Religious Issues Being Masked By Social Issues (Contraception and Insurance)

For a little while now I thought that I missed some memo that everybody else in the country got. Then it finally came to me this afternoon…this is not, I repeat NOT, a social issue. This is a religious issue being masked as a social issue. Why do I say that?

Every year that I was a student at ESR, I was required to buy health insurance. As far as I know, almost every graduate student is required to buy insurance (and many undergraduates are too). My classmates were lucky…contraceptives were covered in the plans that were offered to us, but it could have easily been the opposite–as it is with many who study at Catholic (and some fundamentalist) affiliated institutions. However, all the insurance plans cover Viagra (or whichever ED drug one chooses)–which seems to be a disconnect.

This is why I now believe that this (the brouhaha over how contraceptives get covered) is not a social issue; if it were only a social issue then any insurance that covers Viagra and the like would cover contraceptives. So the brouhaha shows that this is not a social issue, but a religious one (and by religious I do NOT mean religious freedom).

The religious issue is one that those of us on this side of the pond have been wrestling with since the Pilgrims arrived on these shores…who is worthy? That question is a slight variation of the “elect” question that is so much of Calvinistic theology and it plays out in much the same way.

So wherever you stand on whether insurance plans that workers/students at religiously affiliated secular institutions should offer contraceptive coverage or not, know that you are not talking about a social issue but a religious one.


5 thoughts on “Religious Issues Being Masked By Social Issues (Contraception and Insurance)

  1. It’s a power issue. Be wary of a Government with sweeping powers to dictate Health Insurance Benefit packages. Everyone’s forgotten Preventive Health Panels recommendations on mammography screens. Or consider this power in the hands of a President Santorum maybe? The Government has no business setting these benefits. It’s inevitably political and the last thing America needs for health.

    • I’m not saying that power—whether government or otherwise—isn’t at play. However I don’t think that diminishes my argument that this is much more a religious issue than a social one. That is why I used the case of graduate students, as it is the one I am most familiar with. If my school requires me to buy insurance, why then do they have the right to say what my insurance can/cannot cover?

      If this is not really a discussion of who is worthy of something and who is not worthy of something, it is an incredible simulation.

  2. Do they give you a choice of Insurance plans? You certainly have a choice of schools. Know all of these choices are going away. The government will mandate you have insurance and will set the benefits package as it sees fit. The government doesn’t give a hoot about religion by the way. The government makes decisions based on politics and costs.

    • You’re right that people have a choice of schools. I’m not disputing that.

      If however, at a religiously affiliated educational institution, I am required to buy insurance (as all graduate students are)— even with 2-3 choices (which is what most graduate schools have), why do they get to determine what benefits I can have?

      That’s why I firmly believe that this is a religious (not religious freedom) argument, and not a social issue argument. If it were a social issue argument, we could actually talk about issues that you are raising. Instead this argument is about who is worthy of something and who is not worthy of something.

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