Immorality of the Religious-Right

“Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK) joins a long list of governors, mostly Republican, who have informed federal authorities in recent days that their states won’t create a health insurance exchange and will leave the task to the federal government.” Huffington Post

“Missouri voters on [Nov. 6] overwhelmingly approved a measure aimed at nullifying the new federal health care law, becoming the first state in the nation where ordinary people made known their dismay over the issue at the ballot box.” NY Times

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s StateHealthFacts.org, 17 states have opted to let the federal government run their mandated Health Insurance Exchanges.

There are some interesting facts involving the defaulting to the federal government the power to manage and control a state’s health insurance exchange.

1)      Most of the states either voted for Mr. Romney in the 2012 election and/or have majority or “super-majority” conservative legislatures.

The point here is rather simple. The same people who voted to give the federal government control of the state’s health care plans are the same people who are crying that the federal government has gotten too big and of the loss of states’ rights. They have effectively played into their own traps.

2)     There appears to be no correlation between the rejection of the creating a state-run healthcare exchange and a state’s religiosity. Of the five most religious states, as reported by Time.com, two remain uncommitted to a state or federally run exchange; Utah and Arkansas.

In the least religious states, Maine, New Hampshire and Alaska have elected to defer to the feds.

3)     The caveat is that religion does play an important role in the rejection of the provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), or Obamacare. Most of these politicians, groups and companies, like Hobby Lobby and the Catholic Church, are claiming that the ACA provisions are violating their First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom.

In a video posted by Hobby Lobby in support of their position, Mandi Broadfoot, spokesperson for Hobby Lobby, informs us that,

“The Green family built Hobby Lobby on Biblical principles, and their strong Christian faith and values. So when the federal government’s Health and Human Services mandate threatened to force them to include abortion inducing drugs in their health insurance plan, the Green family felt compelled to file a lawsuit in defense for their religious freedom. They are represented in this case by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.”

She continues, “Hobby Lobby and the Green family do not wish to control the actions of their employees, nor do they want to impose their beliefs on anyone. They respect the religious convictions of all Americans, even those with different views. They are simply asking for that same respect with regards to their religious freedom.

4)     One-third of these same 17 states will also or have already refused to participate in the expansion of Medicaid as to assist our poorest citizens.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provide on interesting fact,

“In 2022, for example, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are expected to cover about 6 million fewer people than previously estimated, about 3 million more people will be enrolled in exchanges, and about 3 million more people will be uninsured.”

3 million is still too many Americans not receiving adequate, if any, healthcare, but this is a significant reduction from the 49 million Americans uninsured in 2010.

A few things appear to be self-evident. Foremost is those who are using their religious beliefs as the basis for their opposition to the ACA or its provisions are forcing their religious beliefs on those who may not agree.

The Green family and the Catholic Church have non-Christians and liberal Christians working for them. Why deny mandated benefits to employees because of an individual’s or organization’s internal morals?

Are they agreeing with 2012 U.S. Senate candidates Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin who believe that rape is “God’s will” and/or “legitimate?” I certainly hope not, but denying an emergency contraceptive after a rape is placing the power to the rapist. Denying healthcare access to our lower economic class hinders education, job growth and the American dream of moving into the middle class.

I question these individuals’ understanding of scripture concerning providing aid to the poor and justice for crimes committed.

The First Amendment does provide that one’s personal beliefs are sacred, but they should not be intertwined with government. Private entities can force these restriction on their employees where the government cannot – at least to a point.

The next question is; should a private business impose its religious morals on their employees? And if they can, would that be a total disregard of Jewish, Christian and Muslim scripture?

The simplified answer is yes they legally can but there is a moral problem. A company cannot use religion as a disqualifier for an applicant or in disciplining or firing an employee. They cannot require an employee to go to church, temple or mosque as a condition of employment. But the denial of healthcare or contraception falls under neither case.

Specific to employers in league with Hobby Lobby, I cannot find anywhere in scripture that one is to start a business, to employ the masses or accumulate wealth. In fact, I could only find the opposing view. Matthew 19:24 provides the reader Jesus’ warning concerning wealth, that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

The ethical problem is clear. Helping those in need or victims of crime or injustice is mandated by the three major western religions. Yahoo! Voices found twenty such religious mandates to help those in need in the Torah and Christian Bible. Dr. Ahmad Kaleem of the Lahore School of Economics in Pakistan provides us with the Qur’anic verses.

Such actions are also mandated by the collective humanist and secular morality of the American citizenry.

I can only conclude that if one believes that religious morals supersede secular statute and deny certain mandated benefits, and then deny access to healthcare, including contraception, to those who are in need,  by rejecting the expansion of health insurance these individuals and organizations are acting immorally and contrary to their own beliefs. 

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place). He is the winner of the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing. He is also an editor and award-winning speaker. His book, "A Christian Nation? An examination of Christian nation theories and proofs" is available on Amazon, com as a paperback and eBook.
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