Obama's trampling on liberties won't stop with birth control
President Barack Obama has by his actions raised the question: Is he fit for office?
Obama repeated this oath, "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Through his Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius he recently mandated that church-related institutions provide certain women's health services free of charge, the intent of which was in clear violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution which reads in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
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Getting flak for this action, Obama presented an accomodation by placing the mandate of free contraceptive care onto the insurance companies. Like the magician says, "Watch my left hand while I make this religious mandate disappear." Where in the Constitution which he is so eager to preserve, protect and defend, does it say that the office of the president has such authority?
These actions are not the first taken by this overzealous president. They are an indication of things to come, especially as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Once the federal government can mandate that something be done in the name of health, there is no stopping the government from trampling on all of our constitutional liberties.
Can't spin this into Constitution
Much has been written about our president's attempt at coercing religious institutions to pay for contraception services. Thousands of words have been written about the choices of Catholics, women's health, etc. One point has apparently been overlooked: In this country, the president doesn't get to tell anyone what services they have to provide, let alone churches. All the legal spin in the world can't get around this basic tenet of the Constitution. You know, that silly old document that is supposed to be the primary law of the land.
Frank St. Clair
Bottom of slippery slope
It's not just a Catholic thing. It's not just a contraception thing. It's a rights, liberty and freedom thing. For the first time in American history, citizens will be forced to purchase something their conscience says is an evil act.
The initial rule mandated that employers must purchase health care for their employees that covers contraception, sterilization and pills that result in abortion. The only exemption is for houses of worship and if you employ only Catholics.
Since church-run organizations open their doors to all faiths, this is an impossibility. I have said in the past that we are on a slippery slope. That no longer applies. We slid down to the bottom. All people, whether you are for these things or not, should be upset. If we are forced to go against our conscience on this matter maybe next time it will be your conscience that is violated.
Stand up and unite on this issue. Contact your political representatives and let them know you are against this rule.
New American Taliban
Regarding Sen. Mitch McConnell's Feb. 12 appearance on Face the Nation: The Republican patriarchy has decreed that birth control shall not be given as part of health care, for life begins at conception and anything that interferes with the life of the unborn is an abomination in the eyes of the new American Taliban.
As for the already born, the free market will provide. If you are too poor to afford health care, or education, or enough to eat; there are a hundred Horatio Alger volumes to show the way to riches. And, if you still can't make it? Tough.
Contraception = sexual bulemia
On two points in her Feb. 12 essay, "Bishops want government to go where faithful won't," New York Times columnist Gail Collins is right: This is an old story and the church is not a democracy.
Collins' mother-in-law, a contraceptive user, allegedly met a mean priest in the confessional. The tale is not verifiable, but even if it were true, the subsequent rationalization by Collins nevertheless does not compute.
How does the unhappy experience of one dissenting Catholic negate more than 2,000 years of teaching rooted in Scripture and natural law?
For starters, consider the sin of Onan (Genesis 38:9-10) then ponder Christ's words in Matthew 5:28. Modern contraception is as fundamentally disordered as Onan's crude withdrawal from God's plan because it treats human fertility and children as non-goods when both are intrinsic goods.
Moreover, the use of contraception (and its back-up, abortion) effectively amounts to the practice of sexual bulimia, wherein partners wish to indulge their sexual faculties without a full or healthy vision of what greater ends they are designed to serve.
That the church is not a democracy was made evident by Christ Himself: "Who do men say that I am?" The voters get it wrong: "Some say John the Baptist, some say Elias, some say another of the prophets." In contrast, Peter recognizes, "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God." A chosen fisherman gets it right — not by the force of popular opinion, but by the power of the holy spirit.
Church is hypocritical
With all the anger and hostility raging in our country regarding gay marriage and access to birth control under health care reform, it might be wise to review our history.
In the 16th century, Henry VIII wanted a divorce, the Catholic church said no, he kicked the church out and the Church of England became the official church of Great Britain.
Fast forward 250 years. Our founding fathers have not been happy with the ruling government, we start a war, win and kick the British out of what will become The United States of America.
During the war, they write the Articles of Confederation and realize they will not keep this newly-founded country united. They write our Constitution, allowing changes to be made as our country evolves.
The first of these amendments aims to avoid the same thing that happened 500 years ago and thus states there can be no government-supported religion. Not only will people have the right to express concerns about our government openly, they will also have the right to be different.
Thus, although I don't agree with its opinion, I can understand why the Catholic Church is upset, stating it is unfair for the government to force it to mandate birth control in insurance plans.
But it seems quite hypocritical to state they should not be forced to supply birth control because of our Constitution and on the other hand impose religious beliefs on gay people who want nothing more than to have the rights to marry as equals.
David J Shafran, M.D.
Individual, not church, freedoms
In a Feb. 13 Associated Press article on the outcry from the Catholic Church about President Barack Obama's regulations requiring that contraceptives be made available to all working women, presidential candidate Rick Santorum was quoted as saying on NBC's Meet The Press: "They are forcing religious organizations, either directly or indirectly, to pay for something that they find is a deeply, morally, you know, wrong thing. And this is not what the government should be doing."
In my opinion, this is precisely what our government should be doing. Our Constitution guarantees the freedoms and rights of individuals, like you and me, not institutions, such as the Catholic Church. Creating law based on religious dogma was specifically what our founding fathers wanted to prevent.
If Santorum cannot understand this very basic idea underlying the separation of church and state, then he is not qualified to be president of the United States of America.
If the leaders of the Catholic Church do not understand this fundamental difference either, then their religious hierarchy within the United States should be stripped of its tax-exempt status and made to register as a political action organization that intends to lobby Congress for the national laws and regulations it wants.
Joseph P. Fox