Monday, November 11, 2013

The Bishops Burden.

And a Call For Prayer .

    The Bishops meet today and start with a prayer at the beautiful classic historic first cathedral in the US, the Baltimore Cathedral. I recall fondly a pilgrimmage i took to see it.

     They need wisdom and strength to combat the forces that would corrupt them which are heavy. They need to follow Jesus not the RNC leaders, not the business communities wealthiest contributors, not the nation's leading ideological right wingnuttery gallery. They need the Holy Spirit.

On the issue of this contraception fight against HHS on 'religious freedom' grounds- the issues are not simplistically the feminazis versus the holy women of God, and people shouting 'you don't speak for me'
don't speak for me either, nor lots of women. Women's voices, even catholic ones are not  monolithic. All women don't have to follow other women's life choices. A woman with several kids who has a career and a husband who supports it and doesn't want any more children does not have to have any, and does not have to sacrifice her marriage for an ideological insistence by bishops.

    The NY times has an interesting piece on the Gilardi case.


     The issue of whether corporations as opposed to individuals possessing a first amendment right for Freedom of Religion is not a trivial one without consequence.
The Roberts court has once already upheld Obamacare by calling a tax penalty the same as a tax and valid under the taxing power given to Congress. Congress may clearly pass health related laws. Congress believes by passage of this law that contraception is vital to the mental or psychological well being of women (does psychologically a lot less damage than abortions that result when one does not use contraception). Clearly condoms prevent AIDS, it is folly to suggest that people who don't use them
have less risk of disease than people who do.

     Congres is allowed to make health laws that affect all businesses. Does a corporation have a 'Freedom of Religion' right- under the US Constitution even when it is non-profit corporation, incorporated under corporate laws as a non profit? One could argue that if it is tax exempt then the taxing power doesn't apply so all these should be exempted as well.  But would that rationale hold when Congress wanted to make non profits accountable to OSHA health laws? Could a non profit
not be held accountable for making people sit in asbestos laden toxic air and drink toxic water and coffee at work because it is against someone's religion to have to clean air vents? Could any Congressional health mandate get trumped by a religious objection because the founding people have religious beliefs against it? Suppose Congress said no smoking inside buildings- but the peyote smokers
insisted they had to inside structures as a matter of their belief? Congress can't outlaw smoking inside enclosures?
     The Supreme Court should take all the cases up which address whether corporations have a Freedom of Religion right or not. They also should address whether individual business owners can opt out of some of them on conscience grounds when Congress at large says it is a public health concern. That's why we have a Congress in part- to investigate all angles, hold hearings and determine by a majority of opinion what is considered the best course for the country in the best interest of the country as a whole.
We don't allow any individual to say he doesn't want to provide workplace safety on religious grounds, or not put in a health accommodation like a ramp for the disabled, or not provide non-FDA approved foods in the cafeteria, like expired meats or dairy products. Laws are for everybody or they don't work. They become optional suggestions instead.

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