Secular and religious voices on the left who oppose the Obama administration’s rule on mandatory birth control coverage seem to be getting louder.
The Catholic magazine America, among the best-read publications for Catholic progressives, today released an editorial saying the ruling “is a threat to our living as a church in the Catholic manner.”
Megan McArdle, senior editor of the Atlantic, wrote yesterday that it might be in Americans’ interest to be more flexible with faith-based organizations because they provide such a depth of social services (publicly funded in many cases, of course):
People who feel that the Catholic Church should abide by all secular rules “seem to be living in an alternate universe that I don’t have access to, where there’s a positive glut of secular organizations who are just dying to provide top-notch care for the sick, the poor, and the dispossessed,” she wrote.
As my colleague N.C. Aizenmann reported Jan. 20, the rule requiring most religious organizations to offer coverage of birth control in health-care plans is not new. It was announced last summer, including an exemption for “employers such as churches whose primary purpose is to inculcate religious beliefs and that mainly employ and serve individuals who share those beliefs,” Aizenmann wrote.
But religious advocates said this definition was too narrow. Last month, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a small change that disappointed a range of major religious groups. Religious organizations will be allowed an extra year to comply with the rule, but the rule is unchanged.
The question is: Will it resonate during the presidential campaign?