Contraception Controversy - A Teachable Moment for Social Conservatives?
Perhaps the contraception controversy will provide a teachable moment for the social conservatives now that the Catholic Church has received a small taste of what it has been dishing out. The contraception controversy shows that the same behemoth government needed for social conservatives to enact their wills on the population will be used against them, as it has been done here against the Catholic Church. The left is far worse in this regard, but this article is addressed to the right because the right often makes the claim of believing in limited government. Unfortunately, time and again, the social conservatives step in and do the same thing the people on the left are doing. The line items are different but the results are equally invasive.
I am firmly in agreement with many on both sides who say government should stay out of our bedrooms, our waiting rooms, our board rooms, our reading rooms, our movie rooms, our video game rooms, and our dining rooms. The solution is a smaller less intrusive government.
In this case, the Catholic Church brought the contraception controversy on itself by supporting universal health care. In the US, this is Obamacare. Their position has been to treat health care as a right, when it is clearly a product. In other words, the Catholic Church is fine with allowing the government to force US citizens to buy a product simply because they are alive, and to pay for things they don't believe in, as long as the Catholic Church doesn't have to pay for things it doesn't believe in, such as contraception.
Had the Catholic Church helped stop the imposition of Obamacare, they would not have been in this position. Some Catholic pundits have said the individual purchase compromise is not acceptable because the church related institutions will still have to pay indirectly through their insurance premiums when anyone in the plan gets contraceptives, even on an individual basis.
In light of this, it is astounding the Catholic Church appears to be still pushing for universal health care! If they succeed in getting the US government to implement universal health care there are two possibilities. Either their taxes will be paying for many people's contraceptives, which they are claiming is repugnant, or the Catholic Church will have to somehow prevent any American from obtaining contraceptives through the government plan.
Further, on December 16, 2012, in his World Day of Peace 2012 message, Pope Benedict XVI said that a more just and peaceful world requires "adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth." Read about it here, or here.
The Pope was proposing that governments take what was rightfully earned through the hard work of one, and hand it over to others who did nothing to earn it. There are few things that would be more intrusive, or repugnant, than wealth redistribution. There are few things that go more solidly against many people's sincerely held personal beliefs than that statement from the Pope.
Many social conservatives say they are for limited government, but along with the left, historically there have been many attempts to legislate otherwise, especially when it comes to people's private behavior. If their position is the government should be smaller and less intrusive, perhaps social conservatives should stop trying to force intrusive beliefs on others.
In Texas, and four other states, it was illegal for same sex couples to have sex, and in nine other states additionally for heterosexual couples to perform certain kinds of sexual activities, until 2003. In Texas it was 2008, before sexual toys could be legally sold for their obvious purpose of providing sexual pleasure. Prior to that, the toys could only be sold for novelty purposes, causing a Baptist mom to be prosecuted for instructing two police officers pretending to be a couple on the use of a vibrator, which was precipitated by nonsensical factors you can read about here, and, in other cases, police raids were used to intimidate people. A smaller government did not simply get out of people's lives. It took court fights to overturn those items.
Some churches are opposed to homosexuals. Some churches accept them. Some churches say their members should not use sexual toys in the bedroom. Other churches believe sexual toys are welcome, as you can see in this article "Religious Sex-Toy Sites Vow to Save Marriages", which lists a number of sex toy friendly religious groups and their acceptance of sexual toys. Members of each church should follow their teachings, but whatever gave some government official the right to think they have a voice in other people's bedrooms?
Periodically we see social conservatives attempting to legislate which books people read, which movies or television shows they view, even what video games they play, which is the same as the left does on its items. Talk about a nanny state!
Thomas Jefferson, said in Notes on Virginia, 1782 "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
Our constitution is written the way it is because our founding fathers intended for consenting adults to be responsible for their own lives, and for the most part, to provide for themselves. Jefferson knew that leaving someone alone is not forcing you to accept them or their behavior. Free speech gives everyone the right to voice their opinion. But, Jefferson said it wasn't government's place to interfere.
Adults should be making their own decisions on how they will distribute their own wealth. Adults should be making their own decisions on healthcare. Consenting adults should be making their own decisions on whether to use contraception, or whether to enjoy sexual toys as a part of their lovemaking. Consenting adults should be making their own decisions on whether, when, and who to marry. Adults should be making their own decisions what they want to eat. All people should be able to keep more of what they earn, to spend their money as they choose, and generally to have a smaller less intrusive government that provides for equality of opportunity but which does not penalize the productive. If someone is a part of a congregation, obviously, those teachings will factor into their decision making. It is the right of a church to expel anyone who does not conform to their rules. But, when the actions of one are not injurious to others it is not the place of government to force someone's beliefs on others who do not share those beliefs.
Social conservatives, religious institutions, and others who claim to be in favor of a smaller more limited government could do much good if they would start practicing what they preach. Had they done so in the past, we would likely have a smaller more limited government now. There would likely have never been a contraception controversy if the Catholic Church had helped oppose Obamacare. However, if social conservatives, religious institutions, and others keep pushing for a bigger more intrusive government when it benefits them, then they should be not be surprised when the other party uses that intrusion against them. If we fail to shrink the size and scope of government we will see more of this, as occurred in this case. And, if you are a progressive who is laughing at the social conservatives, and the Catholic Church, you should be aware that the same intrusive government program that can force Catholics to carry contraception in their formulary, can prohibit contraception each time a social conservative gains power.
Now that the social conservatives seen someone get a taste of their own medicine will they learn this lesson?