Key Catholic group drops support for White House contraception plan
The Obama administration wants to require insurance companies to provide free contraception coverage.
June 18th, 2012
11:24 AM ET

Key Catholic group drops support for White House contraception plan

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – The Obama administration’s key Catholic ally on its controversial plan to require health insurers to provide free contraceptive coverage is dropping support for the plan, potentially complicating the president’s relations with Catholics in an election year.

The Catholic Health Association, which comprises 2,000 Catholic hospitals, health systems and related organizations, said Friday that although it had initially supported what the White House called a compromise on the contraception issue, it is now “deeply concerned” about the plan and says the White House “has not relieved our initial concerns.”

Many Catholic groups expressed opposition to the Obama administration’s proposal to require employers to provide free contraception coverage to their employees. Although the plan exempted churches, other religiously affiliated employers - including colleges and hospitals - were not exempt.

In the face of that opposition, the Department of Health and Human Services tweaked its original rule in February to require health insurers, not employers, to cover the cost of contraception coverage, reasoning that would prevent Catholics instructions from having to finance such coverage.

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

The so-called compromise won support from certain Catholic groups, most significantly the Catholic Health Association, which calls itself the nation’s largest group of nonprofit health care providers.

“The Catholic Health Association is very pleased with the White House announcement that a resolution has been reached that protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions,” Sister Carol Keehan, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association, said in a February statement.

But on Friday, the Catholic Health Association sounded a much different line, saying in a letter to the agency that “We remain deeply concerned … with the approach the Administration has taken with respect to contraceptive services, especially abortifacient drugs and sterilization.”

The administration denies that its contraception mandate covers abortifacients - drugs that cause abortions - but some socially conservative groups disagree.

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In its letter, the Catholic Health Association urged the administration to broaden its exemption on the contraceptive mandate to include different kinds of religiously affiliated institutions.

The American Roman Catholic bishops have steadfastly criticized the Health and Human Services rule. The Catholic Health Association’s support for the rule gave the Obama some Catholic political cover in the face of such attacks.

Catholic voters represent one of the largest swing voting blocs in the nation, voting with the winning presidential candidate in every election since the 1970s.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Catholic Church • Health care • Politics

soundoff (1,412 Responses)
  1. BriSoFla

    Happy Gay Pride Month Everyone!

    See how relevant that is to the above article? It isn't obviously and so are 99% of the comments made on these boards. If you have nothing nice to say, close your browser, shut your computer down, go outside and have a nice day.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  2. Rebel4Christ


    June 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  3. Science

    Bill – my science describes the world better than your 'science' . given enough time, man will be able to create life in the sense you are thinking. genetic engineering is already advanced enough to clone animals. also, artificial intelligence will become a man-made form of life. finally, i'd like to see your definition of life.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  4. Jack

    Good morning. Everyone is welcome to visit ... thestarofkaduri.com

    June 19, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  5. Getreal

    Question: How do you get a nun pregnant?

    Answer: Dress her like an altar boy.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  6. gliese 42

    Why catholics and why not other religious groups? What is Obama's intention?

    June 19, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      It's not religious groups which are the target, it's health insurers, it's just the Catholics are the ones kicking up fuss. While I'm emphatically against insurers being forced to supply contarception, it's only fair that Catholic health insurers should also comply with the law. One law for all, no religious exception.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • BRC

      The law applied to everyone, it's just the Catholics that are griping about it.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • gliese 42

      BRC and the others@ Try it out on the muslim community and see what happens...lol

      June 19, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Allen Powers

      The Catholic faith has been fighting Satan for ions . A deciple of Satan is in the Whitehouse as we speak and must be ousted for the sake of the future. Without God there is no future !

      June 19, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Primewonk

      Obama didn't single out the catholics. The catholics singled out Obama. The catholics didn't express this outrage at the 26 states that enacted this same provision.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • sam stone


      June 19, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • sam stone

      gliese: what has this to do with muslims?

