President Obama’s War on Religion

While many people were distracted by the GOP primary in South Carolina and by the death of Joe Paterno, President Obama issued an order that in effect declares war on religious liberty in the United States. The President rolled out a regulation that will force religious organizations to pay for abortions.

The regulation is all a part of Obamacare, and it requires faith-based hospitals and universities to provide birth-control without a co-pay. Many Christian groups (especially Roman Catholics) have religious objections to birth control, but those groups will now have to pay for it. What is worse is that some of the birth control methods that will be covered are abortifacients. Nearly all conservative Christian groups (both Protestant and Catholic) oppose abortifacients because they are medicines that cause abortions. In effect, Obamacare now requires these Christian groups to pay for the killing of unborn human life.

Responses from religious leaders and even some secular voices have been virulent:

Last week, Albert Mohler addressed the decision in terms that are as strong as I have ever heard from him. Mohler said that he holds President Obama personally responsible for what is truly a “reprehensible policy” and is a “violent attack on the idea of religious liberty.” He also called it a “slap in the face to religious employers.”

Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, decries the decision saying,

In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences… To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable.It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty.

Michael Gerson rails against the new law as an outright assault on religious freedom:

Christian colleges and universities of various denominations will resist providing insurance coverage for abortifacients. And the astounding ambition of this federal precedent will soon be apparent to every religious institution. Obama is claiming the executive authority to determine which missions of believers are religious and which are not — and then to aggressively regulate institutions the government declares to be secular. It is a view of religious liberty so narrow and privatized that it barely covers the space between a believer’s ears.

Obama’s decision also reflects a certain view of liberalism. Classical liberalism was concerned with the freedom to hold and practice beliefs at odds with a public consensus. Modern liberalism uses the power of the state to impose liberal values on institutions it regards as backward. It is the difference between pluralism and anti-clericalism.

The administration’s ultimate motivation is uncertain. Has it adopted a radical secularism out of conviction, or is it cynically appealing to radical secularists? In either case, the war on religion is now formally declared.

We should note that dissent is not just coming from conservatives. E. J. Dionne, one of the most liberal columnists in the country, has argued against the ruling. Even The Washington Post editorialized against the move saying that President Obama is “requiring religiously affiliated entities to spend their own money in a way that contradicts the tenets of their faith.”

Elections do have consequences. And all those who were arguing in 2008 that candidate Obama would favor policies that reduce abortions have been proven tragically wrong. Not only has he adopted policies that will expand abortions, he is favoring laws that coerce Christians into funding abortions. President Obama’s latest actions are an appalling overreach that will have sad implications for pro-life Christians. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a President open up a more radical and intrusive attack on religious liberty and on unborn human life than what we are witnessing right now.

67 Responses to President Obama’s War on Religion

  1. Ben January 31, 2012 at 2:55 am #

    In typical catholic fashion you are about three hundred years behind the times. But hey at least galileo’s excommunication was annuled eventually, so hoprfully your decendants will catch up with the rest of advanced humanity.

    Giving a crap, one way or another about abortion is a true sign of a simpleton.

    It is an irrelevant, hot button issue designed to get a rise out of people during political campaigns. Nothing more.

    • Kevin January 31, 2012 at 10:07 am #

      You, sir, are an idiot. …and THAT is more attention than your lunatic, brain-dead post deserves.

      • Rick January 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

        Don’t feed the trolls

        • Jason January 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

          ding.

      • Troyo February 1, 2012 at 2:15 am #

        That’s really uncalled for

    • John January 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

      Ben,
      As Christians we realize that abortion is the taking of innocent human life – the destruction of an individual created in the image of God. This same God told us “You shall not murder.” We take this command seriously, and we take the lives of individual humans seriously. If you are interested in learning, there are many great resources on the ethical implications of abortion from many different perspectives.

      • Melody January 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

        Amen.

  2. Justin F January 31, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    This is a tricky situation. Many universities and hospitals are faith-based run or originated, but many of the people working there do not share the faith. Or if they do, they don’t always share all the beliefs of that faith. For example, I know a couple where further pregnancies would endanger the wife’s health, but the Catholic hospital he is in residency at does not cover birth control. It’s not cheap, and they aren’t exactly rolling in cash at this point.

    So there are many people who do want the laws changed, but the question I guess is did Obama overstep his bounds. Apparently there was a general provision for this in the healthcare bill passed, but the article didn’t elaborate on what it originally said. Not sure if anyone knows and can elaborate.

