Religious Faith, Universal Healthcare, and the Inevitability of Moral Dilemmas

The other day, Sarah Posner and Mollie Ziegler Hemingway discussed religious faith and the Republican National Convention on Bloggingheads.

Most interesting to me in the exchange was Mollie’s arguing that Catholics opposed to the HHS mandate share some responsibility for the moral predicament in which they now find themselves: the Affordable Care Act passed with helpful backing of Catholic laity and religious, who have for decades, in keeping with Catholic teaching, pushed for universal healthcare.  For those of you who don’t know, the Catholic Church considers healthcare to be a positive right and believes that 1) society has an obligation to seek the establishment of universal healthcare and that 2) the State shares in that responsibility where necessary.  Hence its support for universal healthcare.

But there’s a hitch.  If you object morally to goods and services deemed to be legitimate healthcare needs by the wider society, or at least by players within the political sphere, then your pushing for universal healthcare will lead inevitably to moral dilemmas.  These predicaments are the price of pluralism.  To my mind, this is no reason not to advocate for universal care, but it does mean that you’ll have to work through moral conflicts that arise.  And it may well mean that you don’t get your way.

Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is a freelance writer who blogs about culture, philosophy, politics, postmodernism, and religion. He is a contributor to the group Catholic blog Vox Nova. Kyle lives with his wife, son, and daughter in North Texas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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4 Responses

  1. Tod Kelly says:

    Yeah. As I am saying with increasing regularity, we have a tendency to view today’s politics in terms of Freedom vs. Tyranny, when in fact it’s more often one person’s freedom vs. another’s.

    • greginak says:

      Well the FREEDOM!!!!( Vote Republican) vs. Tyranny( which equals the ACA and everything those damn Democrats/Socialists) are trying to do is a common theme. I do see a lot of Freedom First bumper stickers around although they all seem to be suggesting I vote for R’s. Oh and those Don’t Tread on Me flags. This frame is common but its much more the frame of conservatives.

      Its a bit more then just one person’s freedom vs another’s although that is certainly part of it. Its what do i need now vs. what will i need when i’m older or if bad unpredictable things happen. Or how to maximise every bodies freedom even though that means nobody gets absolutely everything they wish.

    • Tom Van Dyke says:

      I do not know what “freedom” means in this context. When one correspondent referred to a “freedom” to receive free contraceptives from one’s Catholic employer, I gave up on finding any univocality for the word.