It is no secret that our society is obsessed with sex. The topic dominates the media, entertainment, the fashion industry, conversation and the daily lives of most Americans, married or not. As Catholics, we have chosen to live differently, to abide by a moral code dedicated to respect and to life. We have been fortunate to live in a country that allows us the freedom to denounce our culture of licentiousness – that is, until now.
No doubt you have heard of the recent executive health-care mandate that requires all employers to provide “preventative” health services to its employees – preventative of sexually transmitted diseases and preventative of the creation of new life as a result of the conjugal act. This new Department of Health and Human Services mandate also stipulates that, though most health services are contingent on the customary co-pay of the employee, these “preventative” services come at no cost, to which the Christian, and especially the Catholic community has expressed justified outrage. Per this mandate, every Catholic institution will be required to provide contraception – free of charge – to its employees and to anyone else on its health-care plan. In other words, the University of Dallas, a Catholic institution, would be legally bound to provide free contraception to its faculty, staff and students.
No matter your beliefs about human sexuality and contraception, it should be obvious that such a mandate reveals a great deal about our current government and the way in which the regulation of sexuality has become a primary concern. Indeed, the fact that this “preventative” care would be essentially the only medical treatment that would not require a co-pay from the employee indicates that our government believes the regulation of sexuality to be the most important health concern, more important than life-saving heart or diabetes medications, for example. Thus, this mandate proves beyond a doubt our society’s obsession with sex – to the point that the regulation of sexuality is the most important health concern.
The more than 100 Catholic bishops who have petitioned against this mandate and the hundreds of thousands of Catholics who have expressed outrage about it are not only upset that the government would contradict Catholic morality with its laws, but that the government would take such a stance against the religious and moral freedoms of its citizens. Already some Christian and Catholic institutions have attempted to appeal the mandate, only to be told that, per tax law, they could not even be considered religious institutions, and were, therefore, not exempt from the requirement to provide free contraception to their employees. Our own university president protested the policy, and we now await the government’s decision. Hopefully, the current administration will respect our legitimate freedom of conscience and recognize that regulating sexuality should not be our nation’s primary health concern.