Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Is it a bad dream?


Lord help us, no, it is not just a nightmare. It's our new reality. As we mourn for the America we've known and loved, let's remember that this is the time to become saints. It is the only answer, and it's always been the only answer.

Meantime, I will let a series of quotes speak for me today.


A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. -- Author Unknown
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From a prescient Czech Republic editorial of a few years ago:

The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency.  
It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.  
The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. 
The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their President.


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We've all heard the first part, but the Cardinal has given us the entire quote:

I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.  -- Francis Cardinal George

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From our Papa.
There are times when the burden of need and our own limitations might tempt us to become discouraged. But precisely then we are helped by the knowledge that, in the end, we are only instruments in the Lord’s hands; and this knowledge frees us from the presumption of thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord. -- Benedict XVI

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"In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world."

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.





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316 comments:

  1. I can't wrap my mind around it.

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  2. Fabulous. Thanks for sharing. May be all become exactly what He is calling us to be: Saints.

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  3. Thank you. I really needed to read that this morning.

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  4. I looked up the quote by Francis Cardinal George as I was interested in learning the context. I found an article by Tim Drake confirming it along with some commentary by Francis Cardinal George that I have copied....Analogies can easily be multiplied, if one wants to push a thesis; but the point is that the greatest threat to world peace and international justice is the nation state gone bad, claiming an absolute power, deciding questions and making “laws” beyond its competence. Few there are, however, who would venture to ask if there might be a better way for humanity to organize itself for the sake of the common good. Few, that is, beyond a prophetic voice like that of Dorothy Day, speaking acerbically about “Holy Mother the State,” or the ecclesiastical voice that calls the world, from generation to generation, to live at peace in the kingdom of God.
    God sustains the world, in good times and in bad. Catholics, along with many others, believe that only one person has overcome and rescued history: Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, savior of the world and head of his body, the church. Those who gather at his cross and by his empty tomb, no matter their nationality, are on the right side of history. Those who lie about him and persecute or harass his followers in any age might imagine they are bringing something new to history, but they inevitably end up ringing the changes on the old human story of sin and oppression. There is nothing “progressive” about sin, even when it is promoted as “enlightened.”
    The world divorced from the God who created and redeemed it inevitably comes to a bad end. It’s on the wrong side of the only history that finally matters. The Synod on the New Evangelization is taking place in Rome this month because entire societies, especially in the West, have placed themselves on the wrong side of history.


    Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/tim-drake/the-myth-and-the-reality-of-ill-die-in-my-bed#ixzz2BYbw6zHN

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  5. Time to get on my knees again, for my own sins and for our country.

    In the meantime, take heart. Our real King lives. To borrow from a favorite Pentecostal song of mine, "The cross couldn't stop him, the grave couldn't hold him, and death wasn't enough." His Church will continue to pass along His Truth and Love.

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  6. Thank you Leila for your reflections and for your open facebook line on election night.

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  7. He has given His answer: keep praying. Hugs to all.

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  8. The wake up call has been received. Pray for those who voted for Obama - for their conversion, repentance, and absolution. Pray for our country and live as examples of Christ's saving love.

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  9. This is also what I've been feeling--if we live right, we'll only become stronger of this. we'll become braver and stronger as fight wears on.

    I went on fb today which was a big mistake. i think i'll go into hiding for a while.

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  10. I'm stocking food away and ammo.

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  11. I just don't even have words. I'm in shock.

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  12. The Alexis de Tocqueville quote isn't actually anything he said. It's something that's going around FB and on various websites, but it's not right. I'll try to find the real source...

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  13. http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/athenian.asp

    It is doubtful the quote is even legitimate. Unfortunately. Because it sounds good. :)

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    1. Lisa, thank you for the correction! I changed it to "Author Unknown" (still an excellent quote, and someone wrote it!) I always appreciate a correction on the facts.

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  14. I love this, from Recovered Catholic:

    “My budget is balanced, my credit pristine and I have almost zero debt. My business is in the green, my savings are secure, and my investments are wise. My children fear not death in the womb nor neglect outside it and they have parents who will fiercely defend them against every corruption of this world. Shannon and I built this, and all before our morning coffee. American liberalism reigns, but not in this house.”

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  15. I'm just mourning right now. Thanks for the quotes! They are encouraging. At some point, I know we have to stand back up and keep going.

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  16. We've been trying to hold the line for years. But it feels like there is no point in doing that anymore. Is it time to keep fighting? Do you fight an avalanche or take shelter?

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  17. Phoenix, I think we pretty much fight until we die. That doesn't mean we stand in front of a moving train -- We may have to take shelter while continuing to fight in some capacity.

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  18. This is what I'm trying to remind myself of today:

    "in the end, we are only instruments in the Lord’s hands; and this knowledge frees us from the presumption of thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord."

    We aren't responsible for the results of the election. We have to just keep doing the right thing, and pray for our country. Manda, I looked for the "like" button after reading your comment. Yes, we prayed, and we have God's answer.

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  19. Sharon, that reminds me of this:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/06/little-teaching-we-serve-good-not.html

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  20. This is a really good blog message today, Leila. Have you seen it?

    http://www.clan-donaldson.com/2012/11/awkwardly-sanctimonious-post.html

    I'm going to print it out and meditate on it.

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  21. I remember this! Definitely one of my favorites and very relevant today.

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    1. Ooops! That was supposed to pop up under the link to you Little Teaching!

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  22. Leila - I'm a huge fan of your blog and always look forward to your posts. My wife and I were discussing the results last night and the questions remain: How long will God allow abortion to continue? When will the cries of the martyrs be heard? To put it all in perspective, we should go back to the very first Good Friday. The disciples are freaked, their leader is dead. Satan believes he has won the war. The world is his. But out of no where, our hero pulls an end run to score the final touchdown with no time left on the clock. I'm not saying that our lives are going to be easy, but we have the assurance of the victory. Today's Mass readings hit it home for me: "Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain." Keep up your awesome blog work and let the light shine.

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  23. Jon, that was today's reading?? Oh, my! Thank you, Lord, for your consolation! And thanks, Jon, for your support. Catholics, this is no time to stop. It's time to evangelize a pagan world! :)

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  24. Leila, that was the reading four years ago the day after the election as well. I know becase I offered it for "reflection" at the beginning of a liberal graduate school class at my liberal Jesuit grad school. :)

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  25. or maybe we should all just try to work together? That would be an intersting change.
    Clearly as demonstrated yesterday, the entire country does not agree with you.
    So why not give working together a chance?
    Just a thought.

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  26. The entire country? I'm pretty sure it was a very close race and about 50% of the country is upset today.

    Working together, wow, what a concept. Maybe that's something Obama needs to consider.

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  27. Wow, I'm with Sew. I think DH and I might be out of jobs when Obamacare comes around. Lord help us.

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  28. alanl64, Obama jammed through Obamacare (an overtaking of one-sixth of the US economy, which will change how the nation operates on many levels) without a single Republican vote. He forced it on the country, a country who didn't want it. How is that "working together"? I'm interested.

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    1. Will Obama compromise on abortion? He won't even allow common-sense restrictions! Not one. How is that "working together"?

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  29. Kara, you are right, I need to speak more directly. Over half the country does not agree with you. Hows that?

    Leila, economy? wars? These are the things we should work together on. They are the most pressing issues right now. Yes you should continue your fight against abortion and the such. But instead of "mourning the America you knew and loved" (which I am not really sure when that last existed) we should find a way to get things that are more pressing taken care of.

    We know for you there is no compromise on abortion. But I feel I don't really know what you mean by "common sense restrictions"

    Oh yes I totally expect to get raked over the coals by you all as I may be the only dissenting opinion, I just hope that some of your less kind persons refrain from responding to me. I think they probably know who they are.

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  30. or maybe we should all just try to work together? That would be an intersting change.So why not give working together a chance?

    Okee doke.
    He goes first.

    Step #1: President removes his vice grip from the neck of my Church and stop forcing me and my Catholic brethren to swallow sin and allow us free exercise of our religion.

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  31. and Nubby, what do you consider the "free exercise of your religion"?

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  32. yes for real, Nubby. For real.
    I want to know what you consider the free exercise of your religion to be. I would not ask if I didn't want to know.

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  33. alan, Have you heard of a little thing called the HHS mandate and all the dust that's kicked up in the face of our Church? Just wondering.

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  34. of course Nubby. So thats all?
    I'm not sure what that has to do with your religious freedoms though. I mean he is not forcing you to use birth control. Yes he is making business provide health insurance that includes birth control. And some religious business owners feel that is unfair. I get that. But business are not necessarily guaranteed religious freedom. Unless that business is religious in nature of course.
    So what else you got Nubby?

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  35. Yes he is making business provide health insurance that includes birth control.

    Do you get this, alan, or not?

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  36. I've been following your posts on and off for a while, not as much as I would like to as I do enjoy reading your posts. I haven't paid much attention to American politics and not sure which party would be the better however this post and the video in the post below has compelled me to type a quote from a book I have recently read the book is called "Searching for and maintaining peace: a small treatise on peace of the heart" by Father Jacques Philippe.

    I quote: " In the domain of our personal lives, as in that of the history of the world, we must be convinced, if we want to go to the limits of our Christian faith, that God is sufficiently good and powerful to use whatever evil there may be, as well as any suffering however absurd and unnecessary it may appear to be, in our favor. We cannot have any mathematical or philosophical certitude of this; it can only be an act of faith. But it is precisely to this act of faith that we are invited by the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus, understood and received as the definite victory of God over evil.

    Evil is a mystery, a scandal and it will always be so. It is necessary to do what one can to eliminate it, to relieve suffering, but it always remains present in our personal lives, as well as in the world. Its place in the economy of redemption reveals the wisdom of God, which is not the wisdom of man; it always retains something incomprehensible…for My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways, My ways says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are My ways above your ways and My thoughts above your thoughts (Is. 55:8-9) At certain moments in life, a Christian is necessarily invited to believe in the contradiction of appearances and to hope against all hope (Romans 4:18) There are inevitably circumstances where we cannot understand the “why” of God’s activity because it is no longer the wisdom of man, a wisdom within our capacity to understand and explain by human intelligence. Rather it is a divine Wisdom, mysterious and incomprehensible, that thus intervenes.

    And happily we cannot always understand! Otherwise, how would it be possible to allow the Wisdom of God to freely work according to His designs? Where would there be room for confidence? It is true that for many things we would not act as God would act! We would not have chosen the folly of the cross as means of redemption! But fortunately it is the Wisdom of God and not ours that rules all things, because it is infinitely more powerful and more loving and, above all, more merciful than ours."

