Letters to the Editor

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RELIGION: Church takes a stand for freedom

Letter by Brenda M. Heim, Gig Harbor on Feb. 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm with 18 Comments »
February 21, 2012 2:45 pm

At a time when politicians legislate according to polls and are too weak to take a stand on moral ground, I applaud  the Catholic Church for its strong condemnation of the Obama administration’s attempt to interfere with religious freedom.

The separation of church and state was instituted to protect religion from the state, not the state from religion. The Catholic Church has endured the test of time while politicians are constantly running for re-election trying to appease everyone while pleasing no one.

When a prospective employee takes a position with a faith-based organization, he or she must agree to the basic rules and limitations of that employer. No one is forced to work in our country. If one does not agree with the framework of that employer, do not work there. Life is a balancing act between choice and consequences.
I applaud the Catholic Church for its stand to protect religious freedom. All good people of faith should support this battle. Liberals often say that the government should stay out of the bedroom. I say the government should stay out of my church.

Leave a comment Comments → 18
  1. It’s good to see that someone understands the whole purpose of separation of church and state, Brenda, and I’m with you, it’s high time people began to speak unashamedly about their beliefs and values.

  2. If this really was about “protecting freedom” and the 1st Amendment then commentors, like the letter writer, would acknowledge that the original regulations have been withdrawn and replaced with a new set that in no way infringes upon the freedom for Church-owned businesses to claim that they shouldn’t have to follow the same regulations as all other businesses.

  3. Theefrinker says:

    “Religious freedom”: an amusingly oxymoronic phrasing of words.

  4. Cardinous says:

    It’s good to see that a Harvard graduate in law (constitutional law, at that) is inferior in knowledge on the subject of the separation of church and state and that we have our resident expert in Gig Harbor, along with a cheering section to tell us the difference.

    Yes, my tongue is caught in my cheek.

  5. Cardinous says:

    I wonder how our letter writer and cheering section feel about the invasion of personal freedom being legislated in Virginia.

  6. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Since he never wrote one piece of legal scholarship who knows what he took away from school? Maybe he was just present, like his political career before dems voted him into office.


    Kard will not read this since it is a conservative publication and not sanctioned by media matters, but facts are facts.

  7. Cardinous says:


    It doesn’t take Media Matters to expose American Thinker as a bunch of liars.

    Facts are facts.

  8. If this regulation had anything to do with interfering with anyone’s practice of religion, I would agree. However, this regulation sets the basic requirements for insurance companies to do business.

    This regulation ensures that all insurance companies compete in the amrketplace un der the same rules and lets gthe consumer know that, since the basic services are the same for everyone, comparisons can be made fairly about cost, add-ons, service, etc.

    No person who has a responsibility to carry out dogma or church teachings has to do anything differently. It does not apply to churches or their religious workers.

    It does not make any difference who owns a business that decides to enter the amrketplace to provide services to all of the public. These hospitals and hotels and shoppiong centers and restaurants that churches own are not houses of worship and they do npot employ religious workers. They employ housekeepers, gardeners, wait staff, sales clerks, accountsnts, etc., all of whom fall under the protection of our civil laws on non-discrimination, wages, etc.

    In many communities, hospitals owned by religious institutions are the only game in town because of the tremendous tax break we give them. Saying someone should just quit just as ridiculous as saying this has anything to do with religious freedom by a non-religius enterprise like a hotel.

  9. Pacman33 says:

    tuddo, you are so full of it. People like you are worse than anti-Constitution wackos. You are lower than those proclaiming their fictionally contrived “Right to Free Contraception, Plan B and ella” should trump the First Amendment’s bar against the ‘free exercise’ of religion” and also the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

    At least they’re honest about their debauchery; their mangled scale of principles, determining that free birth control at the cost of others money and rights is worth this unprecedented infringement by government into the Constitutional Right so invaluable the Founders addressed it first. They still don’t stoop to the low spot in the gutter as you do with the attempt to deceive the average citizen.

    Like most large employers, many religiously affiliated organizations like the archdiocese, religious hospitals, religious universities and other religious organizations, choose to insure themselves rather than hire an outside company to assume the risk. Nationwide, 80% of companies of more than 200 employees were covered by a self-funded plan in 2011.

    What you are attempting to distort, only addresses around 20% to 25% of the faith-based organization. Which, in itself, is an accounting gimmick to suggest providers wouldn’t turn around at add it to premiums.

