Questionable Motives

June 30, 2014

Why does religious privilege matter in the public domain?

crock of shitBecause when you get five white male catholics sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States, you get discriminatory laws like this one that justifies business being able to determine its employees’ health care on religious grounds.

We hold that the regulations that impose this obligation violate RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act 1993), which prohibits the Federal Government from taking any action that substantially burdens the exercise of religion unless that action constitutes the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest.

We must decide whether the challenged HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) regulations (mandating payment for insurance coverage that includes contraceptives) substantially burden the exercise of religion, and we hold that they do.

See? Healthcare on religious grounds… a perfectly reasonable privilege in law (against a public policy that just so happens to be contrary to their religious teachings) for a bunch of catholics to endorse.

Are we surprised?

Hardly.

Now, let’s see what happens when a business owner who is hindu refuses to pay coverage for gastroenterology of eaters of beef, a scientologist owner who refuses to cover psychiatric counseling and treatments, a christian science business owner who refuses to pay for dental coverage, and so on. Will this enlightened group of white catholic men continue to support religious privilege outside of their religious beliefs? Somehow, I sincerely doubt it. (We don’t even need to go so far as to consider religiously inspired  human sacrifice to imagine just how stupid and shortsighted this ruling can become; refusal to pay for any reproductive healthcare is next up). Are such religious folk who run businesses unreasonable to expect the Supreme Court to privilege their mandatory exemptions contrary to their religious teachings in the public domain? Will the Supreme Court stay true to the principle in law they’ve set down here that the public domain must privilege religious belief of individuals? Will we stand by and nod our head in pious agreement that bigotry and misogyny are to be privileged in this way because they are religious, and so their exercise trumps equality rights and freedom from legal discrimination? Apparently so.

What a stupid ruling. Colossal stupidity.

But it shouldn’t be surprising: any time we allow religion to have privilege in law, we always pay the price in a loss of legal autonomy that is rationalized to be moral. And we pay this price because religious belief itself – for all its hand waving about its benevolence and charity and comfort claims – holds zero respect for legal autonomy. Respect for our personal autonomy in law is the enemy of mandated religious fealty and privilege, which is why secular values are targeted by all religions (under the banner of secular protection, of course) to be immoral. Religion – no matter how vanilla the local flavour may appear to be – is always a tyranny working in ways to try to make it happen. We ignore this core religious value at our peril.

Advertisements

26 Comments »

  1. Great post. “Sincere religious beliefs” my ass. Hobby Lobby imports billions of dollars of products from China. China has one of the highest abortion rates in the world — and for 4 decades — forced abortion. They also promote the use of all contraceptives and have a daunting human rights record. The SCOTUS received brief back in October of last year from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and multiple health provider groups stating that “there is a scientific distinction between a contraceptive and an abortifacient and the scientific record demonstrates that none of the FDA-approved contraceptives covered by the Mandate are abortifacients.”

    Then there’s this When Hobby Lobby filed its case against the Affordable Care Act contraception mandate, its retirement plan had more than $73 million invested in funds with stakes in contraception makers —> the same contraceptive products the firm’s owners cite in their lawsuit.

    So this isn’t about their sincere religious belief. They have opened up a can of worms. Our country is descending to 3rd world country status rapidly.

    Comment by N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ — June 30, 2014 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  2. I couldn’t agree more, well said!!!

    Comment by foolsmusings — June 30, 2014 @ 7:31 pm | Reply

  3. Well said.

    Comment by makagutu — July 1, 2014 @ 2:47 am | Reply

  4. Beside the silly facts about the Hobby Lobby case that make this post inane … little things like the fact that Roe-v-Wade was decided by 7 white males (and apparently that’s OK), or that 16 forms of birth control are still covered under the ruling (only the objection to the four that allow the killing of innocent, defenseless human beings were upheld) … there are also answers to the more colossally stupid comments that followed the original post:

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-07-02/answers-to-all-your-hobby-lobby-questions

    Enjoy! 🙂

    Comment by av8torbob — July 3, 2014 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

    • Except we have this tad bit of information:

      WASHINGTON (AP) —

      “The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed that its decision a day earlier extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just the handful of methods the justices considered in their ruling.

