The President Is Not Telling the Truth

Yesterday, President Obama issued an “accommodation” to religious employers who object to that portion of Obamacare that forces them to pay for contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortions. In his statement (view it above), the President claims,

Under the rule, women will still have access to free preventive care that includes contraceptive services -– no matter where they work.  So that core principle remains.  But if a woman’s employer is a charity or a hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan, the insurance company -– not the hospital, not the charity -– will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge, without co-pays and without hassles.

The result will be that religious organizations won’t have to pay for these services, and no religious institution will have to provide these services directly.  Let me repeat:  These employers will not have to pay for, or provide, contraceptive services.  But women who work at these institutions will have access to free contraceptive services, just like other women, and they’ll no longer have to pay hundreds of dollars a year that could go towards paying the rent or buying groceries.

These two paragraphs are impossible to reconcile. In the first paragraph, employers are required to pay for health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortion. In the second paragraph, “religious organizations won’t have to pay for these services.” The President claims the “preventative” services will be free. But everyone knows that a removal of a co-pay doesn’t make the coverage free. It merely means that the cost is absorbed into the premiums that employers have to pay. Obamacare still requires employers to pay for these services one way or the other.

The President is not telling the truth when he says that “religious organizations won’t have to pay for these services.” They plainly will.

For this reason, the President’s solution is a transparent farce. The President may have mollified his allies on the left with this charade, but he has done nothing to “accommodate” those whose most deeply held religious beliefs are under assault by this law. Obamacare is no less a threat to religious liberty now than it was before he made the announcement.

The President and his allies think that they have put this controversy behind them. They are sorely mistaken.

38 Responses to The President Is Not Telling the Truth

  1. Howard February 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Dear Denny,

    The one thing you must remember is that all men are liars and that this ailment hits politicians especially hard. We are deeply in a culture where everything is spin when it comes to “the truth”.

  2. Don Johnson February 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    For Obama to actually state this, he believes it is true, but it just shows how detached from reality he really is.

    The emperor has no clothes!

  3. yankeegospelgirl February 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    Or it could just be a bald-faced lie.

  4. donsands February 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    How about this dialogue as concerning this whole thing? http://www.npr.org/2012/02/10/146709343/week-in-politics-birth-control-and-the-primaries

    Thanks for staying on top of this essential issue bro.

    Have a great Lord’s Day! May your time in worship be edifying for your people, and you.

  5. Paula February 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Fox New’s Kirsten Powers said it was, “liberal Catholics… and people who support Obama on pretty much everything saying this was not okay.”

    Which might explain why Obama thinks this faux compromise gives him cover. As usual, he’s only hearing from his liberal echo chamber.

  6. JStanton February 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Do any of you see this as a political winner? I do not. It seems to me that it’s irrelevant if the President has put the issue behind him or not. I think the days of Republicans winning Presidential elections on social issues are pretty much over.

    If anything, Obama has heightened the differences between social conservatives and the general public on the basic issue of contraception. Unless more of the public begins to see contraception as equivalent to abortion and thus a bad thing then I do not think this will last as an issue deep into the campaign. We shall see.

    • Denny Burk February 11, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

      We have to take a principled stand on this issue even if it’s not a “political winner.” This issue is too important not to. The federal government will be requiring Christians to fund abortions. This truly is the biggest threat to religious liberty in a generation.

  7. Andrew McClurg February 11, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    The general playbook might be: do something utlra-radical and then back off slightly to make it look like you have “compromised.” The final result is still radical, but you can appear to be moderate.

  8. Christiane February 11, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Denny, what are the facts ?

    What ‘lies’ are you specifically accusing the President of? And where is your proof?

    • Denny Burk February 11, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

      I said nothing about anyone lying.

      • yankeegospelgirl February 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

        Not in so many words, but you pointed out what should be a perfectly obvious internal inconsistency in the President’s words which leads to the conclusion that he is either really stupid or lying.