    Sorry to have written so much but it's a book on peace that i totally recommend as it has helped me to maintain peace through tough times...when i act on it by the Grace of God of course! BTW i'm not trying to say you aren't at peace just saying what has helped me maintain peace.

    eilyn

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  37. ok Nubby, clearly you have no interest in answering my question.

    I get this. If you (are you a business owner or is this merely rhethorical?) employ people they should be entitled to the insurance they wish to have. Should your employees wish to have birth control it should be available to them via insurance (as they might need a prescription for it). No one is making you provide them with the birth control. No one is making you take the birth control?

    What other religous freedom is Obama keeping from you?

    Not sure if I should be reading snark into what you are writing, from past experiences I think I am right in reading snark, so it that is the case then please just stop. No need for it. I am not being snarky, I could be, but I am not being so. Be an adult. Thank you.

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  38. Eilyn, very wise! Thank you!

    Alan, you might not be aware that it is a mortal sin to provide contraception and abortifacients and sterilization to people, not just use it ourselves.

    So, if a government comes to a Catholic business owner and tells him he must provide these things, even by paying a middle man, then the government is asking that owner to commit mortal sin and imperil his soul. I hope you can see that the government has absolutely not right to force that on anyone. Religious freedom (not just freedom of worship, as Obama says) is a first freedom. By contrast, there is no "right" to have one's contraception force-paid by someone else, most especially those who are religiously opposed to it as an evil.

    Won't you respect my religious freedom?

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    1. Technically it isn't this Catholic Business Owner's religious freedom that is being curtailed, it is his freedom to operate a business without restriction.

      He can choose to not run a business and his religious freedom remains intact.

      Not saying it is a satisfactory answer, but the government is NOT forcing him to violate his religious principles, it is forcing him to choose between them and his business.

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  39. By the way, this "they want to take away your access to contraception!" line was not even on anyone's radar before it was contrived by the left a year or two ago (I think Stephonoplous brought it up out of the blue, to Romney, who was flabbergasted as I was… who had ever brought that up before? No one was moving to "block access" or "make contraception illegal". It was a contrived ploy, and then they introduced the HHS mandate, then ran with that ("See! They are taking away women's access to contraception!"), when all the movement came from only one side. It is so troubling to me. It was a plot and it worked. And still, no one on our side has asked for anything but the status quo, which was fine with everyone until the left made up this fraudulent crisis.

    Makes me so sad that this is where we are.

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  40. My perfectly good rant went poof into cyberspace.

    We'll get through the next four years. It may be difficult, but personally the past four years have been very difficult for me.

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  41. Leila, it's funny when I woke up this morning and thought about the election and the election results around the country I thought of you. I remember a conversation where you told me gay marriage had never won a popular vote (even though I don't think the populace should be voting on minority rights) so I came by to see if you would write anything about that.

    I know that by posting here I have to deal with the snark that is some of your followers, but hope you know I come here with good intents of maybe learning what makes you catholics tick.

    That being said, yes I respect your religious freedom. I am aware that you consider artificial birth control to be a sin. I understand where you come about thinking it is wrong to force a business owner to provide health insurance to employees that includes birth control if it is against their religious beliefs. But I think all Americans are entitled to the insurance of their choice, and although I understand the business owners religious beliefs, businesses, in my opinion, do not have religious beliefs. So I don't see how the business owners soul is in danger. They are not providing the birth control, the insurance company and doctors do.

    But Leila, you ask that I respect your religious freedom, I ask that you respect my freedom from religion. Fair deal?

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  42. How is your freedom from religion not being respected? What unjust laws are you referring to?

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  43. So Catholic hospitals don't have a religion? What about Catholic schools? None of these have exemptions in HHS. Not even Mother Theresa would have had an exemption.

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  44. Petrolias, yes they are indeed religious institutions. And I agree they should have an exemption. But I suspect you have no interest in hearing that from me.

    And did Mother Theresa employ and provide insurance for others?

    But as you wish to weigh in, lets move beyond this HHS mandate. What other religious freedom's is Obama's "vice grip" on?

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    1. Whoa. I meant no "snark". I am glad you can agree that they should have exemptions. I don't know if Mother Theresa provided insurance, but most Catholic schools and hospitals do. My example about Mother Theresa was to illustrate that even someone most people consider religious would not qualify for an exemption, so most (if not all!) Catholic institutions would be forced to choose between sin or closing their doors.

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  45. So businesses operate entirely without human cooperation? There is no person behind the business?

    I'm confused -- Liberals expect businesses to have "morals" -- to donate to worthy causes, pay fair wages, respect the environment, charge "fair" prices (which is arguably impossible), but then you dismiss the idea that businesses have morals or "sins" because a business "cannot have a religion". So is the business owner not responsible when he cheats his employees or pollutes the environment? Is that business owner not sinning here? Does the business have a mind of its own that exonerates the owner from personal responsibility?

    Catholics not only believe that business owners along with their subsequent businesses are held accountable for things like birth control and abortion services within a health plan, but also earthly stewardship, just treatment of employees, etc. We are consistent in that. It seems, from the politically liberal perspective, that business owners only have a moral connection to their businesses when the issue matches the liberal idea of morality, but then suddenly business owners are incapable of sin and subsequently their businesses incapable of religion convictions when the owner's personal convictions conflict with the liberal stance.

    So what is the logic here? Are business owners responsible for the actions of their business?

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  46. Alan, so you'd be okay if the government told a Jewish deli owner that he must provide pork to customers if that is what a customer wanted? How is that type of thing respecting the business owner's freedom of religion? No business just runs itself. If I can't run a business according to the dictates of my conscience, then what good is religious freedom?

    With due respect, it doesn't matter if you think there is no sin in this or that. It's what my religion teaches that matters, not what a secular person thinks of it. That's the whole point of having religious freedom, right? I may think it's moral to eat pork but it would never, ever occur to me to force a Jew or a Muslim to provide it for others!

    As for who provides it: If I give my son money earmarked to buy porn, I am in sin. If I give his friend the money to give to my son, and that money is earmarked to buy porn, I am still in the same sin.

    As a Catholic, I may not cooperate in facilitating someone else's sin. It's not that I would be giving my son money as a gift, or as payment for work, and then he chose to go get porn with it. It's that I give him the money FOR the porn, or I give it to a middleman with the explicit directive that the money is earmarked for the porn purchase.

    I pray you can understand the distinctions involved here. It's important.

    I echo the Petrolias. Which law, specifically, is forcing you to worship or to join a religion?

    Yes, it's very sad that gay "marriage" has won by popular vote. We are definitely a post-Christian society. But even should the entire nation vote for it, it changes the moral law not one tiny bit. Nor can marriage actually be redefined, no matter if we call other things by that same name. Marriage is marriage, and it's inherently heterosexual. That cannot change.

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  47. alan164- does the HHS mandate pay for ALL types of birth control? Like fertility awareness methods? Or is the govt only interested in demanding insurances pay for harmful birth control that lines the drug companies pockets? Hey where's my choice?

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  48. We all have opinions, we all want our own distinctions to be valid.

    Business morals are different than religious morals.

    Should a jewish butcher have to sell pork. Nope. Should he or she hire non jewish employees and treat them properly? Yup. Should they refuse service to catholics?

    Leila, which law forces me to join or worship a religion? None. Which laws force you to have an abortion? What HHS mandate forces you to use birth control? Yet you insist these are infringing on your religious rights?

    You want me and the country to follow your religious rules. This is not a mistatement, it is not up for debate, it is what you want. How does that provide me freedom from religion? More How does that provide Muslims, Jewish, or any other religion their freedom of religion? So while we are to respect your freedom of religion you are not willing to offer the same respect.

    And sad for the marriage vote is not the word I would use. Exciting is one. Correct is another. But see just another example of you wanting to make me follow your gods rules.

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  49. Alan, why are we moving past the HHS mandate discussion? It is HUGE for Catholics. So huge that it has the bishops speaking with one voice, and the Pope openly warning of the "grave threat" to religious liberty in America. Why does there have to be "more" -- isn't something that might force the closing of all Catholic institutions enough?

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  50. Not sure if I should be reading snark into what you are writing, from past experiences I think I am right in reading snark, so it that is the case then please just stop.

    alan, I don't need to pull snark. Do you intellectually get it?

    Buy your own contraception. I'm not obligated to give it to you. I sure as hell shouldn't be forced to give it to you.

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  51. Bartley, you are going to have to tell me what fertility awareness methods that are birth control?

    And fyi I don't think birth control should be paid for. But you do have to see a doctor for a prescription. And that doctors visit should be covered by insurance, and the drugs should be subject to the same cost benefit of any other drug.

    What choice would you like?

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  52. I don't know of other issues regarding my religious freedom--one issue is enough! If the president can ignore my religious rights on the issue, why should I believe he won't ignore them in other areas in the future?

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  53. Republicans are going to have a very difficult time winning an election when they are selling personal responsibility and hard work and the democrats are all about handouts. People need to keep in mind that the more a person's life depends on the government for survival (Obamacare, Medicare, Social security) the less "free" their vote is.

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  54. So, alan, you don't think that a business owner is personally responsible or sinful if their business intentionally pollutes the local groundwater? Maybe the owner contracted with a third party to dispose of their waste, but the owner knew of the waste disposal plan. Is the owner's conscience free of wrongdoing because the actions were done through his business account and a third party was paid to carry out the action?

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  55. How does that provide me freedom from religion?

    Pssst: You weren't guaranteed this by our Constitution.

    It's OF religion, dear alan. OF.

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  56. Nubby, and yet you often (always?) do resort to snark. (and by snark look at your comment about understanding something intelligently.)

    And I agree, you should not have to pay for my contraception. I don't need it being in a long term monogamous relationship and not having to worry about pregnancy. But I agree, birth control should not be free. But it does have to be prescribed by a doctor so it does need to be included in insurance.

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  57. Alan, sorry, when did anyone not have access to contraception unless a Catholic paid for it for them?

    And, you are not listening. It is the same sin if I use contraception or if I provide it to someone. You are not hearing me: It's not up to you do decide what is sin or what my religion should teach.

    Let's try it this way: Should the government force a Jew to buy his employees pork sandwiches? Or should they just go get them on their own, and not involve the Jewish owner in that decision?

    And how is not wanting to cooperate in sin the same as "refusing to serve Catholics"? I'm not getting the analogy there. Unless you mean that providing everyone with birth control is the same as not serving someone because you don't like their "group" but being okay with serving others? See, if I picked and chose who I wanted to serve based on race or religion, that is different then if I said, "We don't serve ANYONE pork here."

    But there is a store next door that does.

    Catholics don't serve ANYONE birth control. No discrimination at all, see?

