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My Take: Catholic bishops against the common good
The American Catholic bishops celebrating Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
April 15th, 2012
08:00 PM ET

My Take: Catholic bishops against the common good

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN)–The U.S. Catholic bishops who claim, increasingly incredibly, to speak on behalf of American Catholics hit a new low last week when they released a self-serving statement called “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.” As this title intimates, the supposed subject is religious liberty, but the real matter at hand is contraception and (for those who have ears to hear) the rapidly eroding moral authority of U.S. priests and bishops.

On Easter Sunday, Timothy Dolan, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told CBS that the controversial Health and Human Services contraception rule represents a “radical intrusion” of government into "the internal life of the Church.” On Thursday, 15 of his fellow Catholic clerics (all male) took another sloshy step into the muck and mire of the politics of fear.

In “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty” there is talk of religious liberty as the “first freedom” and a tip of the cap to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. But first and foremost there is anxiety. “Our freedoms are threatened,” these clerics cry. “Religious liberty is under attack.”

But what freedoms are these clerics being denied? The freedom to say Mass?  To pray the Rosary?  No and no. The U.S. government is not forcing celibate priests to have sex, or to condone condoms. The freedom these clerics are being denied is the freedom to ignore the laws of the land in which they live.

When I first heard of the HHS rule requiring all employers to pay for birth control for their employees, I thought it should include, on First Amendment grounds, an exemption for Catholic churches. And in fact it did.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Moreover, when Catholic bishops and priests opposed the contraception mandate, HHS modified its rule, exempting not only Catholic churches but also Catholic-affiliated hospitals, universities, and social service agencies. (For these organizations, employees would receive contraceptive coverage from insurance companies separately from the policies purchased by their employers).

Once the Obama administration presented this compromise, I thought Catholic clerics would withdraw their objections. I was wrong. Instead they acted like political hacks rather than spiritual authorities, doubling down on the invective and serving up to the American public an even deeper draught of petty partisanship.

The bishops refer repeatedly in their statement to “civil society.” But think for a moment of the sort of "civil society" we would have if religious people were exempt from any law they deemed “unjust” for religious reasons.

Mormon employers who object to same-sex marriages could deny life insurance benefits to same-sex couples.

Jehovah’s Witnesses who object to blood transfusions could deny health care coverage for blood transfusions.

Christian Scientists who oppose the use of conventional medicine could refuse to cover their employees for anything other than Christian Science treatments.

And Roman Catholics could demand (as the bishops do in this statement) state financing for foster care programs that refuse to place foster children with same-sex parents.

As the Roman Catholic Church has taught for millennia, human beings are not isolated atoms. We live together in society, and we come together to pass laws to make our societies function. Virtually every law is coercive, and care must be taken not to violate the religious liberties of individual citizens. But care must also be taken to preserve the common good.

In their statement, Catholic bishops accused American political leaders of launching “an attack on civil society.” They also attempted to cloak themselves in the mantle of Dr. King. But theirs is a vision of an uncivil society, and their cause has nothing to do with the civil rights movement.

The civil rights movement succeeded because its cause was just, and because its leaders were able to mobilize millions of Americans to bring an end to the injustice of segregation. The effort by male Roman Catholic leaders to deny contraception coverage to female employees who want it does not bear even a passing resemblance to that cause. And even the bishops behind this so-called "movement" must admit that it is failing to mobilize even American Catholics themselves.

At least since the Second Vatican Council of the early 1960s, Catholics worldwide have been asking, “Who is the Roman Catholic Church?” Is it the hierarchy–a collection of priests, bishops, and cardinals overseen by a pope? Or is it the "People of God" in the pews whom these leaders are ordained to serve?

In recent years, this question has jumped by necessity from the realm of Catholic theology into the rough and tumble of American politics. Does American Catholicism oppose contraception? It depends on who speaks for the Church. The 98% of American Catholic women who have used contraception?  Or the 15 male clerics who issued this statement?

According to “Catholics for Choice,” which has published a rejoinder to "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty," “The bishops have failed to convince Catholics in the pews to follow their prohibitions on contraception. Now, they want the government to grant them the legal right to require each of us, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, to set aside our own guaranteed freedom from government-sanctioned religious interference in our lives."

