Author Topic: Discussions re Affordable Care Act Characterized by Religious Paranoia  (Read 40862 times)

David Garner

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I tend to be cynical when it comes to politics, I admit that up front.  But rarely do I consider anything done by a politician to be on some overarching principle.  I believe that way because they too often abandon those principles when political expediency demands.

But where campaign cash is involved?  Bank on it -- the politician will come through.  The pharm companies were involved in the negotiation of this bill.  Promises were made.  I can't imagine the President thought it good politics to pick this fight with the Catholic bishops and others on the eve of his re-election bid.  So I conclude it's more about the money than the principle.  The women's movement may be a key voting constituency, but they aren't enough of a factor in campaign contributions to make any real difference.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

James_Gale

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Norman Teigen writes:
 I posit the idea that the ACA was never a threat to religious liberty, that the reactions to the ACA by conservative Lutherans were determined by Dolan, Dobson, and Darrell (Issa), and that the discourse is more characteristic of religious paranoia than theology.

I comment:
Amen. And amen. But apparently I am the only one here who agrees with this LCMS layman. (Which is probably a bad thing for Mr. Teigen.)

Uhh, he's not from the LCMS.  He's from the ELS.  The two church bodies may look similar to you or me.  But they're not the same.  And I suspect that the two bodies take their differences seriously.

James Gustafson

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I tend to be cynical when it comes to politics, I admit that up front.  But rarely do I consider anything done by a politician to be on some overarching principle.  I believe that way because they too often abandon those principles when political expediency demands.

But where campaign cash is involved?  Bank on it -- the politician will come through.  The pharm companies were involved in the negotiation of this bill.  Promises were made.  I can't imagine the President thought it good politics to pick this fight with the Catholic bishops and others on the eve of his re-election bid.  So I conclude it's more about the money than the principle.  The women's movement may be a key voting constituency, but they aren't enough of a factor in campaign contributions to make any real difference.

I don't think Obama 'picked' this fight.  I sincerely believe he didn't understand why they would object so strenuously and for so long.  In his mind and the minds of his advisers who predicted the eventual outcome and how to get there, "of course everyone needs access to free birth control and family planning".  He was told that since many catholic colleges and other catholic entities already provide some of this, and the misapplied knowledge that most catholic women have themselves used birth control as some time during their lives, that this wouldn't really be an issue.  I'd bet a pretty penny that he's chewed out a few advisers that didn't see this coming or else he wouldn't have cornered himself into one position immediately before an election.  Their political strategy now seems to be to paint the Bishops as reactionary hard right conservatives.  Whereas in actuality they support his position on things like immigration but he doesn't want to stress that issue right now or else it will become clear that the Biships are not the same as the so called moral-majority-bible-belt-tea-party-racists-from-the-ignorant-south that he wants the independents and catholic lay people to think they are until after the election.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 01:02:05 PM by James Gustafson »

James_Gale

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I tend to be cynical when it comes to politics, I admit that up front.  But rarely do I consider anything done by a politician to be on some overarching principle.  I believe that way because they too often abandon those principles when political expediency demands.

But where campaign cash is involved?  Bank on it -- the politician will come through.  The pharm companies were involved in the negotiation of this bill.  Promises were made.  I can't imagine the President thought it good politics to pick this fight with the Catholic bishops and others on the eve of his re-election bid.  So I conclude it's more about the money than the principle.  The women's movement may be a key voting constituency, but they aren't enough of a factor in campaign contributions to make any real difference.

You're wrong about the fight with the Church.  It was part of his strategy.  Remember, this involved a regulation written by the President's HHS Secretary that extended coverage of the contraception provision to churches.  Excluding them would have cost the pharmaceutical companies very little indeed.  All or nearly all of the church employees who want to use birth control would continue to do so.  They simply would have to pay the fairly small bill. 

No, this was a decision by the President to honor his commitment to his feminist base.  The fight with the Catholics helps him on that front.  It drives donations and political support from the women's groups (like the support for same-sex marriage does from gay-rights groups).  So my point is that in this one very narrow area, the money doesn't lead to the pharmaceutical companies.  It leads elsewhere.

Now, if you want to talk about the larger provisions governing the purchase of prescription drugs, that's another matter completely.

George Erdner

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It should also be noted that when the government engages in "preventative" action, it is attempting to prevent things which will cost the government money. It is not an issue of the things being prevented being intrinsically good or bad. Those things that the government seeks to prevent are not based on any sort of moral or philosophical value judgements. The government only seeks to prevent that which would increase what the government has to pay for.
 
