already pay for birth control, directly and indirectly, even if you’re among that small minority of Americans who object to its use.
E.J. Dionne, on the other hand, who happens to be liberal AND a Catholic - is a bit more contentious to the Obama crew on this point:
Speaking as a Catholic, I wish the Church would be more open on the contraception question. But speaking as an American liberal who believes that religious pluralism imposes certain obligations on government, I think the Church’s leaders had a right to ask for broader relief from a contraception mandate that would require it to act against its own teachings. The administration should have done more to balance the competing liberty interests here.
Now, I understand the argument that this mandate seems to be government intruding on what should perhaps be a solely state-made decision (as has been widely-quoted throughout the day, 28 states already have a law exactly like this). I can see the argument for religious liberty and First Amendment rights. And I am never blind (I should probably say deaf) to the blabbering of my favorite conservative pundit who has been drawing parallels to the left’s blatant bigotry against Catholics over this issue, and the right’s similarly close-minded and outrageous backlash over the proposed mosque at Ground Zero.
I think religious tolerance is important - and I of course, contrary to popular belief, was born and baptized a Catholic. And so, I do not think that the Catholic church deserves to be belittled or reprimanded or stereotyped in a way that makes their request to deny birth control seem morally wrong because of their “previous moral dilemmas” that plagued a very small section of the Catholic faith practitioners. There is no correlation there, in my mind at least. All that being said - I believe that offering contraception is an important public health measure for ALL women to have access to. And if a Catholic woman has no interest in that offering, then she has no need to take it. No need to ask for it. In fact, that 2% of Catholic women who have never used birth control, can simply keep living the way they have been living - just ignoring that this form of pro-creation regulation is even a real thing. There is no infringement on religious freedoms there - there is no requirement to go against your belief. There is simply a requirement to abide by the law so that everyone who needs it, can get it. Here’s the ACLU response:
True religious freedom gives everyone the right to make personal decisions, including whether and when to use birth control based on our own beliefs and according to what is best for our health and the well-being of our families. It does not give religious groups the right to impose their beliefs on others.
At the end of the day, we all pay taxes that ultimately can go to things we don’t agree with. Whether that’s funding a war or a pipeline, subsidizing food-stamp programs, Planned Parenthood, or contributing to the collective salaries for the employees at the Department of Energy, our money goes into the system, and we can’t completely dictate where it goes. No matter our beliefs.
So all-in-all, touche, Mr. Galligan-Stierle. You’re right, we shouldn’t just expect porkchops at a Jewish barbecue. And that’s why every time I go to a Jewish barbecue, I remember the tenents of the 7 P’s that my father once taught me: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. I always pack a cooler-bag of bacon.
(Oh you know I’m just kidding… I don’t eat no meat.)