Op-Ed: Jews Should Support Catholics in Contraception Battle
Dovid Efune, Dir. Algemeiner JournalThe Author is the director of the Algemeiner Journal and the GJCF and can be e-mailed at email@example.com
Through the ages, the above verse has served as a guiding Jewish principle. This call for enhanced sensitivity to oppressed minorities placed Jews at the forefront of a variety of noble struggles, particularly in the United States. As noted by author Charles Silberman, "American Jews are committed to cultural tolerance because of their belief-one firmly rooted in history-that Jews are safe only in a society acceptant of a wide range of attitudes and behaviors, as well as a diversity of religious and ethnic groups."
Of course the contraception issue is a contentious one, from a Jewish perspective; it is certainly not a black and white issue. According to a Public Religion Research Institute Poll, even 52% of Catholics are of the opinion that religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals should have to provide contraception coverage.
What is clearly at stake here however, is far beyond the popularity of, or one's beliefs regarding, one's life choices. It is our collective tolerance for governmental forays into the realm of religious practice.
It is true that the President tweaked the policy "to require religious employers such as universities and charities to cover contraception in employee health plans, but shifted the responsibility for paying for it away from the employer and on to its health-insurance provider," according to the Wall Street Journal.
As Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami said, "A legislative remedy to this overreaching and unprecedented incursion of state power into the domain of religious freedom and the rights of conscience is still necessary."
Around the world, efforts that would curtail the Jewish practice of shechitah (humane slaughter of animals) have also gathered momentum.
As 'strangers in the land of Egypt' Jews know well the pitfalls posed in opening the door of this legislation. Few have benefitted so wholesomely through basking in the saving grace of the first amendment. It is thus our duty to fight for the preservation of its purist principles as we have done for so many of history's most just causes.