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Religious exemptions grow in contraception mandate
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says "the president's policy respects religious liberty."
March 16th, 2012
08:00 PM ET

Religious exemptions grow in contraception mandate

By Eric Marrapodi and Jessica Yellin, CNN

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration announced late Friday two new steps in a controversial contraception mandate.

In an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking posted in the Federal Register, the administration offered several policy suggestions that would require the administrator of the insurance policy, not the religious institution or the insurer, to pay for contraception coverage.

The Obama administration also announced a new final rule on student health plans that effectively applies the contraception accommodation to religiously affiliated universities. This means students at religious universities that have moral objections can get contraception for free through their insurance providers. Schools have a one-year grace period before complying.

For religious institutions that provide their own insurance, the mandate opened the door to Americans to "formally comment on ideas for implementing this policy."

Sandra Fluke, the student who was at the center of a firestorm over contraception rules at her religious university, applauded the decision, saying in a statement, "I am very pleased that under these policies all women, regardless of what school they attend or where they work, will soon have affordable access to contraception."

The original mandate, enforcing part of the Affordable Care Act, included that insurers must provide, at no cost, all FDA-approved forms of contraception. Houses of worship have been exempted from the start, but now the administration is widening those exemptions to include other religiously affiliated groups.

Religious groups across a wide spectrum denounced the mandate, saying it infringed on their religious liberty. Most vocal was the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"The bishops will begin analyzing it immediately, but now is too early to know what it says," said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"I'm surprised such important information would be announced late Friday on St. Patrick's Day weekend as we prepare for the fourth Sunday of Lent," she added.

The new regulation prohibits lifetime limits on contraception and covers preventive services without cost-sharing for students on a college or university health plan. The new rule outlines that religious colleges and universities will not have to "pay, arrange, or refer" contraceptives for students, according to a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services.

"The president's policy respects religious liberty and makes free preventive services available to women," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in the statement. "Today's announcement is the next step toward fulfilling that commitment."

The White House held a Friday afternoon conference call with stakeholders outlining the new plan, according to a Democratic activist who participated in the call but was not authorized to speak on the record about it.

Joshua DuBois, the director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, led the call, and Catholic health care and advocacy groups joined, the source said.

The extension of the religious exemption to colleges had been a major point of contention for many religious institutions.

"This is something the bishops should be happy about," said Steve Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America.

"I think the take-away from this is, it's clear the administration is serious about its efforts to address the concerns of the Catholic bishops and others as it relates to the insurance mandate."

In an effort to address concerns of religious groups that self-insure, the new rules suggest creating "an exemption for group health plans established or maintained by certain religious employers."

The policy continued with a suggested four-part definition of who might qualify. It says the group must have religious values as its purpose, primarily employ people who share those religious beliefs, primarily serve persons who share those beliefs and be a nonprofit organization.

When the preliminary rule for the contraception mandate was released last year, it had a different four-point definition for a religious organization. Religious colleges and charities were all but written out of the definition, so they would not be included in the exemption.

According to the source, the administration said it does not want the new definition used as a precedent for future policies and regulation, the source said.

"It should ameliorate some of their concerns," Schneck said of the bishops.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Conference of Bishops said in a statement that the fight over the contraception mandate was strictly a religious liberty issue.

"One particular religious freedom issue demands our immediate attention: the now-finalized rule of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would force virtually all private health plans nationwide to provide coverage of sterilization and contraception-including abortifacient drugs-subject to an exemption for 'religious employers' that is arbitrarily narrow, and to an unspecified and dubious future 'accommodation' for other religious organizations that are denied the exemption," the statement read.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Politics

soundoff (695 Responses)
  1. us1776

    It is hard to believe that here we are in the 21st century and we are arguing over something so fundamental to a society as universal access to contraception.

    It's pitiful.

    .

    March 16, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Rob

      Yes, lets obtain them for free and sell them oversees. Now I just need a perscription for condoms to earn more.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • rpratz

      In the United States in 2012, every adult has access to bith control. They need just buy the pills, condoms, etc. It is really very simple...take responsibility for your own reproductive choices!

      March 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Fine. Then stop meddling in the issue of abortion. If a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy, butt out.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • US2012

      We have had universal access to contraceptives since i can remember!!!!
      I only pitched in with my girlfiend, not the Neighbors or the Bum on the corner – Get it

      March 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • rpratz

      Tom, if you are suggesting that abortion is really just after-the-fact contraception, then you are concretely demonstrating the central tenet of the pro-life movement. Contraception is essentially about convenience (avoiding pregnancy) whereas abortion is the termination of a human life. They are not morally equivalent!

