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The irresistible force of modern ‘rights’ meets the immovable object of the Catholic Church

President Obama’s contraception mandate has opened a new front in the culture war

By on Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Obama Birth Control

On January 27 this year, I blogged about the furore in the US caused by the announcement of the Department of Health and Human Services that it will become mandatory for all employers to provide their employees with health insurance policies for contraceptive services, including sterilization and abortifacient drugs. In effect, this would mean that hundreds of religious colleges, hospitals, schools and charities would now be required to provide insurance coverage for their employees for practices they believe to be wrong and contrary to their beliefs.

This has predictably led to determined opposition from religious institutions, including Catholics ones. In her blog for May 21, Sheila Liaugminas, a US political commentator, says that 43 Catholic institutions have now joined a dozen law suits against the Obama administration for its so-called “contraceptive mandate” and are challenging the constitutional legality of the new requirement.

Among them are Notre Dame University, the Archdiocese of New York and the Catholic University of America. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the US Bishops’ Conference, has issued this statement: “We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress…but there’s still no fix. Time is running out and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now…We applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation…It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defence of religious liberty.”

Interestingly, the mandate has managed that rare thing: to unite liberal and orthodox groups within the Church. Fr John Jenkins, the President of Notre Dame, was at pains to explain that their law suit was not against a woman’s right to use contraception: “Many of our faculty, staff and students – both Catholic and non-Catholic – have made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives” he said, adding that “As we assert the right to follow our conscience, we respect their right to follow theirs. And we believe that, if the Government wishes to provide such services, means are available that do not compel religious organisations to serve as its agents.”

Fr Terence Henry TOR, President of Franciscan University, stated that “the Obama administration’s mandate is a grave threat to our ability to carry out [our] mission. It makes it impossible for us to operate freely s a Catholic institution without overbearing and invasive governmental interference.” And the Archdiocese of Washington made it clear that the law suit “is about an unprecedented attack by the federal government on one of America’s most precious freedoms: the freedom to practise one’s religion without government interference.” It emphasised that “It is not about whether people have access to certain services; it is about whether the Government may force religious institutions and individuals to facilitate and fund services which violate their religious beliefs.”

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services, who is pushing forward the mandate, describes herself as a Catholic. In reality, she is “modern woman”, just as Barack Obama himself is “modern man” – part of a powerful cohort today, largely in the West, who has no fixed principles of any kind, except for the fixed principle that all morality is simply a matter of individual rights and choices; and that these rights must trump all other rights, especially those hallowed by traditional religious beliefs. For such people, truth is simply a matter of one’s personal feelings and preferences; and “Christianity”, as they see it (and as Obama has invoked it recently), can be reinterpreted and moulded to accommodate whatever flawed and a-historical zeitgeist happens to be dominant.

It will be interesting to see what happens in this case, when the irresistible force of modern, democratic “rights” meets the immovable object of the Catholic Church.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     Many Catholic institutions in the US self-insure, that is pay the bills
    without an underwriter. These will have to pay directly for
    contraception.

    Then if that’s a problem for them, they should probably go to an insurance company and get a proper insurance deal. I

    While I admire your persistence

    Thank you!

    Consider an employee who does not wish to be covered for contraception
    by her employer for religious reasons. Under the mandate, how will her
    religious liberty be respected?

    Is there any religion in the world which requires that a person shall not have the option in their insurance of accessing contraception? Every woman in the UK has the option, via the NHS, of getting their choice of contraception for free – there isn’t even a prescription charge. I have never heard of any Catholic, anywhere in the UK, ever, saying they want to opt out of the NHS because the NHS would allow them to get contraception for free if they wanted to. Obviously, no woman has to if it’s against her conscience. Similiarly, AFAIK Jehovah’s Witnesses do not demand that their health insurance shall specifically exempt them from being able to get a blood transfusion: their religious liberty is satisfied by having the legal right to refuse it.

    So if you can find me an example of a religion which has as a tenet that members shall not have health insurance which would cover healthcare banned by that religion, well, you’ll have a point.

