(Disclaimer–I am recovering from the flu, and only have a few minutes to bang out this post, so I am going to apologize in advance for the gross lack of citation. But that’s what Google is for, right?)
This isn’t exactly normal fare for this blog, but the brouhaha about forcing religious organizations to offer birth control as part of their insurance packages is making me shake my head.
Oh, I understand that people should not be forced to pay for things that go against their values. I wouldn’t be happy financing abortifacients (although undoubtably, many of us pour money into pots that do).
As a woman whose insurance (when I have had it) has generally come from religious organizations, the idea that a woman could be denied family planning coverage because her husband’s employer didn’t want to cover it left me rather aghast.
I get it, yes. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Here’s what I find really interesting, though. While the highly-publicized statistic that 98% of Roman Catholic women have used birth control may skew high, it don’t think the revelation that the vast majority of religious women in America do use birth control on a regular basis is particularly shocking.
What is shocking, to me at least, is the way some people try to dismiss this fact as irrelevant to the issue.
Because here’s the thing. Religious organizations are more than just “organizations”–they are part of the capital “C” Church.
So am I, and the whatever-percent of Roman Catholic women who do use contraception.
I realize that there are people who believe that using contraception is somehow immoral. But perhaps we could have some conversation about this? Is it not a bit ironic that Roman Catholic policy on this issue is, as I understand it, set by celibate men?
Of course there is the old “If you don’t like it you can leave” argument. But really? Is a person supposed to give up their religious affiliation because they disagree with a handful of uber-powerful leaders about an issue that is not central to the gospel? I suppose it’s easy enough for Protestants to say, since most of us could switch churches or denominations without too much fuss, but what’s a good Catholic girl to do?
Is the Church an “organization” whose agenda is set by powerful men in isolated board rooms? Or is the Church an assembly of people who have surrendered themselves to the lordship of Christ?
Well, there are probably different opinions about that (particularly in churches that are big on apostolic procession), but I vote the latter.
I do realize that most of the religious opposition to the proposed reforms is on the basis of maintaining religious freedom. (Or, let’s be honest, the fact that some of them are P.O.’d about the government mandating insurance coverage at all.) And like I said, I do get it. But can I just say that I find the “religious freedom” rhetoric grating when the “freedoms” being bestowed are in fact restrictions imposed by a tiny, powerful minority that does not give voice to the people most impacted by said restrictions? I’m not saying it’s necessarily wrong, I’m just saying it’s grating.
If the controversy was about the deity of Christ or the inspiration of scripture, by all means, stand firm! But birth control???
Thus ends my opinionated, feverish (literally) rant.