      March 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • abcdxyz

      @rpratz: How is paying for contraceptive pills different from paying from statin drugs to keep cholesterol levels down? They are both prescription medications and should be provided by a comprehensive insurance plan.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Volleydan

      Considering that contraceptives have only been around since the 1950s, I don't know that claiming that "universal access" to them is "fundamental to society."

      It seems that terms like "fundamental" and "rights" are being used far too often to describe items that are neither fundamental or a right. A luxury? Perhaps. A privilege? Possibly. But a right? That's pushing it.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Look, stupid, you can pay to prevent pregnancy, or you can stop attempting to prevent women from accessing legal abortion, or you can pay for kids that weren't wanted in the first place. Take your pick. Which do you think will be less costly to your wallet and to society?

      March 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And really, how dumb are you pretending that contraceptives have 'only been around since the 1950s"? Care to absolve yourself or be condemned as an idiot?

      March 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Volleydan

      True, condoms and such have been around for a long time. However, if the issue was access to condoms, the ladies here wouldn't be losing their minds like they are. The issue here is "the pill" and you know it. And "the pill" was developed in the 1940a and 1950s and approved by the FDA in 1960.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Chris

      @ rpratz. True, women should buy their own contraceptives. Cancer patients should buy their own medicines. Same for all diseases. You just removed the need for health insurance.
      Unless you think those horrible s3x-crazed women (I guess it is well know women want s3x a lot more than men do in your world) only use contraceptives to enjoy free s3x. But many use oral contraceptives to treat painful, disabling and sometimes deadly diseases. Who are you to require them to pay their insurance premiums without receiving any benefits from them while you get your insurance to pay for your medication?

      March 16, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  2. Destiny

    Since religious people (including myself) are against abortions, why in the world would they not want people to prevent those unwanted pregnancies to begin with? It makes no sense!

    March 16, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • us1776

      We were all hoping you could explain it.

      Makes absolutely no sense from any perspective that I can see.

      .

      March 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Rob

      The sperm and egg have already joined before a pill prevents inplantation. Therefore it is abortion.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @Destiny: The reason the Roman Cult (aka Catholic Church) is anti-abortion and against contraception is because they are, among other things, a fertility cult.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • abcdxyz

      @Rob: I think you need a physiology lesson. Contraceptive pills prevent the release of the ovum to begin with, therefore there is no abortion.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  3. Lindalou

    There will be no arguments about making b/c coverage mandatory when men can get pregnant. Yes, that's a stupid premise, but so is this whole argument. No one will be forced to take that pill. Listen up people that want to withhold this pill because it goes against your religious beliefs, IT'S A MEDICATION! I have taken it for painful, debilitating periods, erratic periods, and periods that stopped for no reason. The church shouldn't be dictating medical practices. This whole subject should be decided by women not a bunch of supposedly celibate old men.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Thank you.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • electroguy

      Really. Wow. HOW did women even survive before birth control?

      March 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Volleydan

      Then don't go to work for a company owned by a church that opposes birth control. It's simple if you strip away all the histrionics around this topic.....

      March 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Rob

      So all medications should be free by your argument. I want free asprin for my headaches and a Big screen TV for my vision. My Healthcare administrator should pay for that.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Lindalou

      Yes, Rob, prescription medication should be covered. If they can see the sense of covering Viagra, I'm sure you've heard of it, then yes.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Leo

      Electroguy – some women didn't survive. Did you ever think of that? Or they lived in a state of pain. Think about how many horrific medical conditions people used to suffer through that we can now treat. Do you propose that we simply decide not to treat them because we once had no treatment for those conditions?

      Sure, let's apply your logic to its natural conclusion. No inhalers for asthma. No chemo for cancer. No pain meds and NSAID's for arthritis. No vaccine against polio. No antibiotics. People USED to go without these treatments because the treatments didn't exist. So why do they need them now? In fact, why do we even BOTHER with modern medicine? The human race survived without it in the past, so why should we need it now?

      In fact... why do we need cars, telephones, electricity, computers, or any modern technology?

      Now, in light of this bit of natural logic based on your question... do you think women should be able to get the meds to manage their conditions or not?

