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CONTRACEPTION: Don’t give in to extremists

Letter by Laura H. Vaughn, Tacoma on Feb. 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm with 67 Comments »
February 23, 2012 11:35 am

The Catholic Church cried foul when faced with paying for mandatory birth control coverage for women employed in its many hospitals and other institutions. It claims that paying for Catholics and non-Catholics alike violates religious freedom.

I believe religious organizations should not be exempt from supporting their female employees in the same manner as for-profit companies, hospitals and universities. President Obama should not have backed down from his original position.

Having done so, has only given rise to more religious groups and right-wing conservatives leaping into the fray, yelling and screaming that they want no part of women’s health care programs.

Hopefully they will take into consideration the new New York Times/CBS News poll that indicates most Americans, including a majority of Catholics, support requiring religiously affiliated institutions to provide contraception coverage.

The First Amendment rightly required the “wall of separation between church and state” envisioned by Thomas Jefferson. That “wall” supposedly precludes government from favoring or disfavoring one view of religion over another.

Tax-exempt, nonprofit mega-churches, hospitals and universities are supposedly restricted from lobbing and politics. Did the huge tax breaks they enjoy just appear like religious miracles?

There is intense lobbying by religious groups and right-wing conservatives bent on imposing their will on women by restricting their rights. Today the religious rallying cry is to deny women birth control coverage. What will women have to do next to satisfy other religious extremists? Wear burkas?

Leave a comment Comments → 67
  1. concernedtacoma7 says:

    No rights have been taken away. Zero. The only right being lost is that of the religious institution.

    Women can take individual responsibility (with their partners), just like yesterday, last year, and the last 3000 years. To call this an assault on women’s healthcare is just a lie. After a co-pay we are talking about $10-20 a month.

  2. falkoja6 says:

    Since religion is being discussed in the health care bill how about the disparity of Dhimmitude? Muslims are specifically exempted from the government mandate to purchase insurance, and also from the penalty tax for being uninsured. Islam considers insurance to be “gambling”, “risk-taking” and “usury” and is thus banned. Seems that conflict is inherent in this bill. Why is this group, and probably others ,like the Amish, are specifically exempted because of their religion. Looks like there are more areas of this bill that have a conflict of separation of religion & politics.

  3. CuzEyewanna says:

    falkoja6 – are you stipulating that Muslims alone are exempted? Can you cite the language in the reform bill or provide a link to it?

    To the one that said this – “After a co-pay we are talking about $10-20 a month.” – you missed the entire argument. There is no copay if the church has their way. Sheesh!

  4. CuzEyewanna says:


    It’s not as simple as it seems and it includes much more than Muslim and Amish.

  5. CuzEyewanna says:

    I would just add that it’s pretty tough to have provided birth control for employees for 10 years and then make a fuss about it and expect the government or anyone else to take you seriously.

    It’s sort of like attacking commenters on a blog and complaining about being attacked.


  6. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Cuz- you missed the math. $20-30 WITHOUT copay, $10-20 WITH co-pay. So we are only talking about $10-20 out of pocket difference.

    That’s for your link. Where is your outrage and conspiracies involving the Muslim and Amish communities? Or do you just hate the Church?

  7. hansgruber says:

    All I an do is laugh at the letter writer here. There is so much more to women’s healthcare than “contraceptive Services”.

  8. 28 states already mandate contraception coverage…..

  9. All I can do is shake my head at hansgruber’s post – the letter writer never wrote anything close to “women’s healthcare is contraceptive services”…..

  10. These mega churches and religious leaders want to be heard on a political committee? Then I say they should lose their tax exempt status. We are entering dangerous grounds when employers NOT insurance companies OR even better… MEDICAL DOCTORS can mandate what services are or are not provided for on insurance coverage. What’s next? It was god’s will that you got cancer or there’s all of a sudden a moral reason against treating diabetes?

