The Fungibility Argument
A month ago Amy Sullivan pointed out that the Bishops were moving the goalposts away from "no federal subsidies for abortion" to "no right for insurance companies to collect premiums and pool risk that includes payment for abortions." That's the fungibility argument. We didn't see much pushback from our representatives on this one except a mild harrumphing noise and some bleating. On Saturday we saw the end result--the Stupak/Pitts amendment was not only offered on the floor but voted in even by Democrats.
Over at John Aravoisis (via Hullaballoo) makes the point that the "contaminated money" argument ought to extend even to the purchasing of Congressmen and that the purity police in Congress ought to be forced to give back any monies tainted by association with abortion (or any other sins for that matter). But it seems to me that a very obvious riposte to the Bishop's position has yet to be made.
If funds are really fungible, and paying for something--however tenuous the connection between the tax payer and the event--is seen as a kind of blessing or imprimatur--doesn't that go double for the funneling of taxpayer funds to faith based organizations? Why aren't we threatening to bring suit to prevent the US government from disbursing any tax payer monies at all to "institutions of faith" on the grounds that any tax payer money at all could be/should be seen as "establishing" religion unconstitutionally.
We've all made the point, over and over again, that we opposed the war but continued to pay our taxes. Now the Church is making the argument that the government ought to favor, and further, a kind of morals clause in which some people get to refuse to pay taxes for a democratically agreed upon practice. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I don't want any of my tax monies to go to religious institutions and that means for anything. I'm sorry about all the good works that religious communities do, but after all, a sin's a sin.