published Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Beliefs under pressure

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."

-- Thomas Jefferson

Several weeks ago there was a firestorm of controversy around comments made before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee by Sandra Fluke, a 30-year-old Georgetown University Law student who demanded the nation's oldest Jesuit and Catholic institution provide contraceptives in the student health care program despite its religious beliefs.

The event was staged to appear as if the reported "23-year-old" Fluke was offering testimony in a Congressional hearing that "without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school." The faux drama found oral contraceptives to be available in the area for $4 per month to students paying $24,417.50 per semester, or almost $50,000 per school year for law school tuition.

By pressuring Catholic institutions that include schools, universities, hospitals and other organizations, the Obama administration was moving forward with a key provision in the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" rammed through Congress by Democrats. This provision mandated that all insurance coverage include women's health services that include "abortion-related drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization," all in direct opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Remember, the goal of the act was to increase access to insurance coverage. The opposite is occurring due to this provision.

In addition to corporations and small businesses weighing options to avoid participating in the federally mandated insurance program, the Franciscan University of Steubenville has announced that its students will not have access to health care coverage beginning in the upcoming academic year.

Specifically, the university's website featured this official statement:

"The Obama Administration has mandated that all health insurance plans must cover 'women's health services' including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing medications as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Up to this time, Franciscan University has specifically excluded these services and products from its student health insurance policy, and we will not participate in a plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life.

"Due to these changes in regulation by the federal government, beginning with the 2012-13 school year, the University 1) will no longer require that all full-time undergraduate students carry health insurance, 2) will no longer offer a student health insurance plan, and 3) will no longer bill those not covered under a parent/guardian plan or personal plan for student health insurance."

With 13 percent of America's hospitals being Catholic hospitals, this trend could result in more "uninsured" because of a political demand that those of faith abandon their beliefs.

It seems to be a pattern of this administration, and dangerously an expanding agenda, to take articles and teachings of faith, attempt to redefine them and marginalize individuals with those beliefs, all in the name of politics.

These actions are harming sectors of our economy, such as health care, and destroying institutions with a selective reverence of the Constitution.

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Easy123 said...

This is an interesting spin on this situation. It's a strange sort of bigotry. The Catholic Church can control whether women have a choice in using contraception. The Catholic Church can rail against contraception and abortion just on "principle" or "doctrine". What about women's rights? Don't they have a right to choose? Or are they just baby factories? Some insurance policies cover Viagra, Cialis etc. Why not birth control? Treat women equally. Empower them. Give them choices and the same benefits that men receive. These actions DO NOT harm our economy or healthcare. They DO NOT destroy any religious institution. We live in the modern world. If you want to base your beliefs on a book written two thousand years ago that preaches that women are to subject themselves to men, to keep silent, to serve their purpose to please men, and to live as a slave to the will of her husband then go right ahead. But these ideas are evil and immoral. If you want to believe them, that is your right. But my mother, wife, sister, grandmother etc. will not be subject to such intolerance and sexism. Maybe people of faith should be marginalized for their ignorant and hateful beliefs; especially when they are as baseless and shallow as this. Keep your faith to yourself. Do not impose it on others. Give women the same benefits and rights as men.

May 17, 2012 at 12:44 a.m.

No mention of how Rush Limbaugh erroneously represented that the copious sex she was having influenced the amount of birth control she needed or how he demanded she post sex videos as she was a slut and should be glad to pay for it that way?

Did you know he sued to get a video exposing his conduct removed? Funny that you leave that part of the story out. But um, the reason the birth control was that price was not for all pills. Just for one generic option. That might not work for everybody. It's like saying blood thinner is cheap enough to poison rats, why do people need insurance to cover it? Because sometimes people need Plavix, not warfarin. And it didn't even cover doctor's visits.

If the Catholic universities and hospitals want Americans to suffer as a result of following their dogma, then maybe we shouldn't be compromising our principles for them. You do know that not letting religions or foreign governments determine US policy is one of our national principles, right?

Maybe you don't revere that part of the Constitution.

Obviously these Catholic institutions would rather pout than live up to their other principles. Even if it harms people.

Reminds me of a quote. A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.

