The Parable Of The Bad Analogy

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Bishop William Lori, a representative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that mandating insurance companies cover contraception is like mandating kosher delis serve ham sandwiches. Lori likens the obvious health benefits of not getting pregnant to the claim that “pork is good for you.” Lori calls this the Parable of the Kosher Deli.

The beauty of Lori’s Parable is that it can be used to argue against any health insurance coverage mandate.

If an employer is a Jehovah’s Witness and insists that any employee health insurance plan not cover blood transfusions then any employee who wants that coverage could have to find another policy and pay its entire cost out-of-pocket. Any employees who do not share the employer’s worldview are penalized for those different beliefs.

While Lori makes much of the employer’s freedom of conscience, does not the employee possess that same freedom of conscience? If an employer insists on an employee health insurance plan that covers abortion in cases of rape or incest, and a Catholic employee objects to paying even part of the cost of the insurance, would Lori still support the employer’s freedom of conscience? Or would he suddenly discover that employees deserve the same freedom of conscience?

While many consider an employer’s place of business to be private property wherein the employer rules as king, that business makes use of roads, bridges, infrastructure, law enforcement, etc., paid for by the government. Without this government support, businesses wouldn’t survive. In return for the services provided, the government gets to set standards of behavior toward competitors, customers, employees, and the environment.

This is not a new issue, as evidenced by the Supreme Court case of Reynolds v. United States in 1878. For a unanimous Court, Chief Justice Waite wrote:

Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.

The freedom of religious expression requires the freedom from control of that religious expression from those holding different religious beliefs. If one demands freedom of religious expression for oneself, then one must give up control over the religious expression of those holding different religious beliefs. If one demands freedom of conscience for oneself, then one must give up control over the conscientious beliefs of those holding different conscientious beliefs. One cannot reasonably complain about the denial of freedom of conscience when one’s denying that freedom to others.

H/T: Jonathan D. Sarna, Sarah Posner, Adam Lee, Kashif J. Powell (pdf).

177 thoughts on “The Parable Of The Bad Analogy”

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  3. I’m going through Roman Catholic Initiation for Adults so this is a topic much discussed as of late, but I still have an outsiders/libertarian view, and have a question that’s perplexing me (but I don’t want to ask the priest and rock the boat, I’m just there getting through it for my fiance.)

    I’ve learned through RCIA and Catholic marriage prep that Catholics are fond of ‘natural family planning’. Now, NFP is a method by which to time your intercourse in ways that make it less likely to become pregnant. They claim this method has a higher rate of success that other modern birth control methods (at least the marriage prep people told us that.)

    So, NFP is a form of birth control as we, as humans, are trying to control when we do or do not have a baby. (I see it as the counting cards of sex.)

    The Church is against birth control because it says that we should be open and willing to accept the gift of life as God blesses us with it.

    But, if we’re supposed to be open to the gift, why are we allowed to use NFP to try to control when we recieve the gift.

    And, if we’re allowed to use NFP to control pregnancy and it is supposedly more effective than birth control…why is birth control not kosher?

    If there is a chance of failure of modern birth control, aren’t we still open to God’s blessing?

    Bottom line is that I believe the church wants us ‘good catholic families’ to have as many kids as possible, so that there remain good catholics to pay alms.

    Which leads to my biggest hesitation in regards to organized religion. How can you trust any organization that tries to control the number of children you have, who’s survival is based on the number of children you have?

  4. LOTTA
    So very true, how dumb.
    But how has apparently Obama disabled Congress intent with the NDAA?
    Is it not in his twarting there that can be used? but your point is taken

    On to new challenges.

  5. ID, “What is it that mandates the state as an agency for effeituation of a program? I mean they can help, but the funds could be sent to the organizations directly (PP).”

    I think Congress would have something to say about that, that’s part of the problem.

  6. OS, thanks.
    Elaine, thanks
    Gene H, thanks
    SwM, thanks
    Pete, thanks
    Hope haven’t missed anybody. Most are still sleeping now.
    I’ve always considered women as the slaves which were not freed.
    OS, Thanks to Limburger another step has been taken.
    Elaine, as always, keeps us inspired and informed with the latest.
    SwM, wise as always gives us a dose of reality.
    Pete, keeps us from falling asleep.
    And Gene H., when he’s not killing pigs, keeps us laughing.

    Question: Now that Texas is dumb, how long will the poor women suffer due to lack of funding? What is it that mandates the state as an agency for effeituation of a program? I mean they can help, but the funds could be sent to the organizations directly (PP). Is everything federal going through the state’s rakeoff scheme?

  7. Well, yeah, Elaine. If all us helpless mens can think about is sex, it’s all you ladies fault. And if all us helpless mens can’t think about sex, it’s all you ladies fault. Basically, it’s all you ladies fault – especially since the downfall of the Soviet Union – but it’s all you ladies fault. That’s what you get for eating apples. It’s not like us helpless mens have free will or the capacity for thought or reason or self-control! We have to rely on our penises to do most of our thinking for us! I mean, even a really big one doesn’t have much room in it for brains! Sheesh! 😉

    (For those not as familiar with me as Elaine is, the above was utterly and completely sarcastic.)

    The very idea that Lysol was promoted as a method of birth control and in that manner makes me angry. Not just a little bit. A lot. I don’t think women are perfect. No. All humans are possessed of foibles no matter their gender. But it has been my experience that they are comparatively speaking the part of our species that makes life worth living. Instead of waving our dicks around, more men should be interested in the wisdom of their mothers and sisters and wives and daughters. The world might just be a kinder and better place for it. This is not to disparage the wisdom of our fathers and brothers and sons though. Just as women are not paragons of virtue, men are not paragons of vice. However, even steel benefits from tempering. Good wisdom is where you find it and it has no gender. When you treat women like second class citizens or advocate such, you lessen yourself and you lessen us all.


    I’m done now.

    Time for some homemade cherry pie. And no, any of you gutter brains out there, that’s not a euphemism. I’m really going to have a piece of pie.

  8. swarthmom

    my comment was mostly snark for all the people that think hoards of hispanics cross into the u.s. for free healthcare.

    from what i hear many people who are uninsured and live near the boarder go to mexico for dental work.

    given how much cheaper b/c pills are than unwanted pregnancies you’d think the repubs would be all for it. but then the modern republican party is a bit short on financial conservatives.

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