The Conservative War On Women

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Alien Love Gardener wrote:
The only difference here is that a bunch of reactionary disgusting old men don't consider contraceptives to fall under the minimum standard, and have a big bully pulpet to trumpet their stone age beliefs from, and there aren't enough people that consider stigmatizing women for being in control of their own sexuality creepy and ass-backwards to shame them back into their hole.

It's clear from the above that you don't have much respect for organized religion, which is perfectly okay for a dude on the internet, but politically not okay for a President. And the underlying message sent by the original policy was marginalizing and disrespectful towards churches and religious people. Politically speaking, regardless of how much you hate religion, if you want to see another Obama term you'd better get behind the compromise, because this guy pulled more than half the catholic vote, without which he can say goodbye to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, maybe even Michigan.

I wasn't speaking strictly about the catholic bishops when I said disgusting old men -- although they most certainly are, and how those child-rape-covering-up asses have the gall to spout bollocks about how immoral that mandate was even as the laity overwhelmingly favours it is beyond me -- but was also including pundits like Bill O'Reilly sputtering over women getting insurance coverage for their slut pills (while still expecting insurance to cover their viagra, of course). From what I've read, opposition to this skews male and old.

And don't get me wrong, I think the compromise was a very savvy move. Women still get the coverage, the opposition is left sputtering and is forced to give up or expose the underlying motive.

(Although it's true that I'm no fan of organized religion.)

jdzappa wrote:
I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a moment, and since the GWJ crew seems to be pretty level headed, maybe you guys can help me work through a few things.

I'm pretty involved as a volunteer with my local Catholic parish and school. My family are all very devout Catholics and my wife used to work for a Catholic school. Now, I personally am not against contraception (I am not a big fan of abortion for any reason except to save the life of the mother or rape/incest but that's another thread). However, I'm also seeing a lot of people in the Catholic community feeling absolutely attacked and marginalized by a government trying to ram something they find repugnant down their throats. This is less of a "slut shaming" or "anti woman" initiative as it is the feeling that the government is oversteping its bounds. Giving religious organizations an exemption in truth hurts nobody. Contraception will still be relatively cheap and available. Employees who feel that working for a Catholic institution is constricting their rights can always leave and go work elsewhere.

However, if the government can basically threaten and bully a very large segment of the community on one issue, where does it end? What if the next Republican president is a religious zealot and decides to withold federal funding to any state that legalizes gay marriage? Obama is setting a rather dangerous precedent here. I'm a big fan of the separation of church and state, and in this case it's pretty clear the state's coming over and legislating what people are supposed to believe.

So if there was a change with the leadership of the Mormon Church and they decided that black skin was, in fact, a curse from god and that no Mormon organization should employ anyone who was black, you'd be completely OK with that because "giving religious organizations an exemption in truth hurts nobody" and that the 14th Amendment would be the government legislating what people are supposed to believe?

In the case of Catholics, not everyone who works for a Catholic hospital or school or whatever is actually a Catholic. So what right does the Catholic Church have to force its beliefs on the non-Catholics who work for its various organizations, many of which receive vast amounts of tax dollars?

Religious institutions are simply not the highest agencies in this country. That role falls to the US government. By insisting that religiously affiliated organizations should always get an exemption what you are really saying is that god trumps everything. That might be OK if we all believed in the same god, but we don't. Therefore religiously affiliated organizations have to live within the boundaries established by our secular government. In this case, it means they have to provide contraception if one of their employees wants it. Hell, Obama even changed the rule so that the insurance company will be the one actually paying for the contraception so the Catholic Church can keep it's alter boy groping hands clean.

I'm having a hard time even recognizing the dog you and many Catholics have in this hunt. Like many, many Catholics, you are personally OK with contraception even though that position is directly counter to church dogma. Given that, how exactly is your right to religious freedom being infringed upon because a nurse in a Catholic hospital or a teacher a Catholic school can now get their contraception paid for by their health insurance if they so choose? I don't see a conflict, especially because you've already rejected the Catholic Church's position on contraception.

Obama is setting a great example in this case. He's saying the secular rights we've established for all citizens can't be violated in the name of religion. Religion doesn't get an automatic pass. It has to work within the rules of society, not place itself above those rules.

When exactly did employer-provided healthcare become a "right"?

NormanTheIntern wrote:
When exactly did employer-provided healthcare become a "right"?

Employer-provided healthcare is not a right. Equal treatment under the law is. If nobody had employer-provided healthcare, this would not be an issue, but, as we do, it gets applied equally.

Notorious liberal Antonin Scalia wrote:

We have never held that an individual's religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition.

When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.

So... The Church was paying for condoms and vasectomies this whole time? Because otherwise I don't see how this line of thinking is salient. (t milkman)

jdzappa wrote:
However, if the government can basically threaten and bully a very large segment of the community on one issue, where does it end?