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  58. Alan, doctor visits are covered by insurance (assuming the doctor is in the network. But Catholic businesses don't ban OB/Gyns or family docs as entire practices). But if the doctor writes a prescription for contraceptives, then that wouldn't be covered. Pharmacies bill insurance companies separately from doc offices. Catholic businesses don't and can't request files from a private doc visit to see the nature of the visit, but they can refuse to pay for pharmaceuticals at the pharmacy counter. They can also refuse certain procedures, which are billed with their own code.

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  59. psst Nubs, actually we are.......

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  60. I don't know of insurance plans that don't cover a woman's annual visit to her OB. We're not talking about the office visit. We are talking about directly and completely covering the cost of her birth control. I have rheumatoid arthritis. My insurance covers a portion of my doctor's visit and a PORTION of my medication. For my DISEASE. I don't get full coverage, and my husband works for the government. I'm not asking anyone to pay for it. It sucks---but we make paying for it a priority. Yet a woman who wants contraception should have it FULLY COVERED by a Catholic institution??!!!

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    1. Sorry I seem to be a step behind everyone else who already answered.

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  61. You want me and the country to follow your religious rules.

    How can my Church force you to stop doing sexual acts with the man you live with? It cannot. It simply proclaims the moral law. You are still quite free to perform those acts and live with whomever you want. Can you show me otherwise?

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  62. Really, alan? You were promised a land with no religion? Hmmm. Interesting.

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  63. I think people can get contraception very cheap. This really is a silly argument to say someone can't get them easily and that Catholic employers are denying them from anyone. Was there some lawsuit or something I missed? I never even heard a bit of complaint about this until the president decided to make it an issue with his HHS mandate.

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  64. Leila,
    I kind of wonder who is not listening and who is.

    By providing health insurance an employer is neither providing, nor paying for birth control.

    Does the eater of the pork sandwich need a prescription to get the pork sandwich?

    Elizabeth, is there a point? Because what you are saying to me just shows that catholic business owners are neither paying for or providing birth control. So it's a non issue

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  65. ok, please read and comprehend.

    I do not think that birth control should be paid for by health insurance. You are all arguing the wrong point with me because you simply won't read what I am saying.

    Repeat, I do not think birth control should be paid for by health insurance.

    Get it?

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  66. No Alan, those drugs should not be covered AT ALL by an entity that is morally against birth control. There is no RIGHT to get birth control, in fact, there is no right to get ANY medication. Do you support religious freedom or do you not? Why are you trying to take us back in time when the right to religion was not protected? Do you believe all religions should be told what to do and what not to do by the federal government, or is it just birth control that trumps religious freedom? Why did some religions get an exemption and others did not? Please provide a logical explanation as to why the freedom of religion should be thrown out over this one issue?

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  67. Perhaps the Cardinal needs to get a bit of perspective, he lives in a democracy. We should not complain about the results of Democracy. The alternative is worse. My mother was born in Germany during the Third Reich, my grandmother was born under the autocratic rule of the Wilhelm II. She knew democracy in her teenage years before the Nazis snatched it away. My cousins in the DDR only got freedom in the 1990s. So I would say to republicans, ok you lost, but you will get another chance. make your case, that's what freedom and democracy allows you, don't mock it.

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  68. yes Nubby, I was promised a land free from religion. I cannot understand why you are not aware of that.

    Perhaps you should read the constitution.

    I guess for you and me the conversation is done.

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  69. Alan, you are arguing that insurance should have to cover it, and that Catholic employers have to pay for that insurance that covers it. So the Catholic employer IS IN FACT paying for it! That is a sin for Catholics. It is, whether you want it to be or not. And so, the government is forcing us to choose sin or shut down..........

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  70. alan- do you not understand what fertility awareness is? It can be used to prevent a pregnancy-birth control. I want to know why the HHS mandate won't be paying for my fertility monitor and test sticks and any classes I might have to take to understand FAM. FAM also can help me know when I maybe having female problems and problems with my thyroid. Where are my choices?

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  71. Lucky, that is your opinion.
    In my opinion it should be covered like most other medications.
    And no I don't think employers unless they are a religious institution should be allowed an exemption.
    There it's been said. No need to further try to convince me I am wrong.

    Now can someone please tell me what other religious freedom Obama has a "vice grip" on?

    If it is so heinous there must be a bunch you can think of.

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  72. Alan you said, "But I agree, birth control should not be free. But it does have to be prescribed by a doctor so it does need to be included in insurance."

    How is included in insurance not paid for by Catholic institutions? I don't care if other insurances cover it, but don't force Catholic employers, schools, hospitals, etc. to cover it under insurance.

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  73. You don't seem to get it, Alan. ANY attack on religious freedom is SERIOUS!! So, should we just accept this one and go on? What about when the next one comes around, and the next one? One is enough! This attack on religious freedom needs to be stopped before it gets worse!

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  74. Lucky that is your opinion. Mine is different.

    Now lets see if someone can FINALLY give me another religious freedom that Obama has a "vice grip" on?

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  75. Alan, I'm not sure I understand your point. You said earlier:

    "If you (are you a business owner or is this merely rhethorical?) employ people they should be entitled to the insurance they wish to have. Should your employees wish to have birth control it should be available to them via insurance (as they might need a prescription for it). No one is making you provide them with the birth control. No one is making you take the birth control?"

    And:

    "Yes he is making business provide health insurance that includes birth control. And some religious business owners feel that is unfair. I get that. But business are not necessarily guaranteed religious freedom."

    You point implies that business owners and their personal morals are completely separate from the morals of their business -- That actions the business takes (paying for insurance that provides birth control) should not concern the individual business owner, because they aren't paying for the birth control, their business is paying for the birth control, and their business has no religion or religious protections.

    I am asking you about personal responsibility of a business owner toward their actions in running a business. Based on your logic, the business owner and the business are two separate entities and the business owner has no personal morality invested in running the business. But if you agree that a business owner is personally held accountable for the actions of their business (i.e., polluting the groundwater), then I am curious to know why you think the business owner is personally responsible in that case and why the business owner can separate their conscience from doing business when it comes to paying for birth control and not separate their conscience from doing business when it comes to other things like polluting groundwater or compensating employees.

    But then you changed your stance and said that birth control should not be covered by insurance. So your argument is confusing me.

    "I do not think that birth control should be paid for by health insurance."

    So you don't think health insurance should pay for birth control at all, and do you think Catholic business owners should be able to pay for health insurance without birth control coverage?

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  76. It's funny, I don't seem to get much do I?

    I get everything you are saying, you just don't agree with me so clearly to you that means that I "don't get it".

    Sorry but you still have the freedom of religion. Business owners just have to provide insurance to their employees, and that insurance has to include access to birth control.

    FYI, I think there is a lot many of you folks don't get. Again, just my opinion. And we know what they are worth.

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  77. alan, it takes the powers of a mental midget to understand that you are not guaranteed freedom from religion in this country. To even have to point that out is absurd.

    And, congratulations on thoroughly confusing everyone involved in your back-n-forth comments. You've come full circle to deny your own point.

    You're bored with the HHS discussion? Fine, let's move on to the other hotbed of discussion: Abortion. Alan, do you consider abortion a good?

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  78. Hi Alan -- I will address you, simply because I have learned (from painful experience), that there is no talking to Leila et. al. I have tried to reason with them, but have received such scorn and snark in response that I don't have any desire in taking them on anymore. I refuse to take that sort of treatment when all I was seeking was a civil and open discourse. To be honest, they reserve a special type of scorn for me, a proudly practicing Catholic who is also a liberal.

    Take heart in the fact that they do not speak for all Catholics. Numerous surveys have confirmed that a large majority (anywhere from 75% up) of Catholics have no problem with contraception. Furthermore, a recent Public Religion Research Institute poll found that 58% of all Catholics agree employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception. So not only are they in the minority in the country, they are in the minority among Catholics. I can already picture what they will say: that people like me aren't "real" Catholics, that we are not educated on Catholic theology, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Well, I guess they are saying that about Sister Simone Campbell and innumerable other nuns, as well as several priests that I know personally.

    There is a middle ground, there is a path to true discourse: it's just not here.

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  79. I think I understood what Alan was writing about. Then I went looking for my copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and couldn't find them. I have too many books. Please remember that on blogs we can't hear a persons tone of voice or see their expressions and body language, so we may take things the wrong way. Hopefully this comment won't go poof.

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  80. Elizabeth, you can read what I say however you would like to.

    Business morals are different than relgious morals. Can a business take the birth control?

    I don't think I changed my stance though. Birth control needs to be covered by insurance because the only way to get some of them is via a prescription from a doctor. So the visit should be covered by insurance. And the cost of the prescription should be covered like any other drug. I don't feel it should be free.

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  81. I'm sorry Nubs, which of us is the mental midget?

    And I have only confused those, like yourself, that simply read what they want, not the words written.

    Now go back and reread your constitution.
    Read slowly so you have a hope of understanding it.

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  82. Alan obv doesn't care about religious freedom. He can't answer any of the questions you ask him. Like most men all he cares about is there will be gobs of women on the pill and he won't have to flip the bill for it or be responsible in any way. What a great world for men, and the women are all for it which makes the men come off smelling like roses. They can have all the fun they want without any of the responsibility, and the drug companies will make a ton of money from it bc they will no longer have to be competitive and innovative, it's all covered anyways. This is why the HHS mandate will not cover FAMs. It's not about women's health care. It's about drug companies making lots of money and men having a good ole time.

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  83. Alan, I can read them however I would like, but then I wouldn't understand your message -- I would only understand my interpretation of your message. So that is why I am asking you for clarification. But I don't think we are going to get clarification. I think we are talking past each other. I am glad that you feel comfortable engaging with those of different viewpoints. I don't think, however, you understand how office visits, medication, and insurance actually work. And your separation of business morals and personal morals is muddy at best -- You don't seem to draw the line anywhere, except maybe where you prefer the line to be drawn. But I can't tell, because you won't answer the questions relating to specifics on business vs. personal morality. Thanks for the discussion! I'm sure others on the thread can sort it out better than I :).

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  84. "Birth control needs to be covered by insurance because the only way to get some of them is via a prescription from a doctor. So the visit should be covered by insurance. And the cost of the prescription should be covered like any other drug. I don't feel it should be free."

    You DO realize there are many drugs and treatments that are not covered by health insurance right?

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  85. mcc-irish and Lena,
    thanks, I know this is like pissing in the wind, but occasionally one needs to see this for real.
    Plus I keep my friends entertained with some of the insanity (Nubs usually takes the cake on this one)

    That being said, I have always found Leila to be gracious and kind, even though I think she thinks me a "mental midget"

    Hey Nubs, how "christian" is it to call someone names?

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  86. Play nice, everyone. Take a deep cleansing breath.

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  87. Bartley, I am gay. Not gonna get any women pregnant. So before you judge others learn some facts about them.

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  88. That's cute, alan. Tossing out the insults and then calling names. Charming.