    Further, this issue cuts both ways since many religious organizations overstep their legal boundaries as 501(c)(3) Organizations by practicing partisan politics. Evangelical organizations are pretty unabashedly Republican, and can toe the line on the rules about supporting candidates. Robert Jeffress anyone?

    • mark January 31, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

      Justin, I’m having trouble following your point, you might need a teleprompter. What is very clear is that it boils down to a pocket book issue, how sad!!!!

      • Justin F February 1, 2012 at 1:12 am #

        My point is that while some in the admin of these faith organizations are against these regulations, many of the employees are for them. And the employees are for these regulations for a variety of reasons, one such being the example of the couple I cited. But while many do want these organizations to cover birth control, I’m not sure Obama’s actions were the most appropriate way to handle this. It all depends on the original law that was signed into effect, and I don’t fully understand what that law covered.

        My last comment was a critique of Denny’s article. He calls this a war on religion (or religious liberty), but this issue of government overstepping its bounds in religious matters goes both ways. Religious groups frequently abuse their privileges under the law as non-profits when it comes to politics.

        I don’t know why you think my post all boils down to a pocket book issue, just because I cited one example of a couple’s financial situation? No, my bigger concern is that articles like Denny’s conflate abortifacients with late term abortions ie killing children. Do we think that aborting an early embryo and (for example a 30 week pregnancy) are the same? By what standard do we make this judgement? I think this is a bad line to draw in the sand, as it appears to have the practical effect of shutting down all discussion and preventing any real positive change in the abortion issue.

        • Denny Burk February 1, 2012 at 1:35 am #

          Justin,

          Pro-lifers really believe that those little embryos are human beings. Our deepest conviction is that every human life–from conception to natural death– ought to be welcomed into life and protected in law.

          The question that you have to answer is this. Why do you want to exclude a whole class of persons (the unborn) from the human community? Your right to life is protected by our laws. Why do you want to exclude unborn persons from that same protection? We think it is unconscionable that those lives are destroyed daily, and hardly anyone seems to notice. We think it is an unspeakable offense that we would be asked to pay for it.

          The only way your argument holds any water is if the unborn are somehow less than human. If they are human, then your argument falls and they deserve protection. Don’t you agree?

          Denny

          • Justin F February 1, 2012 at 8:53 am #

            Ironically, I do consider myself Pro-Life, while apparently you do not. And the difference was the reason for my posts. Do the embryos in fact deserve the full protection of the law as humans? I used to think so, but I’ve realized that I believed that because I was told that. I was not given a reason, and the more I’ve thought about it the more I don’t believe that it’s true. Hence my question. I’ll repeat it below because I am still looking for an answer:

            “Do we think that aborting an early embryo and (for example a 30 week pregnancy) are the same? By what standard do we make this judgement?”

            Denny, why do we consider an embryo deserving of full protection. Biblically, scientifically, philosophically, personally what is the standard or reason?

            (My personal guess, which I don’t have time to backup since I have to leave for work: I think that in general the belief that conception is the starting point for “life” originated with the faulty belief that a man’s seed contained a tiny human that was implanted in a woman’s uterus. Hence from “conception” it’s a tiny human. The cellular model of life should force us to reconsider this assumption. Again just a theory of mine.)

            Here’s why I think the embryo=human is bad for the ProLife cause. It attacks the issue at the center of the problem and stalemates the whole thing. I think we need to approach the issue from two sides. One, we need to understand socio-economic factors that lead to abortions. (not just abstinence training) And let’s reduce the need for abortions. Turning the women away at the clinic door is too late to fix a problem, we need to understand how the need for abortions can be reduced. I have not seen this one get much (if any) play in ProLife circles. Secondly, we need to bring to light the inconsistency that says an abortion can be performed essentially at any time before birth, but the moment the baby is born it’s illegal. This should be the focus, let’s get people talking about late term first. The we should work back earlier in the cycle to understand when to call the pregnancy a “human.”

          • Denny Burk February 1, 2012 at 10:24 am #

            Justin,

            There is no real disagreement among scientist about when human life begins. It begins at the completion of the conception process. Just a few examples:

            “It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and resultant mingling of the nuclear material that each brings to the union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of the life of a new individual.” (Bradley M. Patten, Human Embryology, 3rd ed., New York: McGraw Hill, 1968, page 43.)

            “Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition.” (E. L. Potter and J. M. Craig, Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant, 3rd ed., Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975, page vii.)

