Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
This is a constant complaint of the religious: WE’RE BEING PERSECUTED! WE HAVE RIGHTS! etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum. And what is it really all about? Why, the ass-clown Catholics are up in arms about…contraceptive services?!?!? It’s like these nitwits are still living in the 50’s.
Church bells will ring across Rapid City at noon on the Fourth of July, tolling a threat to religious freedom that Bishop Robert Gruss and others see in the 2010 Affordable Care Act and elsewhere.
Churches of all denominations are asked to ring their bells for five minutes that day in support of the Fortnight for Freedom campaign being waged through Wednesday, July 4, by U.S. Catholic bishops. The campaign is designed to promote religious liberty by enlisting opposition to the contraceptive services mandate that's part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
So…just what are these contraceptive services, exactly?
With the exception of churches and houses of worship, the Act's contraceptive coverage mandate applies to all employers and educational institutions. The mandate applies to all new health insurance plans effective August 2012. It controversially includes Christian hospitals, Christian charities, Catholic universities, and other enterprises owned or controlled by religious organizations that oppose contraception on doctrinal grounds. Regulations made under the act rely on the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, which concluded that birth control is medically necessary "to ensure women's health and well-being."
Current Department of Health and Human Services regulations that govern ACA require employers — even Catholic hospitals, charities and universities — to offer contraceptive services at no cost in their employee health care plans. It has generated outrage by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who say it violates Catholic religious teaching against artificial contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.
Which is horse dung, because these things didn’t exist over 100 years ago.
Gruss, head of the Catholic Diocese of Rapid City, has promoted the two-week national campaign against the HHS mandates as an issue of religious freedom that goes far beyond the contraception question, affecting all Americans, not just Catholic Americans.
"This is not just a Catholic issue. It's not a Democrat or Republican issue. It's not a contraceptive issue. It's an American issue. It's a religious freedom issue," Gruss said June 19 during a panel discussion on how the mandate would affect Catholic schools and charities in Rapid City.
It is an American issue – but if this so-called ‘religious freedom’ is going to have a massive impact on women’s reproductive health, then I say, screw the religious. I’ll take the real over the surreal any day.
Gruss said religious freedom is more than "the right to go to Mass on Sunday or to pray the rosary at home."
I’d say that as the religious are posturing themselves as the arbiters of all they survey, it’s getting to the point that maybe that’s the limit we should impose on them.
"The current climate is reducing religion in the public domain to a private matter ... but it is also the right to engage in the broader society," he said. The HHS mandate on contraception coverage, with its narrow exemption for certain religious groups, would force Catholics institutions to either violate the teachings of the church or to stop engaging in the Gospel's call to serve others — through its hospitals, schools and charitable organizations, he said.
Then they can abstain. Isn’t that what Catholics are famous for, after all?
To be exempt from the contraception mandate, a religious employer would have to meet four narrowly defined criteria, including that it employ and provide services "primarily to persons who share its religious tenets."
That actually sounds…reasonable. But of course, Sour Gruss won’t have that:
Gruss called the current religious exemption "far too narrow" and repeated the frequent observation that "not even Jesus would be included in it," since Christ ministered to both Christians and non-Christians while on earth.
Uh-huh – then again, the mythical man-child didn’t really provide anything resembling reproductive services, did he?
In Rapid City, Catholic Social Services would be forced to comply with the mandate or risk steep fines of $100 per day, per employee, for not providing health insurance to its employees. Neither is an acceptable option, since the costs would cripple the small social services agency, director Jim Kinyon said. "But our mandate comes from some place a little more important than Washington," he said.
Which translates to forcing it onto the rest of us.
CSS's mission is to serve people of all faiths, and Catholics are a minority on its staff. "There's no doubt Catholic Social Services would not meet the exemption. This is not about CSS, it's about the 23,000 people we serve each year," Kinyon said.
Which means, when you are in Rapid City and in dire need of this sort of help, give these control freaks a wide berth.
Kinyon criticized contraceptive pills as a "failed experiment" in sexual morality and said that forcing employers with a moral objection to abortion to provide insurance benefits that cover abortifacients is akin to "participating in the shedding of the blood of innocents."
As one of the tags for this post states, ‘Boo-fucking-hoo’.
Gruss also complained that the HHS mandate doesn't protect private employers who object to providing contraceptive coverage. Numerous Catholic dioceses and institutions, as well as non-Catholic organizations, have filed 23 lawsuits against federal officials, including HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, challenging the contraceptive mandate. The Rapid City diocese is not among those plaintiffs, but Gruss said the lawsuits are an "opportunity to direct the conversation on freedom of religion" in America today.
Well then, it looks like the criterion for employees is going to be stricter – such as 40 year old virgins who live with their mom, Jehovah’s Witless…oh wait, that’s discriminatory, so they can’t do it.
"We didn't pick this fight; we've been forced into it," Gruss said.
Another litigant challenging the HHS mandate, the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, said Thursday those lawsuits will continue in light of the June 28 Supreme Court decision upholding the ACA's individual mandate. That decision left untouched the HHS mandates.
The BFRL is one of those institutions who go to bat for ridiculous religious stubbornness, AKA ‘we wanna say the Pledge with the words “Under God” in it!’
“The court’s opinion today did not decide the issues in our cases,” said Hannah Smith, senior counsel.
Of course it didn’t.
Some non-Catholic churches will add their bells to the noon ring on July 4, but at First Congregational United Church of Christ, the Rev. Susan Huffman said she declined the invitation as "too specific an issue for us."
"Although we believe in the concept of religious freedom ... we feel like this is not our issue," Huffman said.
The reasonable among them are few and far between.
The Fortnight for Freedom campaign closes on July 4 with a special Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Archbishop Charles Chaput, formerly bishop of Rapid City, will give the homily focusing on religious liberty in America. In Rapid City, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help will hold an 8 a.m. Mass.
This still not an attack on religious liberties in the slightest: the medicinal facts say otherwise. Of course, these idiots believe in an ‘immaculate conception’, which means they have little real clue how biology actually works.
Catholic churches in Rapid City have sponsored a variety of gatherings and religious services from June 21 to July 4 to pray that religious liberty be protected and fostered in America. Those events included a showing of the movie, "A Man for All Seasons," which tells the story of St. Thomas More's martyrdom at the hands of King Henry VIII. Several "patriotic rosaries" at local Catholic churches offering special prayers for the presidency, the Supreme Court and Congress have been held.
Thomas More was a fuckhead. He went around actually persecuting the Protestants, so he wasn’t quite the martyr he was made out to be. And prayer doing anything at all? Don’t make me laugh.
"The Patriotic Rosary is different in that with each decade there is a reading from a Founding Father or historical document, singing of a patriotic song, and each Hail Mary is said for a state and all the people in that state," said Marcia Williamson, an organizer of the Fortnight For Freedom. "It really is very inspiring."
I’d bet the rent they won’t be reading from Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason any time soon. Or at all.
People wonder why atheists detest religion – this is a perfect example of why. They claim exemption from common sense based on superstition. They want to supersede human health issues by blathering on about ‘moral imperatives’ that they say come from on high. And they claim they answer to a ‘higher power’ or bear witness in a ‘higher court’. Which means the rest of us will be screwed.
As religion takes more and more of a back seat in our lives, their whiny little voices will metaphorically be advising humanity on how to drive. Better then, to turn the music up to drown them out.
Till the next post, then.