When governments try to force voluntary, non-profit Christian entities to conform to a political agenda rather than God there are really only two possible outcomes.
1. The Christian organization complies and ceases to provide that charitable support the way it used to.
2. The Christian organization acts according to its (biblical) conviction and defies the government in civil disobedience.
Either way, the government (the tax payer) loses. This principle underpins all exemptions and tax breaks for religious charities. If you prevent the religious organization from helping to provide health care, the government then has to pick up the bill - or ignore sick folk who cant afford health insurance.
What hypocrisy for anti-religious politicians to allow churches to fund orphanages, hospitals, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, single mothers' refuges, etc and demand that The Church "stay out of politics".
Lion,"If you prevent the religious organization from helping to provide health care, the government then has to pick up the bill - or ignore sick folk who cant afford health insurance."
I believe that is the general idea. If you want socialized medicine you must eliminate the competition. One of the things that the Obama administration proposed right from the beginning was to eliminate the charitable donations tax deductions.
The catholic church appears to be fighting back. Many Catholic churches across America read a letter to congregants on Sunday stating that they would not comply.
If you are a politician why would you pick a fight with a the Catholic Church right before an election?
Here's the official White House position from the WH website:
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans will cover women’s preventive services, including contraception, without charging a co-pay or deductible beginning in August, 2012. This new law will save money for millions of Americans. But more importantly, it will ensure Americans nationwide get the high-quality care they need to stay healthy. Under this policy, women who want contraception will have access to it through their insurance without paying a co-pay or deductible. But no one will be forced to buy or use contraception.
On January 20th, Secretary Sebelius announced that certain religious organizations including churches would be exempt from paying their insurers to cover contraception. Other religious organizations, including those that employ people of different faiths, can qualify for a one-year transition period as they prepare to comply with the new law. In recent days, there has been some confusion about how this policy affects religious institutions. We want to make sure you have the facts:
•Churches are exempt from the new rules: Churches and other houses of worship will be exempt from the requirement to offer insurance that covers contraception.•No individual health care provider will be forced to prescribe contraception: The President and this Administration have previously and continue to express strong support for existing conscience protections. For example, no Catholic doctor is forced to write a prescription for contraception.• No individual will be forced to buy or use contraception: This rule only applies to what insurance companies cover. Under this policy, women who want contraception will have access to it through their insurance without paying a co-pay or deductible. But no one will be forced to buy or use contraception.•Drugs that cause abortion are not covered by this policy: Drugs like RU486 are not covered by this policy, and nothing about this policy changes the President’s firm commitment to maintaining strict limitations on Federal funding for abortions. No Federal tax dollars are used for elective abortions.•Over half of Americans already live in the 28 States that require insurance companies cover contraception: Several of these States like North Carolina, New York, and California have identical religious employer exemptions. Some States like Colorado, Georgia and Wisconsin have no exemption at all.•Contraception is used by most women: According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, most women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used contraception.•Contraception coverage reduces costs: While the monthly cost of contraception for women ranges from $30 to $50, insurers and experts agree that savings more than offset the cost. The National Business Group on Health estimated that it would cost employers 15 to 17 percent more not to provide contraceptive coverage than to provide such coverage, after accounting for both the direct medical costs of potentially unintended and unhealthy pregnancy and indirect costs such as employee absence and reduced productivity.The Obama Administration is committed to both respecting religious beliefs and increasing access to important preventive services. And as we move forward, our strong partnerships with religious organizations will continue. The Administration has provided substantial resources to Catholic organizations over the past three years, in addition to numerous non-financial partnerships to promote healthy communities and serve the common good. This work includes partnerships with Catholic social service agencies on local responsible fatherhood programs and international anti-hunger/food assistance programs. We look forward to continuing this important work.
Despite the ministry of propaganda's press release, it forces Catholic colleges, hospitals and other Christian groups to provide contraceptive drugs despite their opposition to them.
Look at how they attempted to side step the issue; Churches are exempt, no one is being forced to buy contraception, and RU486 isn't covered.
If a church funds a charitable institution is the institution exempt? Nope. That is the fundamental issue.
Arguing that no one is being forced to get contraception is a red herring. RU486 isn't covered but the morning after pill is.
The catholic church can either
1. Comply and violate it's own philosophy2. Drop coverage for employees and suffer the consequences.
They should file a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the law.
The Department of Health and Human Services decided to cut off funding to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which helps victims of human trafficking because of the church's stance on abortion and contraception. It is always a really bad idea to get in bed with the government.
It is also important to note the Obama's health care bill does fund abortions.
I am Catholic and listen to your podcast. While I don't agree with some issues, I personally view Dr. Craig as an invaluable member of Christianity in America. What some are now calling a moment of Catholic solidarity and political awareness can represent something much greater. We all can take this moment to take a stand as Christians. Not as Catholics or Protestants, democrats or republicans, or any other division. There exists only one Kingdom of God, ruled by the same eternal sovereign.
This should be so much more than a massive voter revolt.
More than anything else, Christianity is a religion born of state oppression against it and the fundamental morality inherent in its precepts. We all possess a strict moral imperative to bear witness to Christ, regardless of anything else. Every persecution, great and small, must we meet in solidarity and steadfast resolve. To remain silent, to consent in speech or in vote, is in some small measure to deny Christ; and yet every hardship done unto us in Christ's name is blessed to God.
I would very much like to Christianity emerge in America, from the failure of secularization as anything but political compromise as governance, a single Christian movement representative of the entire Kingdom. Not to rule, or to impose, but to bear witness and to refuse to compromise. Our Church fathers did not suffer unimaginable sufferings for a silent and divided body. The Church, as it exists as the body of all Churches, and all Christians, is yet a single body in Christ.
If the government backs down, then we are blessed. If the government carries out its threats to persecute, then we are still blessed -- as long as we faithfully bear witness and take a resolute stand against these totalitarian assaults upon religious conscience in the distinctive Christian outlook which is of peace, love, and unbending resolve.
Daniel,I couldn't agree with you more. There are many disturbing trends that indicate that religious liberty is in danger. All faiths need to stand up and fight against this.
Vanderbilt University is essentially outlawing religious groups with the university's non-discrimination rules. A student wrote an op-ed piece in one of the college papers that got my attention.
One of the reasons Vanderbilt cited for the new non-discrimination rules was losing their federal funding. The student dismissed this. However, it is possible that someone at the federal level informed the University of this and they just rolled over like a puppy for a milkbone instead of standing up.
The federal government now totally controls student loans. This could be a preview of new government policy they can enact in two steps.
1. Any University that doesn't adopt non-discrimination rules loses it's funding.
2. Students can not get a loan to attend a University that doesn't follow federal non-discrimination rules.
This would eliminate Christian universities and Christian groups on campus.
The Obama administration is also attempting to set up a partnership between the government and churches to promote a green agenda. In other words, the government wants churches to promote a green agenda.
Why is it that activists become unhinged at prayer during graduation ceremonies but say nothing when the government is attempt to get churches to promote a political agenda?
In last weeks blog about the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. E.E.O.C. Supreme court ruling I asked the question, why would the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission pursue this case? Why would a politician pick a fight with the catholic church before an election? Why would the government attempt to form a partnership with churches to promote a political agenda? Why would the Obama administration want to eliminate charitable tax deductions?
The possible answers to these questions are disturbing.
On that note, I am going to eat my weight in wings, throw up, eat more wings, throw up again, eat more wings, and then chew up an entire bottle of Tums and wash it down with a bottle of Pepto bismol.
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