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Liberal Catholics challenge bishops on Obama's contraception rule
A growing chorus of progressive Catholic activists say the American bishops, above, don't speak for all Catholics on public policy matters.
February 15th, 2012
02:17 PM ET

Liberal Catholics challenge bishops on Obama's contraception rule

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) - America’s Catholic bishops have criticized the White House’s mandate for insurers to provide free contraception coverage to employees, but plenty of other Catholic groups have endorsed the plan - some taking swipes at the bishops in the process.

“The Catholic bishops and their allies in the Republican Party are increasingly isolated,” James Salt, executive director of a liberal group called Catholics United, said in a statement over the weekend supporting the White House’s contraception rule.

“The bishops’ blanket opposition appears to the serve the interests of a political agenda, not the needs of the American people," Salt continued, e-mailing his group’s support for the White House to tens of thousands of Catholics nationwide.

Another Washington-based Catholic operative, John Gehring, e-mailed reporters over the weekend to knock the bishops for criticizing President Barack Obama, even after his administration revised its contraception rule Friday to mandate that insurers - not Catholic institutions - pay for birth control coverage.

"You have to ask why the bishops can't take yes for an answer," wrote Gehring, who works with the progressive group Faith in Public Life.

On Wednesday, Gehring helped organize a call with reporters to discuss a congressional hearing this week at which some bishops are expected to testify against the contraception rule. "I believe everything my church teaches," Nicholas Cafardi, a prominent Catholic lawyer, said on the call, voicing support for the birth control rule. " I don’t consider this as a question of dogma, but of how we apply Catholic teaching in the real world."

For the White House and Democratic Party, such expressions of Catholic support have been helpful, providing political ammunition against conservative allegations the administration and party are anti-religion and are at war with the Catholic Church.

But the support has not come easy. It reflects a years-long campaign by liberal Catholic activists to push back against the leadership of their church on controversial political matters - and years of White House bridge-building with a spectrum of Catholic groups.

In an election year in which Catholics will constitute one of the nation’s biggest swing voting blocs - and in which the bishops are likely to continue slapping the White House - the political heft of a new generation of progressive Catholic groups and the White House’s Catholic outreach efforts are about to face a huge political test.

Groups such as Catholics United and Faith in Public Life got off the ground during and just after the 2004 election when a Catholic Democratic presidential nominee - Sen. John Kerry - was hard-pressed to find Catholic support in the face of condemnations from some Catholic bishops over his support for abortion rights.

Kerry, the first Catholic presidential nominee since John F. Kennedy, wound up losing the Catholic vote to George W. Bush, who made Catholic outreach a priority.

“For too long, the far right owned the values debate and there were very few progressive and religious groups willing to speak out in specific and strategic moments to help shape that debate,” Catholics United's Salt said. “But since 2004, there’s been a turnaround.”

The emergence of progressive Catholic groups such as Catholics United helped Obama handily win the Catholic vote in 2008.

And such groups provided Catholic support for the president in 2009, when he faced conservative Catholic criticism over his commencement address at the University of Notre Dame, and in 2010, when the bishops opposed Obama’s health care law, alleging that it left the door open to taxpayer-funded abortion.

Some activists from the new progressive Catholic establishment have been hired into the Obama administration, including Alexia Kelley, who started a group called Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good after the 2004 election, and John Kelly, a Catholic outreach liaison for Obama’s 2008 campaign.

“This will be a surprise to some, but this has been an extremely Catholic friendly White House,” said Stephen Schneck, a Catholic University professor involved with a handful of progressive Catholic groups. “It probably has more Catholic members than just about any presidency I can remember.

“That’s partly been the way that the administration has been able to court Catholic progressives,” he said.

Since its early days, the Obama White House has heavily courted Catholic organizations like Catholic Charities, USA and the Catholic Health Association, which voiced support for the revised contraception rule, upsetting some bishops.

That support was politically important for the White House because the administration doubted it could ever win support from the bishops, even after Friday’s revision.

“Unfortunately, the White House knew all along that there was no chance in reaching the bishops - Richard Doerflinger, John Carr and the Bishops Conference staff are far too cozy with right-wing politicians on the Hill to have any real negotiation,” says a senior Democratic official, referring to influential bishops conference staffers.

“Until a bishop shows some leadership over their own staff, it’s going to be hard to negotiate,” the official said, who would speak only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss White House negotiations.

A spokesperson for the bishops said the White House never consulted them on the contraception rule.

