Shockingly, Catholic Bishops’ hostility to birth control is not about religious liberty.

Last week, the Obama administration instituted a new rule requiring institutions to provide birth control for their employees, with exceptions for primarily religious institutions — they didn’t have to provide birth control if it violated their conscience. Seems like a good compromise, right? No. Because the Catholic bishops are mad that Catholic institutions which are run by a lot of non-Catholics and serve a lot of non-Catholics and employ a lot of non-Catholics — places like Catholic-affiliated hospitals and universities — would have to provide birth control to their employees. “It’s religious freedom!” they say. “Making us provide birth control violates our moral conscience!” Sure, fine. I mean, 98% of Catholic women use hormonal birth control at some point in their lives, but yeah sure whatever. Clearly this ruling must violate the consciences of all Catholics, right? (No, sorry). Most Catholics, even? (No, sorry). Ok but it does offend, like, 10 celibate dudes who for some reason have enormous amounts of power, right? Yes, yes it does!

So fine, compromise time: Catholic organizations, even those that are not really all that religious and instead serve the public, won’t have to pay for contraception. Instead, insurance companies will have to cover contraception. Bam, women are covered, and no one is forced to violate their strong moral opposition to birth control by covering it for their employees. Good, right? Everyone’s happy?

Nope! Because, wait, this is just about a handful of celibate men wanting to control women’s reproductive freedoms? And it’s not really about religious freedom at all? It’s just about hostility to women having the ability to prevent pregnancy? Oh. Who could have possibly seen that coming?

53 comments for “Shockingly, Catholic Bishops’ hostility to birth control is not about religious liberty.

  1. j.
    February 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Whining about this post being “anti-Catholic” and how liberal congregants with no power in the RCC whatsoever are the ~~twoo~~ ~~church~~ in 5, 4, 3…

  2. Nell
    February 12, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    The law has been clear since late 2000 when the EEOC ruled that all employers who provided prescription drug coverage in their group health care plans were violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act if they failed to include coverage for prescription contraceptives.

    It’s telling that the Bush administration never challenged the EEOC ruling handed down in the last days of the Clinton administration and yet every Republican candidate for president in this election year is screaming bloody murder that the Obama administration’s mandate that all health care plans (with narrow religious exceptions) include contraceptive care tramples on “religious liberties.”

    I’m disappointed that Obama felt he had to backtrack from his original position in order to “accommodate” a small group of out-of-touch religious leaders who ignore the needs of their own faithful and seek to impose their dogma on those who don’t share it.

  3. Echo Zen
    February 12, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Last time I checked, the Constitution (still) bars religious extremists from discriminating against folks aren’t religious extremists or withholding lifesaving services from them. Religious police officers aren’t allowed to refuse to provide security at casinos just because they disapprove of gambling, but somehow it’s more acceptable to pull the same crap on women.

  4. Katie
    February 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    You give an inch and they’ll take a mile.

    Why are we surprised by this?

  5. Anon21
    February 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    You give an inch and they’ll take a mile.

    Why are we surprised by this?

    So far, it seems more like Obama gave them an inch and now they will whine incessantly about why they can’t have the mile. I don’t see any prospects for the sex police advancing their anti-contraception agenda before 2013.

  6. Shawn
    February 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Funny how the same dang insurance companies line up to pay for Viagra. For real, people.

  7. Athenia
    February 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    It deeply saddens me that our society as well as Catholicism, just can’t understand how women’s bodies work. Our bodies don’t fit into little boxes. Honoring women’s bodies is so heretical because it acknowledges that women are powerful, divine and valuable.

    In discussions about abortion etc, my brother often argues, “…but, that would give women all the power!” And I’m like, no shit, Sherlock! What is your point? You think that’s unfair? How about women are the only people who can die in childbirth?

  8. February 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    I am tired of the Left compromising to the Right, when the Right demands its way. This is my major complaint with President Obama. I would give my right arm to have a Democratic President who stands firm on issues like these and more.

