As many of you know, I am a very agnostic person. I don’t know if a god exists, ever existed, or ever will exist, and neither do any of the Churches. Those of you who disagree with me are free to do so, and good on you for it.
What I’m all about is the fact that the Church, in the name of religious freedom, is trying to use the Republican party to cram their religious beliefs down the throats of millions of Americans who are not members of that church. We all know this to be the case. Well, I’ve found an essay about this very thing, and I’d like you all to read it when you get a chance.
Willis Wills, in the New York Review of Books, posted this well researched and well thought out answer to a lot of your questions about the church and it’s positions on the use of contraception.
Contraception’s Con Men is a quickly read takedown of the ideas that the ban on contraception has a scriptural basis, or a Natural Law basis under which the Church, by its own rules of logic and faith, may regulate or deny the use of contraception. Basically it’s a holdover from Pius XI deciding that Genesis 38:9, condemning Onan for spilling his seed meant that passage forbade the act of sex for anything but procreation. This was in the 1930s.
Now, you really should read the whole thing, even if you’re not a current or former student of Catholic theology and church politics–the two concepts being essentially the same thing, but if you can’t, here’s the takeaway:
There was broad disagreement with Pius XI’s 1930 encyclical on the matter. Pope Paul VI set up a study group of loyal and devout Catholics, lay and clerical, to make recommendations. The group overwhelmingly voted to change the teaching of Pius XI. But cardinals in the Roman Curia convinced Paul that any change would suggest that the church’s teachings are not eternal (though Casti Connubii had not been declared infallible, by the papacy’s own standards).
When Paul reaffirmed the ban on birth control in Humanae Vitae (1968) there was massive rejection of it. Some left the church. Some just ignored it. Paradoxically, the document formed to convey the idea that papal teaching is inerrant just convinced most people that it can be loony. The priest-sociologist Andrew Greeley said that Humanae Vitae did more damage to the papacy than any of the so-called “liberal” movements in Catholicism. When Pius IX condemned democracy and modern science in his Syllabus of Errors (1864), the Catholic historian Lord Acton said that Catholics were too sensible to go crazy every time a pope does. The reaction to Humanae Vitae proves that.
And this is important to know and understand. The Bishops are out on a limb on this one. The laity is firmly in the “what I do with my own body is my business” camp, and this is even more so the case since the beginning of the still-ongoing child-sex-abuse scandal. Considering that things are heating up again in that scandal, particularly in the Milwaukee Archdiocese, I have to wonder how much of this isn’t about the Bishops trying to re-establish some moral authority that they lost (and didn’t really have to begin with.)
And since I forgot the actual part of the post that referenced Chunky Reese Whitherspoon, here is the link to Chunky’s column wherein he lets us all know that just because nobody actually pays attention to the Bishops, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t set national policy by their will. Apparently because Douthat is unable to enjoy non-procreative sex.
Title stolen shamelessly from Tbogg.
The Other Chuck
Agreed; that was a nice bit of awesomeness right there.
The Bearded Blogger
Actually, God condemns Onan for “spilling his seed”. See, he should have used a towel. Messy, is what he was
This was in the Chicago Sun Times today, from the 1960s
During testimony, one commissioner quoted Boston’s Richard Cardinal Cushing:
“I as a Catholic have absolutely no right in my thinking to foist through legislation or through other means, my doctrine of my church upon others,” the cardinal said, backing — incredibly — a similar policy in Boston, adding, “It is important to note that Catholics do not need the support of the civil law to be faithful to their religious convictions.”
Villago Delenda Est
The comments at the link are hilarious…all these fucktards screaming about how Wills don’t know jack shit about Catholicism.
Idiots, the guy is a former Jesuit. Do not fuck with Jesuits on the subject of Catholicism. They will hand you your ass so quickly and efficiently that you won’t even know they used a machete to detach it from your torso to hand it to you.
Which was rather silly given the context that Onan was doing this because he didn’t want to fulfill the custom of impregnating his dead brother’s former wife and thereby creating children that were legally his brother’s, which would have impacted the inheritance he would have received.
And quite silly given the context that immediately after these events, Judah (Onan and dead brother’s father) went out, thought he hired a prostitute (which was actually his dead sons’ wife) and impregnated her.
So apparently by using the pope’s logic, God will kill you if you masturbate, but you’re cool if you hire a prostitute and don’t use a condom.
Amazing title. Tbogg is so good.
Do do that doo-doo that you do so well, Ross.
Every sperm should be sacred and anyone who wastes a single sperm should be tried for murder.
The Bearded Blogger
The XXIst century was supposed to be about jetpacks and light sabers.We are discussing wether non-procreative sex is permissible.
Villago Delenda Est
Tbogg fucking RULZ, man.
Villago Delenda Est
Well, there you go. I’m worse than [removed IAW Godwin].
I was brought up as a Catholic (including Catholic school all the way through 12th grade), but I left the church as soon as I got to University. One thing to note, though, is that I didn’t have harsh feelings toward the church after I left, as I simply thought the beliefs were wrong.
It’s only been in recent years that I’ve come to thoroughly despise the RCC, especially the upper parts of the hierarchy. At this point I consider the whole thing a giant, centuries-old criminal conspiracy. Between the institutionalized child rape, the despicable lies about condom use, and the psychotic attitude toward sex in general, I really wish the whole thing would just go away.