The bishops' statement gives lip service to “civil society” and the “common good,” but what these 15 clerics are trying to do here is destructive of both. To participate in civil society is to get your way sometimes and not others. To seek the common good is to sacrifice your own interests at times to those of others.

I will admit that the HHS contraception rule does ask these Catholic clerics to sacrifice something. But what is this sacrifice? Simply to allow the women who work for their organizations to be offered contraceptive coverage by their insurers. To refuse this sacrifice is not to uphold civil society. It is to refuse to participate in it.

Toward the end of their statement, the 15 bishops who signed this statement called on every U.S. Catholic to join in a “great national campaign” on behalf of religious liberty. More specifically, they called for a “Fortnight for Freedom” concluding with the Fourth of July when U.S. dioceses can celebrate both religious liberty and martyrs who have died for the Catholic cause.

As Independence Day approaches, I have a prediction. I predict that rank-and-file American Catholics will ignore this call. They will see that the issue at hand has more to do with women’s health than with religious liberty. And in the spirit of Vatican II, which referred to the church as the “People of God,” they will refuse to allow these 15 men to speak for them. Whatever moral capital U.S. bishops have in the wake of the sex abuse scandal that rocked the nation for decades will be insufficient to win over lay Catholics to what has been for at least a half a century a lost cause.

These 15 clerics write that American Catholics “must have the courage not to obey” unjust laws.  I think the courage called for today is something else—the courage not to obey those who no longer speak for them.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Church and state • Culture wars • Health care • Leaders • Politics • Religious liberty • United States

soundoff (783 Responses)
  1. Science saves

    Religion kills

    April 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  2. Reality

    Based on the following, Stevey P again fails to do a thorough review of the situation.

    "Twenty-one states offer exemptions from contraceptive coverage, usually for religious reasons, for insurers or employers in their policies: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan (administrative rule), Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia."

    http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/insurance-coverage-for-contraception-state-laws.aspx

    April 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Mn

      I'm Catholic/American and this stipulation does not reflect my beliefs. I will be voting according to my morals. Bye bye Obama!

      April 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      can't wait to see you cry when Obama sweeps Romney under the rug.

      April 16, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  3. catholic engineer

    "These 15 clerics write that American Catholics “must have the courage not to obey” unjust laws. I think the courage called for today is something else—the courage not to obey those who no longer speak for them."

    Mr. Prothero, we catholics will decide who speaks for us. Journalists like yourself are qualified to speak only for your bosses, saying only what they approve. When you are writing to Catholic haters, they will believe anything, and you know this.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Exactly. And the 98% of Catholic women who use contraception send a pretty clear message that the Vatican does not speak for them, which is a point that Prothero is trying to make. I don't think he is trying to speak for anyone here.

      April 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      You're right, chubby. And the church knows this. Yet the church refuses to deny women the sacraments and certainly doesn't excommunicate them. At the same time, the strongest Catholic women understand the church's teachings. Most other men and women can't think higher than their pants on this issue.

      April 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • chubby rain

      I'm not sure I understand your point. Are you saying that the 2% of Catholic women who haven't used contraception are the "stongest Catholic women." And that the church should deny the sacraments to those who use contraception? Or that the Church isn't serious about the who contraception thing?

      April 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Reality

      Beyond religion and politics:---->>>>>>>>

      The reality of contraception and STD control: – from a guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-

      The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

      : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% failure rate) 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. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

      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, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

      The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":

      1a. (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
      1b. (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)

      Followed by:

      One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
      Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
      The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
      Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
      IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

      Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).

      April 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Catholic eng..why when you disagree with catholics you become a hater? None, not the Muslims, Protestants Hindus Jews, of the religions out there have any shred of proof of what they claim is true. the leaders of those religions stand up and start to tell the rest of society that they have the way to live.. and try to get that into the mainstream. your religion is no different, no evidence only what you have been taught to believe so are you going to get push back.. you bet and get used to being offended by the fact that folks may disagree with you and your leaders.

      April 16, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • chief

      i thought this was a good article .... and people like the cath engineer follow anything a bunch of men in dresses make up.... and btw i am Christian not catholic....

