MONDAY MORNING REFLECTIONS – OBAMA HEALTHCARE REVERSAL, THE OHIO STATE BUCKEYES, THE MIDDLE EAST BURNING

The Obama Administration continues to take steps that further complicates the ability of medical care workers and faith-based health care from operating consistently within their values. Such intrusion often means that faith-based care and the faith of the workers must operate in ways that violate their conscience. In this case, under the guise of clarifying, Health and Human Services appears to be taking unwarranted steps. Writing in Christianity Today On-Line, Sarah Pulliam Bailey wrote this week:

The Obama administration has changed a George W. Bush provision that was created to allow health workers to opt out of services they find objectionable on religious grounds, Rob Stein of the Washington Post reports. The change maintains the provision that allows workers to refrain from performing abortions.

The Health and Human Services Department eliminated nearly the entire rule put into effect by the administration of President George W. Bush during his final days in office that was widely interpreted as allowing such workers to opt out of a broad range of medical services, such as providing the emergency contraceptive Plan B, treating gay men and lesbians and prescribing birth control to single women.

Calling the Bush-era rule “unclear and potentially overbroad in scope,” the new, much narrower version essentially leaves in place only long-standing federal protections for workers who object to performing abortions or sterilizations. It also retains the Bush rule’s formal process for workers to file complaints.

She goes on to quote Dr. Scott Ries of the Christian Medical Association:

Dr. J. Scott Ries, CMA’s vice president, said in a statement that the decision “threatens to make the situation far worse for patients across the country who depend on faith-based health care.”

The administration has made changes in a vital civil rights regulation without evidence or justification. The administration presented no evidence of any problems in healthcare access, prescriptions or procedures that have occurred in the two years since the original regulation’s enactment that would justify any change in this protective regulation.

Read Sarah’s article at CT. There continues to be a not-so-subtle culture war that selectively supports individual rights, and too often is biased against the rights of people to operate consistently within their faith values.  This is a slippery slope.

My Buckeyes to give me great joy, although in the rugged Big Ten (one of top two college basketball leagues in the nation for quality and competitiveness–the other being the Big East) going unbeaten is pretty much impossible.  They racked up 24 straight wins before falling to Wisconsin in Madison (where the Badgers have been unbeaten for more than two seasons).  Yesterday they traveled to Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, a venue where the Boilermakers have been unbeaten this season). The outcome was a Purdue Victory.  Uncharacteristically college shooting and a higher than usual number of turnovers and a player who scored 38 points that the Buckeyes could not shut down.  This is truly one of the great Buckeye basketball teams and what makes them great is their ability to find a way to keep winning, but even more, the utter unselfishness of these players.  Two senior and at least three freshman who would be stars in their own right anywhere, who seem able to pass on their own glory to give it up to a teammate who simply has a better shot.  That and awesome defense.  Thad Motta has insisted on a withering man-to-man effort instead of the usual college zone defenses. Even when they lose a rare one, they are a joy to watch.

First it was Tunisia, then Egypt.  This week Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and even Iran.  The Middle East is turmoil. Peoples who have repressed by dictators and autocratic monarchies have begun to flex their muscle expressing long-suppressed dreams of greater freedom.  This is a dangerous time in that part of the world and in the world in general.  Even China had to act quickly to quell unrest.  See China.

We should not be too quick to tout this as a triumph for democracy or the unleashing of a new wave of freedom.  The Middle East has never been a hotbed of democracy and parties in power often use that power to enforce their way of life or their agendas.  If anything, it is a time for people of prayer to pray.

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