Friday, February 17, 2012

Would You Pay For Rosa Parks To Sit In The Back Of The Bus?

Would you pay for Rosa Parks to sit in the back of the bus and call it justice?

Of course you wouldn't. No decent human being could conscience that. It's just wrong. It's a matter of principle and basic civil rights. Relieving her of an obligation to pay the fare while simultaneously requiring her to sit in the back would not respect her dignity as a human being.

We hold that civil rights are rights precisely because they go to the core of who we are as persons. They cannot be separated from us without grave injury; they are inextricably linked to our human dignity. It abuses the victim and debases the perpetrator.

Among these rights are freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and organizations, along with freedom from discrimination on grounds of gender, religion, or race, etc. It is not a matter of elevating one civil right over another, nor a matter of degree of how much a civil right is infringed -- any attack on these basic rights is an abrogation of the dignity of a person as a person.

Unfortunately, that is precisely what is going on with the HHS mandate (even as amended by the Administration) with respect to Catholics and any person of faith or conscience.  Whether you require Catholics to "pay the fare" or not, being forced to follow a mandate that explicitly violates their fundamental beliefs is literally unconscionable.

Bishop Paul S. Loverde of the Arlington Diocese wrote in the Feb. 16 issue of The Arlington Catholic Herald: (emphasis mine)
Make no mistake: this “accommodation,” as described, is no accommodation at all, but
rather remains a direct violation to our right to religious liberty, a right which is protected in the Constitution.

The president’s new plan purports to transfer the burden from religious employers to their insurers. This is a distinction without a practical difference; the funds still come from the employer and the employees. Moreover, it fails to address the situation of self-insured health care plans such as those offered together by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. Under a self-insured plan, the employer is the insurance provider—there is no distinction between the two.

Up to now, we have been free to provide health care coverage that is consistent with our religious and moral principles. This freedom is being taken away. Under the proposed revision, our diocese, as well as other objecting individuals and employers, would be mandated to pay not only for birth control and sterilization, but also for abortion-inducing drugs—such as Ella—which end the life of the human person in the womb. This mandate must be rescinded or overturned.

It is not only Catholics who are being threatened. This mandate is a dangerous precedent for all those who seek to act according to their consciences.
This HHS mandate is reprehensible, plain and simple. Let us have no straw man arguments on whether or not Rosa Parks paid bus fare, how many Catholics use contraception, or how you hate/disagree with Catholic teaching. Spare us your misplaced indignation on how dare you compare my civil rights abuse with your civil rights abuse (that's what analogies are for). Let's not split the gnat's eyelashes on how many degrees of separation are required before it's considered "material cooperation with evil".

It's not about degrees. It's about fundamental civil rights. Religion. Race. Gender. Human.You cannot violate one without violating them all in principle, because they are bound to our humanity. Any attack is not to be tolerated.

This. Must. Not. Stand.

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