Sunday, February 12, 2012

Founding Father's Church Allows Birth Control

Our Founding Fathers opposed the Catholic Church, and America's oldest church now actually allows for birth control today.

The GOP's False Claim of 'War on Religion'

President Barack Obama recently announced that religiously-affiliated employers must provide their employees with free access to contraception in their health care plans. This decision has drawn particular ire from Catholic universities, especially given that the policy may be altered to include students.

Catholic priests and Republican candidates have assailed this decision as an “assault on religious liberty” because the law forces universities and their affiliates to provide a service that is opposed by the Church’s moral teachings.

However, institutions and employers that receive federal or state financial assistance (whether directly via grants or indirectly via tax relief or other subsidies) should provide access to birth control. It goes against the public interest and basic common sense to think otherwise.

The Roman Catholic Church has disallowed artificial contraception for as far back as one can historically trace. Contraception was also officially disallowed by non-Catholic Christians until 1930 when the Anglican Communion changed its policy. Soon after, most Protestant groups came to accept the use of modern contraceptives as a matter of Biblically allowable freedom of conscience.

Catholicism defines chastity as the virtue that moderates the sexual appetite. Unmarried Catholics express chastity through sexual abstinence (refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for medical, psychological, legal, social, philosophical or religious reasons.)

Among the sins Catholics consider gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, and pornography. Also grave are homosexual practices and artificial contraception. Besides being considered a grave sin (mortal sin), the procurement or assistance in abortion can carry the penalty of excommunication.

In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Latin for "Human Life"), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.

The church holds that contraception is "any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible". This includes sterilization, condoms and other barrier methods, spermicides, coitus interruptus (withdrawal method), the Pill, and all other such methods.

But then, couldn't unmarried Catholics who express chastity through sexual abstinence be on the list of "all other such methods", and also be considered as a form of birth control, by denying natural urges such as eating and sleeping?

And then there are the Republicans who claim that birth control, provided by healthcare insurance companies to employees of religious organizations, violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Establishment Clause is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, stating, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...” Together with the Free Exercise Clause ("... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"), these two clauses make up what are called the "religion clauses" of the First Amendment.

The Establishment Clause has generally been interpreted to prohibit

  1. the establishment of a national religion by Congress, or
  2. the preference by the U.S. government of one religion over another.

The first approach is called the "separation" or "no aid" interpretation, while the second approach is called the "non-preferential" or "accommodation" interpretation. The accommodation interpretation prohibits Congress from preferring one religion over another, but does not prohibit the government's entry into religious domain to make accommodations in order to achieve the purposes of the Free Exercise Clause.

Here's this blogger's take on the recent politically created "crisis" by the Republicans (and the Catholic church's political inclusion on this subject) -- and their fake claims about "Obama's war on religious freedom".

We already know where the Republican Party, "social conservatives", and the Catholic church stands on birth control. They have been using religion as a political tool to have their way on social issues to infringe on the religious rights of all other Americans -- those whose religious beliefs and/or moral principals allows them to use contraception.

But if there is a separation of state and church, then why are the Catholic bishops so involved in the politics and social issues of non-Catholic force others (their employees) to forego birth control, those who may not even be Catholic themselves?

No government law forces any religious organization or any individual to believe in, condone, promote, or use birth control. But as an Equal Opportunity employer, they are bound to abide by federal labor laws (such as the minimum wage, etc).

The solution is really very simple: All Catholic organizations can keep their tax exempt status, forgo all federal funding, and not have to adhere to any Equal Opportunity labor laws - - and therefore, not be obligated to offer healthcare insurance to their employees that includes contraception -- a service that would be paid for by the insurance companies.

Exempting religious organizations from paying any taxes is a clear case of government "respecting an establishment of religion." But throughout history we have seen many otherwise-lucid thinkers insist otherwise, including Supreme Court justices who uphold biblical views when their taxpayer-funded jobs explicitly require them to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.

Under George W. Bush's administration, our country experienced a major transformation from a secular to a religious government. His faith-based initiatives is central to this transformation and raises serious questions about church-state separation.

Also: If the Catholic church is except from paying taxes, but then receives tax funding from non-Catholics, and then denies their non-Catholic employees healthcare insurance that includes contraception, then it becomes a labor, health, and government issue, not a "religious freedom" issue.

Insurance companies can offer free contraception, and because it's also "preventive medicine", can actually save them money and lowers the cost of insurance premiums -- as we've seen in many states where this has already been the case.

But social conservatives (and many in the Catholic hierarchy) also believe that aborting a fetus from an incestuous rape is also morally wrong. A male (a human man, a Catholic Pope) made that moral decision in 1968 based on interpretations invented by Man 2,000 years ago. This is just plain ludicrous to this blogger. The earth is no longer flat and dinosaurs also evolved.

In 1879 the Supreme Court ruled in Reynolds v. United States that prohibiting polygamy did not violate a Mormon’s freedom of religion. Not all religious exemptions from state and federal law are created equal in the eyes of the government. Thus, it is up to the legislature and the judiciary to determine which religious exemptions from existing law the Constitution protects.

Just tell the Catholic organizations they are no longer tax exempt, will no longer receive funding from non-Catholic taxpayers, and should only hire Catholics that are willing to forgo federal labor laws. The Catholic church and the Republicans seem to be trying to impose their religious beliefs on others...using politics, and in many cases, false outrage, to win political points against Obama. It's all a ruse.

