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Apr 15 2012

Hail to the King

Apparently the Catholic Church in the USA wants to raise awareness of freedom and wants to spend a fortnight trying to raise awareness and campaign for it. But I wanted to do a bit more poking around so I found the actual letter which the bishops wrote and I don’t think they know what freedom means.
Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.

That doesn’t sound like freedom. That sounds like good old “I want to be free to impinge on other people’s freedom” which is catholic theology 101.

Conscientious Objection is only good if your conscience objects to things that are bad. The KKK are conscientious objecters against miscegenation. Their stance is not valid. The Men’s Rights Activists actively campaign against women due to faulty perceptions on feminism. Their stance is not valid.

We sadly have to live in a world where we respect people’s superstitions and treat them as equal to reality solely on the basis of their age. It’s a testament to human idiocy that we think a 2000 year old faith in a dead jewish carpenter has any meaning in today’s world where we walked on the moon and have done miracles far greater than Jesus. If your belief in ancient superstition produces a conscientious objection that is immoral, then it is well within our rights to treat you as immoral. The beliefs of many people involve Female Genital Mutilation, should we treat their beliefs as sacred or as superstitious nonsense that harms society as a whole? What about Sati? Child Sacrifice? Purdah and Hijab? Are these ideas that need to be supported or superstitions to be fought?

With this in mind let’s see what Freedoms we are impinging on?

HHS mandate for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.The mandate of the Department of Health and Human Services has received wide attention and has been met with our vigorous and united opposition. In an unprecedented way, the federal government will both force religious institutions to facilitate and fund a product contrary to their own moral teaching and purport to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit protection of their religious liberty. These features of the “preventive services” mandate amount to an unjust law. As Archbishop-designate William Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, testified to Congress: “This is not a matter of whether contraception may beprohibited by the government. This is not even a matter of whether contraception may be supported by the government. Instead, it is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs.

The HHS mandate is a requirement that healthcare providers meet a basic standard of Gynaecological and Obstetric healthcare. That contraception, abortion and sterilisation are vital parts of Gynaecology and Obstetric healthcare and form a vital part of women’s rights in particular the right to control their own reproductive cycle and the rights of families as a whole to determine how many children they have as children are an economic burden mainly because we don’t live in the “good olde days” where we could just send our children to work in a factory or a mine. (Amusingly enough? It was the communists who created that law and campaigned for it. The tenth plank of the Communist Manifesto infact. Children to recieve free education and children to not work in factories. I joke that if Americans realise this they would stop their children from being educated and send them to work up chimneys if only out of spite.)

This law is not unjust so much as a basic requirement of medical services. The law from the government is very simple. Your Healthcare Service Provider Must Meet A Basic Standard. The Catholic Church REFUSES to meet a BASIC standard of healthcare and so does not make the cut. This is a law that applies to EVERYONE and what I see is a bunch of Celibate Men in Robes dictating what medicine a bunch of Non Celibate Women recieve based on the teachings of a 2000 year old book assembled by a bunch of Roman Bishops under Constantine rather than a bunch of Trained Medical Professionals With Years of Experience And a Scientific Understanding of Human Function and Physiology. You can pray to whatever gods there maybe for your unconquerable soul but you still pay a doctor to treat you rather than a priest. Why is it that a bunch of priests get to decide then what is healthcare and what isn’t?

It’s very simple. What the Church has an argument against is Gynaecology. The Vagina is Evil and Must Be Punished after all. If a insurance company or health provider didn’t offer you blood transfusions or organ donation then you would consider them to be goddamn quackery at the highest level.

There are said to be five pillars of medicine. The Catholic Church wishes to be a healthcare provider while only providing Medicine and Surgery while leaving out Social/Preventative Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynaecology and Compassion.

Christian students on campus.In its over-100-year history, the University of California Hastings College of Law has denied student organization status to only one group, the Christian Legal Society, because it required its leaders to be Christian and to abstain from sexual activity outside of marriage.

The California Hastings College of Law recognises the Catholic Law Students Association, it refuses to recognise the Christian Legal Society because the Christian Legal Society fails on two accounts to be a inclusive society. It discriminates on the basis of religion and sexual orientation.

For a student group to recieve public funds and official recognition, it must be open to all students regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexual orientation. The Catholic Law Students Association meets these standards. Hell… The Muslim Law Students Association meets these standards (AKA A Gay Jewish Female to Male Transexual with no legs can go join the Muslim Law Students Association if he so chose to) but the Catholic Church wants what effectively is a hate group with
special laws to encourage hate.

Thou Shalt Not Tell a Lie, but Thou Can Tell Half The Truth.