We already passed that point when we enacted civil rights legislation that says you can't discriminate in the workplace.

However, I'm also seeing a lot of people in the Catholic community feeling absolutely attacked and marginalized by a government trying to ram something they find repugnant down their throats.

I think the problem is the people who feel something is being 'rammed down their throats' don't realize this is not them being bullied: this is them having to conform to the laws that everyone else in the marketplace has to conform to. In fact, this doesn't feel genuine: this feels like people are getting all offended just because they don't like Obama/the Democrats/etc. and acting like their religious freedom is being trampled is politically useful. It feels like a manufactured controversy.

I'm a big fan of the separation of church and state, and in this case it's pretty clear the state's coming over and legislating what people are supposed to believe.

How do you get that this law is telling people what to believe when it's a law that applies to all employers regarding health insurance? There's no requirement to believe, just to render unto Obamacare what is Obama's.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
So... The Church was paying for condoms and vasectomies this whole time? Because otherwise I don't see how this line of thinking is salient. (t milkman)
in 28 states they were. From the sound of it the most recent concession from Obama actually reduces the amount of contraception the Catholic church is paying for.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Alien Love Gardener wrote:
The only difference here is that a bunch of reactionary disgusting old men don't consider contraceptives to fall under the minimum standard, and have a big bully pulpet to trumpet their stone age beliefs from, and there aren't enough people that consider stigmatizing women for being in control of their own sexuality creepy and ass-backwards to shame them back into their hole.

It's clear from the above that you don't have much respect for organized religion, which is perfectly okay for a dude on the internet, but politically not okay for a President. And the underlying message sent by the original policy was marginalizing and disrespectful towards churches and religious people. Politically speaking, regardless of how much you hate religion, if you want to see another Obama term you'd better get behind the compromise, because this guy pulled more than half the catholic vote, without which he can say goodbye to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, maybe even Michigan.

The question is whether that Catholic vote is as offended by this as that Catholic Church hierarchy. I'm not sure it is, especially the female half.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
So... The Church was paying for condoms and vasectomies this whole time? Because otherwise I don't see how this line of thinking is salient. (t milkman)

The times have changed: we now have Obamacare. Obamacare--rightly or wrongly--puts requirements on employers just like Social Security does (there's a whole story here regarding the Amish) on employers to pay money to provide their employees with benefits. Like Milkman was saying, you have a right to the things the law entitles you to.

Dimmerswitch wrote:
tl:dr

I knew that if I bit my tongue long enough someone here would say what I spent a big chunk of my morning trying to say.
The key question I kept trying to come back to: Who does this change affect that makes it so odious? No individual is forced to change anything about their lives and the Churches have already provided those insurance services in other areas for years without comment. Why now and why over this?

Rezzy wrote:
Dimmerswitch wrote:
tl:dr

I knew that if I bit my tongue long enough someone here would say what I spent a big chunk of my morning trying to say.
The key question I kept trying to come back to: Who does this change affect that makes it so odious? No individual is forced to change anything about their lives and the Churches have already provided those insurance services in other areas for years without comment. Why now and why over this?

Also, I would be curious to see whether the church has ever brought this level of outrage for other positions they officially oppose, like the wars in the middle east or the death penalty?

Late to the party but I just wanted to say that it is fundamentallty wrong to wish a child on someone as punishment. It's worse than abortion. To the wrong parents, or to parents with a chip on their shoulder that this child ruined their life, the scars of negligent or abusive parents last a lifetime. It's sad that these fundamentalists care so much that a fetus might be aborted, but once the child is born, they seem to throw up their hands and say "it's your problem, maybe you shouldn't have had sex". You should never, ever, use a child as punishment. And anyone who thinks that a child should be a punishment, well, to keep it civil let's say I believe that they need some exposure to the real world.

kaostheory wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:
So... The Church was paying for condoms and vasectomies this whole time? Because otherwise I don't see how this line of thinking is salient. (t milkman)
in 28 states they were. From the sound of it the most recent concession from Obama actually reduces the amount of contraception the Catholic church is paying for.

I thought Obama's compromise was pretty slick, if insurance companies will accept it. The only reason I can think of for the continued complaining is if the church was NOT providing insurance in these areas before, despite the state laws telling them to. Has it been established that religious employers were actually abiding by those statutes previously? Were they being enforced?

OG_slinger wrote:
Religion doesn't get an automatic pass. It has to work within the rules of society, not place itself above those rules.

I understand what you're saying here, and I don't disagree in the case of the contraceptive hubbub, but that sort of broad philosophy could be used to trample a lot of religious beliefs or exemptions (religious schools being able to discriminate when not hiring homosexuals or unmarried pregnant women, churches not having to pay taxes, etc.) that secular society finds objectionable. I guess that'd probably be fodder for a different thread, though.

