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Column: Catholics Can't Get Enough

Heights Columnist

Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

I guess you really just can't please everyone …

On Friday, the Obama Administration announced that employers would no longer be forced to cover contraceptives in their employees' health insurance plans, as they may be exempted due to religious objections. In such cases, however, insurance companies themselves would have to cover those costs. Thus, regardless of where they work, women will now be able to get a hold of contraceptives if they so choose to use them.

It's a win-win then! Who wouldn't be happy about the fact that women will unequivocally have access to a medical service they seek while not forcing religious employers to aid them in their search?

Well, a number of Catholic bishops, apparently. Many are complaining that individual Catholic business owners who insure their employees shouldn't have to comply with the mandate. The bishops view the measure as an assault on their Catholic conscience, with one archbishop, Timothy Dolan, going so far as to say, "There is still no attention to what you might call the deeper philosophical issues, namely, ‘What right does a federal bureau have to define the who, what, where and how of religious practice?'"

That's certainly an odd question to raise, given that no federal bureau is doing such a thing. This whole issue is not about defining how Americans practice their religion–it's about their ability to take advantage of a medical service that isn't as readily available as they would like. It is a most senseless piece of rubbish to suggest otherwise.

First of all, I have yet to hear about mobs of individual Catholic business owners crying for this mandate to be overturned, but rather only a small group of Catholic bishops who claim to speak on their behalf.

Secondly, even if these business owners were to have a problem with it, then sorry, they'll just have to bite the bullet. Not everyone is going to be wholly satisfied with every move a government makes. As Jon Stewart said the other night, "You've confused a war on your religion with not always getting everything you want. It's called being part of a society."

Suppose a group of American Muslims were to collectively write a letter to the IRS. In this letter, the group demanded that the IRS exempt them from paying their taxes because they had a religious objection to the way the United States was using the revenue to fund the war in Afghanistan. Would these same bishops rush to their defense in the name of protecting religious liberties? Fat chance. This commotion has nothing to do with morality or religion and everything to do with political agendas.

Fortunately, most Catholics know it, as evidenced by the fact that a majority of them polled by The New York Times supported the measure. Rev. Gregory Lucey, S.J. president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, of which Boston College is a member, said he was appreciative of what Obama had done, and he felt that the religious liberty issue had been satisfactorily addressed. The head of the Catholic Health Association, Sister Carol Keehan, also said she was "very pleased" with the compromise.

Listen up, bishops. Your people have spoken.


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