  9. February 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    these men might be celibate, but they spend so much time in bed with the Republican Party that it’s hard to tell a church from a campaign headquarters. It’s not even about birth control. It’s about firing up the base to get their guys elected.

  10. Anon21
    February 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I am tired of the Left compromising to the Right, when the Right demands its way. This is my major complaint with President Obama. I would give my right arm to have a Democratic President who stands firm on issues like these and more.

    It seems to me that Obama stood firm on the important principle of the matter: all women, including those working for religiously-affiliated employers, should have access to contraception as part of basic health coverage. The only serious policy damage wrought by the compromise was changing to an “opt-in” system for employees of religiously-affiliated employers, such that women will now have to request contraception coverage. So long as this doesn’t lead to a significant decrease in the fraction of women covered, I don’t think this is such a big deal. And the political gains from the “compromise” were concrete: Obama managed to split off Catholic Charities, the Catholic Health Association, and some center-left Catholic commentators from the opposition coalition, leaving the bishops and the usual fundy wackos isolated.

    Obviously, the original policy was better, and none of these organizations or commentators had good reasons to oppose it. But if you’re going to complain about any compromise, including one that preserves the policy substance while making gains politically, what you’re basically asking for is that Democratic presidents operate as though politics do not exist. Sorry, not gonna happen–and if it did, it would only redound to the benefit of the Right.

  11. DonnaL
    February 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Honoring women’s bodies is so heretical because it acknowledges that women are powerful, divine and valuable.

    I kind of think that the concept that women are divine, sacred, etc. is part of the problem in the first place.

    In discussions about abortion etc, my brother often argues, “…but, that would give women all the power!” And I’m like, no shit, Sherlock! What is your point? You think that’s unfair? How about women are the only people who can die in childbirth?

    I understand your point, but you have heard of trans men, right?

  12. William
    February 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    I’m disappointed that Obama felt he had to backtrack from his original position in order to “accommodate” a small group of out-of-touch religious leaders who ignore the needs of their own faithful and seek to impose their dogma on those who don’t share it.

    He’s been throwing people under the bus since he took office. Every promise broken. Hell, this isn’t even the first time he’s tossed women to the religious wolves over birth control. Its an election year, after all, and who else are you going to vote for?

  13. Linda Kellen Biegel
    February 13, 2012 at 12:00 am

    If you look at the Senatos supporting the bill against this, you’ll see their big contributors are health care institutions. It’s about money.

  14. Orlando
    February 13, 2012 at 4:27 am

    @Anon21: Obama did anything but stand firm on the important principle of the matter.

    The important principle is that the religious have no right to allow their own take on “morality” to interfere with their duty to the civil rights of the people. That principle has now been abandoned. This opens the door for endless possibilities for institutions to evade their obligations, simply by crying “immoral!” Looking forward to seeing everyone else down here under the bus with us womenfolk.

    Who else noticed that that last article didn’t quote a single woman on the topic? Nice to know this is all being decided by people really invested in the issue.

  15. Anon21
    February 13, 2012 at 5:03 am

    The important principle is that the religious have no right to allow their own take on “morality” to interfere with their duty to the civil rights of the people. That principle has now been abandoned. This opens the door for endless possibilities for institutions to evade their obligations, simply by crying “immoral!” Looking forward to seeing everyone else down here under the bus with us womenfolk.

    I just don’t see this controversy, or this compromise, breaking new ground in terms of the general debate over religious accommodations in the U.S. The conflicting principles of “freedom of conscience” versus general duties have played out in a lot of settings; Title VII even has a broad exemption for religious employers to discriminate on the basis of religion. I’m generally not sympathetic to claims for religious accommodations, and I think the arguments on the religious side were particularly meritless here. But I have trouble seeing how providing a very limited accommodation which preserves contraceptive coverage for the employees in question somehow sets a dangerous new precedent for relations between the government and churches. Religious groups very frequently seek exemptions, they only occasionally get them, and the facts of each particular case tend to matter more than past practice.

