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The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:52 am

Republicans in the Senate have a solution. They are proposing a bill to allow any employee the right to deny contraception coverage within the health care insurance they offer.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby fisticuffs » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:11 am

They are proposing a bill to allow any employee the right to deny contraception coverage within the health care insurance they offer.


That oughta reduce abortions.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:18 pm

pjbogart wrote:I would distinguish between the abortion and birth control debates. The Catholic Church is adamantly pro-life and their stance on abortion is a moral one. I don't question their sincerity.

Fundamentally different issues to be sure, but they are similar in that both are beliefs about sexuality which The Church has tried to impose on the rest of society via political influence, regardless of the feelings of most of the citizenry.
But more importantly, I do question their sincerity, given that even with all the charity and good deeds the Church does do (and I do acknowledge that they do a lot), they very clearly are more concerned with the rights of the unborn then they are, say, oh, I dunno... young children being molested by other Church members! So, as long as the Church continues to allow children to have their entire lives ruined, I do NOT accept the sincerity of their "all life is precious" argument, because (modern day) actions are more important than (thousands-of-years old) words.

pjbogart wrote:The Catholic Church has every right to oppose legislation if they feel it will force them to participate in a practice that violates their core beliefs.

Sure they have the right. But they shouldn't. At least until churches start paying taxes, I don't think one thin dime of their money should be allowed in our political process. Frankly, I don't think they should be allowed to participate regardless, as there is no valid reason I can think of why The Church or "Christianity" or any religion needs their organization to have access to the government directly. Churches have access to their constituents who in turn have access to the voting booth. Why do they need more direct influence than that? But I digress (I think basically the same thing about corporations, after all.)

pjbogart wrote:For the vast majority of Americans, conservative, liberal and in-between, contraceptives aren't simply acceptable, they're an ordinary part of daily life.
From what I've read, this is true for the vast majority of Catholics. So if all the members of the club disagree about the policy, why don't they do something about it instead of just shaking their heads and saying, "Oh, that's just how the Church is..."

Huckleby wrote:Sexual issues are at the heart of the Catholic Church obsession, but they aren't at core of the theology. Jesus never announced that life begins at conception, or thou shalt not bugger. There is so much more to church than these archaic gender/sexual flaws.

Of course there is! This was exactly my point in my earlier post.
But I didn't pick this fight -- The Church did!
I'm not the one who chooses to make anti-sexuality the public face of their organization.
Not only is this NOT a theological issue, it's not even an issue which the majority of Catholic believers give a rat's ass about. Yet no matter how out-of-touch the leadership of the Church gets, millions still cling to them regardless of their own personal beliefs about right and wrong (and what God wants from people, for that matter, which is a theological question.)

Anyway, this sums up the insanity of this issue perfectly:
Huckleby wrote:You really can't compare Catholic church to other charities or organizations. I can't put it into words. Best analogy is parents. They may be alchoholics and nose-pickers, but you still stand by them because the tie runs deep.

Blind allegiance to anyone, anywhere, anytime is idiotic and harmful. I know plenty of people who've cut ties with their parents because their values and beliefs simply didn't jibe. I'm not surprised you can't put it into words because then you'd see how silly you sound. The only way in which Churches are "not like other charities or organizations" is that they are given a free pass -- both by society and by their adherents -- to do irresponsible or abominable things, and, with a completely straight face, invoke a 5000-yr.-old sky god when they do it.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:22 pm

fisticuffs wrote:
They are proposing a bill to allow any employee the right to deny contraception coverage within the health care insurance they offer.


That oughta reduce abortions.

Or increase child births, which are a much more expensive medical cost than birth control pills. That would mean the cost of health insurance (that does not cover contraceptives) will go up.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby WestSideYuppie » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:01 pm

pjbogart wrote:I would distinguish between the abortion and birth control debates. The Catholic Church is adamantly pro-life and their stance on abortion is a moral one. I don't question their sincerity. The church also prohibits contraceptives, but no one is going to be excommunicated for buying some condoms or the pill.