      The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings in favor of businesses that object to covering all 20 methods of government-approved contraception. Tuesday’s orders apply to companies owned by Catholics who oppose all contraception.”

      And in case you were not aware — of the largest health care corporations in the country, four of the top six are administered by the Catholic Church.

      And in case you are not up on the science, none of these 4 methods cause abortion and the justices knew it.

      Justice Roberts stated that someone’s mere belief that something is an abortion is enough to trigger a religious exemption to federal law.

      Justice Alito stated:

      [I]n these cases, the Hahns and Greens and their companies sincerely believe that providing the insurance coverage demanded by the HHS [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] regulations lies on the forbidden side of the line, and it is not for us to say that their religious beliefs are mistaken or insubstantial. Instead, our “narrow function … in this context is to determine” whether the line drawn reflects “an honest conviction” and there is no dispute that it does.”

      Comment by N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ — July 3, 2014 @ 6:13 pm | Reply

      • So what? That is why we have this quaint little thing called “religious liberty” (in America anyway, and at least for now …) that was the first liberty guaranteed by, and for, our Constitutional Republic.

        If you don’t like the convictions of the founders of a privately held company, or the policies that come with working for that company, my suggestion would be to either: 1) not work there or, 2) pay for the things the company’s insurance policies don’t cover yourself.

        That’s how adults operate.

        Comment by Av8torbob — July 4, 2014 @ 12:21 am

      • This issue is much bigger than you realize, as noted in the OP. With that said, over half of women (56%) use contraceptives for medical reasons (many of them quite serious). Only 44% of women use contraceptives solely for birth control. Also, complications from pregnancy and birth is the 6th cause of death in women between ages 20 and 34 in the U.S.

        Religious liberty does not give you the freedom to interfere with the health and well being of women.

        Comment by N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ — July 4, 2014 @ 8:49 am

    • My criticism about the ruling is about providing healthcare coverage based not on medical but religious grounds and why this is such an open door to problems: a way to justify bias and discrimination and misogyny and bigotry in the name of privileging religion. Nothing you have said here, Bob address this fact. You provide a link – the Bloomberg View opinion piece – that makes the very point I am criticizing:

      “From the point of view of the law, however, this is an interesting but irrelevant sideshow (me: all the medical and scientific information that reveals the justification for the religious claim to be factually ignorant): What matters is their belief.”

      There it is. What matters is not what’s true and defensible by reality’s arbitration of the merits claimed but the sincerity of the belief in spite of contrary facts.

      SCOTUS has elevated religious belief to be an acceptable justification for a biased, discriminatory, misogynistic and bigoted company policy enforced on its employees. This is an imposition of religious belief on employees without their consent. This is not freedom of religion for the employees, Bob. This is a blank cheque permission for employers to put into action whatever religious beliefs they want regardless of the rights of others infringed upon. They are not free from this infringement. In fact, their freedom has been reduced. to be subservient to the religious beliefs of their employer. That’s why this ruling harms freedom of religion: by privileging its imposition the court has created victims of it, real people who are harmed in the name of the ‘free’ exercise of religious belief. The ruling is an attack on all of us.

      Comment by tildeb — July 5, 2014 @ 9:26 am | Reply

    • Bob, you gave me a link so let me return the favour that demonstrates why we know it matters that the majority opinion is based on Catholic theology.

      Comment by tildeb — July 5, 2014 @ 10:05 am | Reply

    • Oh, and furthermore, the ruling allows the Christian owners of HL to get between female employees and their doctors by imposing restrictions and employer caveats on any counseling and education related in any way to the use of any contraceptives. Again, a business determining employee medical services on the basis of religious belief. Unbe-fucking-lievable.

      I wonder what might happen If enough protestors scream at HL customers, wave placards with pictures of gore and blood in their faces, follow them home, leave pamphlets in neighbours’ mailboxes about the kind of person who would shop at HL they’re living next to, write down license plate numbers of customers and and post them online, sit in the doorways of HL with pit bulls in spiked collars, and insist that any 35′ buffer has been found to be too much of an imposition against freedom of expression, what might the owners of HL do? Praise god for how well freedom of religion and freedom of expression get along?