      April 16, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    April 16, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • higgsboson

      these coneheads are a continuing embarrassment to human intelligence

      April 16, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      @higgsboson Those coneheads have acheived a level of education that you haven't been able to gain even without a cone.

      April 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      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.

      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!!...~

      April 16, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • chubby rain

      I prayed for Jesus to respond to this post. And I prayed to win the megamillions. I guess 50% ain't bad.

      April 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • TR6

      @catholic engineer:”@higgsboson Those coneheads have acheived a level of education that you haven't been able to gain even without a cone.”

      Studying catholic doctrine and arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin is indeed a level of education I hope to never achieve

      April 16, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  5. Allen H

    Mr. Prothero, I would like to thank you for writing that. It is well-written, relevant, articulate and intelligent.
    Despite the many articles you have written that I do not care for, I certainly appreciate your weighing in on the side of human rights, civil liberties, and for the common good in this article.
    I can only guess that you have been doing much reading and thinking, which I approve of.
    Thanks again. It makes a nice change from the other sorts of articles.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  6. Hypatia

    The morally-bankrupt few, speaking for many who just don't care.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  7. WASP

    best saying i've ever heard is " god is in the bar; the devil is in church."

    April 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  8. Confused in Cleveland

    “I find myself on the last stretch of my journey in life, and I don’t know what is awaiting me.”

    “I know, however, that the light of God exists, that he is risen, that his light is stronger than any darkness and that God’s goodness is stronger than any evil in this world, and this helps me go forward with certainty.”

    Pope Benedict XVI, 16 April 2012 (His 85th birthday)

    April 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Woody

      "What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!"
      Pope Leo X.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  9. eric calderone

    This article by Stephen Prothero is quite insulting to the Roman Catholic Church (and to Catholics as individuals). If Mr.Prothero is any type of expert on religious denominations, then his question of who speaks for the Roman Catholic church has only one answer: those duly ordained through the Sacrament of Religious Orders; that is, the bishops, speak for the Church. Not the laity,and certainly, not Mr. Prothero, who I believe is an Episcopalian.

    The Obama Administration disingenuously claims, and Prothero accepts this rationale, that since now it is the insurers who are ultimately accountible for providing contraception coverage, the Cathollic Church has no cause to complain. Nonsense. In many cases, it is the Church who is compelled to provide insurance coverage. If any individual feels that such coverage is an integral part of their employment, they can look elsewhere for employment. No one is forcing them to be employed by the Catholic Church.

    It is true many Cathollics do not follow many of the teachings of the Catholic Church in their everyday life. However, it is also true that the Obama Administration's assault on their Church, touched their nerve, and they instinctively responded to its defense. It is a sure bet that Obama will not receive a majority of Catholic votes this November. Since Mr. Prothero seems to guage support by numbers involved, he will have little choice but to conclude that American Catholics support their Church. Hands off the Catholic Church, President Obama! (Prothero, are you listening?)

    April 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      catholics never worry about insulting anyone else...

      April 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Why the hell are people so ignorant of this FACT. There is an exemption for the actual churches! Do you get that eric?! The churches don't have to follow this law! How hard is that to understand? Public organizations that are affiliated with the church are not exempt because of a key word, they are PUBLIC. This country has already trampled all over the first ammendment making concessions to religious groups, and we don't need to trample over it anymore.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Judy Birgen

      There is no sacrament of Religious Orders; I believe the sacrament you mean is Holy Orders.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "No one is forcing them to be employed by the Catholic Church."

      No one if forcing the RCC to own businesses.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  10. Joshua the Agnostic

    The problem is that we as followers of God give believe that people in leadership (priests, bishops, pastors etc) are somehow "holier" than we are because they get paid by the church and wear a special outfit. They are not. They do not speak for God, he has spoken for himself and doesn't need an interpreter.

