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So, Enter the Health Insurance Policies for the Lambs of God

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Okay, I’ll admit.

I was astonished.

My fear of writing about abortion has always been a fear of starting a comments war, and instead I got no comments at all.


I assume that means you all think I’m crazy. 

But I do want to point out something important–I was being very specific when I said that the government could not be allowed to require you to put YOUR PHYSICAL BODY, YOUR ACTUAL BLOOD AND SKIN AND BONE, to the use and/or benefit of another person against your will.

It can require your tax money.

I can require your service, as in a military draft (eh, okay, maybe not) or in your doing community service work if you’re nailed for a DUI.

I can’t be allowed to demand that you hand over your kidney.

A government that can demand that you hand over your kidney is in fact more tyrannical than one that can demand you had over 80% of your income in tax.

There is a difference in kind between those two things that makes all the difference in the world.

But let me get on to this–if an employer belongs to a religion that rejects standard medicine and allows only faith healing, should that employer be allowed to insure its employees for faith healing only?

And the answer is–depending on the grounds on which it rejects standard medicine, yes.

I say depending on the grounds because there are actual real world examples of this.  Such religious denominations do exist.

But they don’t all look at standard medicine and faith healing in the same way.

The largest, best educated and most well-healed Church is the First Church of Christ, Scientist–the Christian Science people.

The problem is that they don’t view standard medicine in the same way that the Catholic Church views birth control–as a positive evil that will send a soul to hell for eternity for its practice.

In fact, they don’t see standard medicine as evil at all, only as wrongheaded and ineffective.

They do not view themselves as participating in a moral wrong if they pay for your bypass operation.  They just think you’re being silly.

And Christian Scientists who are employers provide health insurance coverage for standard medicine all the time.  They only demand–and get–policies that cover Christian Science practitioners as well.

What’s more, members of the Christian Science Church tend to be, on average, better educated and of a higher socioeconomic status than the average.  A lot of them do in fact run business, including very large ones.  Hank Paulson–CEO of Goldman, Sachs and then Secretary of the Treasury under George W. Bush–is a Christian Scientist.

Christian Science, therefore, is not a good case.  They rely on faith healing, but they do not see standard medicine as an evil they must oppose in order to practice their religion.

The problem after that is this–the other sects that both do practice faith healing and do see standard medicine as an evil tend to be small and populated by people who are most definitely LESS well educated and of LOWER socioeconomic status than the average.

In fact, almost exponentionally both.

What this means is that, although it is certainly true that the Lambs of God see standard medicine as witchcraft and therefore an active work of the devil, the chances that they will have a business large enough to hire enough workers to be caught by the health insurance mandate is–nil. 

There is every chance, of course, that they’ll be caught by the individual mandate, but they can take the easy way out of that by paying a fine.  Most of them are poor enough that they’d most likely be signed on to Medicaid which they then wouldn’t use.

So the test case isn’t going to occur, simply because the conditions for it are not right.

But, in the end, the free exercise clause is the free exercise clause.  The only way the government should be allowed to violate it is if there is no way to institute its policy that will not impinge on the right.

And, in fact, there are several ways to institute even universal coverage without impinging on the right.

One way would be to put in place a single payer system paid for by taxes.  At that point, the members of the Lambs of God would be able to refuse to take advantage of the system put in place, and they would not be required to do anything directly to support it. 

They would pay a general tax.  Some of their tax money would go to pay for the single payer system.  They do that now with Medicaid.

What they are not required to do under such a system is to actively and directly act to support something where such active and direct support would mean they’d go to hell for eternity.

There are lots of good reasons to support a si ngle payer system over the mess we were landed with, aside from the fact that it would remove the requirement that I hand more money over to insurance companies.

Don’t get me started.

But  let me note one more thing–the requirement that all employers pay for insurance that covers birth control was NOT passed as a law.

It was not debated in Congress.  It did not get an airing in the press.

It was issued as a fiat by the Department of Health and Human Services, as thoroughly arbitrary as if Katherine Sebilius had been a king with divine rights.

We would not be in the position we are now if that regulation had been democratically decided. 

It’s time to end government by decree.

It really is.

If a policy is going to have the force of law, we should go back to requiring it to be passed AS a law.

And things like “the Secretary will decide” should not be permitted.

Written by janeh

June 21st, 2012 at 8:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses to 'So, Enter the Health Insurance Policies for the Lambs of God'

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  1. I didn’t comment yesterday because in large part, I agree with your position on the legal aspect of not putting one body in service of another. I acknowledge there’s a huge moral and ethical problem when one aborts a fetus, especially a healthy one, at a point where a wanted preemie birth would be saved. Personally, unless the mother is endangered, I would prefer pregnancies so advanced be carried to term. The thought of an otherwise healthy infant lying dead because its mother couldn’t get her act together until month 8 is repugnant to me.

    And then you get into deciding if a late-term abortion of a handicapped child should be saved or allowed to die. It’s a huge mess, and I think that’s where a lot of the emotion comes in. But as you say, even at the stage of a few cells, what’s aborted is human. A potential life is gone. But I’m far more concerned with the mother and her welfare.

    And I absolutely agree that government by regulation is an abomination. That combined with crony capitalism is essentially eliminating democracy as a functioning concept. Screw elected office, all the smart people want to be regulators. Or the corporations who benefit and benefit *from* such regulation.

    Unless we the voters rise up and vote out ALL incumbents to express our outrage, though, this may be the last time we even get any input. :/ I’m not a happy camper, politically speaking, right now.


    21 Jun 12 at 12:42 pm

  2. I don’t get it. In fact, I don’t get it twice. First, I don’t see the equivalency of forbidding the abortion of a child and demanding body parts. Second, I’m not sold that any demand for body parts–Blood? Bone Marrow? Sperm?–is inherently worse than demands for physical service–conscription, corvee, “volunteer” work required for a diploma–or just taking all the fruits of one’s mind and hands.

    Maybe you can make such cases, but you’ll have to walk me through the logic step by step. Repeatedly making the assertions is not the same.

    As for laws with regulatory discretion, these are clearly absolutely necessary. If regulators and influential politicians couldn’t alter the meaning of laws already on the books, who would pay speaker’s fees, make book deals and hire them for lucrative private-sector jobs? Public servants would be reduced to living on their salaries, and be no better than the rest of us.


    21 Jun 12 at 4:00 pm

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