    If your insidious tripe of concern with interference with religious rights were genuine, you would denounce the fact that this process has shut out input from the religious community from the start. Despite pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and National Women’s Law Center being allowed to testify before the IOM panel charged with analyzing the implementation of contraception, Plan B and ella with Obamacare for the HHS.

    Putting the obligation on the insurer and not the employer doesn’t help much if they are the same person.


  10. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Nice deflect Kard. Look forward to your new moniker when this one gets banned.

    Ignore all facts an attack the source. Pathetic.

  11. pacman – nice ad hominem attack. At least you are upfront about it.

    Too bad you aren’t as up front about acknowledging that this isn’t really about protecting religious freedom, or even really about restricting women’s reproductive rights, it is about clinging desperately to an issue you think might ding Obama because you realize that removing him from office isn’t going to be easy with the cast of clowns on the ‘pub side.

  12. so, Pacman, is it an attack on religion for Tacoma to treat Catholic hospitals as a business instead of a church and tax them as a business?

    Seems like I have company all over the United States where states and communities require hotels, hospitals and all other businesses owned by religious organizations to fiollow every single civil law, even if they disagree with it, just like other businesses have to.

  13. Pacman, I do think yours is the worst kind of debate tactic, the part where there is a personal attack on my character instead of the issue itself.

    There is no attempt to decieve. Everything I say is based on the public record and precedent.

    Also, please refrain from out and out false statements to try to make a point. Facts are very easy to find nowadays, so please spend some time so you can back up your statements instead of presenting falsehoods.

    You say, “this process has shut out input from the religious community from the start.”

    I suggest you start with the plain facts and then delve deeper if you want to find the details of the real process used to develop these regulations. They were first published for public comment July 19, 2010. Here’s where to start: 8726 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 31 / Wednesday, February 15, 2012 / Rules and Regulations

    HHS says: “The Departments received over 200,000 responses to the request for comments on the amended interim final regulations. Commenters included concerned citizens, civil rights organizations, consumer groups, health care providers, health insurance issuers,
    sponsors of group health plans, religiously-affiliated charities,
    religiously-affiliated educational institutions, religiously-affiliated health care organizations, other religiously affiliated
    organizations, secular organizations, sponsors of group health plans, women’s religious orders, and women’s rights organizations.”

    Most commenters said there should be no religious exemptions, and almost all insurance providers said that costs would be significantly reduced if there were no exemptions for religious reasons. Some comments were received that said no organization, religious or not, should have to ionclude contraception coverage if the employer disagreed with this on moral reasons.

    The decision was to follow the exact same language in defining religious organizations and utilize the exact same requirements for following the rules that numerous other federal regulations follow when making exemptions for religious organizations.

    HHS felt that this issue, unltimately, was like all other issues where regulations exempted the religious part of the organization, but not the business parts.

    Consideration was given to creating a new definition of religious organization and a new procedure, which the final regulations ultimately did through Obama’s compromise.

    I happen to agree with this logic and do not think that it is “unprecedented infringement” (glorious hyperbole on your part, and totally false, by the way). It simply follows the precedents used in almost every other past controversial regulation in relationship with religion and businesses that are non-religious in nature.

    Now, please say you are sorry for the personal attack and that you were flat our wrong in your statements, and we can carry on. Otherwise, nice debating with you.

  14. Pacman33 says:

    Committee on Preventive Services for Women
    March 9, 2011
    National Academy of Public Administration
    NAPA’s Conference Facility Rooms A/B/C
    900 7th Street NW, Suite 600
    Washington, D.C. 20001
    Draft Agenda
    8:45-9:00 Welcome and Overview:
    Linda Rosenstock, MD, MPH
    Committee Chair
    9:00-10:00 Guidelines Development and Use:
    Doug Campos-Outcalt, MD, MPA
    AAFP Liason to United States Preventive Services Task Force
    and CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
    Melissa Starkey, PhD
    Clinical Guidelines Administrator
    American College of Physicians
    David Rind, MD (via phone)
    Co-Executive Editor
    GRADEWorking Group
    10:00-10:15 Break
    10:15-10:40 Coverage Design and Decision-Making:
    Sara Rosenbaum, JD
    Hirsh Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy
    School of Public Health and Health Services
    The George Washington University Medical Center
    10:40-11:40 Other Preventive Health Issues:
    Gwen Keita, PhD
    Director, Women’s Programs Office
    Associate Executive Director, Public Interest Directorate
    American Psychological Association
    Lauren Patton, DDS
    Professor and Chair, Department of Dental Ecology
    Program Director, General Practice Residency
    School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    Melissa A. McDiarmid, MD, MPH, DABT
    Professor, Departments of Medicine and
    Epidemiology & Public Health
    Director, Occupational Health Program
    University of Maryland School of Medicine

