To get ready for his new high-profile role as the Roman Catholic archbishop of Baltimore, William Lori went on Meet the Press to decry society’s moral decay. Particularly, Lori had beef with the “erosion of religious liberty,” in the form of religious institutions being forced to provide coverage for contraception in their employee healthcare plans.
“Religious liberty?” Is everyone picking up this new definition from Rick Santorum? Will America’s religious groups only be free when everyone else is forced to abide by their religious convictions? Is that the new bizarro meaning of liberty? I know, I know. The sticking point is that these institutions would be footing the bill for something that doesn’t square with their beliefs. But surely of all the things your money is used for without your approval (war, unmanned drone assassinations, etc.), the pill has got to be the least of your worries.
Lori said that America’s various faiths “contribute to a moral consensus that underlies our laws.” An interesting statement, when there is no “consensus” on contraception within Christianity, let alone among the several religions. Presbyterians, Unitarians, and Anglicans, among others, are in fact for it. And anyway, you want to talk about consensus? 98 percent of sexually experienced Catholic women have used contraception — how’s that for consensus?
At the end of March, the Senate passed a bill that would allow employers to refuse to cover anything they find morally objectionable. So, if you’re working for a Catholic institution that ends up denying you contraception coverage, you can be happy you don’t work for Jehovah’s Witnesses; they probably wouldn’t cover blood transfusions.