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Contraception mandate violates religious liberty, Oklahoma Christian University administrator tells House panel



Allison Garrett at Congressional Hearing from Oklahoma Christian on Vimeo.
 
Allison Garrett, Oklahoma Christian University’s senior vice president for academic affairs, defended faith-based universities’ religious liberty in testimony before a House panel last week.
Garrett told the committee that Oklahoma Christian, which is associated with Churches of Christ, believes strongly in its right to practice its faith without government interference.
“Covering abortion-causing drugs is objectionable to many employers and plan participants,” Garrett said (full text of her prepared remarks). “We have no concerns about allowing our plan to cover contraception. Rather, our concerns deal with the coverage of abortion-inducing drugs.”

Allison Garrett, fourth from left, at the House committee hearing. (Photo provided by House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform)

She also said: “While our views differ from those of our Catholic friends regarding what our plans should cover, our views are exactly the same on whether the government should be able to require individuals or institutions to violate their religious beliefs.”
The Oklahoman’s Washington Bureau reported on Garrett’s appearance:

WASHINGTON — Oklahoma Christian University would have to violate its religious dictates and provide emergency contraceptives under a federal rule requiring most health plans to cover contraception, an administrator from the school told a House committee on Thursday.
Allison Dabbs Garrett, Oklahoma Christian’s vice president for academic affairs, said the Obama administration had offered no practical way for religion-based universities to avoid the coming mandate, even though reasonable alternatives exist.
“We respectfully ask that you not force institutions like Oklahoma Christian to choose between following our sincerely held religious beliefs or violating federal law,” Garrett told the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Garrett was one of several witnesses at the hearing to complain that the mandate on contraceptive coverage violated the religious liberty of faith-based institutions like hospitals and universities. The hearing offered no opposing views, and Democrats claimed it was a sham aimed at scoring political points against President Barack Obama.

Read the full story.
See other media coverage of Garrett’s testimony.
Find a link to Oklahoma Christian’s news release.

  • Feedback
    The stealthy assault on religious freedom will continue over time as America becomes a more secular society with polarization between those who respect and obey God over man and the humanists who feel that technology and modern philosophical thought are the answer to the world’s problems.
    Kenneth Morvant
    http://kmorvant.podomatic.com
    Kenneth Morvant
    February, 20 2012

    Greetings, Churches of Christ around the world. What I have to say is thank you, Allison Garret, for your stand in defending faith-based universities and religious liberty before the House. Thank you.
    William B Sharar Jr
    February, 21 2012

    Thank You OKlahoma Christian for standing up for what is right. This administration is trying to lead
    America down the wrong path and away for principles laid down for us by God
    Royce D. Sartain
    February, 21 2012

    Come on!!! This isn’t about religious freedom, it’s about our President. I’ve been a member of the church of Christ my whole life and I can’t believe what I’m hearing from other Christians.
    I have to listen to the Republicans claim that they are the real Christians and our President is a phony Christian. The obvious answer is that the ones making the accusations aren’t Christians at all. If they were they wouldn’t be judging others. They would be acting like Christ not like Pharisees.
    Thomas Sutton
    Santa Cruz,CA Church of Christ.
    Thomas Sutton
    February, 22 2012

    Dear Brother Sutton,
    I read the article and the comments again and no one stated that the President is a phony Christian. This is not a Republican or Democrat Party issue, but one of protecting the religious freedoms afforded us in the Constitution of this country. No one has pronounced the final judgment for the President. That is reserved for God and His timing. We are commanded to teach Jesus’commandements and also His warnings and condemnations. When we warn someone, we are no different from one person telling another person who likes to speed that they will eventually be ticketed for the offense. There is nothing Pharisaic about the views and comments here. Jesus stated that if we harm a little one then woe to that person. Forcing religious to provide free abortive medications is the greatest harm we can commit to the most innocent among us. Accusations are one thing, but this is the policy of the President and his administration. It is well documented and has not been denied by the administration.
    Kenneth Morvant, Minister
    http://kmorvant.podomatic.com
    Kenneth Morvant
    February, 22 2012

    While I agree in principle with the objections raised by sister Garret, ours is a uniquely non-Jewish, non-Catholic, non-Protestant religion and is not served well in the long run by being recognized in any fashion by the Government as equivalent with or subject to those sects.
    Jeff
    February, 23 2012

    I commend the fine way in which Dr. Garrett articulated the concerns that I and many others have about the mandate proposed by the President and his administration for providing free coverage for contraceptives and abortion inducing prescription medications regardless of convictions or conscience. She expressed herself with respect for those who differ with obvious civility.
    In a larger sense, it is evident to me that there is growing within American culture a disdain for issues of conscience that are rooted in faith in God and belief in the teachings of scripture. I believe that should be met with clear affirmations of conviction and rational argument. I salute Dr. Garrett for her service in Christian education, and for her willingness to articulate her views and those of OCU in the national forum.
    The opinion expressed by Thomas Sutton is unfortunate since, to me at least, it would divert the discussion from an issue of faith to one of personality. I believe the issue of abortion was not settled by the Roe vs. Wade decision, rather it was greatly polarized, and will likely remain so as long as there are those who hold the view that human life is created by God and a child of any age is to be considered a gift of God.
    John Free, Ph.D.
    Licensed Psychologist in California and Idaho
    John Free
    February, 23 2012

    Many people seem to think birth control is affordable, but high costs are one of the primary barriers to contraceptive access. It is for this reason that the Obama administration followed the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine (an arm of the National Academy of Sciences) to ensure that birth control will be covered as a preventive service with no cost-sharing. It has recommended all FDA-approved birth control methods and emergency contraception be covered by insurance companies with no co-pay. (http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/Clinical-Preventive-Services-for-Women-Closing-the-Gaps/Report-Brief.aspx)
    The way I understand it, the White House just wants everyone to have access to healthcare and allow preventive care to be available which promotes women’s health, no matter where they work. Why is the mandate that insurers provide this service so bad, when it costs the employer and employee nothing?
    What we’re trying to solve here is not the availability of preventive care for women, but the costs and easy access of contraceptives for women who have limited resources. It seems that OCU objects to the solution which the Institute of Medicine recommends.
    The effects of approved contraceptives are immediately obvious: lower unintended pregnancy rates, lower abortion rates, health care savings, better educational and employment opportunities, money saved that women can invest in other ways, and more options for your women employees.
    Claiming that having employee’s insurance cover FDA-approved birth control is the same thing as OCU indirectly approving abortions is ridiculous. It’s not logical to claim that allowing women to access health care benefits which they earned as an employee is somehow the same thing as OCU paying for or condoning contraception prescribed by her doctor.
    I’m assuming that OCU like most Universities negotiates a group rate and bundles premium payments. The employees (not the University) pay for the premiums and the insurance belongs to them. Does OCU have a right to determine how its employees spend their paycheck or how they take advantage of the insurance coverage which is their earned compensation? It is the employee’s money appearing on their W2 forms. So why does OCU determine how it is used? With OCU’s logic, you would forbid a women from purchasing contraceptives from the earned wages she received from the University. OCU’s logic is saying that the University would be indirectly involved in the purchase.
    Charles Stelding
    February, 23 2012

    Thomas Sutton is correct.
    The Republican Party is in an attack mode against an African American president.
    They are not interested in the personal privileges of womanhood as exhibited by the all male members in the recent committee discussing contraception.
    Ken Kemp
    February, 23 2012

    Does Abstinance constitute contraception?
    It’s is a personal act between a man and wife. The government has no business in any type of contraception.
    Dave F. Shaner
    February, 23 2012

    Dear Ken Kemp,
    Did you happen to notice that Allison Garrett is female?
    I couldn’t help noticing that neither you nor Thomas Sutton bothered to deal with the facts of the case. You just cast all sorts of accusations and (in your case) race-baiting. How shameful!
    Joe Slater
    February, 23 2012

