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Lord, make me an instrument of your peace . . .

08 July 2014

Life issues continued

So, another entry from the same source proclaims that contraception is required to allow women the freedom to explore their lives outside the home.  Here are three of the long list of reasons that contraception is required for women today:

  • The entire singles scene in the bars of the Upper East Side of Manhattan would not have been possible without access to dependable contraception.  
  • The sexual revolution which enabled men and women to explore the beauties of sexual expression for its own sake, or as an expression of love or passion, would be far less a part of our existence without contraception.
  • The enrichment of our society by the contributions of women - in science, law, medicine, education, athletics, business, even religion - would be far less absent contraception and how women were thereby empowered.
The entire article can be read at:

I believe that these assumptions are based upon the wrong premise, one that excludes  יהוה  (God)from the equation of our lives.  But, again, I would like to pass on the article from the USCCB that addresses these issues from a point of view that proclaims the validity of following the tenets established by  יהוה  so many thousands of years ago.
LIFE ISSUES FORUM                                                       July 3, 2014
For Immediate Release
 Much Ado About Hobby Lobby
By Richard M. Doerflinger
The ink was not dry on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision before the attacks began.  “The immediate effect… is to deny many thousands of women contraceptive coverage vital to their well-being and reproductive freedom,” intoned The New York TimesWe must “keep bosses out of the examination room,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  Employees’ beliefs have been “effectively overruled by the religious beliefs of the boss,” said talk show host Rachel Maddow.  
            In fact, what the court did was faithfully apply a law passed almost unanimously by the people’s elected representatives.
            That law is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.  It says a federal policy cannot “substantially burden” a person’s religious freedom, unless it serves a “compelling state interest” in a way that is “least restrictive” of that freedom. 
            The court applied that law to a situation in which unelected officials of the Obama administration tried to force family businesses to provide insurance coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptives – even if their religion rejects the drugs and devices that can attack early human life. Three businesses filed suit under RFRA. 
They prevailed because, even assuming that the government has a “compelling” interest in maximizing birth control coverage, it failed to show it was furthering that interest by a means that is least restrictive of religious freedom.  Among other things, the government could provide that coverage itself, as it already does to millions of Americans. 
            The court also had to decide: Can a for-profit family-owned business have religious freedom rights?  It noted the following: Courts treat corporations as “persons” in various ways; they treat nonprofit corporations as having religious freedom; they have said that people don’t lose their religious freedom just because they run a business; and the Supreme Court itself has said that for-profit companies can have First Amendment free speech rights.  So the logical answer to the question is yes. 
            So far, so good.  But what about the charges we began with?  They run afoul of some basic facts.
             First, this is not about employers intruding into employees’ private health decisions on contraception.  The employers are doing just the opposite: Staying out of those decisions and leaving them to the individual. Far from trying to stop others from purchasing or using contraceptives, they are leaving them alone.  Isn’t that what “private” means?
            Second, this is no war between employers and employees.  The companies have been providing excellent health coverage to their thousands of employees for many years, excluding only the few items they see as harmful to human life. And their employees have chosen to work for them, due in part to these good wages and benefits.  The only party trying to force other people to violate their beliefs is the government itself.  That government also forces employees to buy coverage, for themselves and their minor daughters, that they may find morally objectionable.  Why assume that Christian-owned companies have no employees who share their values?
            Third, this is not about whether people who want contraceptive coverage can have it.  As the court noted, the government can provide that coverage without making these families violate their beliefs, so that the number of women deprived of coverage they want would be “zero.”
            So the indignation of politicians and pressure groups is misplaced.  It is they who seem to assume that they know how other people should live, and can use the coercive power of government to boss people around in accord with that superior knowledge.  The world their agenda may create – a flat, homogenized world lacking spirit and diversity, where no one believes in anything more strongly than in “progress,” where life and sexuality lack deeper meaning – is a world I don’t want to see.  I’m glad a twenty-year-old law, and a court that knows how to read that law, have provided at least a speed bump on the way there.

07 July 2014

Ongoing commentary about SCOTUS decision about Hobby Lobby

Well, I've read a lot of stuff recently from some of the very liberal websites I visit to keep informed about social issues that relate to care of the poor and so on.  The last few days, there have been a plentitude of negative comments about the Church, private beliefs, and so on.  Many of these commentaries say that it's not right to have a faith based belief system shoved down "out throats".  What these folks forget is that they are trying to force feed, as it were, their belief system onto those of us who still follow the Church's Magisterium regarding these issues.  Well, I have found a few items from the USCCB that I would like to share, just in case folks are linked to their information.  The first one is from a WOMAN who has some very interesting things to say about women's health issues.  Here it is.  (Others will follow in future days.)

LIFE ISSUES FORUM                                                                   For Immediate Release
Speaking for Myself                                                                                     June 20, 2014
By Erin Stoyell-Mulholland
The Obama Administration has branded the HHS contraceptive mandate as a huge advancement for women’s equality. In a 2012 presidential debate, when President Obama was asked how he was going to promote women’s equality in the workplace, he responded by talking about the mandate and his efforts to ensure that all women have access to contraception. According to such statements, contraception leads to women’s equality. The subtext is that if a woman wants to be successful or equal in the workforce, she must suppress her fertility, which is viewed as a hindrance to her goals and her fulfillment. Women are sent the message –  that there is something wrong with their bodies that needs correcting if they are to be equal. To be equal to men, they must become like men.
This view is demeaning to women. We are being told that if we want to achieve equality, we should be contracepting. We are told that if we do become pregnant, whether planned or unplanned, somehow we are unsuccessful, in effect we have failed.  If we choose to pursue motherhood, we are clearly not pursuing success – at least not as the government defines it.
If the government truly saw the choices for and against motherhood as equal, there would be more support for women who become pregnant. Contraception and abortion-inducing drugs and devices are offered for free through the HHS mandate, but not all pregnancy-related costs are covered. By only offering full coverage of options promoting the prevention or interruption of pregnancy, the government is sending a subtle but clear message about what it means to be a woman and what a woman's success looks like – and it doesn’t include her fertility.
            The Catholic Church’s teaching reflects a much more beautiful and pro-woman view, upholding the dignity of women. The Church endorses Natural Family Planning or NFP, which allows couples to plan to avoid or achieve pregnancy.  Natural Family Planning also helps identify women's health issues, helping them to find real healing and health management. NFP teaches women to understand their own bodies and to identify times of fertility. It does not require women to ingest potentially harmful hormones, risking their health, in order to attain so-called women’s equality. The Catholic Church supports and upholds an authentic understanding and appreciation of women’s whole being. The HHS mandate, by contrast, reduces and limits the healthy functioning of women’s bodies, redefining fertility as a kind of disease.
To claim that contraception is key to women’s success is demeaning to all women. We need to promote real resources to support women who are pregnant or parenting. Our efforts need to be focused on providing mandatory paid maternity leave, better prenatal care, better financial aid and medical care for women and children, and better, more affordable childcare. Those avenues support all women’s success in the workplace.
The government claims to speak for all women and women’s needs, but on this issue it does not speak for me. I am a woman, and I support the more than 300 plaintiffs that have filed suit against the HHS mandate. Rather than telling me that my success is contingent upon rejecting a part of my femininity, I wish the government would respect me for who I am and how my body naturally functions. All women deserve that respect.