    No matter what they say, you have the ability to read the Bible yourself and draw your own conclusions. Their input is not necessary, although it can be helpful at times.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • jimtanker

      So you're hearing voices? I think that you need to go and talk to a profesional.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • eric calderone

      Yeah, every man with a bible has produced great results. Rapture, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, One Saved Always Saved. What great doctrines those are! It is irrelevant whether someone duly ordained leads a righteous life (though we all wish those ordained would be personally loyal to their oaths). God's Grace through the Sacrament of Holy Orders is not vitiated by the personal failures of the person dispensing that Grace.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      reading the bible turned me into an atheist. have you read it? it's disgusting.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      Not necessarily holier, but more knowledgable. Most of us realize Priests/Pastors/whatever are sinful humans such as we. They just happen to be individuals who have devoted their lives to learning and interpreting scripture. While yes we can read the bible, not everyone realizes context is lost through the translation process, and that the Priests usually have the best concept of what context is lost. Not only that, but they also counsel people who are having life issues as well as just ministering to their flocks.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • J.W

      It is not important that the clergy live a righteous life? That is ridiculous. Of course it is important. Why would you even listen to them if they didn't?

      April 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • gerald

      ERic's point is valid from a "god's grace" standpoint. His grace does not depend on the holiness of men. From a scandal point I would disagree and I think he would as welll. This is why Paul in Timothy gives instructions for Bishops and deacons and says they should be above reproach.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  11. Bootyfunk

    can we build a time machine and transport all of these ignorant monks back to 500 CE where they belong?

    April 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  12. Vic Stench

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sR8zmXvZ9nc&w=640&h=360]

    April 16, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  13. Rev. Rick

    Quoting from the article – "These 15 clerics write that American Catholics “must have the courage not to obey” unjust laws."

    Hmmmm. As a former Catholic myself, it seems most catholic women already have the courage to "not obey" since most of them practice birth control is spite of the RCC's edicts. These old white guys need to get a clue. They are being used by conservative Christian fundamentalists to do their political bidding. Many fundamentalist Christians that I know don't believe that Catholics are Christians anyway, but they will certainly use Catholics to promote their political agenda when it suits them!

    April 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • gerald

      Rev a pole before the Cival war said that 80% of Catholics favored slavery. Well I guess they were right weren't they. The Church doesn't live by poles and who doesn't and doesn't follow it's teaching. Sorry.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ Gerald – I guess I failed to see your point regarding the poll (pole?) regarding slavery. Besides, I would doubt the scientific accuracy of poll that was taken in the middle of the 19th century. There were a large number Irish Catholic immigrants (including my own Scotts-Irish family) coming into the country before the civil war, and most of them were dirt poor. Also, if you would bother to do a little historical research, you will see Irish Catholics were second only to blacks in terms of their treatment in this country. Americans hated Irish Catholics.
      Take a look at the following summary.

      http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ug03/omara-alwala/irishkennedys.html

      April 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Rene

      Rev Dr Martin Luther King believed in Unjust laws...read the original doc...He dreamt that all can be together: Catholics and Protestant...etc and some are not living up to this today!

      April 21, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  14. Flabbergasted

    What a load of anti-Catholic tripe. It is obvious from the blogger and most of the respondents that they know next to nothing about the Catholic Church, nor the issue at hand.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      we know that the catholic church protects child molesters.

      April 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Well then since you seem to have such a comprehensive grasp of the situation, why don't you "enlighten" the rest of us.

      April 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  15. Angie

    At least one cxn to this piece: The U.S. Catholic bishops don't claim to speak on behalf of American Catholics, because they don't. They speak on behalf of Jesus through his Church and vicar Benedict the XVI. Now, I sit and wait for the usual, anticipated and very predicted rebuttals reminding all of us of the priest abuse scandals. As a convert as of 25 years ago, I have great respect for all the priests who have helped me and my family on my journey. I also make it a point to be well informed of my faith and what is going on in the world. There is NOTHING that anyone can say that will surprise me. As Bishop Fulton Sheen once said, "Most people don’t hate what the Catholic Church teaches… they hate what they think the Catholic Church teaches."

    April 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      And why is it that you think that many, if not most, Catholics don't have the slightest idea what the RCC actually DOES teach? Perhaps the clergy know that ignorance is bliss – or at least ignorance keeps the coffers full.

