Thoughts, Opinions, Gripes and Grievances

Kian Pfannenstiel, Writer

Disclaimer: I did not personally fact-check this news source, and, according to mediabiasfactcheck.com, it is “Left Biased” (but not to an extreme) and has failed, overall, fact checks on three of their articles, none of which are used in my own article.

I recently read an article, link to it provided here, should you want to read it yourself, stating that certain religious non-profits are seeking exemption from the law (especially the Affordable Care Act, and its “contraception mandate”) under RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act). Many religious non-profits are deciding not to cover contraception in their health-care plans the way that the Affordable Care Act states they should, which is completely legal… as long as they notify the federal government. They must do so to allow the government to go to their provider and cover contraception directly, known as direct coverage. Certain non-profits, however, refuse to cover contraception or to notify the government, completely restricting their employees from utilizing this coverage. Their claim is that this is a substantial burden on their religious belief, which protects them in their behaviors. To top it off, they claim that no court can declare that it isn’t substantial burden because it is a “religious question” immune to judicial review.

I am not stating that all of the facts in this article are true, nor am I assuming that any are true. Though, I will respond to it as though they are all true.

Now, my own opinion is that the non-profits involved are being ridiculous, especially the ones completely denying their employees contraception. I understand that if something contradicts your religion, you don’t want to help others do it. For example, contraception. But don’t go so far as to completely deny people their right to make that choice on their own behalf — it isn’t your life to live, and it doesn’t affect you, so you should stay out of it. If your religion doesn’t enable certain acts, and you believe that you need to deny people the right to make their own choices, then you need to change your religion. I will never respect anyone or anything that promotes denying people control over their own lives.

According to the article, The Little Sisters of the Poor state that the courts cannot determine whether they are allowed to do this because it doesn’t clash with a major federal goal and it is a question of religion, immune to judicial review. This is ridiculous, no one can play judge over their own court case, and it is the judge’s job to interpret law and come to decisive conclusions. The Sisters prevent the judges from doing that by interpreting the law for them, stating that they aren’t allowed to come to a decisive conclusion because it contradicts an RFRA. Of course this won’t stand, as they are taking the job of judge under their own control, which they can’t do.

Let’s step away, for a moment, from discussing the legality of what this includes, and mention the morality of it.

The Little Sisters of the Poor is a Roman Catholic institute run by nuns, but it hires people of many faiths. Because contraception contradicts Roman Catholicism, the nuns refuse to cover it in their plan, which is allowed and morally sound. They follow their religious and ethical beliefs, but don’t restrict others’ freedom to choose their own. Well, if they follow the law correctly. The problem is that they don’t, and they refuse to let their employees to be covered at all, despite their employees not necessarily being of the same religion. Their employees may believe that contraception is no less a tool to make life better than an axe is a tool to make splitting wood easier. However, because the nuns don’t believe in contraception, none of their employees are allowed to use it. This is where the moral and ethical line is crossed, because the nuns are restricting the freedom of their employees to make their own ethical decisions.

Please don’t get confused with that last statement. I may not respect an opinion or a belief, but I will always respect one’s right to an opinion and belief.

As one additional note, the RFRA was deemed unconstitutional by the supreme court in the ’90’s. Of course, that doesn’t stop anyone from trying to use it in court.

One last time, these are only my thoughts, opinions, gripes, and grievances, and mine alone. If you agree or disagree, or find that the occurrences described in the article provided aren’t accurate, that is fine. This was really more a means to tell all of you my own opinions, not to make you have mine, and not to tell you some political news. I don’t even know the relevancy of that news article, I have no clue when it came out. If anything I said offends you, I am terribly sorry, and assure you no offense was meant.