Didn’t Vatican grudgingly walkback its position on Galileo? Wouldn’t that count as papal errancy?
I will just remind everyone here that the group of people who are trying to control your sexual behavior either
a) ejaculated into the mouth or anus of an altar boy
b) covered up and enabled a).
That this fact is not the end of this fucking issue is what is truly appalling.
Somewhat related: a list of Catholic issues that Santorum – and apparently most bishops – ignores.
I’ve long been cynical about the fundamentalists’s focus on abortion and sex – it’s easier and cheaper for the flock than any of that New Testament nicey-nicey stuff. It seems the Catholic Church is now following this path, too, even though it won’t win them any new converts in developed countries.
The Bearded Blogger
@Comrade Dread: If the right decides to attack masturbation, it might tie in nicely with their attacks on internet freedom…
But they only attack the reproductive freedom of women, no one has said a peep about vasectomies…
I don’t think this song has been posted in any recent threads, but it deserves it:
featured previously here:
I’m reposting one of my comments from the prior thread, because it is more on-topic here:
People who are members of the Catholic laity are used to ignoring the bishops when it suits them, which is fairly often. The real political target of the the bishops crying out: “Now we see the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I’m being repressed!” is Protestants who will hear the ruckus without having personal knowledge of how frequently the bishops are full of it, and think “Obama = anti-Christian”.
The bishops are making a power-grab, but they are also trying to ratfuck the coming election by throwing out culture-war bait which is most effective at targeting Protestant voters.
This. Look, I’ve got nothing personal against Catholics. And regardless of what I think of magic-sky-father religions in general, I will defend their right to practice their religion as they see fit just as strongly as I would anyone else’s. But the institution of the Catholic Church is on the balance a malignant tumor in the world, a criminal conspiracy steeped in centuries of equal parts arrogance and ignorance that presumes itself above oversight from any earthly law. Shit needs to end.
Future generations will look back at the damage done to humanity by centuries of this kind of lingering medievalism and regard it with the same kind of horror we feel when we read about Mayan sacrifices.
Actually, the strictest conditions for inerrancy are rarely met. When I was in Catholic HS, I was led to understand that these conditions applied only to the declaration of Papal Inerrancy itself (an interesting bootstrap; that would make Jesus the bootloader?) and to the Assumption (Mary taken bodily into heaven).
I read the Wills piece yesterday. It’s excellent.
still, sooner, you totes supported regime change in Iraq and A-stan.
Dont you understand that missionary democracy and american exceptionalism are religion-based?
Genesis 39:9 :
Onan pulled out before he came. That act sounds like coitus interruptus to me, rather than masturbation. And now that I’ve read what you have to say about Onan’s motives, I wonder if his sin was in fact not the non-reproductive sexual act, but rather greed: i.e., he refused to do his duty because it would result in reducing his share of his father’s estate.
That little bit of reductionism is deeply offensive.
For a devout Catholic, after carefully examining his or her conscience in light of his or her life experiences, to reject Church doctrine as false is actually a pretty wrenching experience.
Knowing what your talking about is a highly useful thing. You should try it more often.
@clone12: Yeah, but Giordano Bruno totally had it coming to him, so no reversal there!
And what is more, Onan’s crime was against the widow, not god. Without children the widow had no rights of support, not rights to the derivative benefits of her children’s estate – she had nothing but the fate of being sent back to her parents, maybe with some of her dowry, but clearly as spoiled goods.
This sort of financially selfish behaviour really, really pissed off both the old testament and new testament god, and it has squat to do with natural law or whatever nonsense the bishops are citing as authority. If the Bible really is true the conservative are in real fucking trouble.
OH YEEHAW! IgotitIgotit. You know what we need? A few good old-fashioned job creators of the Cybele religion. Mandatory Castrations!
OH = OT but an overly excited one.
Clearly God hates those who withhold their productivity from enriching the free market. I bet in the next verse he gives that job creator a tax cut.
Also, forgive the nitpicking, but I avoid the “cram it down our throats” meme because the wingers use it ALL THE FUCKING TIME.
Y’all two are lightweights. I’m at the point where I want utterance of the word “Catholic” codified as a felony.
Which is why it’s such a crime that moderate religious leaders have no voice in this country. It’d help immensely if they did to cut through some of the polarization.
@Amir Khalid: the “sin of Onan” was wasting seed.
masturbation, coitus interruptus, or gay sex are all the same.
membah, i WAS raised catholic.
Villago Delenda Est
For me, it’s a matter of what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
If they can’t take their own meme being shoved right back down their fucking fascist throats, well, too bad.
Occasionally I think about how much better off the world would be right now if one Pope and a handful of bishops hadn’t decided that never admitting they’d been wrong was more important than evidence and real-world experience. It’s profoundly depressing.
Be fair, write in a loophole so some of us can use it as a curse.
ETA: Pronounced with the capital to indicate the hierarchy, I get that.
Villago Delenda Est
No, the sin of Onan was avoiding impregnating his sister-in-law to fulfill his obligation to provide his deceased brother an heir…which would cut into his inheritance.
Everyone likes to focus in on the sexy part and miss the greed part.
@The Bearded Blogger:
Quoted for truth!
@Samara Morgan: This is not an open thread. Post on topic or your posts will be deleted. You will not be allowed to hijack my threads. This is your one warning.
He was fully god and fully human(in the story anyway), so you could say he was a PXE module tftp’ing inerrancy down from heaven.