  16. Jillian
    February 13, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Listened to something on NPR on Friday and some catholic representative said something akin to ‘if women want birth control they should find a job with someplace else.’ like in this economy finding a job is as easy as falling out of a tree. Or in communities where catholic orgs are the main employer finding another job without major relocations or commutes is no big deal. Someone needs a huge reality check.

  17. stan chaz
    February 13, 2012 at 7:49 am

    I was raised as a Catholic….or perhaps lowered. :-) Whatever. But seriously: I strongly disagree with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops statement, which denounces President Barack Obama’s attempts at compromise as “needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions”. On the contrary, the Bishops comments are themselves a needless religious intrusion upon the proper and legitimate functions of government…functions that serve to promote women’s rights, equality, and fairness for ALL. No one is coming into our Churches and trying to tell parishioners what to believe. BUT If the Bishops want to start businesses that employ millions of people of varying faiths -or no “faith” at all- THEN they must play by the rules. Just because a religious group in America claims to believe something, we cannot excuse them from obeying the law in the PUBLIC arena, based on that belief. They can legally attempt to change the law, not to deny it outright. And if they want to plunge overtly into politics from the pulpit, then they should give up their tax-exempt status. Did I miss something, or when it comes to the “sanctity of life”, is every single righteous Catholic still a card carrying conscientious objector, refusing to take up arms, totally against the death penalty, and against contraception in all its forms? Oh well, hypocrisy is at the heart of politics, and politics masquerading as religion even more so. This country is an invigorating mixture of all the diversity that life has to offer, drawing its strength FROM that diversity. We need to work together to preserve, enrich, and strengthen this unique experiment – NOT to tear it down with poisonous, paralyzing, and un-Christian demonization of each other.

  18. EG
    February 13, 2012 at 8:05 am

    That guy doesn’t need a reality check. I guarantee that he is perfectly aware of the exigencies of the current job market. Women not having any other options is a feature, not a bug.

  19. February 13, 2012 at 8:50 am

    It’s amazing that fifty years ago this country was freaking out over the possibility of our president taking his orders from the Pope. Now, apparently, it’s a requirement.

  20. catfood
    February 13, 2012 at 8:58 am

    @15 Jillian: That and, why should my rights depend on your opinion of where I work? Hey, if you don’t like working where Catholics are discriminated against, cool, go work somewhere else, right? Surely there’s a lunch counter somewhere out there that serves black people, right?

  21. Caren
    February 13, 2012 at 9:28 am

    What’s particularly annoying is that this was already the law in a majority of states. For over a decade in Illinois, for example, yet Cardinal George wrote a letter insisting he would never comply with the law. A law he’s been “complying” with ever since he was appointed Archbishop of Chicago.

    Why haven’t any of our esteemed journalists managed to point that out to them?

    All this law did was make it legal in all 50 states and remove copayments.

  22. Jawnita
    February 13, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I mean, 98% of Catholic women use hormonal birth control at some point in their lives

    Minor nit-pick: assuming you’re referring to the recent Guttmacher study (link to pdf), the stat is:

    Among all women who have had sex, 99% have ever used a contraceptive method other than natural family planning. This figure is virtually the same, 98%, among sexually experienced Catholic women.

    Hormonal contraceptives are not at 98%:

    Only 2% of Catholic women rely on natural family planning; even among Catholic women who attend church once a month or more, only 2% rely on this method (not shown). Sixty-eight percent of Catholic women use highly effective methods: sterilization (32%, including 24% using female sterilization,) the pill or another hormonal method (31%) and the IUD (5%).

    I’m sure that was just a brain-o (since a lot of us autocomplete “contraceptives” to “hormonal contraceptives”), but I think it’s important to keep the facts clean.

  23. Grindstone
    February 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Honoring women’s bodies is so heretical because it acknowledges that women are powerful, divine and valuable.

    I’d settle for just “equally human”.

