We Are Complicit


I’ve been fascinated with the furor over the Obama administration’s decision to make Catholic hospitals, charities, and universities provide contraception coverage in their health insurance. The administration, which could hardly have handled the situation more stupidly, ultimately backed off, though the accommodation it eventually offered has not satisfied the bishops or some of the Catholic institutions that would be affected.

Now Catholic bishops are demanding that all Catholic employers have the right to refuse contraceptive coverage to their employees. Does it follow that Jehovah’s Witness employers should be permitted to offer insurance that doesn’t cover blood transfusions? This is religious liberty gone mad, but the problem exists in the first place only because of the loony idea that it’s up to employers to provide health care to employees. This whole to-do is a good argument for a single-payer approach to health insurance.

Strong criticism of the original mandate briefly united conservative and progressive Catholics, and was joined by Orthodox Christians, Evangelicals, and Orthodox Jews. This doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is what hasn’t bothered most of the critics here.

Every Christian who votes and pays taxes (me included) has already agreed to pay for our wars, for the deaths of small children caused by our drones,...

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About the Author

John Garvey is an Orthodox priest and columnist for Commonweal. His most recent book is Seeds of the Word: Orthodox Thinking on Other Religions.