The Next Step?

The Pope Knows Best

Conservatives, in harness with the Catholic Church, say they are still outraged over the ACA requiring that insurance companies provide access to contraception at no additional cost to customers of insurance companies. They believe that the Obama administration has violated religious freedom by infringing on what they see as religion’s moral territory and they intend to brandish the issue as a political cudgel as the political season grinds to its denouement.

The Affordable Care Act correctly addresses the use of contraception as a basic tool that is important to both physical and economic health. Unwanted pregnancies are bad, both for mother, child and for society. Reluctant mothers are, I submit, less likely to be good mothers, both during pregnancy and afterwards. I don’t have specific data to link crime rates to unwanted pregnancies, but I have no doubt that there is a definite linkage. Then there are the social and societal costs of domestic violence and psychological damage that derive from raising children, costs that are greater when full parental attention is absent. One would think that proponents of Christian teachings would want what is best for people and might welcome government’s help, given that pastoral exhortations to sexual discipline have been shown to be a complete failure, both for the flock and within the priesthood itself. But, alas, the Pope and the other priests are unmoved by any rational analysis over the matter. This impels me to wonder whether there might be other areas they may want to take up next.

What about type II diabetes?  More of a condition than a disease, it is driven primarily by obesity and would seem to me to be a logical candidate. After all, like failure to abstain from proscribed sexual behavior, diabetes is the result of yielding to sinful and proscribed appetites. That the condition derives from sinful behavior should be obvious from the statistics. As of 2010 there are approximately 285 million people with the disease compared to around 30 million in 1985, a period matching the rise in obesity and the decline in physical activity. I am talking here about the sins of Gluttony and Sloth, two of the Seven Deadly Sins which have been foundational in the thinking and rulings of the Catholic Church since its formative years. The Wikipedia page on the matter says,

“The Deadly Sins do not belong to an additional category of sin. Rather, they are the sins that are seen as the origin (“capital” comes from the Latin caput, head) of the other sins. A ‘deadly sin’ can be either venial or mortal, depending on the situation; but “they are called ‘capital’ because they engender other sins, other vices.”

So, why should we not expect the Church and conservatives to also prohibit the ACA from providing counseling and prophylactic measures, much less treatment, for this condition which clearly derives from immoral behavior, behavior which ought by right be a matter of conscience overseen in the confessional and otherwise in the pews? Like the ills brought on by intemperate sexual behavior, which after all comes under the heading of another Deadly Sin, Lust, Type II diabetes is merely the long-term effect of Gluttony and Sloth, also immoral behaviors.

If the Catholic Church and the GOP can successfully win the hearts and minds of the body politic over the issue of contraception, then the way should be clear to also remove the government from its further intrusions into the realm of religious freedom. But, for any conservative who may have accidentally wandered into my blog here, I suggest a warning, lest they wax too rhapsodic over the possibilities. Another of the Deadly Sins is Greed, and that just might be a little too close to home for comfort.

About Jim Wheeler

U. S. Naval Academy, BS, Engineering, 1959; Naval line officer and submariner, 1959 -1981, Commander, USN; The George Washington U., MSA, Management Eng.; Aerospace Engineer, 1981-1999; Resident Gadfly, 1999 - present. Political affiliation: Democratic.
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5 Responses to The Next Step?

  1. PiedType says:

    “One would think that proponents of Christian teachings would want what is best for people …”
    Oh, they do. As long as they get to define “best.”


  2. John Erickson says:

    No offence meant, but diabetes can be caused by being poor, as well. Many of the cheaper food alternatives we’ve had to explore use lower-quality ingredients and cover up the difference with sugar and fat.
    Of course, that would be covered by sloth. After all, if I gave up on having headaches and got a job so we had money, we’d have no problems, right? 😉


    • Jim Wheeler says:

      I hope it is obvious to all that this post was very much tongue-in-cheek, but I’m glad you made the point, John. I have long noticed that it is more expensive to eat healthy. Type II diabetes results from a combination of factors including lifestyle, diet and genetic susceptibility. Clearly there are some who suffer through no fault of their own, even though, based on observations at Walmart, they are in the minority.


      • John Erickson says:

        So, you’re saying I’m a minority? Can I get you to swear to that on paper, so I can go freeload on the public dole? So much easier than continuing to have these migraines! 😉
        (Yes, I did get that the post was tongue-in-cheek. My twisted wit doesn’t always translate to people with, shall we say, a more firm grip on reality! 😀 )


  3. ansonburlingame says:

    Jim and others,

    First, I stand behind the “right” of the churches (or Church if you prefer) to preach whatever it decides to preach in terms of moral ideas. Even an Iman may preach his views of the morality contained in the Koran. I doubt that anyone disagrees with such religious freedom. We may not like what a church preaches, but respect the right to so preach, pure and simply.

    I am reading Charles Murray’s new book, “Coming Apart” and have now written two blogs on some, but not yet all, of his views contained therein. Unfortunately he uses the term “religion” or “religiousity” in his arguments. As written I would prefer that he had used the term virtues or values instead.

    But the key point in that portion of his book is that a FREE society MUST have citizens that are SELF-REGULATING, instead of calling on a limited government to regulate others. Sort of a “take money from HIM, but not ME” to do the bidding of the majority is his point, a good point in my view.

    The 7 deadly Sins are, in my view, “negative virtues”, “bad” things to do as a human being. And the church has every right to enunciated them and preach to its flock not to do such “bad” things. But on the other hand government should not take a position in law based on virtue as well.

    I guess what I am trying to say is virtue, guides to “self-regulation” if you will, are up to individuals, not a limited government. There are many quotes from the Founders, some of whom were not “Christians” in support of this view. In their view a free society could NOT exist without virtue or self-regulation for the common good. But they also recognized that a limited government could in way instill virtue in the governed.

    Yet, if Herb is to be believed in a previous comment, some idiot is trying to outlaw male ejaculations unless……. I am dumbfounded by such attempts to intrude, using the force of government, into such matters.



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