It's always jarring to hear moral indignation and moral terminology being deployed in the defense of moral evil. Here is National Organization for Women President, Terry O'Neill, answering a reporter's question about whether the President has a right to dictate that faithful Catholics pay for emplyees' contraception and sterilizations through their health care plans. In fact, she asserts righteously, President Obama has "an obligation" to force them.
One can't listen without feeling,
1) that this is a wretchedly unhappy woman.
2) that she supposes she has just delivered a crushingly dispositive argument instead of a steaming mass of moral confusion.
But, the state of culture and education being what it is, many may be thrown for a loop by her rant. For their sake, we should be prepared to answer it thoughtfully. To that end, a few points:
1) It's true, strictly speaking, that institutions don't have consciences. But they embody and cherish particular principles and values, and they are composed of individuals who do have consciences. The prime moral value of Catholic institutions is the irreducible and involiable dignity of human life. For the President to use the force of law to coerce Catholic institutions to act in violation of their most basic moral commitments is a grotesque abuse of power.
2) She conflates absurdly the liberty of an individual to use birth control with a right to have birth control provided for her, free of charge, by others.
3) With equal absurdity, she equates non-provision with "restriction to access". Am I, by declining to pay for someone else's birth control, in any way, shape or form, "restricting her access" to birth control?
4) Not having her birth control paid for by others is a violation of her "freedom of religion"? Her "equal protection" under the law? Her right to privacy? Her right not to be discriminated against?
Why, it's as if the Revolutionary and Civil Wars were faught for just this noble, timeless principle: My right to have others pay for whatever I want!
There's a reciple of enduring social cohesion! That's what it means to be "one nation, under God"!
Rush Limbaugh's assessment of NOW is vindicated once again. "Femininism is their religion and abortion is its sacrament."
Everything else must be sacrificed to that Absolute.