Obama recently decided that all employers, including Catholic hospitals, etc. have to provide contraception to their employees (as long as all of the employees are not of the same religion as the religious instituation).
Cards on the table-I think providing contraception to all without means-testing it is a bad idea-basically non-sexually active middle class people end up subsidizing sexually active middle class people.
As a Protestant who’s read Song of Solomon, I also don’t really get the Catholic Church’s insistence that sex can’t be just for pleasure instead of only for reproduction. I think contraception is a positive good for our society. But I understand that opposition to contraception is a deeply held conviction for the Catholic church, so let’s roll with it.
As part of living in a religiously diverse culture, I think the government should only force people to do things that are against their religious beliefs when their religious beliefs would necessarily cause a great harm to others. It doesn’t seem like lack of contraception really qualifies-if it’s such a desperate need, the government should provide it itself instead of forcing religious institutions to violate their own personal beliefs.
I know a fair amount of my readers share my pro-contraception beliefs, and think the Catholic church is being ridiculous to oppose it. But keep in mind, involving the government in this culture war is a slippery slope-when the conservatives are in power, they can use a government-run healthcare system to cut off funding to abortion providers, and indeed this has been an issue in the past with Planned Parenthood.
As usual, I think the solution is for the government to hand poor people cash and step out of the way. Once government starts conditioning funding on social issues, the recipe for endless governmentally-sponsored culture wars are in place, with each side using the coercive power of the state in turn when they seize political power.