Joseph Infranco

The second objection is more disturbing than the “cost” sleight of hand. It is the fatuous assumption that religious moral objections will be assuaged provided someone else pays. This formulation suggests that the ultimate moral interest involved is about paying the bill, rather than participating in what one believes to be a moral evil. This says more about the state of mind of the one making the offer than anything, and how the hierarchy of money and religious convictions line up for that individual. One who does not experience a deep moral conviction is likely to assume that others see things the same way; hence the belief that playing the money card will defuse religious convictions.

In root, the objection is not about money – as odious as it is to create a mandate compelling religious organizations to fund what violates their beliefs. Only one who thoughtlessly sees moral issues as ultimately about money could think such a compromise would work. It is for good reason we are warned that that one cannot worship God and Mammon (or money, if you prefer). The mere suggestion that money solves the coercion of conscience is profoundly disturbing.

As well, glib references to how many religious adherents currently fail to follow church teachings on a particular practice miss the point. A church’s moral authority comes from its handed-down beliefs, and is not measured by the report card of any particular generation. In fact, it is during times of moral decline that a church sees its transcendent mission as most important and necessary. Those who argue from estimates of how many Catholics use birth control mistake transcendent truth with polling, or worse, popularity contests.

So in effect, the compromise – should it be enacted – still requires religious non-profits to both foot the bill and violate their religious beliefs and teachings. The creeping mandates of government compelling religious organizations to do so should shock us all; the latest attempt at “compromise” is an empty well.

Joseph Infranco

Joseph Infranco is senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom.