Letters, They Get Letters…

Sometimes, the Letters to the Editor are just jaw-dropping excursions into the depths of illogic. This morning’s entrant into the “it ain’t what you don’t know that hurts you, it’s what you know that just ain’t so” sweepstakes is a prime example.

The writer says there is no “war on women,” rather, it is a war for “immorality, secularism and the destruction of Christianity.” And what is the weapon being deployed in this war? The requirement that health insurance include coverage for birth control.

Where to begin?

Perhaps we might question the writer’s assumption that use of birth control equates to “immorality.”  (“Procreation is a gift from God. It is not a form of recreation.”) Evidently, only participants in “recreational” sex use birth control. We probably should tell that to the doctors who prescribe contraceptives to treat a variety of medical conditions, including but not limited to menorrhagia.

We might also note that the writer’s defense of  this position by Catholics who believe in the “sanctity of life” conveniently ignores the lack of Church outrage over the use of its tax dollars to fund capital punishment and war.

Finally, we might gently note that the First Amendment religion clauses are not violated when taxes paid by “Christians and people of faith”  are spent for purposes of which they disapprove. If that were the case, every dollar spent on war and weaponry would violate the religious liberty of Quakers. Money spent to enforce “blue laws” would violate the rights of Jews and Seventh Day Adventists. Taxes supporting high schools would violate the religious liberty of the Amish. In a religiously diverse nation, there are hundreds of other examples.

Religious liberty does not mean government must impose your religious beliefs on your neighbors. Catholics, who not so long ago struggled against state imposition of Protestant norms, should be particularly sensitive to that bit of legal revisionism.

That, of course, would require the use of logic.


  1. The Catholic church’s teaching is that ALL life has value; therefore, those Catholics who try to make the abortion issue the ONLY issue are ignoring the Church’s teaching against the death penalty, unjust wars (read Thomas Aquinas) and any practices that unjustly disregard the sanctity of life. All life has value.

  2. I agree with most everything you wrote here, Sheila, with one exception. It has been my experience that the Catholic Church has been the most honestly consistent advocate for both it’s anti-abortion position and it’s anti-death penalty position. I don’t know how it is in Indiana, but when I was ED of the ACLU affiliates in both North Dakota (which doesn’t have a death penalty) and New Mexico (which does), here in Kentucky, the Catholic Church has been a great ally for the abolition of the death penalty. Just sayin’…

  3. Keith–I had similar experiences when I was director of Indiana’s ACLU. But my point was actually somewhat narrower: the Church, to my knowledge, never claimed that the existence of the death penalty, or the use of Catholics’ tax dollars to implement it, violated their religious liberty. Catholics were willing to enter the policy debate on the merits and to make their opposition clear, but not to claim that a loss of the policy argument violated their constitutional rights.

  4. let’s not forget the hypocrisy that the Church has no problems providing insurance coverage for Cialis or Viagra (because you know that 60 y/o men ONLY want to have sex to make babies)…

    though, in somewhat gender neutral news, I was surprised to learn that the Church is equally opposed to covering vasectomies with insurance.

    to be direct and to the point, I agree with you. if Catholics do not want to take birth control, they are not forced to, nor are they forced to get abortions if they do not wish to do so. the argument is moot.

    did you see the case about the photographer that refused to take wedding pictures for a homosexual couple in New Mexico? she lost her cause. the case was Elane Photography v. Willock. Interesting read if you have time:


  5. If Catholics truly believe all life has value; what is the value of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of children molested by priests? Somehow the priests are the ones whose lives are valued – they are “treated, called cured” and moved on to a new unsuspecting parish to begin their molesting on new victims. The Catholic church spends millions of dollars gleaned from collection plates, often from congregants who cannot afford these offerings, to pay legal fees, court costs and hush money to famiies of victims to convince them not to press charges. I read that letter to the editor and felt only disgust at the narrow minded, unthinking, unproven and untrue accusations by another brain-washed and uneducated religiously biased Catholic.

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