Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Healthcare Mandate and the Agony in the Garden

Photo courtesy of
Like many Americans, I was very disappointed to hear today that the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Healthcare Reform Bill crafted by the Obama administration. I had hoped that the court would find the bill unconstitutional because it contains a mandate that would force people of faith to violate their religious beliefs. I'm referring specifically to the Heath and Human Services (HHS) mandate contained in the bill that would force religious employers to provide health insurance that covers medications and services that violate the religious teachings of the Catholic Church and other religions.

As I thought about the decision, I wondered why God would allow this to happen. I wondered why He didn't touch the hearts of the Supreme Court justices so that the healthcare bill would be struck down.

As I was thinking about it, Christ's agony in the garden came to mind. After the last supper, Jesus and His disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane. While they were there, Jesus began to dread his impending suffering and death by crucifixion. He went off by Himself and prayed to God that He wouldn't have to go through with the crucifixion. He prayed "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (Matthew 26:39) Jesus didn't want to go through the pain and suffering He was about to experience, but He was willing to go through it if it was God's will. He knew that if it was God's will that he suffer and die, He knew it was for a greater good, and He was willing to endure it.

The predicament that the Catholic Church finds itself in regarding the healthcare reform bill has similarities to Christ's experience in the Garden of Gethsemane. Just as Jesus didn't want to go through the pain and suffering of his crucifixion, the Catholic Church doesn't want to go through the pain and suffering that will happen if the HHS mandate is put into effect. If the HHS mandate goes into effect, the Catholic Church will have to take drastic measures, which might include shutting down Catholic schools and hospitals. If the Catholic Church has to shut down its schools and hospitals, it won't be able to provide the care and education that it gives to thousands of men, women, and children.

Just as Jesus wanted to be spared the pain and suffering of His crucifixion, the Catholic Church wanted the Supreme Court to strike down the healthcare bill so that it would be spared the pain and suffering involved in fighting the HHS mandate contained in the healthcare bill. If Jesus would have been spared the crucifixion, there would have been no resurrection. He had to go through the crucifixion for the greater good. On the surface, it seems like it would have been better for the Catholic Church if the Supreme Court would have struck down the healthcare bill. After thinking about it, I believe that it is actually better for the Catholic Church and the people of the United States that the healthcare bill wasn't struck down. Why? Because I believe that the imposition of the healthcare mandate is an incredible opportunity for the Catholic Church to make a very strong statement to the world. If the Catholic Church stands strong for religious freedom and opposes the healthcare mandate, it will be a strong Christian witness to the world that will hopefully result in the preservation of religious freedom for all. As with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Catholic Church must obediently accept the cup that has been handed to it, for the greater good of humanity.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Abortion - The Symptom of a Deeper Problem

I firmly believe, and have publicly stated on several occasions, that abortion is only the symptom of a bigger problem. It is not the root of the problem. Actually, it's probably the symptom of several problems in our society. 

One of the root problems that leads to abortion is a lack of sexual morality. Many people view sex as a recreational activity that any consenting person can have with any consenting person. The procreative aspect of the sex act has become a foreign concept to many. As a result, there are many people having sex who have no desire to have children. Some of those having sex actually have an aversion to having children. Some wouldn't mind getting pregnant, but are in no financial position to have a child. There are some who are having sex who have no business having sex, such as underage children or unmarried college students. Having sex in these situations is a recipe for disaster. It's like playing Russian roulette, but instead of the person pointing the gun at their own head, they point it at the head of any child they might conceive.

Another root cause that leads to abortion is a lack of support by society for women experiencing unwanted or unexpected pregnancies. When a girl experiences an unwanted pregnancy, often times her family ostracizes her, instead of providing her with the support and understanding she needs. Outside of the family, there are organizations like Planned Parenthood that are quick to offer abortion as a solution to the "problem". There aren't enough people who are willing to offer their time, talents and treasures to help women in these most difficult circumstances to give life to their child, and support the child afterwards. One of the things I want to accomplish in my life is to do more to help women experiencing crisis pregnancies.

I believe that the solution to the abortion issue will involve a combination of actions. Above all, the best thing we can do to make abortion unwanted is to work tirelessly to increase the morality of society. The way we do that is to stop hiding our Catholic faith under a bushel basket and share it with others. Our faith is a pearl of great price, and we do people a great disservice by not sharing it with them. Our faith has the answer to so many of the problems people face in life. Getting people to understand that sex is a beautiful thing that is meant for a husband and wife only would greatly reduce many sexually related issues, including STD's and abortions. Getting people to understand the negative effect that contraception use has on society will also greatly reduce many sexually related issues, and also strengthen marriages. Helping people to understand the Christian concept of selflessness and self-sacrifice will enable more families to support their daughters when they find themselves in crisis pregnancy situations. Teaching our young people to abstain from sex until marriage will result in less STD's and abortions. Opposing same-sex marriage will strengthen the institution of marriage, and enable more children to experience their right to be raised by both a mother and a father.

While we're working to make the things mentioned above happen, we must make abortion illegal. We have no choice. Killing an innocent unborn child is never the solution, and should never be legitimized by being given a legal status. As I said before, we can't just make it illegal and do nothing to help women in crisis pregnancy situations. We must do the other things I mentioned above at the same time.