      June 19, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • BRC

      This rule DOES apply to muslim associated businesses, their rules don't prohibit contraceptives as long as
      1) THey are agreed upon by moth the husband and wife
      2) They don't cause permanent sterilization
      3) They don't harm the body.

      So, it was tried, it works fine. Any other misconceptions we can clear up?

      June 19, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  7. Allen Roundtree

    This is crazy, our world is becoming over populated and we have homeless Kids and Families that we can not feed, but lets just keep having more kids. What a JOKE!!! I am a Catholic but I do not support stupidity by the church! But it's amazing how the Catholic Religion is all on the White House, but they haven't stopped their own Priest from molesting boys!!!!

    June 19, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Getreal

      You are a catholic but don't support stupidity in the church. OK. Start by throwing out the bible , then continue by throwing out all of those books that tell you how, why, when and where to worship "Him". Then you will really be on the road to enlightenment.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • gliese 42

      Allen@ Catholics are not perfect but are you aware that this happens in other religious groups worldwide? Its not reported in America but you have the internet,...check it out

      June 19, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Allen Powers

      First of all you Sir are a Liar . You are NOT a Catholic . If you do not believe the teachings of Christ and obey his comandments then you are not even worthy of being called christian ,much less Catholic !Your views are distorted by the un-christian world that surrounds you. Changes must be made for you never know when you will die !Heaven or Hell ..it's your choice now !

      June 19, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I call No True Scotsman on you Mr. Powers.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • fintastic

      Obey! Mr Powers! obey!.... what a load of crap.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • CrystalPrism

      Allen, if you will check current populations in countries that practice birth control and abortion, you will find that the country's populations have decreased to the point that the current adults, when they become aged, will find that the population of their country cannot sustain them. There are not enough babies being born to sustain the population. The lie you have been fed was propogated by a man who made a lot of assumptions and used a mathematical calculation to predict that the world would become over populated. Science fiction writers ran with the idea and wrote many stories based on that premise and people now assume that it is true. If you would become objective enough to do research by scientists who have been studying this, you will see that I am correct. Assuming that the "Church" is "stupid" reveals that you are really not Catholic at all. Oh, maybe your parents were Catholic and you were told as a child you were Catholic, but your knowledge of what it means to be Catholic shows that you really do not know. You cannot just "call yourself Catholic" and be Catholic. You can't be "born Catholic". It is a teaching of the Church that one must believe all of the teachings of the Church in order to be Catholic. You cannot "pick and choose" what to "believe" and still be Catholic. By your disbelief you excommunicate yourself from the Church and should not be participating in the sacraments. You also talk as if the "Vatican" has the "power" to change Church Teaching. This is also a misconception that non-Catholics have. It is Protestant thought, because they have the power to change what THEY want to believe in their protestant churches, they assume that the Catholic Church can do the same. Not so. All of the Catholic Church beliefs and teachings are derived directly from the revelations of God given to her from Jesus (read in New Testament part of Bible) and Old Testament (10 Commandments). Jesus gave us the Church (of which all members are part of the body of) in order to help us get to Heaven. The Church DOES have a direct line to heaven and God whether or not you want to believe it. Within the Church a imperfect people (sinners) who need guidance in order to get to Heaven. Just like in secular life, there are people who say they are one thing and are actually another. They hide their sins and continue to pretend to be holy in order to manipulate others. They fool human beings and hurt them. But, God sees all. The Church heirarchy was perhaps naive to assume that persons with illnesses that hurt others could be in the priesthood. Most were admitted during a time (40s and 50s) when people did not think or talk about such evil things. Most wholesome families were unaware of these types of people and the harm they cause. The thought to "screen" for them probably was not even something that that naive society of those innocent years even had the capacity to think of. So, sick men became priests by hiding who they were. They needed counseling which they most likely did not seek out due to pride and or being lost in their sin. So, ENOUGH with the over dosed guilt tripping. God allows evil to happen. We all have a free will and are capable of sin. The Church's mission is to help us get to Heaven through realization of our sin, the ceasing of commiting sin, and seeking reconciliation with God.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      Crystal The church has a direct line to heaven and god? Nothing arrogant about that, is there?

