This is the last day of the “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign of the US Catholic bishops. They are fighting the Obama administration’s mandate that private health insurance companies offer coverage for contraception. Apparently, the bishops believe that Catholic employers will be forced to buy insurance offering contraception even though Catholics consider artificial birth control sinful behavior.
The bishops also express worries that the federal government would prevent employers of Catholic organizations from discriminating against practicing homosexuals, apparently on the premise that non-discriminatiion amounts to condoning homosexual behaviors.
The bishops argue that forcing Catholics to do things they consider immoral violates their rights to follow their consciences and therefore their constitutional right of religious freedom.
I will not argue the point. Different people have different consciences. I don't have the right to come between other people and their individual consciences. Nor do they have the right to come between me and my conscience.
My conscience reminds me Moses came down from the mountain with ten commandments, not just the one dealing with matters such as abortion, homosexuality and contraception. Murder, stealing, and lying also break the Ten Commandments.
Now, if coercing Catholics into supporting private sector actions they consider immoral violates their religious freedom, then it follows that forcing Catholics into financing government actions they consider immoral also violates their religious freedom. That means paying taxes to pay politicians for saying they had nothing to do with the Watergate breakin, the Iran Contra Affair, and the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War violates the religious freedom of Catholics who consider lying a sin. It means paying taxes to finance a political/economic system that forces the poor and the middle class to subsidize the rich violates the religious freedom of people who consider stealing a sin. It means paying taxes to finance the Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan wars violates the religious freedom of Catholics who believe in the just war doctrine. And it means paying taxes to finance the human rights violations perpetrated by Israel, Egypt and numerous dictatorships receiving US military aid violates the religious freedom of Catholics who believe murder, torture, and other forms of violence violate the Fifth Commandment.
As a practicing Catholic, I believe my bishops should act consistently in favor of religious freedom in connection with all moral issues and not limit themselves to religious freedom in connection with sexual morality.