Bible thumper * Jewish deli * Rain prayers: Thursday’s Religion News Roundup

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Hands in supplication position.

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Praying for rain.

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Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas invokes his Christian faith in a new TV campaign ad. Rick Warren said the birth control provision in the Affordable Care Act is “like making a Jewish deli sell pork.” The skies open after prayers for rain.

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  • Jim Barr

    Ahem. I know this column is written to engage, but I think you are a bit too flippant when you mockingly write about Rick Warren’s comments: “a dubious comparison (since when did all Christians disapprove of birth control)?”

    Of course not ALL Christians believe the same thing on the issue of birth control, but the federal mandate forcing businesses to go against their owner’s religious convictions is a very serious subject and I think Warren was trying to put it in perspective.

    I understand Rick Warren’s point — Jewish businessmen have the freedom to not serve a food item that may go against their religious convictions. I am sure there are some Jewish business owners (deli-owners or otherwise) who do sell pork products. They are free to sell or not sell. Don’t you think it would be highly offensive if the government forced all Jewish deli’s to sell pork because some people want to eat pork? The law would be egregious.

  • Yonat Shimron

    Thanks for writing in. I was just trying to make a point that while all Jews would agree that pork is forbidden in Jewish law (regardless of whether they personally buy, sell or eat it), I don’t know that all Christians can argue that contraception is forbidden in Christian practice.

  • John McGrath

    When exactly did birth control become forbidden to non-Catholic Christians (if I can use that term, since many Christians don’t consider Catholics Christians)? Was it when a political alliance in favor of the Republican Party was forged between fundamentalist Bible Christians and the Catholic hierarchy? Or was it before that?

  • Kelly

    Wow, Yonat. Great round-up. The whole religious liberty argument about ACA just infuriates me. It seems a perversion of our constitutional right to practice religion freely for an employer to force their religious beliefs on employees–which is what these businesses like Hobby Lobby and others are saying: your employer can force their religiously based beliefs about abortion and contraceptives on you. And once they’re allowed that ground, watch them go for divorce, homosexuality, wifely submission and any other belief they happen to subscribe to. If they’re allowed to this, they should have to post their religious beliefs openly on each building, so we can know which businesses not to support.

    Also–thanks for the link to the Homeschool Apostates article. Great article about a really important movement. Especially as it operates in the south and brushes up against white supremacist and xenophobic religious movements here.

  • Larry

    Except the point is a perfect example of a crappy analogy and not a very honest appraisal of the situation. It would be more akin to the owner of a Jewish deli telling his employees they cannot spend their paycheck on bacon. Insurance benefits are compensation for work performed. It is conceptually no different from the paycheck. Once the money is doled out, the employer has no business as to how it is spent or what it is spent on.

    Actual health care options making up the government regulated minimal level of coverage in any kind of insurance policy are NEVER choices which could be made by the insured. An employer/insured can always choose to increase coverage levels but never make decisions as to what the government mandates is the “floor” for coverage of any kind of insurance policy. Government always had a right and duty to regulate insurance of all kinds. Libertarian arguments are meaningless in this context.

    It is like saying you object to the mandatory basic liability coverage in your auto policy because it casts aspersions on the veracity and good name of those of your religious faith.

    Besides there is no such thing as corporate religious faith and free exercise of religion does not give one the right to harm others. In this case companies are deliberately looking to violate a law which sets standards of health insurance care for specious reasons.

  • Well said!!!

  • David

    Yonat, don’t want to pile on, but your assessment of Catholics: “(since when did all Christians disapprove of birth control?). Of course, Catholics do…” is incorrect. The vast majority of Catholics support access to and use or have used a birth control method banned by the Vatican. So, the Catholic hierarchy may disapprove, bu the faithful aren’t paying any heed.

  • Yonat Shimron

    Rank and file Catholics do indeed use birth control, but the church is opposed to the practice. This is a fact.

  • David

    Well, that very much depends on how you define church. Most Catholics believe that it is far more than the hierarchy, but includes all Catholics and Catholic institutions as well, “the people of God assembled” as some theologians like to say.

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