“When the President called Cardinal Dolan… it was merely to tell him what the White House had already decided,” the spokesperson said, referring to Timothy Dolan, president of the bishops’ conference. The spokesperson also insisted on anonymity because the bishops don’t typically speak on dealings with the White House.

“Never was there an attempt to collaborate or learn what kind of accommodation might have been acceptable,” the spokesperson said.

A survey released Tuesday from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that among Catholics who have heard about the issue, 55% support giving religious institutions that object to birth control an exemption from the federal contraceptive rule, while 39% oppose exempting those institutions.

 

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Bishops • Catholic Church • Culture wars

soundoff (429 Responses)
  1. paintpaintpaint

    This whole thing is ridiculous. I'm a 57 year old Catholic woman, who spent her life in the company of other Catholic women. Including my mother I only knew 2 women who didn't use contraceptives. They both had 6 children. One didn't want to have to pay for contraception, and the other got separated after child #6 or she would have had more. Every other woman I know, including my mother, used contraceptives. The priests are not in our bedrooms. Nor should they be. We WANT health care that helps us not have children we can't care for!

    February 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Chris

      Thank God when Jesus set up the Church, he gave no power to govern the Church to groups such as these liberal groups!

      February 15, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • nicky

      Hey dumb dumb, Jesus did not set up the Church!!!

      February 16, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  2. American Trucker

    You can't stop the flood if you don't turn off the fawcet. The Catholic Church in which I grew up has now become the main promoter of overpopulation, ignorance and suferring. How could this be God's plan? Bye, bye.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • paintpaintpaint

      They seem to be rejecting the whole Vatican II move to be more openhearted and wise, I think.

      February 15, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Deepak

      well we know you aren't a serious Catholic bceause you find joy in ridiculing people's speech (which is a sin) rather then having a sincere discussion about issues.

      April 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  3. Cross

    It is not fair to require a catholic hospital to provide for services that go against the beliefs of the catholic church.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • anagram_kid

      So then you agree that since gluttony is a sin, they should also not cover any drug that a person has to take due to being overweight. To do so, condones a sinful life as the drugs allow them to live while being overweight.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Ben

      If it is okay for the catholic Church to cover viagra, then it is okay for them to cover women's health care needs. The Bishops position is irresponsible and irrational. Especially when all place of worhips are excepted from this rules. If a different set of rules is created for catholic affiliated private businesses, what stop us from doing the same for the muslims, Jews, indo's or any other religion.

      February 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  4. WDinDallas

    The leaders in Catholic United and other progresive catholic groups are just that, "progressive". Most don't go to church, and all of them sing a marxist message and use Liberation Theology to back up their marxist ideology. Jesus was not a Marxist, he was an independent business man until the Father told him to begin his ministry. He would not appove of contraception, abortion (Plan B and Ella) or the death penalty. His compassion for the poor does not mean he would favor a progressive tax rate, but he would favor a government that provided reasonal assistance for food, medical and shelter for the poor. He would not tolerate those that would not work. Your work is a service to God.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Dude

      What? I went to Catholic schools K-12, altar boy, sports, etc. Met Pope John Paul II. Active in the parish and charity works. I can say that I live "as some would call it" like a conservative or what a conservatives says we should all live like. But I'd never vote Republican as the party is now and support women's rights. How dare you look down on people as if you are better than them. What do you know about these people?

      February 15, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Reader in So. Cal

      The progressive bishops don't go to church? Really? What's your evidence? Jesus was against contraception? Again, evidence please.

      Your point about liberation theology is counter-intuitive. If it is Marxist, it is atheist. Theology is not a part of atheism and drawing from the Bible for ideas of liberation certainly would not fit the atheist model.

      February 15, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Dude and Reader.....read every word, like "most".

      I am referencing to the organization Catholic United, not the USCCB

      Now, look up Liberation Theology, its root and premise.

      Theology and religion is more than the Nicene Creed.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  5. Reality

    Beyond the nitty-gritty of politics:

    WARNING!!! WARNING!!! WARNING!!!

    : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% failure rate, one million unplanned pregnancies/yr) and male con-dom (17.4% failure rate, another one million unplanned pregnancies/yr) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute.

    Added information before making your next move:

    from the CDC-2006

    "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

    And from:
    Consumer Reports, January, 2012

    "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

    Obviously, Planned Parenthood, parents and educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    February 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  6. Aviate

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

    Someone please tell me where phrase gives the Catholic Church veto power over health-care policy? I can't imagine why the Founders would have left that crucial bit out...