  11. … to clarify my last statement, doctors should determine treatment, not employers and insurance companies.

  12. Cardinous says:

    there is more to birth control pills than contraceptive uses, hansguber

  13. Cardinous says:

    Frida – I’ll even agree that insurance companies should determine coverage, since they bear the responsiblity of risk. Now, I doubt we’ll find an insurance company that will complain about paying for birth control pills, since they are cheaper than giving birth.

  14. Cardinous says:

    Should I tell someone that if women are on birth control, men won’t need condoms?

  15. Cardinous says:

    “ediot Senator?”

    I didn’t know there was a city named Ediot in Washington. There is “Entiat”, but no Ediot.

  16. concernedtacoma7 says:

    How about STDs? If we are using acne as an excuse for BC, I don’t care if men want condoms for water balloons. Both are not a federal issue.

  17. concernedtac? Move your mind out of the sex without consequences because I buy my wife her bc pills box, the pill is prescribed to regulate women’s periods when they are too heavy due to endometriosis, fibroids, cysts, and a whole host of other FEMALE conditions such as uterine and ovarian cancer. If you would go to the doctor with your wife and take an interest in her health instead of buying her pills for your convenience, you might learn something from her obgyn. Pregnancy is also a medical condition and there are many women who must NOT get pregnant or they may suffer life threatening consequences. Of course this is of little consequence to you.

  18. Cardinous says:

    I could be wrong but I think you can avoid STDs by limiting yourself to one partner. Is that a problem, concernedtacoma7?

  19. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Frida, no matter how many times I go see her obgyn doc it will not change the monthly cost or the primary justification for BC.

    Keep ignoring the fact before Obamacare women of all faiths in America managed to get BC without starving themselves. We are talking about $10-20 a month. Grow up.

  20. What about “Men’s” healthcare? Where are the free Rubbers?

    That would entail making condoms not over the counter but by prescription only and, since they are generic and cheap, your monthly prescription would have to be very large to make it worth a $10-20 co-pay….

    But….as long as we are talking about efforts to restrict the spread of disease and how it is undermined by the morality police (aka the American Taliban) – don’t you agree that needle exchange programs are an essential tool in the fight against the spread of HIV and should be fully funded?

  21. Cardinous says:

    I guess all prescriptions of low cost should no longer be covered by insurance if the employer sees fit.

    Blood pressure meds, heart meds, diabetic supplies.

    Let’s figure out a way to charge this to the employee, instead of including it as part of a large number of benefits in a program that might make up about 1% of the total premium cost.

  22. Cardinous says:

    “Keep ignoring the fact before Obamacare women of all faiths in America managed to get BC without starving themselves.”

    This is an untrue statement. Birth control pills have been part of Rx drug programs since 2000, long before the Health Care Reform Act.

    They were made available when insurance started paying for viagra.

  23. Concernedtac? Did I again touch a nerve? Before 2000, the only way most women could afford bc pills was through planned parenthood because they weren’t covered by insurance. You are talking a co-pay of $20 a month. Without insurance coverage, just how much do you think the pill, patch or shot will cost nowadays? Again, you never answered my question. Have you ever gone in to the obgyn with your wife? Could it be that you don’t trouble yourself or are AFRAID of what you don’t know about women’s health? Its not just you, there is a panel full of priests that has no clue of how their voodoo beliefs will actually medically impact women. George Carlin said it best (paraphrase), “They care about the unborn but once they are here, they don’t give a d*mn!”

  24. Carrdinous? You crack me up!

  25. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Without insurance it cost about $30 a month.

    No, I never went to the obgyn. Why are you stuck on that? As I have said about a dozen times here, this is not about women’s health.

    I do not have to worry about her not having BC or why she wants it beyond stopping pregnancy. She wants if, and it is only $30 a month (now insured $10). Who cares. And she tried PP and they did nothing for her.