      Can’t wait for a business to impose a sharia policy. Then let’s see how principled are the supporters of Hobby Lobby’s legal victory.

      Comment by tildeb — July 5, 2014 @ 5:18 pm | Reply

  5. Well, killing innocent human beings because they are deemed inconvenient is not about the “health and well being of women.” It is about the health and well being of innocent, defenseless human beings. Religious freedom is about you not having the ability to use my money to pay for your decision to kill your own offspring. If you think it’s OK to kill defenseless human beings, pay for it yourself (“you” being generic and not personal toward you, Neuro … unless the shoe fits).

    Comment by Av8torbob — July 4, 2014 @ 9:09 am | Reply

    • These FDA approved contraceptives do not cause abortion, neither legally or scientifically. As I mentioned above, the 5 justices knew this but made their decision based on HL’s and CW’s belief that they did. In other words, they ignored the scientific data.

      Comment by N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ — July 4, 2014 @ 9:34 am | Reply

    • Well, killing innocent human beings because they are….

      There’s a word for that.
      Murder.
      Only there’s no murder. The English language is not your friend. Stop being stupid. Find out how contraceptives work. Huffing and puffing are a poor substitute for reality.

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — July 5, 2014 @ 12:26 am | Reply

  6. “Why The Hobby Lobby Decision Actually Hurts People Of Faith”

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/06/30/3453598/no-a-win-for-hobby-lobby-is-not-a-win-for-religion/

    Comment by N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ — July 5, 2014 @ 10:28 am | Reply

  7. tildeb, yeah, I have “guff” …

    1) The ridiculousness of saying that there is some equivalence between the inaccessible, third-party investment decisions in a 401(k) by the stock picks of remote mutual fund managers at Fidelity (or wherever) and being forced by the government to pay for abortifacient contraceptives is almost beyond comprehension. Only a NARAL/Planned Parenthood sycophant could come up with such an idiotic comparison as that.

    2) Everyone here knows there is only one purpose for Ella/Pan B products and it isn’t “women’s health care.” It is to stop a pregnancy after the act. There may be questions about the abortifacient efficacy of these products but, if there is, it puts no onus on anyone to err on the side of protecting innocent human life — especially when they not only have 16 other options to choose from, but they are perfectly free to pay for the abortifacient product themselves if they want to. That, and no one is forcing anyone to work at Hobby Lobby.

    3) To compare a decision that strikes a reasonable compromise between the protection of the expectation of religious liberty on one hand, and onerous government-mandated demands on a privately-held company (that no one is forced to work for) … Comparing THAT to the imposition of woman-hating, oppressive, medieval, head-chopping sharia is either disingenuous blather or utter stupidity. You pick.

    Ross Douthat points out ( http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/06/opinion/sunday/ross-douthat-a-company-liberals-could-love-.html?_r=0 ) that Hobby Lobby was a company “hailed last year by the left-wing policy website Demos ‘for thumbing its nose at the conventional wisdom that success in the retail industry’ requires paying ‘bargain-basement wages.’ A retail chain with nearly 600 stores and 13,000 workers, this business sets its lowest full-time wage at $15 an hour, and raised wages steadily through the stagnant postrecession years. (Its do-gooder policies also include donating 10 percent of its profits to charity and giving all employees Sunday off.) And the chain is thriving commercially — offering, as Demos put it, a clear example of how ‘doing good for workers can also mean doing good for business.'”

    But that’s not good enough. The crazy-eyed abortionists want to impose THEIR views on everyone and, instead of letting pluralism work as it should, they force conflict that will result in companies like Hobby Lobby either closing their doors, or being forced to compromise their principles by lowering wages to pay for the demands of those who are imposing their moral views on them. Douthat: ” … it just requires a rediscovery of pluralism’s virtues, and the benefits of allowing different understandings of social justice to be pursued simultaneously, rather than pitted against each other in a battle to the death.”

    Be careful what you ask for.

