Saturday, February 25, 2012

Iran and Birth Control

Two converging news stories in recent weeks have placed the United States and Iran on the same side of an issue. Strange bedfellows indeed! The first story involves an Iranian pastor who was sentenced to death because he "illegally" converted to Christianity (in some Muslim countries, it is illegal for one to leave the Muslim faith). The second story involves the mandate recently handed down by the Obama administration, which states that all insurance companies must provide contraceptive service (including sterilization and abortifacients like Plan B). The issue of contraception, however, is a red herring and should not be the primary focus of our concern. What should concern us is this unprecedented attack on religious liberty, and  the suggestion that these "services" are about as necessary as food and water.  Once again, the issue is neither contraception nor homosexuality, but whether or not we can still exercise our basic freedom of conscience, and whether religious institutions are free to set their own agendas, or whether we too, like the Iranians, will elect to impose harsh penalties on those who fail to worship at the altar of this secular "sacrament." Any man that wishes to revoke this basic liberty is no liberal at all, but rather a wolf in liberal's clothing. Perhaps I might be accused of overreacting. Yet if this mandate goes through, what will limit the power of government? On what grounds might one declare that the government is incapable of forcing anyone to do anything irrespective of their conscience? Don't forget, as was witnessed this past week in Iran, the dictatorship can cut both ways. The secular progressives are always preaching to us about the necessary barrier between church and state. And in this particular instance, I can only say "Amen"! Now if only all of the atheists and secular moralists would follow their own dictum.


  1. Is it possible that you are confused about the case in question? The only recent unanimous Supreme Court decision regarding religious employment that I can recall is Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC. The person at the center of this case is not a pastor and not gay, but a teacher in a Lutheran school. She was fired either for having narcolepsy and taking extended sick leave or for insubordination, depending on which party you ask. The question was whether or not the existing "ministerial exception" applied to her, since she is not what most people would recognize as a member of the clergy and most of her job duties were those of an ordinary teacher; she certainly was not a Lutheran pastor, even by the church's standards. The question was whether the church's category of "called teachers" who taught religious classes (which was part of her job) put her in the exception category. The administration had supported her case because of the appearance that her firing violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    1. Thanks again Bill for making sure that what I say actually corresponds with reality. It is always an important quality in any writer, wouldn't you say? You are correct I did mischaracterize that particular case, though not on purpose. I think the mistake was made because the story was reported as a case that was significantly tied to the question of religious liberty. Perhaps I heard some media pundit posit the homosexual scenario as a possible outcome of a positive ruling in this case. At any rate, there is probably good reason why the Supreme Court as well as the Obama administration took sides on it. My sense is it has little to do with the evils of "narcolepsy", or the fact that some boss unjustly fired an employee, and everything to do with how powerful government should be, and more importantly, should they be able to dictate to a religious institution how to handle their internal business. Do they both care about narcoleptics who get fired for no good reason? I am sure that they do. But, as I said before, it is far more likely that they took the case because of its far-reaching implications, rather than any outrage of over some arbitrary case of injustice up in Michigan. Nevertheless, mea culpa, for I should have checked my facts.

  2. Never underestimate the trouble that the Federal government is willing to go to make the ADA a royal pain in the rear. :-)