Our “Catholic” Senator

I received the following email today from Claire McCaskill, our soon-to-be-ex senator from Missouri.  It was in response to a letter I sent her several weeks ago concerning the HHS health care mandate.  Note that Ms. McCaskill claims to be a faithful Catholic.  (Emphasis is mine.  Comments to follow)
March 12, 2012

Dear Mr. Buckley,

Thank you for contacting me regarding birth control and women’s health.  I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

I believe we should all work to prevent and reduce the number of abortions in this country.  I support access to birth control, which will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and ultimately reduce abortions.  This is an emotional, difficult subject.  But if you really believe that reducing abortions is important in this country, which I do, then it doesn’t work to keep putting up barriers to women getting birth control.  For this reason, I voted against the amendment offered by my colleague, Senator Roy Blunt (Senate Amendment 1520), which would have allowed any employer, health plan sponsor, or insurance company to refuse coverage for their employees for any type of essential health care services — including birth control, maternity care, prenatal testing, and HIV/AIDS screening — based solely on an undefined “moral objection.”

As you may know, following considerable debate, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reached a compromise so that religiously-affiliated employers will not have to provide birth control if it violates that employer’s religious beliefs.  This compromise, which I support, ensures that all women with employer-sponsored health plans will have access to free preventive health services, while protecting the religious freedom of religiously-affiliated employers.  If a church or religious employer determines that covering birth control would be inconsistent with their organization’s beliefs, the insurance company rather than the employer will be required to offer these services directly to women.

Groups on both sides of the debate, including the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood, have expressed their support of this compromise.  Under the new HHS guidelines, no one will be required to use birth control or other preventive care services under any plan.  each woman, pursuant to her own beliefs, will access the services she deems appropriate.  However, a woman will not be denied access to health services, like birth control, based on the decision of her employer, instead of retaining for herself the right to choose whether to use birth control or not.  The new guidelines also do not eliminate or change existing conscience protections, which I support, that allow doctors and individual healthcare providers to choose whether or not to prescribe or administer birth control in accordance with their own beliefs.

It should be noted that 28 states already require health insurance plans to cover contraceptive services.  The compromise guidelines follow in the steps of most states, including Missouri, which have already found a reasonable way to ensure access to preventive health services while also respecting employers’ First Amendment right to religious freedom, a fundamental principle on which our nation was founded.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.

Sincerely,

Claire McCaskill
United States Senator

Let’s take a look at the points I highlighted.
I support access to birth control.”  No surprise here.  My only issue here is her claim to be a practicing Catholic.  Maybe she need more practice?
“essential health care services”  How in the world does artificial birth control qualify as an essential health care service.  Later in the letter she refers to “preventive health services.”  This well-worn liberal phrase is right in line with the idea that pregnancy is some sort of disease.  Our president was widely quoted as saying, in support of birth control and abortion, that he “didn’t want (his) daughters punished with a child”.
“Undefined ‘moral objection'”.  Of course the undefined moral objection is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church which has been very clearly defined; much more clearly defined than Ms. McCaskill’s version of Catholicism.
” following considerable debate, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reached a compromise so that religiously-affiliated employers will not have to provide birth control if it violates that employer’s religious beliefs.  This is an untrue statement.  There was no debate and there has been no compromise.  Catholic employers will be forced to include artificial birth control in its employee health plans.  The fantasy that insurance companies will provide this coverage out of the goodness of their hearts is nonsense.  There may be no line-item charge for this coverage but you can bet your last dollar that the cost of some other service will be raised accordingly.  For the many Catholic employers who are self-insured, they will have to pay.
“free preventive health services.”  There it is again.  Birth control prevents the “disease” of pregnancy.
Groups on both sides of the debate, including the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood, have expressed their support of this compromise”  Again, there was no compromise which would explain why Planned Parenthood would support it.  Catholic Health Association is Catholic in name only.
“No one will be required to use birth control or other preventive care services under any plan.” At least not yet, and
 “retaining for herself the right to choose whether to use birth control or not.”  The Church opposes artificial birth control.  We consider it a sin.  Having said that, the Church has no way of keeping any individual, Catholic or otherwise, from using the pill.  We do have a right, and that’s what this debate is all about, to not pay for it!  Our not paying for birth control does not interfere with any woman’s right to choose.
And, finally, “employers’ First Amendment right to religious freedom, a fundamental principle on which our nation was founded.”  She almost got this one right.  But, notice that she doesn’t endorse this freedom herself.  She just points out that others might endorse those rights.
The Senator’s letter is a perfect example of how those in power can twist words and give the impression to some voters that they are interested in our rights.  This is nonsense.  She’s shilling for the current administration and masquerading as a Catholic to do so.