    Comment by av8torbob — July 7, 2014 @ 11:32 am | Reply

    • Again, Bob, this issue isn’t about abortifacient contraceptives. From the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

      “It’s should be noted that Hobby Lobby’s concerns are not grounded in science. (Tildeb: Gee, didn’t neuronotes already link to this fact, Bob? But that doesn’t stop you for even a moment to continue to lie on behalf of your contrary beliefs. That’s what your religious beliefs do to you: twist the truth and call it pious) As a brief filed by multiple health provider groups — including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — explains, “there is a scientific distinction between a contraceptive and an abortifacient and the scientific record demonstrates that none of the FDA-approved contraceptives covered by the Mandate are abortifacients.” So Hobby Lobby isn’t just claiming the right to object to abortion, it is claiming the right to label many common forms of birth control a form of “abortion” and object to those as well — even though drugs and devices don’t actually cause abortions.”

      Although the court insisted this was a ‘narrow’ ruling, it was promptly widened:

      “The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed that its decision a day earlier extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just the handful of methods the justices considered in their ruling.”

      Bob, you’re out to lunch on this one. The principle laid out by SCOTUS is that religious belief now is the justification needed for business owners to impose their beliefs on their employees not just in medical coverage but in any way they please regardless of secular laws against discrimination and bigotry. This is what you are supporting: the principle that attacks freedom of religion in the name of freedom of religion. You’re just too dull to grasp it.

      Comment by tildeb — July 7, 2014 @ 10:49 pm | Reply

  8. Again, Bob, this issue isn’t about abortifacient contraceptives….

    Poor Av8torbob. The English language is not his friend.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — July 8, 2014 @ 2:34 am | Reply

  9. Holy sweet Jesus.

    This conversation is the epitome of trying to talk to a brick wall. Someone who can’t even focus on the subject matter even when it’s pointed out in every single response in an effort to steer the conversation back to the issue.

    Bob: Well if you want to have abortions!….
    tildeb or Neuronotes: This isn’t about abortion, it’s about contraception and freedom of/from religion.
    Bob: Oh yeah! Well if you want to kill your innocent offspring!….
    tildeb or Neuronotes: This isn’t about abortion, it’s about contraception and freedom of/from religion.
    Bob: Oh yeah! Well all these crazy-eyed abortionists!….
    tildeb or Neuronotes: This isn’t about abortion, it’s about contraception and freedom of/from religion.

    There is something wrong with you Bob. Something very wrong.

    Comment by Ashley — July 8, 2014 @ 8:36 am | Reply

  10. I think you’re right! Poor fellow.

    Comment by Ashley — July 8, 2014 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  11. Please, oh wise ones, tell me what the purpose of Ella or Plan ‘B’ happens to be? (hint: it’s called Plan ‘B’ for a reason).

    You can keep repeating your mantra. That doesn’t make it true. The FACT is that there is a difference of opinion on whether these methods are abortifacient. I believe they are. You don’t. But, whatever they are, they are designed to end the process of pregnancy after it has begun, not before it starts. Are you really so small-minded that you can’t see how a reasonable person could happen to disagree with you and have a moral objection for doing so?

    The FACT is that there are 16 other options available that don’t work this way.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/381637/hobby-lobby-actually-lavishes-contraception-coverage-its-employees-deroy-murdock

    This is something that grown-ups recognize as a reasonable compromise that seeks to respect both sides of a difference of opinion. Do you know that the Catholic, “wise(?) latina” voted with the minority and therefore undercuts your claim that it was a “religious” decision? Are you really unaware that religious liberty in America is meant to avoid the imposition of a state religion on society — that it is about freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion? Are you really so eaten up by your secular myopia that you can’t accept any compromise? Are you really that small?

    Apparently, yes. Apparently, compromise with you people is equivalent to the imposition of sharia (re: tildeb). Apparently, your endgame would be to impose your secular atheist “values” on all of us and applaud yourselves for being so reasonable and open-minded.

    Sounds like you are also unaware of the slime you’ve been sipping. Hypocritical small-mindedness at its best. Bravo!

