Friday, February 17, 2012

My First Mind

Momma taught me to go with my gut.

She didn't oppose thinking things through, and recommended that with every decision you consider the pros and cons. But, she said in the end, you trust your gut. Since Momma's a Christian just like me, she used terms like the "Spirit of Discernment."

When this birth control thing broke, my gut said this wasn't about people forcing a religion to do something it found immoral. My gut said it was about choice, and the need to limit choices. In my gut, I knew that when it comes to core issues like abortion or birth control or even divorce, the Catholic church isn't interested in compromise or allowing people to deal with God's consequences for their choices. No, the Catholic church has certain issues where compromise is impossible and birth control is one of them.

My gut told me that.

But, I wavered in that belief. I listened to folks who said it was just about a fear of government intrusion into religion, not a desire to limit people's choices. Those people thought that if the government could find a way to allow the Catholic Church to wash its hands, to make sure it wasn't required to directly pay for or provide certain services, things would be ok. Sadly, those people were wrong.

The White House has offered a compromise that would allow the Catholic Church to avoid directly paying for birth control, but that would still provide it for free to women who want it and work for Catholic business or attend Catholic schools. It placed the burden for payment on insurance companies, and while it's true that those companies might pass along those costs in higher premiums, it still means the Catholic Church wouldn't be paying for it directly. The church could reasonably claim its innocence.

 That plan has been rejected.

Some might see this as a principled stand. It might appear to be an example of the church refusing to allow practices that conflict with its beliefs, even indirectly. Those people must have forgotten that we're talking about the Catholic Church.

You know, the Catholic Church that turned a blind eye to a worldwide sexual abuse scandal that ruined the lives of thousands of young boys who were molested repeatedly by priests the church protected from prosecution or punishment. Men the church allowed to resume their duties and molest again. Abuse that continued for decades and still has not been properly revealed because of the church's attempts to first deny that it occurred and then to cover up its scope.

Yeah, that Catholic Church.

So the church's principled stand on birth control, much like its principled stand on abortion, feels false. Those stands seem like just the type of hypocritical tripe that people always accuse religious groups of wallowing in. The church is not in the business of standing up and speaking loudly against all sin or even most sin. It's in the business of focusing on certain sins that overwhelmingly impact the lives of women.

And my first mind tells me something ain't right there.


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