Crispus wrote:
I thought Obama's compromise was pretty slick, if insurance companies will accept it.

I'm sure they will because Catholic employers are certainly not going to push to make childbirth uninsured, and any insurance company facing the question of whether to pay for birth control vs. pregnancy+childbirth, the economics come out on the side of birth control for an insurance company.

Crispus wrote:
but that sort of broad philosophy could be used to trample a lot of religious beliefs or exemptions (religious schools being able to discriminate when not hiring homosexuals or unmarried pregnant women,

These are very untragic.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Crispus wrote:
but that sort of broad philosophy could be used to trample a lot of religious beliefs or exemptions (religious schools being able to discriminate when not hiring homosexuals or unmarried pregnant women,

These are very untragic.


Preserving the rights of religious organizations to be dicks is not a high priority for me. I am also fine with them paying taxes.

Jon Stewart had an interesting take on the entire kerfuffle last night. The first two segments are worth watching (just go past the Whitney/CNN crap).

Crispus wrote:

I understand what you're saying here, and I don't disagree in the case of the contraceptive hubbub, but that sort of broad philosophy could be used to trample a lot of religious beliefs or exemptions (religious schools being able to discriminate when not hiring homosexuals or unmarried pregnant women, churches not having to pay taxes, etc.) that secular society finds objectionable. I guess that'd probably be fodder for a different thread, though.

When the church is acting as a church, it can do whatever discriminatory things it likes. When it is running a secular service (businesses, hospitals, schools open to the public, etc.) it has to follow the same rules everyone else does. That means paying the appropriate taxes, not discriminating (as legally defined) against employees or customers, following environmental and financial regulations, and all the rest. The nature of the operation should define the rules (church vs. !church), not the self-reported beliefs of the owners.

OG_slinger wrote:
Jon Stewart had an interesting take on the entire kerfuffle last night. The first two segments are worth watching (just go past the Whitney/CNN crap).

That was really good. I can't believe we're having this battle in the 21st century. The GOP has lost its moorings in a way I didn't think possible. Paleocon and others. Please take back your party.

Dimmerswitch wrote:
First up, I appreciate you taking the time to write that post - I disagree with your conclusion (and some of your premises), but genuinely enjoy folks engaging in substantive dissent rather than drive-by snarkiness.

A thousand times this.

On a related note, where is the War on Religion thread?

DSGamer wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:
Jon Stewart had an interesting take on the entire kerfuffle last night. The first two segments are worth watching (just go past the Whitney/CNN crap).

That was really good. I can't believe we're having this battle in the 21st century. The GOP has lost its moorings in a way I didn't think possible. Paleocon and others. Please take back your party.

The Jon Stewart clip with only the War on Women/Santorum stuff.

It's sad that these fundamentalists care so much that a fetus might be aborted, but once the child is born, they seem to throw up their hands and say "it's your problem, maybe you shouldn't have had sex". You should never, ever, use a child as punishment.

Yeah, if the focus were really on the child, they'd be all about social services to make sure it grew up healthy, strong, and happy. The instant it's born, it's on its own. This is because the fetus is important only as a tool to hurt the mother with, not in and of itself.

Wow, Stewart nailed it here.... according to Republicans, religious freedom is religious freedom for employERS. EmployEES can go f*ck themselves.

I find really amusing that we had this huge fight over "Obamacare" and now here we are. Are conservatives saying that they would actually rather have a single-payer system? They wouldn't have these moral quandaries to deal with if they weren't in the insurance/hospital business. Obama basically handed them a giant handout in exchange for losing two years of political capital. Medicare for all and these companies can figure out how to survive without the government money. They'd be okay with that right?

jdzappa wrote:
I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a moment, and since the GWJ crew seems to be pretty level headed, maybe you guys can help me work through a few things.

I'm pretty involved as a volunteer with my local Catholic parish and school. My family are all very devout Catholics and my wife used to work for a Catholic school. Now, I personally am not against contraception (I am not a big fan of abortion for any reason except to save the life of the mother or rape/incest but that's another thread). However, I'm also seeing a lot of people in the Catholic community feeling absolutely attacked and marginalized by a government trying to ram something they find repugnant down their throats. This is less of a "slut shaming" or "anti woman" initiative as it is the feeling that the government is oversteping its bounds. Giving religious organizations an exemption in truth hurts nobody. Contraception will still be relatively cheap and available. Employees who feel that working for a Catholic institution is constricting their rights can always leave and go work elsewhere.

However, if the government can basically threaten and bully a very large segment of the community on one issue, where does it end? What if the next Republican president is a religious zealot and decides to withold federal funding to any state that legalizes gay marriage? Obama is setting a rather dangerous precedent here. I'm a big fan of the separation of church and state, and in this case it's pretty clear the state's coming over and legislating what people are supposed to believe.