Thanks Catholics, go chide your nuns some more for focusing too much on actual charity and staying out if politics.

May 17, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Good points, Easy and HWNB. What's more, any church based organization that is operating in the free market, as a business, actually forfeits its "rights" to enforce its beliefs on anyone outside their faith. It is no longer just a church but a business and should therefore be subject to the same rules and regulations that every other business must abide by. If a church wants to adhere to silly Dark Ages dogma, no one is forcing its members to believe or act otherwise....as long as they confine themselves to the walls of their churches or homes and stay out of the public arena. This is all baloney. This nation is way too influenced by religious wackos and we waste precious time even having nonsensical debates over petty issues like this.

May 17, 2012 at 1:11 a.m.
Livn4life said...

Say what you will about women's rights. I invoke Separation of Church and State. A woman or man who attends a Roman Catholic University should be aware of the church's position on birth control, abortion, etc. So take the rights thing somewhere else like the state run, state funded universities. Trampling on religious rights is a government violation of Church and State. As for your ranting, well just look for more forthcoming exposures of rights violations from the socalled Affordable/Taxmore/Patient Protection/Rights Infringement Act...unless the Supreme Court does its job and rule that approach is not in the Constitution.

May 17, 2012 at 8:50 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Yeah, take the "rights thing" somewhere else? If you want, otherwise, good people to do evil/immoral things, give them religion. People will do and say outrageous things in the name of their god. And Livin4life is a perfect example. This "rights thing" is what our country is based on. It is more important than any religious dogma or political pandering.

May 17, 2012 at 9:14 a.m.

To the "tolerant" progressives, easy123, hwnb, rickaroo,

When someone attends a church, it is voluntary. They aren't being brought in tied hand and foot. The church has no control over them beyond standing within it's organization. Your strawman argument that it controls women either demonstrates your lack of understanding and experience with religion, or your hatred and bias against religion. It could even be both. Churches don't control their members, cults do.

People follow the teachings of their churches because of faith. It makes perfect sense that you view religious people as sheep. Some of them are, but the majority are not or there would be only 1 church and not the huge variety we see today. Your condemnation of the beliefs of others betrays your attitudes and your character. I pity you. You are going against everything this country was established to make possible.

May 17, 2012 at 12:32 p.m.
kkemerait said...

So, the church will now eliminate ALL health care services just to protect its own position on a single issue.

The student that now breaks a leg, comes down with a disease or just wants to be able to get a mammogram or other preventative care, can no longer do so, just so the Catholic church can sleep easy knowing that no student can choose for themselves a prohibited method of birth control on the Church's dime.

I guess "sacred" must only refer to birth, once you've been born I guess you're screwed and the Church feels that not offering ANY health care is a justifiable position. What a joke.

May 17, 2012 at 12:59 p.m.
Easy123 said...

FPSE,

All religions are cults. They are anti-knowledge, anti-reason, anti-logic, anti-science. Religions teach you what to think, not how to think. Most people follow the teachings of their church because they were raised in the church or because it was the religion of their parents. Do you believe for one second that if these same people were born in Iraq or Iran that they would be Christians? I think not. I condemn the beliefs of others because they try to impose these beliefs on the public and inject them in to public policy. Religion was how we interpreted the world before science and reason/logic. The dogma that religion teaches is immoral. Circumcision, slavery, sexism, genocide, and the list goes on. These ideas are immoral. Refusing women rights because of dogma is asinine. I don't just pity you, I feel sorry for this narrow mindset that the religious act like is virtuous or holy. Our country was founded on freedom. And religion is included in that but so is the freedom FROM religion. Keep your religion. But I refuse to believe or be gullible enough to accept that a book written thousands of years ago should have any say in our government policy. Contraception is a good thing. Women deserve to have the decision of when and how they get pregnant. They deserve these rights from all hospitals; Catholic or not. This is 21st century America, not 2nd century Palestine.

May 17, 2012 at 2:35 p.m.

There are iraqi christians... http://www.chaldeansonline.org/church/christian.html

You seem to refuse to believe alot of things. Freedom from religion is not included in the founders thinking. Tolerance is the center of it. You are a very sad, narrow-minded individual who tries to make everyone else out to be exactly what you yourself are. Your stance is one of intolerance.

