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Religious Exemption

President Obama’s push to bring U.S. health care coverage into modern times is an step toward defeating poverty and I wish he would be uncompromising in his demands. The current argument argument regarding the requirement for coverage of contraception is one that should have taken place generations ago.

Insurance plans should cover contraception and the only exemption should be for houses of worship. The argument against contraception is heard loudest from the Catholic Church and they are calling for exemptions for all of their organizations such as hospitals and universities. Take a closer look at these organizations.

As an example, Providence Health & Services here in Alaska claims to be a Catholic organization. However, take a look at their executive leadership. There isn’t a single Sister of Providence on the leadership team. Even the Chief Mission Integration Officer is not distinctly Catholic.

This organization also has a Foundation and the only sign of Catholicism on the Board of Directors is extreme wealth that would rival that of the Vatican.

To be fair, the parent organization, Providence Health & Services does have two Roman Catholic Sisters on their Board of Directors. However, the leadership team again shows a complete absence of church guidance.

Religious organizations that are truly guided and governed by the church should be allowed to qualify for an exemption from including contraception in their insurance plans. However, that qualification test should be rigid and include a study of the faith base of their employees done by an external agency.

The divine law that governs the Catholic Church in this area is ancient and unchanging. One of the reasons people leave the church is because of its rigidity. Throughout history the Catholic Church and other religions built strength on controlling people’s behavior. It is time for the church to accept that people can think for themselves and make moral decisions defined by the time in which they live and the parameters of their own lives.

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