2012 / Religion
I'm So Tired of Waking Up on Monday Mornings and Punching My Radio In the Face
by Dan Savage
on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Cokie Roberts has been coughing up hairballs of conventional wisdom on NPR's Morning Edition for, oh, several hundred thousand years now. She gets to run her mouth for ten uninterrupted minutes every Monday and there must be something in her contract about the hosts not being able to challenge Cokie on facts or stats or reality. Take this:
COKIE: But also the administration is creating problems of their own. The health care law is, as you know, already unpopular in the polls, and the administration has issued regulations now that say Catholic, or religious institutions, that hire or serve people outside their own religious beliefs have to cover contraceptive services and sterilzations in the health care bill. It's got Catholic bishops furious. There was a letter in church yesterday calling this an attack on religious liberty. And that's a problem for the president's allies, the social justice Catholics, and it could be a problem with Catholic voters. And that becomes a huge issue if the president starts to lose Catholic voters, because the president can't win without them.
HOST: Alright. NPR's Cokie Roberts.
While the health insurance mandate remains controversial, only 36% of Americans—all of them Republicans—want to see Obama's health care law repealed. And birth control is not controversial among American Catholics and the president isn't going to lose Catholic voters because he differs with our baby-rapin' bishops on contraception:
Some 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women in the United States have used contraceptive methods banned by the church, research published on Wednesday showed. A new report from the Guttmacher Institute, the nonprofit sexual health research organization, shows that only 2 percent of Catholic women, even those who regularly attend church, rely on natural family planning. The latest data shows practices of Catholic women are in line with women of other religious affiliations and adult American women in general.
My parents had four kids in 3.75 years—four separate pregnancies—before a priest talked my mother into using birth control.
And religious organizations that don't want to follow federal regulations where the health care law is concerned don't have to! All they have to do is stop taking federal money:
I'm tired of religious groups operating secular enterprises (hospitals, schools), hiring people of multiple faiths, serving the general public, taking taxpayer dollars — and then claiming that deeply held religious beliefs should exempt them from public policy. Contra Dionne, it's precisely religious pluralism that makes this impractical. There are simply too many religions with too many religious beliefs to make this a reasonable approach. If we'd been talking about, say, an Islamic hospital insisting that its employees bind themselves to sharia law, I imagine the "religious community" in the United States would be a wee bit more understanding if the Obama administration refused to condone the practice.
I can understand compromising over a very limited number of hot button issues. Abortion is the obvious one. But in general, if Catholic hospitals don't want to follow reasonable, 21st century secular rules, they need to make themselves into truly religious enterprises. In particular, they need to stop taking secular taxpayer money. As long as they do, though, they should follow the same rules as anyone else.