    Here's just a basic thought about your freedom in this country, alan. The government cannot create a religion and mandate that you partake it that. Neither can government prohibit you or I from practicing religion. Funny, though, seems like a sure thing that I'll be prohibited as a Catholic regarding HHS mandate, now doesn't it?

    Oh, and, have I called you a name alan?

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  89. alan, it takes the powers of a mental midget to understand that you are not guaranteed freedom from religion in this country. To even have to point that out is absurd.

    You're throwing back to this? Oh, yeah, that's typical. See, I didn't call YOU a mental midget, but with your typical broad strokes, you've misread. Par for the course, brother.

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  90. Elizabeth,
    Sorry I try to explain myself fully, but it's hard as I am the only dissenting opinon so I have many condemning me. Then many don't read my words but rather look for what they think my intentions are. Others are just plain rude.

    Of course I draw the line on business morals. But we all draw the lines wherever we want them don't we? So you really can't condemn me for doing that.

    So yes a business owner is responsible for his business. But really how does anyone elses contraceptive needs become his or her moral decision?

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  91. Because the owner is paying for them. That's when it becomes his business.

    If you paid for someone to kill your significant other, would you be morally responsible in any way?

    Knowingly paying for something means participating in it. It is different if you had no idea. But we aren't talking about a situation where the owner has no idea. The owner is being asked to sign contracts with insurance agencies that have specific provisions to pay for things contrary to the conscience of the owner.

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  92. Nubby, I was simply asking which of us you meant was the mental midget. Simple question.

    Right now you are just throwing stones at a glass house.

    So how about you and I just agree to disagree? You stop responding rudely to me, I'll stop responding rudely to you? That sounds like an ideal plan don't you think sister?

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  93. One of the basic problems happening here, Alan, is that while you and I believe in the separation of Church and State, most of the commenters on this site don't. In my case, I personally reject abortion, however I know that I cannot legislate my beliefs onto other people of a different faith. I reject the idea of a Christian (and/or Catholic) theocracy just as much as I reject the idea of implementing Muslim sharia law. I simply believe that its a bad idea to mix public policy with religion (see the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc.).

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  94. It's a similar argument to the argument liberals use regarding government -- If government is paying for something, then they should have a say in how the money is spent.

    For example, many liberals say that Catholic adoption agencies should not receive federal funds, because those agencies won't adopt out to homosexual couples. And if the government is paying for it, then they are responsible for how the money is used. Right? That's a liberal argument.

    Can you see how that applies to a private business owner paying for policies in his own business?

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  95. Elizabeth, the owner also pays the employees salary, so does that mean he can dictate they follow his religion or their behavior outside of the business environment?

    And I apologize that I won't be able to answer you back this evening, but my husband (I think a mortal sin as I am a male) is picking me up, then we go home, walk our dog and work on the refinancing to save some money. I do appreciated your tolerant attitude towards me though.

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  96. mcc-irish, I don't remember you. Did you go by a different name? And, no one can speak for individual Catholics, but you cannot speak for Catholicism. Indeed, you apparently reject much of Catholic teaching. Only the Magisterium speaks for what is truly Catholic. So, on those areas where you disagree with the Magisterium, you are not speaking as a Catholic, but as one who dissents from Catholicism. That is just a fact.

    As an example: If 99% of Catholics used contraception, it would only mean that 99% of Catholics are sinning in that regard.

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  97. Last night I looked up Cardinal George's quote as well as it was haunting me as I watched the returns. I have no doubt that his words will soon be coming true.

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  98. mcc-irish, one other point (sorry, I have not read all the comments). Abortion is not a "religious issue". It is a human rights issue. That is why you find "Secularists for Life" but never "Secularists for the Holy Trinity."

    The right to not be killed is not a religious issue, just as the right to not be raped is not a religious issue (though the Church is opposed to rape, an intrinsic evil, and supports laws against it). Hope that makes sense!

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  99. EVERYONE, stop using the phrase mental midget.

    My daughter has dwarfism, and the term "midget" is highly offensive no matter what context/rhetorical phrase you use it in.
    October was dwarfism awareness month and I would hope you all who used that phrase could have learned something from that. Apparently not. If you want people to be respectful of your opinions, be respectful of others. This is irresponsible, at best.

    Nubby, I'm dissappointed in you for using such terminology.

    DB

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  100. ~~~To all: I recently finished reading a book called, The Harbinger, by Jonathan Cahn. I recommend it to each of you, Alan included. He takes real events and brings to light some things we hadn't considered. ~~~

    Alan, do you feel as though the American Dream is over? Why/why not?

    Here is another quote to give food for thought...It is the last part of George Washington's inaugural address which he made at the site of Ground Zero on April 30, 1789:

    Having thus imparted to you my sentiments as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquillity, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so His divine blessing may be equally 'conspicuous' in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.



    Read more: George Washington's First Inaugural Address — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0878602.html#ixzz2Ba2NQIcq

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  101. Dennis, "midget" refers to "very small".

    I appreciate the call to be aware of dwarfism, but I certainly wasn't aiming at your daughter's physical stature. Apologies, however.

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  102. Where is our beloved JoAnna and her propensity for posting on-line dictionary definitions for everyone's edification?

    "midget"
    1. something (as an animal) much smaller than usual

    2. sometimes offensive : a very small person; specifically : a person of unusually small size who is physically well-proportioned

    3. a front-engine, single-seat, open-wheel racing car smaller and of less engine displacement than standard cars of the type

    At any rate, many thanks to Dennis for bringing up this issue.

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  103. Yes, where is JoAnna?
    And:
    Noun:
    An unusually small person.
    Adjective:
    Very small: "a midget submarine".

    For the record: I've nothing against small people.
    Small minds however... well, away we go...

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  104. alan, an employer cannot dictate to an employee how he spends his salary. Back to the porn example. If a Catholic employer pays a salary to an employee who then chooses to use part of that salary to buy porn (or any other activity), the Catholic employer is not culpable. An employee is free to spend his money any way he wants.

    But if the employer directly buys the porn for the employee (or pays a middle man to buy the porn for the employee), then the employer is culpable.

    Any employee anywhere has always been free to pay for his or her contraception with his or her own money. The Church is not suggesting otherwise.

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  105. mcc-irish

    I can already picture what they will say: that people like me aren't "real" Catholics, that we are not educated on Catholic theology, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Well, I guess they are saying that about Sister Simone Campbell and innumerable other nuns, as well as several priests that I know personally.


    Wherever those nuns or priests are deviating from the teaching of the Church (that they vowed obedience to) then yes, they are deviating from Catholic truth. They have, in those instances, become dissenters.

    There is a middle ground, there is a path to true discourse: it's just not here.

    We don't speak in terms of "middle ground" vs. extremes when it comes to Catholicism. The Deposit of Faith is a revealed Truth. We speak in terms of "truth" vs. "error". The Truth lies with the Magisterium. So, if you want to discourse about what the truth means and how to apply it, that is wonderful. Please, by all means. We are an intellectual Church (Augustine, Aquinas, Newman, Chesterton and a ton of other giants), and we love discourse. But being the arbiters of truth? Nope, that is not our job as individual Catholics. We receive Truth, we don't make it up.

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  106. Wait, alan, did you say that the Constitution promises you a land free of religion? I am sorry, I have never seen or heard that. Can you show me? That seems to fly in the face of the lived experience of Americans since before the nation's founding, not to mention the documents, speeches, monuments, holiday proclamations and customs of the government. The non-establishment of an official state religion (such as in England) does not imply that religion is not a part of public life. People established the colonies to looking for religious freedom.

    Flying Goose, this is interesting to me:

    She knew democracy in her teenage years before the Nazis snatched it away.

    How did democracy in Germany turn into totalitarianism? Wasn't Hitler democratically elected?

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  107. Nubby, a friend of mine, and also the on the board of directors for the LPA has done countless research on the term, and I'd like to share with you the information. He also contributed to the updated wikipedia page for dwarfism. Midget is not a medically accurate term.

    Miss G thatnk you for the online dictionary references. The LPA has been working very hard at updating all of them to educate the masses on the etymology of the term.

    "Midget", whose etymology indicates a "small sandfly," came into prominence in the mid-19th century after Harriet Beecher Stowe used it in her novels Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands and Old Town Folks where she described children and an extremely short man, respectively.[10] Later most people of short stature considered the word to be offensive because it was the descriptive term applied to P. T. Barnum's dwarfs used for public amusement during the freak show era.[6] It is also not considered accurate as it is not a medical term or diagnosis, though it is sometimes used as a slang term to describe those who are particularly short, whether or not they have dwarfism.

    Reference: http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=22596

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  108. Dennis,
    Thank you, and again, apologies. Clearly, I wasn't aiming at anyone's physical stature or physical build. I was trying to make a point with hyperbole to alan regarding his comprehension of the Constitution.

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  109. Thank you too Nubby.
    Please everyone continue on your conversation about election, I just wanted to make that one point.
    Take care.

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  110. Is "giant" off limits, too? I'm just kidding/but serious. I mean, if I say "that's a giant mistake in your thinking, alan". You know?

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  111. Alan (dunno if you're still here) a while ago you asked which religious freedoms were under attack, aside from the whole birth control coverage thing. Nobody answered. Suppose I'll provide something. The DNC platform says a woman has a right to a safe, legal abortion, regardless of her ability to pay. This appears to suggest taxpayer-funded abortion, which might be seen as a religious freedom violation, since funding abortions would go way against Catholic teaching.

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  112. ? Drop what, Chris? Don't you want to be consistent?
    Is this your blog?

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  113. Chris, Nubby made a gracious apology. And the "giant" comment was tongue-in-cheek.

    Also, I think that taxpayer funding of abortion is surely evil, but that is not as direct an attack on religious freedom as someone who would require a Catholic employer to directly pay for the abortion. That would be more heinous. So, the contraception mandate is really one of the first, across-the-board, direct assaults on the religious freedoms of Catholics. (Well, forcing them out of the adoption/foster care charities that they'd held for a century was pretty brutal, too, but that was statewide, not national.)

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  114. I couldnt wait to sign on and check your post..I knew I would feel a bit better after reading your post.

    still though...I am scared...lots of chaos to come...

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  115. St. Rita's Roses, you are right that there is more to come. Just noticing that there are some big defense layoffs (that the Prez made sure were not announced before the election, though that had been required initially, imagine that), and people firing employees now that they know Obamacare is here to stay and they cannot afford to keep that many folks. Also, stock market plunge upon Obama's election, and we all know that the stock market would have skyrocketed if Romney were elected. Yep, but liberals really help the poor! (Help the poor become poorer.)

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  116. Chris, no problem. You are a gracious commenter and you are a credit to your generation.

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  117. What HHS mandate forces you to use birth control? Yet you insist these are infringing on your religious rights?

