The so-called “free birth control” provision of the Affordable Care Act kicked in on Wednesday, even though there isn’t really anything “free” about it. It’s not like women with health insurance won’t have to pay their premiums. It’s just that they won’t be getting hit with a co-pay charge when they get birth control. That’s not splitting hairs or anything. It’s the truth.
This is the part of the ACA that led to that infamous hearing, which Darrel Issa probably thought would make him look pious and devout, but instead made him look about as tone deaf as an early stages American Idol contestant.
The point of the hearing was to let it be known far and wide that this not-at-all-free birth control provision infuriated a lot of religious conservatives, who don’t like the idea of their premium dollars going to things that they find morally objectionable.
It must have been quite tough for them to be forced to go against their own consciences and common sense. For instance, Don McElroy, the young Earth creationist who was put in charge of choosing the science textbooks for the entire state of Texas in 2010, is probably pretty upset about the idea of religious people being forced to do things that they don’t want to do.
It’s profoundly disconcerting that an evangelical charity might have to pay for a monthly stash of Yaz for their receptionist, which is a total intrusion into their beliefs. I’ll have to ask all the public school kids in Tennessee and Kentucky who are being taught that creationism is just as valid a scientific theory as evolution what they think about this state of affairs. I’m sure they will be outraged.
So will China, Canada, Finland, Japan and every other country that is handing us our own hind-ends when it comes to science education.
I’ll bet that my buddy Jenn, who is currently being prevented from marrying her girlfriend of six years due to reasons that are based on the Old Testament and not the United States Constitution, will be spitting mad over this unprecedented intrusion into the religious beliefs of our fellow citizens. “That’s simply infuriating!” I can just imagine her saying, as the clerk at City Hall tells her and her girlfriend to go pound sand. “What can I do to help?”
I’m sure that all the young, unready mothers all over America, who were told that condoms just flat out don’t work by the evangelical activists who were paid to teach taxpayer-funded, abstinence-only sex education programs probably view this birth control provision as the basest violation of their religious rights.
And what about all of those elected officials on Capitol Hill who believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, each of whom have more of a say about how the United States spends its science dollars than anyone doing cutting-edge research at M.I.T? They must be quite frightened over the prospect of the government disregarding the spirituality of Americans to achieve their own twisted ends.
I’m going to punch way above my weight class for a second and quote H.L. Mencken: “We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his belief that his wife is beautiful, or his children smart.”
This is absolutely true. You should respect the religious beliefs of everyone, but only up to a point. If Mencken’s “other fellow” tries to make it mandatory for everyone to fawn over his wife or to praise the brain power of his dirt-eating nine year old, mandatory respect is no longer required.
It’s hard for me to get really worked up over American policy becoming inconvenient to religious beliefs, particularly when the religious beliefs of others are quite often cheerfully inserted into the lives of Americans, whether we want them there or not, or whether they are good for us or not. If evangelicals and the folks at the Catholic diocese are upset about this intrusion into their consciences, then please allow me to point out that the non-religious feel the intrusion of the religious by way of government regulations all the damn time. Welcome to the neighborhood. How does it feel?