Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Obamacare, the HHS Mandate, and Non-Catholics

Obama's Healthcare bill requires all employers to provide their employees with health insurance.  The penalties for failing to comply are fines high enough that businesses who don't will soon go out of business.  Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, took things a step further and mandated that all employers, including those who are Catholic, provide health insurance to their employees that includes such "reproductive health" services as birth control and sterilization. Providing those services goes against everything the Catholic Church teaches and everything we believe.  We now find ourselves between a rock and a hard place: violate our beliefs and comply with the law, or stand up for our beliefs and be forced out of business.

To put it simply, all Catholics are required to purchase health insurance.  All health insurance providers are being required to provide birth control and sterilization as part of their reproductive health services.  Failure to comply means going out of business, even if our business is to educate people or to help the poor.  Our government requires Catholics to pay for birth control and sterilizations not only for ourselves but for others. We are being forced to participate in sin, and the only concession we've been given is that we have a year to reconcile ourselves to this fact.

Maybe you are reading this because you are Catholic, trying to find a way to explain the issue to non-Catholics so that they can see how it is relevant to them. Perhaps you are a non-Catholic trying to understand the Catholic point of view.  Perhaps you were bored and stumbled across my site.  Whatever your reason for reading it, I hope you walk away understanding our position better and maybe even being inspired to throw your support behind freedom and justice.

Imagine, if you will, that government research showed that volunteering in your community was beneficial to individuals, families, communities, and society in general.  So, the government decided to pass a law requiring every man and woman to volunteer 10 hours per week at a non-profit organization.  Now imagine that the Department of Health and Human Services took this law a step further and mandated where you volunteer those hours. If you are atheist, pagan, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, or Muslim, imagine that they mandated - based on their research - that you volunteer for a Christian Church.  If you are Mormon, Protestant, or Jehovah's Witness, imagine that they mandated that you volunteer for a Catholic Church.  Failure to comply with this law would result in huge fines being levied against you, and anyone who works for you. Would you be outraged? Would you feel that your rights had been violated?  Would you then take a stand to oppose it? 

Or, imagine, that due to budget cutbacks cities could no longer afford to keep police officers on duty and so for the safety of the public in general they wrote a law in which all citizens were required to be trained in the use of fire arms.  Now imagine that the Department of Health and Human Services took things a step further and required every adult age 18 or older to purchase and keep in their home a firearm. Failure to comply with this law would result in the revoking of your right to drive a vehicle. Would you be outraged? Would you feel that your rights had been violated?  Would you then take a stand to oppose it?

I end my post with these words by Martin Niemöller, a preacher during Nazi Germany:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak out because I was Protestant.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

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