The controversy about contraceptives has continued for more than three weeks now with no end in sight. The American people are so frustrated and annoyed with the situation that they have started agreeing with the idea that Catholics should just “put up with it.” It’s a valid point. Most Catholics don’t follow the church’s teaching on contraceptives anyway. In fact, a recent study found that 98 percent of Catholic women use contraceptives, according to Reuters. However, this argument misses the point. Just as this column said last week, Americans are once again blurring the line between personal preference and the law.
The real story here has nothing to do with whether Catholics are hypocrites. The truth is this isn’t just about Catholics, and this isn’t just about contraceptives. This is about whether we want to be a free society, which honors freedom of thought and religion, or a totalitarian republic, which targets and threatens minority factions into submission.
Allowing the federal government to force individuals and organizations to perform an act of commerce not only interferes with the First Amendment but also attacks the soul of America. If the government can mandate that you buy something, then it has the power to force you to buy anything.
Requiring Catholic organizations to fund America’s sex life is like forcing the Jewish people to subsidize the pork industry. It’s wrong and offensive. Whether the majority of Jewish individuals you know eat bacon or not is irrelevant. When creating law at the federal level, principle MUST be taken into account.
Many in support of the church being forced to pay for contraceptives use the cover of “women’s rights.” For example, this editorial from the New York Times states, “The universal coverage plan outlined in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is a good step forward, and we should do all we can to ensure it. Perhaps if activism had been linked to the lawsuits, the aims I fought for would have been secured, and we would be spared the spectacle of Republican candidates threatening, yet again, a woman’s right to control her own fertility.”
The idea that we should preserve or give women more “rights” sounds great! America has always been about preserving and expanding rights. However, on this issue, that argument is a smoke screen. Individuals opposed to this part of the Affordable Care Act aren’t trying to block access to contraception. Contraception is legal, and each individual has the right to decide whether to use it. The opposition to this provision simply doesn’t believe the government should force citizens to pay for something they find morally wrong. That’s it. They don’t have some sort of deep-seated hatred of women. They just don’t want to fund your sex life.
Some readers might still be thinking Catholics should have to pay for other people to use contraceptives because of some deeply held abstract belief in social responsibility and the greater good. Consider this. Catholicism wasn’t the first religion to go under attack in America, but it is the most recent and the most visible at this point. If the American people cede the government this much power, every belief system is moved closer to the chopping block. This is not the direction our country should be headed.
By ignoring this attack on the liberties of others, Americans are feeding a monster that will one day devour a set of beliefs they themselves hold dear. Uncle Sam wants to protect your liberty. He just doesn’t want to fund your sex life.