BY KRISTEN GOLEMBIEWSKI
Reading and watching coverage of the birth control controversy has left me with a few questions. In particular, I’m wondering if these religious white men have ever, I don’t know, read the Bill of Rights? Do they understand what freedom of religion means? Are they aware that the majority of Americans support contraceptive coverage? Will they ever get their beliefs out of my uterus?
And before anyone asks me, yes, I have read the Bill of Rights. I am well aware that freedom of religion means that everyone is free to practice their chosen faith and that everyone is free from the government imposing religion upon them. I know that making a law based on religious grounds is un-Constitutional. And if I, a dumb 20-something college kid can figure it out, these men can, too.
I used to think they were stupid, but from what I’ve read and seen, they’re just the opposite. I may be giving them too much credit here, but I honestly believe that they think they’re making a smart move. And if I didn’t look at their movements too closely, I’d think it was smart, too.
What gets people more upset than anything else? The top answer is politics, followed by religion. Claim that your religious freedoms are being infringed upon, and everyone gets upset. And when everybody gets upset, the media covers it and the public becomes aware of the issue. And that’s why I say claiming that civil liberties are at stake is a smart move. Well, as long as you don’t listen to the stories too carefully.
Because if you don’t listen to the stories too carefully or if you get your news from Fox, you’d come out with the impression that these bishops and clergymen and politicians were completely correct; that they were fighting for our First Amendment rights, and how dare anyone force them to betray their faith!
But if you look a little bit closer, you’ll notice that these religious groups are shooting themselves in the foot. Churches aren’t doing well as it is, and the recent announcement that the Archdiocese of Detroit would be consolidating churches proves that. The Catholic church in particular isn’t doing well, mostly thanks to those child molestation scandals. I have to wonder, would the Church support contraceptives if altar boys could get pregnant?
Regardless, the Church doesn’t have the same power it used to. New polls are reporting that increasing numbers of the faithful use contraception, support contraceptive coverage, and believe it’s totally possible to be a practicing member of a faith and use contraceptives – the complete opposite of what these bishops are saying.
That’s why I say it only looks like a smart strategy. From the outside, bishops appear to be representing their faiths and protecting the rights of the religious to practice without government intervention. But as new research is showing, these bishops aren’t really representing anyone anymore.
Looking at what’s being said, I’ve realized there are two possible conclusions.
Either these bishops are so out of touch that they truly believe that they’re representing members of their faith, or the church is so irrelevant that in order to show they have some clout, they’ve rallied around this cause under the ridiculous idea that their religious freedoms are being threatened. I’m beginning to believe the latter, and I don’t think I’m the only one.
This debate is going to end one of two ways. The best option would be for the church to back down, become more accepting of the contraceptive mandate, and show the world that it is still relevant and can adapt with the times.
Or, and most likely, the church will continue to stick with outdated stances, alienating members and damaging itself even more than it did with the child molestation scandals (and attempted cover-ups).
I hope they enjoy shooting themselves in the foot.