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POOH BAH AND THE PILL
10 February 2012
In The Mikado, the character of PoohBah, in explaining how he came to be such a powerful politician says to Nanki Pooh, "When all the great officers of State resigned in a body because they were too proud to serve under an ex-tailor, did I not unhesitatingly accept all of their posts at once?"
Pooh Bah later talks with KoKo, the controversial new Lord High Executioner, about the arrangements for his upcoming nuptials.
Koko says, "I want to consult you about the amount I should spend on them."
Pooh Bah responds, "Certainly. In which of my capacities? As First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chamberlain, Attorney-General, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Privy Purse or Private Secretary?"
As the conversation continues, KoKo learns that if he consults one of Pooh Bah's roles he might get a desirable result, but then there is another role which would deny him that result. "Speaking as your private secretary, I should say that as the city will have to pay for it, don't stint yourself, do it well.....Of course you will understand that, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, I am bound to see that due economy is observed." etc.
I thought about Pooh Bah's many roles when I was listening to the latest about the kerfuffle over birth control coverage for employees of Catholic institutions (medical, educational, etc.).
In its role as a religious institution, the church has every right to control its followers, those who are willing to be controlled, and to refuse to make something it considers sinful available to its followers.
BUT in its role as a business which employs not only Catholics, but also members of other religions, and even people who have no religious affiliation, is it right to act as a religious organization and impose its beliefs on non-believers?
Suppose you run a hospital. Your top surgeon is Jewish and your chief cardiologist is Buddhist and a nice Muslim runs the pharmacy. All of these MDs are women and all want to use birth control. Should the BUSINESS wing of this organization force its RELIGIOUS beliefs on these employees?
Seems to me there was a time in this country when everybody was up in arms, certain that a Catholic president would take orders from the Pope, and furious about how wrong that would be.
I had lunch today with a friend who heads up one arm of one of the Catholic businesses in the area. I asked her what was happening in her office after all this brouhaha erupted. She said essentially nothing. She said it's no big whoop. It just means that if they don't now offer a medical plan that includes birth control options they now need to offer one.
I don't know about you, but when I was working I had my opportunity each year to change my medical plan. We have always had Kaiser, but we also could have chosen a number of other plans, most of which offer coverage for birth control.
This is not a religious issue, it should be a labor issue.
Even local religious organizations here acknowledge that. But this is a great attack point (isn't everything?) against the Obama administration. This is going to be a big scary monster talking point in the coming campaign for the White House. Twenty-eight states now already require insurance coverage for birth control...but nobody thought to scream about it until now.
This is why I hate elections and their rhetoric and the made-up crises that want to strike fear and terror into the hearts of voters. And it ain't only the Republicans, I admit. But this particular issue is all anybody is talking about today.
Maybe someone should start interviewing the Groom of the Back Stairs for a change of pace.
* * *
Our lunch today was such fun. We discussed this birth control/religion issue at length along with lots of other things. We go our separate ways after our lunch and never call, write, or visit until another month has passed and we do it all over again. I so miss talking with people about current events, books, religion, work, and lots of other things. Today she called me "one of my intelligent friends," which tells you why I enjoy her company so much!
So far my cell phone is still working!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Some kids never grow up.