I know that religion is sorta off limits when it comes to presidential candidates—you know, as long as they're Christian (or Christian-ish)—because this is America goddammit, where questioning a candidate's crazy religious beliefs (and/or the religion's crazy founding) would just be wrong. But imagine for a moment that the Christian candidate in question was a Christian Scientist.

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You know, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the folks who believe in the healing power of prayer, but modern medicine and surgery, not so much.

What do you think? Would American voters feel comfortable electing a president who not only believes that government has no place in our health care system, but that health care has no place in health care either?

I don't think so.

So why should we feel comfortable electing a president who believes that birth control has no guaranteed place in our health care system?

Really, the comparison is not that far of a stretch. For if, as Republicans argue, a Catholic or Evangelical employer has a First Amendment right to strike birth control from the benefits offered workers through their health insurance policies, wouldn't a Christian Science employer have same First Amendment right to strike, say, antibiotics or appendectomies? And if the moral basis for religious opposition to birth control is that non-procreative sex is unnatural and sinful, wouldn't the same First Amendment argument permit employers to deny maternity benefits to unwed mothers, or medical treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, as long as that denial is firmly grounded in religious faith?

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Prescription birth control pills, like antibiotics, are efficacious, safe, and legal health care products. So where do the First Amendment rights of the employer end, and those of the worker begin? Or do employers, by virtue of being the ones signing the checks, have a greater First Amendment right than their employees?

It's not an original idea, but perhaps the best way to keep our nation's health care laws from imposing on the faith of employers is to get employers out of the business of providing health insurance.

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