I think Ed Quillen hit the nail on the head. Quillen: Is there a war on women? - The Denver Post
It's war, but against whom?
After catching the news lately, I was worried about walking to the post office. It's only three blocks, but across the street from my house is the Church of Christ. Just down the street is St. Joseph's Catholic Church. Turn there toward the post office and the next intersection is Holy Corner, with the First Baptist, First Christian and United Methodist churches. If I swing by the library on the way home, I also go by the Episcopal Church of the Ascension.
Why be worried about a short walk in a quiet town? I keep hearing about the Obama administration's "war on religion" and I don't want to get caught in the crossfire.
But so far, I haven't seen any soldiers, tanks or machine-gun emplacements, despite all the martial rhetoric from America's right-thinking agitators conjuring up yet another bogeyman.
The issue, as nearly as I can tell, is not that the government forces people to violate their church's precepts by taking contraceptives. From what I read, American women are perfectly capable of doing that all on their own. Nobody is grabbing women off the street and forcing them to swallow birth-control pills.
No, this "war" is about whether the government should be able to require employers who provide health plans to cover birth control. After all, there are some people who find birth control morally reprehensible, and so requiring them to pay for it even indirectly is a "war on religion."
But let's get real here. Most of us know people who find it morally objectionable to eat meat. Yet they pay taxes that subsidize meat-laden school lunches, taxes that support subsidized grazing on our public lands, and taxes that feed red meat to American soldiers and sailors.
American abolitionists once paid taxes that paid for enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act. Pacifistic Quakers oppose wars, but they pay taxes to support our military establishment. Christian Scientists pay taxes that provide conventional health benefits to government employees and they pay property taxes to local hospital districts.
Jehovah's Witnesses pay taxes that might support blood transfusions. Fundamentalists pay taxes to support the U.S. Geological Survey, which issues maps that put the earth's age at billions of years, rather than the biblical 6,000. I find it morally reprehensible to support war criminals, but some of my tax money goes toward a pension for Dick Cheney.
This list could go on, but the simple fact is that it is impossible to imagine a functioning government that does not force people to pay for activities that some find morally objectionable. That's the nature of the beast. It's what governments do.
Refusing to obey a law that requires financial support of an activity one finds immoral is so rare that only one notable American instance comes to mind.
Henry David Thoreau went to jail in 1846 rather than pay his poll tax, which by some stretch of his imagination might have supported the Mexican War, which he saw as an immoral effort to extend American chattel slavery. Ulysses S. Grant, who was decorated for bravery in that war, had the same explanation for the war but later confessed that he then lacked the "moral courage" to resign his commission.
Almost always, then, Americans pay for activities that some find immoral. That's just how things work. There is no "war on religion."
If there is a war underway, it is a war on women, apparently aimed at forcing them to breed (no exceptions even for rape, right?) so there will be plenty of cheap labor to toil for all those noble job-creators whose moral principles will prevent them from providing certain health benefits.
Freelance columnist Ed Quillen (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Salida is a regular contributor to The Denver Post.