    Mr Slater,
    My point was that she would not have been allowed to testify before congress in the House of Representatives sub committee because she is female.
    Were you not aware of that fact? It has been the prime discussion on most news programs the entire week and was even used as a skit on Saturday Night Live.
    Ken Kemp
    February, 23 2012

    Ken,
    She was, in fact, allowed to testify before that House committee.
    Here is what she told me:
    <blockquote>There were two panels of witnesses at the hearing. The first panel, clergy, was comprised entirely of men. The second panel consisted of representatives from several Christian universities and two of us were women, myself and Dr. Laura Champion of Calvin College.
    The left ignored our presence and most Democrats left the hearing before we were seated. When they left, so did most of the media.
    I’ve been amused by some of the press and blog postings about this issue. In particular, I laughed over a blogger who placed the caption “Allison Dabbs Garrett is not a woman according to Nancy Pelosi and Planned Parenthood” above my picture. The comment is even funnier because of the Christianmingle.com advertisement that popped up over my head.
    We need to keep reinforcing the fact that the issue is one of religious liberty.</blockquote>
    Bobby Ross Jr.
    February, 23 2012

    That employer carries the burden of most of the cost of health insurance provided by an employer. Some of them pay to the tune of 90% of the cost of the insurance. Therefore, it is erroneous to think that the employee pays that cost. What is wrong with paying for your own contraceptives? We have all done that for many years. What right do I have to go to someone else and require them to pay for something I want or need. The previous comment was correct in that we do not have a right to police personal activity, but I think we have the right not to pay for or facilitate it especially if it violates our faith or conscience. With all the efforts and money that goes for evangelism and assistance to Africa and other third-world nations, I cannot see where anyone can get the idea that this is because we have an African-American President. It is the overreaching policies of some in the Democrat party that is threatening our religious liberties no matter what their racial or ethnic background is or perceived.
    Kenneth Morvant
    February, 23 2012

    Hey, folks! A waiver has been given to religious facilities.
    But lets be clear: Their objection (the Catholic Bishops) is based on a long held view that artificial contraception is sinful with even protestants at one time believing this. An analysis of their documents and formal decrees clearly state that the �use of artificial birth control is intrinsically evil.� And �those who engage in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.� As late as 2008, they reiterated this position.
    Many have questioned the Pope who has opposed the use of condoms in countries where there is an epidemic of AIDS. Actually, research has found that the easy availability of contraception results in fewer unwanted pregnancies and thus fewer abortions.
    Catholics do approve, as I understand, a �natural� way of contraception, called in modern times Natural Family Planning. I�ve heard that only 14 percent of Catholics follow the church�s teaching in this regard.
    Protestant preachers should be pointing out what the Biblical text says: �To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband�stop depriving one another�it is better to marry than to burn with passion.� These verses clearly imply that relations may exist without there being any intent of procreation. Neither is there any mention of the �Sympto-Thermal Method� or the �Ovulation Method� as the only means to achieve this.
    Harold Williams
    February, 23 2012

    I also find it quite interesting how Bobby jumps in to correct Ken and does nothing about the comments that Kenneth Morvant made that were incorrect.
    Like…”Forcing religious to provide free abortive medications is the greatest harm we can commit to the most innocent among us. Accusations are one thing, but this is the policy of the President and his administration. It is well documented and has not been denied by the administration.”
    This statement is incorrect. They are not forcing any religions to provide free abortive medications. Also, it isn’t “well documented.”
    Is it the job of Obama to deny everything in public that Kenneth Morvant wants him to?
    John Free you really missed the point. It’s not about abortion. It’s about providing women the right to have access to birth control.
    It’s also a little about racism. No President before Obama has been treated like he has by the Republicans. I’ve seen emails that have called him the “anti-christ.” “He’s a phony Christian.”
    I’ve been told that my party (the Democratic party) is the party of Sodom and Gomorrah. I’ve been told you can’t be a liberal and a Christian. I can go on but won’t because it gets worse.
    Has our religion come down to judging all people by their position on abortion only? If it has we’ve lost sight of the cross of Jesus. Thomas Sutton
    Thomas Sutton
    February, 23 2012