      March 16, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      The medicine is available, buy it, use it. But in a free society if we have cooperative efforts in government, then your neighbors get to have their say. Get your hand out of their pocket, and the argument is over.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • goldenmoral

      1) a woman is the boss of her own body...
      2) what has religion to do with this...

      March 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Chris

      @ Bobsfriend. As your neighbor, I say you should continue paying insurance premiums with each paycheck but this insurance should cover none of the medication you ever get prescribed.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  4. serdich

    ..some women will still vote for GOP....like midless sheep.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • electroguy

      Obviously, the only person that REALLY needed contraception, was your parents..

      March 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Firefly

      Exactly! I can understand GOP men – but I will never understand Republican women. To be so brainwashed is astounding.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  5. b4bigbang

    HawaiiGuest: @Bob's friend: "Quoting bible scriptures mean nothing to non christians. I wonder how long it will take for thumpers to realize that."

    Actually that's not entirely true. Non-Christians become Christians because they heard or read Scripture, myself included.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      b4bigbang
      Acutally that is not true. You are just an an idiot.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      And contradictions within scripture, not to mention some scripture that is just wrong (slavery, women being forced to marry their rap.ists), is part of the reason I became an atheist.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      Hawaii: You are wrong, because you don't know the Scriptures and you don't know God.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • BMW57

      Was that after the lobotomy that removed free will?

      March 17, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  6. WOW

    I love how people are so misinformed!!! Plan B is NOT an abortion pill!! I'm a pharmacy tech, and had to learn about it when it went on the shelf. If conception has already occurred.....nothing happens!!! It thickens the uterine lining to make contraception more difficult AFTER taking it. It does no harm to a fetus. Also, I think that we need not give businesses and organizations greater freedoms than we do individuals. I worked for a hospital that did not cover birth control. Nor did they perform tubals after birth. I did not like having that choice taken from me when I was not catholic myself.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • inurplace

      Please do not pretend that being a pharmacy tech makes you informed. Plan B IS certainly an abortion pill, in that it helps prevent implantation after conception has already occurred. If one believes that life begins at conception, then an abortion pill it is. Ask your pharmacist (which I am). And don't try to mislead people into believing you are more than you are.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • rednecks suck

      @ inurplace. Please do not make yourself seem more important then you really are. If you were really informed, you would know that research has shown that, and I quote directly from their abstract "A major barrier to the widespread acceptability and use of emergency contraception (EC) are concerns regarding the mechanisms of action of EC methods. Today, levonorgestrel (LNG) in a single dose of 1.5 mg taken within 120 h of an unprotected intercourse is the most widely used EC method worldwide. It has been demonstrated that LNG-EC acts through an effect on follicular development to delay or inhibit ovulation but has no effect once luteinizing hormone has started to increase. Thereafter, LNG-EC cannot prevent ovulation and it does not prevent fertilization or affect the human fallopian tube. LNG-EC has no effect on endometrial development or function. In an in vitro model, it was demonstrated that LNG DID NOT interfere with blastocyst function or implantation. Article by Gemzell-Danielsson, K. From Contraception. 2010;82(5):404.

      Ask your OB/GYN (which I am). And don't try to mislead people into believing you are more than you are.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • WOW

      So you think your an expert on conception??? Maybe you should go to medical school. It is a highly debatable topic as to when life begins. I doubt that your an expert on it. And "ask my pharmacist"...I work with them, and have been assured that they are not "abortion" pills. So thanks for your input, but I think I'll take the word of someone I KNOW has a Pharm D over someone who just says that they do. I wonder though...does that mean that the pharmacy you work for does not carry the product???

      March 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      WOW – You seem to have reacted with emotion when challenged about your knowledge of Plan B. Inurplace was merely correcting an untrue statement you made. The truth is that this product causes an abortion and life begins at conception whether you agree with it or not. And for you to expect a Catholic organization to provide you with a product that they are opposed to is their right, not yours. Get treated somewhere else if you don't like the service. That you are free to do.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  7. mw

    If women are restricted as to what medicine is covered by their insurance provided by their employer but men aren't, that is discrimination and is against the law. Why is my employer allowed to impose his religious beliefs on me? If companies are allowed to restrict coverage of birth control, the next thing they will be complaining about is the increase in the cost of the insurance to cover the additional pregnancies that result from lack of birth control.

