Tuesday, March 6, 2012
The Roman Catholic Bishops: Are They Killing Their Church? by John Shelby Spong
..."Now this Church’s bishops have taken that battle to what seems to be both a political and a religious absurdity. Though already given a “conscience” exemption of not being required to provide contraceptive coverage in the health care offered to employees of Catholic churches, they are now demanding the right to impose that teaching on employees of their Catholic universities, hospitals and charitable institutions. Those institutions, while Catholic sponsored, serve a diverse population and receive public state and federal money to carry out their work. They have many non-Catholic employees and many Catholic employees who do not want Catholic teaching imposed upon their own health care decisions. The bishops have gone on to argue that any business run by a Roman Catholic CEO should also have the right to opt out of the requirement to provide contraceptive care to their employees. If this principle of exemption for Catholics is allowed, where will it stop? Some religions practiced in America object to blood transfusions, others do not believe that any medical intervention should be allowed since sickness is thought of as punishment for sin and still others have in the past sought to be exempted from the law that requires only one partner in marriage. Must the laws of America respect their consciences also? When the public good and religious values have come into conflict in the past, the state has always protected its understanding of public good and the various religious bodies have had to accommodate that policy. That is what it means to live in a multi-cultural state, where people enjoy freedom to worship as they wish, but where no religious system can impose any religious principle or practice on the entire nation. Are the Catholic Bishops and those politicians who want to dictate the details of health care that will be offered to employees of religiously affiliated institutions now find that this basic American premise is no longer acceptable? That is a frightening change..."
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~John Shelby Spong