      April 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Joshua the Agnostic

      complete bs, if you read the Bible you'll realize that so much of what you just said is completely made up.

      April 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Joshua the Agnostic

      Replying to Angie, not *facepalm*

      April 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • J.W

      Is everything in the Catholic Catechism still taught by the Catholic church? Sometimes I will quote something out of there, but I get told that I am misinformed.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @JW – the catechism is THE authority on official church doctrine. Anyone who tells you otherwise is misinformed.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • J.W

      There are just way too many rules in Catholicism is the problem. The Catholic Catechism is bigger than the Bible.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • gerald

      J.W. The Catechism is bigger than the Bible? I have one and this is quite false.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      I can certainly see JW's point since the catechism is more of an extension of the bible – a way of rationalizing catholic beliefs by interpreting certain passages in ways that anyone who hasn't consumed the RCC kool-aid recognizes as huge stretches, simply proving that you can use the bible to justify pretty much anything.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  16. Richard M

    Unfortunately, it appears that for Stephen Prothero, "freedom of religion" amounts only to "freedom of worship," and not a blasted thing else. Unless, of course, the State graciously allows it at its pleasure.

    That's a striking view of religious freedom, but until today, it hasn't been the First Amendment view.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • KRKTFRSH

      That's the same sort of specious reasoning and disjointed and biased thinking that gave us the "money is speech" crap we now have.
      I suppose, to someone like you, "religion" is whatever you want it to be so you can get your own way in everything regardless of the consequences or effects or damage it may cause.
      In short, you are morally bankrupt and apparently have no ability to see the basic and glaring flaws in your logic.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  17. GodsPeople

    You know if you go to work for a Catholic organization they do not offer birth control. You know if you go to a Catholic or otherwise Orthodox school their insurance is not going to offer contraception. If you don't like it... go elsewhere or get over it.

    April 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      wrong.

      April 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      Not wrong. It's no different than any other employment. I don't like my employer's dress code, but I have to follow it or find another job. This is just simple logic. The only reason you say "wrong" is because you're too stupid to actually USE logic.

      April 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @GodsPeople

      Your analogy is apples and oranges. A dress code is something completely different than a federal law. Besides, the administration has bent over backwards to find some kind of middle ground, and these "spiritual leaders" are acting like little 5 year olds, even though at this point they don't offer the contraception coverage. There have been many concessions to the religious in this country, and the first ammendment has been completely trampled into the ground in the process. It needs to stop, religions should not have any preferrential treatment.

      April 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @HawaiiGuest: Being a spiritual person as well as a logical one, I completely disagree. You can't treat spiritual organizations like secular ones. An example of this is that prisons have to serve kosher/halal products when necessary. It actually doesn't hurt anyone to be agreeable when it comes to centuries old teachings. The Church, the Gospel, God does not change with the times, He expects, and rightfully so, that the times change for Him. There is absolutely no basis in law for the government to actually require spiritual organizations to go against their spirituality. Again, if you don't share those beliefs, just go somewhere else to work.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "The Church, the Gospel, God does not change with the times, He expects, and rightfully so, that the times change for Him."

      Of course, that's not true. Your god first outlawed shellfish, then later said it was ok. Either he can't make up his mind or he's a moral relativist.

      And if you want to treat spiritual organizations separately – where do you draw the line? Do you support polygamy rights for fundamentalist mormons?

      April 16, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • WASP

      @gods: "The Church, the Gospel, God does not change with the times, He expects, and rightfully so, that the times change for Him."

      really? if the times changed for god we would still be throwing sticks at each other and living like filthy animals. read some more history, the middle and dark ages during religious rule was just disgusting time period. the bible, it's teachings, and the "filthy 15" are our dated. being spiritual is cool, but trying to cover for a bunch of old farts, with control issues; isn't cool.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @facepalm: Actually, He sent Paul to eat with Gentiles (like you and I) to show that we, and the way we eat, is not unclean. The fact of the matter is, things like pork and shellfish have a.. erm... negative reaction when it comes to Semites. My wife is a Jew, and she can't eat either of the above or she gets horribly sick. I'm just a normal, every day Gentile, and I can eat both. Really, God told His people to eat what they can without getting sick. That's not a big deal, more like nitpicking.