The Vatican even by its own theology isn’t supposed to be infallible on everything, just on matters of faith and morals. But the line between those things and everything else get really fucking fuzzy.
@Amir Khalid: Yes, your interpretation is correct. Humanae Vitae’s statement that masturbation is a mortal sin is one of the silliest things the church ever did; nearly all males and a goodly number of females are condemned to Hell for one of the most common sexual behaviors among humans and other primates.
The language the church uses for sexual behavior it doesn’t like (“intrinsically disordered”) betrays a vast, arrogant ignorance of how sexuality actually operates. Why anyone takes these frauds seriously is something I can’t fathom.
I know quite well that the conventional interpretation is as you say. What I am asking is, could that conventional interpretation be wrong?
That. Was. Beautiful.
“Considering that things are heating up again in that scandal, particularly in the Milwaukee Archdiocese, I have to wonder how much of this isn’t about the Bishops trying to re-establish some moral authority that they lost (and didn’t really have to begin with.)”
Or perhaps this brouhaha about contraceptions is a way to divert attention from the Church’s child molestation scandal.
@Villago Delenda Est: sry, but i was taught by jesuits.
the “sin of Onan” was wasting seed.
it gives Mother Church historical backstory to condemn masturbation, birth control and gay sex.
were you raised catholic?
@The Bearded Blogger:
Jetpacks was 20th century. Light sabers was a long time ago and far far away. The XXIst century is about warp drive and meeting Vulcans.
I remember reading somewhere once that all our sperm are belong to God. Learning this was good because it relieved the guilt I’d been feeling over that time during my career as an altar boy that I rubbed one out in the sacristy before mass. I was just rendering unto God a batch so it was not a sin at all. I think I will get right with Caesar now by jerking off at the local IRS office.
@Amir Khalid: liek i said, i was taught by jesuits.
Arent they the official mufasir of the Catholic church?
Huzzah! Adelsen to give Noot another $10M. Let’s keep this party going!
Villago Delenda Est
No, but given that everyone misinterprets Sodom and Gomorrah, too, well, I’m not at all surprised that the Jesuits were pushing that particular line.
Sexytime is more interesting that laws of hospitality or inheritance. Gotta market what sells, I guess.
@Martin: nah. the 20th century was about the Cold War, C4I, American unipolar power and teleops.
the 21st century is about social media, nanotech and strong AI.
try to keep up.
I don’t know much about Catholic theology either. I have read that people disagreed about what the story of Onan meant from a long way back. So, one conclusion is that it doesn’t mean anything.
But that can’t happen in sacred books, so gotta think of something.
I think the notion that Onan was killed for not doing his duty to others in society, his brother and the widow (Tamar?).
I remember some talking heads on some show making fun of an Iranian ayatollah analyzing how much sin was involved in different kinds of bestiality. i thought maybe they should segue to a compare and contrast with Judeo Christian hangups with far less objectionable variations in sex between humans, but they didn’t. For some reason. Can’t imagine what that reason would be.
@Villago Delenda Est: so you would argue with the Jesuits, and with
the Bad ShepherdHis Holiness the Pope?
are you catholic?
@Villago Delenda Est:
I don’t disagree; I’m just sick of hearing it.
Villago Delenda Est
Nor can I.
Voltaire might have some ideas, though…
srsly, remember when JFK had to defend himself from wingnuts who insisted he would foist his evil Catholic, Papish ways on the republic if he ever got elected? WTF?!
yes, I wish the more moderate Protestant leaders would step up and remind these ratfuckers that the issue of needing an intermediary to make moral decision was settled about 500 years ago.
perhaps it would help the Bishops if they reviewed this document…
soonergrunt, I enjoy your posts and I’m glad you linked to this essay.
I’d like to point out, if no one else has, that the author’s name is Wills, not Willis.
@Villago Delenda Est: I’m with VDE and the others who say that the true sin was Onan’s greed, not the spilling of seed. That was just the act that proved his greedy heart.
@Villago Delenda Est:
Malinowski wrote a 500 page book on Melanesian marriage laws, which became quite successful due to his title for it: ‘The Sexual Life of Savages.’
Or how about just getting even for it? Playing the “help, help, we’re being repressed!” card didn’t get them very far in the child abuse scandal, maybe they’re hoping this’ll work better.
And global nookyular war.
Villago Delenda Est
I’m not Catholic, but that doesn’t mean they’re playing to sexytime for their own reasons that have nothing to do with Biblical scholarship, or the deeper meaning of the story.
I swear, there are people who should know better who just can’t grasp the entire allegory thing, but can’t resist the impulse to demonstrate their credulity.
@Poopyman: Huh! Totally coincidental that today is the 412th anniversary of Bruno’s execution.
I’m to the point of thinking the same about “amen.”
@Dee Loralei: hardly matters.
the Official Church Position is that Onan wasted his seed, thus opening the door to condemning masturbation, birth control and gay sex.
you simply cant imagine how ferociously anti-masturbation Mother Church is unless you have attended catholic grrls school.
and that seems so strange, because we weren’t spilling any seed.