            Dr. Watson A. Bowes of the University of Colorado Medical School speaks clearly, when he says, “The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter – the beginning is conception.” (Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, Report, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981.)

            When do you think human life begins? Why do you want to exclude the unborn from the protection of the law? Is there any other class of persons that you think should be excluded as well?

            Denny

          • Justin F February 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

            Super long comment, I’m horrible at concise writing.

            The question wasn’t about when “life” begins, but about the embryo’s status as human. There are a few reasons for this. One “life” is a pretty vague term, and loaded with a lot of philosophical questions. (Is a virus alive? for example.) The egg and sperm are both “alive.” The cascade of events that turns a single fertilized cell into a multi-cellular human with a unique genetic code begins at conception, but “life” existed before that. In the first weeks of pregnancy, the embryo is a mass of cells not too different (with the exception of its potential) from any other mass of cells in the body. They lack consciousness, brain function, and personality. Very early in the pregnancy these things begin to develop, and at that stage is when I think we need to start thinking of the fetus as human. The inconvenient part is this stage is not a definite point but part of a continuum, hence the need for dialogue. So is an embryo a human? I don’t think so. But I do think that there is a point during pregnancy where legally a fetus should be a human.

            Repeated from earlier: They (embryos) lack consciousness, brain function, and personality. Let’s think of this in reverse. A newly dead body has all the genetic information of a unique individual, and also the fully formed body parts of a human. In the early hours of death some of these body parts still function. But brain activity and consciousness are gone, and the relation of this body to the legal code changes. It’s now a cadaver in the law’s eyes, not a human.

            My take on this meta discussion on whether an embryo is a human is that this discussion is a morally dumbfounding issue (to steal a term from Richard Beck). And by that I mean an issue where rational argument from either side is difficult/impossible. The idea of a baby being aborted is a horrific image, and in many people the horror of that image is linked to the death of an embryo. But it’s hard to make a rational argument to someone who doesn’t share that horrorible image that an embryo should be considered a human . The same is true from the other direction; it’s hard to make a rational argument why someone shouldn’t feel those emotions for the embryo. And so we are at an impasse, and the issue is “resolved” by anger, accusations, and finger pointing.

            So here’s what I think. Evangelicals should have the right to believe what we want about the sanctity of the embryo, but if we want to have a real effect on reducing the number of abortions we need to work with people who don’t share our views. If we fight only on a stalemate issue like this one, we can’t persuade others in other situations where lives could be saved. Because ultimately do we want to be right or effective?

            This article by Greg Boyd was really helpful for me.
            http://www.gregboyd.org/qa/christians-social-issues/what-is-your-stance-on-abortion/

            • Denny Burk February 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

              Justin,

              Now we’re getting somewhere. You say that an embryo is not a person until he has “consciousness, brain function, and personality.” On what basis are you putting these forward as criteria for human personhood? There are other persons who lack one or more of these qualities, and yet their lives are protected in law. Six-week old infants lack the ability to perform basic human mental functions, as do the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease. If “consciousness, brain function, and personality” are not the basis for their personhood and dignity, why do you say that it is the basis of personhood for the unborn?

              Denny

          • Justin F February 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

            Kind of bummed you didn’t discuss the second part of my comment. I’m not expecting you to change there view on this specific issue. We have different assumptions that lead us to the conclusions that we have, and those assumptions are too involved for a blog discussion. But I do want to dialogue about how we can work with people we disagree with to produce better results. I don’t think “war” terminology is productive for this.

            As to the discussion on life and personhood, you’ve put the challenge on me to clarify personhood. But you are still needed to clarify why an embryo qualifies for personhood. So far we can agree that the embryo is alive and has a unique genetic code. But these qualities could also describe plants. As another example a fresh cadaver also has a unique genetic code, and contains cells that are alive. And they also possess most of the phenotype of a person (minus a few like gross motor skills). So what’s missing?

            The model for personhood you’ve presented sounds digital. Person yes or no. On then off. I see humanity as a spectrum. You move into it during fetal development, and then fade out with death. Some things like Alzhemiers and other conditions like head trauama can reduce your humanity. You become less of “you”. The list of “human” traits I gave before was more of what makes us a human from a philosophical level (although I think brain function seems pretty critical i.e. synapses firing). But there is also a legal person, or your word personhood. What level of “humanity” is required to attain personhood? We see this question at death as well as before birth. When is a vegetative person legally dead? When do we pull the plug on someone who can’t breathe unassisted? Death is not always an easy thing to distinguish.