    If you want to eliminate coverage of birth control for women, then eliminate coverage of drugs like Viagra for men. Eliminate the cost of vasectomies also.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Volleydan

      Your employer is only allowed to "impose his religious beliefs on you" if your employer is a church. But when you think of it that way it doesn't seem nearly as terrible of a concept as you're trying to make it out to be, does it?

      March 16, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • WOW

      @Vollydan....nope this means hospitals, nursing homes, etc. also. Anything church affiliated,

      March 16, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Chris

      Wait till any business affiliated with the Jehova witnesses start refusing access to blood transfusion to their employees (female and male).

      March 16, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  8. Ungodly Discipline

    You know, every morning I wake up and think to myself, what will I do if we don't come to a conclusion on this birth control issue? I can barely concentrate on my job. Birth control.

    But then it occurred to me that I have a job! I don't have to worry about this utter Christian nonsense! That is for the people who don't have real jobs and actually have time to concern themselves with really stupid things!

    Now I feel better.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • E

      I have a real job, and yet I have to pay $500 a year for my NON covered medically necessary doctor's visits and pills. The issue here is insurance, and the fact that millions of us are denied basic coverage because of OTHER PEOPLE'S RELIGIONS. I can't wait until August when I can finally use a shred of the insurance coverage that I pay for.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  9. DumpTheGOP

    Ah, let's see now... religious law vs. secular law... how many pedophile priests were protected over the last 3 decades by "religious law"... the Catholic Church transfering them here and there... a whole bunch...

    March 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  10. Maggie

    Do you smoke? Many Americans do. Why don't we let them all just die in the streets when they get Kung diseases to follow your analogy?

    March 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • electroguy

      I think the Govt should pay for my smokes, because they calm me down! Oh thats right, youre special, because you can give birth, but really dont want to..

      March 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  11. Bobs Friend

    1 Corin 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  12. TomFoolery

    There should be NO exemptions to laws that others must follow. This is fundamentally corrupt. If you have a just law, ALL must obey. If making ALL obey is not acceptable, you do NOT have a just law.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Volleydan

      But if you pass a law that restricts the ability of people to practice or observe their religious beliefs, you have a violation of the First Amendment.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • E

      They can practice it all they want in church and at home, they do NOT get to force it one million of employees.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • abcdxyz

      Yes. If the Catholic church CHOOSES to be an employer, it should follow the laws that apply to employers. Period. If the church doesn't want to, it should sell off its hospitals and close its schools and stop being an employer. This is not an issue of "religious liberty." This is an issue of whether we live in a secular nation or a theocracy.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  13. glorydays

    Ladies, you know how to demand your rights. Aspirin in place.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Chris

      Aspiring will only make dysmenorhea worse and may kill me. I will stick to oral contraceptives to treat my painful condition.
      But you should also remember you should keep your pants on at all times, unless for the specific purpose of having a baby.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  14. mrMazury

    Wait. Does this mean i will now be exempt from abiding by any laws that I object too because of my beliefs? YEHAW!!!!!

    March 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • abcdxyz

      Oh, no, you have to be a "church" to do that! I have conscientious objections to lots of things, like Mr. Bush's wars, for example, but I still have to pay for them as a taxpayer. Of course, "churches," not being taxpayers, don't have to pay for very much of anything in the "real" world.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  15. Bobs Friend

    I know I was harsh below, but sometimes that is the only way to wake people up. You already have all the power over conception that no one can take from you: Stop having s. e. x. until you are ready for a child. But if you insist on gambling, don't ask everyone else to enable you.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      What the hell are you babbling about? How will everyone else be paying for a persons insurance? I think you've been listening to Rush to much. And sin is only an applicable word to those who subscribe to your religion.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • MAL

      Yup, that was an insensitive and ignorant comment.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Rosalie

      So you're saying that since my husband and I don't want children, we should remain celibate until after I've gone through menopause? We've been married 25 years now and that still hasn't happened.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      It is interesting that Liberals keep talking about "Free" contraception. But nothing is free, of course. When an insurance company, or a government purchases something, that cost is added to the cost of the organization, and transferred to those who finance the organization. In other words, my cost goes up because Suzy insists that her pills are "Free"
      This Liberal concept of "Free" everything is why we have a not-so-free 15 trillion dollar debt.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      Rosalie:
      No all I'm saying is if you want contraception, don't insist that someone else pay for it. Buy it your self, it really isn't that expensive.
      By insisting that your neighbors participate in it, you are violating their deeply held beliefs. You are free buy what you want, it is legal.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Chris

