While I fully understand the need to have contraceptive devices made available to the general public and think they are a right people should be allowed to purchase and use, I also understand the position the Catholic Church has in relation to a constitutional argument over the latest flap.
Up front let me say I view the Catholic Church wrong on the way they view birth control and the way they teach about it. But I can see the struggle they have with the way the health care law was written, and the moral dilemma they faced. But I think many of the top officials in the church have turned this into a higher political story than it merited, but that is how things are done so I get that too. That even with a compromise some Catholics wish to continue fighting is also par for the course.
I strongly support the need to include contraceptive devices into the health care law that impacts all Americans and know that a vast majority of those who sit in the pews in Catholic Churches use contraceptives, as does most other segments of society.
The larger issue of how to be sensitive to certain teachings of one religion or another in the grand scheme of making sound public policy is the stuff that allows college classrooms to buzz, and groups around dinner tables to enjoy a mental challenge late into the night.
At the end of the dialogue however there is still no one right answer. After all, these types of discussions, in one way or another, have been going on since 1787.
To be honest about this I have rather enjoyed the back and forth far more for its larger themed debate on the role of government than for the political wins and losses that may play out in the election to come.
Having said that there was one statement today from Joe Scarborough on “Meet The Press” that brings the large constitutional quandary and how it relates to health care, (after all contraception is a health care and privacy issue rolled into one) back to the political equation.
MR. SCARBOROUGH: Right. you know, before the Friday deal everything was breaking conservatives way, united conservatives not only at CPAC but at even–economic conservatives that didn’t like to talk about social issues saw this as a great overreach. And you had Democrats, you had the sitting Democratic vice president, you had Lieberman, a former vice presidential nominee for the Democrats, Kerry, a former presidential nominee for the Democrats, on and on and on saying that the president overstepped his bounds. Listen, at the end of the day, substantively there was no change. You have a president saying, “You don’t want to pay for health care? Fine, we’ll give it away for free!” There’s a free lunch. All you’re doing is shifting the burden to all Catholics now who are all paying for these contraceptive devices that they may–they may find to be immoral. But at the end of the day, this is all the president needs politically because now we have–we have sisters debating bishops, and we’ve got liberal Catholics debating conservatives Catholics. You’ve got Peggy and E.J. now once again where they should be, on opposite sides of an issue. For the president that’s all he needed to do. He had a unified Catholic front against him, he split that in half now and now he can move on. And I agree with E.J. If this debate moves on and stops being about religious freedom and starts being about contraceptives–contraception, then Republicans lose in a very big way.