Contraception Should Be A Personal Choice

Some states (mostly led by Republican governors) are all up-in-arms because church-affiliated businesses (hospitals, schools, outreach programs) may be required to provide contraception coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act that was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The objection centers around the fact that the rule, according to an AP news article, “violates the rights of employers that object to the use of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.”

Supposedly, such a law is a violation of First Amendment rights. But what is really at the heart of the matter is that many feel it is an attack on religious liberty.

I am aware that some religious organizations object to birth control, but what I don’t understand is why they feel threatened by this law. If they teach against contraception, then their followers wouldn’t take advantage of this coverage anyway. Right?

Perhaps what they are worried about is that they don’t have enough control and some people will actually use contraceptives if they were covered by insurance. Whoops!

IMO, to deny this coverage violates the rights of the individual — which are far more important than the rights of any organization.

Not Everyone is a Christian

praying-hands Recent news includes a story about a judge’s ruling against an opening or closing prayer and the use of certain religious words during a graduation ceremony in a Texas community. The ruling was requested by a student who is a non-believer.

Of course, the town’s Christians are all up-in-arms and feel their ‘rights’ have been trampled upon.

In fact, in an interview on Fox News, one of the residents commented that the majority of the students wanted the prayer and now one student had “ruined it” for all the rest. Another father commented that because prayer was a “tradition,” it should be allowed to continue. Never mind that the Supreme Court ruled prayer in schools is unconstitutional.

I can’t help but wonder how these same people would feel if a student wanted to invoke a Muslim prayer or a Hindu prayer or even a Wiccan prayer? What would their reaction be then? Somehow I doubt they would defend the prayer tradition so adamantly.

While Christianity may be the majority religion in America, not everyone is a Christian. And when it comes to the Constitution, the majority cannot take away the civil rights of the minority.

Why Gay Marriage?

I have no problem with same-sex relationships. It’s not something I would pursue, but I believe we each have a right to our own preferences in life.

Something I don’t understand, however, is why it’s so important for gays to marry. It’s my understanding that civil unions offer the same benefits. The only difference is that the couple has not been joined in a religious ceremony.

Some say it has to do with the fact that civil unions between gay partners are not recognized in every state. But if civil unions became federal law, with all the inherent benefits of marriage, wouldn’t that suffice?

If a religious ceremony is important to a gay couple, why couldn’t a sympathetic minister perform the ceremony and issue a certificate that verified the union and satisfied any legal requirements by the government?

I guess what I’m asking is this: If gay couples were granted all the same rights as (legally-recognized) married couples, does the relationship have to be called a “marriage?” Perhaps the union could be given a different name — one that signifies it as a commited relationship with all the same dignity and respect that is attributed to the current definition of marriage.

Or maybe it’s really all a matter of semantics. Maybe we simply need to change the definition of marriage, because so long as we use that terminology, conservatives will continue to oppose any union between same sex couples.

Changing Beliefs About Gay Marriage

It doesn’t matter what beliefs we hold … they are OUR beliefs and we have a RIGHT to those beliefs.

It is our RIGHT to believe anything we want about gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research, the Iraq war, gun control, God, Jesus, or any other issue.

It is also our RIGHT to disagree with others who hold opposite views from ours.

We even have the RIGHT to publicly protest beliefs that we don’t agree with.

BUT … we need to remember that we can NEVER force someone to change their beliefs.

The individuals who are protesting against California’s Prop 8 have the right to do so, but their chants and signs are not going to persuade anyone to begin supporting gay marriage if it is against their core beliefs.

The same holds true for those who march and hold graphic signs to protest against current abortion laws.

And protesting against someone’s religious beliefs by using online forums to post vitrolic and venomous comments accomplishes nothing.

Furthermore, damaging property (or even inflicting bodily harm) is the least effective way to sway another’s beliefs.

People believe as they do as a result of heredity and environment, plus life experiences. New beliefs happen because someone makes the choice to change their opinion about something. It is an action that is taken by the individual. It will never occur due to someone else applying force.