An open letter to the Big Guy upstairs:
It's been a while since I've turned to you for advice, but there's something on my mind I need some guidance on. For the better part of a month now, I've processed hundreds, maybe by this point, thousands of letters - mainly 5x5 index card-like notices - from "concerned Catholics" who object to the President's health care mandate. I have some frustrations and concerns over the outcry.
The biggest one I have is the lack of imagination on the part of these "concerned Catholics". This isn't a big issue, it's a HUGE issue. That being said, I'm disappointed that more people aren't taking the time to, in their own words, articulate what the problem is. Instead, it appears these Catholic constituents (nice alliteration, eh?) walked out of church and signed and put their addresses on these cards without thinking about what they were signing. I find this sort of group think very dangerous and contrary to the religions.
I understand the pastoral imagery of Jesus as the shepherd who tends to and leads the flock of Catholic faithful, but I think these "concerned Catholics" might want to take a step back and take more time evaluating the situation because there have been times when the church has used some, shall we say, interesting rhetoric from the pulpit.
For a religion that preaches peace and tolerance of others - including those of other faiths - it's funny how the crusades were left out of my religious education class. My personal favorite goes all the way back to Galileo in the 1600s. The church was none to pleased with him supporting a theory that went against another one of their (former) core beliefs, that the earth was the center of the universe. Indeed, all the Vatican needed to do was take a boat over to Clinton, NY, in December to realize the Earth couldn't be further from the center of the universe, though Clinton does feel like its own planet on Friday's in Bundy (imagine that: Bundy as the center of the universe!). Finally, I wont go into it at all, but let's not talk about the abuse scandal that swept through the church in the not-so-distant past. In sum, I guess what I'm trying to say is that the church doesn't always practice what it preaches, and, in some cases, can in fact be dead wrong.
But let's not ignore a very serious, and legitimate, concern among many of the faithful: the mandate violates their freedom of religion. I like the constitution. A lot. Typically, I brush off first amendment violation claims from others because they're mostly BS, but if this many people are complaining, something needs to be done. I'm very torn here, because I don't take lightly to offenses against the first amendment, but I believe that health care is a right not a privilege much in the same way I believe in You, my God.
And that is where my pinch is: I'm caught between religious morality and civic morality. I don't need an answer, like a "you should feel this way, my son", rather, I seek guidance on how to frame the discussion in my head and come to the best educated conclusion possible.