      June 19, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bet

      @ sam stone

      Sounds a lot like another Prism who thinks he's god's public relations representative.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      Bet: Aren't they all?

      June 20, 2012 at 6:45 am |
  8. Dan

    The only birth control these Priests want is abusing little boys that can not have children.When they clean their own house then they can try to tell real people how to live their lives,until then get out of other peoples bedroom.Thank you very much.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Patel D

      They should never be allowed to tell other people what to do in their lives because all they have is lies.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Rational Libertarian


      Of course they should be allowed to tell people what to do with their lives, they just shouldn't be allowed to force people to do something. There's a difference.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Patel D

      At some point their lies become fraud and therefore criminal. Criminal speech is not protected speech.

      Fraud is a crime. There are many different types of fraud.
      Allowing religious fraud simply because it is religious is stupid and illegal.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      There's a difference between fraud and criminal fraud. Merely engaging in deception for personal gain is not necessarily criminal fraud, here are certain legal requirements for fraud to be criminal, which I'm far too lazy to research and describe, although I know they exist. Anyway, all speech should be protected, regardless. If people are stupid enough to be conned by religion, that's tough for them.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Patel D

      You admit you are lazy. This certainly explains your inability to understand simple legal concepts, like fraud.
      You say you think fraud is okay except for some foggy idea of "criminal fraud".
      That certainly says a lot about you to me. It says you think lying is okay. I know of other libertarians who are lazy and stupid, too.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  9. Steve

    Here's an idea. If you are making decisions for the health and welfare of all Americans, why not drop some ideological view that is paramount to a fairy tale? Instead of holding to the belief that contraception is a sin (and how could it be when it didn't exist during the writing of the Bible?), why doesn't the Catholic Church and its minions find some other worthy cause to get behind. Maybe it could be something to the tune of making sure all the priest that are pedophiles don't just get shuffled around, but instead, locked up in a prison?

    June 19, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  10. SparkBunny

    A friend of mine's mother works as a nurse in a hospital owned and run by a corporation of catholic nuns. When she tried to get birth control covered by her insurance, they told her that she would have to pay full price for it every month because they don't believe in contraception. A quick check proved that they would cover Viagra for men. What does that say about the catholic church's views on women's rights?

    June 19, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  11. Rational Libertarian


    It has nothing to do with cost. I'm talking about legal compulsion. Providing contraception is undoubtedly cheaper than providing post conception care. However, post conception care is a medical necessity, which should be covered by insurance. Contraception is a luxury, and health insurance providers should not be compelled to provide luxuries, although if they want to voluntarily do it, good for them.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • KSM

      The pill is prescribed for more than contraception. I know several women on it for severe PMS, controlling ovarian cysts, and one who is on it to prevent hemorraghing. (If she weren't on it, she would die.)

      June 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  12. religion; a way to control the weak minded

    A Catholic said "But I will agree that they need to get the gays out of the Catholic Church so that you children are safe."

    you are the biggest joke on this site. Go back to church and stay there. There is no room for your bigotry.

    June 19, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      So now it is biggotry to point out the rampant pedophilia that is condoned by the RCC?

      June 19, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Honey Badger

      Are you equating pedoplilia with being gay?

      June 19, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • gerald

      The great majority of acts were with post pubescent boys, many in the 16-18 range. These acts were hm sxl in nature.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Rational Libertarian


      I grew up in Ireland and can tell you that most of the cases there were with boys between about 8-12.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Delusions 3:15

      a. prove it
      b. if they were, how is it, they were "unnatural" ?

      June 19, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  13. James Allison

    I'm not Catholic and not anti-contraception, but Catholic organizations have the right to provide services in line with their beliefs. This Department of Health and Human Services rule would take away some very crucial religious freedoms and should be vigorously opposed. Catholics, stick to your guns if you think this rule violates your conscience and faith!

