The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Obama administration, the Catholic Church, and contraception

Normally, I'm not very much in favor of the ideas put forth by the Catholic Church on things like abortion, contraception, and such. But let's face it — they have a First Amendment right to believe as they choose. And certainly the Obama Administration's decision that unless they serve only Catholics, the Church's institutions have to cover contraception in any health insurance they provide to their employees violates that First Amendment right. As much as I disagree with the Catholic Church, I have to admit that their rights are being trampled on by the Administration.

Now, some time ago someone claimed, in a comment to this blog, that, by recognizing gay marriage, the State of Massachusetts was also interfering with the rights of Catholic institutions. In particular, he pointed out that many of the State's adoptions were facilitated by Catholic Charities. But that was a different story, as I see it. A person who wants to get married has no alternative but to be married under State law. He (or she) ought to be able to get married to anyone he desires to, without considering the wishes of someone else who might not want to allow that couple to adopt a child — the couple does not need to go to Catholic Charities to adopt; they can take another route. (And, as it turns out, Catholic Charities had placed children with gay couples in Massachusetts. So their position seems to be that it's OK for a gay couple to adopt a child, as long as they don't claim the title of “married.” I cannot understand this position at all.) On the other hand, a person who wants to get contraceptives does not need to work for a Catholic Church-related organization. And such a person perhaps should not work for such an organization. He (or she) is obviously at odds with Catholic doctrine here. It's just like the fact that someone like me should not try to get a job working for the Democratic Party. (Or, for that matter, for People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, the anti-meat-eating, anti-pet organization.) I would never want to work for an organization whose core principles I oppose. It's entirely a different question.

So here, I defend the Catholic Church's position. They have their First Amendment rights, and the Obama Administration needs to recognize this.

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