Roger Marolt
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December 27, 2013
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Marolt: Scared sick over the Affordable Care Act

I don’t agree much with what Republicans stand for these days. I am for gun control and the environment, I am against the death penalty and the wall on Mexico, and for the time being, I believe in low interest rates and printing more money to keep our low-trajectory economic growth from churning up dust again. On the other hand, I like President Obama. I voted for him twice. I think he’s smart, sensible, a great orator and a generally kind, honest person. From a distance this looks like just another friendly flyover. Now, I drop the bomb:

My New Year’s resolution is to part ways with the Democratic Party and our admired leader.

It is one single issue that drives this parting. I cannot get past the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (harder to say than “Obamacare”) that require the 80 percent of Americans covered under group health plans to pay premiums that cover the cost of abortions and contraceptives.

It works like this: If you get your health insurance through work, the premiums your company pays on your behalf are part of your compensation. If part of your health-insurance premiums/compensation goes to pay for abortion and contraceptive coverage that you will never use, then your money is going into the insurance pool to pay for somebody else’s contraceptives and abortions. No, I am not opposed to this because I am a cheapskate. I am a Catholic, and forcing me to use my money in this way is diametrically opposed to my core religious beliefs.

Many people, many Catholics included, have looked at this as an antiquated out-of-touch Vatican City-versus-women’s-rights clash that Catholics have to get over. This is a dangerous mistake to make. The real issue is our federal government forcing an identifiable set of its people to do something that is in direct and egregious conflict with their religious beliefs. In this issue of religious freedom, we cannot afford to judge what those beliefs are; rather we must tolerate them no matter what they happen to be. It’s religion. You don’t have to get it. You only have to respect someone else’s right to believe, especially if it in no way, shape or manner infringes on anybody else’s rights. It is a basic freedom at stake!

As I hinted before, modern-day, stubborn Republican thick-headed thinking and policy irritates me to no end. I’ve been kicked out of local restaurants for arguing boisterously with these reds. I’ve been in discussions that tainted holiday and family get-togethers. Republicans frustrate me more than a loose Broncos secondary. But Obama’s national health care plan frightens me. I mean that. And I’ll take being irritated over being scared any day.

Why am I frightened? It is because of my firm belief that Obama is an incredibly intelligent man. I know he understands the argument I am making here. He most likely saw the quandary it would put Catholics in long before I did. In short, he understands the risk to a fundamental freedom and has ignored it. He has marginalized this threat to a guarantee under the Constitution for the sake of expediency and an inconsequential cost reduction for contraceptives and abortions for those who seek them under his health care reform. I should mention here that I am in favor of health care reform. I believe in the general idea and aims of this health care reform plan. It is just that the devil is in one particular detail, and it burns me up.

Do I flat-out refuse to purchase health insurance and leave my family exposed when, not if, a medical crisis occurs? Do I protest and not pay the taxes and monetary penalties imposed for defying these mandates and suffer those consequences? If being a martyr were easy, everyone would be a saint. Alas, my choice robbed from me, I will go along with the plan and let my conscience suffer. Health care reform provides no aid for that deleterious ailment.

In the meantime, I cannot bring myself to go quietly. I have to see if one tiny pen can so much as ding the blade of a gigantic sword shredding through our Bill of Rights. Both my freedom to practice my religion and my freedom to say my piece here are guaranteed by the First Amendment. As the former is threatened, I had better exercise the latter while I still can.

Roger Marolt still thinks Rush Limbaugh is a boob. Contact him at roger@marolt

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The Aspen Times Updated Dec 26, 2013 08:45PM Published Dec 30, 2013 10:45AM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.