Mailbag – Church & State

Gentle Readers, our first missive comes from PC who writes:

Dear Dr. J., 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the sacraments as “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. 

As such, I contend that if Catholics are going to oppose gay marriage based upon the belief that marriage is a sacrament, then Catholics would also be obligated to oppose marriage by atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. and probably Protestant Christians as well. To oppose gay marriage on the grounds of sacrament without opposing other forms of non-catholic marriage seems pointedly discriminatory, and I think causes the argument that Catholics aren’t taking a bigoted position against homosexuals to fail. 

I enjoy reading your blog, and I’d be interested in reading your thoughts on this. 

Best, PC (Sent from my iPad)

Dear PC,

Thanks for writing in.

Dr. J. will admit, he has struggled with recognizing the legitimacy of Episcopal, Lutheran, and Reform Jewish unions. He considers those friends’ kids bastards.

No, not really…

Dr. J. digresses…

There is sacramental marriage, which is a marriage between two baptized individuals. If you are Catholic, there is the added rule that you have to do it in front of a priest (having proper form).

Then there is natural marriage. These are unions between one baptized and non-baptized, or two non-baptized individuals. Basically they consent to each other, make vows at are witnessed by two people.

So that counts but is separate.

So how does the Catholic Church see gay marriage if it sounds like meets the criteria for natural marriage?

Well, to get the answer, you have to go to Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. … The natural truth about marriage was confirmed by the Revelation contained in the biblical accounts of creation, an expression also of the original human wisdom, in which the voice of nature itself is heard. 

There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”

There you have your answer, and in a place nobody expects, from the Spanish Inquisition.

That covers Church, now on to State.

Operative Æ writes in:

Dr. J, 

I received my Re-Elect Obama letter from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina yesterday explaining that under Obamacare I was due a rebate for operations, administrative, and advertising expenses greater than 20% of premiums paid. As I am not only a member of the insurance plan, but also the employer I also received a similar letter with the rebate check attached. Everyone across the country on an insurance plan has or will soon receive a letter stating your employer received this rebate. Our plan covers one employee with dependents and one employee. Total premiums for the year were approximately $23,700. The rebate received …….wait for it…….wait for it…….drum roll please…….$15.84 total for the entire company. Ta Daaah!! Massive windfall. 

This missive is not only intended to bitch, but to inform. First of all, the insurance company to which we send our hard earned premium dollars is forced by O’care to increase administrative costs in order to send out a letter that only states a rebate was provided to his/her employer. This letter states the rebate has been required via O’care, Obama’s crowning achievement. Therefore, in my opinion a campaign circular for Obama. Secondly, as the employee letter does not state the insignificant amount of the rebate involved, it would have the tendency to put employer and employee in a potentially confrontational situation. This is not a difficult situation for me to diffuse. I will walk into the office on Monday and tell one guy the premium will be reduced by $0.66 per month for the next year or hand him $7.92 out of my pocket. However, what about the employer with 50, 100, or 500 employees? What are that larger employer’s administrative costs to accomplish the explanation in order to avoid the wrath of disgruntled employees? Could that cost possibly be greater than the amount of the rebate for larger employers? In the grand scheme of O’care this is but a minor issue but another example of lovely results of the O’care disaster. 

Warmest Regards, Operative Æ

Dear Æ,

Thanks for writing in.

Hope the valve is doing well.

So it appears that Obama isn’t just hitting the Class Warfare notes out on the stump, he’s also regulating our insurers to participate in the campaign. Having insurers spend your premium dollars to send your employees a letter saying that the employer got an unspecified rebate not only makes health insurance more expensive, but it also creates an unnecessary wedge between you and your employees. I would just give him $7.92 and tell him that he is being given half the rebate. A larger employer would spend the rebate, as you said, just trying to figure out how to dole it out.

I guess we should have seen what was in the bill before passing it.


Dr. J.

About Dr. J.

Dr. J. was born the son of a New Atlantean sharecropper who cornered the market on notoriously delicious seaweed Himanthalia elongata (popularly known as Thongweed). With his newly minted seaweed fortune, Mr. J. the Elder sent his son to attend the Academy of Sorcery, Alchemy and Surgery where the good doctor apprenticed with the finest sorcerer surgeons in New Atlantis. Dr. J.'s areas of expertise grew to include bleeding, cutting for stone, trephination, medical divination with outstanding spatial and temporal resolution, cybernetic sorcery and medicinal alchemy. When King Orin of Atlantis fell ill with the Ick, Dr. J. stepped in with an elixir he devised from a combination of minerals, herbs and saps. Curing the king, Dr. J. gained significant notoriety which afforded him the luxury of time to devote himself to his side hobbies which include porpoise racing, the study of supply-side economics, cooking and raising his lovely merchildren alongside his lovely bride the archconservative Mrs. Dr. J.