  24. lorobird
    February 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Obama, Obama… never give them anything. Ever. If they don’t like democracy, let them settle in tents inside Vatican City. Isn’t that the argument the Right permanently uses? If you don’t like it here, leave? Well. What about we treat them the same they treat anyone who isn’t a white, rich man? If you don’t like people having rights, you do not deserve to have your own democratic rights.

    Lessons in Social Contract 1.01 .

    If you do give in, you end up fucking over half of your population. See, for instance, Spain. Abortion law! Reversed to 1986, where a woman has to be tutored by the state and needs to claim mental damage if she wants to get an abortion!

    Yesssss progress!

  25. February 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I can only suppose most people today, where money is a persons mouth piece, that ones “religious conscience” is seen as “who pays for it or not?” Its not a matter of money when it comes to my religious conscience. Catholics believe LIFE is the PRINCIPLE of who CHRIST IS. This is the ONE ISSUE CHRISTIANS CAN UNITE ON. its a matter of our freedom to live that principle, not to force it on anyone but ourselves. In that same light , we would hope our relgious freedoms wont be compromised by a government law, or mandate.

  26. j.
    February 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Women aren’t “divine,” Athenia. Just like men, we’re animals who cease to exist when the meat machines carrying us around die.

    And, yeah, your comment is pretty cissexist.

    Stan Chaz: “Un-Christian,” my ass.

  27. Kristen from MA
    February 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    @Egnu Cledge,

    You win the internets today.

    (I’m posting your quote on FB, giving you credit, of course.)

  28. Katya
    February 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    The only serious policy damage wrought by the compromise was changing to an “opt-in” system for employees of religiously-affiliated employers, such that women will now have to request contraception coverage.

    Not quite. As I understand it, if an employer opts out of contraceptive coverage, the insurance company has to reach out to employees to inform them of how they get that coverage, which is at no cost to the employee.

    I would have liked to have seen the administration fight the “religious liberty” framing of this more vigorously, but I am pleased that the compromise preserves the principle that women should have access to contraceptive coverage no matter who they work for. Frankly, I think the right wing is going to self-destruct on this one, because fighting against contraception is a losing battle. People might be able to pretend that only dirty sluts need abortions, but nearly all women use contraception at some point, even those who want to have kids/more kids. The mask is coming off of the right’s fight against women’s rights to control their own bodies.

  29. William
    February 13, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    In that same light , we would hope our relgious freedoms wont be compromised by a government law, or mandate.

    Tell you what: when the Catholic Church pries its lips of Mammon’s teat and stops using its fifteen centuries of ill gotten gains to insert itself into secular society and hire regular people to do regular jobs in regular industries then the Church can be free of those pesky government mandates. Until then, they can keep their inveterate bad touch off the rights of their employees.

    I mean, really, you’d think a bunch of child molesters getting fat off government subsidies in the form of tax exemptions would think they had it good enough. Then again, no one ever accused the Catholic Church of lacking in hubris.

  30. Esther
    February 13, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    The “98% of Catholic women use contraception” statistic is false. See here.

    William, if you want to refer to Catholic Priests as “a bunch of child molestors” will you be consistent and do the same for teachers and swimming instructors?

  31. William
    February 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    William, if you want to refer to Catholic Priests as “a bunch of child molestors” will you be consistent and do the same for teachers and swimming instructors?

    The difference between the Catholic Church’s pedophiles and the ones you find everywhere else is that the Catholic Church is perhaps the only organization to have ever existed with the wealth and power to have engaged in a systemic, predatory, generations spanning, international coverup in order to protect their own asses. Bonus points for elevating to Grand Xenu a guy who used to be a Nazi and most recently served the Church by overseeing the coverup and orchestrating the knowing and aggressive attack on victims who dared open their mouthes. Be salty elsewhere, you and your morally bankrupt cyst of rapists and thieves will find no quarter from me. Fifteen hundred years of sowing the seeds of genocide, conquest, crusade, pogrom, child molestation, AIDS, and every human rights violation you can get your filthy little hooves upon have bought you and yours no credit. That Vatican City has not been wiped from the face of the Earth by the sword of an avenging god is proof enough that your faith is built on profitable falsehoods.