So-called “public servants” like McCaskill have to go.


free: Not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes
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Whatever Happened to the 1st Amendment?

Here in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, our Archbishop, Robert Carlson, has written a pastoral letter which is to be read in every parish.  The topic is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate that all employers, including Catholic employers provide insurance coverage for artificial birth control, abortion, and the morning-after abortion pill.  This is in clear violation of the Constitution’s first amendment which assures religious freedom.

Archbishop Carlson writes, “In generations past, the Church has always counted on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties.  I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same.  Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.”

The Archbishop, along with all the U.S. Bishops is calling on Catholic Americans to stand up for our faith.  Imagine if the government would mandate that all Amish must be hooked up to the power grid.  The Amish would be outraged, as would every American citizen who values their religious faith.  Suppose the feds mandated that all religions observe Sunday as their sabbath day.  How would our Jewish brothers and sisters react to that?  Or, imagine this.  What if the government mandated that Muslim hospitals (if there were such a thing) serve pork to their patients.  I shudder to think what their response would be.

We can’t be so complacent as to think that if the government can interfere in one of our basic religious rights, that they will stop there.  A lot of us live in an environment where anti-Catholic bigotry lies beneath the surface.  But it’s alive and well.  What the haters don’t realize is that when the government takes away our rights, their rights are threatened too.

I’d like to share with you some comments from a local newspaper forum on Archbishop Carlson’s letter.  Keep in mind that these are anonymous posts.  The writers are hiding behind pseudonyms.  I’m sharing just a few highlights so you won’t have to waste your time reading this garbage.  Just keep in mind that one of these people may be your next door neighbor.

“No surprise here. Catholic church needs all the children it can get for brainwashing.”

“I’m waiting for the archbishop to pour as much money into ending the death penalty as he does abortion.”

“I’m Catholic, we don’t use birth control, but I think making birth control more available for those who want it is a good thing.”

[Note:  This issue isn’t about providing birth control.  It’s about forcing Catholic institutions to pay for it.  Two very different things.]

“The more kids the parishoners have the more choices priest have to chose from.”

“If Catholics don’t want to use contraception, that is fine. But the rest of us, who live in the real world, and have kids who live in the real world, don’t want this provision canceled from the health care bill because of some arcane and misguided belief that making contraception available is somehow wrong.”

[Note:  I’ll bet you thought you were living in the real world, didn’t you?]

“If the Archbishop do (sic) not like our laws in this country, he can take his church to another country.”

To all the right wing nut jobs who continue to follow the mindless ramblings of a holy roman empire cult that brought you the inquisitions, the crusades, the “irish laundries” the holy wars, the pedophile scandals, and now the tax free status of a MAJOR “PAC”. when are we gonna wake up and realize that we were founded on a “no religion is better than the other,”

“The only reason the church denounces birth control is because they want more asses in the seats on sunday morning, period.”

“Mr. Bishop,  Get a clue.”

“Hey Catholics, don’t like birth control then don’t use it. How is it your ‘religious freedom’ to impose your freedom-stealing views on others?”

“I’m burning. I’m burning. Hell is horrible. I never should have prevented that unwanted pregnancy.”

“Heres an idea, why dont you get off your knees (not from praying, but from servicing bishop carson) and wake up the the bullspit they are shoveling. All they care about is populating their pews and if they cant do that, they shut em down.”

“Catholic “leadership” opposes equal rights for all of thier (sic) employees. Meanwhile child molestation and sexual abuse continues to be denied, ignored and swept under the carpet. Typical of the catholic church to go crazy over the unborn but ignoring the needs of the children entrusted to their clergy. The catholic church has lost the higher moral ground and now they are as corrupt as any politcal party with a politcal agenda that does not include how Jesus Christ would treat others. The non-profit status of the catholic church should be revoked now that they are actively pursuing actions in politics and preaching their case from the pulpit. No more special treatment for the liars with the white collar.”

Excuse me for going off on a rant, but enough is enough!  If we, as Catholics, don’t respond to our Bishop’s request for action then we deserve whatever happens.  What you and I need to do is ( 1) pray.  Pray hard and often.  Pray that our employees in Washington DC will wake up to what they’re doing to our country.  (2) Find out exactly what the government is proposing and let your congress person and senator know how you feel.  Check out the US Bishops’ web site.  They have a convenient link to connect you with Washington.  It takes just a few seconds.

These people like their jobs (who wouldn’t) and they want to keep them.  If enough of us let them know we oppose this violation of our religious freedom, they will react.