    "Using". "dispensing" Minor details, alan. Choose the right verb.

    And fyi I don't think birth control should be paid for. But you do have to see a doctor for a prescription. And that doctors visit should be covered by insurance, and the drugs should be subject to the same cost benefit of any other drug.

    Then, in your little utopia,, who pays for all of this? That's right, us, the tax payers, 'cuz if it's not through taxes it's through increased cost of product. Your're forcing companies to provide this health "benefit". You can't NOT buy anything, per this logic.

    So, I, the consumer/tax payer am paying for something that I don't want to purchase. Nor support. My freedom to NOT pay for that has been taken away.

    So, alan, isn't this a freedom issue? Don't you agree with freedom?
    You won't give me freedom from products or services that I disagree with? Can I have freedom "from" that? Or am I just one preposition off?

    By providing health insurance an employer is neither providing, nor paying for birth control.

    False. Because every employer and employee share the health care cost... Ergo, the employer shares the cost.



    Your equivalent would be that you're entitled to a "subsidized" pork sandwich paid for by someone else because of the HHS mandate. Because if contraception is at full cost, it wouldn't be offered under insurance. It's subsidized, so you're not paying full price. Who pays the cost of the difference, alan?

    I do not think birth control should be paid for by health insurance

    Then why would health insurance offer it, if not covered? Should health insurance cover milk? How about they offer to cover my mortgage but don't pay toward it. What is the point?
    "Health insurance covers milk, but they won't pay for it." HUH?

    The HHS mandate is akin to the same legal argument as the bar owner being responsible as the drunk patron who gets in a drunk driving accident. The bar owner is responsible. I'm responsible if I give you money to sin. The government should not be allowed to force my hand in that. Period.

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  118. Wasn't catholics' freedom of religion disregarded years ago? Planned parenthood has been federally funded for a while and there are several clinics and schools and even catholic hospitals that dispense contraception or abortion. Doesn't seem like anything particularly new.

    ~CS

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  119. CS, the HHS mandate is very different from those examples.

    It's one thing to go to hell by one's own hand, but quite another to be forced to hell by one's government, under pain of fines, jail, ruin.

    We can surely choose to sin, as free people, but the government cannot force us to sin, under penalty of ruin.



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  120. What I meant was that Catholics have been forced by the government to pay for contraception before in many instances.......

    ~CS

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  121. Leila,

    Planned parenthood has received federal funding since 1970 meaning catholics were paying for birth control through taxes.

    ~CS

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  122. Okay. I think it is important to remember America isn't who is in the White House or even who is in congress. America includes the millions of people who live and work besides us everyday. America isn't dead or doomed unless you decide to give up on her.

    Second, I would hope if there was anything we learned from this election is contempt for your fellow-man and name-calling for those who think differently isn't helping us.

    You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. And the vinegar in this country is killing us.

    One of the wonderful things about the Catholic Church is we believe that humans are good at heart. We believe men and women desire to be more and desire to rise above sin. Saying those who vote against you are lazy freeloaders looking for a handout who do not have a desire to work hard and be productive members of society is hardly keeping with the spirit of the natural dignity of men and women.

    Yes, a vast majority of the country is very misguided. We have embraced as a culture some very ugly and evil ideas. But that does not mean our fellow Americans are lost. We need to clean up our attitudes and clean up our language. We need to reach inside of us and be the loving Catholics we are called to be.

    Because the Vinegar method.....it will NEVER work. You cannot hold contempt in your heart and be full of love. And unless and until the world sees that Catholics as full of hope and love our message will continue to fall on deaf ears. We will be ignored by Alan and others because he sees us filled with bigotry and hate.

    I know everyone is disappointed, hurting and scared. But you have no reason to be scared. We may not live the lives we thought we will live. We may suffer and lack the comforts we are use to taking for granted. But we well always have our Lord and our God. He has willed for us to be here, in this time and in this place. We are exactly where we are suppose to be.

    St Francis de Sales: "In war we are always victorious provided that we are willing to fight"

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  123. For several years, my dad didn't pay all of his taxes because he was so against the Vietnam War. He was a big peacenik, helped try to get the ROTC off his campus, etc. Although I doubt he thought paying for that war would send him to hell or anything, it was and still is very much against his morals to fund such things. My question: Do you think people strongly opposed to wars for religious or conscientious reasons should have to help pay for them?

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  124. Here is the constitution:

    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

    for anyone who wants to reference it.

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  125. Sorry folks, my husband is graduating from college on Saturday and I have family flying in on Friday, so I've been cleaning like a madwoman all this week.

    Alan et al, it's a pretty simple concept. As Fr. Dwight says:

    This is not about contraception or abortion or sterilization. It’s about religious freedom. You may think abortion and contraception and sterilization are okay. You can think that, but we don’t think they’re okay, and we claim the religious freedom to believe what we think is right and act on it, and we think it’s wrong for the government to force us to do otherwise.

    Let’s say a report comes out saying that bacon sandwiches are the best thing for you. Everyone should eat one once a day. Everyone agrees that bacon sandwiches are just the thing to cure all ills. So the government says everyone should have the choice to eat a bacon sandwich every day. That’s okay. They can say everyone can have that choice. Even Jews can have that choice. But what if they say that Jewish schools and hospitals have to pay for everybody’s bacon sandwich? Not good. Jews should be allowed to decline eating bacon and decline paying for other people to eat bacon.

    That religious freedom is far more important than the issue of eating pork. That’s what we’re protesting about.


    I read another blog post with an excellent analogy. Can't find it now, but let me summarize:

    Let's say you have a couple, Bob and Jane, who are devoted to environmentalism. They own a successful company that manufactures solar panels. They're devotees of the Zero Population Growth movement; both been voluntarily sterilized because they believe the planet is overpopulated. They ride bikes instead of drive, grow a lot of their own food in their backyard, etc.

    So, one day they're informed by the government that the current president has mandated that all business owners MUST provide free fertility treatments and IVF (or insurance coverage for same) for their employees. There's no exemption available for those who believe that the world is overpopulated and are morally opposed to people having more than one or two children.

    Bob and Jane are very upset that their deeply held moral convictions aren't being respected. Rather than go against their consciences, they close their business rather than comply with the mandate.

    Do you think that's just?

    Or how about this? My husband has bipolar disorder and is on medication (he will be for the rest of his life). I don't like the fact that we have to pay for it -- even with a co-pay, because they add up. Therefore, I demand that the Church of Scientology provide my husband with free bipolar disorder medication.

    Do you think that's just?

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  126. CS, can you please show me the relevant government documents stating that only the taxes of Catholics were used when allocating monies to Planned Parenthood?

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  127. CS, when the government collects taxes, individuals paying into that massive pot are not buying anything in particular for someone. It's like the whole porn/salary thing, above. I pay taxes because everyone has to pay taxes, and some of it goes to evil stuff, for sure. Now, if the government ever said, "you all have to pay a surcharge that is to cover abortions specifically, and you will put that surcharge in this abortion account, and we will disburse it for abortions after that", then you would have a point, and we would not put money in that fund.

    The HHS mandate is forcing an employer to provide a product or service to someone, directly or by handing that money over to a middleman to be paid directly, for a sinful purpose that violates that employer's religious beliefs and conscience rights.

    It is immoral for Catholics to do so, and that should really be respected, in the same way I would never force a Jew to buy his employee a ham sandwich, nor would I ever condone the federal government forcing such an act.

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  128. StarFireKK, you are absolutely right. We must be loving in what we say and how we say it. I agree with much of what you say. I just hope you can concede that we can still speak the truth when we see sin. I know many wonderful people who have used the federal welfare system in desperate need. And I also know people who have worked the system for years and even generations. I am certain there are plenty of both kinds of folks. One is an honest use of the system, the other are crooks. We are not allowed (for some reason) to speak of the MASSIVE fraud, gaming the system, etc., not to mention the generational use of welfare due to bad choices (white and black, by the way, so no one claims I'm using race as an issue -- a lot more whites getting entitlements than not).

    I think if we actually tried getting to the root of the problem (after coming down on the cheats), we would solve a lot of poverty problems. I have said dozens of times on this blog that the single biggest indicator of poverty in America is single motherhood. So, why is the left all about funding welfare programs (and watching folks utterly lose their dignity, longterm), but never about pushing a return to traditional values (didn't used to be a partisan or "religious" issue to say that children need intact families, a mom and a dad, and save sex for marriage)? I think priorities are waaaaay screwed up, and frankly we cannot afford these massive and growing entitlement programs. If no one has noticed, we are at the edge of a fiscal cliff.

    Anyway, if I vote and speak against the Democrats systemic entrenchment of poverty (gets them a lot of votes!), does that make me mean?

    I think the truth must be spoken. It's like the elephant in the room. We just can't go on like this, and it's beneath human dignity to make people longterm dependent on a government check (or checks).


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  129. I dunno..... Employers pay into a massive pot to provide health care coverage for their employees. They don't have any say or control over the care their employees receive or the treatment prescribed.

    It isn't like the employer is going to know that employee A is going to be getting BC and employee B is just getting her check up. The employer has no knowledge or control over the situation.

    If the employer is required to provide health insurance for their employees.....how is this not like taxes?

    You don't pay your taxes- you get fined. You don't provide health care coverage....you get fined.

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  130. Chris, good question. I think that one must pay taxes, even if there is a war, because funding a military is one of the constitutionally enumerated powers of the government. It's part of the very basics of citizenry. I pay taxes for all sorts of things I despise (the Department of Education?? Seriously? What a waste. And most of the stuff coming out of the EPA is harmful to the nation and her people, in my opinion. I despise funding that. And of course, evil Planned Parenthood… makes me sick that any money goes to that).

    But there are some things I would agree with. Conscientious objection to serving in a war if one's religion dictates pacifism, for example. I think there are other ways that certain religious groups have been accommodated by our government, and I support any effort to keep people freely practicing their religions. I wouldn't begrudge someone such exceptions, nor would I ever want our government to force citizens to do something that they believe could send them to hell.

    Honestly, if I were not Catholic and I was happy sucking on my birth control pills all day long, I still know that I would never, ever want the government to force Catholics to violate the tenets of their faith. It would sicken me. Especially how this was done: No one was complaining, it was not even an issue. We had a peaceful status quo, and Obama came in and swept that away with his heavy-fisted mandate. For no earthly reason other than abortion politics and pandering to PP, who funds his campaigns.

    It really disturbs me that non-Catholics are not more disturbed by this.

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  131. StarFireKK,

    There are no "tax pots" with separated ends. Taxes go in a pool.

    With insurance, by contrast, there are choices in coverage. Up till now, Catholic employers did not have to buy insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations, abortifacient drugs. Now, they specifically must.

    This is not like the tax pool. This is specifically buying contraceptive coverage in a plan.

