Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Health Care Reform: Keep It Separate From Religion

Thank you for respecting a woman's right to choose, Congressman Schauer, and for also having the courage to say what many women think - "The government doesn't belong in the room when these very personal, private decisions are being made." And neither does the religious right, Council of Catholic Bishops and Bart Stupak. They certainly don't speak for all people of faith.

From the United Church of Christ:
UCC Minister and Co-Team Leader for the Cleveland-based Team, the Rev. Loey Powell, reiterated the UCC's 40-year history of support for reproductive health care and said of the amendment, "We join [partner faith] groups in expressing our disappointment that the House bowed to pressure exerted at the last minute from anti-abortion lobbyists ... Once again women's health and well-being have been compromised in the halls of Congress."
United Methodist Church:
The United Methodist Church’s official positions on abortion and immigration stand in opposition, however, to restrictions placed in the bill that limit coverage for all of God’s children living in the United States. H.R. 3962 excludes immigrants and women whose circumstances indicate need for an abortion. These restrictions even include persons who now have such insurance.

The bill establishes a two-tiered system of health delivery. It essentially penalizes women and immigrants with fewer economic resources.
National Council of Jewish Women:
"This Stupak-Pitts amendment is an egregious assault on the rights of women and an enormous step backward for those who believe in the separation of religion and state. It enshrines one religious view of abortion into law and enlists the federal government to enforce it.
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice:
We call on the Senate to ensure that health care reform is freed of religious ideology and restrictions that will prevent women from making their own reproductive health care choices.
Ideally, I think our leaders should heed JFK's words:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote. . . . That is the kind of America in which I believe. . . . Whatever issue may come before me as president - on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject - I will make my decision in accordance with . . . what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates.
Along with 40 other Democrats, Stupak is threatening there will be hell to pay if his amendment is removed, and the Council of Catholic Bishops is threatening to withdraw their support for reform too. Their religion may condone turning their backs on the uninsured, but mine believes health care is a matter of social justice.

There are hundreds of religions in this world and we'll never find common ground acceptable to everyone. However, as this blogger so eloquently put it...
Freedom of religion in our nation means, first and foremost, the right of individuals to live their lives in accord with their most cherished religious beliefs, and free of government interference. [...]

At the same time, though, the reciprocal of that freedom is an equally fundamental responsibility. This is the responsibility not to use the authority of the government to compel individuals to live their lives in accord with our "religious dictates" that they do not share. Muslims have the right not to consume pork, but they should not use the power of the government to forbid others to eat pork. Jews have the right not to work on Saturday, but they should not use the power of the government to prohibit others from working on Saturday. And Catholics have the right not to marry people of the same sex, but they should not use the power of the government to forbid others from marrying the person they love.
And religion should not use the power of government to block health care reform.

(Cross-posted at Blogging for MI.)


Kvatch said...

And religion should not use the power of government to block health care reform...

On pain of endangering their immortal tax-exempt status.

Lew Scannon said...

Stupak is just two letters away from having a very self descriptive name....

K. said...

Another of the Reasons I'm Not a Catholic Anymore.

Kathy said...

Kvatch, excellent suggestion. They're obviously not using the tax dollars they save to help the poor, minister to the sick, etc.

Lew, it is "stupid" to jeopardize health care reform over this, and I find it distasteful that abortion is being used like a poker chip in this situation.

K, I'm not comfortable with any church that pits people against each other, and that's what's happening in this situation. They're basically saying give us what we want or health care won't pass.