Monday, August 31, 2009

Healthcare Reform Misinformation From The Church

My in-laws attend the St. Lawrence O'Toole Catholic Church in Brewster, NY. This past weekend the church distributed with its bulletin a two page warning about specific New York State and Federal proposed legislation. NY State bills are the Marriage Equality Act and the Reproductive Health Act. The Federal bill is Health Reform. Part of the misinformation distributed by the church appears to have been generated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has distributed multiple letters and videos ( attacking health reform.

Any church and its members have the right to disagree with any legislation and to publicly oppose it. However, it is very disappointing that this church has chosen to disseminate misinformation. Apparently this church is willing to break one commandment in order to defend another.


Kansas Bob said...

"Apparently this church is willing to break one commandment in order to defend another."

Well put Joe.

Therese Z said...

What misinformation? "Reproductive choice" is abortion. "Marriage equality" is gay marriage.

Please offer examples of untruths, please.

Therese Z said... which I meant that Catholic institutions would be forced to either provide or recognize both. That's pretty anti-Catholic, seems to me, since they stand strong against both and would be potentially put out of business for their religious stands.

Joe said...

Therese Z, the following are false or misleading.

"There is a danger that legislation may result in the rationing of health care for the elderly and the infirm."

"There is a danger that assisted suicide would be paid for or promoted by taxpayer dollars or encouraged by doctors."

"There is a danger that the right to conscience of health care professional and institutions would not be respected."

"Abortion should not be paid for by taxpayer dollars or included as a mandatory feature of health insurance."

"...religious organizations and individuals will be coerced into recognizing the equivalence of marriage and same-sex relationships against their principles. They will be forced to withdraw from important activities, such as education, health care and social service or risk severe penalties and punishment."

"RHA would threaten freedom of conscience of doctors, nurses, ..."

"RHA would allow unqualified medical professionals to perform abortions... (Like nurses, midwives, dentists and others)..."

"RHA would jeopardize any program that encourages pregnant women to bring their babies to term."

"RHA would threaten Catholic health care institutions... (force them to counsel for abortion)."

Any statement that begins with "there is a danger" or "there is a threat" or "they could" is not based on fact. For example, the legislation doesn't state that Catholic institutions will be required to counsel for abortion. Separation of Church and State guaranteed by the First Amendment protects all churches from such a demand. Health and Human Services policy expressly protects an employee of a federally funded institution from having to assist with, provide or counsel on abortion. It also protects that employee from discrimination if the employee refuses. Of course this policy only applies to institutions that receive federal funding. Non-federally funded institutions are not required by the government to provide or counsel on abortion.

The Marriage Equality Act of NY State (which was approved in the state assembly for 140 to 0) neither requires a church, church leader or minister to recognize a same sex marriage nor does it require the same to perform a marriage rite for a same sex couple. These protections for churches and church leaders and ministers are stated in the law. No individual will be required to recognize a same sex marriage or participate in a same sex marriage rite. However, individuals in a secular activity and secular businesses and organizations will not be permitted to discriminate against same sex couples. For example, an employer, which is not a church, must provide the same insurance and retirement survivor benefits to a same sex couple as it does for an opposite sex couple.

Your turn Therese Z. Quote the text of the legislation that actually supports the claims made in the church letter.