Today I am (relatively) hard at work at my desk. The weather here in Chicago has taken a turn from the sunny, late spring-like days of the past week to rainy and chilly. So I am surprised to hear chanting and screaming coming in through the thick glass of my 20th floor window.
Oh. It’s the local “pro-lifers,” egged on by our home-grown Pro-Life Action League, rallying for the freedom to continue sucking at the public teat while denying access to contraception through their insurance coverage to their non-Catholic employees. Hilariously and ironically, one of their loudest chants is the word “freedom.” Today’s ridiculous, riddled-with-irony rally has provoked irritation, contempt, frustration, and a certain sense of “how can this be a real thing in the world” bemusement.
It is a fact that no actual churches will be required to provide contraception coverage through their insurance programs. It is also a fact that there is no government mandate that Catholics actually avail themselves of contraception.
On the other hand, institutions such as hospitals, which are publicly funded to a substantial degree, and which provide services to the general public are and should be required to follow the same standards as every other large employer.
You know what? If the Catholic church wants the right to impose its asinine religious values on all of its employees, it needs to wean itself off public money. Until then, they can really go fuck themselves. The Catholic hierarchy is a deeply morally troubled institution, and their continued insistence that they have any sort of moral authority is just fucking laughable. The idea that any Catholic employer’s minimal contributions to its employees’ health insurance programs violates the institution’s conscience is so fucking ridiculous that I find it difficult to believe that anyone, anywhere is falling for it. It’s insurance coverage. It’s a benefit of employment. If we accept this brain-damaged argument that the employer’s portion of health insurance premium contributions violates religious principles, then surely the paychecks that go to employees who might use contraception is an even more egregious violation. After all, there isn’t even the middle man of the insurance company standing between the flow of money from the institution to the employee.
We live in a bizarre, bizarre universe.