There have been many excellent responses to the Catholic bishops’ complaints about the new US law regarding insurance coverage for contraception. But Marty Klein at his blog, Sexual Intelligence, has just published the most concise and powerful response I have seen.
Amidst complaints by the Catholic clergy that their religious freedoms are being infringed, Klein states the obvious – our government mandates standards for work environments.
What employers like Notre Dame should NOT be allowed to do is present their employees with a substandard work environment. Just because they have strong religious feelings (yawn), their workplaces shouldn’t be less safe, less free of harassment, or offer less healthcare protection. It’s the government’s job to make sure Notre Dame meets the current minimum standards of the American workplace, whatever they are. It’s not the government’s job to help Notre Dame shape its employees’ private behavior to suit its vision of personal morality.
Safety regulations in the workplace are not new. It doesn’t matter if your religion prohibits you from wearing a hardhat; you still have to follow the rules. The same goes for harassment, and healthcare. There are standards enacted for the good of everyone. Expecting people of all religions to abide by them is not a novel concept, nor is it unfair.
Do read the whole thing. It’s short and direct, and makes it obvious what the Catholic bishops are doing – whining that they can’t do whatever they want in a secular democracy.