If You Go To A Catholic Hospital, Should You Be Surprised When You’re Treated In A Catholic Way?
There’s been a lot of hysteria in North Dakota about Measure 3 on the upcoming June primary ballot. The measure, if passed, would ensure that religious practice in North Dakota is not unduly by government (read the amendment language here).
Until a few weeks ago this measure had mostly been flying under the radar. Most people don’t consider strengthening of protections for religious liberties to be all that controversial. But suddenly from leftist letter writers and columnists in the state there’s come a steady stream of wild claims about the measure, up to and including the idea that it would legalize abortion clinic bombings and vampirism (I’m not kidding you).
So what is it about Measure 3 that has put a bee in the collective bonnets of North Dakota leftists? This letter to the editor in the Grand Forks Herald from former Governor George Sinner gives us a clue. According to Sinner, Measure 3 would allow Catholic hospitals and schools to be administered in accordance with Catholic beliefs and customs.
And that, to him, is a bad thing:
The current Measure 3, amazingly, requires that people must forego their rights. That is completely foreign to American principles.
The reality is that it is the people who have the basic rights. The proposed measure will be a terrible abuse of all that America stands for if these rights are transferred to church leaders of any faith. The rights belong to the people.
The bishops’ plan is clear: any person, Catholic or not, who enters a hospital, nursing home, school or some other institution with historic ties to Catholicism will have to accept the rules and even medical limitations established by the bishop, like it or not.
Clearly, Governor Sinner has his notion of “rights” backward. Catholics have the “right” to live their lives, and conduct their business, in accordance with their religious custom. We do not have a “right” to demand that they serve us in ways which violate that conscience.
What Mr. Sinner and his fellow leftists are concerned about isn’t Catholics imposing their religious will on the rest of us. They’re concerned about Catholics (and people of other faiths) being protected from policies that violate their faith.
We got a taste of this debate earlier this year when the Obama administration ruled that, under Obamacare, religious employers (including Catholics) would have to pay for insurance coverage for things they find morally unacceptable such as contraception. We can debate about whether or not contraception is immoral (it’s not a belief I personally share with the Catholics), but we should all agree that those who object to contraception have a right to feel that way and ought not be forced to pay for it.
Measure 3 wouldn’t apply to federal law, of course, but you catch my drift.
By the way, despite what Mr. Sinner claims in his letter, this is not simply a Catholic issue. There are protestant groups and groups representing other faiths behind it as well.Tags: George Sinner, measure 3, North Dakota News, religious liberty