I have weighed in a few times on Facebook regarding the suddenly controversial contraceptive mandate and wasn’t going to go into it here.
After all, it’s the same old story of politicians on the right scrambling for a wedge issue to bash Obama with.
However, having read the magnificent piece by elder-statesman of the press Bill Moyers on Salon.com, I have to say —
As Moyers details, Obama has responded brilliantly to the feigned outrage of the right by being — well — reasonable.
Now, Obama says insurance companies (not employers) will provide this coverage to those who want it for free. No employer will have sully their “conscience” by offering contraceptives to women in their health care plans.
This, of course, hasn’t satisfied the Catholic bishops, but the Republicans are mistaken if they think they have found in them a steadfast ally or a way to bring Catholic voters into their fold en mass:
But here’s what Republicans don’t get, or won’t tell you. And what Obama manifestly does get. First, the war’s already lost: 98 percent of Catholic women of child-bearing age have used contraceptives. Second, on many major issues, the bishops are on Obama’s side — not least on extending unemployment benefits, which they call “a moral obligation.” Truth to tell, on economic issues, the bishops are often to the left of some leading Democrats, even if both sides are loathe to admit it. Furthermore — and shhh, don’t repeat this, even if the president already has — the Catholic Church funded Obama’s first community organizing, back in Chicago.
Just to point out how deeply felt this principle of contraceptives and religious freedom is to the earnest members of the GOP, they recently held a press conference — with humorous results.
From Talking Points Memo:
The lawmakers called a press conference rolling out the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act,” sponsored by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), a House version of the Roy Blunt bill. It’s aimed at making sure no objecting employer has to cover contraception in their health care plan (although it goes beyond that and lets them omit other services too).
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), a GOP leadership member, warned that the mandate will “reach in and manipulate the conscience of Americans.” He accused the President of “trampling precious First Amendment rights.”
After about 10 of them took turns issuing similar missives against the mandate, while dismissing Obama’s religious accommodation as a gimmick, I put the question to them: Would any of you refuse to support a presidential candidate who enacted a similar mandate?
You see, when GOP front-runner (who oddly keeps trailing at the ballot box) Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts he instituted RomneyCare, which mandates that ALL employers provide contraceptives as part of their employee plans.
If you couldn’t guess, none of these principled defenders of religious freedoms wanted to take a stand against Mitt, whose plan (following Obama’s recent modification) is now “worse” than the administration’s contraception provisions.
After pointing out that Republicans have already really lost this battle, and in a larger sense, the culture wars, Moyers brings it home:
So here we are once again, arguing over how to honor religious liberty without it becoming the liberty to impose on others moral beliefs they don’t share. Our practical solution is the one Barack Obama embraced the other day: protect freedom of religion — and freedom from religion. Can’t get more American than that.
- Contraception Hearing Excludes Women (newsy.com)
- May We Please Keep Talking About Family Planning Until November?: Garry Wills Smacksdown E.J. Dionne Watch (delong.typepad.com)
- Major Rick Santorum donor Foster Friess apologizes for ‘aspirin’ contraception joke (news.nationalpost.com)
- Does Obama’s Contraceptive Compromise Go Far Enough? (usnews.com)
From the BBC.
Atheists are just like Nazis.
Wow. I think I’ll really take that thoughtful criticism seriously.
I mean, he should know — he was in the Hitler Youth and all.
- Pope Sparks Atheist Row Over Nazi Comments (news.sky.com)
- Pope Benedict’s Historical Revisionism (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Vatican Library Exposed: Photographs Of The Pope’s Stacks (huffingtonpost.com)
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