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  132. StarFireKK, if there is no difference between taxes and buying insurance, then why did the bishops go so far as to speak with one voice against this mandate, and organize a Fortnight for (religious) Freedom for the whole nation, and why did we organize hundreds of national rallies, and why did the Pope speak out? If it's just like paying taxes, then why the sudden fuss?

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  133. StarFire, that wasn't my husband's experience with insurance when he worked for a multi-national firm. Shareholders of the company would meet every year and discuss the insurance plan for the U.S. employees. They would analyze the new premiums and debate about the best ways to control those premiums (they went up significantly every year). So they would add vision coverage or take out this or make the deductible higher here or offer us a choice between an HSA or an FSA. But they had a lot of control on what would be covered and what would not be covered in order to strike a deal with the insurance company for two plan options that would best serve the company. It isn't like blindly paying a lump sum to the insurance company where the insurance company decides what will be covered -- it's a direct contract for specified services agreed upon every single year. At least that was how it was at that huge company, and that company operates in all 50 states.

    Small businesses (which I realize fall under different rules), also choose among plans and can take out provisions to save money or for any other reason. Of course it bothers me that the federal government would allocate taxpayer funds for immoral services. But the HHS mandate is unprecedented because it requires a private company to make a private contract with a private insurance company that includes specified objectionable provisions, and the private company must sign on to paying for those services with their private money.

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  134. Exactly, Leila! You explained that more succinctly.

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  135. StarFire, you are right that the employer doesn't have any say over treatment received or provided, but they do have a huge say in what the company insurance will pay for. An employee of a Catholic business can go to their family doctor and get prescriptions for birth control every week if they want to do that, but the insurance company just wouldn't pay for the prescription. (It would likely pay for the office visit.) The employer still has free will to buy their contraception without insurance coverage. The owners absolutely can decide what they will and will not pay for in an insurance plan.

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  136. Yes, I understand how insurance worked before. But under the new law opting out of insurance coverage is no longer an option. So the employer either must comply or violate federal law....much the same with taxes.

    Furthermore- I don't think you could completely opt out of birth control. The Church doesn't say using birth control is a sin....merely that using birth control for the purposes of avoiding children is a sin. If you are on BC and never have sex you aren't sinning.

    Maybe I am wrong, but I find it very odd and disturbing if an employer can provide a certain type of coverage (women's health) but dictate to the woman's doctor what type of treatment they may provide......

    I realize the Bishops see a difference. But I don't....that's why I am asking?

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  137. CS, can you please show me the relevant government documents stating that only the taxes of Catholics were used when allocating monies to Planned Parenthood?

    Joanna What? Are you claiming that only catholics have to pay for the HHS mandate and that is why you are upset? Are you saying that we are not violating your religious freedoms if other groups have to pay for it too? I was saying that catholics have to pay for PP in the same way they pay for HSS. Obviously in nether case are catholics exclusively financing them.

    Leila,

    CS, when the government collects taxes, individuals paying into that massive pot are not buying anything in particular for someone. It's like the whole porn/salary thing, above. I pay taxes because everyone has to pay taxes, and some of it goes to evil stuff, for sure.

    I think you know how much I like you, but I have never understood this point. It seems like catholics aren't happy because the trail isn't convoluted enough. Like we have to put contraception under one of three red plastic cups and switch the cups around real fast so you don't know which one its under and then and only then can you pay for it. I just really don't get it. The insurance company is buying many things some of which may be contraception, and women may or may not be prescribed it and may or may not take it. Seems convoluted enough so that catholics are not sinning. But regardless, what is it that you hope to accomplish? The supreme court upheld Obamacare,and Obama has already been elected, hospitals and what not have until when 2014 to comply?

    CS

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  138. I think this is an interesting comment, one that I believe Alan made more than once:

    "If you... employ people they should be entitled to the insurance they wish to have. Should your employees wish to have birth control it should be available to them via insurance (as they might need a prescription for it)."

    I hope people realize that things do not work this way: "People should be entitled to the insurance they wish to have." See, I work for a private employer. I am entitled to the insurance he offers me. I would LIKE to have insurance that has a small co-pay for any doctor visit I might need or want. What I DO have is insurance with a very high deductible, because that is what my employer can afford to provide. On the other hand, in at least two local school districts, the teachers have a taxpayer funded plan that has no deductible. This taxpayer funded plan covers cosmetic surgery. Hey, I want that! I want it, and I don't want to have to pay a high deductible before cosmetic surgery is covered. But I can't have it. I also don't want to pay for public employees to have an insurance policy that pays for them to get something I can't have, but I'm out of luck there, too.

    You see my point, right? Just because "I want" something, and want it for free, doesn't mean I am going to get it or even that I should get it through my insurance. So I would ask Alan, why, in particular, should birth control be paid for by Catholic employers? If "I want it, and I want it for free" is the reason, can't it be reasonable for the employer to say, "You can't have it, at least not from me."

    Further, if my employer won't pay for it, does that mean I can't get it? I could get plastic surgery if I wanted to, I'd just have to pay for it myself. Sure, it costs a lot and the cost might make it so I can't have it, but the employer himself is not keeping me from getting plastic surgery. He just won't pay for it.

    And finally, given all the medical items that insurance could provide for "free", why birth control? Why not thyroid medication that someone mentioned? Why not insulin? Why not other things that are truly necessary for the patient to stay alive? Things that are very expensive for the patient? Why birth control, which is not hard to get financially if your employer doesn't cover it.

    Why birth control?

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  139. Well, then the federal government only needs to mandate that we buy stuff, and then they can call it a tax and require anything of us. I guess I disagree with the mandate in the first place -- I don't think we should be forced into buying insurance coverage. I also think that employer-linked medical insurance is just a bad idea all the way around. It doesn't make sense that medical insurance is linked to a job. As we see so frequently, people lose jobs and change jobs.

    If we took medical insurance out of the employer domain, and the mandate just said that all individuals must purchase individual insurance and that insurance must include contraception and abortifacients, would we still feel so comfortable with it?

    Under the current conditions, a business can opt out of all birth control coverage even if the prescription is for moral reasons if they don't feel comfortable with it. It just isn't owed to the employee, regardless of the reason behind the prescription.

    I also personally think that our current system of comprehensive coverage is severely flawed. As my economist friend says, "if it covers things that are planned or are non-emergent, then it isn't insurance." Insurance is supposed to be specifically for life-crushing emergencies, like car insurance is for car accidents. But that is a different soapbox :). I would eliminate most routine medications anyway and find a different way to help those suffering from chronic illnesses and expensive medications (because some really do need our help).

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  140. Leila,

    I do not know why the left does not choose to promote traditional values. I would suspect part of the reason is because must people weren't raised with traditional values.

    I was raised in a household with two parents who not only were married but were committed to their marriage. I can count on one hand the number of classmates and friends who had similar strong families.

    I didn't grow up in a bad area. I'm the average, white, middle class girl who grew up in an average size mid-western town. Most of my friends had divorce parents, or absent parents, a few had alcoholic parents. Most never or rarely ate dinner with their parents. Plenty of them had parents date and have overnight guests. I could go on.

    If traditional values were so lacking in my hometown....I'm pretty sure they are lacking all across the country.

    Obviously, I can't speak for the left. I have not idea why they don't push for traditional values, but I suspect a lot has to do with the fact they just haven't seen or experience those values firsthand.

    (You know I am not saying you cannot speak the truth. I am merely saying maybe we an speak the truth in a more loving way.)

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    1. Starfire, are you assuming that everyone on the "left" does not choose to promote traditional values?
      A great many of my friends have been married for 20+ years, have children, family dinners and are raising their children "right". They also have no problem with me having a husband. Or people they don't know being on birth control or having abortions. They may not condone these actions, but they understand that a woman has a right to do what she wishes with her body.

      FYI, I was raised in a wealthy suburb, by a mom and a dad, who were together until my mom passed away. We had nightly dinners, big meals on Sunday, went to church, probably everything that you consider traditional family values. My husband was raised poor in the south. His parents are still married.

      My husband and I have been married 6 years, have dinner together as often as our schedules permit and spend as much time together as we can. You would consider us on the left I am sure.

      Broad generalizations and assumptions like what you have written is part of the problem in this country.

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  141. You miss my point, CS. Catholics do not pay taxes expressly for the purpose of providing others with contraception. Given we are opposed, we try to use the democratic process to elect officials who will not spend our money for evil things.

    Insurance is different because it's a private enterprise and and expense borne by the employer, under their direct oversight. It has to do with the difference between taxes and insurance that's already been discussed, above.

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  142. Starfire, even now, if birth control is being used to treat a medical condition, it can be considered moral and be paid for. It's called a "prior authorization" and just requires paperwork from the physician stating what is being treated and why this treatment is the only option. We have to do it for my son's asthma meds....it's not just contraception.

    Insurance companies dictate what a doctor will prescribe all of the time. It isn't a "women's health" issue. Is it ideal? Not at all (coming from a mom who has a child that only responds to the non-covered medication, sigh). My point is that this isn't anything new. The ONLY thing that is new with the HHS mandate is the forcing of Catholics (and many other religious, it's not just us) to violate their religious beliefs.


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  143. I hope everyone knows I'm not in favor of the mandate.

    I think it is absurd of all the Rx out there we decided contraception is SOOOO important it needs to be free. Take that cancer!

    But is the employer sinning by providing the insurance coverage mandated by law......I dunno. I agree with CS it does seem like a bit of a stretch. There are so many factors outside of the employers control it doesn't seem right.

    But I am aware I do not know as much as the Bishops. I am fully prepared to admit I am wrong.....I just want to understand why I am wrong.

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  144. Yes.....I understand they can opt out now. But they CAN'T anymore.

    So why is it okay to advocate for civil disobedience in this case.....but not in the case of our tax dollars paying for an unjust war?

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  145. Maybe this is the final straw. Maybe the power grab is too obvious and too "in your face" to rationalize anymore. My family for years said they weren't going to pay taxes because of taxpayer-funded abortions and PP. I don't know what they did on their taxes, but we certainly do not think that behavior by the federal government is okay. And, as far as I know, we have been fighting it. But maybe the HHS mandate is the end of the line...We keep losing here, and we may never have a shot again.

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  146. " So I would ask Alan, why, in particular, should birth control be paid for by Catholic employers? If "I want it, and I want it for free" is the reason, can't it be reasonable for the employer to say, "You can't have it, at least not from me."


    Another serious question. Why do you guys think we want everything for free from Catholic employers where does this come from.

    The HSS mandate applies to all employers. It isn't targeted to Catholics. Not exempting catholic employers or asking them how it makes them feel isn;t the same as targeting them. i assure you no one cares whether the employers are catholic or not. There is no targeting of catholics, ignoring perhaps, but targeting, no.