            My list of traits was not definitive on what constitutes this minimum (and it was a bit rushed since I typed it through lunch); it’s the start of a discussion on if there is a threshold for humanity (and then for legal personhood) and what the minimum should be.

            • Denny Burk February 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

              All the genetic material is there, and every scientist and theologian says at that point it is a HUMAN life of the species homo sapiens. Yes, it is less developed, but no less human. You act like the burden of proof is on my side. It’s not. It’s on your side to demonstrate why this less developed human being should be excluded from the human community that enjoys the protection of the law.

              A cadaver is a human being that is no longer alive. The cadaver is still a human, it’s just dead. Even so, we treat human bodies differently than we do other bodies because it is human.

              Having said that, the crucial moral difference between a live human in the womb and a dead one outside the womb is that one is alive and the other is not. Seems kind of obvious to me that a dead person would not have his right to life protected in law since he is no longer alive. I’m really not sure what the analogy is that you are pressing.

          • Justin F February 2, 2012 at 12:53 am #

            “All the genetic material is there, and every scientist and theologian says at that point it is a HUMAN life of the species homo sapiens.”

            I’m not sure what you are arguing here. Would they all agree that at conception the cell is alive and containing genetic material that will cause it to become a human? I don’t see why they would disagree. Would they all agree with you that this fertilized egg possesses the traits that would lead an observer to call it human, and then say that this fertilized egg should be legally seen as a person? Absolutely not. Your appeal to general authority appears fallacious.
            “Yes, it is less developed, but no less human. You act like the burden of proof is on my side. It’s not. It’s on your side to demonstrate why this less developed human being should be excluded from the human community that enjoys the protection of the law.”

            I thought this was a dialogue where we both presented our cases for general dissection/discussion. You presented an initial point about life beginning at conception, I explained why I believed this was not a valid argument and requested further clarification on your position. You need to define what you mean by “human”, because your definition of conception = human because the fertilized egg is alive and genetically unique is too vague. By this definition my eye is human or my leg is human. Further, if you are going to explicitly or implicitly say that women using morning after pills are killing babies, then you absolutely need to provide your reasoning for this accusation.

            But to my argument: I say that our humanity is expressed through our outer body, and the essence that makes me a “me” (personality, memory, experience, behavior, etc) is contained within the brain. I say this based on the models from the fields of neuroscience and psychology. So the early embryo is a homo sapien by genotype, but not by phenotype. At this stage the embryo is a vessel that will soon develop the homo sapien phenotypes of brain function.
            “A cadaver is a human being that is no longer alive. The cadaver is still a human, it’s just dead. Even so, we treat human bodies differently than we do other bodies because it is human.
            Having said that, the crucial moral difference between a live human in the womb and a dead one outside the womb is that one is alive and the other is not. Seems kind of obvious to me that a dead person would not have his right to life protected in law since he is no longer alive. I’m really not sure what the analogy is that you are pressing.”
            My point is that the early embryo is the vessel that will soon begin the process of becoming human as its brain develops and it will display greater and greater degrees of brain function. Alive but not yet “human”. The cadaver is the vessel remaining after the “essence” of humanity has left. It’s genetically a human that contains cells that are alive, but it’s no longer a human. Dead and no longer “human”. Again, your use of the term “alive” is too imprecise. Just because something is “alive” doesn’t grant it special privileges. Your food is/was alive, your gall bladder is alive, a fly is alive.

            Lastly, one more time to my point that has been thus far overlooked. How will ProLifers disagree with others on ideology, and yet still collaborate for the goal of reducing the number of abortions and the demand for abortions?

          • yankeegospelgirl February 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

            Our essence lies in our body? You mean you’re a physicalist?

            Do you also claim to be a Christian? Because frankly, I don’t see any logical way the physicalist position and the Christian position can co-exist.

          • Justin F February 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

            If you’d prefer, sub essence for soul and the argument still works. I don’t have the time, energy, or desire at present to debate the nature of the soul. Yes I am a Christian, no I don’t believe in the immortal soul. From my studies I believe the immortal soul (or just “soul”) is a Greek creation, not a Jewish one. I believe the Jews at the time of the bible’s writing held that our personality, consciousness, essence, etc etc was tied to our physical bodies. And modern models in psychology and neuroscience confirm this belief, so I like that synergy. Again, I don’t intend to debate this right now. It’s my beliefs; disagree, ignore, or do whatever with them. I just don’t feel like defending them today.

