View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Got Robocalled!

I just got one of those robocalls. This one was from the left-wing fanatics attacking the right-wing fanatics and insurance industry thugs for organizing protests at those health care meetings (as opposed to the calls from right-wing fanatics attacking socialists [i.e. Democrats and union members] and Acorn-thugs for urging people to get out to support reform).

I listened to the drivel, commenting occasionally at obvious mistruths and spins. The robot just kept talking. But then the robot gave me an opportunity to call my Congressman - RIGHT NOW - by pressing 1.

I did.

I got the office of Congressman Massa (newly elected, so he still has that fresh Congressman smell).

A lady - sounded young - asked how I felt about health care reform.

I started off by saying that I actually favor some form of reform to make sure that everyone who is in need gets covered. I even said I'd be willing to pay more in taxes - gasp - if it would insure that people in need get covered.

BUT I said, he should vote for only a bill that includes a clear statement that there is to be no coverage of abortion. Taxpayer money should not be used to pay for abortion, period.

She tried to say that under law it can't be covered, but I countered that agencies have found ways to get around the law - citing the recent case of Planned Parenthood of Spokane that gave abortion pills but listed it as "family planning" (until getting hit with $700,00 in fines). I contended that some of the government money under a health care plan would go toward abortion, so they need to include a clear statement prohibiting.

Second, I said there needs to be a conscience clause, citing the case of the Catholic nurse who was recently given a choice: Assist in an abortion, or face discipline and possible loss of job.

I think it flipped her out that I was citing actual cases.

Anyway, I said that any bill should include a clear statement banning abortion funding, and a clear conscience clause.

I also said that I was offended by the robocall implying that the protests were due to right-wingers and insurance industry efforts. I told her that I'm sure some of that was going on, but that there were also folks on the left doing the same thing - with which she agreed. I added that most of the people are just voters who are upset, and they are not puppets of either side. I cited President Obama saying that they were just exercising their rights as Americans.

I also complimented the way Congressman Massa has been handling his health care town halls. I noted that I had not voted for him, but that some of his decisions and his actions are making me give him closer look, and if he makes sure my two points get included in any health care bill that I might just vote for him next time.


Blogger Matt said...

My congressman is Jim McGovern (Massachusetts 3rd District). He's usually pretty good at responding to constituent comments, although he usually responds something along these lines: "Thanks for the input, but I don't agree with you so I'm not going to vote that way," although he puts it in nicer, more flowery political language.

Ted Kennedy sends out the token e-mail or letter to people who contact his office, but that's better than John Kerry, who usually does not acknowledge any attempts at contacting his office.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

"Conscience clauses" are a red herring. U.S. Labor law already allows for "reasonable accommodations" it doesn't give one a right to any particular job. If a obstretrics nurse can't perform her job for a reasonable religious reason, then s/he can be transferred to other duties.

This was no more anti-Catholic than it would be "anti Jehovahs Witness" to tell a phlebotomist that refusing to draw blood would result in a career change.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Dick - the problem was that she had made her views known a couple of years before when she was hired. They agreed.

This was a case in which she was told we don't care, do it or face discipline and possible loss of your job. She has a lawsuit pending.

I didn't say it was anti-Catholic. It was an issue of a person whose conscience was violated. She could just as easily have been Lutheran, baptist, Jewish, even no religion (like that outspoken pro-lifer, Nat Hentoff).

But you are right, it may get to the point of Christians, pro-lifers and people of conscience having to give up their jobs and perhaps their careers. There are many forms of martyrdom.

6:10 AM  

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