    Go back to Galatians 6:7. The Church has deceived for a millenium and a half. They’ve mocked anything that vaguely resembles good. They’ve violated every trust that has been put in them. They have sown and sown and sown. Now its the harvest, and the god they’ve had us quiver before since they boiled out of Roman politics hasn’t shown up. No lightning bolt stolen from better pantheons strikes me down, no plague appropriated older faiths afflicts me for my blasphemy and mockery. You’re here to represent the desperate, impotent, dying breaths of a repellant creed whose misogynistic demands have been outgrown. To bad, so sad, hope you enjoyed the run you had.

    Its time to stop playing nice with people who hate us.

  32. j.
    February 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    A link to NewsMax. So convincing, Esther.

  33. BeccaTheCyborg
    February 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    William, that was amazing. Thank you.

  34. Past my expiration date
    February 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    In @Esther’s link, Figure 3 in the Guttmacher Institute report supposedly shows the falseness of the 98% statistic.

    But Figure 3 answers the question, “Which contraceptive method, if any, did Catholic, 15-44-year-old, non-post-partum, non-pregnant women who were not trying to get pregnant and who had sex within the last three months use in the most recent month they had sex?”

    Figure 3 does not answer the question, “How many Catholic, 15-44-year-old women who have ever had sex have ever used a contraceptive method other than natural family planning?” And guess what the answer to this question is, according to the report? 98%.

    Now of course people might (and actually do!) argue that real Catholic women ages 15-44 would either be celibate or post-partum/pregnant/trying to get pregnant, and so all those promiscuous sluts using contraception in Figure 3 are not actually Catholic.

    But even including the promiscuous sluts, the Catholic population of the US is less than 25%. So I really wouldn’t advise this as a winning political strategy.

  35. Donna L
    February 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I don’t know why you’d want to limit your comments only to 1500 years, William. it’s not like the Catholic Church waited until after the fall of the Western Roman Empire to embark on all of that. Have you read the works of St. John Chrysostom lately?

  36. Orlando
    February 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    For those still unconvinced that Obama sacrificed, rather than maintained, a principle in this matter, here is Violet Socks.

  37. Chataya
    February 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Honoring women’s bodies is so heretical because it acknowledges that women are powerful, divine and valuable.

    Or how about the fact that we’re, you know, people? Being considered divine and valuable isn’t all that great either (see: pedestals, chivalry).

    How about women are the only people who can die in childbirth?

    Uterus =/= woman

  38. February 14, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Have you read the works of St. John Chrysostom lately?

    By freakish coincidence, I have! And yeah, it’s really wack.

  39. February 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I am tired of the Left compromising to the Right, when the Right demands its way. This is my major complaint with President Obama. I would give my right arm to have a Democratic President who stands firm on issues like these and more.

    Two things.

    First, and least important: Remember that when dealing with tantrumy children, avoiding conflict is often the best strategy, even if you, as a mature adult, feel that it’s ridiculous that you have to avoid the conflict.

    Some compromises that Obama makes are made to deal with tantrumy children the right wing, and therefore conflict avoidant. You know that they can, and will, make a news story out of anything – if nothing else, once enough people talk about it, it *is* a news story. And, the left wing does not have a noise machine that can compete with the noise machine of the right. When it comes to making noise, the right wing will win. Avoiding the tantrum is wise in many cases.

    Second, and most important: Opposition to the use of birth control has been a Catholic Church teaching for over 50 years now. It’s not like they just came up with this and started to fuss.

    “Standing firm” in a situation like this presents a real danger to religious freedom, especially when the religious belief in question seems stupid.

    Analogously, “standing firm” for the laws on public protests is a real danger to first amendment protections, especially when the people who are protesting are widely hated. You either defend freedom when it’s being impinged upon by those you loathe, or you’re not defending freedom, you’re defending privilege.