      I haven't had s.e.x. since the death of my husband. Happy?
      But I am far from menopause and without the pill I would have very irregular, painful, and heavy periods. This was disabling. So, for me, not taking the pill would be a gamble with my ability to live a normal life and keep my job. My job is what ensure you do not need to fund welfare for me.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Chris

      I haven't had s.e.x. since the death of my husband. Happy?
      But I am far from menopause and without the pill I would have very irregular, painful, and heavy periods. This was disabling. So, for me, not taking the pill would be a gamble with my ability to live a normal life and keep my job. My job is what ensures you do not need to fund welfare for me.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Alix

      Bob, with the amount of money I have to pay for my insurance plan, it would easily cover contraceptive pills if I still needed them, and that's true for most people who have jobs and insurance. They pay for their premiums, which are quite steep in general. Those premiums pay for their medications. Why shouldn't they get what the need? Even the insurance companies would rather pay out for contraceptive pills instead of pregnancies. A hospital birth can easily run you $15,000 - which the insurance pool WOULD be paying for.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:26 am |
  16. steven

    Religion is the root of all evil. It would be a much more peaceful and tolerant world without religion.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      Matt 5:43 Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • ja-coffalotte

      no lie brethren

      March 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Bob's friend

      Quoting bible scriptures mean nothing to non christians. I wonder how long it will take for thumpers to realize that.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      @ Hawaii Guest:
      Interesting that you don't evaluate the words for what they are, but condemn it because of where it came from. :

      2 Corin 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      The words of your book is what drove me away from religion. It is not a book of selflessness, it is a book of acting selfless to have a reward at the end, which is in itself an exceedingly selfish act. The underlying philosophies in the bible are good, but it has been twisted into an irritating contest of who can be the loudest in their faith.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Bobs Friend

      Bible quotes aren't anything special. They are not more valuable, or more profound, or even more true, just because they come from the bible. They carry no more weight than quotes from a Harry Potter or a Dr. Seuss book.

      While there may be valuable advice in the bible, there is also a lot of garbage and outright despicable, and amoral teachings in it. That alone makes the judgement of anyone who quotes from it, suspect. The bible has been throughout history, and is today, used to justify some of the most horrendous things ever done by man.

      The act of quoting from the bible, as if it could be used to settle an argument, and not so much the quote itself, is what I think HawaiiGuest is deriding.

      And, for me anyway, anyone who quotes from the bible loses all credibility, because to place value on it, one must ether embrace or ignore the nastiness of it. Neither is a virtue.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      @ Hawaii:
      You still never commented on your thoughts of what Jesus said regarding Loving your enemies. Let's pretend for a moment that I didn't pull it from the Bible to inspire your contempt, but quoted Hemingway or something. What would you say then.

      @ Linca: Just like Hawaii, you focus on the source rather than the content. So I would ask you the same question: Are you capable of evaluating the content of the statement?
      This is actually a very important verse for me, because it is what converted me from agnosticism to Christ. On the surface it IS a nonsensical statement. LOVE ENEMIES? How? WHY??? Well, I decided to ask God...... and He answered me in a very profound way. I was changed forever.. Born Again. .... Just like the Bible describes in detail. I have subsequently had many and various encounters with God. That is why I and many Christian speak with authority.. as if we "know".. because we DO know....God.

      No body is saying outlaw contraception... but in a free society there have to limits to what you can force your neighbors to purchase, and one of those things is insurance that sponsors things they find abhorrent.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • gotburquas?

      "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coinicides with their own desires." Susan B. Anthony, 1896

      Yeah you know God. So do I. She told me you were full of it.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Bobs Friend

      You said, "Just like Hawaii, you focus on the source rather than the content. So I would ask you the same question: Are you capable of evaluating the content of the statement?"
      I reject the source because, as I said above, "While there may be valuable advice in the bible, there is also a lot of garbage and outright despicable, and amoral teachings in it."

      The nastiness in it, and the atrocities justified by it, is sufficient reason to reject the entire thing. None of the good from it requires the bible, and all of the vile and despicable shit I can do without.

      Quoting from the bible implies that the one doing the quoting accepts it as valuable. This is often unequivocally stated, claiming that it is accepted as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, or word to that effect. That means that whoever makes that claim must ether embrace or ignore the nastiness in it. I find either repulsive.