  9. Bruce H. February 11, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Having the employee pay the “hundreds of dollars” per year would be more of a deterrent than offering it as a free service. Seems that it is more devilish to give it away.

  10. Justin F February 12, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    There is still the issue of not all people who work for these organizations hold these religious beliefs. Not all doctors, office workers, etc believe that it is morally wrong to use the morning after pill and/or contraceptives. So they are being denied access to affordable birth control because of their employers’ religious beliefs. We need to work out a better solution than this so that both parties have their rights protected. And this all or nothing attitude that the southern baptists and catholics are showing does not help this discussion. You can’t expect people who do not hold your religious beliefs to abide by your religious convictions.

    You may think it’s evil, but if someone is planning to terminate the pregnancy wouldn’t you rather they do it with a contraceptive rather than later with a procedure. At least in the earlier stage prior to implantation the baby doesn’t suffer.

    • yankeegospelgirl February 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

      Even setting aside the moral evil of this (and I’m sorry, but this is evil), think about the sheer economic perniciousness of it all. It’s economics by magic. Let’s change it to something innocuous: Imagine for a moment if the President decided every child in America should have access to orange juice. That’s still simply waving a magic wand and declaring something to be “free” by fiat, when there IS no such thing as a free lunch. This is very, very dangerous, pernicious, and ultimately unsustainable.

      • Justin F February 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

        Birth control is far cheaper than an abortion procedure, which is why the insurance companies would be in favor of promoting it. They get to charge the same in premiums, and pay out less in claims. I don’t think the economics of the situation support your argument.

        And again, there is the issue of forcing employees to abide by the employer’s religious convictions. You may call this “evil”, but I disagree and call this a moral “grey” zone. Catholics don’t think contraception is a grey area, they think it’s evil in all forms. But most protestants don’t have a problem with all contraceptives. In the instance of the morning after pill, the SBC draws the line and calls this evil. But there are still more Christians who don’t think the morning after pill is evil, and draw the line further in the pregnancy. So whose absolute standard of “evil” do we force on the masses? Or do we recognize that people will differ, and should have the freedom to practice their different beliefs? Hence, grey zone.

        So I think catholics and the SBC should not have to violate their convictions. But they don’t get to impose their beliefs on the masses either, they get a voice in the discussion but not the final say. So if the workers want to have access to birth control through their insurance, then they also get a voice in the general discussion.

        • yankeegospelgirl February 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

          In this scenario, there are actual lives at stake. These drugs are administered with no consideration of the time of month in which they are taken. The assumption is that women seeking contraceptives don’t want to get pregnant, regardless of the risk or the cost. There’s one drug in particular called Ella which can have lingering effects beyond “the morning after” and cause miscarriages. Its chemical cousin is RU-486, a known abortifacient.

          • Justin F February 13, 2012 at 12:13 am #

            Again, the Catholic would also argue that lives are at stake and contraceptives should not be used. And a more moderate view would say that the early embryo is not yet a person, because at this point, the embryo has not yet begun to express the full phenotype of a human. So again, a grey area that Christians do not agree on.

            So what do we do? Do we keep demanding that everyone accept our moral standards? I don’t see this ever happening, the views in America are too diverse on this issue for a multitude of reasons. So while the stalemate continues, the status quo reigns, and abortions will continue as they do today. Instead of this, do we quit demonizing “pro-choicers” and “liberals”, and actually try to work together to reduce the demand for abortions? I see this as a much more fruitful venture, one that will reduce the number of abortions that occur.

          • Jason February 14, 2012 at 3:33 am #

            Justin,

            “And a more moderate view”

            Nonsense. That’s a view that betrays a lack of commitment or thought or both. The embryo is a human being at a stage of development, no different in kind than any person who has ever walked the earth, only different in degree, which we could say of any of us (I am neither an embryo nor 90 years old, but I was a person when I was an embryo and I will be a person if I live to 90).

