Thursday, June 14, 2012

STFU Catholic Bishops

Dear Catholic Church,

Hi. I'm MJ, and I'm not a Catholic. Watching you throw your hissy fit about contraception coverage is hitting close to home for me, though, because my health insurance comes from my husband's employer, which is a hospital that lost its Catholic affiliation a few years back when the powers-that-be discovered that ladies were getting sterilized there, thus preventing them from carrying out their Church-approved destinies as walking incubators. So, but for the space of a few years, it could be MY contraception coverage you're arguing about, and I have something to say about that. Several things, actually.

First, let's talk about compensating workers. When you pay your workers, and you provide them with certain benefits, such as paid leave and health insurance, those things become theirs. When you hand over that money at the end of the pay period, the money stops being yours, and you stop having any say over how it gets spent. In asking to be exempt from the contraception coverage requirement, you are essentially demanding to be allowed to levy a sin tax on your contraceptive-using employees and their spouses and dependents. People who use contraception aren't going to stop just because you withhold coverage from them-- they're just going to have to pay more than people who have said coverage: thus, a sin tax. Because you disapprove of their behavior.

How does this make ANY sense? I get that you don't believe in contraception. I have no problem with you not using it, if that's your bag. But how does it infringe on your freedom of religion if I use it? The answer is, simply, it doesn't. You want to be allowed to use your leverage as an employer to attempt to coerce employees into not engaging in a behavior that runs contrary to your dogma.

We have religious freedom in this country. Your followers are completely free to eschew contraception and have as many babies as your god blesses them with, and it's your job to make sure they keep doing that if that's something that's important to you. What you can't do, however, is take federal funds and then get out of providing required benefits because they might mean providing contraceptive access to someone who couldn't otherwise afford it, allowing them to engage in behavior of which you disapprove. Your disapproval doesn't matter unless that person happens to be a Catholic, in which case you ought to take it up with the individual.

So, Catholic Church, I would like to cordially invite you to shut the hell up. If you're taking federal funds and employing non-Catholics, you can't require them to adhere to Catholic beliefs and teachings. The money going toward contraception coverage isn't yours-- it's compensation for the aforementioned employees, who don't have to follow your archaic rules. If contraception is really that big a deal to you, then you need to take it up with your faithful (who use contraception at about the same rate as the general population, by the way) and leave the rest of us alone.

Also, it's hell on your PR. Not that I really mind that part.

Irritably yours,

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