      You said, "This is actually a very important verse for me, because it is what converted me from agnosticism to Christ."
      Let me guess, you were agnostic because you were unsure whether the christian god existed, but had no doubt about non-existence of the millions of other gods ever worshiped by man?

      You said, "Well, I decided to ask God...... and He answered me in a very profound way. I was changed forever.. "
      To an outside observer it is indistinguishable from an adult having a conversation with an imaginary friend.

      You said, "That is why I and many Christian speak with authority.. as if we "know".. because we DO know....God."
      Just like a 5 year old "knows" the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are real.

      You said, "No body is saying outlaw contraception..."
      You don't get out much, do you?

      You said, "but in a free society there have to limits to what you can force your neighbors to purchase, and one of those things is insurance that sponsors things they find abhorrent."
      How can it be a freer society if certain corporations are allowed to force their religious dogma on their employees, compared to where every individual as equal access? This issue is about religiously affiliated corporations demanding their rights to supersede those of their individual employees. It is about a free society, but it's the religious that are trying to prevent it from being one.

      Anyone who thinks that abortions are worse than contraception (and who in his or her right mind doesn't?) should be cheering the government. They should demand from their religious leaders to provide contraception for free to every man and woman in their congregation. They should demand that their religious leaders take the lead on abortion prevention by providing comprehensive sexual education to the teenagers. The best way to prevent abortion still is prevention of conception.

      But it appears that the only "abortion prevention" measures taken, are after conception has taken place. The law, recently enacted in Texas, where women seeking an abortion are required to be raped, is one example of these "abortion prevention" measures.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • SPA Knight

      I thought this was a Belief Blog? Everytime a "believer" quotes scripture or expresses their opinion based on their belief they are attacked by non believers. How strange.

      March 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @SPA Knight

      I'm just trying to point out that basing an argument against someone based on the bible is not very convincing, due to the fact that they are quoting it to someone who has no faith in what they believer believes. That's like me quoting data from a book explaining evolution to someone who doesn't think evolution is possible. Useless.

      March 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      HawaiiGuest – I guess that is a significant difference between us because I am completely open to science including evolution. For me science, theology, philosophy all matter in forming my beliefs and contributing to the intellect. Science only without a balance of ethics though can translate into deception. Theology and philosophy contribute to that balance in my humble opinion.

      March 20, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • LinCA

      @SPA Knight

      You said, "Everytime a "believer" quotes scripture or expresses their opinion based on their belief they are attacked by non believers."
      Questioning the nonsensical belief in fairy tales based on an ancient tribal myths, and encouraging the "believer" to employ reason and rationally evaluate his or her position, isn't an attack.

      It's an attempt to nudge believers to come to their senses.

      March 21, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • awaysaway

      Yeah my gerbil is an atheist – and he is not doing well at all. But my hamster is a Hindu and he seems all right. And my cat is Mormon and seems pretty content. So I have to agree – you speak such wisdom.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Jesus

      You've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested Friday morning...

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!! .. .. .. ... .. . ..

      March 20, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  18. Lisa

    Ms.Smith
    It makes me sad that you're a woman. My God wouldnt make me choose between good and bad health.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  19. Bobs Friend

    Don't you ever watch "Intervention"? People who finance the addict are CODEPENDENT and are enabling the behavior. The degenerate will continue to abuse the family until he gets cut off. These women want someone else to pay for the consequences of their degenerate lifestyle. This is the ultimate purpose of the entire Liberal agenda.

    Wake up American women, you have been duped into sin!! Get drunk, sleep around, get preg, murder your child, get a disease. This is all EVIL. Repent, turn and call out to God and He will save you through His Son Jesus Christ.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • awaysaway

      My image of you is that you have a low paying job. Low educational achievement. You don't have a lot of work responsibilities. You volunteer at your church. You are unmarried. And you don't have any friends outside of church.

      How did I do?

      March 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • eatmybird

      Yeah but don't you want/have to go through all the steps you mentioned before you get to Jesus? Besides, don't the Religious nuts think that an aborted fetus goes to HEAVEN,anyway?If so , I don't see what's the problem then.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      It was a very lame and ham handed attempt at mockery and provocation. The internet is not a place for qualifications. I could write anything here of course, but on a board full of liars, I would expect that you would assume I was lying. But I am not a liar like you, but even still I needn't waste my time explaining anything.

