adventures in dysthymia

Friday, November 02, 2012

Mandates

So, election next week. I suppose anyone who reads my stuff knows I tend toward the Green Party and, therefore, Jill Stein is my choice for president. Even though she does not come off so much as Green as sort of a European-style Social Democrat, I still consider her the best choice.

Of course, Stein has no chance of winning. The reason to vote for her is to strengthen the position of the Green Party, to take a large enough percentage of the vote that the organization is eligible for more recognition, both official and public.

Now, if I lived in a state that was firmly in the camp of either Obama or Romney, I would not hesitate to vote for the Green candidate. Florida, however, is one of those that could go either way, so I am tempted to vote Obama as, by far, the lesser of two evils. Make no mistake, though, both major parties and their candidates are beholden to corporate interests.

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As long as I am on politics, I would like to mention an issue that keeps popping up: the ‘mandate’ that seems to so bother (many of) the Catholic bishops. It is an issue that, naturally, so-called conservatives have latched onto as a talking point.

By the same logic of those who oppose paying for mandated health coverage because they do not approve of some of the covered procedures, a pacifist should be exempt from paying taxes to support the military. The courts long ago knocked down that argument. A pacifist may be exempt from military service but is still liable for the taxes that pay for war.

Similarly, the Catholic Church (and keep in mind that I am Seriously Catholic) does not have to provide contraception but it has to pay what amounts to a tax (according to the Supreme Court) to provide health coverage for some of its indirect employees. That is hardly a restriction of religious liberty — particularly in that those employees are not required to choose such coverage themselves.

And what if an employee chose to use his or her wages to buy contraceptives? Would the Church not have to pay them anymore? I think of employer-provided insurance as essentially part of ones wages.

It’s just not a valid argument. The Church should be focusing on real issues, such as social justice. That was our mandate from the start.

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