It does not take much for many Christians to throw down the Christian Card and declare war on themselves. They loudly point out the freedom of religion clause of the First Amendment. But, many of them read “religion” as synonymous with “Christian” and “freedom” to abridge all other religions and non-theists. The War on Christmas, laws against sharia, and dismissal of rights for non-theists or atheists run hot and are but a few examples of their self-declared “War on Religion (or alternately, Christianity)” . They take the whole Onward Christian Soldiers thing very seriously in the same way the blitzkrieg was serious.
The latest skirmish is the one aledgedly waged by evil secular humanists – or future candidates for hell as some would say – over compelling Christian hospitals to offer abortion services against their beliefs.
In this particular war, however, Christians have a point. It’s obvious that if a religion were compelled to offer the offending services it would violate the freedom of religion clause whether the majority of followers – for instance, Catholics – follow church teachings or not. But, that’s a narrow view. It excludes the beliefs of others to benefit to narrow, but powerful, Christian beliefs. The First Amendment applies to them too.
But, there is a compromise.
Many secular people don’t argue so much about religion as they do imposing religious beliefs on others. They object to the government giving religious enterprises special rights by exempting them from taxes and providing funding for some of their enterprises.
The compromise here is easily evident. If religions want to offer services to the public, but not offend their own beliefs, forsaking government funding for religion-owned businesses should be on the table. If a religion wants to operate secular businesses – like schools or hospitals – they have two choices. Stop asking the rest of the nation to pay your businesses in support of your specific religious teachings. Or, stop providing services to those who do not share your beliefs.
There are positives in this compromise. Religions would no longer be required to provide services against their beliefs. They could provide any service they want to any person they want. The secular community would get relief for their complaints about government policies that are against their beliefs. Both sides get a sturdier wall between church and state to resist the evils of theocracy, which isn’t good for anyone, even the Christians.
However, there are some problems too. People living in areas where religion-affiliated health care is the only practical choice will have to find their care in between different church decisions that conflict with their ability to get dogmatically unfettered care or travel far to find it. However, there are ways to mitigate that issue.
There might also be some degradation of education and charitable services through reduced government funding, but again, there are mitigation solutions for this as well.
Given the religious and political trench warfare of our times, these solutions will never be mentioned, much less adopted. Both sides will agitate for solutions that require total capitulation from their ideological foes. These ideas may make things fairer, but neither side will buy into them.
After all, compromises are “one size fits all” and so, by definition, fit no one perfectly.
Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!