"Religion was how we interpreted the world before science and reason/logic." Did you use science and logic to make this determination? I will give you one example out of many that prove you don't know much at all. Egypt was a religious society in ancient times, the priests were very important people in the government and their religion was a major part of their culture. We still don't know exactly how they mumified their dead to such a degree and couldn't come close to duplicating the feat. Logic dictates they must have known more about that science than we do despite their religion. Their pyramids and other architecture were built with precision and mathematical accuracy that would be difficult for us to achieve today. Get out a little. The world doesn't fit in the box you live in.

May 17, 2012 at 3:58 p.m.
conservative said...

Now isn't that just like a LIeberal, wanting her insurance company to pay her $4 per month birth control while attending a college costing $50,000 a year! Any sensible person would be outraged that indoctrination would cost so much.

May 17, 2012 at 4:13 p.m.

Oh, and the premise that lack of chemical birth control=pregnancy is not true. These poor students can just keep their legs closed and they won't have to worry about it at all. I would never agree to subsidize their risky behaviour. If the country was founded on freedom and guarantees the "freedom from religion" as easy123 says, I should be free from forced subsidization. Yet another example of progressive double-think.

May 17, 2012 at 4:27 p.m.
kkemerait said...

Well, sure didn't seem to work for Mary...now there's a person who I wish had an insurance policy!

May 17, 2012 at 4:34 p.m.
Easy123 said...

FPSE,

Yes, freedom from religion is included in their thinking. Most of the founding fathers were deists. Some, like Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, were agnostic. You have the right to practice religion but KEEP YOUR RELIGION TO YOURSELF. My stance of "intolerance" is for equal rights. Call that intolerant if you like but keeping women from full healthcare coverage based on dogma that originated two thousand years ago is backward thinking. Like I've said before, keep your religion. Practice it. But it has no place in our government. And any hospital or insurance company that would deny full health coverage to women isn't doing it's job.

What do the Egyptians have to do with anything? The Taoist/Confucianist Chinese invented gun powder. So what? The average person in todays society would look like a genius compared to an ancient Egyptian. And the Egyptians had no dogma or holy book. Unless you think "The Book of the Dead" is holy.

And yes I know there are Christians in Iraq. About 5% as of 2003. And most of these were former Muslim converts. But the vast majority of people born in the Middle East will identify with Islam. Just as the majority of Americans will identify with Christianity (almost 80%).

And since when is sex dangerous? What if you have a monogamous partner? Or use condoms? And yes, lack of birth control DOES mean pregnancy. Especially if condoms and/or female birth control are not involved. And this is not about government subsidies. It's about including birth control in healthcare insurance coverage for women. Keep their legs closed? What a great sexist comment. How about "keep it in your pants"? I guess women shouldn't have the right to have sex when they want to either? If they are going to include Viagra and Cialis in healthcare coverage for men then why no include birth control in the healthcare coverage for women? I guess erections are more important.

May 17, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

Still trying to turn this whole thing into a war on women? That ship has sailed. The whole thing was a contrivance to whip up the sheeple.

The whole egyptian thing... If you didn't get it in my previous post, you never will.

The lack of birth control coverage was a decision made by the school based upon the Christian principles it represents. The students decision to go to the CHRISITIAN school was freely made. They aren't being forced to attend. If the idiot children attending it don't like it's rules, they were stupid for attending in the first place.

Private hopitals and insurance companies have a right to cover or treat anything they like. Insurance is voluntary. You don't have to buy it. You can just pay the doctor or hospital out of your own pocket. Insurance companies clearly state everything that is covered in the policy before you sign up for it. If it doesn't cover what you want it to cover, don't sign up for it. It is that simple. If you can't get the procedure you want done at one hospital, go to another. You always have a choice until the government gets involved. It sounds to me like you just want less freedom.

Why Viagra and Cialis? The condition those drugs treat is a dysfunction of the body. It is a health problem. Pregnancy is not. Did your mom have to spell everything out for you like this when you were little? Birth Control is a choice not a medical neccesity. I choose not to buy it for anyone but myself. If you want these college student to have it so badly, you can put your money where your mouth is and start a charity that gives birth control to college students. There seem to be plenty of like minded individuals around that should be more than happy to pony up.