    June 19, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Except they don't. The Volstad act in 1919 prohibited intoxicating liquor, and exempted Catholics, (who, while 50% of them cannot tell you what it means, assert they believe in Transubstatiation). In 1990 Antonin Scalia ruled against the use of Peyote by Native Americans. Religious freedom has NEVER been a absolute right. Catholics are BOTH religionists and Americans. The granting of this exemption, grants ONLY to SOME employers, (who have not been polled), the BISHOP'sS opinion on this matter, and not the majority opinion of American Catholic women, who USE birth control. Obama has attempted to craft the same exclusion which was granted the Amish in Social Security, and the (non-elected)Bishops refuse to budge. Members of "peace" churches cannot insist a war be terminated, for everyone. So sad too bad.
      Thank you Jesus.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Primewonk

      Where was the outrage when 26 states signed this same measure into state law? Including right-wing governors like Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee?

      Also, these are businesses we are talking about – not churches. Why should the government treat businesses that do the same thing, differently?

      And what if a church run food business stated that their beliefs forbid them from following health and safety rules? Should they have a right to ignore rules about sanitation?

      June 19, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • JohnQuest

      James Allison, I have read the Bill (what is available anyway). Where in did you read or inferred that Religious Freedoms are (or might) be infringed? I don't see it but maybe I missed something.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  14. Rundvelt

    I find it constantly funny that the catholic and christian churches go on and on about free will, yet seem to do their damndest to limit the choices their members have.

    June 19, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Best post on here so far.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Mirosal

      And then try to force the rest of us to conform to THEIR views, and how THEY want us to live under threats from an imaginary "god" that will give us eternal punishment. That's coersion, and it's illegal.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      You are perfectly free to open your own hospital and offer all the free birth control you choose. Go ahead, we'll wait.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Delusions 3:15

      And Billy Boy, you can wait to get paid by Medicare for the unnatural Open Heart Surgery the Protestant surgeon did in your hospital, in an attempt to circu'mvent the will of your god, in blocking the artery, during the same night she sent the tornado to kill the babies.
      Thank you Jesus.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Oh so you like the way we run our hospitals then?

      June 19, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Bet

      Bill Deacon is good at dodging – deflect and distract.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • CrystalPrism

      The Catholic Chruch does not "limit choices" in order to "limit free will". However, the Church will not participate in your sin, nor will she tell you that it is OK to commit sin. Her purpose is to help you get to heaven. She can't provide abortions or birth control (which really are abortions at the point of conception) because God has prohibited us to kill one another. Only He has the right to take life. He gives it and has the right to take it. We do not have that "right" despite what we have fooled ourselves into thinking.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  15. Frank

    Matthew 7: 1 – 5

    1 "Judge not, that you be not judged.
    2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.
    3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
    4 Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?
    5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I think I'd notice if I had a log in my eye.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Before one quotes Babble verses, one must first establish that the quoted text is :
      a. authenic
      b. relevant
      c. translated correctly
      d. has any inherent authority.
      You have established none of the above.
      Matthew was voted, non-unanimously, into the canon, on a known date, during a known Council, by a known set of human beings, following a known period of development and use of various known versions.
      Thank you Jesus.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Rundvelt

      1 Judge not, that you be not judged.

      Everyone's actions should be judged. Everyone's morality should be looked at. This passage is about as silly as you can get. Not only that, I should fear judging the person who murders because I've committed small transgressions?

      2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.

      So, how sternly I feel about a specific issue is how sternly my transgressions are looked at? I should be treated harshly for double dipping a chip because I thought we should treat a murderer harshly? Nonsense.

      3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

      Again, just because I have had transgressions does not prevent me from seeing other transgressions and commenting on them.

      4 Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?

      If I can see the speck and I can take it out, I can do so, regardless of what is in my own eye. This is nonsensical.