    Comment by Av8torbob — July 8, 2014 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

    • No Bob, the real fact is that these methods of contraception are NOT abortifacients. Thats a FACT. If you’d read what tildeb posted earlier instead if making shit up out of thin air, you’d realize why you are making a complete fucking idiot of yourself as per usual.
      “As a brief filed by multiple health provider groups — including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — explains, “there is a scientific distinction between a contraceptive and an abortifacient and the scientific record demonstrates that none of the FDA-approved contraceptives covered by the Mandate are abortifacients.””
      “The FACT is that there is a difference of opinion on whether these methods are abortifacient. I believe they are.” The only difference of opinion is the one that exists inside that dangerously empty head of yours.
      Good for you that you “believe” they are abortifacients. Here’s the thing. No one gives A FUCK what you “believe” is a contraceptive and what’s an abortifacient. You’re not a doctor or a nurse and you don’t have any knowledge in the related field. You don’t have a fucking clue what you’re taking about. You’re just another mouth-frothing ignorant fucking moron who thinks his idiotic delusional religious beliefs are a good substitute for sound scientific study.
      You vs the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Hmmmmmm, who should I listen to?…….

      Comment by Ashley — July 8, 2014 @ 11:43 pm | Reply

  12. You vs the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Hmmmmmm, who should I listen to?…

    I can understand someone who has no idea what they are talking about. That’s forgivable. What I don’t get is not knowing what you are talking about…on the internet…when reliable,mainstream sources of information are only a click away.
    That takes a special snowflake.

    Confused about the meaning of a word? Look it up. Go ahead and check out several dictionaries if you are suspicious of the first one.
    (You’d think it would be obvious yet certain people don’t.)

    Unsure how the medical profession defines abortifacients?
    Look it up. Go to the top five/ten/twenty medical communities on the planet and find out if you really want to dig deep.

    Convinced that volcanoes produce more CO2 emissions that human industry? Look it up.
    There are scientific communities that make it their business to know what come out of volcanoes and how much. They do the counting and they are happy to put it out there for all to see. A quick google is all it takes. Thirty seconds-tops! THe USGS is a great place to start.

    Don’t really know the Age Of the Earth or if cell phones give you cancer? Again, it’s simple stuff. Just go to the relevant scientific communities and find out for sure. It’s all at your fingertips. There no need to get your information second-hand. There’s no need to rely upon some blog or “thinktank”. Just go directly to the people that do the work. Use as many different scientific communities as you like. They are all good.

    You can turn your back on the scientific community. Only you won’t get anywhere with those smart ones that don’t.
    A choice between some anonymous guy on the Intertubes linking to whatever- versus just going to mainstream, scientific communities and checking any and all of them all out is an easy choice to make.

    Skewed views of science Theory or Guess_ – YouTube.FLV

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — July 9, 2014 @ 1:41 pm | Reply

    • “I can understand someone who has no idea what they are talking about. That’s forgivable. What I don’t get is not knowing what you are talking about…on the internet…when reliable, mainstream sources of information are only a click away.
      That takes a special snowflake.”
      Yes, I couldn’t possibly agree more.
      In the short time I have been on here, I’ve noticed this rather disturbing pattern of behavior. I’ve always thought it a very good idea – especially when conversing on the internet – to sit and think and maybe do a little research before you type. It reduces the risk that you’ll say something that isn’t true or is unsupported or is just downright stupid. OR, at least be willing to admit that you misspoke or you were in error and then do some research afterwards to correct your mistakes. Av8torbob appears to be wholly unconcerned by this. If he’s as educated as he claims to be, it’s very unlikely it’s because he’s incapable of searching for and understanding the available information. There is an underlying tone of incredible arrogance that allows him to assume that he knows better than scientists and climatologists when it come to global warming, better than scientists and doctors when it comes to contraception and abortifacients, better than lexicographers when it comes to definitions of words. I’m not a psychologist so this is only a guess on my part but the only conclusion I can come to, is that it’s because he wishes to remain willfully ignorant. That, and his religious beliefs have thoroughly so diminished his capacity to process information, think, reason and deduce that he just can’t help himself. Logic be damned, facts be damned, conclusive evidence and research be damned. These religious beliefs have endowed him with the courage to literally say absolutely anything in defence of his beliefs and his unfounded views. What a very scary thought indeed.
      Excellent video.

      Comment by Ashley — July 10, 2014 @ 10:53 am | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: