READ THE TRANSCRIPT

BILL MOYERS: The president did something agile and wise the other day. And something quite important to the health of our politics. He reached up and snuffed out what some folks wanted to make into a cosmic battle between good and evil. No, said the president, we’re not going to turn the argument over contraception into Armageddon, this is an honest difference between Americans, and I’ll not see it escalated into a holy war. So instead of the government requiring Catholic hospitals and other faith-based institutions to provide employees with health coverage involving contraceptives, the insurance companies will offer that coverage, and offer it free.

The Catholic bishops had cast the president’s intended policy as an infringement on their religious freedom; they hold birth control to be a mortal sin, and were incensed that the government might coerce them to treat it otherwise. The president in effect said: No quarrel there; no one’s going to force you to violate your doctrine. But Catholics are also Americans, and if an individual Catholic worker wants coverage, she should have access to it – just like any other American citizen. Under the new plan, she will. She can go directly to the insurer, and the religious institution is off the hook.

When the president announced his new plan, the bishops were caught flat-footed. It was so…so reasonable. In fact, leaders of several large, Catholic organizations have now said yes to the idea. But the bishops have since regrouped, and are now opposing any mandate to provide contraceptives even if their institutions are not required to pay for them. And for their own reasons, Republican leaders in Congress have weighed in on the bishops’ side. They’re demanding, and will get, a vote in the Senate.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY The fact that the White House thinks this is about contraception is the whole problem. This is about freedom of religion. It`s right there in the first amendment. You can’t miss it, right there in the very First Amendment to our Constitution. And the government doesn’t get to decide for religious people what their religious beliefs are. They get to decide that.

BILL MOYERS: But here’s what Republicans don’t get, or won’t tell you. And what Obama manifestly does get. First, the war’s already lost: 98% of Catholic women of child-bearing age have used contraceptives. Second, on many major issues, the bishops are on Obama’s side—not least on extending unemployment benefits, which they call “a moral obligation.” Truth to tell, on economic issues, the bishops are often to the left of some leading Democrats, even if both sides are loathe to admit it. Furthermore, and shhh, don’t repeat this, even if the president already has, the Catholic Church funded Obama’s first community organizing, back in Chicago. Ah, politics.

So the battle over contraception no longer seems apocalyptic. No heavenly hosts pitted against the forces of Satan. It’s a political brawl, not a crusade of believers or infidels. The president skillfully negotiated the line between respect for the religious sphere and protection of the spiritual dignity and freedom of individuals. If you had listened carefully to the speech Barack Obama made in 2009 at the University of Notre Dame, you could have seen it coming:

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem-cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son’s or daughter’s hardships might be relieved. The question then is, “How do we work through these conflicts?”

BILL MOYERS: We Americans have wrestled with that question from the beginning. Some of our forebearers feared the church would corrupt the state. Others feared the state would corrupt the church. It’s been a real tug-of-war, sometimes quite ugly. Churches and religious zealots did get punitive laws passed against what they said were moral and religious evils: blasphemy, breaking the Sabbath, alcohol, gambling, books, movies, plays…and yes, contraception. But churches also fought to end slavery, help workers organize, and pass progressive laws. Of course, government had its favorites at times, for much of our history, it privileged the Protestant majority. And in my lifetime alone, it’s gone back and forth on how to apply the First Amendment to ever- changing circumstances among people so different from each other. The Supreme Court, for example, first denied, then affirmed, the right of the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses to refuse, on religious grounds, to salute the flag.

So here we are once again, arguing over how to honor religious liberty without it becoming the liberty to impose on others moral beliefs they don’t share. Our practical solution is the one Barack Obama embraced the other day, protect freedom of religion… and protect freedom from religion. Can’t get more American than that. I’m Bill Moyers.

Bill Moyers Essay: Freedom of and From Religion

February 16, 2012

In this video essay, Bill Moyers addresses the question of how to honor religious liberty without it becoming the liberty to impose on others moral beliefs they don’t share. The recent debate over contraception coverage in Catholic hospitals and other faith-based institutions brought this question to the forefront, but then something surprising happened — a reasonable, practical, and equitable solution from President Obama that took the political steam out of what some saw as a  holy war.

Special thanks to historian Julie Pycior of Manhattan College for her helpful insights on this issue and this essay.

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  • Anonymous

    Obama’s policy makes sense, in order to preserve the religious freedom of employees from what seem to be religious demands by their employers. But it wasn’t a skillful compromise. We’ve seen the inhumane kinds of things health insurance providers will do to make or increase profits. Does anyone really believe they would suddenly provide a free service to customers without passing on the cost in some way? I agree that employers should have to pay, and that their claims of infringed religious freedom are absurd. I can’t imagine religious employers or employees being naive enough to think this “compromise” actually changes anything.

  • Ted Hodge

    The strange thing I’ve learned since I began to follow major issues in this “democratic” society is: No matter what position you take on any issue, there will be an opposition to it. Yes, this makes American “democracy” admirable to others looking at it from outside. But it also makes it a puzzlement.

    Yes, it is a great thing for citizens and politicians to be able to oppose any issue, but sometimes the position taken by your opponent on an issue is a slam-dunk; the prudent man should simply realize it and give in. When a fight is won al the way on commonsense, logical reasoning and practicality… it becomes an honorable thing to simply give in and congratulate your opponent.

    Say what you may about President Obama, he scored big this time. He was able to demonstrate the practical meaning of the word “compromise”, a word Republicans have a difficult time accepting. When the president gave his speech on the contraception issue, he scored a slam-dunk. Any reasonable opponent would have been clever to simply shake his hat off to him and move on to the next battle.

    This one is over and the president won it hands down. Some of the reactions, including those purportedly coming from the bishops, are simply bone-headed and disappointing. As for the top brass Republicans, they’re simply confirming what I thought of them. 

  • Ask-sherry

    You sure put things in the best perspective!

  • Dearman

    Well put, Bill Moyers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=769924792 Helen Casteel

    Using birth control is a “Mortal Sin”?   They need to take away the wine and booze from the Bishops, and put them to work in orphanages, where they can work in the laundry department, washing diapers.   

    How dare they?   They decided to live without women, to live without being fathers.  So THEY stand in judgment of any ‘couple’ using birth control? 

    This is nothing short of SICK!!!!

    The Catholic Church needs to clean up it’s OWN act, ie: molestation of boys, and keep their nose out of sex.  They voted to abstain from it, so be it.  STAY OUT OF IT CHURCH!!!!!    YOU HAVE NO RIGHT!!!

  • Nanettegeller

    One point I’m not seeing addressed — many employees of Catholic hospitals & social service organizations are non-Catholics. The church is seeking to make adherence to Catholic doctrine in the employee’s personal life a condition of employment.

  • Stevarmstrong

    The point Mr. Moyer is missing is the Presidents mandate includes drugs which abort the fetus after conception. (Ella and Plan B). The abortion of a viable fetus is the taking of another human life which most mainstream religion oppose. It’s not just a Catholic thing, it a Christian thing.

    Please check your facts Mr. Moyer.

  • Anonymous

    The traditionalist-corporatist opposition to the new health  care law (which I see as inadequate and disappointing, but better than  nothing)  is being confounded with issues of abortion and women’s bodily privacy and integrity. Its such an unfair and messy way of attempting to diminish and delay the meager health care rights provided in this new legislation, now being phased in. Before the law virtually no employers were required to provide partially paid group health coverage, and many didn’t. Some smaller and low margin businesses remain exempt. The law attempts to mandate a minimal level of benefits, and lets uncovered individuals purchase from pools. The poor will be increasingly subsidized through Medicaid eligibility and some low income people will be financially assisted. 

    In this instance it is argued that to provide the uniform mandated coverage offends institutional sensibilities of some religious institutions. People who see religious rights as rooted in the individual and not in the “religious corporation” construct the example of Christian Science claiming offense by having to provide any health care  coverage to employees of the Christian Science Monitor (since one tenet of that church is healthy living and prayer as preferable to medical intervention). Christian Science has done no such thing because they see any such claim as ludicrous. The religious clause in the First Amendment is rooted in individual conscience and choice, and as Moyers interprets, to place such authority within a religious institution, let alone it’s commercial extensions is an unsupportable and authoritarian claim.Now let me contrast this with the otherwise totalitarian control of employees and even vendors within the corporate or private workplace. Most people do not work under any formal or union negotiated contract. Since 1877 it has been the accepted legal doctrine in the USA that an employer can fire at will, with cause good or bad, or for no expressed reason at all. This precedent has been tempered slightly in more than half of states to accommodate public policy (discrimination laws) and implied contract (as in a human resources handbook) but employers routinely fire entire work forces summarily with little notice. So if you are not specifically protected the employer may dismiss you without penalty or recourse in most states. Even if you have a contract the burden of proof for wrongful dismissal is on the fired employee(s). I have seen people dismissed for an inconsequential  trait or habit not affecting performance but displeasing a strict employer. You could be fired for having the wrong colored hair or expressing an opinion at lunch. Employers now track and investigate employees away from the workplace and on their personal time, as via Internet postings. We can see how the totalitarian employer is able to politically and socially intimidate the people they employ or purchase from  with impunity under the current contradictory application of the Bill of Rights.. So it is not surprising that some bullying and unreasonable employers expect to dominate the bodily and medical choices of their employees even when these would seem protected by Constitutional rights. Notice how property and power tend to negate human rights in an employment situation? Ask yourself how free you feel to be yourself at work and then think about how this could be reformed. Someday we hope to get to a situation where people do not become objects or production factors and retain their rights and freedoms 24/7. Isn’t it strange how Libertarians can’t comprehend this concept, but revert to a master-servant or master-slave model even when the employer is corporate. It’s all so archaic and outmoded, isn’t it? The right to contraception and reproductive privacy is barely a start.

  • Anonymous

    He need not have compromised because Constitutional rights and human rights doctrine both supported his position. Because this was an attempt to develop a wedge issue the objecting claimants  should have been refuted. But maybe polls indicated he had to weasel out of principle to get re-elected. Obama gave ground on women’s rights and health care. That was not the right thing.

  • Thundermesa111

    I am delighted with the Moyers comment.  I feel our nation erred in not doing what France did:  guarantee freedom FROM religion.  That does not mandate the absence of religion, but it does draw the line on so much of what we see in this nation, partly because our leaders have forgotten that we are supposed to be a majority-rule nation:  the tyranny of the religious few over us all, such as that polls show that even a majority of Catholics are pro-choice, yet decade after decade we continue the abortion debate (due to a tiny few) and often our nation’s funding of international family planning is pulled by far-right forces, thus depriving grown men and women around the world of the ability to have access to birth control and to limit the size of their families.  In short, the tyranny of the few over the many stretches beyond our borders, particularly tragic when it means more starving children!

  • Ericsisler21

    Please check YOUR facts. Plan be does NOT abort a viable fetus. It simply prevents a pregnancy.

  • albert velieri

    Thank you Mr. Moyers for your sensible approach to discourse

  • Stevarmstrong

    I checked.

    Proponents of “emergency contraception,” as well as the Preven and
    Plan B websites, contend that emergency contraception does not cause
    abortion. They argue that emergency contraception prevents pregnancy and
    thereby reduces the need for induced abortion. However, they
    intentionally define the term “pregnancy” as implantation of a
    fertilized egg in the lining of a woman’s uterus, as opposed to
    “pregnancy” beginning at fertilization.

    Whether one understands pregnancy as beginning at “implantation” or
    “fertilization,” the heart of the matter is when human life begins. It
    is important to keep in mind that scientists have confirmed that at the
    moment the sperm and the egg join (fertilization), a new human being is
    created who is completely different from his/her mother.
     

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant, Bill. Kudos to you sir….logic and common sense are alive and well. And so is a sense of basic human decency. 

  • Tj

    Ya! Bill Moyers, you get it! Thanks again for sharing your well-said wisdom.

  • http://AborttheGOP.com Christina Marlowe

    Guess what, Steve!  Anything that I choose to do in my life time is absolutely NONE of your business, nor is it the business of any religious entity or political entity.  I disagree with your opinion on conception on every front.  Therefore, If you want to argue about when exactly “life” is conceived, mind your own SPERM, not my EGGS.

    By the way, If you and the other R-wing extremists of America and of the world want to make the issue about abortion and their own pro-life stances at each and every turn, I have a few points to make and then a general suggestion:
    I do not see too many Pro-Life people adopting crack-addicted AIDS babies; Nor do I see many adoptions of deformed, water-headed, retarded, birth-defected babies. Who will take care of these unwanted children? If you people are on such a self-righteous high horse, and you have all these bright ideas, then yes—I challenge you all RIGHT NOW to take in ALL of the unwanted pregnancies no matter what the circumstances- drug-addiction, retardation, horrible, life-long birth defects, unspeakable and irreversible complications; pregnancies as a result of rape, incest, prostitution. Okay. Now YOU feed them, clothe them, educate them, pay their astronomical, never-ending hospital bills, pay their psychiatric bills, pay their legal defense fees; YOU deal with everything that comes with all of that!! Then and only then, can you people truly stand on your stupid-to-the-core and ultra-hypocritical diatribe.
    Furthermore, if human life means so much to you people, why is it that you fight tooth and nail against health care access for not just our own US citizens, but YOURSELVES!?!?
    P.S. If you want to reduce the number of (constitutionally legal) abortions in this country, why don’t you support something simple? It’s called EDUCATION; Not the asinine “abstinence only” programs that are utterly failing in each and every way, but REAL EDUCATION about such things as, uh, BIRTH CONTROL. By the way, this issue is none of your (goddamned) business and it never will be. Furthermore, you people, you who so staunchly support the so-called “RIGHTS” of the wretched, doomed and neglected unborn, you have a LOT of nerve, in the FIRST PLACE, DICTATING to ANY ONE what to do. Now MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. You are all truly beyond the pale: unforgivably sanctimonious HYPOCRITES. 

  • Teresa

    The beginning of the First admendment reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
    prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” therefore I disagree with your discourse because the regulation does “prohibit the free exercise thereof” regardless whether 98% contracept or not. I fear that regulating anything dealing with religion should be avoided. This should be something that the elected representatives of the people should debate.

  • Pennwren

    And you cannot even abort a dead fetus today (one with no brain) because the medical profession is scared to death!  No punn intended!

  • CM

    Stevearmstrong, please read the Affordable Health Care Act.  Specifically read about services for women and contraceptives. Abortifacient drugs are not part of the plan.  

  • Kevin

    AMEN!  Bill Moyers, it is good to have you back on the air!

  • Private Private

    I disagree. I do not think churches should get a special exemption from the healthcare requirements. All other employers have to follow the law. I view it highly disequal that a business arm of an organization can throw the flag of religion out when it benefits them; then conversely can lay the flag down when it suits a different interest, like profit. 

    Allow me to explain.

    Point #1:
    Catholic leaders are saying the law forces them to violate their beliefs.

           No it does not. There is no current law in all of America that requires any individual or group to employ people. It’s the churches choice to take action in commerce and to higher workers.

    Point #2:
    The highering of employees is not currently recognized as a religious act or an act of worship. Therefore highering workers is not a religious act, and is subject to the  laws and protections for workers by the state.

    To make this point more clear, churches are subject to OSHA laws are they not? Churhces cannot assualt a worker even if their faith dictates physical punishment.

    Point #3:
    Freedom of religion is not absolute. The constitution is about INDIVIDUAL freedom. In most cases individual freedom trumps collective freedom. Thats what separates our country from a more socialistic or communistic county. The individual freedom comes first.

    If a religion wanted to excute women for voting would that be ok? No becuase her individual right to life is of greater importance.

    Additionally, just like we do not allow polygamists’ to marry multiple wives; it recognized by the state. We do not allow parents to neglect the medical needs of children due to religious beliefs. Freedom of religion is not absolute.

    So freedom of religion is free up until the point it abridges individual freedoms that are protected by the constitution. Again, Catholics are not forced to higher anyone. they can move to an all volunteer system like many other churches have, you know….the not for profit churches.

    This leaves us with our main point.

    Like it our not, agree with it or not, the law and precedent says ALL people deserve and shall have some sort of healthcare. We may differ on how to achieve this objective, but polling shows the majority of  Americans agree with everyone having some sort of quality base level healthcare. Now that this is law, the constitution REQUIRES it to be applied equally. The individual right to equality trumps a religions “right” to deny an individual right. Just like the church must observe OSHA, it must observe the employment rights of workers if it intends to extend outside of a worshiping organization and becomes a sort of ”pseudo”-commercial organization.

  • Private Private

    You misunderstand the laws.

    First the freedom of religion is not absolute. Hence the Catholic church is subject to OSHA laws for workers regardless of religious beliefs. It seems more to me that this law its on a sensative subject to catholics are hitting the emergancy last try button in evoking religious freedom.

    Additionally, there is no law that requires the church to higher employees. This law is saying anyone who wants to get into the business of highering workers has to assist in providing a basica level of healthcare, regardless of the services the employee asks of the healthcare provider and insurer.

    Again there are many laws out there that restrict the actions of employers. Some of them ARE indeed restricting to old world religious practices, but yet the church has had to follow these rules and made no issue of “violating” their faith until now.

  • Private Private

    Lol. I mark ten points off your essay paper for wordiness and another ten for going a bit off topic.

    This is not about authoritarian employers controlling laborers. I see your point, and it is indeed valid, but it is not the real violtion.

    The violation is a group of people thinking they can use freedom of religion to protect there commercial ventures. Just because a person has religion does not mean any and all business dealings in commerce are suddenly protected. Especially when its clear they selectively picking and choosing what should and should not apply to them.

    No one is forcing the church to employ workers. They can opt out at any time if the practice of highering workers under its current terms and rights to workers is somehow a violation to their religion.

  • Private Private

    Ugh..the preverbial Straw Man strikes again.

    Noone is mandated to do anything. If the church is not down with assisting in providing insurance to workers without forcing insurers not to provide birthcontrol then the church has a right to get out of the business of highering workers.

    If the worker does not want birthcontrol then she is not mandated to get it.

    So what is your problem again?

    oh its against you belief and if you had your way no one would get it? That sounds a bit more accurate.

  • Private Private

    DING.

    Someone gets it.

  • Anonymous

    Heil Seargeant Private Parts!  

    Thanks for policing everyone to the talking 
    points of your election focused Party Movement. 

  • Anonymous

    But Private doesn’t get the idea of a corporate church with the power to trump individual rights. See how religions are being used as vehicles to assert supremacy of the corporate entity? This is a larger strategy we shall be confronted with again. (God is People: Church property/authority is People; Big People, bigger than even crowds of commoners.) Man, ain’t that a crazy notion!

  • Anonymous

    Why would the Catholic Church have any more legal authority over a Catholic employee than a Baptist or Unitarian employee? You may be recognizing non-existent authority. 98% of nominally Catholic women use birth control at some time in their lives. What of them? Are they lesser because they coincidentally work where they might worship?

  • Anonymous

    Moyers may be celebrating a dumb move by President Obama. This kudo makes Moyers appear too partisan, I think, but the greater danger is the precedent set by the President in unnecessarily conceding individual religious rights while upholding corporate religious rights that may not in actuality exist. And so I must, in general, second the arguments of Private Private above. Sometimes the cost of an easy minor triumph is larger defeat at a later time. Look for the argument for incorporated religious exception and latitude to escalate.

  • Anonymous

    to hire?

  • Anonymous

    No, I don’t think he did. He simply dittoed Obama.
    I think reproductive rights and privacy deserve more  
    careful and assertive protection. Obama’s concession takes a chink from Roe v Wade. Just you wait and see. We have a rogue Supreme Court not afraid of reversing established law.

  • Anonymous

    This is exactly the argument Moyers should have made in week 4 instead of dancing the cha-cha-cha with extremist apologist and mesmerizer Jonathan Haidt. If you’re gonna dance with the stars how about picking better dancing partners.

  • Kendc77

    Bill Moyers is a charlatan (as are all clerics). He is a gullible fool for being religious in the first place, and he should be ashamed for treating Reverand Wright with kid-gloves when he appeared on his show.

  • Stevarmstrong

    I feel your missing my view.Most Christians believe in birth control , but many mainstream Christians Christians have moral questions about abortion.

    Under Obama’s plan a self insured Christian employer (no insurance company in this case) would be required to pay for (what they consider to be) abortion drugs which is killing another person in their view.

    I don’t know how I feel about this but I respect those who have a strong objection and respect their right to opt out of paying for something they view as deeply wrong.

  • Coozoe

    This is the best news I’ve heard since they announced morning after pills in a vending machine of a Pennsylvania college. Bravo for both concepts!

  • http://twitter.com/TheBigEdMan Edmund Fuentes

    Gotta love Bill! I am glad he is back on the air. He is a much needed dose of sanity and reason in a current climate of madness.

  • Anonymous

    Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”  and they were amazed at Him.  Mk 12:17

    This was Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees who were trying to trip Him up and betray Him to the Roman authorities.  Jesus Christ Himself recognized the difference between the institutions of man and God.

  • Regina1959

    As a  religious person, one can opt not to participate in birth control. The important part: option.  Just because it is made available, you need not apply for it. Meanwhile workers who are not of that faith, could get a prescrip for birth control. By having the insurance co. pick it up, it bypasses the church’s view. Would you like it if you worked for say, a Christian Science group – they don’t believe in any medical surgery – you could die, but that is their religion. By having again, OPTION,  those workers could get the necessary operation for their illness. No one is forcing you to get birth control pills, IUDS, “O”, or anything else. It’s just like any medical plan, you could opt not to get a mammogram. No one is forcing you to get this breast exam. 

  • Regina1959

    Yes, I noted that also.  It is “hiring” someone to do a job, not highering.  Jan is higher on the ladder than Joan. No such word, highering. Oh well, you got his message any way.

  • Regina1959

    It’s still a private matter that no one should interfere with your personal medical condition or options.  I wonder  according to your theory then, whatever happened to Galilleo? He was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church because he dared say that the earth was not flat. He was officially ex-communicated from the Church.  The fact remains he is probably in heaven even without the church’s blessings.

  • Thug

    How about when that same employer pays taxes that support war? Is this not also the taking of human life?

  • Regina1959

    Helen, it used to be a “mortal sin” to eat meat on Fridays all year long. Then comes the Vatican II consul and made a change. After that change, it was no longer a moral sin.  (complete reverse!) No they didn’t treat it as a venial sin (lesser sin) – just not a sin at all!  If was considered a mortal sin if you murdered someone. How in the world did they ever get the two on the same level of “wicked”? All the times as children we were told that to eat meat on Fridays was a mortal sin and we would go to hell if we didn’t confess it in the confessional.

  • Beyond Belief

     You are dead on target here, and I want to hear someone with a public platform shouting this from the rooftops!!  For every republican saying, “This is not about contraception, it’s about religious liberty,” we need one of “us” to stand and point out that religious liberty (i.e. freedom from government regulation) does not extend to your corporate/commercial activities.  They are not “an institution of religion.”  They are companies that just happen to be owned and operated by religious institutions.   The rules are about that business and its labor practices, not about your exercise of faith.

    Free exercise of religion does not mean you may go into any commercial enterprise of your choosing and operate without regulation.

    The religious institutions are using a tactic of claiming commercial enterprises are a part of their “faith” or “outreach mission” so that they will not be subject to labor, and other regulatory standards.

    Seriously… if this were a respectable position to take, where are the people demanding to be allowed to keep slaves because their religious liberty has been violated?   Where are the imprisoned vigilantes crying persecution because they were prosecuted for stoning a rape victim to death (clearly called for in the Bible)? 

    The religious will continue to try to expand the definition of what constitutes their “faith” so that they can continue to ask for exemptions from participating in a pluralistic society that does not agree with their made up moral tenets.

  • Beyond Belief

     Again, dead on!! (with the exception of continuing to spell “hiring” incorrectly. :-) 

    The desire of those pushing this, and other similar “conscience clause” legislation, is to provide a way to not participate in our society.  They want an opt out card that effectively allows them to ignore legislation they dislike.  OR WORSE….read on…

    The most putrid manifestation of this tactic is in those people who want to conscientiously opt out of a law for themselves AND take “gatekeeper” jobs like being a pharmacist, so they may use their conscientious objection to enforce their choice on others.  This is a means of enacting a policy that the legislature won’t: i.e. denying women contraception.  Each person using this tactic becomes a legislation unto him/her self.

    Conscience clause legislation must be rejected.

  • Beyond Belief

     No, they are required to pay for insurance for their employees.  The employee may then choose which service provided by that company he/she wishes to partake of.  It is none of the employer’s business, and does not infringe on his/her religious liberty.

    Their “opting out of paying for something they believe is deeply wrong” is a thinly veiled and hypocritical attempt to impose their religious beliefs on others.

    They don’t opt out of taxes supporting the military do they?

  • Beyond Belief

     Hand in hand with the Citizens United ruling.  Amen … Grady Lee and Private Private:  Kiss and make up.  Your common cause is much greater than your minor disagreement over the corporate church (which, I must say, I side with Grady Lee on.)

  • Beyond Belief

     Yes… and what about Limbo?  Rescinded in recent years.  How many parents were scared to absolute hysteria over not baptizing a child?  And then the Church comes along and says, “Ah well, we were only kidding about that Limbo thing.” 

    It should make a person wonder how many other sacred tenets are not just power grabs designed to increase the flock, and frighten the flock into sticking together.

  • Jmaiv 1954

         Once again reliegous leaders seek to impose their beliefs on those who do not share it. Since they feel they should not have to supply full health benefits to their employees perhaps they would like to start paying taxes on these country clubs they call non-profit charities. With gymnasiums, swimming pools,and spas member contributions should be called dues, not be tax deductable and church property should pay taxes. 

  • Marcelacarlinmsu

    It is really great to have Bill back ….. intelligent discussion of all kind of issues is painfully lacking in our national conversation

  • Curt

    The people at the top of the religious hierarchy fail to see that they aren’t the only stakeholders in this situation.  The bishops are entitled to maintain and practice according to their religion.  Under Obama’s compromise, they will.  The other major stakeholders are the employees of Catholic institutions, some of whom may not be Catholic; they may be protestant, Buddhist, some other religion, or atheist.  Even if an employee is Catholic, for the bishops to deny the employee coverage based upon their (the bishops’) religious convictions is to deprive the employee of her constitutional right to freedom of religion.  Obama’s “compromise” is, therefore, not a compromise at all.  It appears to give each side what they want.

  • Sailorwayne2

    Bill MOYERS (S!!!!!)  , did NOT say thgat, U chose to misunderstand  I fear !!

  • Baba Weinbaum

    Moyers’ comments and his excerpt of Obama’s speech in 2009 are apt. Although the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, ie, priests, bishops, etc, are saying contraception is a sin, 96% of sexually active Catholic women say they use contraception. This is a statistic supported by the Guttmaker Institue, a highly reputable research group which focuses on Reproduction issues.

  • Lynn Allen

    Lets have some freedom from the tyranny of Christianity.   What makes the followers of the “Prince of Peace” such controlling  tyrants.  In other countries differing religious practices are respected as an individual’s right and no one tries to infringe or inhibit them unless they are grossly dangerous.  Here the “Religious”  forces want to rule everyone.  We remember a lot of “religious practices” that actually tortured and killed people.   I thought that the constitution was trying to protect us from those evils of the past.  Lets enforce the separation of church and state.
        Keep your Rosaries out of my Ovaries.   Try to practice what your book says about doing unto others.
       I bet God would be embarrassed by the Christians today.

  • Jcmudpuppy

     Separation of Church and State was not part of the Constitution or the First Amendment. That phrase was coined by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to a Baptist organization, explaining  how the 1st Amendment would protect the churches from interference by the government, rather than the other way around. Anyone who has actually read the Constitution knows this. Unfortunately, those who scream the loudest about the First Amendment usually haven’t read it.
    If you consider countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, some parts of China and quite a few others, I’d say the U.S. is pretty darn tolerant of the various religions that exist here. And though I’m not a Catholic, I and anyone who bothers to look into it know that the Church is responsible for more charitable acts and giving to the needy and to devastated areas than any and all other, secular organizations.  Google the statistics. 
    The Church is, as any organization, filled with people who may say and do stupid or selfish things. But in general it’s the Church that demonstrates the most concern for the hungry, the homeless and the devastated in the world. Don’t talk about how bad the Church is until you’ve also looked into the good it does.

  • Anonymous

     There are three religion commandments in the Constitution: “no religious test” for public office or trust, “no law” even “respecting” an establishment of “religion,” and no law “prohibiting,” i.e., totally forbidding, the “free” (i.e., voluntary, in contrast to established by law) exercise “thereof,” of religion. Religion is not a license for anarchy. All actions are limited by the laws of the land. It is “speech, press, peaceable assembly, and petition which shall not be abridged, which means reduced. The writers of the First Amendment perfectly worded (English 101) the grammar of its  meaning. “Religion” shall not be established by law, and all actions are subject to the laws of the land, regardless of religion:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb7SbUWw9dM.

    If I am correct, Bill Moyers and I both attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and studied under Dr. T.B. Maston, who, more than once, reminded his students, “God gave us brains to use, not to sit on.”

  • jp

    Wonderful.  But this is not a full transcript. 

  • JP

    Absolutely splendid! Thank goodness for Bill Moyers!  Can we please have a full transcript?

  • Private Private

    Actually the concept of separation of church and state was created by Roger Williams the puritan minister who left boston to found the Providence Plantation and the colonies that would eventually become known as Rhode island in 1663. This concept has been thusly echoed throughout the American continent ever since. Additionally, it was a US supreme court ruling that set the precidence for separation of church and state as interpruted by the first amendment. While Jeffersons letters were influential they do not hold the monopoly on this concept and its implamentation.

  • Private Private

    Actually the concept of separation of church and state was created by Roger Williams the puritan minister who left boston to found the Providence Plantation and the colonies that would eventually become known as Rhode island in 1663. This concept has been thusly echoed throughout the American continent ever since. Additionally, it was a US supreme court ruling that set the precidence for separation of church and state as interpruted by the first amendment. While Jeffersons letters were influential they do not hold the monopoly on this concept and its implamentation.

  • Private Private

    ROFL. It was really late as it really late now.

    Yes “hire” is the correct spelling, as opposed to “higher”

  • Private Private

    I truly am perplexed at how people try to play editor and chief on blog sites. I mean they invented spellcheck for a reason; for silly college students like myself who are up late one night doing a paper on social justice. You see? Spell check is for the paper I wrote yesturday at 12 am and for the document  wrote today at 11pm to be handed in to my professor; not for an informal blog. I suppose if spelling, grammer, and proper MLA format were necessary then they might include a full on word processor for creating post. Right?…

  • Balou

    Great speech!

  • Horsrescue

    I’m waiting for Mitch McConnell to support Rastafarians exercising their religious beliefs/practices.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rastafari_movement

  • Don Coleman

    The word Christian in America today is a political word and has no meaning for spiritual value whether it is the Catholic Bishops or the Billy Graham organization.  The greatest lie is that either one of these organizations care about Religious Freedom.  They care for only one thing in my opinion and that is political power to have their way and their way only.  The only way to have religious freedom that becomes Religious Freedom is elect people who are willing to listen to all sides even theirs and then vote for issues that enable all sides to feel a part of this country.  That may be hard and maybe in present day America impossible, but I hope we would find a way to do this.  I also feel we need a new political party that understands and works for the average American who works and seeks to be a part of a prosperous society for all people.  We have been like the Ostrich that puts it head in the sand thinking it has hidden from danger.  Enough, thanks for the comments and for the new show.  I personally needed it. Don Coleman don2dj@att.net

  • midwife

    Well put !  Wouldn’t it be beneficial to us all if anyone running for government office needed to past a test indicating their knowledge of the Constitution, and especially since Civics classes are being dropped by schools!?
    I can feel a little(and I mean little)pity for the Catholic Church as it tries to “enforce” it’s beliefs on the faithful who have declared they are members.  Religion is MAN’s own attempt to find God, and as such, it is indeed fallible as men are…contrary to church doctrine.  It is a power struggle to keep the faithful…control if you will though in terms of what the church feels is your welfare. If you used birth control you would be reducing the number of potential Catholics in the world and reduce the power base of its leaders! That’s a dah.  I’m sure some ”religions” even would consider it a ”sin” if a woman realized when she was in her fertile period and denied her partner vaginal penetration…like isn’t it the also a sin to seek pleasure in other than the “missionary position”in some “faiths” as well?(So Okay, they are trying to prevent infections!)  What’s with that?  Men have felt women are in need of “controlling” since Eve got blamed for all human misery, Church wise….
    The Church does indeed do most of the good deeds to fellow humans out there, and in foreign countries are more effective than many other organizations including Doctors Without Borders who have gotten a bit more concerned with proving they did something to show those contributing before they get involved…Most lasting effects have been done by religious organizations community based….including Catholics. 
    Yes, it also seems hard to comprehend that so many of these “righters” turn their backs when it comes to “entitlement” spending…including programs for prenatal care, welfare assistance for new mothers.  It’s like it was their fault as much as a DWI. 
    Hormones on both the male/female side drive the passion of the moment. Education is all that may prove helpful, but it is still going to happen, so teaching birth control is a must and a little reality before it’s too late.  However, no woman should be made to bear a child in cases of incest, health to the mother, rape, etc. Come on!! Check out what is happening to women in the world when families turn their backs on them when they are raped…City of Hope in Africa.
    If the Church is going into the secular world of profit, they should obey the laws in that worldly realm.

  • tag

     It strikes me that religions have historically needed protection from each other. Wouldn’t you be offended if the US government said it was okay to institute sharia law on employees of Islamic hospitals and charities? Or religious hospitals not covering or even doing blood transfusions or immunizations because that is against their religion? The greatest protection of religion needs to be at the level of the individual making his own decisions, not at the level of religious leaders drawing on the powers of the government to enforce their religious beliefs.

  • Dave_velo

    Christianity, in succinct terms, is a man-made construct. It was created in order to control (manipulate) people by using fear of death tactics. The rulers used this religion as a way to gain power by proclaiming paradise after death for those who follow the rules and eternal damnation for those who didn’t. This “life after death” nonsense was pounded into uneducated, simpleton brains until it became truth. Those who “believed” gave their wealth, land, etc. to the church in order to be “saved”. This is how the church became filthy rich and powerful.

    Am astounded that even in the year 2012, people are still gullible enough to “beleive” rather than embrace “scientific fact”.

  • Lynn Allen

     Hmmm …. My copy of the U. S. Constitution and the Amendments, show the First Amendment as saying
    “1  Right of Religion & Expression.  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

    I understand the definition of Religion to be ” a collection of beliefs, belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that each individual may have separate or within a group; and that distinct Religions may have unique beliefs common to themselves or others, or not common to any other religion. 

       I take “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” to mean that there shall be no government action to enforce or deny religious beliefs.   The Government must remain neutral in respect to religion.   Christians are actively trying to enforce their beliefs on others and therefore prohibiting the free exercise of another religion.  AS THEY REPEATEDLY STATE, This is a main tenant and objective of the Republican Party and the “Evangelical Christian”  political and economic movement .
       Sure there are problems in a lot of parts of the world, but here and now, in our country which is supposed to be based on the Constitution,  the Christian religion is increasing more tyrannical in trying to enforce its belief system on persons not involved with their religion.   The Christians must get their own houses in order and follow the law of the land as others do. 

    Practice the tenants of your religion and curb the current Tyranny of the Cristian Church.  Live by the Constitution as well as by your own laws.

       Keep your Rosaries out of my ovaries! 

  • http://www.billmoyers.com/ AnneLBS

    Hi JP,

    Just click on “Full Transcript” link just below the video.

    http://billmoyers.com/content/bill-moyers-essay-freedom-of-and-from-religion/

  • Lynn Allen

     I always hope that here in the United States of America, that we live by and enforce the 1st Amendment of our Constitution.  

    Our laws prohibit that.   If  we do not enforce our laws, we will see similar problems here.
      Freedom requires vigilance and enforcement of our laws.

  • Dragonmaster

    I’ll tell you what. I’ll stay out of their religious practices if they stay out of my government!

  • http://www.facebook.com/chriswarr78 Chris Warren

    I would like to take the opportunity to say just how much I enjoy and respect Mr.Moyers. The tone and seeming impartiality of his talks are absolutely astonishing to me during a time of such political polarization. I believe that he is a paradigm of how journalism should be conducted. Bill is the kind of person I would allow, and even encourage, to challenge my beliefs and long held opinions. He has this ‘calm during the storm’ aspect to him, and I’m grateful to have him back with BPS. Please keep up the great work, Mr.Moyers, and thank-you. I encourage people to check out his Wiki. It makes for a fascinating read.

  • Peter McMenamin

    Catholic (and other religions’) hospitals and universities engage in the secular activity of hiring staff.  They hire scholars and nurses, managers and secretaries, and a whole lot more.  The Department of Labor oversees labor issues including compensation in the form of health insurance.  For the most part, we do not have separate rules based on the religious background of any employer or employees.  The definitions affecting health insurance are maintained by Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services.  As a result of the Affordable Care Act, employment based health insurance plans must cover preventive services identified by the U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce and additional services identified by the HHS Secretary.  Importantly, health insurers have to offer preventive services with zero patient cost-sharing: no deductibles or co-payments.  At the time the Affordable Care Act was signed into law there were no objections from religious institutions regarding prohibiting cost sharing on prevention.
     
    In July 2011, the HHS Secretary accepted the advice of the Institute of Medicine, identifying a list of eight clinical preventive services for women that should be covered by all health insurance plans; these included the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods and sterilization procedures for all women with reproductive capacity.  At the time, 28 States mandated contraceptive coverage in all private health insurance; the bulk of private health insurance policies in the U.S. included contraceptives in their drug benefits.  Coverage of contraceptive services was not a major change in the private insurance market.
     
    Recently, some representatives of religious universities and hospitals and their advocates have complained that if those institutions don’t offer health insurance with contraceptive coverage they may be liable for fines of $2000 per employee per year.  What they haven’t said is that the current average annual employer cost for private health insurance is $11,000.  Employers are not now and have never been required to offer employee health insurance benefits.  Fines for major employers not offering coverage do not begin until 2014.  Religious institutions that are employers could drop health insurance and save themselves $9000 per employee or split the funds between themselves, their employees, and federal and state taxes.  Of course, those religious institutions might lose to other employers those employees whose family members do want contraception coverage and/or a higher salary boost to compensate for the additional taxes and the hassle of finding alternative coverage.  That returns the issue to the secular realm of how to hire sufficient private market staff.

  • Medravic

    The State has gone against religious believes in the past such as when Mormons practiced polygamy.  Also prevented certain rituals of the Santeria and Voodoo sects, so why not demand that women have access to family planning that may go against the believes of a bunch of men.  When women are incapable of bearing children before the age of 27, then they will be capable of closing their legs.  Lots of  unwanted pregnancies occurred in girls as young as 13 who do not have the maturity to prevent the seduction or rape.  Access to birth control is a must that the State must insist on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chriswarr78 Chris Warren

    That’s where those damn beads went; my sincerest apologies. I am in complete agreement with your take on the first amendment. What I don’t understand is why the constitution, in general, is held to be sacrosanct, and I don’t comprehend why people are so concerned with the original intent of the founding fathers. Unlike the Bible, it has the potential to be so much more than the founding fathers could have imagined. It seems that so many political issues are surrounded by trying to work out, or around “What would T.J do?”. Perhaps it is time to draft a 21st century version, informed by all the science and facts at our disposal, and dispense with a brilliant, yet outdated document.

  • oboypfa
  • DaveVelo

    Hear hear!

  • Private Private

    Context. It helps to make your comments relevant. What does your link have to do with 1660′s Providence Plantation?

  • Private Private

    ROFL. I am coureous as to exactly what you think I have been talking about, if not the importance of individual rights over collective rights? Must i spell out that collective rights would include corporate “rights”, or church “rights”?

  • Private Private

    There are no sides in truth. Only barriers to our understanding one another.

  • Michael Pettengill

    What I had hoped at least Bill Moyers would understand and point out is the way conservatives cynically and crassly use “religious liberty” as a bludgeon to attack their opponents, because religious liberty in every case must be defined on conservative ideology of the moment, not the Bible, the Koran, one’s conscious and religious enlightenment.

    During the American Revolution, Quakers, and others who sought to escape the wars of Europe they opposed as followers of Jesus, suffered from refusing to join or support the war effort on religious grounds.  One must consider the irony of the Pennsylvania serving as the meeting ground to plan a war – Pennsylvania welcomed all who came regardless of religion and thus became the refuge of religious war resisters.

    And with Mitt Romney so visible, how can conservatives speak of religious liberty when President Lincoln launched a true war on religion, the war on Mormonism, with his signing of the Morrill Act of 1862.  This act was followed by the Edmunds Act in 1882 and Edmunds-Tucker Act in 1887, which further disenfranchised Mormons, imprisoned them for mere religious belief, and confiscated their property and the property of the church.

    And we have the words and acts of many leading conservative politicians attacking the civil rights of Muslims for simply buying property and seeking support from the community for a community center, much less places of worship.

    The claims of religious liberty being infringed in the health  care matters of late and going back a decade or two were clearly resolved by the Supreme Court in 1879 in Reynolds v. United States and further in 1890 in The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. United States which upheld restricting religious liberty as long as all religions were held to the same standards.

    And in 2000, the Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling refusing to grant a religious liberty claim under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by Congress in 1993, to Quakers seeking religious exemption from paying war taxes.

    When conservatives defend Mormon plural marriage as practiced by Warren Jeffs, and Rastafarians smoking pot, and war resisters not paying war taxes, then I’ll believe they really do mean what they say when attacking Obama on his decisions on contraceptives.

  • Shumphreys

    I wonder if the medical plans the Catholic Church and some Protestant churches offer their employees cover fertility treatments for infertile couples or treatment for men with sexual dysfunction (Viagra)?

    The Catholic church position against birth control is simply that it is in violation of “natures plan”. Sex is for procreation, if a person gets pregnant that is just part of “natures plan” and man is not to interfere with “natures plan”. Well infertility and erectile dysfunction are also part of “natures plan”.

    Homosexuality is also part of “natures plan” so how could TheCatholic or a Protestant Church object to something that is part of “natures plan”.

    Our complex brain is also “part of natures plan”. It gives us the ability to think in abstract terms, to reason, and ask questions, compare opposing ideas, judge concepts such as good/bad, moral/immoral, ethical/unethical, to see issues from another persons perspective, to see the BIG picture not just our little slice of it…. It gives us the ability to analyze problems and figure out solutions to everything from designing levees for flood control, radio alert systems to warn us of tornadoes, to designing drugs to prevent and treat disease and prevent pregnancy. All so that we are not held hostage to or succumb to “natures plans”.  

    To accept some of these and object to birth control because it violates “natures plan” is pure hypocrisy.

  • Michael Pettengill

    Nuclear weapons have no purpose other than taking the lives of innocent men, women, and children, yet you are forced to fund enough nuclear weapons to kill millions of innocent civilians.

    How is nuclear weapons consistent with your Christian view that taking of another human life is opposed by Christians?

    Have you tried to refuse to pay the taxes going to fund mass murder of innocent human life?

  • gmantheman

    there is no “right to healthcare” so your argument holds no water

  • gmantheman

    Well, I guess we’ve heard it all on this forum. You would think we live in the most oppressive country in the world by listening to the whiners here. I know….., those meanie Christians are the real problem; And that darned Catholic Church actually standing up to their principles!!! The nerve of them. Can’t they just say all contraception is OK, all abortions are OK, all forms of genetic engineering is OK, why hell, everything is OK!!! They should just say ” Whatever a person believes is good and just and right, well it is for them and that’s the way it should be”. The Catholic Church has a lot of nerve to say that matters of life should actually be reflected upon in a serious way. But we all know there is no need of reflection on these matters. We all know that “convenience” is the most important thing. So, let’s start a petition to shut up any institution that deigns to stand for ideals of human behavior.

  • gmantheman

    Yeah, like contraception really works. Let’s see, young women are too irresponsible to resist spreading their legs, so they can all the sudden be responsible and use birth control. Then they can have sex as much responsible sex as they wish. But wait a minute. The more sex you have the more likely you are to get pregnant, even if you use birth control. Birth control often fails. In fact, many women use the excuse of “failed birth control” to justify an abortion. But wait. How can a irresponsible person be responsible enough to use birth control in the first place. I’m just so damned confused. Maybe parents have a role in how their children present themselves to the world. It seems that the children that are loved and cherished and have a strong sense of self, with boundaries, somehow keep themselves out of the “unwanted pregnancy” problem. Oh well, I’m sure I’m wrong.

  • Jmhunt

    When hospitals and other organizations decide to compete in  the capitalist system of our economy (even though they rely on the government for grant funds) They have chosen to abide by the US laws that govern businesses in this country . They are then businesses – not religious organizations.  If insurance companies must provide certain benefits for all employees  and the business is self insured – they fall under the same laws as  the other insurers.  Religion should not be a factor.

    This is about business fairness not religious freedom.  They could choose not to be in business if they find it offends their beliefs.  As a Christian myself, I learned at an early age that the Bible says “just because something is legal, doesn”t make it allright”.

    I have the religious freedom to not put myself in a position to use these services that I believe would be a sin for me… The responsibility for the religiious choice rests with the employee…  Their are no Corporations in Heaven religious or otherwise …   As individuals God gives us Choice – He is a great believer in Choice…  It;s  our responsibility to choose wisely.