    Documentation:
    It is in the news everyday about the day after pill and other euphemistically phrased family planning aids.
    Access:
    I can go to Wal-Mart and buy tons of contraceptives. Any woman can go to a doctor and get a prescription for hormonal birth control pills.
    Abortion:
    Taking the life of a child in the womb is not a matter to take a stand on as a Christian. It is not the same as having a wart removed. I look for a man to stand in the gap. Isaiah 6:8
    Racism:
    It’s the policies advanced by the liberal Democrats, clear and simple. No other president has attempted to impinge on the religious liberties afforded to us in the Constitution. No other president has supported the partial birth abortion procedure. Christians have the same criticism of Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Harry Reid and others who support these policies.
    Kenneth Morvant, Minister
    Kenneth Morvant
    February, 24 2012

    Bobby, I stand corrected. But her testimony was allowed in a second hearing.
    This, from one of your tags, is telling:
    Female witnesses included Allison Garrett of Oklahoma Christian University and Dr. Laura Champion of Calvin College Health Services, but the damage was already done when the committee refused to allow the Democrats to have Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, testify at the first hearing on the consequences women face when denied insurance coverage that includes contraceptives. Issa said she was not qualified because the hearing was on religious freedom.
    It�s time to drop the fig leaf of religious liberty and reveal this debate for what it is: another attempt to defeat President Obama and his health care mandate.
    Ken Kemp
    February, 24 2012

    When we address the issue of judging, John 7:24 must not be ignored in deferrence to Matthew 7:1. Jesus spoke the words in both verses. (Look at His words recorded just a few lines later, in Matthew 7:5.) Bible-based Christianity cannot become a faith based on “one-liners” if we are to pursue a more accurate basis for our faith in God and submission to His will. If we are careful not to lift Matthew 7:1 out of its context, then we can “handle accurately the word of truth”(II Timothy 2:15).
    There is one type of judgment Christians are prevented by scripture from participating in(e.g., a person’s worth, due to his faults)… but there is another type of judgment that all Christians are called to engage in…and however uncomfortable that may make us, we must do so in order to “be ready to give an answer”(I Peter 3:15).
    Russ Sharp
    February, 24 2012

    About judging others: Romans 2:1-3; Romans 14:9-13; 1st Corinthians 5:12-13; James 4:11-12; Matthew 13:24-30;John 8:1-11; John 12:47-48; Luke 6:37-42.
    I can also quote a hundred scriptures about how Christians should act. Thomas Sutton
    Thomas Sutton
    February, 24 2012

    Thank you Thomas Sutton.
    People need to get back to the real message, can I get birth control through my insurance? I understand where people are saying this is an reach for our government, but I also know of a time when segregation was deemed acceptable in the Church. You may say this is nothing like that but it is. Our children our going to look back at this debate with confusion, the same way I look back at the segregation fight of yesteryear.
    Tia Stafford Dugan
    February, 24 2012

    Litigation suggests this brouhaha will be settled in court. Not being a lawyer, I still hope that precise legal arguments help clarify theo-political characterizations.
    The phrase �religious dictates� is more descriptive than an �institution�s conscience� which hints at morally defensible rightness, how people decide.
    When the Southern Baptists split from their northern neighbors, was it theology or expedience about slavery? In the early days of the Civil Rights Movement when black churches spoke out against racism while white churches sat on their collective hands, were both approaches equally moral or just separate? When mandatory integration resulted in segregated private schools, what transpired and why? Questionable examples abound as do tardy, politically-correct apologies.
    My reading of the Bible is that we�ll each be personally accountable to God. I�ll not question anyone�s individual conscience, but history records that religious institutions sometimes lack a moral compass on their organizational ship.
    Mike Clemens
    February, 24 2012