For someone who defines their devotion in terms of the degree to which they pay attention to the Church’s teachings on theological matters, yes you have a very good point. But I personally know a fair number of Catholics who consider themselves to be quite devout but who identify with the Church primarily in communitarian terms rather than in terms of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. They would be horrified at the idea of missing Mass more than a handful of times per year, and are quite scrupulous about their deitary habits during Lent, yet pay little attention to what their priest has to say during the homily or what policy issues are highlighted in the church bulletin. And they are sitting in the pews with only a handful of children despite decades of marriage, which suggests that they’ve made their own minds up about contraception and not along the lines of orthodox Church teachings. How wrenching that decision was, neither you nor I know without asking each individual that question, and I suspect the answers we would get back given the opportunity would reflect the diversity of those individuals. So I think your definition of “devout” is a bit narrow here; it applies to some but not to all, at least based on my own observations; YMMV. If you find my discussion of this issue offensive and distressing I will leave it alone, as I normally appreciate your commentary and you contribute to the comments here far more frequently than I do.
@Lawnguylander: Well, you could also drop one in the envelope along with your return, but what to do in these times of efiling?
I guess your mission is clear then. Convince the Catholic Church to change their position.
@Samara Morgan: Face it – you got the exoteric version of the story. The Jesuits, who surely knew the truth, told you lies because they thought it would be good for you and would help you become a productive, well-adjusted adult. Can’t fault them for trying, can we?
@Villago Delenda Est: doesnt matter what you think, dogma rules in catholicism.
you should attend a CCD class just for yucks.
I don’t give a damn about their position. I want them to submit to the law, like every other religion has to.
@Xenos: i got the OFFICIAL version of the story.
Sociobiologically, children between the ages of 7 and 15 are the most susceptible to religious indoctrination.
sure failed with me. non?
Here’s something else going on in the Catholic hierarchy with the red-hatted one embroiled in politics on multiple fronts. They’re creating 22 new cardinals this month, and with Ratzi aging, there’s the usual infighting about the next infallible one. So they’ve got infighting, geographical shenanigans in delegates, issues with money laundering, wikileak like stuff, and they’re joking about shedding blood. Gotta love the old guys. Don’t know if these means everything is all part of a cunning plot or they’re just flailing about on multiple fronts. It’s gone totally medieval/renaissance though, so fun reading. No albino or yeti sightings yet. ‘Vatileaks’ casts cloud over new cardinal ceremony
comrade scott's agenda of rage
Fired up Teh Google with this term:
pope pius xi
and got this wonderful hit:
Just one of many, evil popes that is.
I’m not Catholic myself, but if I recall correctly the Official Mufasir of the Catholic Church is the Old Dude In The Prettiest Dress, the Supreme Pontiff, Bishop of Rome and Zinger of Rats, the Pope Himself, Benedict XVI!
Villago Delenda Est
Well, having grown up in the Protestant tradition, what the Catholic Church thinks is hardly in tune with my religious upbringing.
Bring it on, red beanie brigade.
I disagree with Wills on this one. From the Catholics I know, their problem is not with contraception, per se — no problem with condoms or shields. Their problem is with devices or drugs that make it impossible for a fertilized egg to implant — many pills, IUDs, etc. They consider this essentially abortion, not true contraception.
As far as I can see, Wills is mostly arguing against a straw man and/or has not addressed the issue of killing the fertilized egg. (I don’t subscribe to this idea, but he certainly didn’t address this issue at all.)
I find it unsurprising that you would force them to submit to something that goes against their first amendment rights, what with the power of the left being absolute and untethered to such concepts as constitutional principals or morals.
You might be interested in this article from the NYTimes today:
McClatchy Newspapers report on yesterday’s hearings:
Problem is, won’t be these dudes dying over the issue.
Unlike those employees, whom we coerce into violating their beliefs, their privacy, their right to control their own family size and timing.
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/02/16/139134/at-religious-freedom-hearing-on.html#storylink=omni_popular#storylink=cpy
I hope the Catholic Church is taking a BIG hit on collections, and that we get to hear about it soon.
Villago Delenda Est
That would be their “first amendment right” to demand that others outside of their faith adhere to their fucked up sexual morality dogma?
James Madison would slap you silly.
Davis X. Machina
@Svensker: Intercourse, even within marriage, without reproductive intent, is concupiscence, lust, one of the seven deadly sins, period.
Whether there’s a presumptively-ensouled fertilized egg to kill, or keep from establishing itself in the uterine lining at the end of the day doesn’t even matter.
Or so they tell me.
@makewi: You have yet to demonstrate that there exists a First Amendment right to control how your employees use their compensation based on your religious beliefs.
@Amir Khalid: oh. there can be only One?
well that is his position too.
the “sin of Onan” is wasting seed.
@Davis X. Machina:
When do we return jousting to our schools?
Has anyone gotten to that issue yet?
Really interesting piece by Wills. Good catch.
@Elizabelle: its coming.
Davis X. Machina
@Elizabelle: As soon as we figure out what St. Augustine would have thought about it, if he had known about it. And assess its impact on high school football.
The Bishop of Hippo casts a long and dolorous shadow.
Villago Delenda Est
Bah. WTF do people who actually study the biological functions know about this that some theo-bureaucrat does not? I mean, really? What’s with all this Godless scientific method crap in the first place, anyways?
@Svensker: that is simply not true.
birth control is a sin. refusing ones husband is a sin. masturbation is a sin.
gay sex is a sin.
IPOF, ANY sex that does not result in procreation is a sin.
Yes, we’re all quite aware that you think individuals have no First Amendment rights that can be trampled on, so it’s A-OK if employers impose their religious beliefs on their employees. The only Bad Thing here is the government insisting that the employees have First Amendment rights, too, not just the hospital.