    . Since we have established that nobody at present is denied access to contraception

    We have not established anything of the kind. You’re just repeating this without evidence.

    It’s precisely because the Catholic Church thinks it may be effective in denying women access to contraception, that they’re making such a deal out of how they want to pay extra to ensure that employees don’t get the contraception option as part of their health insurance.

    But as – you admit – suppose this goes ahead and Catholics and others employed by Catholic institutions are unable to access contraception as part of their health insurance: an  affront to religious liberty, but suppose they do.

    Net result for female employees:

    - Some of them will simply run the risk of getting pregnant and have an abortion when they do.

    - Some of them will quit because they can’t afford to work for an institution that would rather they had abortions than pay for health insurance that covers contraception.

    - Some of them will manage to scrimp money out of their wages and buy contraception independently.

    You must surely agree that freedom is being reduced for less than no gain.

  • JabbaPapa

    You are, in fact, implicitly accepting both contraception and intra-uterine murder in that statemnt, sorry.

    In fact, there is nobody who is not forbidden from killing the unborn, or preventing their existence.

    Anyway, good luck with your 30 pieces of silver !!!

  • Recusant

    I would very gladly opt out of the NHS if I were free to do so. Indeed anyone who purchases BUPA care would gladly opt out of the NHS, for a whole variety of reasons. Yours is more of an argument for rolling back the NHS than rolling out the Obama mandate.

    I think you reveal your muddled thinking when you say “Some of them will simply run the risk of getting pregnant” and “Some of them will manage to scrimp money out of their wages” as if these are bad things. In life we live under constraints, and life involves evaluating them, making choices and bearing the cost of those choices ourselves. It’s what being a grown-up is all about. You see everyone as a dependent and are always looking for someone else to push the cost onto. This is basically a daddy model of the world, in which someone else should always provide. It’s extremely childish.

    And when you say “We have not established anything of the kind. You’re just repeating this without evidence.” I feel I am banging my head on a brick wall. I challenge you to come up with a single person who is denied access to contraception, a single one, and you cannot. And you have the gall to accuse me of not providing evidence. I conclude that you are not debating in good faith, and I am very sorry that I ever fed the troll.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    I notice below that you are still avoiding giving a straight answer to my question:  Is forcing a Catholic institution to do what it regards as a serious act of immorality an exercise of compulsion or not? 

    I will, however, do you the courtesy of giving you a straight answer to your question:  ‘How is it “abdication of moral responsibility” for the state to protect each individual’s right to make their own moral decisions?’

    The answer is that some individuals -those responsible for running Catholic institutions- are being compelled to act in a way contrary to their consciences. You may think -Obama clearly does- that restriction is justified by further goods achieved. But it remains a restriction in liberty for those individuals and bodies concerned.

    As I said before, I’m not sure whether your confusion is a deliberate ploy or genuine. (I rather hope the former: much nicer to think of you setting out to have some fun!)

  • Crehman

    EE:
    If I claim that cosmetic surgery, highspeed Internet, hd tv, limousine transportation everywhere and full time pay for a schedule determined by me for hours worked are necessary for my health insurance as they are necessary with respect to my health should my employer have to pay for it as my secular right would otherwise be infringed by an institution that believes otherwise?

    Also the church is not asking for a block on it’s employees to purchase supplemental insurance just not that it or its organizations or other organizations be compelled to pay the premiums which fund the claims including those which, if the mandate is enforced, include those which do not concur with their principles.

    Also fertility is not a disease – those women who need medication for syndromes such as severe premenstrual cramps may be taking pills chemically similar to birth control – which some of like Yasmin actually increase risk of death from blood clots – but are not doing so primarily or exclusively to treat a non-disease

    If there is a secular right to health insurance including elective drugs I do not remember them in the declaration of independence or the constitution. Barring medical conditions other than fertility which actually endanger the life of the women to a degree greater than birth control does, there is no reason why any elective procedure or drug should be mandatory?
    Health insurance is not immoral per se but it can be if it forces people to pay for that which is not health care as, again, fertility is not a disease and neither is pregnancy, although they can always be part of supplementary plans.

