Comments about ‘Topic of the day: Religious business owners and the birth control mandate’

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Published: Monday, Aug. 12 2013 3:45 p.m. MDT

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Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

There is no debate over "businesses with potential religious objections" because businesses have no legal right whatsoever to make religious objections. Under the law, a for-profit business is definitionally secular. Period. End of story. If you want to get all preachy, become a 501(c)(3).

The honest debate is whether the United States is willing to allow individuals with personal, moral convictions to dictate said convictions through for-profit entities in a discriminatory manner in defiance of the law and to the detriment of their employees.

If you cannot distinguish between this issue and private entities choosing not to use their profits to sponsor a random event or procure product through particular supply chains then the subject matter is beyond your scope of understanding.

Everett, 00

You are either a business OR a religion.

Trying to make something both will only exasperate the problem.
And the column writer is correct - neither side will like the outcome if you do.

Huntsville, UT

Unless your business is a church, it should not be granted religious exemptions. Period.

tranquility base, 00

Funny how I've never heard of any religion but Catholics having a problem with birth control in the past.

Seems convenient to now suddenly have a surge of protestants that are opposed to birth control.

It doesn't matter what religion you are you shouldn't let people die of curable diseases in one of the richest countries on Earth. Or anywhere else.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

What if a business owner is opposed to war based on religious views? Should he/she have the option to withhold funds from the Department of Defense?

Salt Lake City, Utah

Some people like to pretend it is the business or business owner who is "buying" the insurance.

It's not. It's the employee.

Employers found they could pay a lower hourly wage and get a tax benefit if they offered insurance - that is why insurance is through employers: they get a benefit.

It is all part of the employee's compensation package - payment for the services the employee provides to the business.

Don't believe me? Be honest with yourself as you consider the following:

You apply for a job. The employer tells you they can pay x and provide insurance with a payroll deduction or they can pay y where y>x but no insurance. The difference between x and y is the employer's contribution to insurance minus his tax benefit. If the employer "buys" the insurance, why the different pay rates?


You have "employer provided" insurance. Your employer says he is dropping that, but not changing your wage. (Your check will go up the amount of your contribution.) Are you okay with that? Or do you feel that you have lost something and your work is being compensated at a lower value?

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@redshirt007 – “Seems convenient to now suddenly have a surge of protestants that are opposed to birth control.”

Perhaps the biggest non-issue in the history of our on-going culture war! Stalwart Sentinel’s brilliant comment got it exactly right, and redshirt007 (which redshirt are you?) got to the heart of the matter above.

This has nothing to do with birth control or even religious objections of business owners (since the laws of the land that govern commerce will always go against someone’s personal convictions and courts have always ruled in favor of the laws – see Scalia in the article referenced Peyote case).

This entire issue is a tactical move meant to attack the President and part of the larger strategy in the mostly silly culture war.

I wonder how many of those who are all fired up against this mandate are going to wake up in 5, 10 or 20 years and realize, “wow, I was played like a violin by a cynical media looking for pawns in their game.”

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Let's list the violations that the Federal Government has made.

- It is demanding that people have health insurance. Where in the Constitution is that duty enumerated?

- It is demanding that businesses pay for birth control. Where in the Constitution is that duty enumerated?

- It is demanding that religious beliefs be ignored. Where in the Constituion is that duty enumerated?

- It is demanding that an establishment of religion pay for birth control as part of the insurance package that government has required. Where in the Constitution is that duty enumerated?

There are too many violations to list, but in every case, the federal level of government has exceeded its authority and has assumed duties that were to be left to the States or to the people.

Why has the federal government demanded that we all buy health insurance? It wants 18% to 24% more private sector money to be added to "revenues" of the federal government. It wants to mix that money with the general fund and then give out I.O.U.s to pay for health-care, just as it has done with Social Security.

Follow the money. Always follow the money.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Mike Richards – “It is demanding that religious beliefs be ignored. Where in the Constituion is that duty enumerated?”

I’m guessing that would be the 1st amendment – the one about passing no laws respecting an establishment of religion (i.e., “ignoring” religious belief when passing laws).

As to your ultra-literalist no room for interpretation view of the Constitution, what about National Parks? Apparently the Constitution does not allow for their creation, so will you go on record as advocating their dismantling on returning all that land to private owners? Can’t wait to see Yosemite and Yellowstone after they have been transformed into Las Vegas…

Back to the issue at hand -

The reason we know this is a faux issue – 99% of American adults have used birth control including 97% of Catholics.

Some enterprising journalist should do an investigation on those business owners who are objecting and find out how many of them have used birth control. Dollars to donuts most would be part of the 99%, a fact if uncovered would expose this whole charade for what it is.

Brigham City, UT

Re: "... what about National Parks? Apparently the Constitution does not allow for their creation, so will you go on record as advocating their dismantling on returning all that land to private owners?"

And while we're at it, we can consider returning the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson thought the Constitution did not give the government "a power of holding foreign territory, and still less of incorporating it into the Union. An amendment of the Constitution seems necessary for this."

But he changed his tune, or in the words of Merrill Peterson, "Jefferson buried his fears of making the Constitution 'a blank paper by construction.'"

Jefferson: "I wrote to you ... on the subject of Louisiana, and the constitutional provision which might be necessary for it. A letter received yesterday shows that nothing must be said on that subject, which may give a pretext for retracting; but that we should do, sub silentio, what shall be found necessary." "... the less that is said about any constitutional difficulty, the better, and that it will be desirable for Congress to do what is necessary, in silence."

