I am completely floored by the current debate over the health care mandate requiring health insurance companies to pay for birth control and religious freedom. For starters no one is arguing that men receiving a prescription for the erectile dysfunction drug fill out any forms or prove that they are married or using the drug to procreate. Other than a few crafty legislatures who have introduced bills as a means to protest these insane attempts to limit access to birth control, no one has argued against viagra in terms of religious freedom.
And what about religious freedom? When did the right to worship as you please change to the right to influence or direct the personal behavior of your employees? Health insurance isn’t a hand-out paid for entirely by the employer and given to employees out of the goodness of their hearts. It is part of an employees compensation, so the employee is in effect earning their health insurance through their hard work. Most plans take a portion of the premium directly out of the employees paycheck. And the employer is allowed to deduct a certain amount paid for their employees premiums off of their tax liability, as health insurance is just another cost of doing business. I also cry foul because so far there has been no mention of IVF fertility treatments. The Catholic church is against IVF treatments because they create many embryos that ultimately get destroyed in the process of trying to create a pregnancy. IVF treatments are not being mandated as part of basic health insurance coverage by the government but it is interesting how the pro-life movement rarely mentions them or brings up the topic. We don’t see throngs of protestors outside fertility treatments for the great multitude of frozen embryos destroyed as a result of these fertility treatments.
So how far are we going to take religious freedom? How much can an employer influence the lives of their employees in the name of religious freedom.
Would Muslim employers
- Require female workers to wear a veil while at work, or even a Burka
- Be allowed to discriminate against women and refuse to hire women based on their religious beliefs
- Pay women less than men, based on their religious beliefs
- Ban all pork and other prohibited foods under Islamic law in the workplace even for non-Muslim employees
- Make non-Muslim employees observe Muslim holy days and traditions including fasting
- Require moments of silence in the work place for all five times during the day that Muslims pray towards Mecca
Would Mormon Employers be allowed to
- Ban Coffee from the work place
- Institute modest dress code laws
- Require mandatory readings of the Book of Mormon
Would Scientologist employers be allowed to
- Refuse to cover any psychiatric or psychological drugs or care
- Force employees to attend Scientologist meetings or treatment such as for alcoholism or learning disabilities
- Demand every employee to be audited with an e-meter
Would an orthodox Jew employer be allowed to
- Force female employees to wear wigs and forgo pants for long skirts and modest clothing.
- Institute all Kosher laws regarding the Sabbath and food restrictions
Would a Jehovah’s Witness employer be allowed to
- Refuse to cover many surgeries that would require a blood transfusion
- Ban most medical procedures in favor of spiritual healing and prayer
- Require all employee to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet while at the work place
And could any religious employer refuse to cover the legal spouse of a same-sex marriage in the states in which same-sex unions and marriages are legal? Most states mandate employers to cover their employees for some type of health care coverage depending on the amount of employees. Could an especially frugal employer simply state that their religious beliefs would only support 100% faith healing and prayer, pretty much wiping away the need for health insurance entirely. Why not? If an employer gets to act as a parent to their employee and decide what is morally acceptable and what is not, what is to stop such an action.
The birth control debate is just another ridiculous attack against women. And I don’t know when the employer’s right to freedom of religion supersedes the right of an employees right to privacy or their own religious freedom. I thought religious freedom was the right to worship as you chose, not the right to dictate to others how they should or should not live their lives.