    Moreover what is your justification for health insurance as a secular right? And how does a government mandate including elective drugs and procedures fit into achieving that right?

  • JabbaPapa

    Is there something wrong with your brain ?

  • JessicaHof

    And I am at a loss to understand how you think that teaching children the Catholic view of these things is the same as inciting them to bullying. Still, your threnody on ‘look at me. I am a victim’ seems endless. Christ called us to repent and follow Him – not to engage God in an argument about why we are right and He is wrong. Good luck with that particular line.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     And I am at a loss to understand how you think that teaching children
    the Catholic view of these things is the same as inciting them to
    bullying.

    Because the evidence shows that in faith schools, where children are being taught the “religious view” of homosexuality, children are more likely to experience homophobic bullying.

    Think about it, Jessica. If you teach children that David’s parents are in an inferior and abnormal relationship, undeserving of respect, what are you teaching those kids about how to behave towards David? The evidence says that you’re teaching them it’s OK to bully David. And they will.

    Christ called us to repent and follow Him

    And you think that advocating for the inferiority of same-sex relationships is how you “repent and follow Christ”?

    not to engage God in an argument about why we are right and He is wrong.

    Well, there’s arrogance. I’m engaging you in an argument about why I think you are wrong. You identify yourself with God and think someone disagreeing with you is exactly like disagreeing with God?

  • Crehman

    Any employer may not have as ” its business” what an employee uses in their health insurance – and why must health insurance include elective drugs and procedures – BUT it is any organisation’s business what it uses its own money to pay for. What the employee uses his or her pay for lies within their free choice, whereas what the organization pays for is attributable to the organization. Thus the Church is neither asking for control of the use of its employees’ pay nor is it wanting to block the procurement of such but simply not have to directly pay for things it does not believe to be right.

  • JessicaHof

    Ah, Stonewall, well known independent site. I’ll provide you with BNP sites showing that white people are discriminated against; alternatively we could both look at what the Department of Education says and wonder where Stonewall gets its odd information from; by the sound of it, the same source as yourself.
    You keep banging on about teaching kids that someone’s parents are in an abnormal and inferior relationship.
    I think that teaching a lie, which is that homosexual activity is not sinful, is the opposite of repenting. I don’t identify myself with God (you do write and think some tosh, you know), but with God’s revelation through His Church. As you read the Catholic Herald you should know what God’s Church teaches. It is that, not as in your case, my own inclinations, which I follow. It is you, setting your own sinful preferences above God’s laws, who is putting yourself in the same position as God.
    Now, of course, if you don’t believe in God, or in the teaching of His Church, fine, but since most of us here do, you are in effect coming into a Catholic House and demanding we abide by the way of sin rather than God’s way. Which part of this you might one day understand, who knows?

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    alternatively we could both look at what the Department of Education
    says and wonder where Stonewall gets its odd information from

    From the Schools
    Health Information Unit
    , as you would know if you looked at the Schools Out report (I linked to the press release rather than the full PDF). The SHEU carries out surveys for the Department of Education. Stonewall worked with the DofE to produce the report.

    This is what the Department of Education has to say about homophobic bullying. Under 5, “Who does the bullying and why?” you might find the answers educational.

    I think that teaching a lie, which is that homosexual activity is not sinful, is the opposite of repenting

    So you feel that you best “follow Christ” by teaching children that their parents are in an inferior, sinful relationship. Is that genuinely what you think Jesus would do to children? Can you cite chapter and verse where you find evidence in the gospels that this is what Jesus wants you to do?

    I don’t identify myself with God (you do write and think some tosh, you know),

    You accused me, in arguing with you, of arguing with God. Glad to hear you misspoke.

    As you read the Catholic Herald you should know what God’s Church teaches.

    Nope. I know what the Catholic Church teaches, but I am not sectarian: I am an atheist.  So I have no reason to privilege the homophobic values of the Catholic Church above the loving inclusion of (for example) the Religious Society of Friends.

