Posts Tagged ‘Conscience Exemption’

Vaccination and the pro-life philosophy

February 27, 2015

VaxExemptionsThe basic argument of the anti-abortion movement is that the right to life is more important than the right to choose.

I agree with that argument.  My freedom of choice ends where the threat to your life begins.

My disagreement with the anti-abortion movement is over when human life begins.  I agree with the older Christian philosophy which Dante expressed in the Divine Comedy, that conception creates a vegetable soul, capable of growth, which develops into an animal soul, capable of movement, and only later becomes a human soul, capable of understanding.

Be that as it may, it seems to me that anyone committed to the right to life philosophy would deny that there is a right of parents to withhold vaccination or life-saving medical treatment from children.

The right of the child to live is more important than the right of the parent to choose.  And in this case, there is no question as to what constitutes a human life.

Can a corporation have religious scruples?

March 23, 2014

Employers have brought a case before the U.S. Supreme Court claiming a religious conscientious objection to the provision of the Affordable Care Act requiring them to provide health insurance that covers contraception.  What they’re claiming, as I see it, that religious freedom includes the right to refuse to do business with sinners.

The general rule is that there is no right of religious exemption from laws for the benefit of the general public that apply to everyone equally.  Nevertheless, there is a tradition in the United States of bending over backwards to accommodate individuals with sincere religious beliefs, from allowing religious conscientious objection to military service to exempting Seventh Day Adventists from Sunday closing laws.

I think this is a good tradition, as it applies to individuals.  I don’t think, for example, that the right of gay people to marry includes the right to do business with a florist or wedding photographer who thinks homosexuality is sinful.

Corporations are a different matter.  Corporations are not human beings.  They are soulless artificial constructs whose supposed personhood is a legal formality.  How, then, can a corporation have religious scruples?   Why do the managers of a corporation have any more right to impose their private views on their employees than do the managers of a state Department of Motor Vehicles?

http://www.answers.com/topic/corporations-have-neither-bodies-to-be-punished-nor-souls-to-be-damned

http://www.psychopolitik.com/2014/03/22/compound-stupidity/

Civil law, canon law, sharia law

February 7, 2012

Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church protest the refusal by the Obama administration to grant an exemption from federal regulations for certain Catholic charitable organizations.

Specifically, they say their conscience does not allow them to include contraceptive services in their employee health insurance plans, even though their non-Catholic employees might want such services.  Catholic churches, schools and other strictly religious institutions are exempt, but Catholic charities that employ both Catholics and non-Catholics and serve both Catholics and non-Catholics are not.

In other words, the bishops believe that they should not be required to obey American civil law when it conflicts with Catholic canon law.  My friend Bill speculated on what an uproar there would be if some Muslim charitable organization wanted an exemption from federal law on the grounds that it conflicted with Muslim sharia law.

Click on U.S. Catholics dismayed by Obama administration ruling and Religious Exemptions and Contraceptive Coverage for more discussion of this issue.

If it were up to me, I would have the federal government give up the effort to regulate private health insurance plans, and instead create a public insurance option.  If there was a public option, somebody who lacked insurance or wasn’t satisfied with their insurance coverage could sign up for the self-financing, non-profit government plan, which would provide all the benefits the government thinks people should have.  The public option would provide a benchmark for private insurance companies.  Either the private insurance insurance companies would provide satisfactory coverage, or people over time would migrate to the public plan.