birth control pills

Semantics in religion and law

birth control pillsI’m still scratching my head over the furor with Pres. Obama and the Catholic Church about providing contraception for employees. As I understand it, the edict from Washington originally said all Catholic institutions had to cover/pay for/provide contraception for female employees. Church leaders and others had a fit about Obama’s “war on religion.” Obama came back a few days later with a new edict saying insurance companies, not the Catholic institutions, had to provide the contraceptives directly.

First of all, how many of those institutions are actually self-insured? I’ll bet most of them, all along, have provided employee insurance via a plan from some big insurance company. So isn’t it just a matter of semantics whether the law says “the employer” must provide the coverage or “the insurance company” must provide the coverage? In any case, it’s a matter of labor law, not a “war on religion.” Employees are not being forced to obtain contraceptives if they don’t want them.

As for the insurance companies providing the contraceptives directly, I’m sure the reports mean to say the companies will provide the coverage for contraceptives, not actually hand out the contraceptives.

Sheesh, someone please tell conservatives there is a middle ground between everyday calm and hysteria. A temporary policy disagreement is not a “war on religion” or “class warfare.”

On the other hand, there is that right-wing “war on women” …

9 thoughts on “Semantics in religion and law

  1. The most obvious idiocy (to me) is that congress apparently passed a (nother) law that is so ambiguous that it can be interpreted and reinterpreted by people (like the president) who have no legislative powers whatever.

    1. Yep, ambiguous laws create all sorts of chaos and just invite legal challenges. Barring a Supreme Court ruling, of course, they leave the door open (often deliberately) to all kinds of interpretation and (mis)application. More Washington skullduggery. Passing a law without passing a law. A pox on all of them.

  2. To expound on the comments by She Speaks and Pied, I believe this is precisely the kind of issue the disorganized conservative right has been searching for, something that is redolent of an attack on religion, to wit, an institution immune from rational analysis, never mind that 98% of all eligible Catholic women choose to avail themselves of contraceptives in direct contravention of church doctrine. To that end, the emotive charges are a perfect indictment of a President whom they see as strange, even sinister, someone outside their own tribe.

    “In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
    – Autobiography of Mark Twain

    1. Twain got it right, didn’t he? Scary when you think about it. Still, we have to go forward with open minds, critical thinking, and whatever information we can glean from the countless sources available.

      Conservatives are latching onto anything they can find to use against Obama. They appear to be getting desperate as they realize they don’t have a truly viable candidate with broad appeal. The Catholic bishops, meantime, are becoming increasingly irrelevant as they cling to outdated ideas while the rest of the country (and most of the civilized world) moves into the 21st Century.

... and that's my two cents