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There’s more politics than faith at work here
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The Catholic archbishop of New York objected to mandating Catholic institutions to provide their employees coverage for contraceptive drugs (“Contraceptive rules anger Catholic leaders,” Jan. 21).
The Republican speaker of the House says he will see this mandate is defeated. I say it’s much ado about almost nothing.
The archbishop declares it denies Catholics their individual consciences; the speaker asserts it violates First Amendment rights. The archbishop knows “individual conscience” means follow the conscience of the church, which holds a belief concerning contraception that most American Catholics don’t follow.
This should answer the speaker, too, as to what right is being denied. I’ve been a Republican, probably since I sang at a Wendell Wilkie rally in 1940. I am a practicing Roman Catholic, though some say I’m more Roman than Catholic.
It’s not a sin to provide employees of various institutions that are an integral part of American health care (both publicly and financially) cost relief for contraception because of a myth that has developed from disdain for a tenet of faith.
The real problem was succinctly stated by Roger Williams at the founding of Rhode Island: “When you mix religion and politics, what you get is politics.”
On the matter of contraception, condoms are available everywhere, for a nominal cost. All other forms of contraception that women choose to use to avoid pregnancy are, in effect, optional and are chosen primarily for convenience.Notwithstanding a diagnosed medical condition, such choices should be treated the same as elective surgery, which is not covered by most insurance companies.
The animosity in regards to the issue of HB 947 is disheartening. As parents, we should have the best interest of our children at heart and that includes all children, whether they are home-schooled or attend public school.
The choice to educate a child at home is very personal, and the reasons are as varied as the parents who make it. It’s not about rejecting public school, but rather making a decision to fit an individual need. Discussions about home-schooled children meeting standards are distractive diversions because most, if not all, home-educated children are held to the highest academic standards.
It’s simple. At issue we have a public institution funded by taxes. Denying home-educated children the right to play sports at public schools is no different than denying them participation in after-school activities at the library or the city.
As a community, we should embrace inclusive policies instead of exclusionary ones and follow the lead of other states that have already included home-educated children into after-school activities and sports instead of trying to find excuses as to why the antiquated status quo should remain in place.
On Feb. 15, I attended a funeral service in Vinton and subsequently traveled in the procession from Vinton to Sherwood Cemetery in Salem.
We had the usual police escort, and as we wound our way along the route, I noticed more then a few pedestrians and those waiting at bus stops take off their hats or hold their hands over their hearts as the hearse passed.
To say I was surprised, not to mention very pleased, would be an understatement. As we entered the cemetery, the escorting Roanoke motorcycle and Salem police officers stood by their respective vehicles and saluted, a gesture very much appreciated.
All the nice people are not yet gone.
JAMES C. MARTIN
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