I'm tired of this issue.
I'm tired of seeing it in newsfeeds and reading articles about it everywhere and hearing complaints about it, from both sides. But we're belaboring a point that apparently still needs belaboring.
It's not about personal feelings toward Catholicism, whether one sees it as irrelevant and archaic or nourishing and alive. The religious conscience must be free to practice its beliefs: paramountly at home, communally at a place of worship, and most relevant in this case, in service to others in the public domain.
The new Health and Human Services mandate, in its current legislative state, will require all employers to include abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization procedures, in healthcare coverage, regardless of religious convictions that believe otherwise. The conscience clause that might exempt some organizations from the HHS mandate is so narrowly-defined that it does not include most Catholic schools and hospitals, outreaches of the Church, which exist solely because of the example of Jesus Christ, and the belief that he instituted the Church to carry on his compassionate work.
Following national outrage, President Obama offered a verbal revision, not written into the law, that would require insurance companies to offer these amenities for free. Yet there's an apparent oversight that nothing is "free" with unabashedly for-profit health insurance companies, and any "free" inclusion would no doubt be subsidized by increased premiums for the objecting organizations. Additionally, this illusory compromise still leaves self-insured organizations without a conscionable solution.
Where is our national identity? Have we forgetten that the freedom to live out personal religious beliefs is protected by our nation's Bill of Rights?
The Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization on the planet. Yet it seems we're being told, "You may hold any beliefs you want, as long as they only influence your life at home and at church, and as long as your Catholic behavior only influences other Catholics." We serve others not because they are Catholic, but because we are Catholic.
The morality of contraception isn't directly pertinent here (although it could be argued from a Catholic perspective that mandating the coverage of abortifacents is also an affront to the right to life, as mentioned in the document that kind of started everything). Regardless, whether one believes in some kind of "best practices" for sex, whether there are gray areas in the implicit guidelines of pleasure and procreation (or just pleasure, whatever), or whether it should all just be a free-for-all of anything goes, this should have no bearing on whether Catholics are free to practice their religion in the privacy of their homes or in service to the world, without government intrusion.