    It is you, setting your own sinful preferences above God’s laws

    Indeed! And when was the last time you ate shellfish? Or wore mixed fabric? Or had a meal of cheese and meat? What business is it of yours to judge me? Look to the log in your own eye before setting about the mote in your neighbour’s…

    you are in effect coming into a Catholic House and demanding we abide by the way of sin rather than God’s way.

    Hm. Fair point, though I am attempting to be both polite and respectful in my disagreeing with you, and to stick to verifiable facts – such as what causes homophobic bullying! – rather than arguing about what to believe.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     Responded upthread to avoid a narrowly unreadable comment!

  • JessicaHof

    As someone who comments a great deal on a Catholic newspaper, you seem remarkably ignorant of Catholic teaching. The notion that Catholic teaching is based on proof-texting the Gospels is so odd that I can only imaine you are doing it because you are genuinely ignorant of the fact that Catholic teaching is based on the whole of the Bible and on the Magisterium of the Church; together they are as plain as the nose on your face that ‘same sex’ relationships are sinful. That you are an atheist means only that you wish to impose your own values on everyone else whilst rejecting their values. Catholics are bound by God’s law.
    Please, the sophomoric stuff from Levitcus, are you fo real? Do you not know anything about the Faith you keep criticising? We read the OT through the New and through the teaching of the Church; now, if you can tell us where that says the food prohibitions of Leviticus are atill in force, you will finally be in the right. Since, of course, there is no such place, you simply show, for the umpteenth time that you come here knowing nothing to give us the benefit of your ignorance of Catholic teaching.
    ‘Arguing about what to believe’is crucial to Christians – try reading the NT, you’ll find it matters a very great deal. Coming here with your secularist arguments and telling Catholics that their teaching is homophobic is simply anti-Catholic bigotry thinly disguised as sophistry.
    If you genuinely think Catholic parents and Schools should lie to the children in their care, then you are in for a disappointment. Perhaps you might like to read up on Catholicism and Catholic teaching before coming here to insult Catholics? By the way, I am not a Catholic, and I recognise good old-fashioned Scottish prejudice when I see it.

  • haoben405
  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     I would very gladly opt out of the NHS if I were free to do so.

    Goodness.

    You are free to do so, Recusant – by the very same standards you’re argued here for women who work for Catholic organisations in the US. All you have to do is quit your job and then find the money to pay for private healthcare. Of course you may find that impossibly expensive, but you don’t appear to feel that “impossibly expensive” ought to be considered a barrier to “free to do so”.

    I think you reveal your muddled thinking when you say “Some of them will
    simply run the risk of getting pregnant” and “Some of them will manage
    to scrimp money out of their wages” as if these are bad things. In life
    we live under constraints, and life involves evaluating them, making
    choices and bearing the cost of those choices ourselves.

    And yet you complain that you’re not “free to opt out of the NHS” when you absolutely are – if you’re willing to bear the cost of the choice of doing so. Obviously you’re not.

    . I challenge you to come up with a single person who is denied access to contraception, a single one, and you cannot.

    Knowing you’re British and thus have no real idea what life would be like without a proper health service, I can actually take this challenge more seriously.

    Repeated research shows that unplanned pregnancies caused by lack of access to contraception is a major problem for low-income women in the US. This discovery is generally made as byproduct of reasons women have abortions in the US. Example (quotes below)

    Now, to the Catholic Church, it may be a matter of indifference if employees have abortions so long as they do it on their own time with their own wages, but to ordinary people, it would be much preferable if employers among others were making a strong effort to prevent abortions by ensuring wider access to contraception.

    “In 2004, a structured survey was completed by 1,209 abortion patients at 11 large providers, and in-depth
    interviews were conducted with 38 women at four sites. Bivariate analyses examined differences in the reasons for
    abortion across subgroups, and multivariate logistic regression models assessed associations between respondent
    characteristics and reported reasons.”