@Villago Delenda Est:
How exactly are they demanding others adhere to their faith? You know what nevermind. I’ve been around this circle with you all this morning.
A friend of mine was in the habit of remarking that this particular piece of doctrine was well named.
I think I like you the best TooManyJens. Your insistence that there is a magical pool of compensation that the mean old church is just denying those poor old workers is simply too full of child like wonderment not to admire. Bravo Jen.
@The Bearded Blogger:
Just not true. One of the subsidiary issues is how Catholic run hospitals refuse to offer a range of reproductive services, including vasectomies, that run counter to their religious principles.
@Villago Delenda Est:
I always just look at it as a weird story about an early tribal society (with some sexy bits), but never saw it as saying anything meaningful about ethics or morality.
@Villago Delenda Est: You wouldn’t believe how many people are misinformed about this. For example, I just sent my eleventieth email on the subject to Rachel Maddow today. Maybe she’ll listen to the NYT.
A first amendment right that forces an employer to provide you with the pill? Awesome. Really.
Much as I hate to agree with matoko, I’m afraid your friends are making a rationalization for their own birth control use, because the Catholic Church says that NO artificial birth control devices can be used. No condoms, no cervical caps, no diaphragms. The only approved method is Natural Family Planning, where you monitor your ovulation to avoid your most fertile days.
So, yes, your friends are going against the Church’s stated position every time they unwrap a condom.
@makewi: You’ve abandoned argumentation altogether, I see. Probably for the best. Maybe take up knitting? I hear that’s all the rage these days.
@makewi: its the same old problem– where does the religious fist leave off and the irreligious nose begin?
the problem with christians is that they want to impose their belief set on others.
its called proselytizing.
Well, it’s sweet that you think what you are doing is arguing. Naive, but sweet.
Nishi. It’s actually not the same old problem. The fact is that the Church had enjoyed protection on this, under the first amendment, up until this administration decided that they shouldn’t. So really it’s a new problem created by overreach.
Their beloved GoD supposedly gave everyone free will and the ability to freely damn themselves and that same beloved GoD is more than willing to damn everyone as that is the default setting he installed in humanity and yet his most devout self-proclaimed worshippers are busy defying his mighty will by trampling over the free will of everybody. They are so without honor.
Your employer is currently forced to provide you with insurance that covers blood transfusions even if that employer is a Jehovah’s Witness. So I’m assuming that you would be perfectly fine with every religion pulling the things they don’t cover out of insurance coverage so the employer’s First Amendment rights are protected from those employees who might want blood transfusions.
Any other medical procedures you think employers should be able to refuse to cover? Can they refuse to cover treatment for AIDS because only sinners get it? No alcoholism treatment coverage because only sinners drink alcohol?
Villago Delenda Est
Sorry, but total fucking bullshit, because the law has been around for a decade and literally dozens of Catholic hospitals and universities have complied with it.
@Mnemosyne: No maternity coverage for unmarried women? No boner pills for unmarried men? No vaccines for employees of New Age flakes? No psychiatric treatment for employees of Scientologists? This is a fun game!
The intersection of extreme sports and history. Shoulda known!
Uh, no. The Church’s position is largely irrelevant. We just have to slap around the boneheads in the Congress who are putting on this stupid little pantomine.
Do you find it strengthens your argument to add in other hypotheticals instead of just addressing the issue at hand. Do you do so because you understand, at least on some level, that your position is untenable?
In a way you are joining in with the folks who argue against bestiality when they argue against gay marriage. Which is nice for you I think. Should help to broaden your social circle a little.
@Elizabelle: i just watch it for the horses.
i have a warhorse.
@makewi: amg the slippery slope argument.
makewi == moron.
Evergreen (formerly Betsy, forever ago)
You’re half right.
They’re two separate issues. One is whether contraception is a sin, which it is. The Pope only a couple of years ago allowed that condom use *might* be ok if one spouse is HIV positive. Otherwise, all contraception other than Natural Family Planning (basically, trying to restrict sex to the times the woman is not ovulating) is verboten.
The other issue is what counts as abortion. Conservatives have been trying to move the goalposts lately, so that hormonal birth control, particularly the morning after pill, is classified as an abortifacient, which would A)prevent the federal gov’t from paying for it under the Hyde Amendement and B) make it seem more “immoral” than most people currently regard it.
@Samara Morgan: So there really is a pony underneath all your shit.
Sadly, no. Catholic hospitals in states like New York have been complying with a similar rule for over a decade. The lie is that this is some kind of new federal overreach when the federal law was modeled on New York’s law that the church has been complying with for 10 years now. All the federal rule does is make healthcare law uniform across the country.
Do you ever stop lying about anything, makewi?
Villago Delenda Est
By denying their non-Catholic employees, who are not subject in any way to their religious doctrines, access to contraception as part of their health care plans that are a part of employee compensation packages.
It’s the employer dictating what health care coverage under their insurance they receive.
This really is a simple concept. Someone as simple as you obviously are should be able to grasp it.
“The Church” still has its protections. They were never in question. But hospitals, for example, are not churches. To my knowledge there is not a “Catholic” hospital in the US that is not owned and operated by a nonprofit corporation which (a) provides clear and unambiguous legal separation between the church and the hospital, which benefits both the church and the hospital, and (b) which was not set up that way because the Church set it up that way specifically to provide that legal separation.