      5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

      Why do I have to be a hypocrite? I don't have to be perfect to judge someone else. I can see things that someone has done as evil and see what I have done as fine. Which is why we all have subjecive morality.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Dan

      King James version revised in 1611.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • fintastic

      I love Lincoln Logs!

      June 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Rebel4Christ

      But Rundevilt or whatever, what if someone says what you call evil isn't evil? That is why we need God because he does know what is evil and what isn't

      June 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  16. slippery

    Either participate in health care for all or get out of the business.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  17. Rational Libertarian

    I see the comments section has gotten completely off topic as usual, something I usually take part in, but I actually have some strong opinions about this so I'll stick to the topic.

    No business (or run of the mill health insurance policy), whether religious or not, should be forced to supply contraception. Contraception is a luxury, not a medical necessity. I realise that the contraceptive pill treats some conditions in women, and if you have one of these conditions you should expect your insurance provider to supply the pill. Otherwise, you shouldn't expect luxury items. I'd like a 10" p.enis, but accept that my insurance provider shouldn't be expected to pay for such luxuries.

    OK, I'll go off topic for old times sake. Religion= Poo

    June 19, 2012 at 7:23 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      You show your ignorance. Contraception is NOT a luxury and with that the rest of your point is moot.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Agree. Everything in 2012 about the baby making industry is a life-style choice/item, and should not be covered, unless it impacts individual health. Therefore, no infertility treatments of any kind, no high risk pregnancy or pre-natal care for anyone, no delivery coverage, and no c-section coverage, and no post partum coverage. If they don't pay for plastic surgery, baby making also should not be covered. And BTW, when they are old enough, the products of the conception, (the children), can pay for their own care and up-keep, and pay back the state for any cost they have incurred, at any point.
      And that's what I believe, so you can't make me pay for any of it.
      Thank you Jesus.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Jen

      While I do not 100 percent disagree with you, wouldn't you also agree that having kids is a luxury (not a right for everyone)? Why should insurance have to pay for a woman while she is pregnant? Or the kid at all for that matter? The truth is, insurance companies aren't the ones complaining about contraception coverage. Pregnancy and birth are huge expenses for them so they would much prefer to cover contraception.

      What irks me too is that no one cares about Viagra coverage. Who wants to pay for a man to have s-x? I just feel that this would not be an issue if men were the ones that could get pregnant.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why can't you find your own screen name, troll, instead of usurping mine?

      June 19, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Rational Libertarian


      I didn't mention anything about "lifestyle choices" or about healthcare post conception. All I said is that contraception is a luxury and people shouldn't expect it to be a mandatory aspect of their health coverage, although I wouldn't begrudge a health care provider having it as an aspect which they voluntarily provide.


      I don't agree that having kids is a luxury (although it would be ideal if people actually put more thought into preventative measures). Also, health insurance companies should provide pregnancy cover because it is a medical necessity that pregnant women receive a certain level of care.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Rational Libertarian, that would be true if it applied to all equally, but how could you justify an Insurance company paying for Viagra drugs and the like?

      Besides its cheaper to provide it then to pay for a pregnancy.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Jen

      Why isn't having children a luxury? It certainly isn't a necessity in a world with seven billion people. Besides, where do you draw the line? Women have successfully had babies for centuries without all this medical intervention. Giving birth is natural, not a medical procedure. Nowadays women have tons of expensive and arguably unnecessary appointments (I know, I'm pregnant for the third time).

      June 19, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Primewonk

      Rational Libertarian – afraid I have to disagree with you that contraception is a luxury.

      I could just as easily claim that the vast majority of cases of Type II diabetes, and hyperlipidemia are a result of poor lifestyles. Eating poorly and lack of exercise. Taking pills for these conditions lets the folks keep eating bacon cheeseburgers and being couch potatoes.

