If you are under the impression that government is not accelerating the infringement upon your personal liberties, then you are sadly mistaken.
It’s been going on for decades but the current administration is taking this invasion of personal liberties to new heights. The latest is an attempt to dictate what constitutes a church and what they must do to accommodate employees even if the orders are against the beliefs of that church body.
Thankfully, the Catholic community has decided to take on the government’s mandate under Obamacare that dictates the church must provide free contraceptives to all employees, hospital patients or students in church-related schools, etc. in spite of the church’s doctrines. Of course the subject of Abortion plays into the picture as well.
You cannot presently live through the day without being ruled by excessive government mandates. You are under government supervision every time you flush your commode, take a shower, turn on a light bulb, write a check, drive your car, cut your grass, vote, drink a glass of milk and so on ad nauseum. Government authority is now being expanded to curb religious activities and beliefs.
It’s got to stop if we are to once again enjoy the personal liberties that Americans have had since tearing away from England’s tyranny. The Catholics are leading the way by fighting against healthcare rules that mandate providing contraceptives to all even though it is against their religious beliefs.
What have contraceptives and the morning-after pill got to do with healthcare anyway? Engagement in sex is not a health function; it’s a choice that two people make. It’s curious that the government is maintaining a position that personal sex choices become the responsibility (or business) of the church or anybody else for that matter.
The government’s defense is silly. First the White House claims that only the health insurance companies will be footing the bill. That’s ridiculous. Premiums are raised every time a new benefit is offered and who pays at least a part of that increase? The employer of course. Many Catholic groups are self-insured meaning they are the insurance company.
Many Catholic enterprises which serve the whole of society such as hospitals, schools and colleges have been ordered to provide contraceptive benefits because the government has only included an exemption for the people on the church membership roll. In the process, government has, therefore, mandated the parameters of “church” membership and practice. According to the White House, the church includes only those parishioners who are members of that body but many church-related institutions serve all of humanity. If this is not an infringement upon religious liberty, I don’t know what is or where it will end.
Catholics are not the only group threatened by government curtailment of religious values but they are the only ones, thus far, who have stepped forward in the fight before infringement upon religious liberty goes any further. First the Catholics are under assault then what — the Baptists, Methodists, Jews, etc.? Where will it stop? Some citizens persist in the notion that nothing like that will ever happen here. That’s what the German Protestants said before Hitler dictated church beliefs and practices.
Government has decreed that “water boarding” is outlawed when interrogating prisoners of war. How long before they outlaw total-immersion baptism in the Baptist churches as “cruel” because even youngsters are submerged in water during this Holy Sacrament. How about child labor laws kicking in when a church youth group wants to raise money with a public car wash? Or how about those churches that observe the sacrament of Communion with a thimbleful of real wine to underage congregants? The list goes on and on.
The other government argument you hear against the Catholic belief in the sanctity of life and its opposition to birth control and abortion is that most Catholics practice both anyway; therefore, the church should abandon or alter its doctrines. This is also a silly argument and dictatorial as well. I suspect that there are some Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc. who commit adultery, theft, envy and other acts not in accordance with their churches’ beliefs. But, does this mean that these churches should change their doctrines against these and other sins?
We have all heard that oft-repeated view concerning how government came for one group and I didn’t object; then they came for another group and I didn’t object; then they came for me and there was no one left to object.
Infringement upon religious freedom concerns us all. The Catholic Church must not stand alone in this fight. We must stand with them in the belief that the First Amendment means exactly what it says? Freedom of Religion!
We all need to join in the struggle. How many will?
John Brock is Southern Baptist and a retired newspaper editor/publisher and college professor. He can be reached by mail at this newspaper or by Email at: email@example.com
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