Friday, August 08, 2008

Data Cooties

I spent most of yesterday in Helena at a meeting sponsored by the Church Pension Fund. The summary of this meeting was to discuss TEC's work towards creating, or participating, in health insurance program for the entire church. As it is now, each diocese is free to contract their own health insurance for their employees. And, if the parish is large enough, a parish can opt to contract for their own insurance.

So the church body is looking to consolidate all this which would, ultimately, give us a larger pool which would give us better rates.

We are also, apparently, in discussions with the UMC, ELCA, LCMS, PCUSA, and SBC about joining forces to create one giant religious health care purchasing body.

There seems to be a glitch with the SBC, however. Talks about uniting for health care purposes broke down when they realized that TEC would allow "domestic partners" to be covered. They want no part of "domestic partners." It's either husband or wife or nothing.

In short, the SBC didn't want their data intermixed and mingled with TEC's data; because, you know, the data might get cooties. And then . . . their data might, you know . . . change.

It'll be interesting to see how all this shakes out in the end.


Kathy | 3:07 PM, August 08, 2008  

Just discovered your blog, and I really like what I've read so far.

FTR, I'm a recovering Baptist who is scheduled to be confirmed as an Episcopalian at the end of the month. I attend a very small but rapidly growing EC in the thriving metropolis of Chelsea, Ala. (pop. 2,949 with a bullet).

Your comment about cootie mingling made me spit water onto my keyboard, so I had to stop for awhile to let it dry out. Good stuff.

Anyway, I thank you for writing this blog. I look forward to reading more.

Madame Ovary

Reverend Ref + | 4:35 PM, August 08, 2008  

Glad you found the blog. Stop in anytime. I'm not a great theologian, nor do I discuss "deep" issues here like other places. You'll find a little fun stuff, a little venting, lots of sermons, and some football.

Hope your keyboard is okay, and blessings for a wonderful confirmation service.


Father John | 12:29 PM, August 09, 2008  

It is a well known fact that there are no cooties in the BSC. It is a truly "Coot Free Zone." Not a single B has ever smoked, had a drink, or danced. I'm actually very surprised that they procreate, but then where would all the little Bs come from?

Emily | 9:51 AM, August 11, 2008  

Oh, we had that meeting in Oklahoma, but without that juicy little tidbit of info. That would have brought the house down here in SBC-dominated OK.

Anonymous | 12:24 AM, August 15, 2008  

Fr. Todd:

I occasionally check your blog and don't mind most of what I see here, but I have to admit that this post did bother me.

First, from your post you suggest Baptists are somehow wrong because they believe that only men and women who are married should get coverage if they are in a CHURCH institution.

If the Baptists were trying to prohibit this for society at large, I would allow you have a point, but since the Southern Baptists are known for their reliance on Scripture as the final authority, it is not amazing that they would not want people who were not married and living together to have benefits the same as married folk IF they are in church ministry. Falls under that 'Don't commit adultery' in the OT and 'A man should leave his father and mother...' in the NT. In short, they would submit that people who are living together should NOT be in church service.

Baptists believe in the Authority of Scripture - I do not understand why you would expect anything else.

You are welcome to believe that people who are living together should be in church ministry and have benefits - that is your choice. However, belittling fellow Christians who do not share your perspective - I don't see that up to par with your usual posts.

Just a passing thought...

Reverend Ref + | 10:25 AM, August 15, 2008  

Anon: First, I normally don't respond to anonymous comments and will generally delete them (just something to keep in mind for future comments), but I found yours to be well-written and respectful while coming from a different perspective. So . . . I'm answering.

1) You are right that I do not agree with the SBC position regarding domestic partnerships. However, it is their church and if they choose not to allow unmarried, cohabiting people (regardless of sexual orientation) to serve in church ministry, or to offer health coverage to those who don't meet their criteria, that is totally up to them. I don't agree with it, but I wouldn't try to enforce a more inclusive reading of scripture on them. I have no control over what they do inside their denomination.

2) The issue, and my point, comes over the intermingling of data. If TEC, UMC, ELCA, LCMS & SBC were to join together for the strict purpose of health care coverage, then all of our employees would benefit. Employees would have lower premiums (as well as lower copays and deductibles). And we all know that in the health insurance game, the larger the buying group, the lower the costs.

3) Just because we are a "buying group" doesn't mean that we have to follow the same criteria. As I understand things, the LCMS basically has the same position regarding domestic partners as the SBC; but I also understood that the LCMS was willing to be part of this group because of the benefits of being part of a larger group. The LCMS is not being required to cover domestic partners because TEC does; nor is TEC being required to not cover domestic partners because the LCMS doesn't.

4) If the SBC doesn't want to cover domestic partners, that's their call. But to refuse to be part of a buying group that could potentially benefit their members simply because they don't want their data intermingled . . . well . . . Isn't that a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face?

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