            I do want to finish the current discussion that I’ve written a small essay’s worth of comments on. Do you have any thoughts on that?

  3. Louis Tullo January 31, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    This is incredibly disappointing. It’s astounding to me that the same liberals who accuse conservatives of being unfair in opposing their freedoms take a self-righteous stance when violating the freedoms of the right. To see a president in some circumstances use the name of Jesus Christ and then in others issue policies and make statements that undermine his teachings is truly duplicitous.

  4. Mitzi January 31, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Many forms of oral contraceptive cost as little in generic as $1/day. Seriously. Religious institutions should not be required to violate the consciences of their members over $1/day medication. The man in residency could skip a daily soda for that, or take responsibility himself and use condoms. Birth control is cheap, and in most states pretty easily available. The “expensive” argument is moot.
    If you want to bully or persecute someone, you start with something small, that most people will not notice as hurtful. Everyone thinks the victim is being overly-sensitive, and should of course cooperate. Then you gradually turn up the heat until everyone watches you torture the person and does nothing, or blames the victim. It has happened too many times in human history to be tolerated in a country that has promised unprecedented freedom to millions. Thanks for the blog post.

  5. Rick January 31, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Troll alert.

  6. Shifter January 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Does this really surprise anyone? We all knew this would happen coming into this presidency. I’m surprised it took him 3 years to do it. Three years ago in his first few days as president made it possible for us to send foreign “aid” for abortions. “It is time we end the politicization of this issue,” Obama said. “In the coming weeks, my administration will initiate a fresh conversation on family planning, working to find areas of common ground to best meet the needs of women and families at home and around the world.” I think we all thought something different than grave sites when we heard “common ground.”

  7. Christiane January 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Archbishop Dolan is ‘conservative’, but he is not pushing any political agenda here. He is a strong voice, being president of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops,
    but he is not ‘authoritative’.
    So some read his letter and think, ‘Catholics are Republicans’.
    Well, don’t assume that.
    There are other voices in the Church, and they have spoken to politicians openly, loudly, and clearly. They are not ‘authoritative’ as ‘the voice of the Church’, no, but they also explain to politicians something from the witness of a Church that has a well developed social theology.
    Here is an example of their voice in a letter to John Boehner: ““Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the Church’s most ancient moral teachings”
    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/05/11/165423/catholic-scholars-letter-boehner/?mobile=nc

    You might think: ‘these Catholics are Democrats’. Don’t assume this.

    In the end, each person who is Catholic votes according to conscience, and it is formed by much more than anyone’s political agenda.

  8. Matt January 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Obama is a real piece of work.

    He doesnt even understand what this country was founded upon and yet we made him president.

    For the morons that supported him, congrats.

  9. Doug January 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    Denny:

    I agree with your assessment that this is troubling. However, it should not be unexpected nor surprising. To me, the key statement is “a regulation that will force religious organizations to pay for abortions”. The country has long-tolerated laws and regulations that force ______ to pay for _______. So there is a sort of consistency in this policy.

    It can be argued that abortion is “different” because it deals with the right to life, as opposed to other government mandates. I would make that argument myself.

    I have one question, though, because I don’t believe the argument in the last paragraph of your post necessarily follows the more general criticism of this policy. And that question is: has the abortion rate increased, decreased, or remained relatively unchanged since Obama took office?

    I know that such a correlation would not necessarily imply a causal relationship (just as any such change would also not necessarily be causally related to the last President). One could expect that the “effects” of Obama’s abortion policy would not be seen for at least several years. In other words, maybe we can’t know yet whether Obama has enacted “policies that reduce abortions” or not. But if we can’t empircally know that the reduce abortions, neither can we empirically state they’ve increased them, either. I agree that it is logical to assume the funding mandate would increase the number of abortions, but that’s not the same as showing that it actually did. Nor does it consider that there may be another policy that reduces the incidence of abortion leading to an overall reduction.

    But I think step one in figuring that out is looking at the trend, which includes knowing the abortion rate during this administration.

    • Jason January 31, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

      I’m not sure how valuable a statistical drop in the abortion rate would be if the legal landscape and the social milleu would be less supportive of life. The abortion rate is zero if everyone is dead.

  10. BDW January 31, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Ultimately, this is about how broadly-defined religious exemptions to laws should be. There was an exemption here; it was just not defined broadly enough to satisfy some, specifically the Catholic Church which has hospitals and universities that are not exactly pervasively religious.

