While I respect your right to have an opinion, belief and even a faith with regard to your religious beliefs - I think it is important to remember that this mandate, by the Health and Human Services Department, does absolutely nothing to force you or any other religious person to do anything against their will - to themselves. What it does do is guarantee that people who CHOOSE to use such medications, whether for birth control, at the advice of their medical doctor or in the event of a rape etc. will have the same access - independent of whether their community is served by a Catholic hospital or a public hospital. It makes sure that Catholic's have the choice to access such services through their employer’s health insurance - IF THEY CHOOSE to do so.
This country was founded on religious freedom - not any particular religious belief. I know the religious right wants people to believe that it was founded on Christian beliefs - in fact - the First Amendment to the Constitution clearly states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
Imagine how some would react if others were trying to force sharia law on their community, employer or local medical facility. Do you think that would be appropriate simply because some number of Muslims were in favor of the beliefs? Would it be fair if you were a tourist in a predominately Muslim country? What if your child were ill in a country that believed no medical treatments were allowed – only prayer to “their” god? No government should force religious beliefs on its people.
Remember - there are 2000 religions on this planet. Not everyone was born into a Catholic family. Catholics are just as free to not use birth control today as they were last week and the week before that. Have faith in your fellow Catholics – they can still choose to do what they believe.
In my opinion - we as a nation (and the world in general) would be much better off if the separation of church and state were MUCH more specifically declared. So much so - that even people who rely on Fox "News" for their information could understand that this is a secular nation. A great one in which people have the FREEDOM to make personal choices without the threat of having others personal choices forced on them. People should have the right to believe - or not believe - in any or all (or none) of the 2000 religions. They simply do not have the right to force others to believe.
Jesus could have forced the soldiers who were crucifying him to become believers - but he did not. He, in many ways, gave his life (assuming you believe in the bible) to allow people to make decisions for themselves. Just like he allowed humans to develop medications that could control population when they acted on the urges that he gave them in the first place. What do you think Jesus would do? If he is all powerful - then it would appear that he would allowed people to choose...My rebuttal:
With all due respect John, while you say that you are 100% for the complete separation of church and state, you seem to be just fine with the federal government forcing Catholic Institutions to provide coverage for drugs and procedures that it finds abhorrent, immoral and intrinsically evil. And they are NOT giving the administrators of those Catholic institutions or the bishops a choice - they are saying that they MUST violate 2000 years of sacred tradition and moral teaching to be in line with this mandate. John, this simply is NOT separation of church and state; this is a huge infringement on the beliefs, teachings and moral authority of the Catholic church.
People can have a choice as to where they work. I could never, for example, work for NPR or MSNBC or any of the abortion clinics in the country. And so it is with employees in Catholic institutions and schools. Frankly they shouldn't be working there anyway if they cannot support the vision and values of their employer.
But I tell you what this will do John - I saw something this week that I haven't seen in quite a while - the moral outrage of Catholics in the pews and most importantly - from the bishops themselves. Bishop Lennon, for example said that this will not stand. I think he will close the Catholic institutions in the diocese rather than succumb to mandates that force the Cleveland Diocese to be complicit in immorality. Currently 1 in 6 patients in this country are treated in Catholic health care settings. You think the ER waiting room is busy now? Just wait. Public schools crowded? Move over for the Catholic school kids - unless of course they decide to home school - which I imagine many parents would rather do anyway.
It sounds like you are an unbeliever so you may not be aware that Jesus once told Satan, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the Test" Luke 4:12 He gives man free will to choose good or evil. And out of that free will has come both great good but also great evil. I wouldn't necessarily say that just because mankind had developed it, that it is good. Instead He calls us to form our consciences to know the difference between good and evil and to live our lives accordingly. And how do we know the true difference between good and evil? From the pillar of truth - the church. 1 Timothy 3:15
God allows us most of the time to suffer the consequences of the actions we have chosen. Sometimes we don't get those consequences for years. Sometimes they are immediate. But I don't think you should act on the urge to jump in front of a city bus John. Jesus is all powerful - and he will indeed allow you to choose. Guess how that will turn out?