Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Welcome to Story Hour   

I am not a deep thinker.  Thus, I have struggled to understand the points and counterpoints surrounding the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that Catholic hospitals must provide certain reproductive services at their facilities.

Finally, I separated the bones of the issue from the heat of politics and personal issues, and spread them out on the blanket of a fairy tale. 

So come along with me, if you will, as we share story hour.

Once upon a time in Happy Valley, the Dog Club was busy with their dog shows.  (OK, I’m an animal lover.  This is the best I could come up with.)  Suddenly, the governor, himself a cat lover, declared that all organizations that sponsor show events must allow cats to enter their shows or there would be severe penalties

 “But we have never allowed cats in our dog shows!”  cried the Dog Club.  “In fact, our Rule Book specifically states that no cats shall ever be allowed here.”

Many people were surprised and angered.  Not just dog groups, but all groups, because they realized this was a threat to their own organizations.  They understood they might be next to have a government order forced upon them.

Supporters of the law cried, “But cats are wonderful.  Everyone should have one.”  Others said, “Those dog lovers are just trying to impose their beliefs on everyone else.”

People debated the awesomeness of cats, and if the Dog Club was ridiculous and old fashioned for not allowing cats in their dog shows.  This brought a lot of attention to the deeply held beliefs of the Dog Club, but it deflected attention from the real issue. 

Then someone said, “There are lots of easily accessible cat shows nearby, why don’t they just go there?  It’s unfair to dog owners who are allergic to cats.  Even the ones who simply don’t like cats.  And the fact remains that it is against the rules of the Dog Club to allow cats in their shows.  Is it right for the government to force the Dog Club to break its own rules?”

Well, there was such an outcry that the government offered some accommodations.  They said Dog Clubs must still offer cat shows at their events, but they didn’t have to actually touch any cats themselves.

Some people thought that was a pretty good compromise.  But then they realized that there would still be expenses to run the cat shows, and ultimately the unfortunate dog organization and its members would still be responsible for the cat shows.

The Dog Club held firm on their position.  They simply could not allow cats in their shows.  It was against their rules.  The government held firm.  They would force the Dog Club to shut down their shows if they did not change their rules.  Everyone began to wonder what would happen to all the dogs if the shows were forced to close.

So how does the story end?  That part is up to you.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote about the separation of Church and State, his concern was that our government should never be able to establish, favor, or demote any religion.  Yet that is exactly what is happening.  

For hundreds of years, our government has upheld the tradition of respect for religious freedom.  But today, in an unprecedented move, the government has broken a promise upon which our Country was founded.  Unless the Church agrees to allow certain practices that directly violate its mission to protect and promote human life, the government could force the closure of its hospitals and clinics.

But the Catholic Church will not, cannot, allow its institutions to practice abortion and forms of contraception that violate the sacredness of life. 

Yes, Catholic hospitals get money from the Government, but only for the care of the poor and those otherwise unable to afford their treatment.  But no hospital can continue to offer services to individuals who do not have insurance or the financial means to pay their own expenses without the support of the Government

If government support is withdrawn, Catholic hospitals will not be able to remain open, leaving  healthcare for the poor totally up to the government.  Something every taxpayer, regardless of religious or political conviction, should take very seriously.

Now here is how you can help write a happy ending to the story.  Support the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act” and join your voice with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and many other organizations, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

You can easily send a personalized message to Congress now, just click on the following link:


  1. Thank you for boiling the issue down to its essence. Sometimes a clear thinker is more valuable than a deep one. --Valoree

    1. Thank you, Valoree. I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment. Thanks for the kind evaluation of my mental capacities ;o)

  2. This is great! Thank you Carolyn!

    1. Heidi, thank you so much for your kind words. Blessings to you and yours, Carolyn