      These people need to become vegans and start exercising. The pills are a luxury.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Rational Libertarian


      Having babies isn't a necessity, but decent healthcare for pregnant women is. I agree about the unnecessary appointments though, half of which are for antenatal classes conducted by some feminist hippy who never had a child and advises things like home births and drug free births. Labor is tough enough when the woman is doped up, I would not like to see a completely lucid woman give birth, let alone be one.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @Jen, this is off-topic, but you should check out your troll wannabe on the gay marriage thread. Poor Bob is lonesome.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Rational Libertarian


      Forgive my ignorance but are insurance providers legally compelled to provide preventative medication?

      Either way, I think there's a difference between preventing serious disease and pregnancy, although I also don't believe there should be a legal compulsion on healthcare providers to provide preventative medication (it might motivate people to take better care of themselves).

      June 19, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • SparkBunny

      I think the main point that everyone is missing here, is that the catholic church is run predominantly by men. There is no equality there. And by having men tell women what to do or not do with their own bodies is infringing on their rights. The men are telling the women that it's ok for the men to have intercourse, but it's not ok for the women to not get pregnant. If you are a man, your opinion on pregnancy is void since you can never experience it. It's like having your body highjacked by a parasite for the better part of a year. And yet, we're supposed to just accept that men have the right to have intercourse, but women don't have the right to prevent pregnancy? Ludicrous.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Rational Libertarian


      Telling a woman what to do with her body is not infringing on her rights. Forcing a woman to do something with her body infringes her rights. The difference may be semantic rather than literal, but it's good to be clear.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • SparkBunny

      Ok, so when a woman gets pregnant because her insurance won't cover birth control, but will cover the viagra her husband used to get her pregnant, how is it not infringing on her rights to force her to be pregnant because catholics don't believe in abortion? You are missing my point.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Primewonk

      @Rational Libertarian – In many states insurance carriers can write whatever they want into their policies depending on what the purchasing organization wants. For example, this year my employer added provisions to our coverage that dropped any coverage for barriatric services. They also added that if you are injured while participating in "daredevil' activities, they won't cover your treatment. Rock climbing, racing, sky diving, etc.

      Also, how is birth control not preventative medication?

      June 19, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Rational Libertarian


      First of all, I do get your point, I'm just a stickler for semantics. Secondly, nobody is forcing the woman to have intercourse. Thirdly, the woman isn't legally restricted from acquiring contraception from other distributors. Fourthly, I'm pretty sure healthcare companies aren't legally compelled to provide viagra, and if they are, that is wrong.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Rational Libertarian


      I can't be bothered to look through my previous posts but I'm pretty sure I didn't say that contraception wasn't preventative medication, I just said it was different from medication which prevented serious illness.

      Secondly, I think insurance companies should be able to dictate most of their policy, although obviously there should be legal compulsion in some areas, including illness and injuries (obviously not sustained in extreme sport activities, I definitely agree with your company's policy there).

      June 19, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Primewonk

      Rational Libertarian – preventative medication is preventative medication is preventative medication.

      Becoming pregnant carries a whole host of pregnancy induced conditions and disorders. Additionally, if a woman or couple is not emotionally, mentally, or physically ready for pregnancy, birth control is necessary.

      The drive for sèx is one of the strongest we have (after breathing, drinking, sleeping, and eating).

      June 19, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Patel D

      This privatization of health care does not work. Health care should be regulated and free for anyone who needs it.
      Your religious beliefs are not a credible or intelligent reason for refusing to pay your taxes.
      Your religious beliefs do not give you a free pass to violate the law.
      If you employ people, we have laws about employment, like health insurance, that you must follow if you are an employer.
      This noise from the Catholics is a transparent attempt to distract people from the ped-priest scandals and other scandals of the RCC. They seek to violate the religious freedoms of their employees while yelling that their freedoms are being violated, but they aren't. They are lying and making a big stink over nothing. They have to follow the law.
      If they wanted to murder their employees in the name of their religion, it would be no different.
      Where their religion violates our freedoms is where their religious freedom stops, end of story.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Rational Libertarian