    In reply to the response of Thomas Sutton, the issue for me in all of this is about abortion, since the regulation issued by the federal department of Health and Human Services would require all insurance plans, including self-insured plans, to pay for all FDA approved medicines and devices including the ella pill which induces an abortion a few days following conception. I would add that the “compromise” proposed by the administration (that insurance companies pay for it) does not solve the issue of conscience for me and I assume for many others. Companies that provide insurance benefits do so because of the labor of their employees to earn profits. Insurance companies charge premiums to the individuals and companies that purchase their products. So the ultimate source of the money that would pay for any insurance product (coverage) comes from the labor of those in the work-force and that is why people like myself cry “foul.” What is ironic is that there are affordable (even for those in poverty) and reliable over-the-counter contraceptive products that are readily available and do not pose any form of health risk.
    As a former administrator in a Christian school and other church related ministries, I would seriously recommend that medical coverage be dropped for our employees if the administration prevails with its requirement and employees be encouraged to enroll in the Christian Care Medi-Share program or something similar. Since that is not an insurance plan it would not be subject to the intrusion of the federal government.
    John Free, Ph.D.
    John Free
    February, 24 2012

    The faults of the past have nothing to do with the issue here. Abortion is and will always be wrong. We as Christians have a right to object to participating in any form or fashion.
    I do not subscribe to what I call dueling scriptures. How can we, as scripture tells us confront a brother or sister and tell them they are wrong in some matter. How can we perform church discipline without first making a judgment based upon what scripture tells is wrong or what we must do and telling that person they are not performing in the right way? Scripture must be taken in its totality and harmonized (respective of the Old and New Covenants). Jesus said to take the log out of your eye before taking the splinter from our neighbors. That does not mean we can’t point out what the Bible says is a fault, only to work on ourselves as well. 1 Cor. 6:2 says that the saints will judge the world. Our life will be held up to the unbelievers as proof that striving to be better and obey God can be done. Judging is condemning a person. We are only making a judgement on what scripture tells us is a wrong.
    Kenneth Morvant
    February, 24 2012

    It is quite clear from some of the above comments as to why we should leave politics out of the “pulpit”. Some of the statements made above indicate to me that the love some have for their political party far exceeds their love for their brother for whom Christ died. Concerning “judging”, 1 Cor 2:15 says:”But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” We are to judge our brother’s “action” whether or not he is abiding by God’s word. But, we are to pass judgment on no one concerning their eternal welfare, Christ will do that.
    Doyal Wright
    February, 24 2012

    It may be helpful to clarify that in many instances the “insurance” in question is not provided by insurance companies at all, but by money contributed to an insurance risk pool by the employer and its employees. This is called a self insured plan. In these instances, the insurance company is only a means of processing claims and transfering payments from the risk pool to the health providers.
    The employer (some of whom are religious based institutions such as universities and hospitals) that is self insured provides a pool of money (from their funds and employee contributions) to insure their employees and their families members and pays a fee to an insurance company to administer the plan (called a Third Party Administrator). Self insured plans allow employers to designate the coverage options, patient deductible, co-payments, and benefits.
    So, here is the rub. All the money going into the plan comes from the employer (about 80% in most instances) and its employees who want to participate in the plan. If the employer choses to charge higher rates for smokers, it can. It it wants to cover fees for gym memberships, it can. If it DOES NOT want to provide coverage for abortion producing drugs, it does not have to. EXCEPT where the government tells the employer what they have to cover, even if it is objectionable to the employer on religious grounds. So far, the only exception that I have hear mentioned in the news is for Catholic or Jewish groups. As Dr. Garrison pointed out, that leaves Oklahoma Christian out of the exemption as proposed by HHS.
    From the economic point of view, if insurance companies see that they can make a long term profit by providing contraception instead of paying hospitals to deliver babies, then they will provide the contaception as a benefit. If there is a public demand for contraception, the insurance companies will provide it. It should not take a government mandate to require it be provided. Federal programs like Medicaid can provide it since they are controlled by the Federal and state governments.
    Probably too long of a post and I hope that is helpful in clearing up the misconceptions that “insurance” in not always “insurance”.
    David
    February, 24 2012