  15. Pacman33 says:

    Meeting Agenda

    Agenda: Meeting 2. Committee on Preventive Services for Women

    Welcome and Overview:
    Linda Rosenstock, MD, MPH
    Committee Chair

    Women’s Health Organizations:

    Sharon Camp, MA, PhD
    President and CEO
    The Guttmacher Institute

    Hal Lawrence, MD, FACOG
    Incoming Executive Vice President
    Vice President of Practice Activities
    American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

    Catherine Ruhl, CNM, MS
    The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

    National Health Interest Groups

    Sharon Moffatt, RN, BSN, MS
    Chief of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
    Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

    Jud Richland, MPH
    President and CEO
    Partnership for Prevention

    Margaret Blythe, MD FAAP
    Chair, Committee on Adolescence
    American Academy of Pediatrics

    Provider and Employer Perspectives:

    George Isham, MD, MS
    Medical Director and Chief Health Officer

    Joanne Armstrong, MD, MPH (via phone)
    Senior Medical Director and Head of Women’s Health

    Helen Darling, MA
    National Business Group on Health

    Wayne Burton, MD
    Global Corporate Medical Director
    American Express Corporation

  16. Someone keeps posting links to a non-governmental private research group that happened to be one of the groups that provided input into the healthcare regulations from a medical, not religious or political standpoint. That private group gathered top medical and medical-providers together to discuss these issues and made a recommendation to HHS purely from a medical standpoint.

    I think the person providing these links actually believes that this was the only group that provided written comments regarding publically-posted draft regulations, while, in fact, hundreds of thousands of comments were reviewed while developing these regulations, a large number from religious institutions and from people concerned about the religious impact of these regulations.

    HHS requested written input from this group just like they requested written input from anyone who would like to present any comment, and they received bhundreds of thousands of comments.

    If the personal attacks continue, I may be forced to mention to TNT that they have an abusive person who does not follow the rules on this thread.

  17. Pacman33 says:

    Unbelievable, I’m disgusted. The worst.

    “….. made a recommendation.”

    “…. from this group just like they requested written input from anyone who would like to present any comment,”

    “Lies and more Lies”

    What is it like denying blatant facts and simply spewing any nonsense, having the moral and intellectual dishonesty to fool yourself into believing it?

    What’s it like not to be able to think your way out of a paper bag? You dwell a universe in which there is no objective reality; a universe where truth is relative and your feelings are all that matter. Even your feelings, by any objective standard, are completely dysfunctional.

  18. Pacman33 says:

    Actual facts and the truth if anyone is curious.

    By the way, the “non-governmental private research group” tuddo could simply call IOM, but doing so would allow others to look it up and see the misinformation being posted by tuddo. This HISTORIC institution in Women’s Health that tuddo is afraid to mention is the Institute of Medicine. The IOM, for the first time ever, conduct a scientific review targeted to meet women’s unique health needs developing the guidelines that are being issued today. It’s clear now.
    Affordable Care Act Ensures Women Receive Preventive Services at No Additional Cost
    “Historic new guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services at no additional cost were announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Developed by the independent Institute of Medicine, the new guidelines require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.

    Previously, preventive services for women had been recommended one-by-one or as part of guidelines targeted at men as well. As such, the HHS directed the independent Institute of Medicine to, for the first time ever, conduct a scientific review and provide recommendations on specific preventive measures that meet women’s unique health needs and help keep women healthy. HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) used the IOM report issued July 19, when developing the guidelines that are being issued today. The IOM’s report relied on independent physicians, nurses, scientists, and other experts to make these determinations based on scientific evidence.”


    “Given the magnitude of change, the U.S. Department of Health and HumanServices (HHS) charged the Institute of Medicine (IOM) with reviewing what preventive services are important to women’s health and well-being and then recommending which of these should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines. The IOM convened a committee of experts to identify critical gaps in the preventive services already identified in the ACA, which are based on recommendations developed by three independent bodies: the United States Preventive Services Task Force, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Bright Futures recommendations for adolescents, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.”


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