GUEST COLUMN: The misuse of politics in our religion

Mar 11, 2012

 

The local pastor in his writing, however, reverses the chronology and accuses these churches of interfering in politics! The pastor distorts the truth and blames the victim. 

Currently, the HHS mandate of Jan. 20, and its “accommodation” of Feb. 10, are in effect. Except for houses of worship, all employers will be required to provide free of cost through their insurance companies, abortifacient drugs, sterilizations and contraceptives, even if this requirement violates the consciences of the individual or corporate provider. Numerous churches, religious institutions and state attorneys general have filed suit against this unconscionable mandate.

Allow me to quote from the Feb. 22 letter of the Office of the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “Religious freedom is a fundamental right of all. This right does not depend on any government’s decision to grant it. It is God-given, and just societies recognize and respect its free exercise. The free exercise of religion extends well beyond the freedom of worship. It also forbids government from forcing people or groups to violate their most deeply held religious convictions, and from interfering in the internal affairs of religious organizations.”

May I offer an observation about the current controversy. Many politicians and journalists appear intellectually unable to conceive of and appreciate principles. They seem incapable of thinking beyond numbers: populations, percentages and costs. Their thinking is limited to what is physical. They seem incapable of appreciating what is meta-physical. Principles elude them and confuse them. They seem to value free contraception over freedom of religion, and political policy more than First Amendment principle.   

Secularism threatens our first and most fundamental liberty — that of religion. If secularists and their supporters succeed in imposing governmental decisions contrary to the First Amendment, our country will have lost its founding principle. Four hundred years ago, puritans and pilgrims fled from religious oppression in England to secure religious freedom in the American colonies. Now, government once again, in our time and place, threatens our religious freedoms; and in effect, all subsequent freedoms. 

— By the Rev. Vincent J. O’Malley, director of St. Lazare Retreat House in Spring Lake Township.

Comments

Lanivan

To paraphrase Shakespeare, "methinks you doth protest too much". Your argument that "the Obama administration brought forth an unconscionable attack in it's infamous Dept. of Health and Human Services mandate...." actually doesn't correlate with the facts. #1: The Health Care law has it's roots in conservative thinking back more than two decades ago. Conservative economists, conservative research groups, and Republican legislators have been in favor of health care for all - until President Obama presented it. #2 The mandate of which you write is modeled on rules already existing in (6) states in which Houses of Worship and other religious nonprofits are exempt from the mandate. #3: There's nothing new about the mandate. (28) states, including Michigan, already require organizations that offer prescription insurance to cover contraception, and since it is well documented that 98% of Catholic women use birth control, many Catholic institutions have for many years offered this benefit to their employees. We are a diverse country of 300 million people of all races, religions, backgrounds education, upbringing, etc. President Obama and his administration must govern inclusively for all people, and the bottom line is that in offering free contraception to all, it is thus honoring all religions. If someone of any particular religion opposes birth control, they simply do not partake in it. Those for whom contraception plays no role in their religious beliefs, are free to partake. With all due respect, I have to wonder about the motivation behind this sudden uproar by the Catholic bishops about this "unconscionable attack" when the topic is contraception and women's reproductive health. Where was the outrage when the government went into two brutal wars, or when the Bishops became aware of the abuse of young boys spanning decades within the Church?

Fly on the Wall

"Where was the outrage when the government went into two brutal wars, or when the Bishops became aware of the abuse of young boys spanning decades within the Church? "

Those strawmen are pretty much all burned out, Lani, and have blocked the wind from the sails of your argument.
Please try again, developing your opinion on the validity of government telling anyone or any business or any organization what health care they need to buy.
US citizens have an inalienable right to choose their religious practices. Somewhere the government came up with the idea that it has the right to mandate religious doctrine. I object to the federal government's usurpation of rights not granted by the constitution.
What are your more focused thoughts on this, the crucial and pertinent part of the argument? Please avoid references to non-relevant atrocities (Guyana; Hitler et al; Timothy McVeigh; 9-11) that weaken your credibility.

Lanivan

The government has no right to take over any religious group or denomination. I see no signs of that. The government does have the right to set in place federal laws that protect all employees from employers discriminating against them for religious reasons. As American citizens, we are blessed to live in a country where we are free to practice any religion we choose. As American workers, we are blessed to work where we are not forced to adhere to our employer's particular religious convictions. As American employers, we should not be allowed to discriminate against our employees based on our private religious beliefs. Our businesses are made up of people of differing religions - when a business goes belly-up, does it die (and go to heaven)? No - but the people who make up the workforce will (hopefully). A Catholic- based hospital that employees hundreds of people is just that - a faith-based employer that must adhere to federal laws against discrimination. Fly on the Wall - I disagree with your claim that the "burnt out strawmen" I speak of are "non-relevant" - the "atrocities" of human suffering and killing of war, and the of sexual abuse of young children - are living, breathing, flesh and blood humanitarian/religious issues that concern me just as much as the sanctity of the unborn child which, along with the attack on women's reproductive rights and an age-old power struggle, seem to be at the heart of this matter, and deserve the same kind of attention by our religious leaders.

markhuizen

Oh yes they are. That is the sole (soul) purpose of this admin and I pity fool who does not see it. Keep marching bro. That is what they want you to believe. I will post my email address to debate this. machuizen@yahoo.com. Bring it on.

snlfan

I beg you to read
http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/13/op...
and look into the cost of contraception for women
http://www.americanprogress.org/...

No One Special

The Rev. Vincent J. O’Malley is courageous for taking a stand agains the tide of socialistic doctrine and policies entering every aspect of our lives in this Country. He is also correct about the impacts that will result from the Department of Health and Human Services mandate. It will indeed restrict religious freedom and personal liberty. If we intend to preserve our cherished Constitutional rights in this Country it is high time that other Church leaders (Protestant and Catholic alike) begin standing up, speaking out, and exhorting their congregations to stand as well.

 

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