    It’s too bad that conservative Christians did not speak out in favor of the Hawaii compromise position put forth by Melissa Rogers and others. Had conservatives embraced that idea, I suspect the outcome would have been different.

    That was a fine solution that would have protected the conscience claims of institutions opposed to birth control and guaranteed that individuals desiring contraceptive coverage did not have their rights and conscience claims infringed either.

    • Jason January 31, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      The solution was the clause within the HI law. This is a declaration ex cathedra from our President. What is the parallel in this situation with that one?

  11. donsands January 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Can Obama really make it so that Saint Agnes Hospital, here in Baltimore, which does not have abortions, will indeed have to abort babies?

    I can’t believe this to be true. if it is, then we simply need to refuse, and stand on the truth, and on the US Constituion. I would refuse. Period.

  12. Paul January 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Denny, can you tell me what percent of the time birth control pills act as abortifacients vs. when they do their job correctly and prevent the egg from dropping in the first place? Without that number, a large chunk of this post is nothing more than chicken little screaming that the sky is falling.

    And of course, since you’re claiming that the pill = abortion, you’ve got everyone wondering when abortions are going to start being performed at places that don’t provide them when we all know that such a thing is not going to happen.

    I agree with EJ Dionne that this shouldn’t have been put around the necks of religious organizations that don’t agree with perfectly rational forms of birth control. I’m not defending Obama on this one.

    But, seriously…the pill is one and the same as getting an abortion? That’s ridiculous.

    • Denny Burk February 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

      Paul,

      I never said that the pill equals abortion. I said that the law requires faith groups to pay for abortificients like Plan B. The primary mechanism of an abortificient is to cause a spontaneous miscarriage, which is a form of abortion because it intentionally kills an unborn person.

      Birth control pills are more complicated. They work through three mechanisms: (1) they suppress ovulation, (2) they thicken the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from making it through, (3) and they thicken the lining of the uterus to make it impossible for the embryo to implant.

      The first two mechanisms are actually contraceptive; they prevent conception. It’s the third mechanism that is abortifacient. The vast majority of the time, the pill prevents contraception through the first two mechanisms. In a small percentage of cases, the first two mechanisms fail and the third one comes into play. In those cases, the pill works as an abortifacient.

      Even though the third mechanism is rare, there is no way to know when the pill is acting as a contraceptive and when it is acting as an abortifacient. We just know that some percentage of the time (however small) the pill causes a spontaneous miscarriage (i.e., it’s abortifacient).

      Roman Catholics oppose all birth control methods (even those that prevent conception). Pro-life Protestants are divided on the use of birth control methods, but they are in agreement that abortifacients are ethically wrong.

      For more information on this, check the Physician’s Desk Reference or read about it on the website of the American Pregnancy Association.

      Denny

  13. Paul January 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    By the way, it’s absolutely hilarious that your readers have done the following…

    A few posts below this, a tear jerking story offering proof that every life is worth living, no matter the struggle. No responses.

    But, now, OBAMA is going to kill all of the little babies by making the pill more readily available!!!! And it’s got a flood of responses.

    Anything to paint the black guy in a negative light…

    • yankeegospelgirl January 31, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

      “Racist, racist, nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah….”

      • Paul January 31, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

        hey, y’all right wingers are the ones that don’t celebrate life and only complain when the black president does something you don’t like.

        And since there was no tea party when Bush was spending even more than Obama is, one has to wonder the real motivation. Why didn’t we feel the need to “take the country back” from the good ol’ boy?

        • yankeegospelgirl January 31, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

          I thought Bush’s economics were terrible.

          • Paul February 1, 2012 at 11:55 am #

            Sure. But you weren’t out in the streets trying to take the country back from him. What gives?

          • yankeegospelgirl February 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

            No, but I was lamenting the fact that I couldn’t conjure up a replacement Republican with spine and sense.

        • JohnnyM February 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

          The Tea Party was birthed during TARP which was under Bush. If you remember, there was a lot of heat from the conservative base not to pass TARP. It actually failed to pass the first time in the House because of this pressure.

          The Tea Party was not a reaction to Obama, it was a reaction to out-of-control spending and bailing out the bad actors which started under Bush and continued under Obama.

          • Paul February 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

            The Tea Party might have STARTED with a reasonable ideology, but by the time we got to the 2010 elections, it was the hotbed for birthers, Sharon Angle and signs decrying education spending with misspelled words on them. And I don’t remember hearing cries of “take our country back” until they were trying to take it back from the one of these that’s not like the other ones.

