I tweeted earlier this week that it’s hard not to get angry when people who are anti-choice and anti-women’s health care see my potential death as the cost of doing religion.
We usually talk about the cost of doing business. It’s bad enough when politicians make arguments that treating some people as disposable (the poor, the unemployed, the disabled, etc) is acceptable as “the cost of doing business” to keep the American economy strong and free, yadda yadda yadda.
But it’s absolutely appalling to see religious leaders arguing that they don’t have to take into account the effects of their actions.
Take, for example, the latest statement from the US Catholic bishops. They claim to be the aggrieved party, crying out that if they have to be involved in women’s health care, among other things, then their religious liberty is being taken away.
I wrote about this for Hail Columbia, and I tried to write in such a way as to open room for discussion. But here, let me state my personal position more clearly.
They’re arguing that their right to swing their censer doesn’t end where my religion begins – that it extends all the way inside my body, in fact, and can put my health and life at risk, because their institutions which serve non-religious functions can’t be held to the same standards as everyone else, even when they’re receiving public funds for what they do.
If individuals get hurt in the process, well, that’s just the cost of doing religion. You can’t make Communion wine without crushing some grapes.
And I’m one of the ones who might get caught in the press.
Edited to add: The inimitable Sarah Posner does a great job of debunking the bishops’ arguments by showing how they ignore relevant legal rulings. H/t to Makarios for pointing it out!
I also missed the point that the bishops are not trying to claim “conscientious objector” status – they simply state that the laws are unjust. That’s good; for a minute there I thought we were going to argue over whether since institutions/corporations are people, they have consciences.