    While my thinking is that the contraception mandate is about women’s health care as recommended by the National Institute of Health, many want to see this as a “religious freedom” issue.
    But OCU needs to be aware that conservative Justice Antonin Scalia explained in a Supreme Court opinion more than twenty years ago, a law does not suddenly become unconstitutional because someone raises a religious objection to it.
    Scalia explained that �the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a �valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes).�� In other words, so long as a law does not single out a particular people of faith (Catholics or any other faith) for inferior treatment, they have to follow they same laws as everyone else.
    If anyone raises a religious objection because of “freedom of religion”, anyone could immunize himself from paying taxes simply by claiming a moral objection to doing so. Nor does the Constitution allow people to violate the law simply because they have a religious objection to it.
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=10098593029363815472&amp;hl=en&amp;as_sdt=2&amp;as_vis=1&amp;oi=scholarr
    Charles Stelding
    February, 25 2012

    Despite the fact that abortion drugs are specifically excluded in the HHS regulations (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/02/01/health-reform-preventive-services-and-religious-institutions), Dr. Garrett says in her testimony that “abortifacients” are the problem. She specifically mentions “Plan B and ella” (but doesn’t mention the common Pill, which is also considered an abortifacient).
    Plan B inhibits or delays ovulation and ella works by stopping or delaying the release of an egg from the ovary. It is possible that ella may also work by preventing attachment (implantation) to the uterus. Instructions for taking these two drugs warn that they not be used to terminate an existing pregnancy. (http://www.drugs.com/ella.html). Apparently these two birth control pills are considered homicide procedures by OCU.
    I’m assuming here that the OCU administration believes that these FDA-approved contraceptives are abortions because they prevent the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Of course, there is a lot of disagreement among physicians and theologians about whether this is considered an abortion or not. At any rate the common Pill would also be a problem for OCU if it too is an abortifacient, as many physicians claim (see the reading list at http://www.drwalt.com/blog/?p=614). If you don’t agree that the common Pill is an abortifacient, why couldn’t a woman with her physician and minister agree that Plan B and ella are not “abortifacients”?
    So it seems that OCU has decided that only specific medically prescribed contraceptives are theologically unacceptable–hormones that prevent the egg from attaching to the uterus. (I’m not sure I agree with OCU’s arbitrary theological theory about this. Who has decided this creed and what are it’s justifications? According to this “personhood” theory, preventing a fertilized egg to implant in a woman�s uterus is an act of homicide. The theological question of “personhood” has been discussed among Bible-believing Christian theologians from Aquinas to James Dodd.)
    Dr. Garrett is unclear whether the insurance-covered doctor-prescribed common Pill and the IUD would violate OCU’s religious freedom. In some cases these also have the unintended side-effect of thinning the lining of the uterus, preventing attachment.
    If we start to view “personhood” as beginning at the point of fertilization, that�s going to come as big news to infertile couples who have undergone unsuccessful rounds of <i>in vitro</i> fertilization. Only between 25% and 50% of IVF procedures result in an actual pregnancy. OCU would seem to have problems with IVF in its employee’s insurance coverage as well.
    Since Dr. Garrett feels that these FDA-approved contraceptive services are “abortifacients”, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to leave the decision to the woman and her doctor whether it is a legitimate prescription or not? The OCU administration should not be the one to decide arbitrarily, as her testimony seems to say. If a doctor prescribes a contraceptive service to an employee and the insurance company provides the expensive procedure without cost to OCU, shouldn’t the employee with the help of her minister and doctor have the ability to make that decision? Doesn’t that freedom on the part of OCU show respect and trust for the employee?
    Charles Stelding
    February, 25 2012