    February 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Reality

      The Catholic hierachy do not believe in artificial birth control so why do they employ those who do? Did not the Supreme Court recently decide that religious organizations have the right to decide who they hire and fire? Bottom line: To reduce health insurance costs and to not be subject to Obama care regulations about supplying contraceptives, Catholic groups should simply not hire those in need of contraceptives and fire those who demand such coverage.

      There are different opinions as to what a religion really is or what a non-profit is. To be fair therefore, there should be no tax-exemptions for any group and that includes the Democratic and Republican Parties. Faith and community initiative grant monies should also be cancelled and there should also be no tax deductions for contributions made to charities and non-profits.

      http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/01/supreme-court-backs-church-in-landmark-religious-liberty-case/

      "The government must stay out of hiring and firing decisions by a religious organization, even if a minister sues for employment discrimination, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

      Religious freedom groups praised the decision, and especially the fact that it came from a unanimous court."

      February 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • anagram_kid

      It might have something to do with the fact that back then everyone could afford leaches so healthcare was not such a big deal.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  7. Mo

    Its good to see the silent majority finally finding their voice. This country has been bamboozled enough by those who seek to control people through religion or ideology.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Reality

      Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

      Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, Newton Leroy Gingrich, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

      The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

      2008 Presidential popular vote results:

      69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

      And the irony:

      And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

      The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs. Had they been responsible citizens, it is very possible that John McCain would have won the presidency.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  8. Rodriguez

    @ Marty: Annulment is a declaration by the Church that the Sacramental marriage never existed due to different vices. It is NOT BREAKING the bond, it is simply stating that the bond NEVER existed. At least read the Canon Law before writing about things you are not familiar with.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • J.W

      Annulment is a trick used by the Catholic church to make their divorce statistics lower.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  9. manhandler

    A bunch of useless old white men in robes doing nothing but interfering in our countrys politics. This is NOT a theocracy. These boneheaded, so-called "Bishops" need to move in with the nuns at the convent so they cure their infinite bitterness and spare the rest of us from their stupid proclamations. How laughable that these idiots from the stone age think they should be able to tell women what to do with their bodies. Where was their outrage on while their priests were molesting little altar boys? Polls show that over two thirds of Americans side with our President on this issue. GO AWAY....Move back into the Vatican with the P POP Popey......you're rediculous has beens.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  10. Rodriguez

    The teachings of the Catholic Church do not respond to political agendas, that is precisely the reason why the cathlic church has always oppossed contraception or abortion... Those changing their minds now are the most likely to be following political agendas. Being a Catholic is not being in a social club, there are certain beliefs that we hold, and that make us catholic. You are not required to belng to the Catholic Church. If you do not agree with those beliefs, go somewhere else. I mean, this is the land of the free. But that doesnt mean changing other people's belief just because you do not agree with them. By the way, there is not such a thing as liberal catholic, you either are a catholic who follows the teaching of the Church, or you are not Catholic at all. Dont fool yourselves.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Richard

      I agree with you 100% people don't seem to get that the pill aborts. It doesn't stop conception, it aborts the child by hardening the uterus therefore causing the egg to be dispelled from the body. This is 100% against the right to life.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Dan

      If every Catholic who uses contraception were to leave the church, it would literally crumble. Most estimates are that around 90% of Catholics use contraception. If they all left, the Church would not have enough money to run their churches, schools, hospitals, or anything else they put money into. Is that honestly what you're asking people to do?

      February 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Richard

      If someone could figure out a form of contraception that STOPS the sperm and the egg from joining with OUT blocking the ability to give life, then the church would agree. Again, its an abortification therefore it is against the fundamental right to life, and the right to be connected together as one. Contraception stops you from being one there is a barrier between the two people who love each other thus not allowing the completeness of love to follow through.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Aviate

      If someone could figure out a form of contraception that STOPS the sperm and the egg from joining with OUT blocking the ability to give life, then the church would agree.
      --
      WRONG! Last I checked, that's precisely what condoms do and they are a big no-no according to the men in the black robes.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Richard

      you mustn't of read the second portion of my comment, condoms STOP the union of man and woman, there is a barrier a blockage, that is why condoms are not allowed to be used, and everything else is an abortive agent.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Ryan

      Richard, they do have that. It's called condoms and the Catholic church is against those as well.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • anagram_kid