May 17, 2012 at 5:45 p.m.
Easy123 said...

FPSE,

I don't know if YOU understand your argument about the Egyptians. It's totally erroneous. Religious societies can invent interesting things. Thank you for adding that. It doesn't take away from the fact that the majority of the religious in America are anti-science, anti-knowledge (Rick Santorum), and anti-reason/logic.

Idiotic children? I would love for my children to question any religious dogma that is imposed on them by any school or institution. It is true that they go there voluntarily. And these are apparently the rules. But the rules aren't fair. And questioning them is perfectly reasonable.

Sometimes birth control is a medical necessity. It's used to treat irregular periods, menstrual cramps, acne, PMS, endometriosis, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. And, by the way, it also helps prevent pregnancy. I don't just advocate birth control for college students but all women that want it. And this is a war on women. If you get down to the core of the issue, it is entirely about women's rights. Women deserve this option. Birth control for ALL WOMEN deserves to be included in all healthcare coverage. It is as much a medical necessity as Viagra or Cialis, probably even more. Let women choose when and how they get pregnant. Give them the option for birth control. Take them off the animal cycle of reproduction. The misogyny and sexism needs to end. And this is a great place to start. And the majority of Catholics would agree with me. 58% of all Catholics agree employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/Religion/post/2012/02/contraception-catholic-bishops-obama-hhs/1#.T7V27O12CIY

May 17, 2012 at 6:07 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Birth control without questioning the purpose it serves (prevent pregnancy, or treat various ailments). After that, viagra and cialis without questioning the purpose. Helping a married man with erectile disfunction, or a middle aged man cheat on his wife with some pretty young thing, or a recently divorced man planning on "playing the field".

Oh, and if women have to have pelvics and transvaginal ultrasounds to get birth control or terminate a pregnancy, men should get the equivalent intrusive probing. Fair is fair, ya know!

May 17, 2012 at 6:45 p.m.
conservative said...

This from Investors Business Daily: "Hernon said students must have insurance — either through their parents' policy or through the university's basic plan. That plan now costs about $600 a year. However, Hernon said the school's health care provider has served notice that under ObamaCare, the policy would double to $1,200 and then triple the year after."

Of course additional insurance means additional costs ( really ). Ms. Flake grandstands in having to pay $4 per month for her birth control, but has voiced no opposition to $50,000 for her tuition costs nor $600 increase this year and $1200 increases in health insurance in subsequent years due to Obaminationcare mandates.

Someone might think Ms Flake is dumber than a box of rocks.

http://news.investors.com/article/611712/201205161856/franciscan-university-drops-its-health-coverage-.htm

May 17, 2012 at 7:42 p.m.
conservative said...

"It's not just Catholics who are in revolt. Groups including the National Association of Evangelicals, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the Lutheran Church of Missouri Synod, and the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America have all expressed their opposition to ObamaCare's restrictions on the free exercise of their faith and conscience."

http://news.investors.com/article/611712/201205161856/franciscan-university-drops-its-health-coverage-.htm?p=2

May 17, 2012 at 9:19 p.m.

FPSE, who is talking about attending churches? We're talking about schools and hospitals.

That is distinct and separate from church services. I'm sure you can tell the difference if you try real hard. Like noticing that it's not a priest but a surgeon in the OR.

Stop lying to us that this is about tolerance, that is such a false argument I don't understand why you're trying. This is about a religion trying to force its will on the rest of us based on their tenets of faith. They might as well be asking for the right to try their own clergy, as they demanded in the middle ages.

You're the one who is going to violate the principles of this country, though not so much the colonies, I admit. But are they a good model? I don't concur.

And don't even try blaming the women. You failure to tell men to keep it in their pants is telling. Why do defenders of the Catholic Church never suggest that men might be at all? I think it's clear misogyny.

May 17, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.

Here is what I was talking about when I mentioned intollerance

"Maybe people of faith should be marginalized for their ignorant and hateful beliefs; especially when they are as baseless and shallow as this." or do you consider this to be a tollerant view?

May 18, 2012 at 10:27 a.m.