From the government's perspective children, especially children of poor and/or single parent families, are additional mouths to feed. We, as Christian human beings, have a different perspective. If we, as Christian human beings, want to persuade the government that the children of poor and/or single parent families are more than just additional mouths to feed, then we must address that issue in terms that the government can understand. Repeating the mantra, "Children are a gift from God", will not convince the government that the children of poor and/or single parent families are not just more mouths to feed. The fact that "Children are a gift from God" is true is not sufficient to persuade bean-counting bureaucrats who are thinking as a group. I wish it were not so, but reality is what it is.

George --

You generally are quite good at spotting red herrings.  But you missed one here.  You are quite right that some have made the argument that you lay out in support of the provision that would require all health policies to cover cost-free contraception.  But if you really think that the "bean-counting bureaucrats" are behind the provision, the evidence suggests that you are mistaken.  This is first and foremost about a certain version of feminism.  After all, most women covered by the policies in question are not poor.  Their children will not cost the government any money.  Quite the contrary.

There are those who influence, and there are those who decide. Yes, the feminists did the influencing, but the bean-counters did the deciding. And, yes, more women who have the means to afford their own contraceptives will be covered than those who cannot. Nevertheless, bean-counting bureaucrats have a history of being content to throw money at problems in such a way that most of it doesn't hit their intended target, so long as some of it does.

John_Hannah

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Most people think this question is about women's rights. I do not agree and think it is a 1st ammendment question that would ultimately be overturned by the court if it goes that far.  But it need go only until the election where women's votes seem now to lean heavily toward the Democrats. It's shrewd politics.

After the election, watch what happens. It can be reinterpreted by executive decision.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

James_Gale

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It should also be noted that when the government engages in "preventative" action, it is attempting to prevent things which will cost the government money. It is not an issue of the things being prevented being intrinsically good or bad. Those things that the government seeks to prevent are not based on any sort of moral or philosophical value judgements. The government only seeks to prevent that which would increase what the government has to pay for.
 
From the government's perspective children, especially children of poor and/or single parent families, are additional mouths to feed. We, as Christian human beings, have a different perspective. If we, as Christian human beings, want to persuade the government that the children of poor and/or single parent families are more than just additional mouths to feed, then we must address that issue in terms that the government can understand. Repeating the mantra, "Children are a gift from God", will not convince the government that the children of poor and/or single parent families are not just more mouths to feed. The fact that "Children are a gift from God" is true is not sufficient to persuade bean-counting bureaucrats who are thinking as a group. I wish it were not so, but reality is what it is.

George --

You generally are quite good at spotting red herrings.  But you missed one here.  You are quite right that some have made the argument that you lay out in support of the provision that would require all health policies to cover cost-free contraception.  But if you really think that the "bean-counting bureaucrats" are behind the provision, the evidence suggests that you are mistaken.  This is first and foremost about a certain version of feminism.  After all, most women covered by the policies in question are not poor.  Their children will not cost the government any money.  Quite the contrary.

There are those who influence, and there are those who decide. Yes, the feminists did the influencing, but the bean-counters did the deciding. And, yes, more women who have the means to afford their own contraceptives will be covered than those who cannot. Nevertheless, bean-counting bureaucrats have a history of being content to throw money at problems in such a way that most of it doesn't hit their intended target, so long as some of it does.

We know that Congress inserted the provision at issue here after high-profile lobbying by the key political constituencies.  And we know that the President and HHS Secretary were directly involved in shaping the regulation that raised the religious-freedom issue.  We know that this regulation was drafted with at least one eye on politics.

What is your evidence that "bean-counters" drove enactment of this policy? 

James_Gale

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Most people think this question is about women's rights. I do not agree and think it is a 1st ammendment question that would ultimately be overturned by the court if it goes that far.  But it need go only until the election where women's votes seem now to lean heavily toward the Democrats. It's shrewd politics.

After the election, watch what happens. It can be reinterpreted by executive decision.

Peace, JOHN

Pr. Hannah --

I think that those enacting the policy did so in the name of what they believe to be "women's rights."  But there also is a clear First Amendment issue with the HHS regulation.  And I agree that if it gets that far, the courts will strike down the regulation to the extent that it would force churches to fund the purchase of contraceptives in violation of their religious beliefs.

cssml

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Under the new law, 60,000+ Sisters, 41,000+ Priests and thousands of brothers, seminarians, lay celibates, and hundreds of Bishops (all celibate) will be forced to pay for contraception.

