Scott Tibbs
Submitted to USA Today, 01-06-2003

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Forced contraceptive coverage wrong

To the Editor:

There need not even be a debate over whether or not Catholic hospitals, schools or nursing homes should be forced to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. It should not be the prerogative of government to dictate to private employers what benefits they do and do not offer to their employees in a free market. This is especially true if those requirements violate the religious beliefs of the employer.

It is ironic that feminist groups seek to force their agenda onto Catholic organizations while simultaneously preaching the values of personal autonomy. It appears that the only "freedom" feminists value is the "freedom" to kill unborn children up to the moment of birth.

What this controversy, as well as the controversy over whether the Salvation Army should be able to discriminate against homosexuals in hiring practices, should illustrate to Christian conservatives is the inherent danger in letting government have a role in the affairs of faith-based charities. It has been said before, but bears repeating: "with government money comes government strings". The fact that some of these organizations receive taxpayer money adds a layer of complexity to the issue that wouldn't be there if the subsidies were not accepted.

While I applaud President Bush's desire to help faith-based charities provide services to those in need, I cannot support his plan to give them taxpayer dollars. Do we really want to open highly successful and efficient private charities to government control, given the immense failure that the government-run welfare system has been?