If nothing else comes out of President Obamas plan to force employers, including faith-based organizations, to provide free pregnancy prevention and termination coverage for employees, lets hope its the realization that government is not a benevolent, godly force, but a potential threat to both religious and personal freedom.
It is highly unlikely that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Actbetter known today as Obamacarewould have passed without the endorsement of church leaders across the religious and political spectrum.
Preaching social justice, pastors and priests, rabbis and ministers, actively supported universal health care mandates.
At the height of the debate, the president even participated in conference calls with religious leaders, organized by the Department of Health and Human Services Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, urging the clerics to preach from their pulpits for the Obamacares acts passage, and offering them supporting propaganda to distribute to their congregants.
Imagine the surprise to some of these same church leaders when the benevolent legislation they were asked to support as a faith-based initiative was turned against their faith.
The presidents supposed compromise tweak of the proposalmandating that insurance companies bear the cost of providing free pregnancy prevention and termination, rather than employersis no less objectionable, since large religious institutions, like most large companies, self-insure. This makes the church, in effect, both the employer and the insurance company.
Perhaps church leaders now will awaken to the folly of having overlaid God and country in their ministries, from sending off soldiers to fight for godly causes, to prayer breakfasts showcasing politicians, and religious leaders lobbying for legislation and embracing policy positions that may be anathema to the church.
As the sociologist Rodney Stark, co-director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University (a private Baptist institution), has shown, history bears many scars from the continual tension between the church of piety and the church of power.
From the Mayan temples massive human sacrifices, intended to intimidate the empires enemies and paralyze them with fear, to the state-monopoly German churchs patriotic support of Hitler, when the church allies with the ruler both the church and the people, the church serves come out the losers.
American church leaders should take a lesson from history and from their current experience and renounce this unholy alliance.
And let women and the church both speak truth to power in leading a renaissance for a civil society consistent with natural law, in which rights are bestowed not by Washington, but by God.
The Obama White House clearly has crossed the line. When Washington has the authority to mandate family planning, whose family plans will the bureaucrats sanction, and whose will they deny?
American women should be horrified by this mandate, stop dead in our tracks and scream: No! No, we dont want our employers or federal bureaucrats in our doctors offices; we arent dependent little girls who have to be guided by our elders and betters in how we take care of our bodies.
We can be fully conscious decision makers over our own health care and reproduction. And for those of our sisters who need help in meeting lifes challenges and dealing with risks and consequences, we can provide appropriate assistance that doesnt require the takeover of every womans health choices by Washington.
|Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute and a columnist for The Huffington Post. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, Ms. Theroux is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.|