Freedom is Worth Defending

In my recent Catholic New York column, I wrote about why religious freedom is worth protecting. Let me share an excerpt with you:

Maybe some folks are a little tired of hearing or talking about it, but our priests who are there “on the ground” tell me I should not flag in presenting and explaining the Church’s high profile posture in our defense of religious freedom.

We’ve prayed about it—and will intensify our prayers during the upcoming Fortnight for Freedom—written about it, spoken of it, given endless interviews on it, and brought our case to the White House, Congress and, now, to the courts.

It’s not a struggle we asked for. I wish it would end. And it could so very easily.

All the government has to do is acknowledge that it has no business defining what a Church considers to be its essential ministry. That means creating an exemption based on federal laws dating back at least 40 years. These broader exemptions keep the government from deciding who is “religious enough” to enjoy religious freedom protection, instead covering all stakeholders who object in conscience.

You can read the whole column here.

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8 Responses to “Freedom is Worth Defending”

  1. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    More good info. Why are our pulpits silent?

    Mathematical Proof that Birth Control Fails
    Posted on Mar 22, 2012
    PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter examined the claim from a White House official who said “98 percent of Catholic women have used contraception,” and found the claim to be “mostly true.” The USCCB argued in return that the number was much lower, but Politifact held that the bishop’s mathematical error was in considering a “snapshot in time” rather than behavior over time, concluding that “most women [over time] would find occasion to take advantage of the new co-pay-free contraceptive rule.” This bothered me, and I remembered something I read in Robert Ruff’s 1988 book, Aborting Planned Parenthood. The widely held assumption that birth control “works” is not considered over time, but on a “snapshot in time” percentage.
    Stick with me, this isn’t supposed to be a boring “how geeky art I” post. I want to show you something significant, and I’m giving you the tools to use it in a debate. Typical-use failure rates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_birth_control_methods#Comparison_table) are defined as the expected number of pregnancies per year per 100 women using the method. That means that for the pill with a typical-use failure rate of 8, that of 100 women using the pill, in a single year 8 of them will become pregnant. A single year. But what about the ever-so-important “over time” predictions demanded by PolitiFact? Remember those lessons from algebra class about determining the probability of getting 16 heads if you flip a coin 100 times? That can be easily calculated by using the binomial probability formula. We can use that formula to also calculate how many women will become pregnant [drum roll] over time! using the failure rates reported by the contraception technology folks without needing to invoke any further magical assumptions (as good little mathematicians should do).
    Click here for a little more detail and the promised tools. http://faculty.vassar.edu/lowry/ch5apx.htmlThe typical-use failure rate for the pill is 8%, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_birth_control_methods#Comparison_table) in one year 8 out of 100 women using the pill in a typical way will get pregnant, but the numbers are much higher extrapolated over time. It’s even worse for condom use.
    # Women out of 100 that will get pregnant 1 or more times:
    Birth Control Method Typical-Use Failure Rate 1 year 5 years 10 years
    Pill 8 8 34 57
    Condom 17 17 56 80

    8 out of 100 women will have unintended pregnancies in one year, but 34 of those same 100 women will have unintended pregnancies in 5 years, and more than half in 10 years. Condom use has an even higher failure rate, so typical-use of condoms over 5 years actually makes a woman more likely to get pregnant than not. Over ten year’s time, it practically ensures unintended pregnancy. And what about teens? Teens are not as careful so the failure rates are higher. (http://www.contracept.org/teenrates.php)
    # Teens out of 100 that will get pregnant 1 or more times:
    Birth Control Method Typical-Use Failure Rate 1 year 5 years 10 years
    Pill 8.6 9 36 59
    Condom 17.7 18 62 86