      Being a Christian, I hold marriage to be a sacred inst–i–t–ution. I personally do not agree with polygamy. That being said, however, it is actually practiced by more than one religion, not just mormons. Islam and I believe Hindu also practice polygamy as a natural part of their religion, much like pagans often have open relationships without holding anything sacred. Therefore I would have to (reluctantly, mind you) support their right to do so, even though I don't agree with it.

      @WASP: Boy are you stupid. Throwing sticks at each other? Living like filthy animals? There are no prohibitions against developing new technologies, or bathing. There are prohibions against war and fighting. I'll tell you I know more about history than everyone you've ever known does. I've written paper after paper on different aspects of history, including the middle ages, dark ages, and the Renaissance, which would never have happened WITHOUT the Church. Next?

      April 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      " Really, God told His people to eat what they can without getting sick. That's not a big deal, more like nitpicking."

      How in the world do you get that out of:

      "But anything in the seas or the rivers that has not fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you."

      I guess making things up is fun.

      And it was Peter (a jew – there goes your theory) whom god supposedly told that the food rules were off the table. Peter was starving, apparently there was only unclean things to eat, so god came down and rescinded the rule for him. Paul just makes blanket statements – Peter apparently tells us a direct divine revelation.

      Have you ever actually read your bible?

      April 16, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "I've written paper after paper on different aspects of history, including the middle ages, dark ages, and the Renaissance, which would never have happened WITHOUT the Church. Next?"

      Sorry, don't you mean, " ...would never have [needed to] happened WITHOUT the Church. "

      April 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @GodsPeople,
      "The fact of the matter is, things like pork and shellfish have a.. erm... negative reaction when it comes to Semites. My wife is a Jew, and she can't eat either of the above or she gets horribly sick. I'm just a normal, every day Gentile, and I can eat both. Really, God told His people to eat what they can without getting sick. That's not a big deal, more like nitpicking."

      Seriously? Are you claiming that all Semites are intolerant or allergic to pork and shellfish? Or, is that just your rationalization, and your wife is supposedly being pork and shellfish intolerant is just convenient?
      Do you have any evidenced of this Semitic reaction?
      And, while you are at it, could you provide the evidence that Semites are allergic to meat and dairy when mixed, but are fine with them when they are separated?
      Or the evidence that mixed textiles cause rashes, like linen and wool, because why else would God 'nitpick' on that?

      April 16, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Facepalm: I don't have my bible with me (I'm at work, books not allowed on the production floor) but I believe you're right, it was Peter not Paul, my apologies. However, it's in the New Testament that he ate with Gentile believers at the Lord's order. He protested the food was "unclean," however, he was told God cannot create anything unclean. He was instructed to eat with Gentiles so he would learn that Gentiles are not unclean as he had previously believed.

      April 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      So now your saying it isn't an allergy thing? And Peter was telling a story to the gentiles – he wasn't eating with them. Really, if you'd stop just making stuff up you wouldn't have such a hard time correcting yourself.

      god in Leviticus: Don't eat these things – they're unclean

      god in Acts: Don't you dare call what I make unclean.

      But yeah, he's timeless and never changes his mind.

      *sigh*

      April 16, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Nominus: you're the one asking the questions. Go do some research. You atheists claim to be so good at it, go look it up. It's not my problem, after all, and you might just learn something.

      April 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • just sayin

      GodsPeople

      @Nominus: you're the one asking the questions. Go do some research. You atheists claim to be so good at it, go look it up. It's not my problem, after all, and you might just learn something.
      >
      TRANSLATION:

      April 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • just sayin

      I heard somebody say that so I said it. I have nothing to back up my statement

      April 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Facepalm: I'll provide you with the actual quotes once I get home and get to my bible. Again, people with semitic blood have issues (I wouldn't call it allergy, just that their digestive system doesn't handle it very well) with shellfish and pork. Whether or not they can wear textiles is unknown to me, my wife wears them but she's not full blooded Jew either.

      April 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Uh

      There is no such thing as a "full-blooded Jew" anywhere throughout history.