Yes they are. "Excommunication" can refer to a couple of different things. 1) A state of being ineligible for Communion due to sin or heresy. 2) A formal finding that a person is in that state.

The Catholic Church has every right to oppose legislation if they feel it will force them to participate in a practice that violates their core beliefs. That said, I don't think we'd be having this conversation if we were simply talking about contraceptives.


Oppose, yes. Interfere, no. Religious liberty does not confer a right to harm people.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:29 pm

BTW -- if there are any on this board who have rejected Catholicism but once belonged to a church (as an adult or a child), I heartily encourage you to get yourself excommunicated. As long as you don't, the Church will continue counting you as a member, which effectively gives them the appearance of representing even more people than they already do. Anything to reduce their influence on my life would be greatly appreciated.

Of course, The Church doesn't want to make excommunication easy for you, so you're gonna have to jump through some hoops. You could talk to a local priest, but I doubt they will be very helpful. Your best bet is to write to your nearest bishop. Tell him when and where you were Baptized. Then tell him all about your apostasy. Explain how you've come to reject the Church and its teachings (but definitely say "apostasy" because Church leaders like words like that.) Be sure to include details of how that rejection has manifested itself in your life. To remain relevant to this thread, for example, you might describe how you realized the Church's position on birth control was backward, inhumane, and illogical, and then go on to describe how you actively engage in premarital sex with the aid of it. See, it's important that you describe both your mental rejection of Church beliefs as well as can demonstrate that you went on to physically break the rules. Thought and action are both required here. Be sure to explain that you are already aware that the penalty for your actions is excommunication as, unlike the American legal system, ignorance will get you off in the Catholic Church!* Conclude by stating that you no longer consider yourself a Catholic and would like your name removed from the official rolls. You may want to send this letter registered mail with a return receipt and it may take multiple tries. Don't give up. The rest of us appreciate it.


*Available as a bumper sticker soon.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby jman111 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:49 pm

Can't speak to the Catholic process, but the WELS Lutheran congregation of my youth was certainly not hesitant to excommunicate me when they noticed that I had stopped making weekly financial contributions. Oddly, they didn't seem too concerned that the reason was that I was away at college. I think I still have that letter somewhere.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:58 pm

This is a worthy Jon Stewart rant on the subject and how it's spiraling into idiocy beyond the Catholic Church. Is this really the type of shit we need to debate right now?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/1 ... 75835.html
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Huckleby » Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:07 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Huckleby wrote:You really can't compare Catholic church to other charities or organizations. I can't put it into words. Best analogy is parents. They may be alchoholics and nose-pickers, but you still stand by them because the tie runs deep.

Blind allegiance to anyone, anywhere, anytime is idiotic and harmful. I know plenty of people who've cut ties with their parents because their values and beliefs simply didn't jibe. I'm not surprised you can't put it into words because then you'd see how silly you sound. The only way in which Churches are "not like other charities or organizations" is that they are given a free pass -- both by society and by their adherents -- to do irresponsible or abominable things, and, with a completely straight face, invoke a 5000-yr.-old sky god when they do it.

I did not suggest blind allegiance, not in the least.

What I am trying to suggest is ineffable because it is complex.

I am not religous. But I understand religous people in ways beyond your cartoonish, naive stereotypes.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:34 pm

Huckleby wrote: But I understand religous people in ways beyond your cartoonish, naive stereotypes.

Please. Show me where I stereotyped. I even specifically indicated I was speaking of "active church members" when that was unclear. I'm talking very specifically about Catholic people who believe it is OK to use birth control and do so regularly yet still pay allegiance (and money) to an organization which seeks to make that behavior difficult or impossible.

Damn right that outrages me. Because it's insane!

And I'll have to disagree with you again, Huck: You shouldn't stand by a group "because the tie runs deep" when you're talking about something as important as personal reproductive rights and basic sexual freedoms. How doing so is not "blind allegiance" I don't know, but it's the opposite of being principled, that's for damn sure. You should do what is right, for Christ's sake, especially if you're talking about a religion which claims to have a monopoly on morality!

