The HHS mandate, and the separation of church and state

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Editor:

The “concession” offered by Health and Human Services that forces insurers to pay for contraceptives for employees of church institutions is hardly a concession, as it is problematic on many fronts.

First, shifting the responsibility for providing contraception from the church institution to its health insurer is analogous to hiring an assassin instead of killing someone yourself. The law does not look kindly upon those who hire contract killers; neither should church leaders feel that they have dodged a bullet by removing direct responsibility for the provision of something that they believe is harmful to those who take it. Sister Carol Keehan, Kyrie eleison.

Second, how is contraception an insurable cost? Not enough left from your take home pay to afford this? Prevention of pregnancy means the sexual act is reduced to recreation, and if recreation is covered by medical insurance, maybe it should likewise cover season tickets to my favorite baseball team. Elective cosmetic surgery is not a covered medical expense — neither should contraceptives be covered unless the diagnosis is something more than “casual sex.”

Last but not least, just where in the Constitution does the government have the authority to tell a religious organization how it can run itself? How can “separation of church and state” result in the removal of anything religious from the public realm, but permit the government to tell a religious institution which of its precepts can be ignored?

Dr. Sebelius, stay out of my church!

Mickey O’Brien

Westfield