    Fifteen is the age considered the beginning of the reproductive lifetime, so out of 100 fifteen-year-old girls who begin using birth control, 36 of them will be pregnant by the time they are age 20. More than half will be pregnant by the time they are age 25. For condom use, again, it practically ensures unintended pregnancy by age 20. (Disease is a whole ‘nother story.)
    Thus, birth control does NOT prevent unintended pregnancy, but over time it actually makes it more likely, whether the woman is a teen or not. After all, when you consider what birth control really is touted to be – the “responsible” thing to do if you aren’t going to be responsible in the first place – the grim reality is not surprising. And of course it logically follows that if someone’s idea of being responsible is to use a pill/device when you don’t want to be responsible in the first place, then responsible use of said pill/device is probably an unwarranted expectation. Yeah, read that last sentence one more time. OK, back to the HHS Mandate issue. If the argument is that most women will use birth control, therefore, it should be paid for by insurance, then what are they trying to get us to pay for? That women will have unintended pregnancies? It would seem so to the mathematically-aware, reality-doesn’t-make-you-a-geek observer. People become accustomed to a lifestyle of sex without consequences along with an ignorance of the human body, and an unintended pregnancy will likely remain an unwanted pregnancy, and we know what the advertised “cure” for that “disease” is – abortion. It is, thus, no surprise that the same people also predict that 1 in 3 women in their reproductive lifetime will have an abortion. (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html) Notice folks, here they speak in terms over time, when it suits their argument.
    Thus, birth control over time normalizes abortion.
    We knew that, but this calculation proves it using their own reported estimates. Of course the other alternative is to be “fixed” like an irrational animal with implants, injections or surgery, something Catholics also oppose because we are taught that to be fully human we must use our intellect and will to strive to be virtuous. Animals, as you know, can’t do math either.
    Link – http://www.acceptingabundance.com/mathematical-proof-that-birth-control-fails/

  2. Irene says:

    I’m not really that interested in the birth control issue, but I would be very interested in participating in a rally to support the plight of Palestinian Catholics, driven from their homes by economic sanctions, or for Catholics in other places around the world -like Nigeria- who are being murdered while at worship.

    Will any of the planned rallies include these issues? Will a schedule/information be distributed in the parishes?

  3. Mary says:

    Decades ago, the birth control fiction was the first shot in the war on women. Yesterday we saw that war turned against girls as the House could not pass a ban on sex-selective abortions. The US, once a beacon of freedom, is now lit with at best a 20 watt bulb. The Catholic Church is stands for God’s truth. It is the last, best hope for this country and the many souls at stake in this war with evil.

  4. Patricia Hinton says:

    hello, i just wondered if you saw the full page ad in usa today’s paper. “it’s time to quit the catholic church” now it’s from a group ffrf.org ( freedom from religion foundation) after they try to take down the catholic church who do you think they will come after?

    pat hinton

  5. Victoria says:

    Your Emminence,
    I have discovered a Doctor of the Church, Saint Bellarmine, a great defender of the Church. I am dedicating you to him in my prayers. Thank you for defending the Church!

  6. Steve Martinko says:

    I agree with Cardinal Dolan and praise him for leading the charge but I think that he and the other leaders are kind of dropping the ball in one respect. They are letting this be defined as a “Catholic Issue,’ and it’s not. There are other religious groups who, while they do not agree with the Church on birth control stand shoulder to shoulder with us on abortion. Out leaders should jump on this with both feet, unite their efforts with these other groups, and make sure that it is well known and publicized in the media that this is not just a “Catholic Issue” but an issue to all religions

  7. Bob Davison says:

    I think Cardinal Dolan and Pope Benedict have it all wrong. As a 71 year old, life time male Catholic I’m convinced that the Catholic approach to humanity is communicated by those who work in the food banks, St. Vincent dePaul Society, hospital patient visitations and the like. It certainly isn’t communicated by Cardinals and Popes who get mired down in a topic like birth control – of which they’ve never an ounce of experience of dealing with parental/family considerations that shapes their decisions. Yet they have significant experience in protecting those who abuse our children. Why on earth should we look to these men for guidance? It doesn’t make any sense what so ever.