    We live in a country that separates government from religion.  One business should not be asked to do for it’s employees what another does not have to do – that is fairness in business.    

  • Rws1996

    Mr. Moyers:  If Obama is such a political genius as you say, and knew how the funders of his first community organization would react, did he include the provision in the first place?  Of course, any college trained sophisticate could see it coming.  His magnanimous action was to  establish a non point for discussion by those evil Republican having to defend being against contraception. Brilliant. 
    IF he is so good why doesn’t he bring home the troops from Bush’s war? Oh yeah, you said smart not good. 

  • Betty Popp

    Thank you Bill Moyers.  Why are voices of reason considered so unreasonable by some who claim to support religious freedom and freedom of conscience?

  • Private Private

    If you areable to understand the context of  “right to healthcare” as it relates the mandate that employers offer healthcare, thereby making it a right to get some sort of coverage from your employer, then I can not help you understand any further.

    I suspect your true motive is to prove yourself more intelligent or more knowledgable than myself. Let me save you some time. Your smarter than me and can have whatever trophy you seem to be after.

  • Private Private

    The flaw in the logic is pairing “Christian employer” and “required” No one is required to hirer anyone. Workers in America have been granted certain rights. One of the newest rights is a right to be offered some sort of healthcare plan from your employer. If people who want to run a business are not willing to observe these basic workers rights, whether that be healthcare plans, or safe working conditions, or abusive practices, for whatever reason, religios or otherwise, then they are not allowed to employ others. Dont want to observe OSHA laws for your employees, get shutdown. What to threaten your employees when they mess up, get shutdown, want to denied providing a  basic healthcare plan for employees, get shutdown.

    Individual rights are considered great than an employers  ”right” to deny individual rights.

    Fun Fact: 78% of the US population is Christian or Catholic. The vast mojority of companies are run by people of one of these two sects. Should we now have CEO’s saying we do not have to pay taxes cause that would violate my religious beliefs?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Kennedy/1302494724 David Kennedy

    Bill, It was a great essay….now how about the under lying point that you miss.  Is it Constitutional to make someone else pay for my contraceptives?  My health care?  Is it morally right for the government to reach into my pocket and take my money to help someone else.  In a democracy it may be….we’re not a democracy.  We’re a republic based on individual freedom.  As you said, the secret is out.  98% of woman use contraceptives.  No state will outright ban their use.  How does this keep a woman or man from driving to the drug store to purchase a condom or pill?  Many of us are tired of the government reaching into our pockets to relieve us of our income.  They do not act responsibly with the funds.  With politicians, supported by Barak Obama, that act as the mafia, steal our money without the threat of jail, and walk away without justice, how can you expect us to trust the government with our health care  money?  Jon Corizine / MF Global (worse then Madoff) is a case in point.  I’ll be glad to post links that question his testimony to congress with credibility.  Why do you think he is walking away from justice?  These are the people who will decide my healthcare issues.  These people will reach into my pocket for the premium.  In a non-religous way….to hell with them all!  Give us back all of our tax money and we will purchase our own condoms.  Or not!  That’s freedom.  Even God doesn’t cram heaven down our throats.  Giving freely is wonderful.  Stealing from another….now that’s sin!  By the way, the republicans are just as bad as the democrat’s with the exception of a very limited few! The Catholic bishops don’t have a very good track record to be promoting their issue. That doesn’t make the issue of theft, freedom, and financial abuse less important.

  • Tyand

    Some organizations are self-insured. In this case, the organization itself would be required to provide for contraception, isn’t that right?

  • Anonymous

    If you’re so tired of the government reaching in you pocket, than where is your rage over Big Biz buying the government so that it was possible for them to acquire the money in your pocket in lieu of there bailout and the payment of obscene bonuses? It’s because you are an authoritarian follower, steeped in propaganda and will never agree to anything that even hints at being fair and balanced. Democracy is light years away from your compartmentalized sphere of thought. Come out of your tower and at least meet the Americans you seek to destroy. 

  • Anonymous

    Ah, the infidel. I see religious institutions giving large amounts of money to political causes and campaigns for office, if they’re allowed to do that, than they should accept the burden we all share which is taxation. Otherwise, they should refrain from politics and use that money for the soul purpose for which their church stands for and that is to tend to the spiritual needs of their flock. If believing these words makes me an infidel, I wear that name proudly. Just as I believe Banks should be the public utilities they once were. And, that Big Biz has no Biz making laws and, that no lawmaker should receive money, favors or perks from any member of Big Biz. And , that leaders at every level of government should be screened prior to their appointments or hiring for, authoritarian traits or signs of psychopathic inclinations and religious fundamentalism. The Infidel Speaks. 

  • Shumphreys

    In response
    to David Kennedy actually it is Constitutional for the government to use tax
    dollars to support “the general welfare” 
    and  “insure domestic tranquility”.
    Opening paragraph of the Constitution.

    That aside,
    the issue isn’t about what is or is not legally right or what is or is not
    morally right, or in violation of any particular churches religion. The issue
    is about what is in the BEST public interest not what is in Mr. Kennedy’s best
    interest or any other single individuals or institutions best interest.

    The world is
    over populated. The results of over population affect ALL of us in one way or
    another. Environmental pollution (humans require clean air, clean water and a safe food and drug supply to survive), malnutrition and the resulting lifelong
    disabilities brought on by malnutrition, diseases don’t respect wealth or country boundaries (the latest health threats hase arisen in overcrowded areas where health and sanitation and food supplies aren’t safe or secure), economic issues brought on by pressures
    put upon dwindling natural resources, not to mention world tensions brought on
    as each nation tries to claim the dwindling supply for their people. We know
    from the Arab spring and from our race riots of the 60s what angry,
    disenfranchised, frustrated and bored young people (people who believe they
    have no hope and no future) can do to world economies and the peace and
    stability of nations.  

    Believe it
    or not Birth Control is expensive for women and requires regular medical
    checkups for the safe and effective use of the various products available.
    Believe it or not women can NOT force men to use cheap condoms. Believe it or
    not condoms are NOT 100% effective, neither for that matter are other forms of
    birth control. Believe it or NOT some women are beaten for attempting to deny
    their sexual partners their conjugal rights. Believe it or NOT some men use sex
    and resulting pregnancies as a way to keep their woman submissive and
    dependent.

    Seeing that
    ALL people have access to birth control as part of a safe and effective health
    care plan, is in the BEST public interest and the best way to get our worlds
    population under control and preventing some of the side effects of a
    population that has expanded beyond this worlds carrying capacity.

  • Anonymous

    So inquires David Kennedy thusly:

     Is it morally right for the government to reach into my pocket and take my money to help someone else. In a democracy it may be….we’re not a democracy. We’re a republic based on individual freedom. ”
         ****************************************
    Absolutely…so that when tornados sweep through a community or raging rivers roar through a town creating devastation to the citizens, why should I have to pay for those losses?  We don’t need no stinkin’ socialist programs…all citizens must fend for themselves.  If they cannot, let ‘em suffer..it’s their own fault that they have lost everything. Let’s all remember what Anatole France observed decades ago about what kind of freedom some think we should have:  So independently free and equal that even a plutocrat can sleep under a bridge should he choose to do so. In sum, I got mine you gitcher own.

    So back to your work of undermining unions as European-source conspiracies, pick up your flag and Bible and dupe the vulnerable into believing that when a plutocrat is comfortable and all but tax-free, all of us commoners are that much better off…that Jesus wants it that way so that we can all be free under the philosophy of God’s Own Party.

  • Rick V

    Your premise that president Obama’s solution was equitable is INSANE.  Forcing Americans to deny their sincerely held religious beliefs is not American.  Religious freedom is what this country was founded on.  Taking it away is the stuff of civil war, being instigated not by Republicans or Catholics, but by Obama and his people.
    The hatred is stemming from the radicals who think they are God.
    This is not the first time Obama folks have assaulted people of faith.  There has been a relentless attack on religion since he got to Washington.  His goal is probably to do away with religion altogether, and then HE can dictate what we the people should believe.  That’s how communists do it (not to infer that Obama is a communist, but he’s certainly acting like one.)   Obama as president is a huge mistake to begin with.  We need a re-do.  How can he get by with ignoring and defacing the constitution all the time and not be impeached?   He gets by with it because our media, and people like you, Bill Moyers, have been fooled with the lies and deceit.  You’re much smarter than that, Mr. Moyers.

  • Rick V

    I cant believe I’m paying for the Bill Moyers  DNC show with our taxes

  • Rick V

    If a Catholic woman wants contraceptives go to Planned Parenthood or 100 other places.  The Catholic church doesn’t have to provide it.

  • Dhcruser

    I am so grateful that there are still voices of reason, eloquent, rational, and thoughtful, on television.  Thank you, Bill Moyers, for so often saying so simply, so clearly, what I think, but cannot always articulate

  • Wmartin288

     
    The debate is not about Republicans verses Democrats – the righteous and the unrighteous – but rather a forum designed to inform and yes perhaps to even educate. I am thankful for Mr. Moyers commitment and service to this great land. I may not always agree with the content but I do appreciate the context . . . long live liberty!
    W. Martin

  • http://www.nvcc.edu/home/episcitelli/1/index.htm Thelogos

    Birth Control is an easy moral issue compared with abortion.  Preventing a conception is not clearly an immoral act.  Killing a fetus is still killing no matter what else is said about a woman’s right to control her body.  Whether the state has the right to prohibit an act because it is immoral is dubious at best.  The stste does not charge liars with a crime unless it is lying in court and therefore purgery.  Does the state have an interest in an activity if it is unconnected with the public good?  I do not think so. The question concerns what should have standing in legislation.  Nevertheless religion does have a role in legitimating secular authority because people are religious if not in the institutional sense then in the human sense that human beings cannot avoid the issue of ultimacy even if life is declared to be “a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing.

  • Piksnilderf

     ” How can he get by with ignoring and defacing the constitution all the time and not be impeached?”

    I know your older than 3, so apparently you moved to America in past few years and were not around during W years?

    Or perhaps you’re one of those who have not yet come to realize that Fox “news” is simply a political arm of GOP and rely on them for all of your “facts”.

  • Piksnilderf

     Good parenting helps promote responsible children.
    Sounds reasonable.
    Are those less responsible, or who make one mistake once, no longer worth our love or consideration?
    What of those that come out of less than perfect homes? There are a few out there like that (hard to believe I know).
    Are their interests worth considering?
    Perhaps access to contraceptives is not such a bad thing.
    Surely this ultimately equates to fewer abortions in long run.

  • Trumpeter56

    Having read through many of your thoughtful (and not so much) comments, it seems quite obvious that if we had a universal healthcare system that eliminated private insurance companies, this discussion would be moot.

  • Anonymous

     How is it you do not see the fundamentalist movement as a covert action to deny the religious freedom of the more liberal arms of their church?? Let me tell you my friend, the day the far right fundamentalist take over government is the day that religious freedom ends in this country. Fundamentalists, no matter their religion, do not tolerate religions other than their own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sam-Salerno/1468204658 Sam Salerno

    Love you Bill. Keep up the good work. And to all you pro-lifers out there. What a woman does with her body is none of your business. Go back to your churches and cause trouble and keep your nose out of other peoples business.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/62MC3Z7DWISLZLKZKEB4N2VJA4 You gotta be kidding

    Like the convenience of covering up pedophilia? The Catholics have a long history of changing their ‘ideals of human behavior ‘. But only after extreme pressure from their parishioners and external government power. The one thing the churches do not have in the argument of contraception is the backing of a majority of it’s own followers.

  • gmantheman

    Real nice. Throw in a red-herring- pedophilia- while trying to make your case. As if anyone, Catholic or not, is not appalled by the Church’s behavior in that matter. But this is a seperate matter. Because the Church and the humans in the church are flawed humans, like you and me, that doesn’t preclude them from speaking for their point of view. Your reasoning implies that since the Catholic Church has sinned, they can no longer speak on anything. Faulty reasoning.

  • gmantheman

    Don’t think contraceptives have decreased abortion rate. Hmmm.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/62MC3Z7DWISLZLKZKEB4N2VJA4 You gotta be kidding

    A Protestant died and went to heaven . While getting a tour he noticed a brick wall that went on in all directions as far as you could see. He bumped into St. Peter and asked him why the wall was there. Peter told him “the Catholics are on the other side they think they’re the only ones up here.”
    Religions have one main concept, that if you do not ‘believe’ the ways of ‘ their teaching’, you will not receive ‘their salvation’.
    God must be sitting with a tub of popcorn watching humans prepare their own ‘flood’.

  • Laportlandia1685

    Yes,  Mr. Moyers is “much smarter than that,” to include the fact that, obviously,  President Obama is not a communist!  For those who perceive Rick as being excessive and judgmental,  believe me when I say that two Portland, OR women have separately called him just that to my face.  Conservatives like Mr. Romney (who uttered “conservative” two dozen times in the past few days) are searching for a way to smear a man dedicated to the United States.  It will NOT work.    Fred R, Portland, Oregon

  • Private Private

    The definition of words has evolved since the first word was uttered. It is rather naive to try and play the “it’s not a democracy, stupid” game.

    A brief etymology lesson.

    Republic comes from the Latin “Res Publica” which means “Public Matter” or “Commonwealth”

    Democracy is a combination of the Greek words
    demos: people, and cracy: govern.

    Our representatives govern. But the representatives come from the people. Thus, we have a representative democracy; yet we have a constiution.

    So we have a government of the people(democracy),

    where representatives are elected to govern(modern interpretation of republic; representative democracy),

     and there is a constitution that all people and all elected representatives are subject to in order to protect individual rights(constitutional democracy).

    And in a thousand years these meanings and common word usages will change.

    Therefore, it is more than appropriate and correct to call ourr country a democracy and a republic. Neither is wholly right or wrong.

  • Private Private

    I see your point about taxes.

    For me I just want taxes spent wisely. If the government representatives cannot spend the money intelligently and blow it all on war and bailing out wall-street gambling firms then I say, abolish the fed and find another way to build roads. One that does not involve creating a large vault of money for large powerful people to rob whenever its convienent and they think they can get away with it.

  • Piksnilderf

     Can’t say I have studied the question deeply, and without wandering too deeply into the delicate subject of the rate people have sex in their lifetimes, it would seem that contraceptives might be a useful tool in decreasing the rate of  “unplanned” pregnancies.

    No?

  • Private Private

    Moyers may be “smarter than that”, but I question if your much “smarter than a fifth grader”

    Yes I voted for Obama, no he has not done all he said he would do, no I do not agree with all he has done, yes I do like some things he has done.

    (like sending Seal Team 6 to end the Bin Ladin movement and show the world that there is a right and wrong way to communicate when one is not unhappy)

    But your rhetoric sounds like Fox News regurgitation. “Re-do”? Can you not accept he is president and just look forward to finding a better representative in the future. I am starting to think the “hate Obama ’cause he’s black” rhetoric might have some validity. It’s like agitators cannot accept it and want to go back and make it as if he never got elected. I seriously question the motives behind this mindset.

  • Private Private

    Actually that is not considered a fallicy of logos it is an attack on ethos.

    But the original point IS valid in a long-term sociological view of the church.