HWNB, Men weren't the ones complaining about the lack of birth control coverage. That is why I didn't mention them. They weren't relative to the discussion.

A religion trying to force its will upon others? Once again, attending that college is VOLUNTARY. If that word is too big for you, it means they weren't forced to attend the school. They volunteered to attend the school on their own.

Your confusion about how a church might be involved in a discussion of a Church-run school that doesn't cover contraceptives because of it's associated religion baffles me. Do you read just one word at a time while skipping around the article after each one is read? I can't figure out how you missed the connection.

May 18, 2012 at 10:33 a.m.

ikeithlu, I was assuming that the men that got prescriptions for viagra and cialis had erectile disfunction. I wasn't aware it could just be prescribed because you wanted to have a good time with your secretary. I would also think contraceptive pills would be acceptable for hormone therapy.

May 18, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.

easy123, Once again, attending the school is voluntary and insurance companies are private companies. They can cover whatever they want to and you can choose to pay for the coverage or not. If you don't want to pay the insurance company, pay the doctor or pharmacy or hospital directly. Other people's labor isn't and never will be your right. People need to grow up and take care of themselves. Bunch of babies.

May 18, 2012 at 10:43 a.m.
Easy123 said...

FPSE,

So what your saying is, right/fair/just doesn't matter? Religious dogma should be kept in the highest regard no matter what, even if it imposes on the rights of others? Is this what you are getting at?

Insurance companies should cover birth control. You haven't presented a valid argument against that statement. Religious dogma should never keep people from full healthcare coverage. If you don't want to use the birth control then don't use it but it should be covered by the insurance company. It's simple.

May 18, 2012 at 1:31 p.m.

I am saying a private college and private insurance companies have the right to set the rules for their private businesses. You have no say in what their rules are. If you don't like their rules you have the right to move on to other business that follow more closely along the lines of your beliefs. You don't have the right to set the rules for them. Just as they don't have the right set the rules for you. How would you like it if a church tried to tell the drug store that they aren't allowed to carry contraceptives because it is and affront to their faith? That wouldn't be any more fair than what you are proposing. Quit trying to put your jackboot on the throats of these private businesses.

May 18, 2012 at 4:25 p.m.
Easy123 said...

You just said that they did have the right to set the rules for me. And no, the students do not have to leave the school. They have the right to question these policies in hope that they will change.

And, by the way, churches are doing that. Georgetown is doing that to their students. They will not cover contraception because it is an affront to their faith and the students have to suffer for it. No one is making insurance companies do anything. They should cover contraception. That is Sandra Fluke's argument and the argument of many others who think Bronze age beliefs should stay out of the 21st century.

May 18, 2012 at 6:01 p.m.

FPSE, if men aren't relevant, why are they the ones who get to make the decisions without even consulting women?

Did you see the Congressional panel? Or Fox's?

All men. Men are complaining about the existence of the coverage. They are part of reproduction too. But actually there are men who do want women to be covered. And it won't be too long before there is a male fertility control drug.

And I don't have a problem with rejecting coercion from religious groups to follow their beliefs. I know you want to present that as intolerance, but that's just you seeking an argument that you think will win.

Too bad it's so obviously a fraud. Even the Supreme Court wasn't fooled by such posturing sophistry. It was the same false pretense as the Confederates used to justify secession in the name of the freedom to have slaves.

You may say that attending the school is voluntary. So is operating it. They refuse to have a school or hospital if they can't set their own rules about health care? They are trying to coerce the rest of us. I reject that. Why? Because the arguments for coverage are objectively persuasive. You might as well be saying they can set their own medical accreditation or set their own building codes. To be honest, I think we let them get away with to much when it comes to other educational standards, but that applies to for-profit colleges too.

Btw, look at the laws religions try to get where pharmacists can refuse to dispense drugs. Companies can't even fire them for failing to do their job. So I call BS on you about jackboots being one way.

They are trying to make birth control inaccessible and illegal. And they are basing it on their religious tenets. What do I think about that? I think it's an attempt to turn us from a secular could try to one that follows their faith.

Pardon me for requiring secular reasoning instead.

May 19, 2012 at 1:17 a.m.
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