Catholic foster care and adoption services. Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and the state of Illinois have driven local Catholic Charities out of the business of providing adoption or foster care services—by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both—because those Charities refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.

Again… Because the government has set a basic standard of service and these organisations do not provide a service that meets basic standards. They have not driven any organisation out of business. They have merely stated that your organisations have a bunch of nonsensical rules which prevent children from recieving the best possible service in finding adoptive and foster parents. Because the Catholic Church lives in a magic world where Celibate Men in Robes are more normal than people who Love Each Other.

There are more children than permanent adoptions and the Church actively prevented people from adopting either because they didn’t have a certificate declaring them to be Husband and Wife (Because you automatically become a great parent because of the certificate!) or because they were gay. The government is completely right in denying these organisations money as per the separation of Church and State (since the overarching ideology in selecting placements is one of a primarily religious nature) and because it is a discriminatory organisation that prevents children from finding homes.

Discrimination against small church congregations. New York City enacted a rule that barred the Bronx Household of Faith and sixty other churches from renting public schools on weekends for worship services even though non-religious groups could rent the same schools for scores of other uses. While this would not frequently affect Catholic parishes, which generally own their own buildings, it would be devastating to many smaller congregations. It is a simple case of discrimination against religious believers.

It is not discrimination against small church holdings so much as an important LAW in america about separation of Church and State. I understand this is difficult for Catholic Bishops to understand so to put it in a simple way “Render Unto Caesar”. The rules of man state that tax payer money cannot be used to promote religion. AKA You Cannot Utilise Public Property (A School) For Church Purposes. And it is embarassing that I as someone who is not american (I am a Limey) have a better grasp of the rules of America than American Bishops.

Neither the Catholics, Protestants, 7th Day Adventists, Mormons, Watchtower, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Scientologists, Pagans or the Cult of Cthullu have any right to utilise the school for this purpose. It is not discrimination and the argument is frankly moronic to make.

Non Religious Groups By Defnition Are Not Religious And Therefore Exempt From The Separation of Church And State. At it’s heart this argument is a complaint that the American Government does not allow Catholics to spread their nonsense on public property. It boggles the mind that the Catholic Church cannot grasp this basic concept. You can run whatever you want in your churches or your homes. The schools are off limit.

Discrimination against Catholic humanitarian services. Notwithstanding years of excellent performance by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services in administering contract services for victims of human trafficking, the federal government changed its contract specifications to require us to provide or refer for contraceptive and abortion services in violation of Catholic teaching. Religious institutions should not be disqualified from a government contract based on religious belief, and they do not somehow lose their religious identity or liberty upon entering such contracts. And yet a federal court in Massachusetts, turning religious liberty on its head, has since declared that such a disqualification is required by the First Amendment—that the government somehow violates religious liberty by allowing Catholic organizations to participate in contracts in a manner consistent with their beliefs on contraception and abortion.

The Catholic Church is not being disqualified again due to religious belief but because it refuses to provide basic healthcare. In addition many Catholic Humanitatrian Services are complicit in the spread of HIV and AIDS in Africa. Giving them Money is not helping the HIV control efforts considering the church is still actively responsible for spreading superstition and lies about condoms in HIV ridden Africa.

The issue is that the Church and it’s organisations provide a shoddy service that can be obtained better by sponsoring any number of other charities. Religious institutions can be excluded from government contracts if they fail to meet the basic requirements of the contract which includes proper medical care for women (and men. The Church is against vasectomies too). Why should they pay the Church to produce an inferior service and reduce the choices of women who really need help.

If you don’t like abortions, if you don’t like condoms or the pill or the copper T, if you don’t like vasectomies or tubal ligations then don’t have one. No one is forcing the Pope to get the Snip. But what the Pope and his celibate flunkies are doing is forcing women to undergo a procedure (Delivery of Pregnancy) by producing an inferior service in the USA and expecting to get public funds to be shit at their job.

“In the face of an unjust law, an accommodation is not to be sought, especially by resorting to equivocal words and deceptive practices. If we face today the prospect of unjust laws, then Catholics in America, in solidarity with our fellow citizens, must have the courage not to obey them.”

I can only see one law that is unjust here. Being banned from ministering to illegal immigrants. That’s just a petty law enforced by people who think illegal immigrants are stealing american jobs because the average american really wants to go pick fruit all day for minimum wage. This is a petty law and a pointless one at that.

Coopting the words of Martin Luther King which was spoken during the fight against the American Apartheid where black people were treated as less than human is a callous disregard for history and indeed for the meaning. Using it to defend the right to discriminate against women and GLBT is mindbogglingly idiotic and an insult to the ideals that Martin Luther King stood for.

Freedom to spread hate and lies is not freedom. Freedom to deny women healthcare is not freedom.

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