    His point is how the church is using their “convictions” to their faith as an arguement, and how those “convictions” have changed, waivered, faultered, and even hurt freedom, in the past and present.

    It is a bit off topic from the original discussion, but the point is important. The validity of religion and how religion is used in the lives of man carries to the ultimate point of whether we are going to allow churches to use religion to deny laws that protect workers rights in our country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000415650543 Roy Halliday

    This is about health care not what people believe about  religion.  There is nothing about religious freedom except to note the a person of a different faith working for a Catholic organization would be denied access to birth control if the organization can opt out.  

  • Private Private

    Perception vs. Truth

    Perception: those against the law that has insurance provide, womens family planning assistance options, percieve that the church itself is being forced to spend money, a very small portion of which, goes to thes planning options that teh church may be against faithwise.

    Truth: There is no law that requires a religious orgainization to employ workers. Employing workers is not a religious act. Churches are still subject to ALL other rights of workers gauranteed by laws, federal and state(OSHA, etc.). If religious organizations are not comfortable with obeying one more of the laws that gauranteed basic workers rights in this country, for whatever reason, then they are by law allowed to stop employing. The law does not force them to employ people and fund insurance that then minutly goes to contraception.  As long as there is always a way for a religious organization or individual to not take an action against their beliefs they are not being forced to do anything.

    To clarify,

    The constitution gaurantees religious freedom. The law that was passed has nothing to do with religion. It is a law that is added to the long list of Workers Rights in this country. If these organizations believe these laws are not compatible with there beliefs, thereby making the actions a sin for them, they are afforded the right not to employ.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000415650543 Roy Halliday

    I continue to be amazed by the those who profess to know what God wants us to do because she has confided to me that she doesn’t really care.

  • Gweerrtytyu

     when you´ll be pregnant keep´em all ………..

  • Betty Gordon

    “Freedom of Religion” versus “Freedom from Religion;” isn’t that the question?
    Religious organizations, and churches do not pay taxes, on the basis of the separation of church and state clause, with the proviso that religions stay out of, and away from, politics. Jewsus said to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and render unto God that which is God’s. How is that working out for us? Politics are Caesar’s!After years of cogitation, I have come to the indisputable fact that I am an Atheist, and an Infidel of repute, and that I harbor a deeply-felt resentment of the theist, and of the deists, who proclaim to know how I should live, work, play, vote, and believe. But further, religious organizations, churches, temples, synagogues, and Mosques, are where those various and sundry activities belong, and to that, I have no objection. It is when, due to their inability to stand alone with their beliefs, they venture out to change the world to conform to their preaching’s, by an invasion of the political world, that I see no alternative but to fight their intrusion into my inalienable and/or unalienable rights to be free of their constant babblings and enactment of laws that infringe on my personal rights of choice and pursuits.“Holy Men” speaking from their sacred dais, by whatever name, exhorting their following to actively follow a certain political path toward influencing, or working, to enact laws impinging on all rights, while enjoying their exclusion from paying taxes, taxes to which I am subjected, is anything but a separation of church and state. While they profess pious, and somewhat pompous, ways of belief in the Beatitudes, by whatever name, they feel free to abstain from many of the provisions of our Constitution. Where is the religiosity, piety, or honesty in that?

  • John Jones

    Insurance companies must sit on a pile of cash in order to pay claims. They get that cash from premiums paid by their customers and conservative investments in liquid assets. Are you saying that we should convert premiums to taxes, and then allow the government to sit on a pile of cash? Do you think they would invest wisely? I would believe they would line the pockets of themselves and their friends. When disaster struck, with no money in the pile, they’d use debt to pay claims.

  • Cecilia

    Well said Bill, glad you are back with us.  Obviously, the Bishops are out of touch with their congregation if 98% of Catholics use birth control.

    I am going to write my Senator to stop any Republican in Congress from deleting President Obama’s compromise 
    solution.  The Republicans seem set on stoping anything 
    the president proposes regardless of the freedoms he is protecting i.e.; freedom of health care decisions. Republicans on the far right are attempting to erode essential liberties put forth in our constitution they claim to protect.

  • j brown

    “Radicals who think they are God”, Rick? Who is it in this discussion who is convinced they know the mind of God?

  • Raybradley

    Can’t see how you could have said it better. Such a renewed pleasure to listen to you again, after all these years.

  • Kathryn Riss

    Bill, this isn’t really an issue of religious freedom at all.  It is an issue of women’s rights.  Access to affordable birth control is a civil right modern women need, and men, whether religious or not, have no right to control or deny that access.  (In fact, their failure to use bc themselves is a big part of the problem, but that’s another issue . . .)

    After failing to convince the 98% of RC women who do use birth control not to, the RC church has tried to enforce its “no artificial birth control” policy by denying women employees, whether RC or not, the birth control they wish to use.  Now, it is trying to draft the US Government as an ally in its denial of women’s freedom.  

    As Americans, we must resist all such efforts and not allow oppressors to muddy the waters by claiming for themselves “religious freedom” that they would deny to others.

  • mh

    That is a great argument and one the conservative right has already used.  They argue that no one should be forced to buy health insurance.  When they are countered with the requirement of automobile insurance, they say, “no one is forcing anyone to own a car”  

  • Serpa1965

    spoken like a true fanatic,MORON!

  • Serpa1965

    AMEN,way to go! If an organization claims to be exempt from paying taxes,they also have no right to even opine about any legislation being considered by the govmnt they pay no taxes to!

  • Serpa1965

    Bill Moyers has simply said what is in the minds of the silent majority and that the republicans and the council of bishops are out of touch with reality is a gross understatement! 

  • Anonymous

    Yes! What human rights do we deny a woman as soon as she becomes pregnant? And if she prefers to retain these rights we unjustly deny, it is a further offense to force pregnancy upon her. Church denial of contraceptive privacy betrays an institutional inclination to rape. 

  • Anonymous

    If the masturbation sacrament adherent is to arrive at the beach he must probably drive, and he will need car insurance. If he starts his  
    ceremony on the way he may wreck, and then will need health insurance. I wonder if his church forces members to self-pleasure en route to the shore. A Constitution is conditional to cultural and technological circumstances.

  • Anonymous

    I have been told that Christianity and Communism are not mutually exclusive. 
    Read the Gospels and Jesus comes off Pinko.

  • Anonymous

    Worse than Sharia Law!

  • Anonymous

    What page of the Bible is the Constitution on?

  • Anonymous

    But it was so-o-o kewl, thinking about the Catholic Church helping employees get high.

  • Anonymous

    Delicious catsup!
    Thanks for writing on this blog after doing college work.
    I know you get tired of typing and reading.

  • Anonymous

    Ditto! Private Parts.

  • Anonymous

    You mean all dead babies went to Rush? That’s twisted!

  • Keboyablonsky

    Ha! This has nothing to do with contraception. This has everything to do with the state telling you what to do. Moyers continues to miss that point or ignore it for ideological purposes. If this were an edict from a conservative administration, Moyers would surely be on the other side of the issue. 

    BTW: Moyers is uninformed again about what the Catholic church believes a mortal sin is.   He should really take the time to educate himself if he is going to espouse a belief on an issue. 

  • Anonymous

    One problem, there is no god.
    So removing that, this entire law and religious argument is moot.
    Does that about sound right?
    Lay in your car dying, no 911 to save you , wreck your car, too bad. No more car insurance. You pay cash.
    Go to the hospital, in your damaged car, remember, there is no 911 service, you pay cash because there isn’t a hint of insurance. None.
    Things get a little out of hand one night at happy hour ladies, you pull a positive pregnancy test, no abortion, no contraception, luckily, you know the guy that did it. He has 3 of his own kids and just bought a new car to replace his wrecked one. Cash.
    Now he has a fourth child. See how contriception works fellows, it keeps you out of hot water, and in new cars.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read many of the comments and made one, trying to be funny, that doesn’t seem to work well with sarcasm and print or type by an amateur.
    There is no way that I will ever know all of the facts and percentages Bill discusses, but he is in a unique position; one that allows him more access to resources and time than I have or care to have, honestly.
    I think we have all been lead down the primrose path. This is a political gold mine that will be used to parlay votes at a later time. It may even be happening now, by dividing the Republicans to the point that a majority may not vote for one an in the primary.
    Maybe it will come later, or is being used to throw us off the scent of other political happenings. The payroll tax being one thing. It made the news, but not as it did last year, when it seemed like trench warfare had set in around the White House.

    There is a less sinister side that I have not seen in the news polls; female voters for President Obama before and after the fallout with the Pope.

  • Anonymous

    Aren’t the Catholic Bishops trying to limit the freedom of women to gain access to healthcare? The pill is a prescription drug. That means you have to go see your doctor to get it.  And insurance companies gladly pay for it because it’s less costly than paying for the birth of a child. 

    Perhaps some of you get your healthcare paid for as a benefit, but most of us merely are offered access to a group health plan which we then pay for.  So, those women are probably paying for the insurance policy and then denied the healthcare they most want. How is that fair?  They’re paying hundreds of dollars a month for health coverage and than can’t get a prescription drug that costs $50 a month.

    The Catholic Bishops can stand behind the force of their argument, but if women and men aren’t convinced, well, too bad. 

    It’s the Catholic church that is trying to limit people’s freedom, not the government. 

  • Jeanne Cahill

    Thank you, Bill Moyers, for the elegant simplicity of your words describing a baggage laden, contentious issue.  

  • mh

    Catholics are entitled to their opinion about abortion and birth control. I happen to disagree. That is my choice. I do not think anyone is trying to legislate forced abortions on anyone. That is freedom of religion. You have the ability to choose to have an abortion or not. When Catholic organizations refuse to pay for health insurance that may cover contraception for employees who may choose to use it, they are overstepping their bounds. It is a discussion of religious rights of a group infringing on basic human rights of an individual and in most instances in this country, the rights of the individual prevail. When a Jehovah Witness refuses to allow a lifesaving blood transfusion that would save the life of their critically ill child… how should that be dealt with?

  • mh

    What the Catholic church believes to be a mortal sin only has importance to Catholics. Under the  Constitution of the United States of America, I have the right to be free of religion if that is my choice.  When there is a conflict between the rights of a religious group and the basic human rights of an individual, in most cases, the individual prevails.  You are free to exercise your right to believe in any religion you choose so long as it doesn’t infringe upon my right to exercise my religious rights or my right not to choose religion.  In other words, if you choose not to work on Sunday, that is your choice, but you cannot force me to close my establishment on Sunday if that is not my choice.   Why is this so hard to understand?

  • mh

    Not sure exactly what your point is here.  As I stated, this was not an argument I came up with, this is one of the conservatives’ argument used to try to overturn the recent healthcare bill.  Of course it doesn’t make sense, but if they are intent on using it, then  they have to understand that the same argument can, and should, be used against the church.

  • Traveler

    I’m disturbed to hear you giving support to the idea that an institution (of any kind) can have religious freedom, which might then be violated.  I see this as just as pernicious as granting corporations freedom of speech.  Do religious institutions get raped?  Get Alzheimers?  Get physically sick at all?  Of course not.  The institution represents a group of people, not an individual person who can legitimately have an individual conscience.

    If religious groups want to take tax money to provide secular services like health care and education, then they need to obey all secular laws.  No exceptions.

  • MVK

    Seems to me what we have here is an example of some of the points made in the Jamieson/Moyers piece…  attacking the person instead of debating the policy and “labeling” the opposition , in this case,  “damning with faint praise” …  

    See:  “not to infer that Obama is a communist, but he is certainly acting like one”.
    “His goal is PROBABLY to do away with religion, altogether…” 
    (Capitalization is mine.) Well, at least it isn’t stated definitively
    that that IS his goal. 

    To begin to engage in a reasonable debate  would require that you document what you perceive as the “relentless attack on religion” and the
    “lies and deceit” with unbiased  descriptions, dates, etc.

  • PK

     I am becoming increasingly concerned about the attach on women’s rights.  I live in Virginia and there is a full out assault going on here. 

  • Kelvin Whately

    The bishops were quick to jump on this one, but that quickness was too often missing when priests were “alleged” to have been buggering boys.

  • KW

    It’s hard to make sense of your post.  Just what is the “state” government telling us to do here?  Americans are not under the rule of the Catholic bishops, although we
    are free to follow their orders if we choose to do so.  But they are not
    free to insist that we all conduct ourselves according to their beliefs.  What’s the problem with that position?  

    On mortal sin, the Catholic Church has exercised official and informal “definitions” of mortal sin (your local priest’s or nun’s take on it), and more than once officially changed its position on what constitutes mortal sin (e.g. eating meat on Fridays wasn’t, then was and then wasn’t).

  • Brahms2

    To be fair, Bill Moyers correctly cited the Guttmacher report when he said “98% of  Catholic women of child bearing age have used contraceptives” (mins 2:25-2:29 of essay).  The criticism of “The Fact Checker” as posted by Glenn Kessler from the WP blog page was toward the media and Nancy Pelosi who both claimed the study said 98% of all Catholic women used contraceptives.    This is, of course, inaccurate.   Bill Moyers’ reading of the Guttmacher research is accurate and supported here: 
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2012/feb/17/keeping-facts-straight-98-catholic-women/

  • Private Private

    My arguement is not as to whether or not the healthcare mandate is good or bad. I see pros and cons to it.

    My arguement is if any law is passed, until that law is reversed, over turned, or reformed with new legislation, it must be applied equally. So if all other employers must provide healthcare regardless of religious convictions, then so should churches who venture into commercial practices that require them to higher.

    Again, for the one hundredth time, the healthcare law is a NEW right that has been established for American workers. Agree with it or not, until something in the law changes the mandate, it must be equally supplied to ALL employees who work in America. That is what the Constitution and Bill of Rights demands.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, Moyers cited the Guttmacher report.  However, it is his responsibility to be up to speed on the invalid statistics in the report either through other media sources or by internal analysis  and not just parrot what he hears.  If readers, bloggers, Washington Post, Tampa Bay Times, etc. can figure it out is it really unreasonable to expect Moyers, PBS, White House, etc. to do the same?  I think not. 

    In any case, as I suggested above, Moyers owes his viewers a correction, as has been done by others with the notable exception of the White House and company which spit out this misinformation in the first place.

  • Private Private

    The healthcare law is a NEW right that has been established for American workers. AGREE WITH IT OR NOT, until something in the law changes the mandate, it must be equally applied to ALL employees who work in America. That is what the Constitution and Bill of Rights demands.

  • Ethan

    Hey Sam:  Are you so blind to facts as to think that a baby is part of a womans body? Did you flunk Biology? Murder is NOT a special right that women should have while pregnant. If you wish to stand up for what you perceive as women”s rights, is it so wrong for me to stand up for baby”s rights?

  • Robert Pickard

    Why should a belief receive special consideration and protection just becuase someone says it is a religious belief?
    I don’t get it. Suppose I claimed that the God I worship proclaims that  joining a union is a mortal sin. Does that idea deserve special protection?  Main line churches in the South defended slavery and, later on, segregation. Special protection and consideration for these beliefs?  Please explain why ideas that are put forth as messages from God are somehow special and set apart from the everyday flow of thought.  

  • Nel

    How has President Obama attacked religions? Please do tell us..

  • dogleg

    After reading most of the comments I can only add from my viewpoint that the church has by their actions done more to promote mortal sin than any other org. I can think of.