Believe it or not, some pro-contraception folks believe the Sisters should be taking the pill:

   http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57339605-10391704/should-nuns-take-birth-control-pills-what-study-says/

"If the Catholic Church could make the oral contraceptive pill freely available to all its nuns, it would reduce the risk of those accursed pests, cancer of the ovary and uterus, and give nuns' plight the recognition it deserves,"

Yikes..

Steven Tibbetts

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The government only seeks to prevent that which would increase what the government has to pay for.
 

We have long since passed the point where the purpose of the bureacracy is the perpetuation and increase of the bureaucracy.  It's about power and control over subjects, rather than service to the people.  (This is true for both progressives and conservatives.)  There are exceptions within the bureaucracy, especially amongst those at the beginning of their careers.  But they are few and far between, and their attitude is soon adjusted.

spt+
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 02:32:18 PM by The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS »
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

Team Hesse

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The government only seeks to prevent that which would increase what the government has to pay for.
 

We have long since passed the point where the purpose of the bureacracy is the perpetuation and increase of the bureaucracy.  It's about power and control over subjects, rather than service to the people.  (This is true for both progressives and conservatives.)  There are exceptions within the bureaucracy, especially amongst those at the beginning of their careers.  But they are few and far between, and their attitude is soon adjusted.

spt+

Amen to this sad development....

Lou

Norman Teigen

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I think that the Lutheran paranoia on this subject is the stated idea that the government is out to deprive the Lutherans of religious liberty and freedom under the 1st Amendment.  I cannot address Catholic concerns as I am not a Catholic.  I do note that Catholics are divided on this and that the bishops do not reflect all of the good Catholic faithful.   I think that the Catholic bishops would prefer that social policy conform to its teaching and that, I think, is not a desirable outcome.  I look at Bishop Dolan as the first person in the unholy trinity of the Ds.

The second person in this trinity is James Dobson.  Dobson's evangelicalism represents, in my mind, a view predicated on a presupposition of the world being made holy so that the Lord could return for the Millennium.   As a Lutheran, I don't agree with that either.

The third person in the unholy trinity of the Ds is Congressman Darrell (Issa).   He is a rank political partisan who has cynically exploited the sincere faithfulness of conservative Lutherans into doing some of his dirty political work.  For some to suggest that President Harrison's appearance before Issa's Committee in February was comparable to Luther at Worms demeans the Great Reformer and is worthy of a hearty Bronx cheer.   

Lutherans are to be commended for religious piety and sincerity.  That Lutherans can become deceived by those who closely match their selfish agendas with that of what Lutherans believe demonstrates that Lutherans can be duped, too.  And, as Yossarian observed in Heller's Catch 22, insanity is contagious.


Norman Teigen, Layman
Evangelical Lutheran Synod


Norman Teigen

peter_speckhard

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I think that the Lutheran paranoia on this subject is the stated idea that the government is out to deprive the Lutherans of religious liberty and freedom under the 1st Amendment.  I cannot address Catholic concerns as I am not a Catholic.  I do note that Catholics are divided on this and that the bishops do not reflect all of the good Catholic faithful.   I think that the Catholic bishops would prefer that social policy conform to its teaching and that, I think, is not a desirable outcome.  I look at Bishop Dolan as the first person in the unholy trinity of the Ds.

The second person in this trinity is James Dobson.  Dobson's evangelicalism represents, in my mind, a view predicated on a presupposition of the world being made holy so that the Lord could return for the Millennium.   As a Lutheran, I don't agree with that either.

The third person in the unholy trinity of the Ds is Congressman Darrell (Issa).   He is a rank political partisan who has cynically exploited the sincere faithfulness of conservative Lutherans into doing some of his dirty political work.  For some to suggest that President Harrison's appearance before Issa's Committee in February was comparable to Luther at Worms demeans the Great Reformer and is worthy of a hearty Bronx cheer.   

Lutherans are to be commended for religious piety and sincerity.  That Lutherans can become deceived by those who closely match their selfish agendas with that of what Lutherans believe demonstrates that Lutherans can be duped, too.  And, as Yossarian observed in Heller's Catch 22, insanity is contagious.


