Thursday, May 31, 2012
"But Everyone's Doing It!" and Other Lies About Why the HHS Mandate is Okay
Ever since the lawsuits against the HHS Mandate were filed last week the issue of religious liberty has reemerged in the forefront of my thoughts and this morning I'd like to address another angle that's often used by the media and opponents of religious freedom everywhere when attempting to force practicing Catholics to embrace and personally subsidize behavior they know to be evil. It goes something like this:
"But everybody's doing it. Even Catholics. In fact, 98% of Catholic couples use contraception. This is just a bunch of old men trying to force their own beliefs on everyone else."
With this argument it can be hard to know where to begin, because there's so much wrong with it. Let's start with oft quoted statistic of 98%. Even the Washington Post felt the need to point out that the data was skewed. I've already written about the dishonesty in these statistics but thought it was worth bringing up again.
Honestly, I personally, wouldn't have been surprised if a pollster went out and asked 1000 women on the street and got the 98% statistic, because people who identify as Catholic have very different views of what that means.
So I wouldn't have been shocked if the 98% statistic had been right. Thankfully, it's not. It's highly skewed (what else could we expect from Planned Parenthoods happy little polling organization!).
But even if it wasn't, does the government have the right to force a small group to violate their religious principles to pay for the recreational sex lives of the general population? Can the government force us to violate our consciences using the logic that: "Everyone else is doing it!"
The simple answer is no. That was a key ingredient that went into the mix during the formation of our great nation. Religious liberty was to be protected. And while these days some people seem to think that means freedom from religion, it is actually freedom of religion. Yes, the Constitution states that the state can't establish a religion. But it also guarantees the free exercise of religion. And a big part of the free exercise of my religion is not paying for babies to be killed (and that includes being prevented from implanting after a new life has been formed).
See, the fact that we all sin, doesn't make sin suddenly acceptable. That's basically what you're saying when you use the "but everyone's doing it" argument. Does saying: "Well everyone sins, so it's okay for the government to mandate that we do something objectively evil!" make sense to you?
The thing is, a lot of people, from the media to various self proclaimed dissenting Catholics, would like the Church to be a democracy. They'd like us to be able to vote for what we think is right or wrong this week and be led my the court of popular opinion.
I'm a bit baffled by this, since it's pretty simple to exit the Church and find another church where you could vote on right or wrong and do whatever it is you want... but for some reason these particular Catholics would like to take the ship down with them. I guess it's probably a nudge from the one who's been trying to take the Church down since it's foundation with Peter.
This response extends to the argument that says that "Catholic institutions aren't following Church teaching perfectly so it's okay for the government to force them to do other things that they find morally abhorrent."
After all, we complain about Catholic In Name Only (CINO) institutions all the time. They're already not following Church teaching, right? So how's this any different.
Repeat after me: The government isn't to prohibit the free exercise of our religion. It's the law of the land. Even if we reveal our imperfect humanity with our mistakes and extremely poor choices, we're still allowed to strive for perfect unity with Christ. The government can't take that from us.
Besides, there are plenty of Catholic institutions with plenty of Christ loving Catholics who are doing their best to align their lives with Church teachings. It's easy to focus on the bad, and the embarrassing Catholic College mistakes. I've certainly done it... a lot. And as a result I'd like to point out (although I think it's beside the point) that there are plenty of Catholic institutions that are seriously striving to do the right thing. Off the top of my head: Ave Maria University... Franciscan Steubenville University... Christendom University... Saint Thomas (in Southern California.. and the one in New Hampshire... and the one in Houston!). EWTN... The list goes on and on. I'm sure many of you could add to it.
it doesn't justify the fact that the media has completely ignored the existence of people and institutions that do follow Church teachings to the best of their ability.
So please, don't swallow the lies the media is peddling about the Church, Catholics or Catholic institutions, hook, line and sinker. Pray. Trust that the Bride of Christ will overcome this assault, just as she's withstood the others. And speak out about the evils of contraception as it continues to damage our culture.