      Actually your post indicates what your hope is.. by resorting to mockery you avoid the discomfort of actually discussing this issue, because of course, you already know that you are wrong.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • abcdxyz

      @Bob's Friend: DUDE–are you not aware that many, in fact MOST, women use contraception, and many of them are within what you would no doubt think of as a "sacred" relationship, marriage? How dare you suggest that all women who use contraception are moral degenerates?

      March 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Chris

      I pay my insurance premiums. I don't see why I should also pay the full price for my prescriptions.
      I am quite sure my insurance premiums also pay in part for the prostate cancer treatment of some man I don't even know (who also pays his premiums). This is what health insurance is for.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • BMW57

      BF sounds lie you have been geting any for a long time. You need to get out more in the real world, the one that orbits the sun. YOu ahve the rigt to live like that but not the right to force it on others.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  20. Bobs Friend

    Look, it's America. You're free to sleep around, but why do you insist that someone else finance your sin? If you get a disease, you want the government to provide health care for you?

    March 16, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Tom

      I notice you're quick to denegrate women, why don't you tell men to keep it in their pants?

      March 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Maggie

      What a dope. No need to bother explaining why or how these pills are used to save women's lives.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Terra

      @Bobs friend "If you get a disease, you want the government to provide health care for you?"

      Uh yes, that is the whole purpose of health insurance , to cover me if I get a disease. By your logic people who smoke knew the danger and did it anyway too, would you deny them lung cancer treatment? The problem with all of this is that this is directed soley at women when we all know that it takes two to cause a pregnancy. You would not be singing this tune if men could get pregnant.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      NO I agree with that.. the men are just as guilty.. sleeping around, fathering children, not taking care of the children, dumping them as wards of the state etc. It's just a diff topic.

      I think men who father children and do not take care of them should have their wages garnished. If we can garnish wages for tax purposes, we can do it for children.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • WOW

      You keep speaking religion,then are so quick to judge. Not all women who use birth control are immoral, loose women who sleep around. MOST married women also use birth control. Otherwise, we would all have an outrageous amount of children that we can't afford. Then more families would need *gasp* government assistance.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • E

      Funny how Catholics have no problem paying for STD treatments for cheating and divorced men but married and sick women shouldn't DARE ask for medications they need.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      @ Terra:
      This is the circle we get into though..in fact it is very similar to a mother covering for a wayward child who continually gets in greater levels of trouble. We are essentially financing and encouraging bad behavior. ..codependent... at some point it has to stop.
      The law needs to uphold the ideal of behavior, even though we know all of society can't always meet it. What is happening now is that we are tearing down any and every decent standard of s. e. x. ual conduct.

      Anyway, all of this will come to an end sooner rather than later, because our debt and deficits are completely unsustainable. Obama Care was just reviewed and the projected cost is double what the American people were told, because lying politicians used every accounting trick in the book to punch it through congress.
      It's a ponzi scheme that's about to collapse, so don't get too excited about getting ANY "free" stuff.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • lady123

      I have accepted Jesus as my lord. I am recently married, in school full time. Work full time. I take the pill. I am so busy that I do not have the correct amount of time for a child yet! I pray that you quit thinking that all women who take the pill are sleeping around!! You sound ignorant and its offensive. You do not know every females situation. Do you expect me to be celibate in my marriage!? ???

      March 16, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      Lady 123
      I answered that above, but just to review: Nobody is advocating outlawing contraception. Buy it.. use it.. & leave me out of it.
      But in a free country, there is a limit to what you can force your neighbor to buy.. and one of those things is insurance that sponsors something they find abhorrent.
      Anyway, I wasn't saying every women who uses contraception is immoral, but we have to be honest that the explosion of the S. e. x. ual Revolution in America, and all of the moral ills that came with it, began shortly after the pill was made available.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Chris

      I haven't had s.e.x. since the death of my husband. Happy?
      But I am far from menopause and without the pill I would have very irregular, painful, and heavy periods. This was disabling and preventing me from leading a normal life with a normal job.
      And I do not have one of those STDs you think all women on the pill have.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Alix

      You know, people pay for their own insurance. Either they pay, or their employer pays (or a combination), but it still belongs to the employee. Employers don't get a say in what I do with the money they give me, why should they have a say in what my insurance provides for me? It's mine, after all.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:30 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.