      April 16, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Fake Just Sayin: The real one is annoying enough, but you surpass him/her/it with sheer stupidity. Tell me, when do you plan on winning your Darwin Award?

      April 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Uh: Fine, since you really have to be stupid, "fully of Semitic ancestry." Happy? Moron.

      April 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @GodsPeople,
      "you're the one asking the questions. Go do some research. You atheists claim to be so good at it, go look it up. It's not my problem, after all, and you might just learn something."

      I'm asking questions about claims that you made.

      You Theists claim to be so right, or at least righteous, and yet can't understand the concept of "burden of proof." It's simple, if you make a claim, be prepared to back it up.

      What I'm saying is that you are wrong. I know plenty of genetically Jewish people, if that is the right way to say it, that have no problem with pork or shellfish. If you are claiming there is a biological reason why the OT prohibited these foods from being eaten, then you are incorrect. However, if you have some evidence that claims otherwise, I'm more than willing to listen.

      April 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Nominus: LOL I don't claim to be "righteous" or even "always right" although I mostly am. I also admit I'm wrong if I am, so if I CAN'T find anything showing this (it may just be my wife and her family. I work on that assumption because nobody in her family can eat shell fish or pork without getting digestive issues.) That's how I interpret it. I'm not a Priest. I haven't devoted years and years to biblical research. Still learning here 🙂

      April 16, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      where do i get a big white p.enis hat like these guys have on?

      April 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @bootyfunk: You might want to seek a functional brain cell first. I think you smoked all of yours to death.

      April 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • gerald

      Booty, how many stds do you have? Just curious.

      April 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • TR6

      @GodsPeople:” You can't treat spiritual organizations like secular ones.”

      When a spiritual organization gets into a legitimate business like running a hospital or a university, it becomes just another employer and must expect to follow all of the labor laws

      April 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • gerald

      TR6 your historical ignorance is astounding. The Catholic Church started the "business" of hospitals and universities.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yah, hospitals that won't perform legal procedures of which they disapprove. Big hairy deal, geraldine.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • gerald

      With the entry of Mr. Tommy to the conversation intelligence and clarity has been added to the conversation. NOT.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • TR6

      gerald

      TR6 your historical ignorance is astounding. The Catholic Church started the "business" of hospitals and universities.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • *facepalm*

      With how insulting gerald is and given how he pretty much never backs up any of his points I'm starting to think he's actually an atheist who is a very good Poe.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  18. lastofall

    They are referring to the liberty to NOT partake in sin, which you would have known if you had at all known the Lord. The Lord gives us a liberty from sin, not a liberty to sin. The liberty from sin is that we can freely "Go and sin no more" as repentance is voluntary, yet is required by the Lord. But when the present evil world begins to tell us we must partake in sin, then are we being backed into a corner. The world can use all the user friendly words and political correctness it wants, till its blue in the face; but after all the great swelling words of vanity are taken away, it all comes down to participating with sin as an ordinance.

    April 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • sam stone

      Yet birth control is valuable for other than preventing pregnancy. Or, does the church consider heavy periods to be sinful?

      April 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • gerald

      Sam, it is easy to make commments out of ignorance. Go to youtube and do a search for Bishop Dolan and interview. You will find him clearly state that the pill can be used morally for non-contraceptive reasons. Dolan is the president of the USCCB.

      April 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "You will find him clearly state that the pill can be used morally for non-contraceptive reasons."

      As has been the position of the RCC for some time. So why does the church seek to limit access to morally acceptable medical treatment? Does the church also want to ban computers in case someone uses them to look at porn?

      April 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      there is no such thing as sin. next.

      April 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • gerald

      The Church is not being forced to pay for anyone's computer so your argument is stupid.

      April 16, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      God said, "Go forth and muiltiply." Not "Go forth and use a co–nd–om" or "Go forth and get a shot/pill/etc to keep from multiplying." God orders us to multiply. Any act that removes multiplication from the table is therefore a sin. How is this hard to understand?

      @bootyfunk: So you believe all humans are completely perfect and none can do anything wrong, right? Atheists *shakes head in amusement*

      April 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • just sayin

      gerald

      The Church is not being forced to pay for anyone's computer so your argument is stupid.