The only "cartoonish" thing in this whole debate are the Church's views on sex, and I'd argue that the "naive" fellow here isn't the one pointing out the insanity of people giving money and allegiance to an organization which works against their own best interests, it's the guy who positively knows stuff but just "can't put it into words."
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby pjbogart » Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:57 pm

C'mon, Wags. Some people simply have faith that the sky-god will reward them for their irrational loyalty to an incomprehensible being.

As for me, I'm pretty sure that God will take me into heaven, if such a place exists. It says right there in the bible that God made us in his own image and one would have to assume that an omnipotent being is fully rational. Rational people do not believe in things for which they have no evidence, therefore anyone who believes in God is irrational and not made in God's image. Atheists and agnostics go to heaven, everyone else can go to hell.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Detritus » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:17 pm

It is very easy (for all of us) to confuse theology, ideology, and community. The church that many people find themselves bound to in terms of works and fellowship is first and foremost that of community--friends, family, teachers, students, etc. The church that many people in the church find controlling, possessive, and downright dangerous is that of ideology. And the church that mystifies and dare I say pisses off those of us outside the church--especially people like me who are lifelong atheists--is that of theology.

Look, this isn't that complicated, people. If I understand it--and I have never had an inkling of "faith" in my entire life--then the rest of you should be able to get it as well.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:06 pm

Detritus --
I get all that. I was raised with religion and have belonged to a temple. I have stated several times on this thread that I believe churches do good things and will further state that yes, I understand their importance to communities. I agree that individuals at the parish level are likely to be wonderful people. I have friends and relatives of many different faiths. Yadda yadda yadda.

Y'all can't believe I don't get it? I'm more baffled than you could possibly be. So let me be as clear as possible: While many local Catholic people, Catholic churches, and Catholic networks do much good, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH is a very bad thing. It perpetuates ugly prejudices, allows its members to commit horrific crimes, routinely distorts facts and demonstrates hypocrisy, and actively and aggressively seeks to impose its backwards moral precepts on the rest of society. Strangely, it is mostly* supported by people who do not actually believe the morality it preaches, nor approve of the awful things it does. This is fucking insane.

All of those friends, family, teachers, students, etc. should continue doing good stuff and supporting each other. But why does that have to have anything to do with The Catholic Church?

See you in heaven, pj.

*80%-95% by most estimates I've seen.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Huckleby » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:05 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote: You shouldn't stand by a group "because the tie runs deep" when you're talking about something as important as personal reproductive rights and basic sexual freedoms. How doing so is not "blind allegiance" I don't know, but it's the opposite of being principled


Some of those most critical of the church's attitudes towards sex & gender are Catholics. And though they probably question their membership in the church sometimes, they see far more positive there than bad.

I come down squarely on both sides of this argument. I know the bad in religions, the heirarchy, easy slip into narrow-mindedness. "There ain't no Jesus gonna come down from the sky, now that I found out, I know I can cry." Love that John Lennon. I am an atheist and fan of Annie Gaylor.

On the other hand, I know religous people who are extremely intelligent, positive people, and religous faith is at core of their being. Dare I say it, they are spiritual. How do you put such qualities and values into words? You can't understand these things from debate and logic, takes life experience and talking to people.

And finally, for all I know maybe there will be some Jesus gonna come down from the sky. Or maybe it will be John Lennon.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby snoqueen » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:32 pm

I was in a coffee shop today and overheard two men having a conversation. They were telling each other what they'd done over the holidays. One described how he'd gotten together with friends at someone's house out of town, and said "we're all gay so of course we're all heathens."

Made me think how some people are able to hide and rationalize their differences with organized religion so they never have to face the hard questions (specifically sexuality questions), while others are literally pushed out. I'd think for the truly principled, belonging to an organization that judgmental would be a difficult choice.

The men in the conversation seemed fine with the whole thing, happily.
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