  • Charles Dickinson

    Many of us who preach think that the pulpit is the wrong place to discuss politics.  But every now and then religion and politics intersect in such a way as to raise a political issue to the theological level.  Specifically, Maureen Dowd and others have made us aware–again–of what she calls “Rick’s Religious Fanaticism.”  Might not a discussion of Rick Santorum’s religiously motivated reactionary position on so many political issues be a good follow-up to your essay on “Freedom of and From Religion”?
                                                         Charles Dickinson

  • http://www.stevecardwell.com mivideo

    Once again the bishops are flaunting their powerful institution to keep women subservient and second class.  Shame on them for making this some kind of constitutional crisis when it is nothing more than bullying their own flock. It’s like conservative Muslims telling us that “honor killings” or other sharia laws should be put held in special reserve, simply because it is an element of their goofy theocracy. Obama needs to emphasize keeping our government secular. Superstition and religious belief can be practiced in private but not in the public sphere.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Franklin Graham’s insult that he cannot determine if Barack Obama is a Muslim or a Christian is purely political and not religious. Franklin has lived his entire life off donations to his father’s organization, and to his Samaritan’s Purse, possible only because he was Billy Graham’s son. Franklin is a calculating operator and a mercenary solicitor of hatred. There is particular stress now that the Billy Graham evangelical empire is imploding and the brand is being forgotten. Franklin Graham will not find any funds or many friends stepping outside the ministry and so I predict a bitter end for him. The grandiose charisma of his father finds little appeal in changed times and he lacks any of his own. His free ride is ended. He pleased himself and never considered ways he might please God.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    The war on contraception is as futile as the war on drugs. It seems only to corrupt the enforcers while making forbidden things seem sweeter.

  • Perfectarc

     You seem to be taking a position that dogmatically defends the Church of Rome no matter what its errant position is at this point in time in the 21st century.

    The first prescription for the female oral contraceptive was sometime in 1960, over 50 years ago. Yet the dogmatism emanating from the Church of Rome all these years later is still promoting and promulgating bronze age antediluvian ideology that should be long ago extinct.

    The contraception debate of the 1950s has been reawakened in 2012?  Unbelievable.

    Tell me, do you also defend the actions of the church as they relocated thousands of pedophile clerics rather than subject them to the criminal justice system? Do you really think that your ecclesiastical authority is superior to those of us who live in the secular world?

    Piety, sanctimony and hubris will one day be the end of your kind and a kinder, empathic, gentler and certainly far less violent world will be the result. I hope that I live long enough to see it.

  • Anonymous

    I am not Catholic and am not defending the Catholic
    Church.  I suggest you discuss your problems with the church with your local Catholic clergy.  Ad hominem attacks do little except diminish you and your argument.  Your
    time would be better spent critiquing articles like that of Richman’s (see
    above), if you can.

    Your conclusion about my position is quite incorrect.  I strongly oppose the overreach of the Obama
    administration in a variety of areas, including this latest fiasco.  In addition to what some feel is a violation of religious freedom, the reason that so many, including myself, from believers to atheists across the religious spectrum are opposed to the latest mandate
    reflects its intrusion into individual lives by a government run wild. 
    This is why this and other mandates from the administration are being
    sued in Federal courts by numerous states and other organizations (yes,
    including religious organizations) on a variety of constitutional grounds.  It is possible that “40,000 Frenchmen” are wrong” but I would not bet on it, especially since we are fortunate that you are not sitting on the bench.

    It appears that the great constitutional professor needs a refresher course and, I suspect, that he will get it.

  • Anonymous

    I know that religions have done good works, but that does not make up for their hypocrisy and assault on women’s rights. I am so, so, tired of a body of white men declaring what is right for me from on-high. The plutocracy this country is becoming can only be assisted by the fear-mongering and culture wars of the churches. (And they need to start paying taxes as well).

  • perfectarc

     Let’s be honest, all ad hominems aside, you don’t agree with this President on any level, any decision, any policy. It doesn’t matter if he had the power or wisdom to overturn 30 years of Reaganomics, 20 years of deregulation culminating in everything from S & L  to investment bank failures and economic disaster, 30 years of foreign policy failures culminating in the failed Republican wars of the last decade …… it doesn’t matter. You will vote for anyone but a Democrat in spite of dearth evidence that you are correct.

    Not only do I want to live in a country that promotes freedom of religion, I wish to live in a country that freedom from religion.  Keep your filthy religion out of my government,

    Well, here’s an ad hominem foo you ….. you are a close minded reactionary who will cling to failure, defend it, and repeat it. Time is running out, get out of the way.

  • Anonymous

    You don’t know what I believe or don’t believe.

    Your note reveals that you are a wildeyed one and so further discussion is a waste of my time.

  • perfectarc

     Bullshit. You’re a close-minded, pants  wearing  sanctimonious chruch lady.

  • perfectarc

    From  http://www.catholic-truth.info/apologetics/birthcontrol.htm

    Quote:

    Why is the Catholic Church against birth control?

    The Catholic Church is not against controlling the number of births by
    natural means, such as Natural Family Planning or abstenence. What the
    Church is against is artificial means of controlling
    births, such as drugs or devices that prevent conception. The use of
    such things to deliberatly frustrate the normal effects of sexual
    intercourse is a very grave sin against the law of God because its
    ultimate implication is the destruction of the human race.

  • perfectarc

     Do you remember the Terri Shiavo affair from a few years ago?

    In 1990, she suffered massive brain damage due to  oxygen deprevation and, after two and a half months in a coma her diagnosis was elevated to a vegetative state. For the next few years doctors attempted physical therapy and other experimental therapy, hoping to return her to a state of awareness but sadly every attempt to rehabilitate her failed.

    Do you remember what her husband had to endure as crazy orthodox christian groups assembled outside led by Fr Frank Pavone.  Our pious President Bush at the time flew from Texas to DC (at the taxpayers expense) to sign a bill hastily drafted by Congress to prevent feeding tubes from being removed from schiavo.

    What a country. Religion …… is a divisive, evil force. And this Frank Pavone is a frocked meddling lunatic.

  • Anonymous

     The church is meddling in politics. Tax it
    .

  • Patricia Wheeler

    Why 11:00 PM.  I finally ended up recording your program and watching it later on.  Not as acceptable as commenting with my husband as we watch it together.  Go back to 9;00 PM Sunday.

  • Wheelerartglass

    Start giving some time to Americans Elect.  This is a fantastic way to pursue national elections

  • KateK

    Catholic institutions also employ non-Catholics.  Those employees should be able to get the health care they want and need.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XLV7IS6WADGTVFIGQGSZZUYQQM z

    If we exempt the non-religious activities of religion (i.e., a hospital) from this law what keeps anyone or any business claiming they are a religion and exempting themselves
    from every law, such as those involving discrimination, safety, or financial?

  • Deborah Ullman

    Thank you for re-emerging to lead the important dialogues that include faith and reason … ‘walking through the park like an old married couple’.  
    Re omnipresence, eternity and omniscience, in conversation with the poet Christian Winan – I suggest process theologian Catherine Keller as a brilliant, articulate (and amusing!) guest for you. She has written on omnipotentiality as the panentheistic shift in which God is in us, and we are in God – therefore, we carry a response ability to be proactive in addressing the world’s ills!

  • Private Private

    Science and medicine are amazing things. Especially when we realize we were wrong about what we thought was right. The whole “vegatative state” concept is flawed. Just because modern science and medicine has not developed a way to communicate with severe brain trama patients does not mean that brain is entirely gone. Just because the brain is not showing any activity at the time of a scan does not mean the brain is incapable of activity in the future or under the right conditions.

    If you disagree, go and google the case in Australia where a wife gave high doses of Ambien to he “vegatative state” husband and he literally could read and write and talk again.

    The MURDER of Terry Shiavo was done in hast and on many assumption that the doctors could not prove.

    Additionally, Shiavo could breath on her own. It was simply that she could not feed herself. By that test people who are born with severe handicaps and cannot feed themselves should be allowed to die by neglecting to feed them. Her body still was digesting food and keeping her breathing. just because the brain trama left her incapable of feeding herself was not a cause to neglect a living human being by denying her the right to food. Its not like she was on a hospital bed where the only thing keeping her breathing was a machine, and she had no brain activity.

    Face it. Mr. Shiavo MUDERED his wife because they were unlucky in what happened to her, and the continued care for her with the disabilities was simply INCONVIENENT.

  • Private Private

    You are aware that the Catholic Church use to be for:

    Murdering those who will not convert from Islam to Christianity

    Slavery

    The use of cocaine as a medicine

    Segregation

    Crucification

    burning of literature contrary to their own ideals

    I can go on and on. The point is the church has constantly adapted to make itself relavant to the ever changing societies of the world.

    At times the changes seem to come at awfully convienent times for the church, but we’ll just call it coincidence.

    I suppose it’s time for the church to pull up to the bar and order up another shot of “pride” and swallow it whole. The will either adapt or lose relivance to modern society. I bet in a 100 years they will not being saying the same thing about birth control and contraceptives. Artificial or Natural.

  • Private Private

    WoW, Just WOW.

    First you ad hominem Moyers, then you straw man “perfectarc” with circular reasoning

    This entire post is not about moyers citing a study. But you saw fit to attack his ethos for not taking “responsibilty” and giving a “correction”

    Then you straw man perfectarc by acting like it was him that started the ad hominem, and then deconstruct him on that false premise.

    Your circular reasoning is, “My attack on your ethos is valid and credible becuase you attacked my ethos and discredited yourself”

    Additionally, your post as to Moyers inccorect citing of the Guttmater is not valid. Moyers was indeed correct as was shown by the previous posters link to politifact. Thus if you go read that article and read the associated links on the politifact site, you would realize its your argument on Moyers that is invalid and is the true source of your discredidation.

  • Ldoshane

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act is not a RIGHT.  Where does it say in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that the government/taxpayers should pay for my birth control?  That should really be the starting point of the argument.

  • Ldoshane

    Can you please apply your logic to this — If am a Catholic, tax paying citizen of this country and I believe abortion is immoral, why should one cent of the money I pay for taxes be spent on providing  an abortion to another citizen?

  • Ldoshane

    The U.S. government (aka the taxpayers) should not be paying for any citizen’s birth control or healthcare for that matter.  Do I think it’s silly that the Catholic church believes that birth control is immoral?  Yes!  Whether I personally think it’s silly or not should have no bearing on the issue though.

  • Ldoshane

    NO ONE is opposing a person’s freedom to use birth control.  Why do you have the right to take money away from me to pay for your birth control or your abortion?  You do NOT have that “right”.  I think it’s silly that the Catholic church does not believe in birth control, but the church is not stating that they believe people in this country should not have the freedom of using birth control.  American citizens have the freedom to purchase birth control.  They do not have the “RIGHT” to have it paid for by the government.  Whether 98% of Catholics use birth control is completely irrelevant to the conversation.

  • Ldoshane

    Can someone please explain to me how “freedom of health care decisions” applies to this argument?  Cecilia, if you’re asking me to pay for your birth control or abortion then you are robbing me of my essential liberties.  Where does it say in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that you are allowed to do this?

  • Ldoshane

    I live in NH.  The state government in NH does not require its citizens to purchase automobile insurance.  We take that “Live Free or Die” thing very seriously!  MH – I am a Conservative with Libertarian leanings.  I do not believe the gov’t should force us to purchase automobile insurance and I agree… no one is forcing anyone to own a car.  And to get back to the issue… no one should force me (or the Catholic church) to pay for any other citizens birth control or abortion whether directly or indirectly.

  • colion

    Your characterization of my note to Moyers as
    ad hominem is by definition incorrect as is the circular reasoning stuff.

     

    As for 98% business, I did not claim that
    Moyers incorrectly cited Guttmater, etc. but that he has the responsibility to
    double check his facts.  This was
    obviously not done and at this point he has the obligation, in my opinion, as a
    reporter to set the record straight.  This
    is a reasonable standard that we should expect.

     

    Given your passion for this subject, I am
    sorry to see that you do not have a meaningful rebuttal worthy or discussion.

  • Timesarrow

    Please save us from this and cool it.

  • Robert Pickard

    Why? This is a representative democracy. Not all of us approve of all of the purposes that our taxes are used to support. We pick and choose our representatives and it is up to them to allocate our taxes. Thats the way a reprsentative democracy works. 

  • Ldoshane

    Mr. Pickard –  I agree that not all of us approve of all the purposes that our taxes are used to support, but I’m talking about the separation of church and state.  I hate to even use the term because so few Americans understand the concept but it’s constantly being used by people in arguments to forward their agenda.  Let’s face facts… many Americans think “separation of church and state” is part of the Constitution or Bill of Rights. 

    If our gov’t decides that Muslims should be required to eat pork because it is in their best interest and the best interest of our country, then in your opinion should Muslims be required to eat pork?  I mean, after all, most Americans eat pork don’t they?  What if the gov’t decides that pork should be served at all mosques.  Pork, the other white meat, is good for you!  Should Muslim Americans tolerate this?  Should the Muslim religion in America be required to ensure that the eating of pork takes place at their religious gatherings AND pay for the pork too?

    I thought that America was a constitutional republic and that our representatives are elected in a democratic fashion.  Also, can you please tell me where it says in our Constitution or Bill of Rights that I should be paying for another citizen’s birth control or abortion?  Or is the Constitution and Bill of Rights only to be cited when it fits a specific agenda?

  • Ozark Commonsense

    Thank you for a wee bit of common sense. After being a Republican for over 70 years and elected office holder for 20, I am sorry to say the GOP has left me and so many others, the party of Lincoln has been taken over by a narrow minded minority. With no separation os State and Religion, there is very little difference between preachers and dictators.

  • Tally

    It is not a Democrat or Republican issue.  It is a a Constitutional one that has several dimensions.  One that applies to the Obama “compromise” is where in the Constitution is the government given the right to tell a private company to provide free merchandise or services?  If the courts uphold the “compromise” it is time for a constitutional amendment, civil war or move to another country.

  • An editor

    You mean “editor-in-chief,” lol. Editors mean no harm; they are guardians of  our written language and, just as people can’t help but make mistakes, they cannot help themselves from correcting them.

  • Private Private

    Ok. You are wrong.

    What is a law?

    There is no constitutional right to not be struck by another.

    However, if you are stuck by another and file a report, the offender is charged.

    Therefore, the function of the law is the right to not be stuck by another.

    Now lets apply this to the healthcare bill.

    If your employer refuses to offer healthcare that conforms to the federal law that mandates this action, you have the right to report the employer who will face penalties for not conforming to the law.

    Just like an offender how does not conform to a law and stikes another, the employer is bound by the law.

    The function of the healthcare law ends up being a right to be offered healthcare by your employer.

  • Private Private

    Allow me to help here.

    A) You might do well to read up on “Avoiding Fallacies in argument.”

    Your analogy with Muslims was a Straw Man fallacy.

    B) It might help if you distinguish between direct and indirect action here.

    If the government makes a law that says all people no matter the religion must eat pork for health benefits, that would be a direct requirement.

    In other words, Muslims would be directly forced to violate their religious beliefs.

    When applying this to taxes and allocation of the taxes this same logic falls short.