  14. donsands January 31, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    “I’m not defending Obama on this one.”

    Sounds like you are. Obama wants abortion to be 100% sure. He is the only Senator to vote against the “Born Alive Act”. I will give him the nod for staying true to his convictions that if a baby is to be killed, even if the killing is botched, we still need to kill this baby, so put it in a closet, and let it die.
    The man could not have a harder heart, could he Paul?

    • Paul January 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

      I’m not. When I first read about this (this is actually kind of old news), my first thought was that this will not bode well for Catholic Charities and other faith based businesses that are actually doing lots of good in the community. Obama didn’t think it through, and at the very least, a clearly defined religious exemption should have been implemented into the language of the order.

      I really hope we don’t see a repeat of what happened in Illinois with adoption cases once IL ruled (rightly) that gay couples could adopt. The Catholic church, which had handled the lion’s share of adoptions in IL simply got out of the business. No good. If that happens again, now on a much larger basis, it will be bad news for far too many people.

    • Christiane January 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

      well, I’ve had it with the ‘hearts’ (?) of any politicians who have USED the abortion issue to further other agendas . . .

      those ‘other agendas’ ? everyone knows what they are and who will benefit, and let’s face it, it won’t be children, or anyone who hasn’t got clout and big money to speak for them.

      I’ve had enough.

  15. JStanton January 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    The results of the midterms in 2010 allowed many conservative-dominated legislatures to pursue laws restricting abortions in some way. This executive order allows Obama to deliver something for his pro-abortion voters who have been angered by this.

    I’m surprised by the wailing and gnashing of teeth. This is a war for hearts and minds.

    The work gets harder but it continues.

    We can see this by the failures to pass personhood amendments in certain states. This will be a challenge.

  16. Ma B January 31, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Apparently, Paul is under the impression that the pill is the pill is the pill. There are a great many contraceptive meds out there in different hormone combinations and dosages. Each is designed to interfere with a woman’s reproductive cycle at a different point and in different levels. Some are used just to regulate a woman’s cycle to relieve severe dysmenoria … or to get more regularity in a cycle that is either very, very irregular …, or almost constant, … These meds are part of the class of contraception meds, but, for all intents and purposes, they are used to treat ILLNESS, not pregnancy and, frequently, are a first step in IMPROVING FERTILITY. No religious-based medical facility would ever hesitate to use them to benefit a patient.
    The one’s in contention here, are used to cause a FERTILIZED EGG to fail.
    When Paul has to sit through the night holding a woman weeping for her aborted child, let him THEN tell us that this is a non-issue.

  17. Jason January 31, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    “I’m not.”

    Your first move was to pull the race card. Too late for take backs. No one believes you.

    • Paul February 1, 2012 at 11:56 am #

      actually, it was my fourth or fifth move. So, until you can learn to count, just stay out of the way.

      kthxbye.

  18. Jason January 31, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Paul,

    “And of course, since you’re claiming that the pill = abortion”

    Read it again.

    • Paul February 1, 2012 at 11:57 am #

      Denny has claimed that the pill causes abortions. Therefore, the pill = abortions. Read the whole of the text, not just the parts you like.

      • Christiane February 1, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

        I think the term is ‘abortifacient’ (sp?)

        you might be able to convince a majority of our country to work to repeal Roe v. Wade,
        but just go and try to take the pill away from the women of the country . . . there you will run into some heavy opposition from those who don’t agree that taking the pill is equivalent to having an abortion;
        or for that matter, that an IUD is the same as having an abortion . . .

        People don’t get the argument . . . it seems extreme to them.