First up, I appreciate you taking the time to write that post - I disagree with your conclusion (and some of your premises), but genuinely enjoy folks engaging in substantive dissent rather than drive-by snarkiness.

I'll start with the premises.

I disagree that the Catholic community in the U.S., broadly speaking, truly finds contraception repugnant. A recent study shows that 98% of Catholic women have used contraception (warning, PDF link).

I also have a hard time believing that the Catholic church is upset about the government overstepping its bounds. As has been mentioned upthread, the original White House proposal is already law in over half the states. To the best of my knowledge, the Catholic church wasn't in public opposition to this policy until Obama touched the issue. I'm open to counter-examples showing Catholic opposition to mandated access to contraception that predate Obama's involvement, but absent that evidence it seems difficult for me to come to a conclusion other than the Catholic church decided to gift the GOP with an election-year wedge issue.

I further disagree that giving religious organizations an exemption doesn't hurt anyone. According to Janet Keating at Duke university, 10% of women at Duke using birth control pills do so strictly for medical reasons (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Endometriosis can be treated with birth control pills, among other conditions), and a further 50% of women at Duke using birth control pills take them to control cramps, rather than to avoid pregnancy. Even your sentence that "Employees who feel that working for a Catholic institution is constricting their rights can always leave and go work elsewhere" shows an awareness of the potential for a negative impact on workers.

In terms of your conclusion, even if I agreed with the entirety of your argument up until that point, it wouldn't support the conclusion that the government was intruding on belief. The law mandated access to birth control, not use of it, nor did it specify what beliefs anyone should have about birth control (or any other subject). I don't think the original policy was bad, though I think there's room for reasonable disagreement there. I think the compromise (which would prevent the Catholic church from financially supporting birth control at all, while still ensuring access for employees who wanted it for medical or family-planning reasons) was a deft political move, and that continuing opposition by the Catholic church points to this simply being political gamesmanship on their part.

tl;dr: The separation of church and state may be getting violated, but it's not the state that is kicking down the fence and doing the Charleston here.

[Edit to fix redundant text in second-to-last paragraph]

Malor wrote:
Wow, Stewart nailed it here.... according to Republicans, religious freedom is religious freedom for employERS. EmployEES can go f*ck themselves.

"You've confused a war on religion with not always getting everything you want." -John Stewart

Kraint wrote:
When the church is acting as a church, it can do whatever discriminatory things it likes. When it is running a secular service (businesses, hospitals, schools open to the public, etc.) it has to follow the same rules everyone else does. That means paying the appropriate taxes, not discriminating (as legally defined) against employees or customers, following environmental and financial regulations, and all the rest. The nature of the operation should define the rules (church vs. !church), not the self-reported beliefs of the owners.

Honestly not seeing where the "discrimination" comes in here. As already noted, employer provided healthcare is not a defined right but in the process of becoming a legally-mandated benefit. What that benefit entails is still being worked out legislatively and policy-wise. So while it would clearly be discrimination to deny one group of your employees some benefit you already provide to another group, that's not the case here.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Kraint wrote:
When the church is acting as a church, it can do whatever discriminatory things it likes. When it is running a secular service (businesses, hospitals, schools open to the public, etc.) it has to follow the same rules everyone else does. That means paying the appropriate taxes, not discriminating (as legally defined) against employees or customers, following environmental and financial regulations, and all the rest. The nature of the operation should define the rules (church vs. !church), not the self-reported beliefs of the owners.

Honestly not seeing where the "discrimination" comes in here. As already noted, employer provided healthcare is not a defined right but in the process of becoming a legally-mandated benefit. What that benefit entails is still being worked out legislatively and policy-wise. So while it would clearly be discrimination to deny one group of your employees some benefit you already provide to another group, that's not the case here.

So reproductive management and support like Viagra and other palliatives for men's reproductive health issues like priapism are paid for, but not medications that manage issues in those areas for women. And this isn't discrimination how?

So while it would clearly be discrimination to deny one group of your employees some benefit you already provide to another group, that's not the case here.

Norman, withholding contraceptive services almost exclusively impacts women. About the only procedure for males that wouldn't be covered would be a vasectomy. Condoms are already an out-of-pocket expense, so that has no impact or bearing on insurance.

The list of things that aren't covered for women is quite a lot longer -- and much more impactful in daily life, as most of these techniques and prescriptions are extremely common, routine items.

The policy is inherently sexist.

gregrampage wrote:
Dimmerswitch wrote:
First up, I appreciate you taking the time to write that post - I disagree with your conclusion (and some of your premises), but genuinely enjoy folks engaging in substantive dissent rather than drive-by snarkiness.

A thousand times this.

On a related note, where is the War on Religion thread?

If that was directed at me - you saw the smilie, right? Like, I put it there to indicate I wasn't serious.