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

thanks for displaying your misunderstanding of the 1st amendmendment. but what else would we expect from someone who thinks CO2 is pollution?

as for the increase in the number of noncatholics decrying the mandate that catholics fund contraceptives, the issue is not that we agree or disagree with the use of contraceptives, the issue is the govt is DEMANDING catholics be forced to buy something contrary to their convictions - in essence passing a law conserning the establishment of religion. in other words, when it comes to your religions, you are free to practice - as long as it does not interfere with government mandates.

the idea that a business owner NOT buying his employee's abortificants is somehow forcing the owner's religion on the employee is as ludicrous as saying since I am not buying my co-worker his cigarettes, I am forcing my religion on him.

NO ONE should be forced to abandon their beliefs to run a business. Regardless of all the sophistry you drag up, telling ANYONE they abandon their beliefs once they enter the world of commerce is contrary to the religious protections that were enshrined in the constitution, but constantly ignored by liberals

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

lost in DC - Unfortunately, I fear you are unable to grasp the very simple concept that a business is not a legal extension of the owner. Under the law, there is literally zero recognition that the owner of a for-profit business is Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Agnostic, or Pastafarian. It is a business, secular in nature and nothing more.

A business owner has, in no way, been forced to abandon any belief. Indeed, a business owner can continue to believe as she/he sees fit in their personal life. Notwithstanding, said owner has no legal standing whatsoever to channel her/his personal beliefs through the business onto the employees, particularly when said belief is contrary to established law.

At the end of the day, the distinctions between the rights afforded an individual human being vs that of a for-profit company are real. It does not matter whether you are incapable of recognizing the difference between a human and a corporation or simply refuse to because the courts are able to discern between the two and our side will ultimately prevail. So, you can either accept reality by comprehending the differences or stand dumbfounded when your side loses.

Jon W.
Murray, UT

So not buying employees birth control means you are forcing the employees not to use it? How about the employees plunking down a little cold hard cash if they want to use birth control?

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

50% of women use contraceptives to balance their hormones and cycles - NOT for birth control.

Why are Republicans so much against women's health?

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

I am afraid you are unable to grasp the very simple concept of freedom of religion outlined in the first amendment. If, as you say, the LAW says a for profit is definitely secular and not an extension of the owner, then the LAW violates the "congress shall enact no LAW concerning the establishment of religion" section of the 1st amendment. that simple.

FORCING someone to buy something they strongly oppose for religious resaons is enacting a law estblishing religion. NO ONE should be forced to abandon their beliefs to participate in the capitalist system. Or would you rather they all close their businesses and go on foodstamps and other forms of welfare? how about they make ALL their employees parttime? do you prefer THOSE alternatives?

open minded?
no one is opposed to women's health. Since I am not personally feeding EVERY PERSON in Philadelphia, I am opposed to people in Philly eating? get real!

c'mon, fess up, you liberals just want someone else to bear the cost and responsiblity of your sexual activities; someone else pay for the contraceptives, someone else pay for the abortion, someone else etc, etc ad infintum.

Huntsville, UT

Jon W. says:
"So not buying employees birth control means you are forcing the employees not to use it? How about the employees plunking down a little cold hard cash if they want to use birth control?"

They already do, they're called "premiums".


See what I said to Jon W. (And you clearly ignored what Stalwart said).

Brigham City, UT

Every business should be treated alike. If a church owns a business, that business should be subject to the same rules and regulations as every other business. If a religious person owns a business, that business should be treated like every other business. Just because a business owner has strong religious beliefs doesn't mean that certain rules shouldn't apply to him. The religion or religiousness of the owner should never be a consideration before the law.

A business owner's rights and beliefs are not more important than the rights and beliefs of his employees, and his rights and beliefs should not limit theirs.

Religious organizations should decide: Are they churches, or businesses? They can't be both. If a man owns or operates a business, he's a businessman. If a religious organization owns or operates a business, it's a business organization. By owning or operating a business, a church becomes a business itself.

"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Despite the fact that the American Constitution is only talking about churches and religious establishments, somehow the idea of freedom of religion for individuals themselves got stuck into the American creed. If we are to have religious freedom for people, we must limit the kind of religious freedom the churches want.

First thing is to keep organized religion out of government. That not only means their lobby and their evangelical military chaplains but the business lobbies of the church own and operated businesses.

There’s no law against churches owning and operation a business but if the choose to operate a business in the public square they must follow the same rules as other non-religious businesses. If churches are allowed to ignore civil law based upon religious beliefs then we should also allow any individual to ignore civil law according to his own personal beliefs.

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

lost in DC - A few points:

1 - It seems your understanding of the 1st Amendment on this subject matter is inverted. The fact that government makes no recognition of religion at the corporate level (ie HobbyLobby is not a Christian business, Hebrew National is not a Jewish business, both are simply businesses) ensures no establishment of religion occurs, not the other way around. Of course, if you disagree and believe a 1st Amendment violation has occurred, by all means, file a lawsuit. I can't wait to learn the outcome.

2 - There is a difference in meaning between the words "definitionally" and "definitely." I trust you can look those up.

3 - No one is being forced to do anything here, it is imperative that you extricate the individual from the corporation. Again, there are noted legal distinctions between a corporation and the individual who owns/operates said corporation. Further, if an individual is opposed to fair treatment and compliance under the law, then they are free to not participate in the marketplace. There is no injustice in that.

4 - Finally, writing something in all caps does not make the statement more true; no one is fooled by such trivialities.

Salt Lake City, Utah

When an individual starts a business, they set it up such that should their business be sued the individual's home, possessions, and finances are protected and cannot be taken if the business loses.

An individual's religion should be just as separate from the business - and for the same reason.

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