According to headlines, Earth's population hit an all time high on Oct. 31, 2011.
Meanwhile, in the same 24 hour period of news, President Obama was criticized by several GOP candidates and Speaker Boehner for Obama's approving a bill insisting that employees of faith-based employers have access to birth control through their health insurance, should they so desire. During this same 24 hour period, I also heard many of these same individuals, most notably Newt Gingrich, expressing outrage at the record numbers now enrolled in the government's Food Stamp program during the current administration.
Meanwhile, I think both the GOP and the Democrats agree that families involved in schemes to crank out babies in order to participate in welfare fraud is a very bad thing, contributing not only to higher taxes but a lot more babies growing up in less than desirable conditions. Additionally, several GOP candidates are accusing Romney of being a "small food stamp proponent" vs. Obama, who is the "Big food stamp president," due to the record number of both employed and unemployed families requiring food stamps. I've heard interviews with many of these people who find themselves on food stamps for the first time. These interviewees (click HERE for NPR story) noted that the cost of "bare necessities" is at an all time high, and jobs that pay enough to make ends meet are scarce. I am presuming that those criticizing Romney would prefer no food stamp program at all? Still, I am having trouble getting my head around the fact that these individuals are the same ones who don't think birth control should be available to those who want it.
A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Peggy Noonan said that Obama has just lost the election because the Catholics won't vote for him, now, because the Pope(s) remain opposed to birth control. An excerpt from the article: "The president signed off on a Health and Human Services ruling that says that under ObamaCare, Catholic institutions—including charities, hospitals and schools—will be required by law, for the first time ever, to provide and pay for insurance coverage that includes contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization procedures....There was no reason to make this ruling—none. Except ideology."
What about food stamps, Ms. Noonan? Don't we want to reduce the need for food stamps? Many of those who are employed by Church-run organizations are not Catholic and/or may be women who do not want to have a baby everytime they have sex, whether they are married to their partners or not. Many of these employees are already making marginal salaries, and the cost of caring for a child (especially if one works) is exorbitant. As Ms. Noonan points out: "I invite you to imagine the moment we are living in without the church's charities, hospitals and schools. And if you know anything about those organizations, you know it is a fantasy that they can afford millions in fines." I'm presuming the dedicated employees of these same organizations may not be highly paid, and might not be able to afford more children, if they can afford children at all.
I also wonder what the exact impact of health care costs would be to Church-run organizations if they made contraception available to employees. If, as Ms. Noonan says, it is "purely ideological" and the health care costs to the Church negligible (especially when compared to the huge litigation costs that continue to haunt the Church after all the Clergy sex abuse scandals), then why the big fuss?
For a little background, let's revisit history of Pope's edicts, and later apologies for being "wrong. For instance, several Popes' opposed both Copernicus and Galileo's insistence that the earth is not the center of the Solar System, let alone the Universe. Some scientists were even tried and imprisoned for publishing findings that disagreed with the Church's stated beliefs at the time.
An excerpt from Wikipedia:
"In 2000, Pope John Paul II issued a formal apology for all the mistakes committed by some Catholics in the last 2,000 years of the Catholic Church's history, including the trial of Galileo among others. "
One wonders if someday a Pope will apologize for denying women the right to decide if and when they want to have children, or making a responsible decision that they cannot afford any more children, although they may wish to enjoy conjugal rights with their spouse or life partner. And maybe this Pope may also admit that men, too, should have a right to decide that they do not wish to risk creating a child every time they are phyiscally intimate with a woman, their wife or perhaps an extra-marital affair, in which a few of our political candidates, Congressmen, and even presidents have been known to indulge.
Yes, the Pope(s) might argue for abstinence, but many of those practicing birth control are married, and conjugal rights are usually expected -- and even condoned -- by the Catholic Church. Most modern day clergy agree with the marriage counselors that physical intimacy between spouses is good for the marriage, while abstinence frequently hurts a marriage.
I think both the GOP and the Democrats agree that the problems w/ the entitlement programs, esp. welfare, is a result of too many poor people....and/or too many people making money off of having too many babies ....i.e. welfare fraud, and/or taking advantage of programs that were created to help those who are unemployed and/or underemployed and starving, to help feed their families. An obvious quick fix could be that, in order to qualify for welfare, a mother should be required to have an IUD inserted, or the newer "vaginal ring", one that only could be removed by an approved doctor, to prevent more babies until they can afford to support them. But, hey....that's birth control. And the Pope and some other faith-based groups don't approve of birth control. I wonder if it will take 400 years for the Catholic Church to admit that perhaps Pope made a mistake about birth control, like they did after condemning the findings of Copernicus and the trial of Galileo.
Apologies to any faith-based groups who are offended by my opinions. But in this day of global warming, the exploding global economic crisis which is undermining the middle class and increasing the ranks of those living in poverty, birth control makes more sense than Viagra.
I wonder if, in a few hundred years, the sex-abuse battered Catholic Church, along with many faith-based organizations who currently oppose birth control for religious reasons might acknowledge that birth control is the most logical and humane (dare I say "Christian") alternative to food stamps or poverty.