      What does privatized healthcare have to do with religion? I'm an atheist and I'm completely against publicized healthcare. I grew up in Ireland, I have first hand experience with ridiculous levels of tax for mediocre public services. Socialism is ridiculous.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Patel D

      You are an idiot to think that the problems with Ireland's health care is due to "social ism". It is corruption, bad legislation, bad regulations and corruption that have made Ireland's healthcare such a joke. Social programs work only so far as they can be done intelligently. This is why libertarians are viewed as being quite clueless where social programs are concerned.
      What you view as bad is not the fact that the government is running the show, but the fact that it is being deliberately run badly by corrupt people who only want money and don't care how they get it.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  18. A dose of reality

    A few questions should help shed light on the relationship between religion and rational thought.
    The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the field of:
    (a) Astronomy;
    (b) Medicine;
    (c) Economics; or
    (d) Christianity
    You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are a:
    (a) historian;
    (b) geologist;
    (c) NASA astronomer; or
    (d) Christian
    I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am
    (a) A gifted psychologist
    (b) A well respected geneticist
    (c) A highly educated sociologist
    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.
    I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am
    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;
    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly
    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or
    (d) your average Christian
    Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:
    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;
    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;
    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or
    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.
    I believe that an all powerful being, capable of creating the entire cosmos watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty". I am
    (a) A victim of child molestation
    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover
    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions
    (d) A Christian
    The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:
    (a) Architecture;
    (b) Philosophy;
    (c) Archeology; or
    (d) Religion
    What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:
    (a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they are morally obliged to believe on pain of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;
    (b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is a composite god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;
    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or
    (d) All of the above.
    If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:
    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;
    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;
    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or
    (d) my religious belief.
    Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free and my own salary is also tax free, at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am
    (a) A sleazy Wall Street banker
    (b) A mafia boss
    (c) A drug pusher; or
    (d) A Catholic Priest, Protestant Minister or Jewish Rabbi.
    What do the following authors all have in common – Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, and Blaise Pascal:
    (a) They are among the most gifted writers the World has known;
    (b) They concentrated on opposing dogma and opening the human mind and spirit to the wonders of free thought and intellectual freedom;
    (c) They were intimidated by the Catholic Church and put on the Church’s list of prohibited authors; or
    (d) All of the above.
    The AIDS epidemic will kill tens of millions in poor African and South American countries before we defeat it. Condoms are an effective way to curtail its spread. As the Pope still has significant influence over the less educated masses in these parts of the World, he has exercised this power by:
    (a) Using some of the Vatican’s incomprehensible wealth to educate these vulnerable people on health family planning and condom use;
    (b) Supporting government programs that distribute condoms to high risk groups;
    (c) Using its myriad of churches in these regions to distribute condoms; or
    (d) Scaring people into NOT using condoms, based upon his disdainful and aloof view that it is better that a person die than go against the Vatican’s position on contraceptive use.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • SparkBunny

      There is nothing inherently wrong with what you're saying, but it looks like i'm probably the only person who read it. Paraphrase and you might get some actual attention for all these things you know.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  19. A dose of reality

