Columnist Michael Gerson, in a particularly hyperbolic screed, contends that by forcing Catholic institutions to purchase health insurance policies that include contraception, President Obama has declared war on religion (TNT, 1-31).
Except for the fact that the right wing in this country has done an excellent job of vilifying the Affordable Health Care Act, the fallacies in this argument are so patently obvious that they are hardly worth discussing.
The law requires that employees be covered by health insurance that includes contraceptive services. Nowhere does it require the use of those services.
Catholic institutions hire non-Catholics for many positions; according to studies, 98 percent of Catholic women have used birth control at some point in their lives. So the real war is against women’s rights.
Insisting that religious employers comply with the law does not violate their religion. Organizations like the American Friends Society (Quakers) oppose war, but adherents are required to pay taxes which support the military. Some religions (Christian Science) eschew medicine. Should an employee of a Christian Science business be deprived of health care?
Laws and rules concerning workers’ health and safety must apply to all employers. We cannot allow them to pick the rules they like and ignore the others. That’s called anarchy.