And that’s why those corporations, which operate and comply with the law just like all other large corporate employers do, have no legal standing to object to anything on “religious grounds.” This ain’t rocket science. These very issues were long ago settled. And what’s more, these hospitals have been complying with the model of insurance compliance even where state law hasn’t mandated it yet, for their own and very sensible business reasons, because it’s to their advantage to do so. Birth control is cheaper than pregnancies, and the coverage, which is part of a package of health access rights for women, is a good hiring and retention advantage for hospitals who are in a very competitive hiring environment (for example, competing in a nurse shortage labor market).
Villago Delenda Est
Troll can’t help it. Troll is in bed with the red beanie brigade that covers up and facilitates the ass raping of altar boys.
So, makewi, your assertion is bullshit.
The issue at hand is that you are arguing that the Catholic Church has a First Amendment right to impose its religious beliefs on people who work for Catholic-affiliated institutions like hospitals and universities. If they win that fight, it’s not going to be a “Catholics only” decision — every religious group will have to be allowed to do the same thing.
So, no, it’s not so crazy to wonder if a Christian Science employer is going to be allowed to only cover prayer intervention as their “health insurance.” That’s the world you want to live in — a world where your employer can dictate that you follow their religious beliefs.
Agnostic = atheist. You don’t believe God exists. You concede it is possible, but you don’t currently believe. No one says they are unicorn, big foot, or leprechaun agnostic… I see no reason to pretend that something for which there is no evidence exists until there is evidence. I don’t know why the mass delusions of others should change how that works.
@ThatLeftTurnInABQ: This. Exactly this. Although this will drive some benefit for the R’s with traditionalist hispanics and older (I didn’t get to fuck before marriage) Catholics.
@makewi: nope, its the same old problem. mob rule.
been with us since Pythagoras and Kylon.
ha, some one that remembers nishizono shinji.
i was always a barcoder. the perfect vector for psychopathic internet virii.
@scav: several ponies and a warhorse.
@Martin: Moderate Christians are the ones most likely to be taken by the culture wars started by the extremists. They don’t follow closely enough to understand how abhorrent the “family values” platforms are, they just know that voting for them is voting for God and Christian values and they love that. Again, 30 states passed amendments to ban SSM with super majorities. That is all driven by Christian votes, and it just is not the case that 60+% of the electorate are extremist Christians.
We are in this place not because they can’t break through the noise, but because they unwittingly are repeaters for the noise.
@Samara Morgan: And that explains the sheer quantity of shit because one pony doesn’t have the capacity.
Um, no. The dictionary handles this pretty well.
@Soonergrunt: By the way, insanely great thread title.
Just keep writing “impose beliefs” as if it has some basis in reality. In any case, I’m sure that Obama so quickly worked to accommodate the Church on this issue because he was so convinced by the arguments you all are trying out here. @Samara Morgan:
You assume this persona of great intellect and then write such idiotic things. Keep it up, it works for you griefer.
I’m afraid Mr. Wills is simply wrong about that. Practically anything can be justified from scripture if one has time and a willingness to pour through dreary old religious texts, as history has amply demonstrated. Arguing with Catholics that their doctrine is incorrect is a fool’s errand; their doctrine is what it is. Stipulating that disparate texts from 2000-3000 years ago are sacred, but interpreted incorrectly by the men in funny hats, is not a more rational approach to the problem of formulating public policy in the 21st century world.
Suppose the Bible had some unambiguous verses proclaiming artificial birth control to be wrong; how would that be relevant?
I am a vegan, and meat is the anti-christ. I have a quasi-religious principle which gives me reason to be offended that there is a meat dept in the supermarket. Many times, they have meat sales which are ‘Loss Leaders’ to get people to come into the store and buy stuff that is not subsidized . I pay higher prices for vegetables and therefore subsidize the carnivores, who get their meat cheaper on my dime. That is offensive and I want someone to address why I should, against good conscience, thereby promote the sale of meat.
You should not give that store your business. You are under no obligation to do so. That is, until Obama decides that you will be compelled to shop there.
Emperor of Ice Cream
This has got to be the world’s most tedious topic. Insurance is to cover the health care needs of those being insured. If the company (er church) doesn’t want to provide health care insurance, don’t provide it. They’ll have to pay a fee in 2014, but no one will force them to do anything they don’t want to. If they want to provide HEALTH insurance, then they have to provide it. Really simple.
Again, none of the god botherers ever are willing to be honest about the implications of their arguments. Its always all about their own precious feelings …. heaven forbid they ever have to do something that they don’t agree with. And the fact is, they don’t …. don’t want to use birth control, don’t use it. Against abortions, don’t have one. Against gay people, don’t be one. I personally think you are an idiot, but I will defend to the death your right to be an idiot up until the point that you demand I be an idiot too.
I posted this in a thread last night and I want to repost it here: per this article Catholic churchs divert member donations that they think are used “for charity” to anti-gay activities AND notes that Catholic institutions run their orgs largely through monies they receive via government contracts for provision of ‘safety-net” services. http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/mass-uprising/Content?oid=12587024
I just really think that changes things. My perception had been that all those Catholic sponsored “good works” were paid for via donations and via the church’s institutional wealth. I’m sure that’s what they want us to believe. But if they’re running around claiming “religious freedom” to exempt themselves from laws when they’re getting most of their operating dough from taxpayers – it just slays me.
