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Birth control insurance not religious issue
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

As a lifelong Catholic, baptized, confirmed, and married in the church, and one who sent his daughter, at considerable expense, to Catholic schools and university, I would like to address some of the hysterical comments and nonsense that I have been reading in the Bulletin lately about President Obama’s “attack on Catholicism and all Christianity”, “not allowing Catholics to be Catholics”, and his personal war on everything that is good and decent about America.

I’ll start on a positive note and admit that I am delighted that so many non-Catholics are currently concerned about the welfare of the Catholic church.  When I was growing up, the Catholic church was seen by many non-Catholics to be the Whore of Babylon, straight out of the Old Testament, and the Pope was the Antichrist. The talk then was that if JFK, a Catholic, was elected president, the reins of government would be handed over to the Pope, Rome would be running the country, and that amid the ruin and the fire and brimstone, the streets of America would flow with the blood of good, God-fearing Protestants.  How little things really change. Well, that didn’t happen, and things seem to be looking up, ecumenically speaking.

This is not a religious issue.  No one, not even the “evil” Obama, is telling Catholics what they can or cannot do.  This is an employer/employee issue, concerning the type of health care women employees will have access to and who will pay for it. 

The Catholic church has vast business holdings and employs millions of people globally, not all of them believers in the Catholic faith.  Catholic hospitals, schools and universities, Catholic charities, E.W.T.N, the Global Catholic Network, Catholic Radio, Catholic Television, the Catholic News Network, and Catholic social networks are just the tip of a global business empire that controls vast wealth and holdings throughout the world, and employs millions of people globally, believers and non-believers alike. The Catholic Church also enjoys tax-payer money and huge tax breaks from the United States government.  Many of the employees working for these Catholic businesses receive health care benefits, just like employees of non-Catholic businesses do.

Female employees, Catholic and non-Catholic, of these church-owned and -controlled businesses are entitled as a part of their health care coverage to contraceptive care whether they choose to use it or not, and many do choose it.  Polls point to the fact that many practicing Catholic women do choose to use contraception, no matter what the position of the bishops or the Church is.  The pews in church on Sunday are not full of families with ten children as they were years ago.  There is a reason for that.

Currently, many Republican  government officials are crying for employers to be freed from any regulation that might cause them a crisis of conscience.  If that does become the case, I’m that sure many employers, if they can save a buck by developing a conscience, will show a sensitivity of conscience and a religious fervor never before witnessed by humankind.

In my opinion, no boss should be able to determine what kind of health care a woman will be limited to, even if that boss happens to be the Catholic church.

Stephen Breacain
Feb. 15, 2012