    Given the circumstances, Obama did the right thing by compromising in a way that did not harm any women.

    That said: when I heard there was a “compromise” in the works, yes, I felt that metaphorical stirring in the bowels that made me think that a huge pile of shit was about to come forth.

  40. February 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    You either defend freedom when it’s being impinged upon by those you loathe, or you’re not defending freedom, you’re defending privilege.

    Um. Awkward phrasing – you either defend freedom when those you loathe are attacked, or you’re not defending freedom.

  41. Emolee
    February 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    What makes me so mad about this is that if the issue were not birth control, the government wouldn’t even be having this conversation. If a religious group did not want to pay for, say, heart medication, there would be no discussion of a “compromise.”

    But because this is a women’s health issue, it is seen as a compromisable issue. Because women’s health is negotiable, trivial. Because somewhere inside many of these politicians (even many Democrats), there is the idea that, yeah, maybe the conservatives are right, women don’t really deserve to demand this.

    I know trans men may use birth control as well, but I’m sure they are not even being considered in the government/religious discussion.

  42. Chataya
    February 15, 2012 at 1:27 am

    But because this is a women’s health issue, it is seen as a compromisable issue. Because women’s health is negotiable, trivial. Because somewhere inside many of these politicians (even many Democrats), there is the idea that, yeah, maybe the conservatives are right, women don’t really deserve to demand this.

    I know trans men may use birth control as well, but I’m sure they are not even being considered in the government/religious discussion.

    So? Just because the bigots are cissexist and trans* erasing doesn’t mean that we also have to frame the argument that way.

    We’re feminists, for fuck’s sake. We’re supposed to be better than they are.

  43. Eric
    February 15, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I keep seeing this being discussed as a women’s health issue during this discussion involving hormonal contraceptives. It strike me as odd, as sex is something (that should be) engaged in willingly, and there are many options available as contraceptives. It seems to me that it’s no more a women’s (or men’s) health issue than vitamins (or food, for that matter) is.

    I don’t seek to cause offense, but simply to understand the underlying idea that hormonal contraceptives are a women’s health issue.

    To the issue, while I appreciate the passion of those who believe that not an inch should be given in these matters, in many instances the choice is between giving a little or losing everything. The progress that has been made toward equality of any type hasn’t been through refusing anything less than the whole and sprinting to the finish line, but by fighting for each step against painfully slowly weakening resistance.

  44. EG
    February 15, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Why is hormonal birth control a woman’s health issue? Because contraception and pregnancy are women’s health issues, because pregnancy has, for many women, significant if not severe effects on women’s health that can be irreversible. Because they can be obtained only by prescription, and so we have to go to the doctor to get them–unlike, for example, vitamins. Because hormonal birth control is used to treat a host of health conditions. Because apparently getting older and needing a pill to get it up is a health condition, so why shouldn’t the medication that makes it possible for many women to relax and enjoy sex be? Because there are not “many” options for contraception, and because hormonal contraception is the best option for many, many women.

    Tell me, what other exceptions are going to be made. If I’m employed by someone who doesn’t believe in the existence of mental/emotional illness, or doesn’t believe in treating it pharmacologically, do they get to not cover my meds? What if they don’t believe in blood transfusions?

    Your question, Eric, is so basic and 101ish that I cannot help but read you as a disingenuous troll.

  45. EG
    February 15, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Oh, and if you think tiny, tiny steps and inches of progress would ever be made without people pulling as hard as they can for the whole and refusing to be mollified, you are naive. It’s called the “radical flank effect,” and it’s benefitted almost every social movement.

  46. Emolee
    February 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    But because this is a women’s health issue, it is seen as a compromisable issue. Because women’s health is negotiable, trivial. Because somewhere inside many of these politicians (even many Democrats), there is the idea that, yeah, maybe the conservatives are right, women don’t really deserve to demand this.

