by Larry Peterson
The Little Sisters of the Poor is a catholic, religious organization founded in France in the first half of the 19th century. A woman by the name of Jeanne Jugan (now Saint Jeanne Jugan) felt the need to help care for the many poverty stricken elderly who seemingly were everywhere in France. She began her ministry by inviting an elderly woman into her home to care for her. One woman caring for another and so began the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Let us fast forward about 160 years or so. The Little Sisters of the Poor serve people in 31 countries. They have grown from one woman helping one woman to one of the most successful religious organizations in the world. One country they serve is the good old U.S of A. They have about 30 homes here and care for 2500 elderly in the U.S. Enter Obamacare and the HHS Mandate.
There are certain penalties that accompany the Mandate. For example, if an organization were to stop offering health insurance rather than comply with the Mandate that organization, ie: The Little Sisters of the Poor, would be forced to pay a $2000.00 penalty per employee. If they chose to offer insurance without contraception, aborta-facient drugs or sterilization availability, they would be penalized $100.00 per day per employee. If there were 50 employees that would come to about $2,000,000.00 a year.
The Little Sisters of the Poor do one thing. They care for the elderly. They offer them homes where they are welcomed and lovingly cared for. These folks are treated with respect, dignity and love. The good Sisters do not want money. They do not need a fancy car or a big house to live in. They do not need a flat-screen TV or contemporary clothing. All they want to do is serve other people. Half of all operating costs come from donations, the other half from Medicaid. The penalties for non-compliance with the Mandate would virtually wipe out their ability to continue this work.
The Department of Health and Human Services exemption criteria is so narrowly defined that hardly anyone will qualify. A religious employer will only be exempted if they hire & serve only people of their own faith. Catholic Charities and Catholic hospitals serve all folks. So do other religious organizations. The penalties will force them to go out of business. This is so crazy and I would ask, what do the elderly need birth control for anyway?
President Obama’s campaign web-site has given us the Obama Woman, a gal named “Julia” who we follow in cartoon form from age three through age 67+ . Julia’s life, from the formative years and onward, has been guided, nurtured and embraced by and through government programs such as: Head Start, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Obamacare, Pell Grants for education etc. There is never a mention of Julia having parents or siblings or any family at all (they had to be in the mix somewhere but I guess their impact on Julia’s life was minimal). Finally, as Julia’s wonderful, carefree and orchestrated life winds down, she finds happiness in her senior years as a volunteer in a “community garden”. May I present the JULIA alternative–JOANIE.
Joanie Peach is 17. She did have parents but they died. Her mother, when Joanie was 13, and her dad when she was 17. She has an older brother, Teddy, 18, and three younger brothers aged 14, 10 and 6. They are orphans. Yup–Joanie has had multiple roles in her young life: daughter, sister, replacement mom, high school student, cook, house-keeper, household budget manager, grocery shopper, meal planner, and, of course, nurse in charge of all the cuts, bumps and bruises that little boys seem to attract. I have to be fair–this did take place “way, way”, back in the mid 1960’s. That was a time when the all embraceable and benevolent government was just beginning to get into the “nanny busines”. Consequently, folks (for the most part)counted on their family, friends and church to help them through difficult life challenges.
Joanie Peach and the parentless journey of her and her brothers begins in the YA novel, “The Priest and the Peaches”, the first book in a fictionalized (like Obama’s, Julia) series that will follow the life of these kids. Joanie and Julia are quite different. Why not spend a few bucks (it is an ebook) to see HOW different and how the faith, strength and love of God and family can be the foundation that binds and lifts folks together no matter what life may throw their way.