I was born and raised as a Catholic. Birth control was invented long after the there was ever a Catholic church and a Pope. There is no mention of birth control in the Bible, and Thou shalt not kill (the sixth of the Ten Commandments) seems vague as far as the prevention of any life form (or even the killing of an insect). Most people today interpret this to mean as in Cain and Abel -- that humans are not to take another human's life. So does "life" start AT conception or BEFORE conception? One can also argue that "life" might have started over 13 billion years ago when our known Universe was first born.

And as we've witnessed all throughout history (the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch burnings, etc,) the Catholics didn't always take the right side of humanity or morality -- sometimes just asserting their beliefs on others for power and control. The church was at times very WRONG on many social issues in the past -- take World War II for example, when the church "invested" in art and gold that was known to have been looted by the Nazis.

I believe the Republicans are just using this issue on birth control as political fodder in an election year...hypocrites all, since their very wives use birth control, but yet they want to deny it to poor people.

The Republicans claim they're "pro-life", but only from pre-conception to birth. After a child is born, they might as well say, "OK kid, you're on your own now. Remember, no food stamps for you!"

To a Republican, the life of my seed has more rights than I do. The GOP wants to go back in time, to be regressive, and enslave women again by keeping them barefoot and pregnant.

And shame on the Catholic church for siding with the Republicans on ANY issue that relates to anything to do with "humanity" or "morality". While although the Vatican is an independent State in the country of Italy, we know from the past how the church has lied and deceived us before during the time of the Roman Empire.

Are the Catholic Bishops now lobbyists on behalf of corporations and a narrow segment of the Republican Party? It is no longer economically possible for most Americans today to raise large families. Does The Church want a nation with 50% of its population already living near the poverty level, to have more children that they can't adequately care for? How about the high cost of healthcare? Are married Americans also supposed to practice celibacy?

Our Founding Fathers Opposed the Catholic Church

The most common hypothesis is that the Italic (ancient Italian) peoples migrated into the Italian peninsula some time during the Italian Bronze Age from 1800 to 900 BC.

The Latini (or Latins) were a people of ancient Italy who included the inhabitants of the early City of Rome in 1000 BC. The history of the Roman Kingdom began with the city's founding, traditionally dated to 753 BC.

The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC.

Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalia. The Hellenistic period settlement was constructed during the reign of John Hyrcanus, 134-104 BC or somewhat later, and was occupied most of the time until it was destroyed by the Romans in 68 AD or shortly after. It is best known as the settlement nearest to the caves in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name. They were specifically located at Khirbet Qumran in the British Mandate for Palestine, in what is now known as the West Bank.

The texts are of great religious and historical significance, as they include the oldest known surviving copies of Biblical and extra-biblical documents and preserve evidence of great diversity in late Second Temple Judaism. They are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, mostly on parchment, but with some written on papyrus. These manuscripts generally date between 150 BC and 70 AD.

The 500-year-old Roman Republic had been weakened and subverted through several civil wars. Several events are commonly proposed to mark the transition from "Republic" to "Empire", including Julius Caesar's appointment as perpetual dictator (44 BC), the Battle of Actium (31 BC), and the Roman Senate's granting to Octavian the honorific Augustus (27 BC).

Catholic tradition holds that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ 1 AD. The birth of Jesus was assigned by the Anno Domini era according to at least one scholar. However, most scholars think Dionysius placed the birth of Jesus in the previous year of 1 BC. Despite this, most modern scholars do not consider Dionysius' calculations authoritative, placing the event several years earlier.

Roman Catholic doctrine maintains that the Church is infallible when it definitively teaches a doctrine of faith or morals. The infallibility of the Church (indefectibility of the Church) is the belief that the Holy Spirit will not allow the Church to err in its belief or teaching under certain circumstances.

Christianity emerged in Roman Judea as a Jewish religious sect in the 1st century AD. The religion gradually spread out of Jerusalem, initially establishing major bases in first Antioch, then Alexandria, and over time throughout the Empire as well as beyond.

The Roman Empire reached its greatest extent under Emperor Trajan during his reign from 98 to 117 AD.

Constantine I (sole ruler 324–337) became the first Christian Roman emperor, and in 380 Theodosius I established Christianity as the official religion.

After the death of the Emperor Theodosius I in 395 the Roman Empire was divided for the last time.

Pope Leo I was an Italian aristocrat, and is the first pope of the Catholic Church from 440 until he died in 461.

The Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 as Romulus Augustus was forced to abdicate to the Germanic warlord Odoacer.

The Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire ended in 1453 with the death of Constantine XI and the capture of Constantinople to Mehmed II, leader of the Ottoman Turks.

The first permanent English settlement in the U.S. was Jamestown, established in the Colony of Virginia by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607.

Thirteen years later Plymouth was the colony founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims, passengers of the famous ship the Mayflower, who were Anglicans and English separatists that had broken away from the Church of England, believing that the Church had not completed the work of the Protestant Reformation.

As the second successful English settlement (after the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607), Plymouth became the oldest continuously inhabited British settlement in what was to become the United States of America. The Pilgrims' story of seeking religious freedom has become a central theme of the history and culture of the United States. (New York Times: Jamestown Thought to Yield Ruins of Oldest U.S. Protestant Church)

The Pilgrims were Brownists, followers of Robert Browne, a lecturer at Saint Mary's Church, and a dissident preaching against the doctrines and disciplines of the Church of England. Puritanism was fundamentally anti-Catholic: Puritans felt that the Church of England was still too close to Catholicism.

The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to ("protested") the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led to the creation of new national Protestant churches.

The Reformation began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church, by priests who opposed what they perceived as false doctrines and ecclesiastic malpractice—especially the teaching and the sale of indulgences or the abuses thereof, and simony, the selling and buying of clerical offices—that the reformers saw as evidence of the systemic corruption of the Church's Roman hierarchy, which included the Pope.

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