            Again, Justin, the fact that people disagree says absolutely nothing about the substance, or utter lack, of the points of the disagreement. You still have no point.

            “Do we keep demanding that everyone accept our moral standards?”

            What, EXACTLY, are laws? What, EXACTLY is our President trying to do RIGHT NOW?

            “ry to work together to reduce the demand for abortions? I see this as a much more fruitful venture, one that will reduce the number of abortions that occur.”

            Let’s hear some details.

          • Justin F February 14, 2012 at 8:38 am #

            Denny,

            Am I the only one being Modded? Why? Other people are repeated posting on me before I can even get a response up.

            Jason,

            You are not adding to the conversation, all you are doing is jumping to all of my posts and dismissing without actually engaging them. On most of these posts I am not discussing whether or not an embryo is a “person”, but just pointing out the fact that there are in fact Christians who do no hold that the view that life begins at conception. I do engage that question in yet another post you have not yet found (keep going! I’ll give you a treasure map). You may disagree with the view, but other people hold it. And stop assuming that everyone who disagrees with you is lazy, stupid, or evil.

            And the reducing abortion question, you seem to have an accusing tone. I’m trying to spark debate on this because I think it gets overlooked. Most prolife debate I’ve seen only seems to want to legislate abortions. If we are serious about Prolife then we need to also be talking about abortion reduction.

            For example, what’s the connection between abortion and economic status? How can we improve that?

          • yankeegospelgirl February 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

            Oh I get it. You’re one of those types who likes the “safe, legal and rare” soundbite.

            And if I hear ONE MORE person pull out the “anti-demonizing” schlock, I’m going to bash my head against the wall. Seriously. Words cannot describe how thoroughly sick and tired I am of that line.

        • Andrew McClurg February 13, 2012 at 11:50 am #

          As long as the government is defining “health” as the absence of pregnancy, which it appears to be doing, the precedent set here will possibly lead in the future to compelling companies to fund later term abortions for employees. And since when is a baby a disease?

          Birth control can be handled just like any other elective health benefit for which employees pay added fees. Those who want birth control (and abortifacient) coverage can pay an extra amount (usually minor compared to what the company is shelling out for their basic health coverage).

  11. Jason February 13, 2012 at 1:57 am #

    “there is the issue of forcing employees to abide by the employer’s religious convictions.”

    This is confused. If you are going to isolate a particular instance of anyone forcing anyone to do anything, and purport to be concerned about it, then you must defer above all to being concerned for the government to force its own ethical concerns upon everyone in the country in utter deference to their own religious convictions. Yes, I understand, you don’t think that this is a big deal, and, yes, I understand that “many people” also don’t think that it is a big deal, but this is not how government and law works. What you don’t seem to understand is that if the government can force persons to do things which are in clear opposition to their religious convictions (let me once again ask the question: are “morning after pills EVER prescribed for any purpose other than preventing the implantation of a viable embryo, i.e. an abortion? No.) in spite of the first amendment, then the government can demand absolutely anything out of anybody.

    “Or do we recognize that people will differ, and should have the freedom to practice their different beliefs? Hence, grey zone.”

    This is really poorly considered. There are people who will differ on everything. For you to be consistent, that makes EVERYTHING a grey zone. If “Christians” believe that abortion is OK, does that make it so? Does it make them Christians? If I call myself the king of the world, or a washing machine, does it make it so? You must become much more conversant with the details of these points of view and those who propagate them before you can assess their “gray”ness.

    “But they don’t get to impose their beliefs on the masses either, they get a voice in the discussion but not the final say.”

    So no employer can have any say in the character or demonstrable convictions of their employees, or the condition of their employment? Who are “the masses” other than those who are employed by these groups? Why should the groups hire anyone who does not hold to their convictions? But more importantly, and missing in your assessment is that it is the government who is forcing this on the masses. How do you miss this?