    One of the repeated causes of women needing abortions was that they didn’t have access to contraception.
    “Although the focus of this study was women’s reasons for
    having abortions, our findings have broader implications regarding
    the burden of unwanted pregnancy and the need for
    increased access to and use of contraceptive services. Better
    access to emergency contraception, for example, could lead
    to a reduction in unintended pregnancy, a decrease in the
    national abortion rate and, on the individual level, a decline
    in the number of women confronted with the difficult decision
    of how to resolve an unwanted pregnancy. The fact that
    an increasing proportion of women having abortions are
    poor16 underscores the importance of public assistance for
    family planning programs as an effective means of reducing
    the incidence of both unintended pregnancy and abortion.”

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     Is forcing a Catholic institution to do what it regards as a serious act of immorality an exercise of compulsion or not?

    I’ll answer your question if you answer mine: Is it really a “serious act of immorality” to pay for an employee’s health insurance?

    The answer is that some individuals -those responsible for running
    Catholic institutions- are being compelled to act in a way contrary to
    their consciences.

    According to what various other people have said in this thread, that’s not a “compulsion”, because they’re always free to quit their jobs. Do you agree with that?

    As I said before, I’m not sure whether your confusion is a deliberate ploy or genuine.

    I am genuinely confused why so many people are arguing that the Catholic Church demanding the Federal Government force employees at Catholic institutions to obey Catholic doctrine without regard to their own conscience, is somehow supporting religious liberty.

    It obviously isn’t.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     A religious institution no matter whom it employs, is fully protected by
    the !st Amendment, in regards to protection from state interference in
    regards to it’s ethos.

    The idea that a religious institution has a special exemption from employment discrimination laws with regard to secular employees (ie, a Catholic school employing teachers, a Catholic hospital employing nurses) is not something I can find any statutory or legislative evidence of.

    Employment protection law in the US is of course a hodge-podge of federal, state, and civic laws. But in general, federal law sets a certain basic standard against discrimination such as the Catholic Church is advocating here, and states and cities are free to pass legislation giving employees more protection, not less.

    If you assert that there is special provision in employment legislation which allows religious organisations to give their employees fewer rights, do cite it.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     Can you explain what that has to do with this particular case?

    I’ve been doing so all over this discussion thread!

  • theroadmaster

    Everything I’m talking about is covered by the 1st Amendment, which guarantees the rights of Religious bodies to work according to their own ethos, without Federal interference.  This covers churches, hospitals, schools, social centres etc.  The employees in religious organizations have to work in accordance with the Faith-based tenets of them.  This is taken as a given in the States.  The objectionable “reproductive” services  included in the Obama healthcare mandate, go against the core religious beliefs of these organizations.  These services are widely available elsewhere,  and should not be part of a coercive package to force Faith based organizations to go against their consciences and tenets.

  • Alethia Cyrus

    After hours of reading these comments, I’m thinking we need a decent analogy.

    Let’s change the issue from birth control to, say, suicide.  Say that our elected officials thought this should reasonably be covered by health insurance: Go tell the doc you’re ready, take a couple pills, and be done with this world.

    So, from that point of view:

    1. Now hold on!  I consider it morally and ethically wrong to help someone kill themselves.

    2. Sure, not many people will take this option.  But even one is one too many!

    3. I would cheerfully pay more money than the average employer to keep my hands clean of this horrible business.  It’s not about the money!  I don’t want to pay even one cent to help fund someone’s go-to-hell pills.

    4. The cost of the suicide is spread over the rest of the people who buy this health care.  Again, it’s not about the cost; it’s about forcing people who don’t kill themselves to pay for the one who does.  This is unethical and wrong.

    Dunno if it’ll help, but at least with this setup it’s a bit clearer what the issues are.  Hint: Not the money.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     So: you’re NOT interested in what the Department of Education has to say about homophobic bullying?

    Thought not.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    The problem with this argument is that there is no limit on its
    application. What are the limits to the rules a government has authority
    to make?

    None whatsoever if the Catholic Church wins.  Because then the government will have the authority to rule that employees must abide by the religion of their employer. And that is a power without limit.

