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seafan's Journal
Posted by seafan in General Discussion
Thu Feb 02nd 2012, 01:02 PM
From today's Tampa Bay Times editorial staff: (Formerly the St. Petersburg Times)

February 2, 2012

Marco Rubio (AP)

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio believes that women who work for religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and charities should be subject to a religious agenda as a condition of their employment. The Florida Republican introduced a bill this week that would allow any employer with religious objections to avoid covering contraception in its employee health insurance plan. Rubio claims this would promote religious liberty. But whose? Certainly not the religious liberty of female employees. Rubio's bill, which has 20 co-sponsors including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is an attempt to extend religious dictates beyond the confines of churches and religious orders and impose them on a secular staff.

Rubio is taking the side of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops against the Obama administration over a so-called "refusal clause," an exemption to the contraception requirement offered to religious entities as a nod to church-state separation under the Affordable Care Act. After the administration determined that free contraception would be part of the basic package of mandatory preventative health care coverage, the bishops demanded an expanded "refusal clause" not just for employees of churches which the administration granted but any affiliated organization. Under the bishops' formulation, teachers at parochial schools, social workers at religious adoption agencies and nurses at hospitals that are religiously affiliated would be denied a key health care protection.

The administration rightly turned down the bishops last month, although it did delay for one year the requirement that religiously affiliated employers include contraception in health coverage without an out-of-pocket cost. But Rubio's bill would overrule the Health and Human Services Department with language so expansive that it would allow any employer, whether formally associated with a religion or not, to deny contraceptive coverage in its health care plan on the basis of a religious belief.

Rubio is gaining political points with Catholic leaders such as Bishop Robert Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, who has been threatening to drop health insurance for the diocese's approximately 2,300 employees if the mandate stands. In a letter, Lynch mistakenly claims this is a matter of church-state separation. But when the Catholic Church decides to offer a range of secular services through hospitals, schools and charities that serve clients of any faith; hires professionals without regard to religion; and takes public money such as Medicare, it does not have a right to impose religious tenets on those employees. Church-state separation protects the practice of a faith from government interference, not other endeavors that happen to be associated with a religious entity.


Another nail in the coffin for Rubio's premeditated grasp for very high power.

Who IS Marco Rubio?

In addition to being funded by the Koch brothers and directed by puppet master Jeb Bush, Rubio is
but another example of the pain that right wing extremists, steeped in ideological meanness and enforced austerity, will force onto people, against their will.

Another prime example is U. S. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL).

U. S. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) Photo credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images, via Miami Herald

Rep. Stearns at center of Planned Parenthood funding dispute, February 1, 2012

Is the "political leadership" of Marco Rubio or Cliff Stearns what Americans deserve, in the face of unprecedented and cruel hardship across the country, specifically because of politicians like these?

For the preservation of what we hold dear, politicians such as these should be driven out of power.

They must be stripped of control over the levers of governmental power, for all time.

We have an opportunity to remove a sizable number of them via a ballot this November, including Mr. Stearns of Florida.

We must take it.

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