News, updates, and happenings with the Kragnes family: Phil, our Seeing Eye Dogs, and (me) Rebecca.

Amy Wellborn wrote a great column about silence and it’s value in communication — particularly with God. #catholic #pope #spirituality #Christian

Who knew twitter could actually promote thoughts on a theme, but despite the chattering of my synthesizer, the tap of the keys and the white noise of the humidifier, it’s been quiet here tonight. Reading and responding to a few tweets has sparked an internal dialog with myself and God about what happens when religious values clash with things in the outside world. Three stories on twitter and one I have lived many days caused me to really think about all of this, and as some of you probably expect, there isn’t an easy answer. Yet I don’t want to be accused of relativism or choosing from the Christian buffet. I believe people have to come to conclusions by using the mind and conscience God gave them, and I’ve done that.
Story 1: KTSP: Minnesota atheists promote message with babies on billboards.

Probably the easiest of the three stories is my opinion on the image of babies being used to promote atheism on some twin cities billboards. The organizers said they did it in order to have babies associated with something else besides antiabortion slogans. Although I don’t agree with the general message of the billboards, I have no problem with them expressing their point of view, unlike one of the religious figures quoted. I take immense pride in the quote from the priest mentioned in the article, because he is the priest at Incarnation parish where I am an active member. He disagrees with the billboards without saying they should be taken down. In fact, he says they stimulate thought! Good on you, Fr. Kevin!

Story 2:http://Pittsburgh.cbslocal.comma/2012/01/27/bishop-obama-telling-Catholics-to-hell-with-you/

So the basic premise is that Obama’s healthcare program requires that every employer buy insurance for their employees in which all FDA-approved things are covered. this includes contraception and abortion. There is a religious exception, but one of the conditions of it is that everyone in the workplace has to be of that religion. So if everyone was Catholic, this rule wouldn’t apply. I am no fan of abortion, but considering I’m married for 15 years and have not had a child, it’s pretty safe to assume there’s some contraception going on. The bottom line is that whether it’s insurance or paying our taxes, by following the law, Catholics are not paying for things which conflict with Catholicism. There is a layer in between. They are paying for insurance which pays for those things. Are we going to stop shopping at Wallgreen’s because they sell contraceptives? And how about fast food places who might contribute to political candidates with whom we don’t agree? Is it really possible to live our lives in such a state that we don’t give money to someone who in turn spends it on something of which we may not approve? In some instances like buying a sandwich verses handing out cash to a homeless person, we can try, but it just isn’t going to work in every instance. I believe unless they break the law, it won’t work in this one.

Story 3 is the hardest:

So a 16-year-old atheist is unhappy with a prayer written by a former student in the early years of the school’s existence. the prayer currently hangs in the auditorium but is covered until the courts decide whether it is school prayer to display it. Meanwhile, the so-called Christians are harassing this girl, and she is saying her fight is for the good of everyone. If everyone on both sides could come off their high horses, it seems to me that a compromise could be reached. Why not put the prayer somewhere reachable in the school but not in her face in such a public area. For now, prayer isn’t in schoolbecause of separation of church and state and the religious freedom guaranteed for everyone by our constitution. Yet, just like “in God we Trust” reflects the history of our money, this prayer reflects the history of the school. But oh no! Both sides will duke it out in court rather than trying to find a way to be kind to each other as the prayer asks God to help them do. There’s something just a little ironic about that!

I’ve touched on story 4 in past blog entries. Despite my being the customer, cab drivers get to tell me to “watch your dog’s mouth” because of their religious practices. If the dog’s nose or mouth touches him, he has to wash seven times, because the dog is unclean. For a while, I’ve been so grateful the drivers pick me up and don’t cruise right past that I’ve bent over backward to try to accommodate them. Frankly, I’m getting sick of it and have about reached the end of my patience! It’s aggravating when they won’t even take the fair, because I’m inadvertently holding it too close to my dog’s nose. Rather than requesting me to raise it a little, they sit and whine. This is because they realize the contortions they are forcing their customer through really aren’t required, and doing so is illegal and could be grounds for dismissal if their bosses at the company found out. I had a conversation with my favorite company in the last couple days. It never used to be a problem with them, but It’s happening more and more.

In a similar situation, there have been Catholic pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for things which go against their religion. In both instances, I say it’s time for a career change. If I had gone into counseling, there probably would have been a few instances in which I would have had to refer clients to someone else if I was working in a public clinic. I could not be neutral on abortion, and in fact, I hope every counselor knows enough about their own belief systems to understand which issues may be difficult for them to work with clients. But I’d have to think very carefully when I took the job and talk about the ethics of our profession and how this conflict could be managed should it crop up. Clearly, I probably wouldn’t take a job at planned parenthood. Religious cab drivers and pharmacists are not giving good customer service and need to figure out whether this job is a good fit for them.

Rebecca Kragnes and Zane (Black Labrador and Seeing Eye Dog)
E-Mail: rebeccak
Twitter: RebeccaKragnes


Comments on: "in case anyone cares: what I think about religion and things outside of it clashing" (2)

  1. David Goldfield said:

    I’d like to comment on the questions you raised regarding the new mandate from the department of Health and Human Services. You asked whether people should stop buying products from a drugstore like Walgreens because the business sells contraceptives. While this is an interesting question it’s not an accurate comparison. If I purchase a bottle of aspirin from Walgreens the business is not forcing me to purchase a product which violates my conscience or which goes against my religious beliefs. Regarding your question on whether we ought to boycott a fast-food restaurant if they endorse a pro-choice candidate I think we can look at real events to answer this question. Pro-life groups are not hesitant to boycott a business or organization if it actively engages in activities which promote a pro-choice agenda. Pro-life groups have no hesitation in choosing to boycott organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure which openly provides grant money to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider. Many people boycott Pepsi because their testing procedures for new flavors involves the use of human embryo kidney cells, a fact which is easily verifiable by looking at the patent for Synomyx, the company which is actually engaging in this process. The fact is that the U.S. Government is forcing people who oppose artificial contraception and abortion to provide insurance to pay for these things even though it goes against the religious beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church and even though many Protestants are also pro-life and should not be forced to pay for the killing of unborn children. If the DHHS Secretary and the President are really pro-choice then Catholic and other pro-life employers should also be given a choice as to whether they want to pay for someone’s abortions or birth control pills.

    • We are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. In the same way that you buy a bottle of pills from a store which has contraceptives, the employer is buying insurance which in turn offers abortion as an option for its clients. In my view, there’s a layer between the employer and the abortion. The employer is not paying for the abortion as you claim. The employer is paying for health insurance, which in turn offers the employee choices.

      In terms of Pepsi, i have two comments. First, it’s my favorite pop, and I’m just as unwilling to give that up as I am eating a Chick Fillet which supports agendas I absolutely hate. Again, there’s a layer. Both sell a product I like, and what they choose to do with my money after I lay it on the table is not as important to me as it seems to be to you. My aunt who is a wonderful, caring nun drinks Pepsi as her favorite pop, an that’s good enough for me.

      Then you bring up kidney cells, and given what my husband has been going through in the past few years, that’s interesting. I don’t buy the theory that the study of such things promotes abortions. I don’t like them, but if they have to happen, why not have something good come out of it?

      Finally, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure controversy. Is it really right to deny low-income women breast cancer screening because the same place does abortions? You’re right back at the drug store in my opinion. Don’t give them your business, because they’re doing something totally unrelated in which you don’t believe.

      I posted your comment, because I believe in both of our rights to express an opinion. However, we’re not going to convince each other to change our point of view. Let’s stop this before it gets ugly and personal and risks ruining a friendship.

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