    Whereas if the Catholic Church loses, the govenment retains its power to require liberty for individual choice.

    A vegetarian employer does not have the right to require that employees give up meat. But your argument is that they should and they do.

    People retain liberty to decide what contractual obligations to enter, whether the government [or their employer] agrees with them or not.

    Absolutely. That’s why all who support individual liberty are against the idea that the Catholic Church should be able to summon the US federal government to enforce Catholic doctrine regardless of the individual faith and rational, conscientious choices of individuals.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    OK, EE! That’s the third time you’ve refused to answer my direct question whilst I’ve been answering yours. I give up!!!

  • JessicaHof

    In which case, as usual, you thought wrong. Do you ever get fed up with making unpleasant assumptions about others. Until you educate yourself about what the Church teaches on this subject you will continue to come to a Catholic house and misrepresent what most here know to be the truth. Fortunately, most are too nice to call you on it.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     Everything I’m talking about is covered by the 1st Amendment

    True, but the First Amendment is an even stronger protection against the kind of assault on religious liberty you are advocating.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     So, you claim (far downthread!) that you are interested in what the Department of Education has to say about homophobic bullying, do you accept that these measures you were complaining about have been instituted to protect children against homophobic bullying?

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    In which case, as usual, you thought wrong.

    OK! I’ve moved the discussion upthred agagain.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    I think the way Disqus narrows threads is seriously distracting.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    After hours of reading these comments, I’m thinking we need a decent analogy.

    Let’s change the issue from birth control to, blood transfusions.  Say that our elected officials thought this should reasonably be covered by health insurance.

    So, from that point of view:

    1. Now hold on!  I consider it morally and ethically wrong to help someone have a blood transfusion.

    2. Sure, they say people REALLY NEED blood transfusions. But my religion says it’s wrong!

    3. I would cheerfully pay more money than the average employer to keep my hands clean of this horrible business.  It’s not about the money!  I don’t want to pay even one cent to help fund someone’s blood transfusions.

    4. The cost of the blood tranfusions is spread over the rest of the people who buy this health care.  Again, it’s not about the cost; it’s about forcing people who don’t want blood transfusions themselves to pay for the one who does.  This is unethical and wrong.

    Dunno if it’ll help, but at least with this setup it’s a bit clearer what the issues are.  Hint: Not the money.

     

  • JessicaHof

    No, as there is nothing in Catholic teaching which is homophobic.

  • JessicaHof

    Have you educated yourself on Catholic teaching yet, or are we in for more ill-informed stuff from you?

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    Then there can be no difficulty in Catholic schools teaching children that it’s OK to be gay, no matter what their parents say.

  • JessicaHof

    That shows you still know nothing about the teaching of the Church.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    Oh. I was going by what you said: “There is nothing in Catholic teaching which is homophobic”. If you were right about that, there can be no problem with Catholic schools teaching kids that it’s OK to be gay.

  • JessicaHof

    You really don’t understand Catholic teaching at all do you? The Church teaches that homosexual people should be treated with respect; it teaches that homosexual activity is sinful; we love the sinner and hate the sin. In your odd world this may be homophobic, but in it, anything other than approval of a disordered lifestyle is homophobic.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     The Church teaches that homosexual people should be treated with
    respect; it teaches that homosexual activity is sinful; we love the
    sinner and hate the sin.

    Yes, Jessica, but the Department of Education’s research (cited elsewhere on the thread, published by Stonewall)  shows that this “teaching” (nice enough though it may seem to you, who have never been the victim of it) leads to children who are or appear to be gay, or who have same-sex parents, being bullied by others and the teachers being less likely to do anything about it.

    Further, the Catholic Church’s political campaign against marriage or civil partnership for same-sex couples was direct, visible evidence for us all that when the Catholic Church claims to “respect” gay people and to “love the sinners” this is undistinguishable from disrespect and hate.

    I can’t find the comment where you complained about the anti-bullying classes in British Columbia, but in fact the Catholic Church in Scotland has protested (with some success) against the introduction of anti-bullying classes in Scottish faith schools, despite the evidence cited that faith schools are worse for homophobic bullying than any others in Britain.