Actually, this issue becomes clearer when the language is fixed. No “beliefs” are protected under the Constitution. Only practice is protected. Beliefs are not practice. The government has no interest in what your beliefs are. It has an interest only in what you do. Your actions. That’s the only aspect of your existence that the law can address.
Religious practice does not include things like deciding for other people whether they should be using contraception. There is no church that has a ritual called “contraception intervention.” That’s not a protected practice. So even if the “religious institutions” being talked about in this context were churches, which they are not, interfering with other peoples’ healthcare would not be part of their practice. But of course, they aren’t churches, they are corporations and are treated as such just like all other corporations. There are no special “churchy corporations” under US law, that I know of.
@Brachiator: he boosted it from TBogg.
It’s the only store within 100 miles of my residence, so my choices are limited.
I cannot grow my own food because of physical impairment. The FREEEE market is my solution?
Actually, I think truffles are the anti-christ. Animals are made to be eaten, which is why they are made out of meat.
@makewi: yes like black folk should deny their custom to segregated businesses.
@makewi: So I guess he can go to one of the many vegan grocery stores around here. Oops! there aren’t any.
Actually, I eat a lot of red meat, but the there is no snark button on the toolbar.
Emperor of Ice Cream
And Makewi, I support your right to be an idiot, but let me give you assurance that mean ole Obambi (it’s so hard to keep straight with you wingnuts … is he a vicious tyrant or a pushover … I wish you guys would settle on one or the other) will let you shop wherever they take gold nuggets.
Another WordPress shortcoming!
So you’re admitting that your cries that the mean ol’ gubbmint is imposing its beliefs on the Catholic Church is bullshit? Because you can’t simultaneously argue that Catholic-affiliated institutions like hospitals and universities have the same First Amendment rights as a parish church and that the employees who work at those hospitals and universities have no First Amendment rights of their own.
And here I thought you guys were still fighting this battle — and had in fact tried to extend it so any employer could veto any aspect of health care based on the employer’s religious beliefs — rather than accepting the compromise.
You probably should keep up on what your side is doing before you start whining that we’re the meanies who won’t be quiet. The bill that Republicans are presenting in the Senate would allow your employer to nix any healthcare that conflicts with their personal beliefs.
So go on. Defend what your side is actually doing and tell us why we’re wrong to oppose it instead of living in your fantasyland where this was all solved last week.
@opie_jeanne: Watchoo talkin’ about?!
No, it is a law that requires an employer to provide me with a minimum standard of health insurance, of which assess to family planning is considered as standard for women’s health. My employer is not personally buying me birth control. In fact, my employer has no say in whether I take advantage of this prescription coverage, just as my employer should have no say in a host of other medical decisions that I make. My access to medical services and health should certainly not be dictated by the religious whims of my employer. That is not religious freedom. That is religious coercion.
well…. not everone gets MPD Psycho.
Yes, the free market and free speech are the tools you have at your disposal.
RACIST, she cries.
So, I have that going for me….Huzzaaaahhhhhhh !
They’ve gotten to the point that wingnutty Catholics are now claiming that the Vatican never went after Galileo in the first place, but rather gave him a nice place to live.
If Republicans want to make this a battle about religious freedom, I say BRING IT. I’m perfectly happy to defend the proposition that an employer should not be allowed to impose his religious beliefs on his employees.
The supermarket also gives me access to choice…..
“paper, or plastic, sir?”
eyes opening wide
Uh, no. I am a furious agnostic. I don’t see any evidence for a deity. In the absence of evidence, I don’t much care.
Also, too, even if the existence of a deity was established, I wouldn’t much care. I have no obligation to worship or obey or bow to the will of any being. You know, that free will thing. Doesn’t matter whether I am promised mystical goodies down the road.
Unicorns and fairies, obviously mythical beings. Big Foot, very likely a combination of misunderstanding, stupidity and fraud. Very slight chance that some other kind of animal has been misidentified as Big Foot, so not yet on the same level as a unicorn.
Sane Republican, also largely mythical.
makewi, do you know where the model of the subject law comes from? The model already used in 28 states, and pretty much followed voluntarily in other states, by all employers including the “religious” ones?
What was the purpose of these laws, and how were they structured? Hint: they were not written to pump up the sales of birth control pills by the Republican-owned BigPharma companies.
So where did these laws come from?
you mean the “Freed” Market wont solve any and all problems, including discrimination?
And this is where dogs and cats lie down together in harmony because I agree wholeheartedly with you on this.
I suspect that Douthat likes cheeseburgers better than even procreative sex.
The Other Chuck
Speaking as a raving born-again atheist, my take on “Atheist == Agnostic” is “it’s close enough”. There are a few “soft agnostics” who think well maybe there’s a god but gosh golly there just ain’t handy evidence to know for sure, and there are others who will wax philosophical about how we can’t have certain knowledge about anything blah blah, but most people using the title are somewhere on the Russell’s Teapot end of the spectrum.
My belief is firmly that there is no God, period, end of story. I am as certain in this belief in the notion that there is not at this moment, a mauve rhinocerous stalking my every move that slips stealthily out of the way whenever I take a look. I consider this to be equivalent to absolute certainty, categorical absolutes be damned.
(yes, I see the irony in that last phrase)
You really are quite stupid, aren’t you?