    • Justin F February 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      Jason,

      What you don’t seem to understand from my comment is my point about the tension between individual beliefs and public policy. In our system, individuals and companies do not always get to impose their beliefs on others. Sometimes yes, sometimes no, but these lines are frequently blurry, hence the frequency of lawsuits and public disputes. It’s not a static line, these things are always changing. But the individuals and companies lobby their representatives and these representatives take the arguments of their base and create laws that they think best fit the needs of society. And these laws are “imposed” on everyone. No taxation without representation.

      So if I want my health coverage at Religious Hospital to include birth control, I should be able to lobby my rep for it. It’s up to my rep to decide if this is best for society.

      As to the greyness. If you poll Catholics it’s black and white. If you poll evangelicals it’s black and white. If you poll the larger group we call Christians, you don’t have a definitive view on this issue. Hence, greyness.

      How did I miss all your points? It’s probably because I’m an idiot or something.

      • Jason February 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

        “In our system, individuals and companies do not always get to impose their beliefs on others”

        This still leaves you saying nothing at all about the matter. You are speaking in meaningless generalities, and yet we are addressing a particular matter with peculiar details. As far as I can see, in the entirety of your assessment you are completely ignoring the first amendment. In your overtly postmodern exposition on our legal system, it is necessary for you to include the beginning of the bill of rights, as that is the question at hand.

        But I, frankly, don’t think the rest of your thoughts on the matter make any sense, either.

        Even accepting your premise, how does this amorphous “tension” result in anything? Someone get’s their way, right? Why not the employer? It is their money, their investment, their rear-ends on the line, not the employee, right? On what basis can you say that the employee must get their way, apart from the ex cathedra declaration from HHS and the Obama Administration (here is where you insert the first amendment.)?

        “So if I want my health coverage at Religious Hospital to include birth control, I should be able to lobby my rep for it. It’s up to my rep to decide if this is best for society.”

        Sure you should be able to lobby your “rep” (?) for it, but as the business is paying for a chunk of it, and the rep is, ostensibly, paid by the employer, how, EXACTLY is the employer excluded from the discussion? In fact, how, EXACTLY is the employer not allowed to be final arbiter in much of this decision making process, as, again, it is they who are on the line, and not the employee?

        “As to the greyness. If you poll Catholics it’s black and white”

        Please, read what I first wrote. The fact that people disagree on something, or don’t know how to feel about it, may be just as attributable to poor logic, shallow meditation, or just mental laziness. You STILL aren’t considering the details of the matter. Until you address the material facets of this matter, you don’t have a discernible point, unless your point is, “everything’s relative”, and, if so, why bother arguing for relativism?

        • Justin F February 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

          Jason,

          “Rep” means representative, not drug rep. That was the context of my usage of the word in the previous paragraphs. And yes I was speaking in generalities on this post, but I’ve already written a great deal on this issue in posts that Denny’s made. I was trying to write something new, instead of endlessly repeating myself.

          I was trying to discuss how public policy is based on compromise. Everyone gives up a little, and the hope is that we all benefit to some degree. You are describing a zero-sum game in which I only win when you lose. Public policy does not have to be zero sum.

          I’m also tired of the condescending attitude, not everyone who disagrees with you is lazy, evil, or ignorant. Disagree all you want, but if you can’t be polite then I’m done.

          • Jason February 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

            Still don’t see a point, your protests don’t help. So go ahead and repeat yourself previous insights for the benefit of those who don’t follow everything you’ve ever written.

          • Paula February 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

            Yes, public policy is based on compromise. The pedophile must compromise and give up child molestation because as a society, we have decided that sexual abuse of minor children is wrong and harmful. Before Roe v. Wade in 1973, abortion was illegal in many places because many states weighed the issue and determined that it was the child murderers who should compromise rather than the babies who had done nothing wrong. It’s not always a 50/50 proposition where each side gets half of what they want and everyone goes home somewhat happy. When something is morally wrong, there are times to draw lines in the sand.

        • yankeegospelgirl February 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

          Can I get an AAAAAAMen?