  26. Concerned? The reason why I ask that is because you might learn that the pill or shot is most often prescribed NOT for birth control, but for regulating menstrual flow that is WHY women have to have a PAP before the DOCTOR prescribes the pill. Heavy menstrual flow is often caused by large fibroids, cysts, endometriosis- all of which can spread and twist into surrounding organs. Women KNOW this, Doctors know this, doting hubbies know this… yet priests and religious leaders look over this fact. The pill is cheaper than all the other health consequences that women face without it including a baby which will have to be insured as well. And cardinous? I don’t prefer an insurance company say yay or nay – but I’d rather an insurance company say it than a priest.

  27. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Frida- you have a great point, and a big part of why I have had no problem paying for it. But, the primary use is BC, it is only a $20 difference, and women have survived just fine before Obamacare.

    It seems your big concern is who pays?

  28. No, its fairness in what is covered. Do the priests have an objection to Viagra? Or what if there were a male pill? My point would be the same. Its not an over the counter rx, therefore it costs more than the prescription- there is a doctor’s visit involved and an exam and tests/ cultures that come with it. That runs more that the pill itself.

  29. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Please see my response on the top thread. And “what if”?

    Let’s stick to the facts. But to bite you deflection, I do not think Viagra should be paid for with insurance, public or private. Either way, not te topic.

  30. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Your, not you

  31. Good morning concernedtac. You can keep ranting but eventually you will have to face the fact that what is a far reaching constitutional hypocritical infringement to you on religious freedom (since you admittedly provide your wife with bc pills) is an infringement on women’s reasonable access to health care under the guise of religious freedom. OR is it an attempt to over turn “Obama care” since this has not been a problem for ten years. Like it or not, women have rights and there are a lot of us. We do have domain over our bodies, and not some church figure heads. You can rant all you want, but it won’t change the fact that there are more women than there are catholics and we have a say. Just think, my vote counts the same as yours.

  32. Cardinous says:

    birth control is part of health care. Doctors prescribe it, not priests

  33. My car will catch an incurable disease if I don’t use fuzzy dice every time I take it out for a joy ride. Or…it might start to swell and, after 9 months of engorging on a huge diet of gas and oil, a Fiat 500 will pop out of its trunk during a very expensive trip to the mechanic followed by many, very expensive trips back to the mechanic to ensure that my little Fiat doesn’t die prematurely – all costs that will be shared by the tax payers if I can’t afford good insurance for my new baby car.

    Stupid analogy aislander. Health insurance isn’t car insurance. You aren’t required to own and operate a car – you are required to own and operate a body – and sex is a natural function of that body you own and operate.

  34. “birth control is part of health care. Doctors prescribe it, not priests”

    Excellent point, because “priests” and other religious people associated with The Catholic Church do NOT want to prescribe or pay for birth control, they should not have to, and under the Obama Compromise they don’t have to.

    President Obama did not back-down. He came up with a compromise that satisfies all parties concerned.

    President Obama and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have resolved the matter by making a rule change at HHS.

    1. Birth Control will be provided to women for FREE. Gratis! No Charge!

    2. The Catholic Church, or any other religious organization that owns a business, will NOT be required to pay for Birth Control and so will not violate their core religious beliefs.

    3. Insurance companies will pay for the cost of providing Birth Control, and are okay with that, because they know that Birth Control does reduce the costs associated with more chronic or catastrophic medical problems that Birth Control helps to prevent and/or control. That means fewer pay-outs for medical expenses, and more profits for them.

    Problems solved!

    Thank you Mr. President!

  35. aislander says:

    beerBoy: Thanks for walking in and making a point I seemingly couldn’t drive home to the likes of tuddo and Publico during the Obamacare debate: health insurance and car insurance are NOT comparable!