    Furthermore, getting something without a co-pay is not getting something for free. saying otherwise is a lie. I pay for my health insurance. I am a healthy 23 year old woman. Virtually the only regular doctor appointment I have is my pap smear--and I am not alone in this. Young single women (who bc is targeted to) pay for insurance yet have extremely low med costs. Birth control is often the only prescription we get all year. So it is more likely that single young birth control using women are subsidizing you with their insurance dollars than vice versa.

    ~CS

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  147. Ah, Elizabeth, thank you! You said something that I think just made this click for me.

    If you buy into the American theory of government- a government (especially a free republic such as ours) has a responsibility to not pass a law that so offends its citizen's moral sensibilities they must pretzel themselves into a justification which allows them to comply with the law and still follow their morals.

    To do so..... undermines the very fabric of our government and our free society. It is like a loose thread....you keep pulling on it the whole cloth will unravel.

    That makes sense! Thanks, wow it seems kinda simple I feel silly I wasn't getting it before!

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  148. Thanks for pushing the issue :). The taxpayer-funded abortions always bothered me too (and most Catholics I know)...I think we have just been trying really hard to make it work, and it's not working...

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  149. But CS, the mandate DOES require it for free, and DOES require it from Catholic employers. The difference between Catholic employers - most especially Catholic institutions - and other employers is that Catholics are being forced to pay for something that Catholics consider immoral. It's not as if no one knew the Church considered birth control "intrinsically evil". It's not as if the Church just doesn't want to pay for birth control so they suddenly discovered a brand new opposition to it.

    Do you see the comparison to forcing Jewish delis to sell pork? Would you say, "Our purpose is not to force Jews to do anything. We don't care if you're Jewish or not. We just want all delis to sell pork. So this is nothing against Jews." You do see that such a situation would be against Jews, right, even if the law did not specifically target Jewish deli owners? It doesn't matter that most delis would be fine with selling pork. What matters is, Jews are not fine with it, and everyone knows it.

    How about this - in the above situation, would you exempt Jewish delis out of respect for their long-held religious beliefs? And if you would, then why would you not do the same for Catholic employers?

    We aren't talking here about subsidizing someone else's purchases. The Catholic employers would not be subsidizing your use of bc. They would be paying for it, specifically for that coverage. It would be free to you, but it would not be free to your employer. As you know, "free" is an illusion. Unless the pharmaceutical companies give it to the pharmacy for free, and the pharmacy charges the insurance company nothing for it, it is not free.

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  150. It makes perfect sense! It was bothering me the logical conclusion of my argument was a government could pass a law requiring an action and all the sudden we are all absolved from the moral responsibility. That was a bit too "we are following orders" for my liking.

    But the government and her representatives have duties too. They have a responsibility to pass moral and just laws. That's part of why we require them to take an oath the uphold the Constitution. That's part of the social contract as well.

    I mean there has to be a balance. We can't just have majority rule without projection for the minority. That's not just either.

    It makes sense to me that with the taxes we'd try to make it work. My brain can understand "both are wrong"....it just couldn't grasp "this is okay but this is wrong."

    We don't always fight every battle, every time.

    I think you are right- it is just to obvious of a power grab. Which kinda makes you wonder why they did it? Why paint such an obvious target....it seems kinda dumb. They must be very confident they are going to win this one....

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  151. Hi Sharon,

    So then under the HHS mandate people do not have to pay their own insurance premiums?

    I was under the impression that people would still pay insurance premiums, is this not the case? Because if they have to pay insurance premiums how is it free?

    The jewish deli situation is horribly un-analogous, but let's just say that in this country we got meals through our employers in the same way we get insurance through our employers. And that while you could buy your own meals they would be 80% more expensive. If that was the case, I would have no problems setting a standard to what employers must minimally serve and making sure the dietary needs of the employees were met and if those employe needs included pork, I'd have zero problem forcing jewish deli's to provide it.

    ~Cs

    ~CS

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  152. Dumb question here: Would a Jewish guy actually mind having to serve pork to non-Jews? I don't think they believe eating it is morally wrong for everyone, it's just that they don't do it. Could be wrong, though.

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  153. That's a very good question. Why did they go for the obvious power grab? I bet those who orchestrated it are feeling pretty proud tonight. They went big and still eked out the election. It sends a big message to Catholics.

    It reminds me a little of this Milton Friedman video on poverty and equality. The left has chosen their version of equality over liberty, but if we aim solely for equality, we will get neither liberty nor equality. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKc6esIi0_U

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  154. CS -- Employers pay a portion of insurance premiums. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2010, employers paid 82% of individual premiums and 71% of family premiums on average. The HHS Mandate pertains to these employer-covered premiums and requires all companies to provide minimum insurance with the controversial coverage if they employ 50 or more full-time workers. It also requires small businesses that offer insurance to only offer compliant insurance.

    When my husband worked for that multi-national firm, they paid about 60% of our health insurance premiums.

    This is a great summary of all the abortion/family planning/employer/individual provisions of the HHS Mandate. http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/content/docs/facts/ObamaCare-and-its-Mandates.pdf

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  155. If you don't have insurance covered through your employer then, yes, you pay the premiums yourself. But the Mandate also regulates individual coverage and requires that everyone purchase "compliant" insurance policies that include controversial coverage. You must show proof of purchase in your taxes.

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  156. @Starfire
    Obviously, I can't speak for the left. I have no idea why they don't push for traditional values, but I suspect a lot has to do with the fact they just haven't seen or experience those values firsthand.

    It is specifically because many of us on the left have experienced traditional values that we don't support them.

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  157. Wonderful quotes. They help me not to feel so sad.

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  158. The left has chosen their version of equality over liberty, but if we aim solely for equality, we will get neither liberty nor equality.

    Elizabeth, this gets to the heart of it! We can either mandate "equality" or we can have liberty. We can't have both.

    CS, see we are very different then. I would never, ever in a million years ask a God-fearing religious person (in this case a Jewish deli owner) to violate their sacred beliefs. It's just unconscionable to me. I just can't imagine it. We must not compel the consciences of others. It's just a bedrock principle. Now, if the belief literally kills or truly harms another, then that right has crossed a line into another person's human right. But those are not the kind of things we are talking about here.

    StarFire, that is so sad. Even in my public schools as a little girl, everyone had a mom and a dad, except one girl. Now, 40% of babies are born out of wedlock. There's your root poverty right there. And I have heard of men who won't marry the woman (who has his baby) because she would lose benefits! Way to penalized marriage and incetivize bad choices and poverty. Sigh. But to your comment, what would be the "loving way" to promote intact families and marriage? Truly asking. I think Michelle Obama could have done so, with her position of authority esp. in the African-American community, but she has done no such thing. That alone breaks my heart. Why hasn't she had the courage? This is killing that community, and no one (save Bill Cosby) says a word? She has so much power to make a difference, and she is busy limiting caloric intake for kids in school.

    Chris, to keep kosher, they would not even have any pork in their place. At all. It's considered an "unclean" food. They cannot mix meat and milk products either, I think?

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  159. CS, there are degrees of cooperation with evil. Formal, material, etc. There is much more formal cooperation when you are paying for someone's sin directly than when you are putting money in a massive pool and you have no idea where your dollar will go.

    And, StarFireKK, yes, one can use birth control pills to "regulate" cycles (although it would be better to find and fix the cause, rather than mask it), and that would be moral use of meds. But that can be done as Heidi mentioned.

    I wish insurance were not tied to employment at all. Seems nuts. And Elizabeth, your points about what insurance actual is is right on.

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  160. Johanne, just because some people in traditional families behaved horribly, it does not in any way mean that traditional families should not be promoted as what is best for children as a whole. You can understand that, I am sure! The misuse of something does not negate its proper use. That's like saying work is not to be promoted because some bosses are bad. Or that I shouldn't promote home ownership because some houses burn down. Not perfect analogies but it's late.

    I know many people who came from abuse (and abuse happens in single parent homes, too, quite a bit), but they don't then say that children should not be raised in a traditional household as a general rule. In fact they are committed to making sure their children are raised with a mom and a dad, and with love. As it should be. We correct mistakes, we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Surely you don't think, from all the stats and studies, that society is better off for all the broken homes, and kids missing one parent? I can't believe that you believe that.

    I am sorry you had that kind of pain. But we condemn sin, not the family. Kids need their mom and their dad.

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  161. Leila

    Go and look at this
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_Republic
    on the Weimar Republic, the only 14 years of democracy Germany knew, until the setting up of the Federal Republic of Germany after World War 2. The Nazis were elected on a minority vote, 33% and then preceded to stage a political coup.

    But the point is this, Germany had no strong democratic tradition, unlike the UK, (our democratic tradition goes back to the middle ages. Your own system is based loosely on ours, although on a misunderstanding of the separation of powers).

    Stable democracy is not something to be taken for granted, as my German family knows from bitter experience. You have have had it for 200 years, its not been perfect for all that time, it isn't perfect yet. But I know, believe me I do know that the alternatives of anarchy and dictatorship are far worse. You might not like yesterday's result, but at least you live in a country that has and will no doubt again elect a government from the other party.

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  162. CS, I can't find your recent question for me about insurance. You said that your employer charges you for the premium, and since you're paying, the employer is not responsible for what is in it. I hope I got that right. First, I'll say quickly that I completely agree that insurance should not be tied to employment. That is a bad deal for the employee and we should get away from that (and not by a single payer system run by the government!) Second, most employers pay at least part of the employees' premiums as a benefit of employment, but even if they pass the entire premium on to you, they are the ones that purchased the policy under the specific terms you are getting. You didn't and couldn't buy a policy at the rates your employer is getting them for you. If you could, it would only make sense for you to go ahead and buy it yourself, and have the freedom to take your policy with you no matter who you worked for. The employer negotiates the terms of the policy and buys it for you. It's too bad you work for someone who passes along the entire cost to you. Mine does, too, but if he didn't, I'd have to pay a lot more for a policy that would probably have double the deductible I have now. I'm not buying the policy, though, my employer is.

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  163. @Johanne " It is specifically because many of us on the left have experienced traditional values that we don't support them."

    I do not know your history or your experience and your comment didn't give me much to go on. But there are a lot of homes out there that appears to be upholding "traditional values" and are nothing more than a caricature of a home.

    There is a reason I said my parents were committed to their marriage. A home that includes traditional values is free from abuse and neglect. A husband does not control his wife, nor does the wife belittle her husband. The two work together, they love and support each other, and they raise their children together.

    You can't have affairs, you can't put your career before your family (either men or women), you can't spend all the families money on silly things. You must be committed to being a member of your household.

    I have found, in my limited experience, that is increasingly rare. I remember several times going home and thanking my mother that I never had to deal with some of the stuff my friends did.