      Richard,
      First of all the Pill does stop conception by suppressesing ovulation, and was intended to be an extension of the rhythm method. Secondly the church does not condone contraception and took many years to accept the rhythm method. Finally, know matter how right you believe you are, you don't have permission to speak for what the Church will allow.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Russell

      @Rodriguez – Your statement indicates you don't understand the position of your own religion. Prior to the 19th century, abortion was permitted until the "quickening" – when the fetus was believed to have gained life. These days it is often referred to as fetal ensoulment (does it happen at fertilization or at some point later on). You'd better get educated on this issue and not just try to tell people the Catholic church has always opposed abortion.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  11. Russell

    Catholics ought to get more informed about the church's historical teachings on birth control, fetal ensoulment, and the other issue surrounding this issue. And the church ought to rethink its teachings. A bunch of men (or just one!) who have never been married or raised a family making the pronouncements about the reproductive rights of women is not real defensible. And the theology behind the stand against birth control is not strong. With 7 billion people on the planet and the projection of 9 billion by 2050, a stand against birth control is nonsensical and it increases human suffering. It's very unfortunate that the Catholic church is so intransigent on this issue.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  12. nee

    Why should it be obligatory for you to insure your car, but not your life? You got to be real people!!!. These bishops should rather speak against killing of "innocent people" through guns, and by the courts, and not contraceptives

    February 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  13. GrouchyKat

    The Church speaks for Catholics. If you don't like it then you need to stop and reevaluate why you're Catholic.

    February 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Richard

      Exactly. You can not call yourself Catholic if you are not practicing what you are being taught. There are certain fundamental dogma teachings that you MUST believe in to be Catholic. If you don't agree then you leave. There are some lesser teaching that you don't have to believe in to be Catholic those you have a choice on. The right to life is not one of those choices.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Carl

      Except for the fact the Pope himself has argued contraception is now needed in the modern world. Funny...

      February 15, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  14. Dorkus

    If they're liberals then they sure aren't catholic. CINO's maybe, but not welcome under the big tent by any means.

    February 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      How delightfully intolerant and elitist of you.

      February 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Russell

      @Dorkus Maybe this was a joke? If not and if you're Catholic, then you've certainly not absorbed the teachings of Christ who was about tolerance, love, and inclusiveness. To shut people out because you disagree with them is not Christian. I imagine abolitionists were shut out of some churches during the times of slavery in the U.S. So who was wrong in that situation?

      February 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  15. Dominic

    Why don't these "progressive" Catholics just find another Church if they disagree with the most fundamental tenets of the Catholic faith? It seems that they just want to pick and choose which things they want to believe in, and discard those things that require sacrifice or are inconvenient for their agenda. I fail to see what it is that these people like about the Catholic faith – is it the stain-glass windows? If you don't like the Catholic faith, just leave it and stop trying to destroy the Church and pervert its teachings. These so-called progressive Catholics could barely conceal their disgust with John Paul II, because they hated how he spoke with moral clarity in defense of human life. They wanted to hold a vote on whether the Church should embrace its core truths. As John Paul II said, "you cannot take a vote on the truth."

    February 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Aviate

      Fair enough, Dominic. But they'll have to take the 98% of Catholic women who've used birth control with them. And the 60% of Catholics who support the Obama rule. On the plus side, there should be a lot more room in the pews for you next Sunday...

      Oh, and you do realize that you'll need to start referring to your Protestant friends as "heretics", right? That should go over real well...

      February 15, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Dan

      For similar reasons to those of registered members of political parties that don't leave every time the leaders of the party take a stance they disagree with. It's simply ridiculous to think that every member of any group would necessarily agree with 100% of the "official" viewpoint. Catholics have certain core beliefs that are aligned with the Church, and they get what they want spiritually from it. They can simply agree to disagree on some points.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Russell

      Dominic, why don't you study the church's position on this issue through the centuries. It won't be as clear cut as you think. What you see as absolute truth were not always thought of that way. Not only on this issue, but others. Many Christians used the Bible to defend slavery. Were they right? Was their opinion an absolute truth, as I'm sure they thought it was? Why be so intransigent on birth control? The theology behind it is not that strong. Of course, for some Catholics, if the Pope utters it, it may have just as well come from God, but history will show you how misguided that belief is.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  16. J R Brown

    I'm kinda amused that now what would previously been considered heresy is now called being "progressive". Either you are a Catholic...and follow the Catholic dogma...or you don't. There's no such thing as a "progressive" Catholic. If you believe in the Catholic faith, the laws of God come down from the top to you...you don't get to tell "God" how things work in the real world.