  36. aislander says:

    BTW: I can’t imagine that a car of yours would issue a Fiat 500–they look like too much fun (especially the Abarth version)–and God must know that in an Obama world we’re not supposed to enjoy politically incorrect transport. More likely a “Smart” car, or some sort of terrifying hybrid–perhaps a Corvolt…

  37. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Frida- your outrage is just immature. Women will get their BC and life will go on as it has. If they are working for a Catholic institution, they can afford the $10-20 a month difference. Obviously they are working to be part of this conversation.

    Amish, Muslim, and Sciencetologist also get waivers excepting them from Obamacare. Where is your outrage there? One group respects the stoning of women.

    While certain republican politicians are obviiously pushing this issue, here on the TNT it is the left writing the letters.

    Once again this is about mandates and terrible law forced on America. Not women’s care.

  38. aislander, I think you have me confused with someone else. I never used a car insurance analogy with health insurance. There are certainly a lot of similarities, so I will discuss iot this one time, since you brought it up.

    Whether or not you can afford to pay off any claim against you if you cause an accident, the state forces you to have insurance. You get fined for not having it, even if you never cause an accident, but youa re stopped for other reasons.

    That is certainly similar to the argument for requiring universal health insurance.

    There are a lot of things that are different. The government doesn’t subsidize low income people in obtaining car insurance or help out businesses that can’t afford insurance for their vehicle fleet. There are no mandatory acceptance requirements for car insurance. Higher risk people pay more and pre-existing conditions are not covered for car insurance.

    In determining what is best for this nation’s health care crisis, the abscence of preventive health care for low income workers, the high incidence of preventable condition, the declining availabiliety of health care for moderate and low income groups, a deifferent decision was made about health care than was made about auto insurance.

    I am glad that we as a nation of people who are concerned about the continued productivity of our work force and concerned about increasing our competitiveness in commerce and business profitability, decided that the best way a capitalistic society could improve the ability of our workforce to be productive and to cut costs for businesses and workers alike was to have private enterprise, not government, provide health care services, but to assist those who cannot afford it or have difficulty obtaining it to receive basic care and maintenance.

    I think judges are split about 50-50 on whether or not it is constitutional, so we will see what the Supreme Court says. I think that there are enough conservatives to agree with this conservative-developed approach.

  39. Cardinous says:

    muckibr – excellent point! Obama gave in, because the Catholic Church as front for the Conservative Republicans would have continued their lie about violation of religious freedom.

    At some point we have to deal with the political doings of a non profit

  40. aislander says:

    Yeah, that Media Matters is breaking ALL the rules for nonprofits…

  41. Every woman should be in control of the decisions that affect her health. Period.

  42. aislander says:

    I agree. We ALL should be in control of our own lives. That includes NOT paying for the private business of other people. Unless we do so voluntarily, of course–and we shouldn’t be able to volunteer OPM for purposes we personally believe worthy.

  43. And besides that (my 3:26 PM comment), there’s another principle at stake here – and that’s the principle of religious liberty, which is an inalienable right enshrined in The U.S. Constitution. As a U.S. citizen and as a Christian I cherish this right.

    How about you?

  44. Cardinous says:

    If the church was consistant about their beliefs, I might have more sympathy for their alleged dilemma. When they hold pat for 10 years and THEN decide that they are outraged, I call BS on the outrage.

    Is Media Matters seeking an exclusion on taxes as churches are?

    There is more thn one non profit

  45. aislander says:

    What’s to disagree with, m?

  46. Cardinous says:

    it appears both Media Matters and the Heritage Foundation are saying that they qualify for tax exempt status for the same reason.

  47. concernedtacoma7 says:

    So the Vatican is a front for the US republican party? What planet are you on?

    This is why he was banned.

  48. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Should I tell someone that if women are on birth control, men won’t need condoms?

    Kathleen Syphilious (sorry, just couldn’t control myself) would be very disappointed in you.

    Should I tell Cardy that condoms are first line defense, for both men and women, against std’s like HIV/ AIDS, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes Simplex Virus-2, Human Papillomavirus, Syphilis, etc?

