Reports have risen over the Catholic Church’s opposition to a portion of the Affordable Health Care Act that will require institutions whose mission is not primarily religious to provide health insurance that pays for prescriptions and procedures that are against the teachings of their faith. According to CBS News, “Catholic leaders are furious and determined to harness the voting power of the nation’s 70 million Catholic voters to stop a provision of President Barack Obama’s new heath car reform bill that will force Catholic schools, hospitals and charities to buy birth control pills, abortion-producing drugs and sterilization coverage for their employees."
Although in the past there were some concerns expressed by Catholic leadership for parts of this law, a genuine outcry is only surfacing now well over a year after the health care bill was signed into law and only in regard to a single provision. In a report from The Christian Century, January of 2011, Catholic Bishops collectively joined to not support Republican attempts to repeal Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act. Also, according to FaithInPublicLife.org, Sister Simone Campbell the Executive Director of Network, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, was quoted as saying “[r]eligious sisters on the front lines of our nation’s health care crisis know from experience that health care reform will save lives.”
One could argue that the leadership in the Catholic Church simply did not realize that the thousands of pages which comprise the health care law contained provisions that ran contrary to their faith, and only until now did such knowledge surface making their objection valid. Their objection may in fact be valid, but that is not the point.
The point is in regard to the foundational immorality of the law; an immorality one must accept if they are to support the law in any way.
The logic used by the Church in its initial lack of opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act is their belief that it would actually make health care more affordable and therefore save lives. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant, they believed it. Therefore, support for the law made sense to them, and reports are they believed any differences could be settled in the future.
As we have seen with the Catholic Church over the past few decades, they were focusing solely on their agenda which was to get more health care to more people. As we have also seen repeatedly over the past couple of decades, the Catholic Church lent very little thought to principle.
Support for the law, of course, is predicated on the belief that if we just force everyone to buy health insurance, each person will be covered and we all live happily ever after. And seeing the initiation of force against people and organizations that have done nothing wrong is deemed acceptable, it would follow that politicians should decide what must be covered. Beyond the immorality of initiating force against people that did nothing wrong, the law will also be administered based upon what will earn a politician votes come election year, not according to the sensibilities of each and every individual.
It is hard to understand if it is stupidity that drove the Church’s actions or they are simply forgot what it means to be a morality based organization, but it is either one or the other. By supporting the Affordable Health Care Act in principle, the Catholic Church is supporting the initiation of force against people who have done nothing wrong. Even the objection expressed recently is only against a provision of the law, not a stance against the moral grounds the law is built.
No matter the attempts to justify the position of the Church based upon their naivety in thinking the health care law could help people, they sacrificed any sense of morality by supporting the very foundation of the law. And now, after realizing that the law is enough of an offense against their agenda, the Catholic Leadership is speaking out in regard to one lousy provision, yet continues to support the law overall. If any person or organization values their agenda over their principles, no matter how well intended, they will be on the wrong side of morality. The Catholic Church is no exception.