Friday, February 10, 2012

Does the Government Have Power Over Your Soul?

In the developing debate over the Department of Health and Human Services insurance requirement there are those who claim that it’s all about providing women with insurance covered access to contraception as a part of their reproductive health concerns. "I am dumbfounded that in the year 2012, we still are fighting about birth control," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. "Our opponents will look for any excuse to impose their ideology on women's rights." She fails to note, however, that it is the government that is imposing its non-conscience on Americans who in fact have consciences.  Furthermore this isn’t simply about contraception; there are other aspects of the proposed mandate, namely insurance coverage for sterilization and abortion inducing drugs.

Another argument is being made, the one telling us that 80% of sexually active Catholic women use contraceptive methods and that therefore the Church’s teaching should be brushed aside. But that is “morality by straw polls.” If it is determined that 80% of Catholic men have told lies does that make lying any less a sin?

But all of that is irrelevant. The central issue is otherwise, namely the administration’s purposeful move to suppress an individual’s conscientious objection to governmental control. The government is attempting to force faith based institutions to give their employees “free” access to procedures that their faith regards to be immoral.

The central issue is constitutional. The proposed mandate simply throws aside the First Amendment in our nation’s Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” If our government cannot favor any particular religion then neither can it take control of deeply held religious beliefs and practices.

Anyone with a conscience, even an atheist who has a conscientious objection to war and is to be thus conscripted into serving in our armed forces, should feel threatened by this particular attempt to suppress the consciences of Americans by governmental fiat.

Our nation’s founders came to this country and constituted our form of government precisely over this issue, namely the power of any government to exercise dominion over one’s soul.

1 comment:

  1. Fr. Charlie, thank you for your leadership and voice on this issue. As your blog title indicates, we must speak, and we must be! With the Spirit of the Lord within us, surely the right words will flow out!

    You are right! There is so much wrong with the HSA mandate, one hardly knows where to begin. But the purveyors of this very wrong policy are working to split the opposition. Staying clear on the one constitutional reality is essential: the government is forbidden from forcing a religion to act contrary to its beliefs.

    May our other fellow Christians and non-Christians alike take note and not be mistaken: Today the Catholics are under siege, but tomorrow it will be other believers who are put to the test. Raise your voices and speak now before you no longer able. Who can remain silent in the face of such injustice?

    Fred Yaniga