  49. Should I tell Cardy that condoms are first line defense, for both men and women, against std’s like HIV/ AIDS, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes Simplex Virus-2, Human Papillomavirus, Syphilis, etc?

    Even the Pope has begrudgingly (in Nov 2010)reversed his earlier claims that condom use was somehow exacerbating the AIDs crist and acknowledge that condom usage is effective against the spread of AIDS. He approved the use of condoms (at least for male prostitutes), stating:

    “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility,” Benedict said.

    Asked if that meant that the church wasn’t opposed in principle to condoms, the pope replied:

    The church “of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but in this or that case, there can be nonetheless in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”


    He didn’t delve into a case of a HIV+ married man with his HIV- wife….

  50. Obama Says Contraception Compromise Protects Religious Liberty
    By Lillian Kwon , Christian Post Reporter
    February 10, 2012|12:49 pm

    “Every woman should be in control of the decisions that affect her health. Period,” Obama asserted.

    But he added, “We’ve been mindful that there’s another principle at stake here – and that’s the principle of religious liberty, an inalienable right that is enshrined in our Constitution.”

    “As a citizen and as a Christian, I cherish this right,” he affirmed


  51. Cardinous says:

    “Should I tell Cardy that condoms are first line defense, for both men and women, against std’s like HIV/ AIDS, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes Simplex Virus-2, Human Papillomavirus, Syphilis, etc?”

    You can tell Cardi that, but it would be wrong.

    The FIRST LINE against said diseases is to (1) both partners be tested and (2) both partners remain partners with each other exclusively.

    For those that cannot remain faithful to one sexual partner, condoms provide protection.

  52. Cardinous says:

    I will repeat that it is wonderful that in the midst of a partisan attack, President Obama can be continually searching for moderate solutions to the problem, but that doesn’t mean that the Catholic Church did not display hypocrisy in their execution of their activities during the last 10 years. I refuse to ignore their hypocrisy and since I’m not running for re-election, I have no need to placate a minority of the populace that may or may not vote for me anyway.

  53. RLangdon says:

    The Catholic Church has not displayed any hypocrisy on this issue. Individuals, including some Catholics, may have, the The Church and The Pope(s) since Pope Paul VI have not.

    The following is excerpted from: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/birth-control

    Birth Control
    In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, “Human Life”), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence. 
    * * *
    Wishful Thinking
    Ignoring the mountain of evidence, some maintain that the Church considers the use of contraception a matter for each married couple to decide according to their “individual conscience.” Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.
    * * *
    The Church has always maintained the historic Christian teaching that deliberate acts of contraception are always gravely sinful, which means that it is mortally sinful if done with full knowledge and deliberate consent (CCC 1857). This teaching cannot be changed and has been taught by the Church infallibly. 
    * * *
    There is no way to deny the fact that the Church has always and everywhere condemned artificial contraception. The matter has already been infallibly decided. The so-called “individual conscience” argument amounts to “individual disobedience.” 
    * * *
    Evidence that contraception is in conflict with God’s laws comes from a variety of sources that will be examined in this tract. 

  54. Cardinous says:

    RLangdon, as I said in response to your other similar comment on the other thread:

    The Catholic Church has been providing insurance coverage for birth control for 10 years. It is an intellectually dishonest argument to be staging a defiance now.

  55. The only right being lost is that of the religious institution.

    Just remembered something….2nd Amendment arguments are oftentimes based in the conception that all rights are individual rights.

    How can a religious institution based in a foreign country have rights guaranteed to individual citizens?

  56. so, RLangdon, I guess those people who said the Pope would be dictating American policy if a Catholic were elected when JFK was running for president were right, not about him, but about Santorum.

    We do not need any Pope telling a presidential candidate, much less the American people what is good for our country and what is right for businesses that are not religious in nature and workers who do not have to pass any religious test to have their jobs.