    Your only required action is to pay a tax. You are not taxed for any specific agenda or fund. You are taxed so the government has income and can pay back debt.

    Once you pay your tax the money, function wise, is no longer yours directly.

    So if that money is allocated towards contraception it is the government paying it not you. You are not being directly forced to pay for anything.

    Now if you do not like what the government does with its own bank account and you believe you should have a say because you pay taxes that is a valid point. But your religion does not give you more say than any other American. This leaves you with the right to vote like all other Americans to change how our representatives spend the governments money.

    Hope this helps

  • Private Private

    The government does not pay for BC or healthcare other than medicaid and medicare.

    As far as employer based system it is employers that pay, and now with the new law from Obama, insurance companies pay.

    I would suppose then you happy with where we are at with healthcare, to some extent at least.

  • Private Private

    Wrong

    Ad hominem is an attack on the person.

    The intent of your post about what you perceived was an incorrect quote, and then the subsequent lack of a correction was meant to ad hominem Moyers.

    You may know fancy argument rhetoric but that does not validate or add authority to your opinion.

  • Private Private

    Whos taking money from who to pay for BC?

    Cause there is no specific tax for BC that I know of.

    And other than services for unemployed and low income families noone is getting healthcare with tax money. And the healthcare the less fortunate are getting is general healthcare not specific to family planning but family practice.

    So whats the gripe?

  • Anonymous

    Your description of ad hominem below  as “an attack on the person” is incorrect because it is incomplete.  An attack per se is not ad hominem UNLESS it is an attempt to distort the reality or truth of the situation which is why it is referred to in Philosophy 101 as a “logical fallacy.”  Consequently, my comment to Moyers is not an ad hominem attack. 

    You continue to post from the wildside which is a waste of time, as implied by Tally, rather than address the issues.  So, from here on notifications will be turned off and you will have to play this game by yourself.

  • Livecheapmakeart

    If the church wants to be so deeply involved in partisan politics let’s take away their tax exempt status.

  • Anonymous

    That’s simple. I am a peace loving American and believe war is immoral. Why should one cent of the money I pay in taxes be spent on war?  I believe everyone should live like the Amish. Why should one cent of my tax $ be spent on paving roads, subsidizing the oil industry, etc., etc.  We can rationalize anything…..and wrap it in “belief”. 

  • Anonymous

    Good grief! There is nothing in this bill that requires people to use contraception, or have abortions…..apples & oranges here.  Ignorance abounds.

  • Anonymous

    Good grief! There is nothing in this bill that requires people to use contraception, or have abortions…..apples & oranges here.  Ignorance abounds.

  • Anonymous

    $$$750 million dollars, that’s what Catholics get every year for social ‘good’ works. 
     Amount of attention spent on getting pedophile priests out of parishes–far too little too late.  

    Amount of credibility the RC bishops have? Zero.  Percent of Catholics who use birth control: 98%  ”religious freedom” those words coming out of the bishops’ and John Boehneur’s mouth, etc. etc. ad nauseam, misrepresents the meaning and intent of that term in our founding documents.  It is supposed to protect the individual from any large and dominant institution.  Don’t let the bishops or the bonehead politicians get away with this power grab.  They have NO right to set policy and sound so holy and righteous.  Let them make amends for all the thousands of children they’ve molested over the 2 millennia of their existence. 

  • Anonymous

    when you work for an outlying Catholic organization, you pay part of your insurance costs and you pay co-pays.   That’s your money and your legal benefits.  It’s not RC Church’s money at that point.  You earned it.  This is like telling you you can’t spend your money on your own healthcare. 

  • Anonymous

    AND at first birth control only could go to married women…

  • Anonymous

    are you kidding?? talk to local Catholic clergy?  They are as oppressed by the Bishops as they want the rest of America to be.  Get a grip.  I’m a chaplain.  These brave priests are trying to hold local parishes together and restore people’s confidence in a bishop-ridden, pedophile-enabling hierarchy. 

  • Robin

    Perhaps those mostly unmarried and childless priests should adopt an unwanted child – or several – before arguing  against contraception.   

  • http://www.facebook.com/rick.kappra Rick Capodicasa Kappra

    The last thing we want is priests children being turned over to priests.  I’m sorry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rick.kappra Rick Capodicasa Kappra

    Good points.  My religion preaches that war is wrong.  In fact my God told me personally that killing of any sort is prohibited and is an abomination.  Therefore, I do not support my tax dollars being used to fund our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria and soon, Iran.  How do I get the IRS to honor my religious beliefs?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rick.kappra Rick Capodicasa Kappra

    I am morally opposed to my tax dollars being used to kill innocent men, women and children.  What about my rights?

  • Leighm

    Thank God (and I am open to whatever this means to you) I am Canadian.

  • Straydogis

    The destruction of the human race will come more from 7 billion of us living in a finite ecosystem that is already running short on the resources to sustain this growth, not from contraception. If anything, contraception is vitally needed worldwide and shouldn’t even be in debate anymore.

  • Nancy4012

    Do you remember that her mom and dad fought to keep her alive and wanted to take care of her. It wasn’t just about politics and president bush! And you want to talk about a president flying all over the place on our dime…add up the first family’s vacations (dog included) you are paying for!! I want a pair of your rose colored glasses!!

  • Judy Fester

    My first child was born before the advent of oral contraception, my second 15 months later.  I did not even know what contraception was.  After spending a lifetime raising these two plus another born 14 years later, I have decided it was a terrible waste of my time and money.  I would have been better to have loving pets.  For all those poor unfortunate women who have gotten “knocked up” and have to raise babies by themselves, I say my heart goes out to you.
    I have been there.

  • http://www.stevecardwell.com mivideo

     You are so correct. Humanity has overpopulated for decades and squandered the resources–as is so obvious from global climate change. Again, it is religion that prevents making the hard choices. When you believe that  “God will provide” you no longer need to make long term plans. Consequently no decisions will be made until the oceans are lapping at our feet.

  • Anonymous

    In that great battle for life against all odds a single topple, sperm, fights against the greatest enemy of life which is the superiority of life already attained that has taken the high ground of superior morality and status gained.  Defenseless life fights mightily before the high and mighty overrule their perceived inferior new being not of theirs.  The high and mighty could of course give that simple life a lift but when it counts they might not be running for office and it is far too academic to ever reach down to the street level to offer real hope and life.  So people agonize alone and some life lives and is deemed innocent in God’s grand scheme but is very unlikely to convince the high and mighty to feel the pain the poor go through and turn the rhetoric to making the world a better place to bring life to and an appropriate number insured from start to finish by real respect for life.

  • Mpgarr59

    As usual, a well stated, rational and reasonable position that I am sure most thoughtful people would agree with

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-Gee/100001490487577 Sue Gee

    There is no way that the insurance carriers will pick up the tab for this added coverage.  It will be included in the premium charged to the employer at renewal of the  healthcare policy.  Also, when the employer is self-insured there is no insurance company; care is funded by the employer.  Many large employers are self-insured.  Not sure how Obama’s compromise would keep the employer for paying for these services.  I don’t think Obama really actually “compromised”.  If these large companies are going to do business in the larger world and employee people who are not of their religion, they need to abide by the same laws as their competitors.  

  • Anonymous

    Democracy is difficult, but it is also dangerous. 
       The greatest danger is ignorance.  Fear and misunderstanding partner with ignorance to bring crisis, as we see today in our disfunctional governance.
       We should remind ourselves that democracy does not and cannot exist without Compromise.   To say no compromise is to embrace dictatorship.
       We are a democracy not a theocracy.  Our practice of religion, whichever we choose, must not abridge the rights of others.  The right of a woman to practice contraception should not be abridged by any religion.
       For one religion to demand the right to abridge the right of another citizen would make us more like Iran than the USA.

  • Anonymous

    Back in ’68 my fav teacher was a lifelong Republican.  He joined in fighting WWII long before Pearl Harbor and was eventually knighted by the Queen of England for his WWII service.
       In ’68 the John Birch Society took over the Republican Party in parts of Texas and he related that while he was a member of the Grand Old Party he hadn’t voted for a Republican President since 1940, Wendle Wilke.

  • Private Private

    I am on the same side of this debate as you. however, I hope you and others will remain open to the idea that somethings should not be compromised with. Like legalizing murder or slavery. Just the same legalizing any injustice should not be accepted by any self stated moral society. It is an injustice that anyone not working for a catholic business would get coverage of contraception but anyone working for a catholic entity must abandon their beliefs at the door in order to obtain and maintain employment.

    Just the like, should one be allowed to use religious freedom to stiffle anothers right to free speech, or 4th or 5th amendment? Where does this, “I do not have to follow laws because they violate my religious views” thing end?

  • Private Private

    What exactly do you believe is rational and reasonable about the abuse of religion to circumvent the rights of US workers? Like a child that makes such a scene in the grocery store for a peice of candy. True your indulgance of giving him the candy now shuts him up and it seems all parties are happy; but what happens the next time the child is in the grocery store? Giving up constitutional rights and equal rights in order to silence the screaming gains us nothing in the end but a temporary moment of illusionary peace.

  • Private Private

    I am morally opposed to my tax dollars going to defend your right to freedom of speech. In fact my religious views demand this. What about my rights?

  • Katynana2

    Any instution that is providing health insurance for employees,  should be treated as a business, NOT a religion. You can’t have it both ways, fellas!

  • Anne

    Love the discussion. The path to understanding each other is sometimes difficult and it begins with respect and listening. Thank you for the voice of reason.
    Anne

  • Guest

    There is no constitutional right not to be struck by another.

    I doubt that any court would agree with you on the grounds that the 5th Amendment gives everybody protection to “life, liberty and property.”  Consequently, being struck by another violates the 5th Amendment and all derived laws.  

    All laws have to track back to the Constitution or eventually are tested in court where they are deemed unconstitutional and taken off the books.

  • Guest

    Forgot the “”

    “There is not contitutional right not to be struck by another.”

  • Guest

    The Kaiser Family Foundation publishes their polls on health related issues that you might find interesting: http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/8281.cfm

  • JonStrick

    wonders if there is a transcript of this “essay” anywhere.

  • http://www.billmoyers.com/ AnneLBS
  • Guest

    How do you define “right”? 

    Also, if everybody has the right to health care who is responsible for providing this “right”?  The government?  Who is the government?

    The only rights that we have are those provided by the Constitiution.  These rights are the protection of natural liberties from any person or state who attempts to take these liberties (i.e., life, liberty and pursuit of happiness).  If that is not correct in your view then tell us what what you think our rights are as defined by the Bill of Rights and how they justify Obamacare.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Rick- What we need is a system where each taxpayer designates the uses of their levy. I’d put most of  mine in SNAP and unemployment checks, with a little left for contraception.

  • Anonymous

    How about a general strike on religion this Easter.

    Take Sunday off and watch some golf on the idiot box.
    That’ll fix ‘em.

  • Set271

    Really, did ya not think catholic morals would be honored within a catholic organization, business or otherwise. I mean, I’m not very religious myself but I can respect the catholic church for trying to stand its’ ground in this anti-theological world we live in. When I go to work for a business, after day one I now what’s what and it is my right to quit or suck it up, keep my mouth shut and do the job I’m paid for. If they didn’t like the level of health benefits from day one or, surprise surprise, a christian entity didn’t want to support any form of birth control and change its’ coverage. Not really outside the box of possibilities, is it. The catholic church has done some shameful things in the past but that doesn’t mean it should give up on other morals. The church has been under attack since it was formed, two thousand years ago, from the other two mainstream religions. Especially from the very beginning. Now, its’ own parishioners want what they want, without any consequences. I guess Hollywood and mass media are doing their job, destroying an American cornerstone. Morality be damned.

  • Private Private

    ‘SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGHHHHHH’

    Yeah you “suck it up” when you are made to work more than 40 hours a week and your not paid the federally mandated time and a half over time riiiight…? And you suck it up when you injure yourself at work and do not get the federally mandated workers comp insurance riiiight…?

    Your entire workday is structured by numberous federal and state laws that protect you at work and grant certain base level of compensation for the work done. Like a base level of pay, i.e., minimum wage. You might make more than it but you cannot make less than it. It is a base level gaurantee of compensation.

    This law for health coverage is establishing a new precedent for base level compensation for labor. Its not about being happy with a jobs benefits, its about all jobs having a specific level of compensation for all workers. All laws are required by the constitution to be evenly and equally applied. The catholic businesses are hiding behind the banner of religion to try and escape the base level of compensation of benefits for American workers. They have to follow the minimum wage law for compensation. And so should they have to follow the health coverage laws for workers; the same laws that all other companies have to follow, regardless of what religion the owners and shareholders might be.

  • Curiouskas

    For the same reason that I believe it immoral for my tax dollars to subsidize religiously biased laws that prevent employment, marriage, and income tax equality across our nation (DOMA, ENDA, etc.) even though I am a gay man whose church supports such equality.  Since when does your religion, which has worked very hard to deny me and my family equal protection under the laws, have the right to trump my religion. . . and receive federal and state funds that are funneled in to such campaigns (see Prop 8 for an example).

    Ultimately, we don’t get to control where our tax dollars go, but we hope that the majority goes to causes and works that support our belief system.  If not, then I guess this is the price of compromise in a secular society that can’t possibly accommodate everyone’s personal agendas and belief systems.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HumaneWisdom Deb Likes-Schroer

    Ideas came to me while watching this amazing story.  What if we were to create a force of people like Occupy Wall St. (or even motivate that group to help) create an army of people that show up at the polling stations when these politicians are asking for your vote and give them a list of how they voted and who influenced them?  These politicians that are asking to be put back into office helped to create this horrendous collapse of the American Dream,  and  I think if we were to see how their votes continue to create this problem (by allowing lobbyists to buy their votes) and we can put them all out of office and keep the politicians such as Dorgan (whose voice was drowned out from exuberance, wasn’t that the term used to describe criminal activity?) by seeing a record of their votes record AND which lobbyist helped them make that decision????  It would take an army of people to occupy those polling stations to distribute the material that people can read while contemplating a vote for or against.  Call me naive, but Knowledge is Power.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HumaneWisdom Deb Likes-Schroer

    I would be willing to volunteer to be one of those standing with a flyer to show you how your Congressman/woman voted for or against our Democracy!

  • Set271

     You’re just not getting it. What is so hard about a christian organization having morals and ideals. If you don’t like their morals and ideals you shouldn’t have gotten a job working for them. Or, is it the fact that said persons wanted to attack the christian organizations morals and ideals from the inside? It’s happened before. People just can’t let other religions exist just because they don’t agree on this or that. Sounds a little childish and radical to me.

  • Private Private

    You are the one I believe is missing the point.
     
    Do we now yield laws that are meant to protect to religious views, or do religious view yeild to laws meant to protect. This is the fundimental question on the table.
     
    If we establish a precident that religion is a sufficient reason to not grant a certain right or protection to workers then where does this potential line of action lead?
     
    Could it be ok to have 10 year olds doing manual labor for 10 cents a day as long as the religious views of the employer grant it as acceptible?
     
    Once we begin to say the religious views of employers are relevant to what laws they have to abide by we begin to create a dangerous loophole that, over time, could not only unravel worker protections and rights, but could also call into question what laws a citizen should have to follow.
     
    Are we to now allow public cannings of children because a religious practice says thats how to handle child insubordinance?
     
