Several organizations are reported to be moving quickly to take advantage of the Blunt Amendment, which is not to be confused with Virginia’s blunt instrument (Feb 27th post). Its aim is to amend current health care law to enable those with “religious or moral objections to specific items or services to decline providing them.” In a way that makes sense only in Washington, Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri has attached his legislation to Senate Bill 1813, whose purpose is to reauthorize Federal aid to highway construction programs.
The amendment, which has attracted 23 co-signers, could redefine health-care delivery:
- The First Church of Christ, Scientist could open a chain of hospitals across the country that, to comply with its religious beliefs, will offer no medical services whatsoever. They will, however, accept Medicare and Medicaid.
- To expedite its program of posthumous baptisms (Feb. 24th post), the Mormon Church could install baptismal pools adjacent to wards for the terminally ill.
- While the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will provide no contraceptives in its pedophilia treatment centers, it could install large shredders to ensure confidentiality (http://articles.philly.com/2012-02-25/news/31098596_1_church-lawyers-abuse-complaints-priests).
- The Shriners, however, would seem to have an issue. Although the organization has operated outstanding children’s hospitals for decades, some believe that any group whose members wear a red fez and worship in a temple must be Muslims – the one religion to which the Blunt Amendment probably does not extend. I mean, look at the logo.
And the organization’s name change from the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine to Shriners International will probably not fool the senators – who know that international is just another word for un-American.