    Thank you Charles Stelding.
    �Churches are exempt from the new rules: Churches and other houses of worship will be exempt from the requirement to offer insurance that covers contraception.
    �No individual health care provider will be forced to prescribe contraception: The President and this Administration have previously and continue to express strong support for existing conscience protections. For example, no Catholic doctor is forced to write a prescription for contraception.
    � No individual will be forced to buy or use contraception: This rule only applies to what insurance companies cover. Under this policy, women who want contraception will have access to it through their insurance without paying a co-pay or deductible. But no one will be forced to buy or use contraception.
    �Drugs that cause abortion are not covered by this policy: Drugs like RU486 are not covered by this policy, and nothing about this policy changes the President�s firm commitment to maintaining strict limitations on Federal funding for abortions. No Federal tax dollars are used for elective abortions.
    �Over half of Americans already live in the 28 States that require insurance companies cover contraception: Several of these States like North Carolina, New York, and California have identical religious employer exemptions. Some States like Colorado, Georgia and Wisconsin have no exemption at all.
    �Contraception is used by most women: According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, most women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used contraception.
    �Contraception coverage reduces costs: While the monthly cost of contraception for women ranges from $30 to $50, insurers and experts agree that savings more than offset the cost. The National Business Group on Health estimated that it would cost employers 15 to 17 percent more not to provide contraceptive coverage than to provide such coverage, after accounting for both the direct medical costs of potentially unintended and unhealthy pregnancy and indirect costs such as employee absence and reduced productivity.

    The Obama Administration is committed to both respecting religious beliefs and increasing access to important preventive services. And as we move forward, our strong partnerships with religious organizations will continue. The Administration has provided substantial resources to Catholic organizations over the past three years, in addition to numerous non-financial partnerships to promote healthy communities and serve the common good. This work includes partnerships with Catholic social service agencies on local responsible fatherhood programs and international anti-hunger/food assistance programs. We look forward to continuing this important work.
    Taken from the White House Blog. We need to be more careful before judging the actions of others before we have the facts. This is exactly what I mean when I say we have lost sight of the cross of Jesus. Thomas Sutton

    Thomas Sutton
    February, 25 2012

    Thank you for your courage, Thomas Sutton and Charles Stedling. Clearly, the rep from Oklahoma Christian is carrying the mail for right wing conservatism and the new “Republican Party”. I can accept following right wing political thinking in America. However, I do see a problem confusing political ideolgy with Christianity and Christian Education….not the same. The Oklahoma Christian I attended emphasised the tenets of Christianity…not the whims of far right wing of the Republican Party!
    Don Dillon
    February, 25 2012

    Unfortunately, the government tries to stick its nose in religious organizations activities under the guise of equality. You only have to look at this article from the Chronicle.
    http://www.christianchronicle.org/article2159569~Supreme_Court_ruling_recognizes_freedom_of_churches_to_hire,_fire_own_ministers
    The group you characterize as right wing has a large amount of Christians who identify with the platform of the group. It is not a certain party dictating to Christians how they should feel or think, but the Christian’s moral convictions dictating their interests through the party voice. It would be nice not to have to deal with the government, but that is sadly not the case with some issues. When good men do nothing, evil prevails. I see that most of the information provided is from the government website. The common pill is not recommended as a form of morning after pill and most do not have a problem with prevention, but with termination. Accidental termination of pregnancies without intent to end the pregnancy is just that, an accident and not a purposeful or sinful act. The real issue is the right of a religious institution to determine if a government policy infringes on the teachings of that church or in our case the teachings of scripture. Yes, a Supreme Court Justice can say that law trumps religious objections, but I would refer you to the early Christians who suffered prison and were murdered for the faith. Were they wrong? Additionally, taxes is not a good illustration, remember render unto Caesar?
    Kenneth Morvant
    Kenneth Morvant
    February, 25 2012

    31 comments and not one from a woman (as far as I can tell). Where are the women on this issue?
    David Baeder
    February, 28 2012

    This is nothing new. An assault on Christianity has been around since Jesus came to Earth. Why all the hoopla now I’m wondering?
    Ron
    July, 14 2012

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