  • JessicaHof

    If you are saying that Catholic schools should teach what the Church teaches, I agree. Your constant use of the ‘boo-word’ homophobic for anything which fails to take your party line is unhelpful. I saw the same campaign as you did, and as part of the ”all’ who witnessed it, I saw neither disrespect nor hate; if you would like to show me what official Catholic spokesman is guilty of these things, it would help.
    If you want to enter into dialogue, it means understanding what is being said by the other side, not pigeon-holing it in your own terms. You simply dismiss anything which does not agree with you in a way which suggests you simply want agreement, not discussion.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    If you are saying that Catholic schools should teach what the Church teaches, I agree.

    No, I am saying that all schools should teach children to respect and be kind to each other.

    As research has established that what Catholic schools seem to be teaching children is to disrespect and be unkind to each other, that sounds like a bad idea.

    If you want to enter into dialogue, it means understanding what is being
    said by the other side, not pigeon-holing it in your own terms.

    Excellent advice. Do take it. Stop objecting to having a gay-hating message identified as homophobic. You may find it unhelpful, but LGBT people tend to find it very helpful not to have to pretend that disrespectful and unkind behaviour, such as campaigning against their right to marry, is – well, homophobic.

  • JessicaHof

    You have yet to justify your statement that Catholic teaching is ‘gay-hating’; you repeating it like a parrot on speed does not count as proof.
    You are insisting on two things in a very totalitarian manner: that we all agree with you, and if we don’t we are ‘homophobic’; and that Catholic schools should not reflect Catholic teaching on the disordered nature of your sexual preferences. Many of us find a tiny minority insisting on changing something which has been the same for two millennia disrespectful and shrill – but we don’t play the victim and expect someone to agree on pain of calling them offensive names and claiming hurt feelings.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     there are required classes for primary school kids to teach them that
    homosexuality is normal, and on par with heterosexuality. True, many
    people believe this, but now that point of view is, in fact, being
    forced down the throats of Catholics.

    But this is, according to you, in exact accordance with Catholic doctrine with only one exception.

    The kids aren’t being taught that homosexuals are sinners. That’s a religious point, and that’s for their parents/priests to teach them, isn’t it? You’re convinced that two men who have pledged to love, honour, & cherish each other lifelong are sinning in a way that your children ought to be taught to condemn. Okay. You teach your children that. The school will teach them the loving-kindness part. Fair?

    Otherwise I can’t see what your problem is. The view that children ought to treat each other with kindness and respect regardless of the sexual orientation of their parents (or each other, if old enough to know it) is being “forced down the throats of Catholics”? But surely this is in exact accordance with Catholic teachings as you’ve said they are, isn’t it?

  • JessicaHof

    No. If you have a Catholic School, oddly enough it is not going to take you secularist view that religion is a purely private affair; you seem to know nothing about Catholicism or Catholic teaching, and yet you make pronouncements on it; very odd.
    It isn’t about my views, do you not read what has been said repeatedly? It is about what the Church teaches, and nowhere, not even once, have you substantiated or evidenced your view that the Church teaches children to bully homosexuals. You are the one with the problem, so quite why you wish to transfer it to me, only you can say. I have always maintained that Catholicism teaches kindness and respect to homosexuals; you are the one making the wild allegations about homophobia and bullying. Clearly you cannot substantiate your claims; an honourable way out would be to withdraw them. I wonder why I suspect you won’t take the honourable way?

  • Isabel Wood

    Do correct me if I am wrong, because I am not actually American, and my business knowledge is hazy. But I thought that a key point in the foundation of American politics was the separation of church and state? 

    When operating a business that is employing, and therefore has control of aspects of people’s lives who may be of any (or no) religion, does it not then follow that the needs of the individuals under it’s care should be met? After all, the Catholic running the university/hospital etc would not be using contraception themselves, nor would they be forcing others to use it, therefore they would not be subject to responsibility. Jesus teaches us to live by the law of the land does he not?