    Are we to allow the stoning of citizens who are found unwanting as some religions use to do?
     
    Thats why many of these religions do not practice these actions anymore, LAWs were passed that prevented them and regardless of religious rights, they were forced to abide.
     
    Now we have employment laws that protect workers from insufficent compensation by employers. Employers must provide COMPREHENSIVE insurance that includes all forms of family planning solutions. Do we regress and undo all that has come before? Do we yield and subject the rights of workers to the views of an employer?

  • Set271

     Wow, people say I have issues. You’re under the impression that life is fair and equitable and everyone should get exactly what they want. Insert the cliche response here. To re-re-iterate my point…If a christian organization builds and runs a…say, a hospital, and doesn’t offer certain services to the public or certain health benefits to it’s employees, I believe said organization has every right to(not)do so. Perhaps a great big cross on the front of the building isn’t enough to indicate to these people, walking in for service or a job interview, that they’re going to be against abortion and certain health benefits. That’s one reason why the Vatican has a wall around it. To keep marauding infidels from taking over the church. If all religions left all other religions alone there would be no conflict, but I refer you to the previous cliche.

    So, quit putting cruel euphemisms onto the modern christian community. Christians have learned from their predecessors mistakes and still are. The other two major religions are still killing each other and their morals are even more oppressive by comparison. I was raised catholic and have grown away from the church but I can still respect it’s teachings. Jesus simply wanted everyone to get along without killing(one another).

  • Guest

    Everything comes down to constitutionality.  As far as the First Amendment aspects of this issue (protection regardign establishment and exercise of religion),  the fundamental question is whether or not the Constitution applies to individuals, corporations, or both.  Period.  In short, is the mandate constitutional or is it not.  Forget about making it more complex than that as all other laws and regulations must conform to that standard. 

    If Obamacare survives the SCOTUS case or nullification by numerous states, perhaps the courts will have to decide this matter and other constitutional problems with all of the various versions of the contraceptive mandate. 

    As an aside, as others have suggested, this matter and virtually everything else that is going on now in the administration is just part of the re-election strategy.

  • Private Private

    To Guest:

    I think it goes further. Its more about is freedom of religion absolute. We can agree that to some extent murder, assualt, rape, theft, fruad, regardless of religious beliefs are not protected by the 1st amendment. So how about employment practices? Is it fair to protect workers from insufficent exploitative compensation with health benefits and minimum wage, much as we protect citizens from other acts of potential harm from external sources?

    Set271:

    My father use to say, “life isn’t fair,” and I would reply, “that does not mean we do not have the obligation to make it as fair as possible.”

    I get your point about a church or religious organization wanting to build a hospital and offer “approved” services and benefits to patients and employees.

    My point is really to the idea that once an entity begins a non religious action, like hiring works as opposed to using volunteers, these activities are subject to certain protection for workers.

    The church still has to pay a minimum wage and has to give healthcare, and has to provide a safe enviroment that is compatible with secular standards. Yet no one has taken issue with these protections or measure placed on all employers including religious employers.

    It just feels like some wants cake and to eat it too.

  • Guest

    PP, you just don’t get it and resort to endless handwaving.  This minature space for a reply does not permit a reply.  So, just answer the question does the First Amendment apply to corporations.  Until that is settled the rest is handwaving.

  • Private Private

    Disagreeing or not understanding does not equate to handwaving.

    But no I do not think the constitution can apply to a nebulus abstract concept, ie, a corporation. The constitution is a list of INDIVIDUAL rights not collective rights. So the individuals that make up a group have the rights not the made up entity called the company.

  • Private Private

    lol.

    The context for a right that i am using here is a right is something that is gauranteed by law.

    The healthcare bill makes certain gaurantees and places mandates on certain entities to ensure these gaurantees are met. Hence it is a right as it is writen into law and ratiffied by congress law.

    So it may upset some, but this currently is a right to all workers to get comprehensive healthcare coverage.

    Laws are instuments of governments that have traditionally been held with a responsibility to be applied to all equally.

    Allowing the Catholic Church an exception is not equal application. The church is under no law, mandate, or any other forcible mechanism to employ anyone. If they do not agree with workers rights granted by the US Gov to the workers, the church can stop employing or observe the rights of the US workers in this country.

    Savvy?

  • Guest

    Wrong.  Our rights are defined by the the Bill of Rights and all laws must be consistent with those rights.  Laws do not guarantee 0ur consitutional rights.  You will find out in June if Obamacare is in violation of our rights.

  • Guest

    Your view regarding the
    standing of corporations is at odds with SCOTUS which ruled that artificial
    entities have constitutional rights.  Consequently,
    to get things to agree with your view a constitutional amendment will be needed
    that says aritificial entities are not individuals. Until then SCOTUS says that
    they are right up there with you and me. You may not like it but in that case
    the only thing you can do is continue grousing or support movements that are
    pushing for an amendment that will reverse the SCOTUS ruling.

     P.S. – hand waving is not a question
    of agreeing or disagreeing but rather throwing up a fog in order to impress,
    evade the issue, etc.

  • Patricia”Trish” Murdock Miller

    You don’t get it, Set271. These Catholic organizations that we’re talking about are hospitals, colleges and universities that employ hundreds of thousands of employees…and only a few are of the Catholic religion. For example, I am a female university professor at a Catholic university, I’m not Catholic and I do not find any legitimate reason that my Catholic employer (a large corporation-like institution) has the right to deny my health care benefits because of the Catholic Churches religious beliefs. My university doesn’t either: they cover any and all contraceptives and related women’s health care. The Catholic Church in a liberal environment such as an university respects and accepts religious differences. In fact, the university encourages diversity in thought, opinions and political views.
    It seems the only group in this controversy that doesn’t foster diversity is the Republican Party and fundamentalist religions. 

  • Set271

     I DON’T represent any party. But, forty years ago you didn’t have what you got now. Boy, if it isn’t the conservatives wanting more and more power, it’s the liberals wanting more and more stuff they figure they shouldn’t have to pay for. Thousands of years women didn’t need contraceptives until they were convinced by the industry that they needed them. It’s a real shame businesses not in the health care industry have to pay for something they hadn’t paid for for hundreds of years. Mother nature gave you the plumbing to take care of and use properly and healthfully, If you refuse to use it the way your supposed to, then the human race is doomed. To much of the human genome has been wasted because women gotta have their career. Population only grows if you make it grow and for too long people have gotten away from real family values, letting other people convince them that this is the way you should live. Fifty years ago families were big, averaging way more than the one point something number of children sized family these days. That one certain group telling everyone, through the boob tube, don’t have children unless you can give them a better life than yours. So, yes, having things the way they are I don’t believe I, let alone the Church(as an organization) should have to pay into a fund that proliferates a vain, inconsiderate lifestyle that really only drains from the most important values of human life.

  • Private Private

    Populations on Earth are reaching maximum capacity for the earth to carry. In America we are running out of land, resources, and fiat currency(money to go around).

    The Catholic practice of a virtual Force Childbearance is incongruent with modern knowledge of current population growth statistics that show we are growing faster than industry and the earths renewable resources can sustain. So before we become China and have the “evil” governement you are so suspicious of start force abortions, why don’t we use some common sense and let those that want to prevent and stop pregnancies do so. This way we protect, for a much longer time, the rights of those who choose not to interupt the “natural” process you speak of.

  • Set271

     
    Dude, really? Ask any Biologist worth
    their PHD about stagnant genomes. Any biological entity must grow to
    survive, there is no middle ground. Any stagnation leads to all
    manners of degradation of the genome. Biology is about evolution and
    growth. The human race is but a flea which nature could squash if it
    itches. The planet has been here for billions of years, life has been
    evolving here for billions of years, our sapiate life form has been
    around for a few million years…modern man so much less so. I think
    if we were a real threat the Earth would have gotten rid of us by
    now. Population growth isn’t a problem which the Earth couldn’t cope
    with. As a matter of fact that is what nature is all about. The land
    mass that we could populate in its entirety is about 30 percent of
    the entire planet. And we don’t populate every square mile. We could
    populate the seas with the right tech but we don’t. Depopulation is
    the new scare-tactic/buzzword coming out of the tree-huggers/global
    warming camp. It’s been politically correct lately to care about such
    things. Especially since the political-campaign-industry embrace it
    because of its inane popularity. Get control of our resources back
    from corporate hands and back into the hands of the public domain.
    Yes the earth is warming up and CO2 numbers have gone with it but,
    the earth has encountered high CO2 levels in its past. Our machines
    aren’t going to make any real dent in the entire history of the
    Earth, the future included. It’s in the fossil record and I believe
    it was more than once. And at least one of those caused a mass
    extinction of like 98 percent of all life. Life bounced back. So the
    Earth knows how to take care of itself. Will we be ready? Maybe. But
    we evolved because of, not for, a reason. Just accept the Universe
    for what it is…a growth medium, allowing natural selection and
    favorable mutations to get us there. Populate!

  • Anonymous

    The word “atheism” enfolds the concept of “God”.   I think that atheists, rather than disbelieving in God, have no need for God.  But, for some reason, most of us do.  Why?  Is it epigenetic — something we ate?

  • Zurlauben

    Please keep it up.

  • Catville

    Interesting take, PP.  Would you like to be kept alive with a PEG tube in your gut?  Would you like to exist for 15+ years in Terri Schiavo’s condition?  I sincerely hope that, if such happens to me, no one will “love” me enough to keep my existence going indefinitely.

  • Don B

    What reasonable, practical and equitable solution did Obama present??  All I remember is the phony double talk  he presented and called it a solution but, in fact, offered nothing at all.

    The Churches still refuse to accept Obama’s anti-Christian policy and are ready to fight it out in court where Obama is guaranteed to lose.

  • Private Private

    No room to type.

    Just going to say this.

    If over population is not a problem then exactly how many die world wide do to starvation?

    The problem is not land to populate.  ITS LAND TO FARM. Were are running out of arible land.

  • Anonymous

    The majority of American People are religious people and therefore would not impose thier beliefs on any one. What is happening now is that an immoral minority is forcing religious people to pay for immoral actions and that is why I recommend that the Majority claim thier right to vote and to not be ignored by taking the following actionREPLACE PUBLIC OPINION POLLS
    Americans can cast their vote on any issue through the Social Security Department where everyone is already registered. Our Government would know exactly what WE want and not have to rely on opinion polls. We should vote on any issue which affects our Rights listed in THE BILL OF RIGHTS or AMENDMENT 14. Ask your Government Representatives to sponsor a Bill or an Amendment to allow us to protect our rights by casting our vote. Thanks, Joseph Elliott

  • Anonymous

    I like this, but, Bill Moyers, I’m not at all happy with your analysis of the Colorado incident and your opinions about gun control.

  • Sylvia

    Thank you so much for telling it like it is.  You are one of the few that does that and I for one think you are fantastic.

  • Anonymous

    It strikes me as odd that the Religious ‘Right’ in America are perpetually enraged about women’s reproductive health services and equal rights for LGBT citizens; neither of which are mentioned in the 10 Commandments that allegedly guide their faith. Yet adultery, featured prominently in their commandments, is well tolerated on a daily basis. No call for the criminality of adultery. No call for adulterers to lose their rights. No marches. No bombings at the offices of divorce lawyers (etc)

    You’d think more people would find that dynamic rather telling.

  • Bill

    The Holy Father said an incredible thing in his homily on Christmas Eve:

    “Monotheism, belief in one God, is said to be arrogance, a cause of intolerance, because by its nature, with its claim to possess the sole truth, it seeks to impose itself on everyone. Now it is true that in the course of history, monotheism has served as a pretext for intolerance and violence. It is true that religion can become corrupted and hence opposed to its deepest essence, when people think they have to take God’s cause into their own hands, making God into their private property. We must be on the lookout for these distortions of the sacred”

    In fact the entire homily sounded more like the “Nuns on the Bus” than “God’s Rottweiler.” Do you think he is having a change of heart on issues such as contraception and even abortion?

  • Anonymous

    The Constitution is very clear and commands “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States” and there is to be “no law respecting an establishment of religion,” so what in those two commandments is unclear? FYI: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb7SbUWw9dM .

  • stevArmstrong

    The WSJ headline today: The Obama
    administration on Friday outlined options for letting religious
    universities, hospitals and charities opt out of the contraception
    requirements in the 2010 health-care law.
    This administration has given up on their attempt to defend their position.
    The final word.

  • Socialmedic

    The first amendment to the US constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” Article VI specifies that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States ….” What about no state supported religion do you not understand? Free excercise of religion does not imply that religious people can RAM their religion down the throats of other citizens who do not care to receive it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1269443372 Bailey Brotherton McKay

    Talk about diversity :) That’s the very problem revealed when the government tries a one-size-fits-all approach to a far more complex problem than just a woman’s health. It’s also a child’s health involved, and so is different than other “health” offerings. For a baby (fetus) can be a patient at one end of a hospital, and garbage at the other end. That, to me, is not a simple matter of “a woman’s ‘right’ to healthcare”, whatever your religion, if any.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1269443372 Bailey Brotherton McKay

    Well, I don’t know that I’d call them “commandments”, but you only quoted half of one of them. So,what part of “nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” is so complex or unclear that you would forget it altogether?

  • http://www.facebook.com/celia.sgroi Celia A. Sgroi

    Indeed, wouldn’t it be something if God created the world and left it on its own to deal with its own affairs? A non-interventionist God is the only God I could believe in.

  • Loganmaster

    You people are showing a gross misunderstanding on what the Catholic Church teaches and has taught in the past. If you want to disagree with the Catholics, that is fine and is your right to do so, but at least represent the facts. Limbo had never been taught as doctrine and you are way off
    on the Friday eating meat thing.

  • Socialmedic

    It is a democratic republic, not a fascist one. It is a pity Nazi Germany was defeated, but there are plenty of Fascist regimes in operation around the world. You would be much happier in one of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.rooney.397 Tom Rooney

    I hear lots of talk about Christians imposing beliefs on others, but I have no idea what is meant by that charge. It can’t be the contraception issue, since it was the government that wanted to tell Catholic institutions that they had to pay for contraception. It was not an issue of one religion imposing its belief on others, but it was an issue of religious liberty.
    I can think of lots of examples of ways that those dedicated to environmentalism want to impose their beliefs on the rest of us.

  • Bill

    As usual, Bill doesn’t have a clue!!

  • Anonymous

    This talk is interesting. And while it seems to show a rational compromise between religious fanatacism and basic civil rights, the real issue when one views it from the perspective of a citizen of a secular nation is
    why is religion 50% of every argument?

    Every topic, every negotiation, is a balancing act between religious dictates on one side of the argument and non-religious desires on the other.

    It seems to me when religion is this big a factor in a nation’s law making that the conclusion is the nation is religiously fanatical.

    Perhaps this issue should be addressed as the root cause.

    When a female atheist living common law with her partner can be elected President, as is the case with the Australian Prime Minister, then many of the other issues will evaporate, until then the tolerance and diversity that society desires is not reflected by the political environment and that is largely because it is under the thumb of religious organisations.

    Separation of church and state is not adequate, one must take religion completely out of politics.

  • rayboyred

    In trying to find something to say about who is imposing what on who, I had to look no further than your comments. You said it all.

  • george jetson

    No.
    Theism basically means belief.
    A-theism means no belief.