You don’t have a right to free birth control

One common theme that keeps emerging in the whole birth control/healthcare debate is the idea that those opposed to paying for birth control are somehow attempting to stamp out women’s reproductive rights. This, of course, makes little sense. Birth control, when non-abortive, deals solely with the person’s body, thus the person has complete rule over his or her own body. The government cannot tell the person what to do in that instance, nor is anyone suggesting the government has that power (except for the most extreme right).

At the same time, there’s no justification for free birth control. While one has a right to one’s own body, that doesn’t mean that the taxpayers have to pay for a person to exercise that right. For instance, I have the right to free speech and can therefore publish any book that I want. That doesn’t mean, however, that I can require taxpayers to pay for my publishing of the book. I have the right to own a gun, but that doesn’t mean I can have the government pay for my gun.

The issue of paying for birth control, however, cuts deeper. The way the law is constructed, it would be like working for a Muslim and requiring him to pay for my lunch, which happens to include a ham sandwich (after all, I have the right to lunch, so why not make the government pay for it?). The new solution would be akin to telling the Muslim owner that he doesn’t have to directly pay to it, he just has to give the money to a bunch of my friends and then they have to pay for it – in the end, it’s his money that’s supporting my craving of ham sandwiches.

In a similar fashion, there’s absolutely no reasoning behind offering free birth control. Yes, people have a right to do with their bodies as they please (so long as what they do is non-abortive; no one has the right to take the life of an innocent human person), but it’s non-sequitur to argue that because that right exists, the government must pay for the exercising of that right.

“But what about the common good? Aren’t less unwanted pregnancies better for society?” What about paying for running shoes or exercise equipment or gym memberships? Aren’t people working out better for society as they are less likely to get obese? What about purchasing not only guns for people, but paying for lessons on how to properly use and store them? Our Founding Fathers believed that an armed populace was essential to the common good, so perhaps taxpayers should pay for those.

But let’s not stop there. We all have a right to practice whatever religion we want, but some religious practitioners can’t afford rent on a building. So let’s make the local community pay for the building the practitioners want to meet in. If atheists or those of a different religious view have a problem with it, then they need to learn that they live in a society where sometimes they have to pay for things they don’t like. After all, that’s basically been the argument offered so far on the contraceptive issue; “You don’t like it? Tough.”

If a man or woman wants to go out and have sex with another individual, or hundreds of individuals, then it’s none of my business from a government standpoint. But there’s no reason I should have to pay for that person’s choices. Birth control isn’t life saving nor does it really improve the quality of one’s life (not in any real, substantial fashion). There’s absolutely no justification for why it should be paid for by taxpayers or insurance companies.

We need to remember that while we have the right to do certain things, it is up to us to execute and actualize our rights. We have the right to free speech, but that right only begins to matter when we choose to take action and speak. We have the right to bear arms, but that right only becomes relevant the moment we purchase a firearm. I must actualize the right; it’s not up to the government to pay for me to actualize that right. In the end, saying that the general public shouldn’t pay for birth control isn’t a slam against women’s rights or against personal freedom; it’s simply pointing out that just because we have the right to do something, it doesn’t mean we deserve to be given the means to do so as well.


We need an Athanasius; we need a William Wilberforce (Part 2)

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:39-40

William Wilberforce is known primarily for working to bring about an end to not only the slave trade in the British Empire, but slavery in general. In fact, a movie was recently done over his tireless effort to end slavery in the British Empire and her colonies. While the movie is excellent and if you get a chance, you should watch it, it still fails to capture both the opposition Wilberforce faced and why he chose to end slavery.

Wilberforce was born in 1759 in England and once he graduated school he decided to attend Cambridge. Upon graduating from Cambridge he ran for the British parliament as a Torie (Conservative Party) at the age of 21 and due to his quick wit and ability to woo crowds with his speech, he easily won.

Once Wilberforce entered London to take his seat in Parliament he quickly attempted to advance his life through both politics and social pleasures. It was customary for men in those days to gamble, and gamble Wilberforce did. The London Wilberforce moved to is one out of a Charles Dickens novel, where the rich lived a life of luxury while the poor were huddled into small and filthy homes, where children worked for little to nothing for 14-16 hours a day, where prisons were crammed with debtors and murderers. The seedier side of London, which did exist, was a few blocks from Wilberforce, but might as well have been another country in terms of how he lived.

It is during this time that the government – and society as a whole – abounded in corruption and this impacted the slave trade. The England’s high court, it had been ruled that slaves were simply goods, no different than cargo, so if slaves had to be thrown overboard in a storm in order to lighten the load then it was completely permissible and legal to do so. The Government wasn’t much better; the Parliament members were often bribed to vote a certain way. Anytime a group arose to challenge the slave trade, the companies that benefited from the trade would simply pay off the members of Parliament and the group would eventually dissipate while the slave trade remained.

The London that Wilberforce moved to when accepting his seat in Parliament was not a bastion for Christendom; instead, it was a city where passions ran wild. The rich did as they pleased, purchased what they wanted, and treated the poor as they desired. The poor worked long hours to scratch out a mere existence, one unfit for animals, much less humans. Christianity might have been the religion everyone grew up with, but it was hardly followed or recognized.

In 1784, Wilberforce’s life underwent quite a transformation. He elected to go on a tour of Continental Europe during a break in Parliament and asked his old schoolmaster Isaac Milner to come along. During this trip, Milner had Wilberforce read the Scriptures daily. Though Wilberforce had to take a break due to his need to return to Parliament, he continued his tour of Europe in 1785. After concluding the tour he was spiritually confused upon his return to London and that’s when he sought counsel from the famous John Newton (composer of Amazing Grace and a former slave boat captain turned abolitionist). Continue reading

A Christian Response to the Healthcare Bill

In looking at the healthcare bill that was recently passed, I am left with one overriding conclusion; the Church in America has completely and utterly failed to do her job. This statement, however, is quite open-ended. So let me elaborate with a follow-up:

Though I hate what the current administration is doing, we must realize that their advancements are only occurring because the Church has failed America; rather than living as the Church and taking care of the needy, we instead chose to retreat into our million-dollar sanctuaries. If a needy world can’t turn to the followers of the one true God, what choice are they left with other than to turn to the government?

Though I am very much against nationalized healthcare, especially when taxpayer money will most likely be used for abortions, I don’t want to take the time writing against it. What’s done is done, every argument that could be made against nationalized healthcare has been made. The courts will see to the legality of this bill and, in my opinion, the people will speak out against the bill in the form of elections this coming November. But what if, when elected, the Republicans rescind the bill? Or, what if tomorrow Obama and half of the Democratic Party woke up and thought, “No, wait, this is wrong”? Those who will be covered by this healthcare bill would then be left without the chance to get proper healthcare.

From a purely human perspective, I would argue that I have no obligation to help get better healthcare for a stranger. I have no obligation to see to a stranger’s needs; while I can do it, it’s not necessarily immoral for me to see to the needs of my own family and then my own immediate community, but then stop there. Thus, the healthcare bill is wrong because it takes a non-obligation and attempts to make it an obligation.

The problem, however, is that as a Christian I am held to a higher moral code. What would generally be supererogatory actions become obligations for Christians. The Christian obligation to his fellow human is more than “do not kill,” but instead as Christians we are to look after the needs of others. However, as a whole the Christian Church has not been doing this in America; so what are the poor, the disadvantaged, and the crippled supposed to do?

Continue reading