  12. John Thomson February 13, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    Hi Denny

    On another topic altogether – what about a conservative response to all these blogs attacking Piper’s talk on masculinity that are invading the web?

  13. Dillon February 13, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    What I fear, or better suspect, is that the contraceptive issue is simply a ruse. As it with politics they will generally make an enormous issue out of something to let it lead to somewhere else. What path this is going to lead to is what we should fear. That doesn’t discount what’s happening now because it’s huge – where is it going though?

    • Bruce H. February 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      Dillon,

      On a different political thought, the pedophile issue is one everyone despises. When we hear of this we are “obligated” by the government through our conscience to turn them in to law enforcement. The government employees in these cases use Romans 13 to encourage Christians to turn in people they come in contact with who have done this. A new law is being crafted to make “everyone” legally responsible to turn in the “criminal” with no exceptions. That includes the pastors. This law can be used against the church in the future as the government gets more involved in the churches business. We better get ready for this as the groundwork is being prepared under the pretense of “protecting children”. Keep in mind, if the people of the church begin to think they have to turn people in because of Romans 13 you will have confusion in the church and we will not be trusting of each other as we are suppose to. All the government needs to do is create a law against what we believe and so called Christians will one day be required to turn in another Christian. We are not there yet but it is coming.

  14. Nate February 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    I commented about this on another thread last week and I think it bears repeating. As long as healthcare is tied to employers the government is going to be able to keep their hands deep into the issue. The American people has been so accustomed to believe that employers (or the governmrent) are responsible for providing healthcare that they have ceded their liberty to them over this issue.

    We don’t expect our employers to provide car insurance, homeowners/rental insurance, or life insurance to us, so why have we given away our freedom over health insurance. If individuals purchased health insurance just like they do most every other form of insurance this would be an non-issue.

    Employees are fooled if they think that employers have their best interests in mind with health-care. Most employers only offer one, maybe two options and they force employees into all kinds of moral and ethical quandries that would not take place if the individual was purchasing their insurance.

    Futhermore, the government would not be able to get their greedy and immoral fingers into it and don’t think for a moment that health-care providers don’t like having the government dictate that individuals have to buy coverage they don’t need or don’t want.

    If your employer wasn’t providing your healhcare (or offsetting some of the cost) that money could go to you in compensation. Has anyone ever wondered how their employer could claim it costs them like 5,000-7,000 per employee to offer their coverage to you at a discounted rate?

    Have you ever priced individual coverage? Health-care tied to employers has elevated costs substantially beyond what the free-market would pay if health-care had to compete for individuals.

    • JohnnyM February 14, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      while I agree that health insurance should not be tied to employment, the idea that the government would not get their greedy and immoral fingers into health care were this the case is laughable.

      The government already wants EVERYONE to buy insurance or pay a penalty. And guess what, if you have issue with paying for contraception or abortifacients, you have no opt out because the President has said all insurance companies must provide this.

  15. Nate February 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Can’t believe my other comment was modded..

    Essentially what I said was that as long as the American public continues to allow health-care to be controlled by their employers the government will keep their fingers deep into it. We don’t expect employers to provide car ins, homeowners ins, or life ins., so why do we so easily forfiet our ability in the market on healthcare by allowing employers and government to tell us what kind of coverage we need.

  16. Jason February 14, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    I’m not going to sift through multiple posts looking for your purported point with the assumption that you have one. Tell me here why I’m wrong about the embryo being fully human. Until I see something other than autonomic postmodernism from you I just don’t see any reason to think that you have really considered this at all.

    And let’s hear some details about how to have this fruitful conversation. I predict that, for you, this is code for giving up all scruples and doing things your way, which, from the baby’s perspective is anything but fruitful. But you now have an opportunity to share a point and demonstrate your diplomatic magnificence in laying out the fruitful roadmap and prove me wrong. Go ahead.

  17. Jason February 14, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    There is no connection between economics and abortions. None. Stop making up crises so that it appears you care about babies being aborted.

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