Do Catholics really want government in charge of religion?

There are plenty of explanations of why making an exception for churches in the upcoming health care bill is a bad idea, for example, here, here, and here.

However, I think there is another way to look at this, a way that might make Catholics object to this as much as I do.  Doesn’t this put government in charge of determining which parts of religion are worth protecting, and which are not?

Here’s the thing.  Either, government makes no exceptions to laws on the basis of religion, and purely bases those laws on the benefit to society as a whole, or government makes religious exceptions to any law that some religious group objects to.  However, we run into trouble with the second option almost immediately.

Christianity, to give one example, has a holy book that can be used to support all kinds of things, such as animal and even human sacrifice, slavery, and bigotry.  Obviously government shouldn’t just give free reign to those kinds of behaviors simply because some fringe version of Christianity believes they are appropriate.  That is self obvious, right?

So doesn’t asking government to make an exception automatically put it in the position of judging how denying contraception is different from the other teachings of the bible?  Doesn’t it make the government the arbiter of which teachings are justified and which are not?

You might say that government isn’t making those decisions.  Perhaps you say that government is simply weighing the need to protect religion with the need to introduce some new legislation.  Sure, but doesn’t that also put them in the position of deciding what weight to put on religious belief?  Do you really think government is capable of being consistent in all such cases, and not biased by whatever group is in the majority?  I generally trust the government, and even I wouldn’t go that far.

For example, what happens when Catholics or even Christians are no longer in the majority?  Aren’t they just setting themselves up for some other religion to come along and hijack all the power they’re asking us to give government?  What if Islam now has the final say on what sorts of things get exceptions under the law?  Christian teachings wouldn’t get any less protection than they do now, but we’d be seeing Islam getting all sorts of preferential treatment.  Once you look at this from the perspective of a minority group, you’ll see why allowing the majority to enshrine their beliefs in law without justifying evidence really just leads to trouble.

Separation of church and state is as much for the protection of the church as it is for the state.


Who am I?

I am currently a college student in the United States.  Within the next year, it is my goal to be a sworn law enforcement officer, though that all depends on when and where I get that opportunity.  I am also an atheist, a skeptic, and a humanist.  For some reason, many of my fellow Americans appear to believe that this means that I lack morals, and am untrustworthy.

That leads into my next topic, what this blog will not be.  It will not be a highly personal account of my experiences leading up to, and after my becoming a police officer.  There are other bloggers equally qualified to write those stories, and I will be keeping this blog as anonymous as possible for the time being.  While I am open about who I am and what I believe with my friends, I have no way of knowing how my beliefs will affect my ability to get the job I want, given that I live in one of the more conservative states in the bible belt.  Other accounts on the Internet lead me to believe that I am being overly cautious, but I will be better able to assess that once I’m hired.

This blog also will not be an expert’s account on law enforcement.  I claim no expertise in that area as yet.  Any opinions I express are to be taken with a grain of salt, because I don’t have the training or the experience to be considered an expert.  I will, however, do my best to live up to my skeptical ideals and not hold a position without some supporting evidence.

Now for what this blog will be.  I hope to write about law enforcement from a skeptical perspective.  I would like to combat the belief that atheists are necessarily immoral and less worthy than theists.  I also would like to discuss topics of opportunity such as feminism, separation of church and state, and creationism/evolution.  Hopefully the variety means you won’t get bored!