      >
      Shhhh they will never understand this

      April 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • gerald

      Booty – Currious, how many stds have you contracted?

      April 16, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • TR6

      @gerald:”The Church is not being forced to pay for anyone's computer so your argument is stupid.”

      The church is not being forced to pay for anyone’s birth control either

      April 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • TR6

      @GodsPeople:”God said, "Go forth and muiltiply." Not "Go forth and use a co–nd–om" “

      Are you that blind? Are you that stupid? The earth and the environment are being destroyed by overpopulation and you want to encourage people to make even more?
      You would really condemn the entire world to a future of poverty and hunger in the name of your god?
      Every time I think Christians can’t be any more heartless or evil they rise to the occasion and prove me wrong

      April 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • TR6

      @GodsPeople:”God said, "Go forth and muiltiply." Not "Go forth and use a co–nd–om" “

      This is exactly the kind of Christian thinking that slaughtered MILLIONS of Africans by denying them condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS because then might not multiply enough. Like there aren’t already enough starving Africans or African orphans and the church needs to make more

      April 16, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • gerald

      TR6 – evidently you are ignorant of the issue. Let me inform you as to what a mandate it. It is a requirement that the employer pay for the insurance that pays for the birth control that is to be free to the individual. Now if I were to be mandate to pay for the government program that payed for the gassing of Jews, would I be paying for the gassing of Jews? Why yes I would.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who's making you 'gas' anyone, geraldine? You aren't paying for anything. I pay premiums for my health insurance already. My premiums cover your Viagra, smoking cessation programs, diabetes medication for those who are overweight, and myriad other health-related expenses. Get over it, dude.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • gerald

      Tommy – Are you morally opposed to any of those things? I am not. I doubt you are either.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm not morally opposed to contraception or abortion, geraldine. Just because YOU are is no reason your employer shouldn't obey the law.

      Get over it, moron. Abortion and contraception are legal. Your church doesn't make the laws. It is required to obey them.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • gerald

      Tommy- BTW look up analogy in the dictionary. A is the first letter of the alphabet and N comes after m. Then get back to us on what you learned.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If my premiums cover YOUR fat azz for the treatment of high blood pressure medication and diabetes treatment, and it covers YOUR addiction to alcohol and cigarettes, you're dam# right I think my premiums should cover contraception, you twit.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You look it up, geraldine. You're the one that doesn't get it.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "The Church is not being forced to pay for anyone's computer so your argument is stupid."

      So, your saying that taxes paid by the church's businesses don't fund computers?

      Fail.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • gerald

      guns don't kill people and computers don't make men look at p o r n. Contraception does make women not open to having children. It's a matter of the heart. But I am sure you understood nothing that I just said.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • *facepalm*

      There are valid, non-contraceptive uses for the pill just as there are valid, non-porn uses for computers. Obviously, you can't get that through your thick skull – you're too busy trying to think up lame insults. Why is the church as.suming intent? Why does it seek to ban what it acknowledges to be valid medical treatment for its employees? And why are you too dense to answer that last part?

      April 17, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 16, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      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.

      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!!!!!!

      April 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • J.W

      Jesus is right. Prayer doesn't not change things. lol

      April 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • elizdelphi

      There is some serious misunderstanding going on with the anti-prayer commenters. Above all the purpose of prayer is that we may come into conformity with God's will, into profound relationship with Him who loves us and holds the universe in being. Prayer is not a magic spell by which we manipulate reality and God is not investigable via the same means we used to investigate the phenomena of nature.

      April 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    April 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      typo above. should read:

      Atheism is healthy for children and other living things

      no worries, i got ya.

      April 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
      Proven

      April 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • just sayin

      Believing in delusions is not healthy..established

      April 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Tek

      Keep on typing that everywhere, with no basis of proof. I tried looking it up, all I found was you trolling every site and posting that exact same thing.
      But I guess people spouting off with no proof is what religion is all about. Thank you for making that crystal clear.

      April 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Jesus

      More desperation. Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      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.

      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!.

      April 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • TR6

      Not for 6 MILLION Jews in WWII

      April 16, 2012 at 10:04 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.