Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting Warmer

According to Romney surrogate Rick Santorum, all Catholic business owners in America that employ more than 50 workers and comply with the Affordable Care Act must go to confession in order to remain in a state of Grace with the Lord.  Without atoning for the sin of government compliance by receiving the sacrament of reconciliation, these Catholic job creators are risking all eternity in the flames of Hell.

Yeah, he really did.  Ultimately, the message is clear and unambiguous.  A vote for Obama is a vote for sin.  The fires of Hell could be worse than the “chains” of financial ruin.

Last week the former presidential hopeful (first runner up) and sweater vest aficionado said that President Barack Obama is "directly assaulting" religious freedom and that his administration has implemented policies that force Catholics to abandon their faith.  It is believed that he was referring to a controversial government mandate requiring religious-affiliated institutions and all private secular employers to include contraception in their health care coverage.  Santorum was not talking about Obama’s attempts to implement Sharia law across America.  At least we’re pretty sure that’s not what he meant. 

To quote the Pennsylvania preacher:  "We have a president who, for the first time in American history, is directly assaulting the First Amendment and freedom of religion.  He is going to tell you what to do in the practice of your faith.  He is forcing business people right now to do things that are against their conscience, that they will have to – if you're a Catholic – you'll have to go to confession … to confess that you are complying with a government program that is a sin in the Catholic Church."

With all due respect, I have not heard the Vatican pronounce that all Catholic owners of businesses that employ more than 50 employees and provide health insurance coverage for their employees are outside of God’s graces until they confess their wickedness. 
I have heard the church hierarchy condemn the bearing of false witness (Rule #6), so Rick might want to ask Romney to tone down his false accusations about Obama’s welfare work requirements.  More than Catholic job creators who skip confession, Romney might have trouble getting through the Pearly Gates because of his false witness-bearing proclivities, since as Santorum knows all too well, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven”.  If that particular rich man is sentenced to Hell – and I do not have the hubris like Santorum to pretend that I know - I sure hope he has insurance (and a fan).

Contrary to the opinion of the Romney campaign, there is nothing more divisive and fear-inducing in an election year than Rick Santorum taking on the job of separating the sheep from the goats on Judgment Day.  When the fear of having your flesh ripped from your bones throughout the eons of time is used to sway votes, I’d call that almighty fear mongering.  Have mercy!
Under Santorum’s logic, we are all sinners by allowing Toddlers and Tiaras to air on the TLC network.  In Santorum’s view, even paying for a cable package that includes such a morally offensive program demands a trip to the sin bin for some absolution (Note: cable is not government mandated, but without cable, you can’t get ESPN, so it’s practically a mandate).  Our tax dollars have supported family planning in other parts of the globe.  I would be curious to know if this also rates a trip to the confessional for all Catholics who are mandated to pay taxes.

Contraception coverage has been mandated across the country for years.  There had not been an outcry about this issue while 28 states instituted the same measure within their borders prior to Obamacare.  The reason for the outrage now?  Rally a segment of the voting population that can be defined as single issue voters against a President that the Right has spent 3 years defining as “different” from you.  

In those 28 states that already have this in place, I am certain that deceased Catholic business owners did not know that they were not in a state of grace at the time of their death, and therefore ineligible for eternal rest in the kingdom of Heaven.  The fires of Hell must be teeming with unrepentant Catholic job creators from the great state of New York, for example, where this rule was already in place before the ACA mandate.

The Obama administration did provide some cover for the sinners among us.  His version of a compromise was to force insurance companies to absorb the cost, and not pass that cost onto the policy holders.  In this way, the Catholic job creators would not be directly funding contraception in their plans.  Salvation!

This compromise was rejected by the church and its all-male hierarchy because as we know, money is fungible.  Sure the insurance company will absorb the cost of contraceptive coverage, but they’ll just add the cost elsewhere.  As long as contraceptive coverage is free and your business pays premiums, you’ll burn for sure without a last minute blessing from your local padre.  Even then, we can’t be sure. 

Santorum added last week that a President Romney would work hard to defend religious liberty (unless you are a Muslim interested in building a place of worship in his backyard).  It’s funny how the phrase “protecting religious freedoms” has come to mean one thing – repealing the Affordable Care Act in its entirety and sending the faithful out into the competitive health insurance market where the healthy pay a little, the sick get dropped and the poor clog the emergency rooms, ironically preventing job creators and their families from getting in when they might need care the most.  It’s a sin really.

The solution, of course, is simple.  Move away from the employer based health insurance model, institute single payer nationally, and help shorten those lines at your neighborhood confessionals.  Unless Santorum would want to argue that living in the United States at that point would be a sin. 
When Catholic business owners across the country are condemned to eternal damnation by a Romney surrogate for complying with the law, that’s the real sin.

Is it getting hot in here or is it just me?


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