Friday, February 03, 2012

Leviathan defined

When Hobbes wrote his opus about government he might well have had something like the new HHS proposed regulations that have generated so much controversy in the last few days.   HHS, as a part of their implementation of the new healthcare bill, will now require employers to offer health plans for their employees that fundamentally violate their religious tenets or face fines for not offering their employees healthcare.   So the health plans offered by religious charities will now be required to include provision for sterilization, morning after pills and other forms of contraception even though those issues violate Catholic doctrine.

Yesterday in one of the places where I engage in discussion on the net I posted a summary of the Bishop of Philadelphia's pastoral letter on the subject and was surprised at the responses.   First, one person on the left compared the church's reluctance to efforts to exclude people based on race.   A second person commented that if the church took any government money they should be required to live under government rules.   He went on to say that if the church got the benefit of the charitable deduction that they were taking a government subsidy.

What nonsense.   Do any of these people worry at all about the potential for crowding out charitable activity - or is their purpose to crowd out those non-governmental activities?   Have they bothered to think of the benefits of the "diversity" of options that they whine for in so many other venues?  Do they really believe that government provision of things like health care is actually better than charitable provision?

The claim that the charitable deduction is a subsidy is such a canard.  The deduction was put in place to allow individuals to make provision for things they care about - outside the government.     But if you believe government is the alpha and omega of all life - then that gentle fact is one to be ignored.


Anonymous said...

Presumably, one might take umbrage at government subsidies or tax exemptions for religious organizations that counsel the destruction of the state. A gentle fact I suggest, includes a bit of quid pro quo if nothing else.

Dr. Tax in Sacramento said...

In US law there are some proscriptions for charities that prevent direct intervention in political issues.