    February 15, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Me

      Well Said! I love when people say the Church needs to join the modern world. Until God comes down and changes the rules, the rules remain the same.

      February 15, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Dorkus

      God has changes the rules. Just ask Sarah, Newt and/or Rick what they are, but don't be surprised if their answers don't exactly jive.

      February 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • anagram_kid

      Like it or not, religion is a business and they have to change with the times to retain membership and keep those dollars flowing in. One of the reasons Joan of Arc was burned at the stake was for wearing clothing traditionally worn by men. Last time I was in a Catholic Church, most of the women were wearing pants and as far as I know, none of them were executed after mass.

      February 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Richard

      LOLOL, Joan of Arc was NOT burned because she wore men's clothing, lol, read your history before you make comments like that!!!

      February 15, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • anagram_kid

      Sorry Richard, you cannot change facts.

      February 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Dude

      Sorry you don't know that the Church has changed many times throughout history. It's had good times and bad. Popes with many wives, stealing money from the poor, actually running countries and kings.

      February 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  17. Peter Pearson

    As in all things, there are many kinds of Catholics and many views on every aspect of faith. There is no war on the Catholic Church, but neither is a mandate for the Roman Church to make laws that everyone else must live by. I can't see why the bishops cannot seem to understand that. If you have principles to uphold, you should also be willing to accept that taking a stand has consequences and costs. It's only reasonable.

    February 15, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  18. Darlene Buckingham

    Time for both men and woman to take back their power and plan the birth of their children and understand that this is sacred. Time for sacred birthing to be taught to people. Advocating no contraception has resulted in the denigration of men and woman and the power to choose. The Catholic Church has no business telling people that contraception is sinful. It is more sinful to not plan and understand that creating life is a sacred act. When not planning to bring a child into the world than contraception is to be used. This makes sense and honours life.

    February 15, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  19. Independent

    CNN uses the words "growing chorus" and posts a photo with a large number of priests, implying that a large number of priests are opposing the bishops. Typical CNN slimeball agenda based media (not journalism). CNN sinks lower and lower each day. Journalistic malpractice.

    February 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Carl

      @ Independent. Come on you didn't even read the article. OR... The caption below it. What you call journalistic malpractice, is what I call a simple case of skimming and looking to create a fight.

      February 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Aviate

      "Journalistic malpractice." Or as they say at FOX, "standard operating procedure."

      February 15, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  20. J.W

    So if this is a religious freedom issue should every person be able to customize their insurance plan based on their religion?

    February 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Independent

      JW, EVERYONE should be able to customize their insurance plan based on fundamental human liberty and free commercial relationships with a service provider. But not in a centralized, totalitarian, socialist regime. Does the government tell you what bolt you should buy when you go to Home Depot? What hamburger to buy at McDonald's, what coffee to buy at Starbucks. In a way, they're trying. And we must resist. Commercial choice is a fundamental liberty.

      February 15, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Mom in MA

      ... and yet you are ok with an employer telling YOU what they will allow YOUR insurance to cover.. that insurance that YOU also pay into every month? How can you be against one and not the other? What if they decide they do not believe in blood transfusions, do they have the right to tell YOUR insurance company that they are not allowed to cover that for you because it's against your employers religious beliefs?? What nonsense and hypocrisy.

      February 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • J.W

      That is my point. Many people are against certain things that all insurance plans cover, but they are not allowed an exemption clause. If there is an exemption clause for contraception there should be an exemption clause for everything.

      February 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Aviate

      Does the government tell you what bolt you should buy when you go to Home Depot? What hamburger to buy at McDonald's, what coffee to buy at Starbucks. In a way, they're trying. And we must resist. Commercial choice is a fundamental liberty.
      ----
      Actually, it does. It tells McDonald's it can't serve you unsafe, expired or mislabeled foods. Home Depot can't sell you asbestos or materials that don't meet safety ratings. It tells Starbucks that it can't sell you coffee drinks that don't actually have coffee in them. Regulations are essential for markets to work, despite what the conservative free-market fairy tells you. Do you really McDonalds wants its customers worrying if their hamburgers are full of e-coli? Try to buy a car without seatbelts or a catalytic converter lately? Oh, wait, the government tells car makers they have to include those things in every car they make, and yet the Republic endures...

      And here's the kicker–NO ONE is forcing ANYONE to buy contraception. So I guess commercial choice is a "fundamental liberty," except when it comes to giving women access to birth control. I think we get you're coming from...

      February 15, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
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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.