by Greg Palast for The Huffington Post
I arrived into this world at the Queen of Angels hospital in Los Angeles into the hands of Dr. Sidney Kolodny.
Queen of Angels, judging by the number of nun-nurses running about, is a Catholic hospital.
Dr. Kolodny was Jewish.
Last night, I heard Senator Rick Santorum tell us that President Obama has attacked Catholics and freedom of religion by barringÂ church-controlled businesses from excluding contraception care in their employees’ health plans.
Joining the shriek-fest against the president’s decision, the sanctimonious little ex-senator prattled on about big bad governmentÂ crushing religious freedom.
That’s just arse-backwards.
Obama’s decision is aÂ defense of religious freedom. Religious freedom is a right ofÂ people, not their bosses.
The Queen of Angels hospital, church-owned though it may be, has no right to tell its Jewish doctors and employees to wearÂ crucifixes. Nor should the Church’s managers be allowed to tell their employees that the health care they receive by law should beÂ dictated by the religious views of their employer.
A question for you, Mr. Santorum: should Catholic reporters working at theÂ Christian Science Monitor be told they can’t have bloodÂ transfusions because the Church-owner doesn’t sanction surgery?
It makes me furious that the Obama Administration does not defend itself and the religious rights of workers. No damn employerÂ should be allowed to tell an employee what medicine may be prescribed by their doctor based on the business owner’s beliefs.
What’s Santorum worried about? I guess he believes that, without the force of law to restrain them, the nuns at Queen of Angels willÂ dash off to get prescriptions for birth control pills.
If a religious organization abjures condoms or The Pill or blood transfusions, that’s their right. It should not be their management’s right,Â even if the managers wear vestments, to impose those religions’ strictures on the bodies of their workers.
It’s about freedom of the worker from the religious dictates of her employer.
I’ll say it even if, for some reason, Obama can’t.
Greg Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores, released in the US and Canada by Penguin.
You can read Vultures’ Picnic, “Chapter 1: Goldfinger,” or download it, at no charge: click here.