It doesn’t matter if you are watching Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC. Likewise, it doesn’t matter if you are reading the Washington Post, the New York Times, or Politico. Social issues have become a dominant issue in the presidential campaign. If you are a casual follower of politics, you probably believe that all of this stems from just one presidential candidate, Rick Santorum.
Santorum is riding high in the polls following his three-state sweep of Mitt Romney a few weeks ago, but the candidate who is largely defined by social issues because of his career in the U.S. Senate is not the reason that contraception and religion are being discussed on the campaign trail. It was President Obama who pulled the country into this discussion by forcing religious institutions into covering things in the healthcare plans they offer their employees that the tenets of their faith declare are unacceptable.
Sensing that he had placed his foot on a landmine, President Obama quickly offered a compromise to his original plan, which is really not any more tolerable than his first proposal. Obama’s new plan stipulates that insurance companies, not the institutions themselves, have to offer coverage of various things that certain religions find objectionable. That means that nothing changed for institutions that are self-insured, which some religious institutions are.
If it wasn’t bad enough that the Obama Administration blatantly ignored the First Amendment which clearly states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, the news media seemed all to willing to continue the administration’s hostility towards people with certain religious beliefs.
Many in the media have crucified Santorum because he strictly adheres to his Catholic faith, which doesn’t condone the use of contraception. In various interviews, Santorum has gone out of his way to point out that even though his Catholic faith doesn’t condone the use of contraceptives, he has supported funding for it and has a consistent record of supporting the availability of contraception.
Even though Santorum has laid out a pretty clear position on the issue and invited people to look at his record, the media could care less. They continue to push a narrative that a President Santorum would make women pay for contraception out of their of their pockets, or worse yet, make it illegal in America.
To show just how pitiful the news media can be, do you know how much generic birth control pills cost at Walmart (or Target or Hy-Vee) for someone who doesn’t have prescription drug insurance? Four dollars. Do you know how much it would cost for a woman with prescription drug insurance? The five or ten dollar co-pay. That’s right, the out of pocket cost is actually higher for women with insurance coverage. This debate is clearly not about the costs birth control.
Media outlets like MSNBC and CNN have interviewed women who were basically in tears because they were so happy that President Obama was going to make sure that birth control pills were included in everyone’s insurance policies. Really? For less than the cost of one Happy Meal, one pack of cigarettes, or one cup of coffee at Starbucks a month, a woman can already get birth control pills.
Do you really believe that the Obama Administration and liberals on certain cable news networks are up in arms over something that costs uninsured women less money than they would be charged for the same drug under almost every insurance plan? Of course not. This is about more government control. It’s also about opening the door to forcing a liberal agenda on everyone, including churches and people of faith in general. If the Catholic Church can be forced to pay for birth control and the morning after pill now, how long until they are forced to cover surgical abortions and RU-486 medical abortions?
Make no mistake, the issue at hand here is our First Amendment rights, and the liberal left knows that’s a fight they can’t win. So instead, they attack a candidate’s faith in an effort to make him the issue. It also seems odd that the media isn’t knocking down the doors to see what the other Catholic is the race, Newt Gingrich, has to say about the issue. Likewise, Mitt Romney’s Mormon also faith holds a similar position on issue contraception. Why no questions for him?
I’m also bothered by the double standard given that any mention of Romney’s Mormon faith in the lead up to the Iowa Caucuses was practically forbidden. If we are going to judge the candidates based on what their religion believes in, we shouldn’t play favorites. That also goes for President Obama, who attended a pretty radical church in Chicago for a few decades.
As we have already seen in the last week, when a candidate even uses the words “theology” and “Obama” in the same sentence, the media quickly alleges that somehow the candidate was alluding that the president is not a Christian. In this case, Santorum was talking about environmental policy and the fact that Obama and other environmentalist seem to have elevated nature above man.
Unlike all of the other candidates, Santorum is a pretty open book. If you ask him a question about his faith, he gives you honest answer even though he may be better served to just ignore the question. I can’t remember the last time Mitt Romney went on a Sunday morning news program. I can’t remember the last time he’s done an appearance on a weeknight cable show. Maybe it’s wise to avoid the media, but don’t we want candidates who are honest about what they believe and will stand firm on their core convictions? And isn’t that why many conservatives have reservations about Romney?
I highly doubt that someone like Andrea Mitchell would even ask a candidate like Mitt Romney or President Obama about what their faith says on these issues. The reason they ask a candidate like Santorum these questions is because they just can’t comprehend that anyone actually believes and follows the positions of their church.
The media was never going to let Obama’s connection to Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his hate-filled sermons taint Obama’s public image. They seemed to imply that nobody really agrees with everything said in church, right? The same is likely true about Romney’s beliefs. Trust me, if they actually thought Romney believed in everything that the Mormon Church professes, they would be all over him.
I, for one, am very disturbed by the verbal lynching Santorum has received from many in the media because he is a faithful Catholic. The American dream has always been obtainable to anyone who works hard and applies themselves. One of the things that makes America great is that anyone can aspire to be the President of the United States. Sadly, it seems that if you are person who actually follows your faith, you need not apply.
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