…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

by Sal on January 17, 2006

in Politics

Religion in the United States suffered a major setback today. The NY Court of Appeals, Appellate Division, 3rd Department, issued a 3-2 ruling today that let stand a NY state law requiring all private companies to provide Contraception as part of health insurance. There exists an exemption for purely religious organizations (i.e. The Diocese of NY, St. Joseph’s Church, etc.) but the exemption does not apply for religious organizations that serve a “Secular purpose” according to the NY State Legislature, such as Catholic Charities, St. Vincent Hospital, etc.

The lawsuit was brought by both Roman Catholic and Baptist Evangelical organizations in the state of NY. This is clearly prohibiting the Free Exercise of religion. No matter what your opinion on contraception, the law is now saying that the Catholic Church must go against its conscience and provide women employees with free contraception. Now, I object to the government telling any private company what it must provide to employees, as it just leads to loss of jobs and bad economy, but to tell a religious organization that they are not allowed to practice their religion is unconscionable. I only hope that this case gets overturned at a higher level, or the next thing we may see is religious organizations being forced to provide abortions, perform same-sex marriages, or any other number of countless activities contrary to the beliefs of the particular religious group involved.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicholas Theisen January 17, 2006 at 8:21 pm

It always amazes me how if you take an issue and make it completely abtract, you can make anything seem reasonable. What if you’re a nurse who works for the only hospital in a hundred miles and it’s run by the Catholic church? So, just for that fact my insurance plan won’t cover contraception that any other insurance plan would?

And don’t read off the tired libertarian claptrap that you choose to work there. If it’s the only job you’re qualified for, then what choice is there? Why should I have to pick up and move just because my employer won’t provide me with full healthcare coverage because of some vague moral objection?


Mike January 18, 2006 at 9:05 am

Because no individual should have the right to force of group of people to do what they view as immoral. Individuals have the right to use contraception not to force Catholic hospitals to give it to them.

And no, that nurse should not be able to force that hospital to give her an abortion either.


Sal January 18, 2006 at 10:36 am

Since when did contraception become a right? Insurance doesn’t cover tampons, which women need, nor does it cover Motrin for women’s periods. Why is contraception so sacrosanct? I can’t find it anywhere in the Constitution!

What makes contraception, or health care for that matter, a constitutiona right? They are benefits provided by companies to attact perspective employees. Take 401(k)s. Some companies match employee contrabutions to 401ks, some don’t. As a perspective employee, I can use that as part of my compensation package to make a decision on employment. The government would have no right to force a company to match a 401k. In the same way, the government has no right to determine what a company offers to its employees in its health plan.

Finally, the net result of this will be that Catholic religious organizations will have to no longer offer health plans to their employees. The Catholic Church believes that contraception is a moral evil, and therefore under the law they would be forced to not provide health care at all.

In the Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof.

Not in the ConstitutionAll women have an inalienable right to free contraceptives.


noonan January 18, 2006 at 12:21 pm

The tragedy of this decision, (mirroring similar legislation and adjudication in CA), is far reaching. The real losers are those with real health issues and the many beneficiaries of Catholic Charities.

The Church cannot be forced to do anything immoral, even if the courts enact immoral laws, it is duty-bound to resist. Providing contraception (many of which ARE abortifacient) or customary abortions is something it cannot be complicit with. They will stop providing health care, because of a radical minority who believe contraception is basic health care. People with real medical problems now have less money from the charity, less people will give to the charity, (which also serves the poor and underpriviliged in many ways, and with the lowest percentage of overhead costs – fully 97%+ of CC money goes directly to the poor), all so that a few people won’t have to buy their own damn drugs and plugs.

Also, “a nurse who works for the only hospital in a hundred miles.” This is NY we’re talking about, seriously. You’re hypothetical is absurd. My wife was a nurse in South Bend, and besides two hospitals within walking distance, there were several more within a half-hour’s driving distance, not to mention schools, nursing homes, out-patient clinics, etc… Simply absurd.

Even if it you had a valid premise, and the Catholic Church ran the only hospital in a hundred mile radius, how is forcing it to shut down due to your utilitarian calculus weighing your drugs & plugs over religious freedom and freedom of conscience going to help anybody?

Beside all that, is it really a good policy to force people against their conscience into facilitation of the spread of social diseases, through medical institutions no less. Condoms are ineffective against HIV roughly 1/3 of the time, and offer no protection against a host of other STIs, not to mention the even lower protection of pills and other forms. Add that with the serial monogamy in our culture and small wonder we’ve got such a problem with AIDS and other STIs. Of course, somehow the perpetuation of these problems with stupid policies has resulted in federal, state, and local funding to “family planning” organizations that promote the very policies worsening the problem.

At the end of the day, some nun who took vows of chastity, obedience, and poverty in order to serve the poor will now see her sacrifices stolen to promote an unconscionable purpose. What’s next, throw her in jail for refusal to aid in killing the unborn? Disallowing her to serve those with real medical problems? All for a very “vague moral objection” of a fringe liberal social interest. Buy your own damn condoms.


Sal January 18, 2006 at 12:40 pm

Nicely said Noonan!


Cannon January 18, 2006 at 9:36 pm

This is the best that liberals have these days. I refer to Ann Coulter last week. She was talking about the Alito hearings, but the same theory applies


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