    I don't want to assume or put words in your mouth. But I am curious, what specifically about "traditional values" do you dislike? Is it possible we are defining "traditional values" differently?

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  164. Interesting to hear you all talk about health care. When I had tonsillitis last week, I went to the Doctor, he wrote me a prescription, received the antibiotics, which I as an adult paid for. I am fit as fiddle now and back at work. When my children are ill, same applies accept they don't pay for the medicine.
    We all pay for this system as adults if we work, but we all pay in proportion to our income.

    We grumble about efficiency on occasion, but none of us grumble about the principle about health care free at the point of use. To coin of phrase of our Conservative Prime Minister, 'We are all in this together'.

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  165. Sorry I have neither the time nor the patience to read all of these, I do notice I was mentioned several times.

    Manda. Yes I still believe in the American dream. Look how many people flock to this country each year for the freedoms we have. That is the American dream as much as anything else.

    The pork/bacon analogy continues to fall flat for me. No one is forcing anyone to provide birth control. The business owner is simply providing insurance. That insurance can provide birth control. The business owner is not providing the birth control, nor is that business owner forced to take it. I think the forcing to sell pork would be a better correlation to being forced to sell birth control. You can keep trying to make me see the analogy, but sorry I just don't think it fits.

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  166. Dennis I apologize for the use of the word midget in a derogatory fashion. It was unacceptable.

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  167. we all pay for things with our taxes that we don't want to.
    I think unjust wars is a perfect example.
    Leila did I really read that religious pacifism is ok? Does that mean if someone is a pacifist for non religious reasons they should not get the same tax exemption?

    My husband pays about $4,000 a year in taxes on my health insurance. If I were a woman he would not have to pay that. Do I think that is fair? Nope, but we do it. He also pays about 40% of his salary to taxes and feels it is his duty. We pay for schools that we don't have kids for, wars that we do not agree with and a plethora of many other things that really don't affect us.

    Sorry, but you all are still free to practice your religion. Government funded abortions or birth control affect that in no way. You are no more involved in the act of a woman having an abortion than the business owner is involved in his employee obtaining birth control through health insurance.

    And sorry but I think if you are insisting that the employer paying for the health insurance (or part of it in most cases) then the employer telling his employees how to live their lives because he pays them is the exact same thing.

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  168. And Leila et al.

    I forget how literal one has to be here.

    But please note the sarcasm when I say I am promised a country with no religion.

    I am promised in this country that I do not have to practice your religion, or any religion. That is as much my right in this country as your right to your religion. Do you see that?

    So all these religious rules you want don't have to apply to me. It's that simple.

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  169. Alan, just curious.

    If you have a CATHOLIC insurance company, does that change your viewpoint regarding this statement:

    "The business owner is simply providing insurance. That insurance can provide birth control. The business owner is not providing the birth control, nor is that business owner forced to take it. "

    For example, my husband is a Catholic physician who works for a Catholic hospital. They are Catholic in name, mission, and protocols (no BC, no tubals, no abortions, for example).

    They self-insure. This means that THEY are the health insurance. It is a sub-group of the hospital, run by the same overseeing board. Most Catholic dioceses are operated on the same model - they self insure. They ARE the insurance company.

    They are not exempt from the mandate. The accommodation that states that an insurance company must pay for and provide the contraception is nothing but a smoke screen (and, by the way, the original wording not the accommodation was what Obama signed into being). The insurance company and the institution are often the exact same thing.

    How does that influence your thoughts/statements about who is providing the contraception?

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  170. Dear Alan, this is in reply to your comment on Nov 7, 2012, at 2:58 pm. "...Now go back and reread your constitution....."

    (I apologize if I am repeating anyone else, I did not read all of the other comments yet.)

    I am quoting the constitution. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment OF religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech..." Amendment 1 of the Constitution of the United States of America.

    As this reads, you are not guaranteed freedom FROM religion. All citizens are guaranteed the freedom to practice any religion, or no religion, without government interfering or impeding it in any way. The government cannot tell someone how to practice their religion or tell someone who is an athiest to go to church. As citizens we are protected from either sort of government intrusion.

    What Catholics are saying is that the HHS Mandate impedes us practicing our religion, because it forces us to pay for something that is sinful-contraception, abortion, abortifacient drugs (not everyone believes it is sinful, but we do). Even if we pay for something sinful, that is sinful; we don't just have to use it for it to to be sinful.

    You said: "Sorry but you still have the freedom of religion. Business owners just have to provide insurance to their employees, and that insurance has to include access to birth control."

    Well, we are fine with providing health insurance-just not health insurance that covers birth control. In the past (pre-HHS Mandate) business owners had options to provide Health Insurance that did not cover birth control, abortions and abortifacients. Now, the government is passing a law that will FORCE us to cover these things-things that are sinful to use and sinful to pay for.

    That is how the government is impeding our religious freedom.

    All I want is the ability to have Health Insurance options that do not cover birth control, abortions, abortifacient drugs. I am not asking that no insurance plans cover these, only that there be some options so we don't have to.

    I hope this will help clarify things.

    P.S. I have to get to work... so I will reply as I am able.

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  171. I remain torn on this issue. On the one hand I support religious freedom, on the other hand I do not see how government can function if it is employed as a blanket immunity from any regulation based on the claim that it violates religious principles.

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  172. Heide,
    I think I may have stated before that in my personal opinion (and please all keep in mind this is all just our personal opinions, the catholic church may have it as doctrine, but you choose to be catholic, so you choose to follow it's doctrine, so this is your personal choice or opinion) religious institutions should be exempt.
    If I choose to work for a religious institution I know it is indeed a religious institution before obtaining said job. Going to work for Joe Blow who runs a canning business, well thats a different story. The very business doesn't do religious canning, so by nature of getting a job I don't know it is owned by a devout religious person. People want me to see differences, well this is one. Interview with a catholic hospital you know what you are getting, Joe Blow you don't unless told.
    Hopefully that answers your question.

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  173. I believe Alan asked for another instance of infringement on religious freedom. Under the affordable care act, anyone whose insurance plan covers abortion (thus any public employee in my state- me included) will be charged a minimum of $1 per month specifically into an "abortion slush fund" that will be used to pay for abortions for women whose insurance does not cover them. I have no choice about what my insurance plan covers, and I have medical needs that I cannot afford on my own, so now I'll be charged at least $12 per year to specifically pay for abortions. And now, with Obamacare, I can't just opt out once this policy takes effect. I now must have insurance and I must pay into an abortion slush fund because my plan overs elective abortions. I don't know how to look at that as anything other than infringement on the religious freedom of all who oppose abortion. What are my options?

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  174. Being refined
    you write "I am quoting the constitution. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment OF religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech..." Amendment 1 of the Constitution of the United States of America.

    As this reads, you are not guaranteed freedom FROM religion. All citizens are guaranteed the freedom to practice any religion, or no religion, without government interfering or impeding it in any way. The government cannot tell someone how to practice their religion or tell someone who is an athiest to go to church. As citizens we are protected from either sort of government intrusion. "

    Exactly. The government cannot make me practice religion, thus guaranteeing me the freedom from religion. You say I am guaranteed the freedom to practice no religion, and as such that means I don't have to follow any religious rules.

    And thats not hyperbole. I think we all understand that this country was founded to escape the religious persecution from the Church of England, which is why the government cannot create a binding religion.

    Is my point understood now?

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  175. sorry being refined, I skipped your insurance part.
    I have always understood what the catholic point is. I just don't agree with it. Sorry. A business owner provides insurance. That is all they are doing. The employee may go to the doctor for birth control. But the employee pays for their portion of the insurance (or all of it in some cases), pays their copay and pays for the birth control.
    The owner had nothing to do with it. And again that is just my opinion.

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  176. On the one hand I support religious freedom, on the other hand I do not see how government can function if it is employed as a blanket immunity from any regulation based on the claim that it violates religious principles.

    Um, how 'bout it operates just like it always did before the HHS mandate? What was wrong with that? No one was clamoring for it. It was not even on the radar screen.

    That worked fine so what's the problem?

    Also, in the case of shutting down adoption agencies and foster care (Catholics would not adopt to gay couples, obviously), why not just let Catholics work according to their mission, as always, and give referrals to the MANY other adoption or foster care entities that would work with gay couples. Just like always.

    If you envision a world where Catholics can either be full members of society or practice their faith, but not both, then that is not freedom of religion, that is the marginalization of the religious. It's not what America is about.

    Saying, "either violate your beliefs or get out of business in America" seems to me to have none of the flavor of America's ideals. But then again, nothing in the past two days makes me feel like we are living in the America I have always known and loved. Every ideal seems to have been jettisoned. Including the reasons we were founded: Limited government, maximum religious freedom.

    So, so sad.

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  177. actually Colleen I asked for another example of Obama's "vice grip" on your religious freedoms. By this I meant something not involved in Obama care.

    This all started with me asking that we find ways to work together. Immediately I was told that Obama and the other side (lefts as I think you would all say, even though I am in no way on the left, just more left than you) need to make the first move.

    I have agreed that religious institutions should be exempt, that birth control should not be free. I also believe that abortion should not be free either. I also think churches should pay taxes on all income. I think there are too many children being born in this world, and far to many to poor girls who have no money or idea of how to raise children. I think that should be focused on more than it is, and not just with abstinance only programs. I have many ideas. Some you might like, some you would abhor.

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  178. Alan, I think the problem may be that we define "religious rules" differently. For us, the natural law is not "religious rules", but just basic truths for all.

    For example, you would laugh (correctly) if someone said, "I am not religious, so that law about not raping and stealing…that does not apply to me, as I am not religious." Of course we all know that the prohibition against raping and stealing are not simply religious rules, right? They are part of the natural law.

    That is why you find "secularists for life", but not "secularists for the Trinity". The nature of marriage, the inviolability of human life, these are natural law issues, not "religious rules".

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    1. Sorry but not everyone believes in natural laws.
      Yes you find secularists for life. You also find catholics who believe in the freedom to marry.
      Marriage is a man made concept.

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  179. Alan, there are not too many children being born into this world, there are too many children being born into this world without a mother and a father in the home. Too many children born without the benefit of being born into marriage.

    That alone would truly stabilize society and bring down the poverty rates dramatically.

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    1. there are too many children being born into non stable homes.

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  180. He also pays about 40% of his salary to taxes and feels it is his duty.

    Wouldn't it be nice if he paid less than that and then was able to give the rest to a charity of his choice?

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  181. Leila the government is for all people. All people.

    Do you want to go back to how things were when the country was first founded? How has the country changed in two years? All I see mentioned is the HHS mandate. What else has changed?

    And as much as our constitution guarantees maximum religious freedom it was also intended to provide maximum freedom from religious entities.

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