It's About Freedom, Not Contraception

Carol Platt Liebau
Posted: Feb 11, 2012 1:41 PM
The ever-delightful Amanda Marcotte is claiming that the brilliant President Obama has "punked" the Catholic bishops by the compromise-that-isn't.

Her post is revealing, and not just because of its ugly and overt animus toward Catholicism (long-standing on the part of this blogress, incidentally).  It shows the ground on which the left is hoping to fight this battle: Contraception.  Among other objectives, the left hopes to use this fight to marginalize Catholic bishops and other social conservatives (including GOP presidential candidates) by attempting to portray them as pathologically focused on preventing women from accessing  birth control.

Pleeeeze.  As a preliminary matter, access to abortifacients is also included in the President's diktat.  It's not just a matter of making the pill or some other kind of female-oriented birth control generally available.  We're talking complicity in abortion here.

But the larger point is this: It's not about contraception in any case -- it's about freedom.  I'm a Protestant.  I've got no issue with contraception.  But I DO have an issue with the federal government attempting to force the Catholic Church (or any church!) to violate its own religious principles.  If -- with a couple of fancy accounting gimmicks -- the Obama administration can actually jam this down the throats of millions of Catholics, there's nothing the government can't do when it comes to forcing their will on people of faith everywhere.  

And this is a pattern.  The Obama administration just got slapped down by the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision, after having tried to claim for itself the power to tell churches whom it can hire as ministers.  These are not people who respect the contributions that religious institutions make to our society.  The hostility is particularly obvious when it comes to issues of sexuality; witness President Obama's appointee to the EEOC and her insistence that sexual right should trump religious ones

Contrary to the game the left is trying to play, the issue here isn't the merits of contraception, or access to it.  The issue isn't women's rights -- no one is forcing any woman to work for a Catholic institution.  The issue has nothing to do with sex at all.  In fact, the issue is religious freedom, and whether the federal government can force churches to violate their own foundational principles.  

If lefties succeed at framing the argument their way, they have a shot at making their efforts at freedom-crushing social engineering sound less ugly and ominous than it is.  In the process, they will take an enormous step toward marginalizing religion -- not only in American life, but in providing an alternate viewpoint on issues of sexuality.

It's important to frame the debate properly.