May. 4, 2012
Recently, this conversation concerning the HHS mandate between Jon Stewart (Daily Show host) and David Barton made the top search on Google.
It was a terriblly frustrating discussion that never seemed to get to the meat of the real issue. And, David Barton (God bless him for his support) in trying to defend our position (i.e. "the Catholic thing"), ended up giving a platform for Jon Stewart (a very smart guy) to completely miss the point repeatedly...to the applause (and extreme google search interest) of a Comedy Central crowd that apparently doesn't know any better.
Here's the convo (with comments below):
First, Christmas trees everywhere does not mean a majority of people believe or stand for these religious freedom issues. In fact, the entire HHS mandate issue is one that attacks a minority of Christians (practicing Catholics who hold to the Church's teaching on contraception). And we're really talking about a minority of that minority of Christians who also happen to run their own business or organization. The tactic is one that goes after a minority within the majority (i.e. divide and conquer).
Just a side note: Running a hospital (well) is not a "cooperation with intrinsic evil."
Stewart makes this claim that "entering into the secular world" ("interacting in our world" he later calls it) means we give up some of our personal religious freedom. He implies there is this religious world where you can exercise your personal rights, but once you enter the "secular world," then you no longer have these personal rights. This is a creep tactic in the battle between religious freedom and government kingdom that should be challenged and pushed back upon at every level. It is, in essence, a natural human right to operate a business/trade and to exercise our personal religious principles in the process. Such rights aren't "graced" upon us by the gods of government nor a benevolent majority.
He also makes a claim that the Catholic Church cooperates more with intrinsic evil by paying people (because they can use that money for evil) than by paying for intrinsic evil directly. This, of course, misses the severely significant moral distinction between what you choose to do and what somebody else chooses to do. Another missed opportunity to point out yet another weak argument.
Employees should not really be in a subservient position. Employment (when done properly) is a mutual exchange of value/service between an employee and employer. Both sides, when you get down to it, are made up of people who have rights.
The rest of the converstion is more of the same of completely missing the point. It's not about forcing people to eat ham or wear beards or go to the doctor or about hiring protections. I'm astonished at how far off the mark the convo goes. Nobody is trying to force employees to do anything! Which is exactly the fundamental flaw in Stewart's position. His entire argument is built upon the false premise that the Catholic Church is trying to force people to do something. It's exactly the opposite.
There's a really simple point that needs to be made more often and more clearly. Nobody is trying to force an employee to not use contraception. We're just saying that you can't force somebody else to pay for it for them. Simple.
All you have to say is, "Jon, why do you want to force somebody to pay for something that violates their religious principles and their conscience? Why?"