Editors note: This was meant to appear in a magazine edition in June. Due to mistakes in emailing, it ended up never published. We present it to you now, with apologies for the inconvenience.
The HHS mandate is almost certainly not supported by a single reader of this magazine. In spite of this, a proper understanding of why it is wrong, and what its implications could be, are important for any well informed Catholic. If we are to triumph in the Culture wars, we must maintain our intellects, information, and spirit. That goal is a huge part of our magazine, to help Catholic teens realize they are in a culture war, and to provide them with the tools needed to win said war.
The largest focus of this article will be showing the HHS mandate wrong from a secular point of view. Why it is wrong from a religious point of view will be discussed, but in general it is more effective to argue from the more secular point of view, at least when you are arguing with secular people.
The HHS mandate is a policy mandate from the Health and Human services agency, which justified the mandate under the Affordable Care act. The mandate requires all employers with more than a certain number of employees to purchase insurance plans for their employees which cover contraceptive services, including abortifacients like the morning after pill. It has been hotly contested by the Catholic Church, as well as other groups, with the abortifacients being the issue most in contention.
This mandate must be opposed for three reasons:
1. The Slippery slope.
2. Interferes with the religious beliefs of owners.
3. Extremely economically inefficient.
The first reason, the slippery slope, is widely dismissed as a fallacy. Yet, as I said earlier in a blog post, fallacies don’t prove anything, but they are often right. When the you damage the logical reasoning behind having B so you can have A, sooner or later it will generally be taken advantage of. It really isn’t a huge stretch of imagination in this particular case, with Justice Kennedy asserting that the reasoning of the Obama administration would permit a mandate requiring for profit companies to cover abortions. The eroding of our religious rights has been going on for years. The line must be drawn here. If we are to end abortion, and win back our full first amendment rights, than this fight must be won.
The second reason for opposing the mandate is that even disregarding where it may go in the future, it is already too great a transgression on the rights of employers. When an employer cannot conduct business without being forced to provide objects gravely opposed to his morals, it is a sign not only of moral decay within the culture, but of tyranny within the government. Generations of men have killed and died over situations very similar to this. Ever hear of the Sepoy revolution? Around the year 1857, the British introduced the Lee Enfield rifle, a rifle which fired faster and better. The new cartridges for it required biting off the end of it before putting it into the gun. The cartridges were also greased in animal fat, specifically cow and pig. When the rifle was introduced to native soldiers in India, they were convinced the British were trying to undermine their religion and revolted. In that rebellion, roughly 10,000 British died, and more than 100,000 Indians by some accounts.
Freedom of conscience was a thing which people in an earlier age took seriously, and which Government trampled on to their peril. In our own day and age, these rights are disregarded in a way they have not been since the worst excesses of the Roman Empire.
The third reason is pure economic inefficiency. It is generally regarded in economics that a person’s pay is roughly determined by how much money they bring to the firm. How, then, does this situation benefit anyone? If an insurance company knows it has to regularly pay for contraceptives, it will raise the premium accordingly. They are business trying to make money after all. When an employer has to pay higher premiums, he adjusts wages accordingly. He is trying to make money after all. So all that has been achieved for the worker is now they have to file a bunch of extra paperwork, and pay for people to file that paperwork. The employer now has a trampled conscience, paperwork burden and may have to hire additional, needless employees to deal with it all. The insurance company, which makes about three cents on the dollar, will be lucky to make 5 bucks profit in a whole year of this. All in all, the situation benefits nobody really.
Have a question on politics? Send it in, and we may use it for a column!
By Henry Bartholomew
Sometimes I wonder what battles should be fought, since I’m aware that there are many worthy causes I wish I could fight for. Then I find myself scoffing at battles I don’t feel are ‘good enough’ without realizing that they are just as important. Maybe we don’t realize it as much as we should but all these fights matter.
The list could go on, right? Where to start? Which are the most important and which can be left for some other time? Every one of these issues are important but how do we know which ones need us the most?
We ask “how can we fight for the rights of women in the Middle East when we can’t even save the lives of girls in the womb in our very own country?” But how can we not fight for those women’s rights with the same force we use to fight for the unborn?
Abortion: The death of hundreds of babies a day. Many Christians fight hard against it while others focus more on the children outside the womb, but who’s right? They both are, both are worthy battles when fought with the right motivation.
Discrimination: I have a tendency to scoff at that one saying that the unborn are a more worthy issue to fight. As true as that may be, discrimination is still a problem. I’m not using the term as many do to force religious people to accept homosexual marriage and that your unborn child is your body therefore your ‘choice’. I mean discrimination against religion. For some reason you’re allowed to slam my faith but I’m not allowed to tell you that you can’t kill your unborn child. People scream about equal rights for women, homosexuals, colored, mentally challenged and a million other things but they never stop and think about our First Amendment right: Freedom of Religion.
Persecution: It’s actually a lot closer to home than you’d think. “Christian” has now become a label to use, not a way of living your life for Christ in Christ. It has even, in some cases, becomes a label at which to scoff. Looking at the extreme it’s also a reason many have died in places like Syria and Iraq.
Violence: we see all kinds of violence that happens in many places: from the terror state of ISIS
War: Some people might not realize it but there’s a very dangerous war going on right now in Ukraine. Russia wants to once again become the regain it’s old empire and is now fighting hard to get it. But that’s not all, the Middle East is also in chaos and Mexico is torn apart by drug wars.
Abuse: sometimes we think abuse is far away but it’s actually closer than you might think. Children and adults alike have been subject to it in many ways. According to a United Nations report, Human Trafficking in the United States alone is a $9.5 Billion dollar industry. A US Department of Justice report states that yearly, up to 300,000 children are forced into prostitution. We are not talking some third world country. This is in the United States.
There is no one person that can fight every battle but each person is called to do his or her part. We can’t stand by and watch as bad things happen to our world. This world was a gift from God and he allows evil so as to show us that we need Him but there’s more to it than that. It’s almost like a test to see if we are willing and able to help our neighbor.
The teenage years are the years we use to find ourselves, to try new things, to figure out what we want to do with our lives and to train to be the people we want to be in order to heal our broken world. So now I challenge you: find your passion, discover what battles are calling you to the fight then do everything you can to fight for what you know is right. It can be as simple as defending your faith to your friends and classmates or just bringing your neighbors to the Mass. But that’s not all, I want you each to find something you might not be so passionate about, learn more about it, and see if maybe your calling might be something you never thought it could be. It’s all about experimenting. Sometimes we think that our passions are the most important and we have trouble seeing how others could possibly prefer something else. Find out what makes someone else feel so passionate about something you never thought was important.
(Edited by Henry Bartholomew)
'Fire of the Spirit' Teen blog is run by Henry B. To find more information about this blog, go here