Civil Political Discussions are Possible
Political Issues and Concerns
Thomas M. Smith, IV, a graduate of Reinhardt University where I teach, and currently studying at Columbia Theological Seminary recently made a comment about some of the political issue and questions which concern him. He expressed concern over the issue of "how ethical it is to take money from people that worked hard to earn it and giving it to those that didn't."
He is also concerned that "in doing so, the money taken is often used to finance certain things that are forbidden to a person's convictions, which infringes on First Amendment rights like on the ACA issue requiring the Roman Catholic Church to provide birth control."
Thomas, the collection by taxes and redistribution of money is a difficult and complex issue, but I almost always hear it discussed in simplistic Black and White terms by both liberals and conservatives...so we will save that discussion for another time.
But I have some ideas that govern how I think about birth control and many other health care, medical, or insurance issues. All of the following, in no particular order impinge upon whether birth control should be offered as part of medical insurance benefits, whether it is the Affordable Health-care Act (ACA) or United Health Care, Aetna Health, Kaiser Permanente, or Blue Cross Blue Shield.
To begin with, neither the Roman Catholic Church (or any other denominational church - Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc., is paying directly for the ACA benefits like providing birth control or eye exams or flu shots.
People who are employed by the Church, any church, like people employed by other businesses pay for (most people, not all) and receive certain benefits, which they as individuals are free to accept or decline.
Whether my place of employment offers me medical coverage through Aetna or Kaiser or Blue Cross, my personal opinion about birth control does not in any way, nor should it, affect other people's right to obtain birth control through those medical insurance plans.
Limits of Insurance
There are any number of services or benefits offered through various Insurance Plans, that individual people or groups may disagree with, but they are not entitled to an opt-out provision that will deny benefits to other people who wish to use those benefits.
Whether an individual makes use of every provision of his insurance plan or not, we all contribute to the total costs of most provision. That is how Insurance works in almost all situations - health, business, home, and automobile. Individuals have some choice, but we do not get to pick and choose with respect to every benefit.
I pay for Home Insurance that includes coverage for furs, jewelry, crystal and fine china. although I have none of these. I also pay a set premium for Kaiser whether I approve, or not, of all the benefit options their plans include.
Churches Rights are not Infringed
The ACA and other Insurance Plans do not infringe upon the Catholic Church and its "non-existent" 1st Amendment Rights. But Individual American citizens have 1st Amendment Rights, and they are free to exercise them.
If birth control contradicts someone's personal convictions, then "they should not buy or use birth control. If your or my religious beliefs prohibit blood transfusions, then we will not get a blood transfusion. But our individual convictions, beliefs, and preferences, should not and must not be used to compel an entire group of people to abide by our personal convictions.
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