President Barack Obama recently passed a law requiring that health insurance policies cover contraception, including coverage for employees at religious institutions. Members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have continued to publically voice their outrage, but their view is far from being the majority opinion of religious or nonreligious Americans.
Those demanding that the reform be overturned view it as a violation of religious freedom and the law of God. An editorial in the Los Angeles Times reported on the compromise proposed by Obama which would exempt religiously affiliated employers from paying for coverage of contraception.
Employees who want the coverage, however, could request it and the insurance company would provide that coverage without raising the cost of their premiums. The editorial, published on Feb. 12, 2012, reports that, “The insurance industry has accepted the solution because it’s less expensive to pay for family planning than for pregnancies.”
Although some of the opposition has also been favorable to the compromise, not all religious leaders believe that it pays adequate respect to the moral beliefs preached in Catholicism.
Many Knox students feel that the freedom to practice personal religious beliefs should continue to be observed and respected.
Seniors Chelsea Coventry and Lucas Molina are observers of the Catholic faith and members of the Newman Club at Knox. They reported being quite put off by the Bishops’ reaction to the law, which was expressed in the form of a letter that Coventry described as being “more forceful than anything we’re used to.”
Although Coventry and Molina are committed to their faith, they expressed that they in no way condone any forceful control over the rights of American citizens. They also described the conflicted feelings of many Catholic Americans who recognize the United States as a secular nation but also feel compelled to defend the moral convictions of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic view on birth control indicates that it is a negative thing altogether. Many members of the faith believe that contraception is not good for women or men “because it disrupts the purposes of procreation and unity” in sexual relationships, as described by Molina. This belief is certainly not shared by all Americans or all religious individuals, however.
Junior Jenny Linder, member of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, commented on the view that birth control has a negative impact on society, saying that, “From my religion, Christianity’s, standpoint, that’s not specifically named within the Bible. It doesn’t show up anywhere.”
Most Knox students agree that Americans should recognize that the goal of the Obama administration is not to prevent Catholics from following their moral convictions.
Junior Rup Sarkar pointed out that the reform is about “a choice thing” where the decisions of individuals should be respected. He also believes that health care and religion are “two different things altogether.”