Joe Got It Right (Or I Should Say, Correct)
A late in the Presidential debate question cast a clear view of the half baked Catholic Church complaint about religious freedom. Martha Raddatz asked both candidates about how their Catholic faith informed their public views. This was a thinly veiled question which was really about the candidates position on abortion. The answers informed the public about both the candidates and real religious freedom.
Paul Ryan answered first. He looked seriously into the camera and said his catholic faith was fundamental to his thinking. He then snatched the bait and said he opposed abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and the mother’s life. This was a reversal of previous Ryan proclamation but that fact passed without comment.
Joe Biden then drove the important point home. Looking just as pious, Joe said Catholic faith was also central to his life. He said as a result he personally accepted the catholic doctrine on abortion. Joe paused, and then delivered the clarifying information. Biden did not believe his faith should be imposed on anyone else.
This strikes at the heart of the bogus Catholic argument about religious freedom. How can anyone claim a freedom at the expense of others? No one asks that catholics or the Catholic Church urge the practice of birth control or to practice it. Rather, the fallacy of the church argument is that they insist they have a right to deny secular (non-catholic) individuals birth control options.
The religious freedom argument is similar but different. Cardinal Timothy Dolan says the Affordable Care Act which includes birth control as part of a complete women’s health coverage an assault on religious freedom. When the government said ok, you a religious organization don’t have to pay for coverage. Instead the insurance company must provide it free. The church objected.
In part defense of their objection, the church said it was self insured so it didn’t have an insurance company to hide behind. Hmmm.
The answers seems simple… obtain health care insurance from a private provider instead of self insuring. Why should a school teacher in a Catholic school not receive the same benefits as one teaching in the public school system? Do we have two classes of teachers?
The religious freedom complaint runs deeper than just birth control. The same argument is also applied to adoption by gays and lesbians and most recently to the accordance of the same rights of heterosexual couples in civil unions and in some States marriage.
Ryan, in breaking with the hard line “no abortion under any conditions”, is an attempt at a political compromise. Ryan, however, opens himself to “if it is ok under those circumstances, what about these”?
A far safer, fairer, and more defensible position might be for the Church to say “this is our faith but we respect your right to believe differently.
Joe Biden got it right from an American perspective. Paul Ryan might have gotten it right from a church going no place point of view.