The debate and battles over the new federal healthcare mandates are likely to go on for five years (before the Supreme Court hears it) and the real fallout only hitting in about one year when all institutions and individuals will be forced to adhere to the new laws (conveniently after the November elections.) So much for pro-choice in these matters. As you enter into these discussions it will be tempting to be sidetracked into other discussion that, while worthy, are not helpful in the healthcare debate. In order to assist you in these discussions, a couple of talking points are suggested.
1. Others (and perhaps you will be tempted) will try to move the topic of conversation to abortion or contraception or universal healthcare for the poor. Do not be so mislead or tempted. As worthy as those topics may be, that is not what this debate is about. Nor is it about the Catholic Church. It is about the Constitution of the United States being blatantly violated. Because of this, it is a cause of concern for all citizens, not just Catholic citizens.
2. This is the part of the Constitution about which we are concerned:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"
This new law severely undermines this amendment. Core beliefs of a faith are not only being trampled upon, a religious organization is now forced to spend its funds on matters to which it is fundamentally opposed. That it focuses on Catholics today is one thing. But what about when for the “common good” other rights of other faiths can be ignored and its freedoms abused because of the precedent begun with the Catholic Church?
3. The amendment does not say that laws may not be passed except for those that are very popular, or except for those laws that are deemed for the common good, but that no law shall be passed prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
4. Catholics cannot “opt out” as many people suppose they can. “Catholics do not have to avail themselves of these services if they do not want to” is not a worthy argument. Catholics will be forced to pay for these services even if they have no intention of every using them. We become material agents in acts we see as totally morally corrupt. That is not opting out.
assembling at which an official representative of the government must be present a horrendous trashing of the Constitution. Whether one’s rights are being violated or not by this new federal mandate, one should see this action as a similar disregard for the Constitution and for the freedom of the citizens of this great nation.
6. Catholics, practicing Catholics, are equal citizens as all others. We are deserving of the same protection of our rights as all other citizens.
ADDENDUM: The first commenter reminds me of this other important fact. The establishment clause is not only about the right to worship, which we will still have of course. IT IS ABOUT THE FREEDOM OF RELIGION. There is a subtle difference here but it makes all of the difference in teh world. There has been a shift in wording and that wording has significant ramifications. One only concerns what we do for an hour on Sunday, the other is far more reaching and is what is protected by the Constitution.
ADDENDUM II: Maybe this will help: Suppose everybody in the nation - your place of business, was forced to pay to keep up Catholic Churches. Many would scream, "You can't use my money to fund something that I don't believe in! That is a violation of my rights!" And what if I said in return, "This does not change what you do on Sunday morning. You do not have to participate in Mass." That would not be a satisfactory anwer. Perhaps that will help some to see why this is such a mess.
Remember these points. Print them out and hold on to them until you here a better stating of them. Great things are at stake here.