  19. Troy February 1, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    Mr. Burk you made the statement “The President rolled out a regulation that will force religious organizations to pay for abortions.” to support your claim that the President has a war on religion. But you arrived at this because Obamacare “requires faith-based hospitals and universities to provide birth-control without a co-pay.” That really isn’t the same. The law now says that not just faith-base hospitals, but ALL hospitals, must provide birth control without a co-pay. And you turned it into Obama hates Jesus! Faith-based hospitals/doctors don’t need to prescribe birth control to patients if they don’t want to. A physician is required by law to do everything in his/her power to save the patient, not to give them any medicine they want. If any hospital has a clear stand on not prescribing birth control, including abortion pills, they don’t have to give it to patients without a copay. And health insurance, for those insure, would pay for the cost of the drug. You made an inflamatory comment without proper basis, sir. The rest of the article simply goes on about the reaction of Christians about the law. Can you please go on and do some research on what this law entails and then write a proper arguement about it? Come up with a better conclusion about Obamas war on religion, perhaps. Otherwise you are writting no more than a story that would be seen on Yahoo news that is not well researched and is really misleading. I am not here to attack you, but you are misrepresenting the news, taking things out of context. This is not an “A” article by the standars of your Seminary. Please pick up one of those Style Manuals from the bookstore, and try again. You have a political statement to make; a very important one, that needs to be talked about. Please make it clearly and properly if you mean to educate us about prescribing birth control, prescribing abortion pills, the doctors’ requirement to prescribe drugs to patients, and if those requirements apply to doctors who work in faith-based hospitals. Then please make a clear connection from dot to dot to inform us. Otherwise the arguement is clear “Conservative against liberal, Obama is the devil. End of story.” One person made a comment that it boils down to whether or not the President overstepped his boundaries by making this law. And still the following comment came from someone who dismissed the point. Please inform your audience. Whether this is your blog or your pulpit, your profession requires you to do so. Are you against all birth control? I know some Christians are completely against it and find them to be methods of abortion. There are so many ways your could’ve handled your article and its supportive argument. Some of the comments go into more detail as to why Obama is against abortion than you did. This is dissapointing from someone in your position who has the power to bring about change. Don’t you see pro-abortionist are reading you posts?

  20. Gabe February 1, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    I know this is off-topic, but has anyone seen the articles on saidatsouthern in the student section posted by “My Name IS Daniel Spratlin”?? I can’t even make out what his posts are even about. He stopped posting on here a while back, and then he came back posting some really weird stuff

    • Gabe February 1, 2012 at 10:18 am #

      Just like the most recent one he posted titled, “Can we really extinguish the self confidence to help make success on the strict journey?” I dare anyone to try and read that

      • Paul February 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

        I think Gabe is Daniel Spratlin.

        • Gabe February 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

          Nope. Seriously, I wonder why he even posts on saidatsouthern any longer. His recent articles are flat out bizzare and have nothing at all to do with Christianity.

  21. Brad February 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    I find this article to be a tad extreme. Perhaps you could clarify a few things:

    Are not those hospitals funded by the government? If they want to not follow federal (which albeit, are secular) laws by providing contraception to their employees, why don’t they just stop accepting government funding?

    And the abortifacient you’re speaking of – it’s not Plan B (or anything similar) is it? Because that does not cause an abortion; it merely prevents the egg from being fertilized. Scientists agree with this.

    I don’t intend to be hostile in this comment, I merely am just wondering if these points were considered in the writing of this article.

    • Denny Burk February 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

      It does cover Plan B which is an abortifacient. Plan B works to prevent embryos from implanting in the lining of the uterine wall.

  22. Jim February 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    For the wizards of smart that believe a person only becomes a person with brain, conscience, etc.. maybe you should take a look at a 4 week old or 8 week old child who was lost due to miscarriage. I can assure you that it has a body, head, 2 legs, 2 arms. Funny how the same people that deny that a life will go out of their way to protect a mother whale , or other creature that carry an infant life. I bet any money if they themselves could see their own pre-birth with the knowledge that their mother had decided to take their life that they would do anything to talk her out of an abortion..

  23. shannon February 6, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    As a wise man once said ” all those in favor of abortions, are born already!”

    I think its absolutely preposterous to deny that a living soul is formed at conception. I also find it complelty insane to look at an ultrasound at 6 weeks and see a tiny fetus jumping around with a heartbeat and deny that its not alive. How is it that a man can murder his 8 month pregnant wife, be charged with 2 murders, and get convicted? Because everyone knows that a living soul in that womb! At 7 months is a baby dies inside the mother for reasons other than abortion, a death certificate is issued.

    You can argue, get philosophical, regurgitate all your doctorate drama and education, but bottom line is, God created you, and He didn’t value your life any less in the womb than he does here and now, the only difference is, you were given the right to be here by being born, and although you were given that right, you want to deny it to others….

    How nice!

  24. Wanda February 7, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    All this discussion of whether an embryo is human or not, please people. I’ve seen my child’s heart beating just 2 weeks old. I didn’t give birth to an animal, he’s a beautiful young man today.

    Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that God knows us before He forms us in the womb. Psalm 139:13-16 speaks of God’s active role in our creation and formation in the womb. Exodus 21:22-25 prescribes the same penalty—death—for someone who causes the death of a baby in the womb as for someone who commits murder.

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