    1. You believe that the pope has personal conversations with God (that nobody else ever hears) and is infallible when speaking on matters of Church doctrine. You then wistfully ignore the fact that Church doctrine changes and that former popes therefore could not possibly have been “infallible”. Limbo, for example, was touted by pope after pope as a place where un-baptized babies who die go, until Pope Benedict XVI just eradicated it (or, more accurately, so watered it down as effectively eradicate it in a face saving way). Seems all those earlier “infallible” Popes were wrong – as they were on Adam and Eve v. evolution, heliocentricity v. egocentricity, and a host of other issues that required an amendment of official Church doctrine. You also ignore the innumerable murders, rampant corruption and other crimes committed over the centuries by your “infallible”, god-conversing popes.
    2. You reject the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. You are blissfully (or intentionally) blind to the fact, that had you been born in another part of the World, you would be defending the local god(s) and disdaining the incorrectness of Catholic beliefs.
    3. You begrudgingly accept evolution (about a century after Darwin proved it and after accepting Genesis as literally true for about 2,000 years) and that Adam and Eve was totally made up, but then conveniently ignore that fact that your justification for Jesus dying on the cross (to save us from Original Sin) has therefore been eviscerated. Official Church literature still dictates a belief in this nonsense.
    4. You disdain native beliefs as “polytheist” and somehow “inferior” but cannot explain (i) why being polytheistic is any sillier than being monotheistic. Once you make the quantum leap into Wonderland by believing in sky-fairies, what difference does if make if you believe in one or many?; nor (ii) why Christians believe they are monotheistic, given that they believe in god, the devil, guardian angels, the holy spirit, Jesus, many demons in hell, the Virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel, thousands of saints, all of whom apparently make Earthly appearances periodically, and all of whom inhabit their life-after-death lands with magic-sacred powers of some kind.
    5. You bemoan the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don`t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees or the 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf (or the dozen or so other slaughters condoned by the bible). You also like to look to god to for guidance in raising your children, ignoring the fact that he drowned his own – according to your Bible.
    6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that God impregnated Mary with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to “forgive” an ”Original Sin” that we now all know never happened.
    7. You disdain gays as sinners, but have no problem when Lot got drunk and committed father-daughter in.cest (twice) or offered his daughters to a mob to be gang ra.ped, or when Moses, time and again, offered his wife up for the “pleasures” of the Egyptians to save his own skin.
    8. You believe that your god will cause anyone who does not accept your Bronze Age stories to suffer a penalty an infinite times worse than the death penalty (burning forever in excruciating torture) simply because of their healthy skepticism, yet maintain that god “loves them”.
    9. You will totally reject any scientific breakthrough that is inconsistent with your established doctrine, unless and until it is so generally accepted as to back you into a corner. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you of the deep inanity of your silly faith, some priest doing magic hand signals over bread and wine is enough to convince you it is thereby transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus because of the priest’s magic powers (or “sacred powers” to the extent you see a difference).
    10. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to Lourdes, Fátima and other magic places and prayers in general. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. The remaining 99.99% failure was simply “god moving in mysterious ways”. The fact that, if you ask for something repeatedly, over and over, year after year, sooner or later that thing is bound to happen anyway, has not even occurred to you. A stopped clock is right twice a day.
    11. You accept the stories in the Bible without question, despite not having the slightest idea of who actually wrote them, how credible these people were or how long the stories were written after the alleged events they record occurred. For example, it is impossible for Moses to have written the first five books of the Old Testament, as Catholics believe. For one, they record his death and events after his death. In fact, the chance of the Bible being historically accurate in any but the broadest terms is vanishingly small.
    Heavens, I could not fit them into ten. Maybe, if they pray hard enough to their sky-fairy, the Catholics can turn them into 10

    June 19, 2012 at 6:53 am |
  20. Science

    what college did you study mathematics at? infinity is 'open' in that it is never ending. observations are 'closed' in that they are limited to a specific time, place/whatever. infinity is abstract. i challenge you to a 'math – off'. i studied physics. i took differential equations, partial differential equations, vector algebra, linear algebra, set theory, thermodynamics, statistics, astrophysics,quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism, fluid dynamics, classical physics, modern physics, atomic (nuclear) physics . . . all much better descriptions of the world than the bible.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:53 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Your science does indeed describe the world. It did not however create the world. Any of us can dissect a frog. Who among us can create one?

      June 19, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Let me guess Bill: Jebus.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Bill – Who can create a frog? A male and female frog.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Rebel4Christ

      But Primewonk- who created the FIRST male and female frog, you can't answer unless you say God!!

      June 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Science

      you can answer that rebel – no "being" created the first male/female/cell/anything
      existence is a random arrangement, with the actual probability of any event being 1 / infinity

      to try and make sense of it, we close this open system – because existence would be even more absurd other wise
      it is a pointless question. accept your mortality and be as close to freedom as possible

      June 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
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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.