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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mr. President, have you heard the one about the getaway driver and super PACs?

President Obama announced Friday that despite pleas from the faith community to follow First Amendment principles of religious and conscience freedom, he still plans to mandate free contraceptives nationwide--including potentially life-ending pills like ella and the morning-after pill (Plan B).
But wait--there's more!
President Obama has come up with a new scheme (just like he did with the flimsy executive order on abortion that he used to pass Obamacare) to convince critics and people of faith that it's all good.
Why will it be okay now for people who object to contraception to participate in it?
Because now under the Obama scheme, it will be the insurance companies and not the conscientiously objecting faith-based employers that will do the dirty work. The insurance plans that faith-based employers provide for their employees will still have to cover contraceptives the faith-based employer considers immoral. (Many faith-based organizations and individuals either conscientiously object to all contraceptives or at least to those like ella and Plan B that can end the life of a developing human embryo.)
But here's Obama's special new conscience-soothing plan: now the insurance companies will be telling the employees about the controversial contraceptives.
Sure, the faith-based employer still knows full well that the faith-based organization's insurance premiums are subsidizing the contraceptives. But because contraceptives will not be listed in the paper contract the employer signs with the insurance company, President Obama figures no one will care any more about conscience.
For some reason, conscience and moral complicity seem particularly difficult concepts for this President and his administration to appreciate. Maybe an analogy will help explain why this scheme does absolutely nothing to alleviate conscience concerns of many in the faith-based community.
In a bank robbery, the getaway driver pulls up to the bank--knowing full well that a heist will take place--and then his companions do the actual deed of holding up the bank. If they're caught, the driver gets thrown in jail as an accomplice in armed bank robbery.
Why does the law penalize the driver as if he actually held up the bank teller with a gun, even though technically he stayed in the car and never touched a gun? Because he is an accomplice to a crime he knew was going to be committed.
The same is true of the Obama scheme. Those who, because of faith standards, consider certain or all contraception wrong can take no solace in the technicality that they're simply paying for someone else to do the deed.
Maybe these analogies will help the Obama team understand even more clearly:
  • Would a committed vegetarian paying for a dinner party at a restaurant feel better if the waiter had diners write down on paper their orders for steaks instead of telling the waiter in front of their vegetarian host? 
  • Would Attorney General Eric Holder feel better if US agencies simply contracted with other countries to water-board terrorism suspects?
  • Would President Obama let super PACs contribute to his political campaign when he has long asserted that he considers super PAC contributions utterly wrong? Oh, wait, maybe that's not the best analogy to make the point...

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