Norman Teigen, Layman
Evangelical Lutheran Synod
So since Bishop Dolan is a Catholic and Dobson is an Evangelical, their freedom to practice their religion ought not matter to Lutherans? I don't agree with Jews on a lot of religious things, but if there was a law against Sabbath-keeping I would hope the LCMS would speak against it.

My own personal take on this thread is that people who speak of unholy trinities of perfectly mainstream people are more characterized by paranoia than those they accuse of it.

Eileen Smith

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Quote
So since Bishop Dolan is a Catholic and Dobson is an Evangelical, their freedom to practice their religion ought not matter to Lutherans? I don't agree with Jews on a lot of religious things, but if there was a law against Sabbath-keeping I would hope the LCMS would speak against it.

My own personal take on this thread is that people who speak of unholy trinities of perfectly mainstream people are more characterized by paranoia than those they accuse of it.

Agreed!  Cardinal Dolan is a gift to the church catholic - and I was very grateful for President Harrison  speaking out on this issue as well.  This is far beyond an issue of birth control and "choice" - it is a First Amendment issue of freedom of religion (not From). 

I am a firm believer in slippery slopes.  For example -  1990's:  RIC congregations; 2009:  well, you get the idea.  Does that sound like paranoia?  Perhaps.  However, I am convinced the paranoia lies with those that find the church gets in the way of reliance on the government as giver of all gifts.  That the church is under assault cannot be denied.


Dadoo

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I think that the Lutheran paranoia on this subject is the stated idea that the government is out to deprive the Lutherans of religious liberty and freedom under the 1st Amendment.  I cannot address Catholic concerns as I am not a Catholic.  I do note that Catholics are divided on this and that the bishops do not reflect all of the good Catholic faithful.   I think that the Catholic bishops would prefer that social policy conform to its teaching and that, I think, is not a desirable outcome.  I look at Bishop Dolan as the first person in the unholy trinity of the Ds.

The second person in this trinity is James Dobson.  Dobson's evangelicalism represents, in my mind, a view predicated on a presupposition of the world being made holy so that the Lord could return for the Millennium.   As a Lutheran, I don't agree with that either.

The third person in the unholy trinity of the Ds is Congressman Darrell (Issa).   He is a rank political partisan who has cynically exploited the sincere faithfulness of conservative Lutherans into doing some of his dirty political work.  For some to suggest that President Harrison's appearance before Issa's Committee in February was comparable to Luther at Worms demeans the Great Reformer and is worthy of a hearty Bronx cheer.   

Lutherans are to be commended for religious piety and sincerity.  That Lutherans can become deceived by those who closely match their selfish agendas with that of what Lutherans believe demonstrates that Lutherans can be duped, too.  And, as Yossarian observed in Heller's Catch 22, insanity is contagious.


Norman Teigen, Layman
Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Norman,

I am puzzled: You speak of paranoia. That is a mental disease or malfunction. Are you saying that those who petition their government concerning a HHS regulation are mentally ill? Please, understand that I happily object when the mental state of anyone in an argument is suddenly scrutinized. In the current ELCA debates it has become so prevalent that the supposed mental defect has become a badge of honor. One is referred to as such only after one has dared to engage the subject so one is now proven to be one who is involved.

Is this what goes on here as well? Pres. Harrison, I seem to remember, made a clear statement that he was there to support the idea infringement on the religious liberties of the religious communities was troubling to him and that he was standing shoulder to shoulder with the RC because this was an issue to people of (conservative) faith everywhere. Is the paranoid moniker a means to say that he was involved or that there is something inherently wrong with him in having participated?

Or is your objection, and I am reading the last paragraph here, that Pres. Harrison should not have been there sitting next to a RC Bishop? For that matter, if one cannot agree with others because they are RC or Evangelical Protestant then must one reject or at least be silent on all matters that they speak out on even if one agrees? Or is it a matter that one can only agree in separate rooms? If supporting Roman Catholics when they protest that their are being forced into something that is repugnant to them by their government warrants the diagnoses that one is insane, then sign me up too, please.

It's OK to be unconcerned by the HHS regulation. It's ok to be for it if you like (you hint that you might in your assessment that it be better that the RC bishops fail to make their view policy). In either case, make a case why I should agree. Make a case why one should not petition one's government in this instance. Make a case that one should not do it alongside Roman Catholic bishops or Charles Dobson. But, let's not assume that one is insane to do so by virtue of participation.

Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams