IDEMA: The morality of the Blunt Amendment

Mar 18, 2012


What would prevent an employer from denying health insurance to gay people on the basis of conscience, or even insurance for cancer treatment, if this employer believes that all that is called for is prayer?

Fortunately, the amendment was defeated 51-48, with all the Republican women voting for the amendment except for Olympia Snow; and of course all of the GOP males supported the amendment.

Mitt Romany was against it before he was for it. Three male Democrats voted for the amendment.

Ironically, an amendment created out a sense of morality would inflict immoral damage on those people who need a variety of medical practices that could have been denied on the basis of conscience. So we have a clash of moral positions here.

The GOP plans to keep on fighting for the thrust of the amendment. Stay tuned!

Rush Limbaugh then jumped into the fray by insulting a Georgetown law student in the most vile way. Limbaugh, with a history of addiction and divorce, lives in a big glass house. Why anybody listens to him is one of the those mysterious questions that I put along side why people watch NBA basketball.

There are two central issues for our society to consider now, thanks to the debate about the Blunt Amendment.

First, as a society we must maintain clear lines between religion and the state. Many politicians, and Republican ones in particular, seem crazed with religion — and they want to impose its teachings on the rest of us.

I consider myself an Eisenhower Republican. I think he was our last great president, followed by lesser lights. Ike got us out of Korea, did not get us into Vietnam, balanced most of his budgets, and warned us about the military-industrial complex, which has swamped our country. Perhaps best of all, he did not demonize others, and he did not let his Christian faith shape his politics beyond the quiet influences religion should offer us in a pluralistic country. In other words, he did not invoke the name of Jesus Christ to gain power over others. His Christian faith did shape his views on war, greed and civil rights, but he did not make a show of it like we are seeing today.

The second issue raised by the recent debate about birth control and other medical procedures is a crying need for a single-payer health system; or at least a single-payer option. This would lighten the load on schools, churches, businesses, etc.; and make us more competitive with all the other industrial powers, which have national plans.

Most important, a single-payer health care system or a single-payer option would keep the shrill voices of so-called religious people toned down, and thus less harmful to others.

The GOP is not the party of my grandparents. It has descended into depths of religious rancor and finger-pointing. Franklin Graham does not even consider Mitt Romney a Christian. Who is he to judge?

If the GOP does not find some moderation and get religion out of its politics, it will just create more Democrat support from independents like me.

— By the Rev. Henry Idema, Tribune religion columnist


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