  57. RLangdon says:

    No, tuddo, neither Pope John XXIII or Pope Paul VI had any influence over President Kennedy’s actions as President of The United States.

    Pope Benedict XVI does not counsel candidate Santorum on his candidacy or issues, or candidate Gingrich who is also a Catholic. The Pope does not tell the American people what is good for our country, he does express to Catholics worldwide, and only Catholics what is good for our souls.

    Gross exaggeration is akin to bearing false witness.

  58. So why are you touting all of the church’s dogma in support of Santorum’s position that he would make all birth control illegal because it is immoral?

    What relationship does Catholic Church dogma have with this discussion, if it isn’t the reason the Catholic Church is trying to dictate what is best for American policy?

  59. Cardinous says:

    “Pope Benedict XVI does not counsel candidate Santorum on his candidacy or issues, or candidate Gingrich who is also a Catholic. The Pope does not tell the American people what is good for our country, he does express to Catholics worldwide, and only Catholics what is good for our souls.”

    The Vatican??? Get involved in politics??? Oh, never…..

    And Smokey the Bear relieves himself in a Honeybucket.

  60. RLangdon says:

    From my reading of the many previous comments on the two topics of Contraception, I gather that you Cardinous have a fondness for making numerous pithy and simpleton comments, that rarely carry any substance. You also seem to have what can best be described as personality clashes with almost every commenter on these Contraception topics. I gather that most of the people here don’t like you very much.

    That preface is simply to state that I found your “Smokey the Bear” comment to be, in a word, “stupid”, and undeserving a response. Although you are getting one with this. In the future you might save yourself some time and trouble by not addressing any comments I post, as I will not be responding to any of yours.

    Unless anyone can provide any proof to the country, I am willing to assure you all that Pope Benedict XVI does not provide any political counsel whatsoever to candidates Santorum, Gingrich or anyone else in American politics. Please prove me wrong on that score if you can.

  61. RLangdon – JFK’s candidacy demonstrated his intellectual remove from the Vatican while both Santorum and Gingrich have repeatedly claimed that their efforts as president would be directly influenced by their Catholic faith.

    It isn’t the fact that they are Catholics, it is the fact that they keep pointing out that being Catholic would impact their decisions.

  62. In fact, Santorum in 2010 gave a speech criticizing JFK’s discussion and statements in Houston to protestant ministers. JFK talked about separation of church and state, and Santorum said there was no such thing. Santorum said that JFK did not understand the Constitution and Jefferson was not writing about a constitutional principle.

    Santorum went on to criticize Gov. Cuomo for supporting separation of church and state to sign legislation on abortion that went against Catholic dogma. Cuomo said he had to put aside his personal religious beliefs and signed it because of the will of the people and court cases that defined the legalities of abortion.

    Santorum stated he would always stand true to his Catholic faith and not go against it on some pretense that his personal religious views should not interfere with his public decisions. He said Cuomo should have vetoed the legislation because any other way would be “political handwashing”.

    Santorum is a very scary guy to have running for president in the eye of many of us who do believe that a decision made solely on the basis of personal religious beliefs by a president goes against our democracy and endangerous our nation.

  63. Condoms are the first line of defense assuming you have no ability to exercise restraint.

  64. menopaws says:

    Wonderful letter……….All these “Christians” who throw women under the bus for some media coverage. To the letter writer—-you did a terrific job and I agree with you. thanks for saying it better than I could! Ignore the venom on the blog and know you did a fine job communicating how this feels for many women.

  65. RLangdon says:

    To beerBoy and tuddo: Please note that I do not presume to know what, where or even if candidates Santorum or Gingrich will eventually seek guidance from The Catholic Church, or even if they already have at some level far below The Vatican and/or Holy See. I only know, and have stated, that so far as I know now, there is no indication that Pope Benedict XVI has provided any political counsel to any American Republican political candidate at this time.

    Based only on the modern history of The Catholic Church, Pontiffs may grant audience to American Presidents, as they have in the past with at least 12 U.S. Presidents.