How does their First Amendment rights have anything to do with the health insurance provided to employees in their businesses? And how is it that their “First Amendment rights” have not been abridged by the many Catholic-affiliated businesses that have provided birth control coverage for employees for decades or by the 28 states that mandate such coverage for those same businesses in individual states? And what about the employees’ First Amendment rights?
Oh, and did I forget to say fuck the Catholic Church? I mean, you really think most people give a shit about what a global child rape criminal cartel has to say about anything, let alone what they have to say about what is and is not moral in the realm of sexuality?
People like you make me angry only because you make me agree with Samara Morgan about the whole conservativism = low IQ thing.
@Davis X. Machina:
All I know is what the Catholics I know personally tell me.
@Villago Delenda Est:
Well, greed is good and sex is bad; we all know that. Just look at the messages our “betters” try to teach.
Thanks — I’m going to send this to one of my Catholic friends who is very against most contraceptives for this reason…altho the last sentence of the article will probably be pretty much where she’ll end up, I’d say.
But Wills did not address this in his article. Wish he would have.
Desperation, much? I note that you don’t deny that Catholics ignore the bishops when it suits them; the term “cafeteria catholics” didn’t arise out of nowhere. Denial of reality can, unfortunately, be habit forming. While I can, in some ways, respect your personal faith, having to leave the reality based community to defend the institutional Roman Catholic Church doesn’t do much to support either your faith or your church.
That may be their personal rationalization for using barrier methods of birth control, but it is absolutely not the Church’s position:
So, yes, your friends told you wrong, presumably because they’ve been rationalizing their use of other methods for so long that they’ve convinced themselves that they’re not going against Church teachings even though they actually are.
Douchehat strikes again.
Shorter version: opposition to the Catholic Church’s effort to impose Church doctrine on you is in itself oppression of the Church and a violation of the First Amendment. And by the way, since the Church doesn’t like non-procreational sex and Ross always goes along with the Church, you can’t have any happy endings without consequences either. This especially applies to you Whores of Satan out there shamelessly using contraceptives and having the audacity to enjoy sex, and having the further audacity to tell Ross that he’s a really lousy lay.
If anyone had told me twenty years ago that this would be a major topic of discussion in the 21st century, I’d have asked when he or she went off their medication.
And lest we forget, Pius XI not only actively supported Franco’s Fascist uprising against the democratically elected Spanish government, he also reached accommodations with both Hitler and Mussolini. Such a splendid exemplar of virtue.
Well, they, too, are ignorant of Church teachings or just making up their own rules.
The Church forbids all contraception except the rhythm method. All of them.
Republican owned Big Pharma. Brilliant really. Every little bit helps.
why this is the same as muslims resisting christian attempts to convert them becomes oppression of christians in MENA!
It’s telling that the church interprets the Onan story as a prohibition on contraception, instead of a rebuke for not seeing to the welfare of his brother’s family. Similar to interpreting Jesus’ miracle at Cana as a sanctification of marriage instead of an approval of wine drinking.
Well, to be fair, Catholics don’t have any prohibitions on wine drinking, so there’s no need for special approval using that story. That’s why Catholic heaven is more fun.
His wife can’t, at any rate.
Cute title. I would also have liked ‘I Can’t Get No Contraception’
pseudonymous in nc
Wills knows his shit. As Villago Delenda Est notes, you don’t want to be picking a fight with him on the topic of Catholicism.
I’ll go with that — especially in the US, where the red beanie brigade is a kind of clerical perpetuation of Tammany Hall.
It is possible to be an agnostic in theory, an atheist in practice.
In that if you think there are millions of possible religions, and you don’t have any special reason to believe that any one of them is true, then your belief in the validity of any particular one of them must be practically zero.
e.g. My priors might be:
There may conceivably be “something” P = 50%
X is the one and only true something P = 0.000001%
pseudonymous in nc
Just wanted to quote Charlie Pierce, in comments at his place:
But it’s amazing how the idiot commenters at the NYRB are basically word-for-word on the “but religious freedom” thing. Mighty fucking Wurlitzer, indeed.
@Thymezone: Exactly. “Religious liberty” should properly be called freedom to worship. The government can’t stop you from going to church, or praying, or performing religious rituals. There are grey areas around _institutionalizing_ those, like town Nativity scenes. But those acts are what is protected by the First Amendment.
This goes WAY beyond that. The bishops’ position is that the government can’t make them give money to a company that then uses money (not limited to theirs, mind you) to reimburse people for medical treatments the Church officially deplores, irrespective of whether the people undergoing that treatment are members of that church or not. I can’t believe we have to pretend this is a serious argument. It’s a totally bizarre notion of whose money is whose.
And if you believe in anything like a labor theory of value, it’s even MORE bizarre, because the whole reason your employer has money to pay you is that you did the work! Under Blunt’s proposal, the Catholic guy who owns the coal mine gets to tell the miners what to do with contraception, because it’s his money? Come right the fuck on. No one has ever believed that. They’re inventing entirely new notions of liberty out of whole vestment cloth.
Boy, I thought “Chunky Reese Witherspoon” was some kind of peanut butter reference (You know, chunky peanut butter? Reese’s peanut butter cups? Geddit?) Then I read the link. TMI, babe, just TMI.
Well if alter boys could get pregnant, this issue would have been settled long ago.
oops meant altar
After 360 years.
Dear gods, howEVER could I possibly have forgotten that?! I humbly beg your pardon for momentarily forgetting that it’s always all about you.
Martin Luther weeps…….