I can’t tell you how relieved I am.
Last week in the Letters to the Editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, Mr. Thomas Fann, while pointing out that many people feel that certain provisions of HHS mandate impedes their freedom of religion, he assures us, “It does not.”
I was worried. I am so glad he cleared that up for me.
Of course, he goes on to say that there really are limits to freedom of religion so even if it does really impinge on your faith: too bad.
Back to feeling bad again.
“We are all free to believe what we want, conduct our lives according to our beliefs and worship as we please.”
Okay, I’m with you again.
“However, our religious freedom does not give us the right to force others to change their behavior to fit our beliefs.”
Of course it does. Mr. Fann demostrates this himself. His system of beliefs says that it may force another individual to violate his belief system by making him become directly culpable in what amounts to an intrinsic evil to him. You can’t have it both ways. Either we can force others people to behave according to a belief system or you can’t.
“Attempting to prevent or impede what many employees feel are valid (and legal) health-care choices is not a religious freedom protected by the Constitution.”
Here again Mr. Fann plays the game of denouncing a behavior for those he’s against, and then shows how perfectly logical it is for him to do it. None of the people against the HHS mandate are forcing anybody to do anything. Nobody is protesting that such items should be taken out of the store; nobody is protesting clinics because they are handing out free birth control, but Mr. Fann places the desire of one person to have birth control paid for by a person who finds it morally repugnant over and above the religious freedom of the provider. One can still have the freedom to act according to his conscience (and have it paid for), the other may not.
And “legal” does not mean moral.
And since when is it not protected by the Constitution? Of course it is. On what planet is protection of religious liberty not a part of the Constitution? It is a handy argument to make up with absolutely no citations or references. “It just isn’t” is not an argument.
“Employers are free to reject contraception for themselves, but religious freedom does not give them the right to make that decision for their employees.”
First, I am thankful that Mr. Fann has given me permission to reject contraception. But I have not read a single article anywhere of an employee of any company has been fired because they used contraception even though his employer finds it to be morally abhorrent. Or maybe there has been a rash of front page articles that I missed.
The only person making demands on anybody’s behavior (and tapping their resources) is Mr. Fann and backers of this portion of the HHS mandate. (This reminds me of 2 Maccabees chapter 7).
“Where are the employees going to get the money? From their paychecks, from the same employer who refuses to pay for contraception coverage on the grounds of ‘religious freedom.’ I don’t see the difference.”
And that is the problem. You don't see the problem. First of all, I highly recommend that you do not take a job writing an etiquette column. If I give you a gift, it is yours. I no longer have control over it. If I give you twenty dollars and you use it on cigarettes, there is really not much I can do about it. A paycheck is the same thing. Once I give you the money it is yours. What you do with it is your business.
Secondly, I recommend that you do not take a job writing an ethics column. There is a huge difference between indirect and direct culpability. It is one thing for me to give twenty dollars to a teenager who then goes out and buys smokes, it is another thing to make available smokes for the teenager “because he is going to smoke anyway.”
There is one thing Mr. Fann and I do agree upon. It is this sentence: “This issue really isn’t about religious freedom; it is about control.”
I couldn't have said it better.