    The first U.S. president to visit the Vatican was Woodrow Wilson, who met with Pope Benedict XV in 1919 while on a European tour after World War I.

    The next presidential visit was a full 40 years later when Dwight D. Eisenhower met Pope John XXIII in 1959.

    Since then, each U.S. president has made a trip to the Vatican. (Even though only one president was a Catholic.)

    Meeting Pope Paul VI were:

    John F. Kennedy in 1963

    Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967

    Richard M. Nixon in 1969 and 1970

    Gerald R. Ford in 1975

    Meeting Pope John Paul II were:

    Jimmy Carter in 1980.

    Ronald Reagan in 1982 and 1987, as well as after leaving office.

    George H.W. Bush in 1989 and 1991.

    Bill Clinton in 1994.

    George W. Bush met Pope John Paul II in 2001 at the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo and at the Vatican in 2002 and 2004. In addition to attending Pope John Paul’s funeral in 2005, he visited the Vatican in 2007 and again in 2008 to meet with Pope Benedict XVI.

    Barack Obama stepped into the pope’s private library in the Vatican July 10, 2009 and became the 12th U.S. president to do so.

    “Beginning with Carter’s visit, the pope’s remarks to his presidential visitors focused on two themes: the need for world peace and the obligation to protect human life, particularly the life of the unborn.” (Which is consistent with the Papal pronouncements against the use of artificial birth control, by Pope Paul VI in 1968.)

    For more on this go to, http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0903142.htm

    The Pope does not, and has never to our knowledge, attempted to “directly influence” any U.S. President in an effort to “impact their presidential decisions” on any issue, other than to express The Catholic Church’s general desire, one which I hope we can all share, for bringing about World Peace and for the protection of Human Life as it exists now and in the future.

  66. RLangdon – what, exactly, does your lists of visits by various Presidents to the head of a foreign country (yes…the Vatican is a country) have to do with this discussion? And how should this ease our concerns about Gingrich and Santorum wrapping themselves in the mantel of the Church as a qualification for office? Or…more specifically….how should this ease my concerns about Santorum’s comments that smack of Christian Reconstructionist/Dominionist yearnings to create a theocracy in the US?

  67. RLangdon says:

    beerBoy – My listing of the many presidential visits to The Pontiffs over the years was first in response to your comment, and that of tuddo, regarding Catholic presidents, specifically JFK, and thus meant to demonstrate only that in the past it has been the Presidents of The United States who have sought audiences with The Popes, not the other way round. Just as with President Kennedy, should another Catholic be elected president I personally do not believe that The Pope or The Catholic Church will attempt to influence the president any more or less than it has attempted to do so in the past with any Catholic or even Non-Catholic president. (Which is to say, I believe that to be no more than any foreign ambassador to the U.S. has ever attempted to influence U.S. policy.)

    One refinement of your characterization of The Vatican as a country: In truth it should be considered a City-State similar to the city-states of ancient Greece, rather than a country. Thus, Vatican City is truly in a category by itself.

    It would however seem that your main issue of concern is not what The Vatican or The Pope would do if a Catholic were to be elected President of the United States, but what that President would do and how he would imbue his Catholic beliefs into his duties as president. None of us can really say for sure what would happen if either Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich were to become president. Would either of them try to create a Catholic-based, or at least Christian-centered theocracy in the U.S.? I don’t have an answer for that, except to say, I hope we never find out. Neither one of them is my candidate.

    Also, depending upon whom The Pope is at that time, as there have been recent reports that Pope Benedict XVI is in failing health, a Catholic U.S. President may find a willing ally in his attempts to create an American-Catholic Theocracy, or The Pope may completely reject such a premise, or any variant in between. However, as Catholics make up less than 25% of the overall U.S. population, I wouldn’t think the other 75% of Americans would stand for it. I hope that helps to allay some of your fears.

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