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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Karla Porter - Birth Control and your boss (& related thoughts)

An excellent blog posting about the Catholic Church and birth control.

Karla Porter's blog - Birth control and your boss

As I noted in a comment to this posting, the logic of the Catholic Church...namely that providing for the VOLUNTARY use of birth control is the same as PROMOTING birth tragically flawed.

Case in point:  At my employer, people who smoke are required to go outside the building to partake of their habit.  The company even constructed a shelter for their use during inclement weather.  Using Catholic Church logic, my employer must be promoting smoking.

Another case in point:  My employer provides a full cafeteria for its employees, where a variety of foods are offered.  The cafeteria has a grill which serves all manner of greasy, fried food.  Using Catholic Church logic, my employer must be promoting the consumption of cheeseburgers.

Wait, I can see the counter-argument now: but there is no "government mandate" for smokers or cheeseburger eaters.  Point well taken.  However, there is a fly in that ointment in that everyone in this country is, from time to time, obligated to do things that they may find personally objectionable.  Even the Catholic Church.

For example, I do not believe in the use of the death penalty, except in cases that are so extreme that they almost never occur.  Not so coincidentally, my belief in this area is identical to that of the Catholic Church (reference HERE).  Yet my tax dollars, which I am required to pay, are used to support state and federal justice systems that violates my conscience in this area.  This just isn't limited to the death penalty though, as I also disagree with the criminalization of certain drugs (Alcohol is a "good" drug...apparently marijuana is a "bad" drug; note that I don't use either myself), soft jail sentences to white collar criminals and the federal government's support of foreign dictatorships.  Yet I still pay my taxes, without complaining.  Somehow I am able to see that my moral imperatives have to be weighed against my civil responsibilities.

Another example:  If you have a dog in Pennsylvania, you need to have a license.  Have a cat?  No license required.  Stray dogs bite people, stray cats mainly just run away from people.  Point well taken.  However if you want to have a dog (or be an employer in the public domain for that manner) you have to buy the license (or provide for birth control coverage for employees) even if you are a great dog owner and would never, ever even think of letting your dog roam free.

I could go on with other examples, both big and small, but it's a moot point as this isn't really about moral stances anyway.  If it truly was about morality, then why isn't there an outcry over the following in the Catholic Church:  Research consistently shows that anywhere from 82% to 98% of sexually active Catholics in the United States today use birth control.  References HERE and HERE.

Maybe, just maybe, if this truly were a moral imperative, then the Catholic Church would focus all of its energies at getting the faithful who are sexually active to stop using artificial birth control,  That seems more reasonable than denying birth control coverage to those individuals who do not hold the same belief system  as the clergy in the Catholic Church.

So what is this really about?  I suspect this has far more to do with the politics of the day than it does the morality of artificial birth control.  Again, if this were about morality, then why would the focus be on the offering of birth control rather than the use of birth control by Catholics?

Birth control is, when everything else is stripped away, a deeply personal issue.  If your religious convictions tell you that the use of birth control is immoral, then you have my respect AND the right to express your convictions by not using birth control.  I do not have the right to force anyone to use birth control.  No one should have the right to prevent me from using birth control either.


Karla said...

Excellent expansion on the comments you left on my post. You brought up an example I had not thought of - capital punishment. It's a very strong example indeed.

Stephen Albert said...

Thank you Karla. You deserve a lot of credit for raising this issue. There are many who would simply rather not talk about it, least they raise the ire of their local church official.