    I know trans men may use birth control as well, but I’m sure they are not even being considered in the government/religious discussion.
    So? Just because the bigots are cissexist and trans* erasing doesn’t mean that we also have to frame the argument that way.

    We’re feminists, for fuck’s sake. We’re supposed to be better than they are.

    I don’t think we should be trans erasing when we discuss the issue. What I think is that this issue is seen by the public and the powers that be as a “women’s issue,” regardless of whether it is or not, and therefore it is seen as negotiable and trivial. My point is: I don’t think this “compromise” would even be considered for a medication that a significant number of cis men would need.

  47. Eric
    February 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    To start, I appreciate your explanation regardless of your tone or assumptions concerning me. It’s obviously a sore subject, and in my tired state I didn’t express my question as clearly as I wished. You still managed to answer in spite of my poor wording, so I’ll leave the matter alone.

    As for the radical flank effect, you are correct that those people are needed. However the effect doesn’t cause a group to achieve it’s objective instantly, which was my point. Part of the idea of the radical flank effect concerns the idea that the radical factions, or “people pulling as hard as they can for the whole”, push the opposition to negotiate with the moderate factions of a group. The key word there is negotiate, which involves a give and take where progress is made toward the eventual goal.

    To return to the topic, I think the compromise is a reasonable one for the time being. While not ideal because it creates hoops to jump through, it denies no one the right to the medication in question. It also further weakens the view of the Catholic Church, as such a marginal victory on such an important matter makes them look weak.

  48. Emolee
    February 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    While not ideal because it creates hoops to jump through, it denies no one the right to the medication in question.

    I don’t know. I’m concerned about how dependents will get access- would they have to go through the employee to get to the insurance company? My understanding is that the employee would have to be the one to sign up for this “extra” coverage. What if a father or husband does not want his daughter or wife on birth control, for example? Obviously, this situation happens already, but the more hoops people are forced to jump through, the more people who are left by the wayside.

  49. Raja
    February 16, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Fuck the Catholic church and their priests.

  50. Callalilly
    February 16, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    We’re talking about religion, right? Speficially, an Abrahamic religion, right?

    That being the case, can anyone honestly be surprised at the illogical, irrational, hyper-misogynistic reaction of its leaders? They’re religions built on hate, supported by oppression and fueled by bigotry. No one can honestly be surprised that this was their reaction.

    And no, I don’t care if that offends its followers. Grow up and stop sucking up to those that hate you.

  51. Donna L
    February 16, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    an Abrahamic religion, right?

    Somehow I always sense an “it’s the Jews’ fault” undertone when people use that term as a pejorative.

    As if non-“Abrahamic” religions are all paragons of virtue, logic, and gender equality.

  52. Chataya
    February 17, 2012 at 12:23 am

    As if non-”Abrahamic” religions are all paragons of virtue, logic, and gender equality.

    Yeah, if anyone thinks that Buddhism or Hinduism are any better on this, they haven’t read enough about them.

  53. William
    February 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Somehow I always sense an “it’s the Jews’ fault” undertone when people use that term as a pejorative.

    I can see that. I can say that, personally, it isn’t really what I mean. Christianity and Islam didn’t need anyone’s help becoming the monsters they did and, to my eyes, the Jews are really the most reasonable and well behaved of the big three. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a good word or phrase that includes both Christianity and Islam outside of “monotheism” (which might have the same inclusion problem wrt Jews as “Abrahamic”) or, possibly, “irredeemable theocratic shitbirds.”

    As if non-”Abrahamic” religions are all paragons of virtue, logic, and gender equality.

    Absolutely, but when it comes to worldwide influence, especially in the west, Christianity and Islam are your go-to monsters. While Hinduism certainly has no lack of things to answer for its not Hindu religious leaders baying for the suppression of basic human rights in America. Ditto for Buddhists; I’m not sure what the Dalai Lama’s position on birth control is, but I know for damn sure that if he has one he isn’t spouting it before congress, you know?

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