    All that would happen is that they would be allowing their employees to make their own (completely legal) health and lifestyle choices.

    I have to say, I don’t really understand why many people think that having something as an option on health coverage should be against moral conscience.

  • Isabel Wood

    …did you genuinely just compare me to Stalin because 
    i think that  giving people the option to have affordable access to contraception isn’t such a terrible thing? xD

    I think you are taking this to pointless extremes. Look, we can all talk about atrocities committed by leaders of every type but that’s a terrible way to debate and essentially meaningless. 

    Giving people the option to do more things is. not. evil. Shock horror, you can choose not to do those things if you don’t agree with them. If you provide healthcare you are doing a good thing. Just because your healthcare might cover mastectomy in the case of cancer doesn’t mean that everyone should have their boobs lopped off. It’s there for the people that need it.

    The argument about compulsion can go both ways you know, if institutions run by religious bodies were allowed to do anything in the name of religious freedom then they could discriminate against anybody who worked for them, when the aspect of their lives that the Catholic Church cares about has NOTHING TO DO WITH THEIR JOB. 

  • Isabel Wood

    “A vegetarian employer does not have the right to require that employees give up meat. But your argument is that they should and they do”.- I don’t always agree with you but this is an excellent example.

  • Isabel Wood

    The point is that sex ed in schools is not just about reproduction.Otherwise why bother with it at all? Everything they need to know is already taught in biology. 

  • JessicaHof

    No one said it was. The point is that Catholic Schools are going to teach children about homosexuality by reflecting Catholic teaching, something Edinburgh Eye misunderstands and misrepresents.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    Hi Isabel

    1) The constitutional separation of church and state in the US isn’t as clear cut as some pretend: it certainly doesn’t amount to the exclusion of religion from the public sphere. Th e legal (rather than the moral) case will doubtless be tested in the Supreme Court -and , pace some earlier comments, the decision seems more likely at the moment to go in favour of the Catholic Church than otherwise. But even if the legal decision went the wrong way, the compelling of Catholics to support a moral evil would be morally wrong.

    2) Jesus doesn’t tell us to live by the law of the land when that law is an evil one. Catholics should avoid supporting sinful actions: paying for them is one way of supporting them.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    ‘did you genuinely just compare me to Stalin because i think that  giving people the option to have affordable access to contraception isn’t such a terrible thing?’
    No. I compared you to Stalin because you seem to confuse what is positive law (ie the law of the state) with natural law (ie moral law). In the end, whatever respect is given to the law of a well-governed state, Catholics are bound to act in accordance with morality rather than man made law. It is Catholic belief that abortion and contraception are terrible sins and that co-operating with them is also a terrible sin. Now, I know that you don’t agree with those viewpoints, but using the power of the state to crush conscientious, deeply held moral beliefs is exactly what totalitarian regimes do. It is support for this violation of religious liberty that makes you analogous to Stalin rather than your support for contraception. (In fact, from memory, Stalin was rather against contraception!)

  • Isabel Wood

    Another point which I haven’t actually seen here yet is that contraception is really expensive if you have to pay for it yourself without any help from your insurance. So there may be many women who would very much like to be on safe and reliable forms of contraception but cannot afford it. 

    Good access to contraception is good for the overall health of society and reduces abortion rates.

  • Isabel Wood

    Thanks, I’m still confused about the placement of moral responsibility however. 

    Is Catholic opposition to this a case of “we have the option and capability of fighting this association so we should?” or is it more definite that a Catholic employer forced to offer this plan would be just as guilty and tarnished by sin as those who use contraception themselves?

    Or are there gradients of moral-wrongness (as I understood it that something might be wrong, but if done for good reasons it is less wrong at the end of the day – like abortions where the mother’s life is at stake etc)?

    Also – it it actually illegal to not offer an insurance plan? I was of the impression that businesses could chose to provide one or not. In this case, if the law was passed, would all Catholic institutions stop running in order to avoid the contraception association or would they just cease to offer health insurance?