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Supreme Court to decide whether to tackle religious liberty, contraception mandate

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  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    Oatmeal: "Requiring Hobbly Lobby to pay for insurance provisions that permit abortion is essentially (from an Evangelical Christian's perspective) forcing them to pay for an option to murder a child..."

    As I noted in my original (11/25 4:56 pm) post and as merich39 responded, the question hinges on how much "separation" there is between funding or facilitating an action deemed immoral and performing the same act. No one is forcing Hobby Lobby (or its employees) to use contraception, only to create a condition where the option is available. It's the fungibility of money issue. Hobby Lobby's premiums get mixed into the insurance pool where it is impossible to say that their dollar paid for any particular pill.

    Many people in Utah object to liquor consumption on religious grounds, yet the state government coerces them through compulsory taxation to subsidize liquor retailing and facilitate consumption. Can they claim a religious exemption from paying the fraction of their taxes that goes to the DABC? This paper has taken an editorial stance supporting conscientious objectors being exempted from military service (seeing a parallel to Hobby Lobby's case), but does it support Quakers not paying taxes to run the Pentagon?

  • merich39 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 9:30 a.m.

    Oatmeal
    Woods Cross, UT

    I understand your perspective. However, when the owner(s) of Hobby Lobby provide health insurance to their employees, they have no idea who, if any, will use that insurance to obtain contraceptives. The only way Hobby Lobby can be certain to not violate their religious beliefs, in the public arena as a business owner, is to make sure none of their employees insurance covers contraceptives. By the same logic, someone whose religion prohibits participation in war should not have to pay Fed income taxes nor provide the means for their employees to pay Fed income taxes as certainly some of those taxes can and will be used to pay for wars.

    Again, once we've established a precedent that employers can be exempt from laws based on religious objections, where does that end? Can an employer refuse to follow any and all OSHA laws based on religious exemption? Can a business refuse to follow child labor laws based on religious exemption? Once that religious exemption door is cracked open, it will gradually be forced open more and more a little bit at a time until it's wide open.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    @Oatmeal;

    When the owners of Hobby Lobby applied for a license to incorporate, the government gave them the license on condition that they obey the laws of the state. If they don't want to obey the laws pertaining to businesses, then they should simply close their doors and walk away. Essentially, it's the same Mormon mantra: "if you don't like it leave", but applied to business.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 9:05 a.m.

    The concept of legal personhood raises some perplexing questions. Does a corporation exist independently of the human beings that comprise it? Does Hobby Lobby Inc. exist outside of David Green? Can Hobby Lobby Inc. (as distinct from its stockholders or board of directors) be said to have religious beliefs and practice a religion? What pew does Hobby Lobby Inc. sit in at church?

    A cynical wag quipped that, "I'll believe that corporations are people when Texas executes one." In that sense, corporations have achieved the immortality that corporeal humans seek to achieve through faith. The corporation is divorced and insulated from true responsibility for its sins. It can be fined, but it can't be jailed or executed. It can live forever. Bob Smith, human, defrauds his neighbor out of $1000 and goes to jail. JP Morgan Chase Inc. defrauds people out of millions and pays a fine, but its life and liberty are not curtailed. There is no equivalent of jail. If corporations are people, how about treating them like people? When they misbehave, take away their liberty, say, revoke its charter, freeze all assets for a period of time, or suspend trading of shares on the stock exchange.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    merich39:

    If Congress can pass a law that forces a behavior that directly conflicts with a business owner's right to freely practice their faith, does the First Amendment mean anything at all? Requiring Hobbly Lobby to pay for insurance provisions that permit abortion is essentially (from an Evangelical Christian's perspective) forcing them to pay for an option to murder a child. Regardless of how an observer feels about abortion, it is a violation of the business owner's freedom of conscience. They have to act in a way that is in conflict with their conscience.

    The sad part is that there are ways around this dilemma. Government can get out of the business of mandating that one person select and purchase another's insurance. Government can tax everyone and directly provide healthcare (single-payer), or it can regulate a market where individuals select and pay for the insurance they need. In either case, government would not use business owners as the providers/intermediaries.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 11:43 p.m.

    'Pagan: Can I see the $4 trillion check you wrote for the Iraq War?'

    So now the $4 trillion dollars is make believe?

    Conservatives, mocking the war that killed 500,000 people in Iraq…

    that they started based on lies and falsehoods.

  • merich39 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 9:05 p.m.

    Do we really want to set a precedent where a business owner is able to claim exemption from any particular law based on a religious objection? Today, that religious objection might be provide health insurance that includes birth control. Tomorrow, that religious objection might be providing handicapped access to their business. What happens if someone raises a religious objection to following OSHA laws or EPA laws? What if someone raises a religious objection to following harassment laws?

    If you allow a religious objection to following one law, where does this newly defined right of business to claim exemption from laws stop?

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 8:29 p.m.

    @ Pursuit of Knowledge

    Let’s go another route. What if there were a gay-owned business whose main base of customers is from the GLBT community? The owners (a gay couple) are strident gay-rights activists. They are trying to get married in their state where it isn’t allowed. They also know that a prospective employee is politically and religiously active (after hours) in working to defeat same-sex marriage but wants to work at their company.

    It is a good job. The company is the biggest employer in town and has good benefits. He is the best-qualified candidate. He's a CPA and will not solicit or proselyte his views when at work. His work history indicates he will likely be a loyal, hard-working employee.

    How would such a business owner feel about this? Is the company going to hire him? If they don't, should they be forced to? Are they taking away his *freedom* if they don't?

    Now let’s say he wants to work for a gay-pride advocacy group. Same circumstances. Remember, he’s not on the front lines.

  • Bob K porland, OR
    Nov. 25, 2013 5:28 p.m.

    This is about FAIRNESS, not the special rights that some religious people claim part of "freedom of religion"
    --- low income women, such as those working retail, generally must take any job that will hire them, particularly when they have children and need to work close to daycare, or no car to get to a different job.
    --- the US Constitution and many laws say that all those women need to be treated the same.
    --- the hypocrisy of the commenters is illustrated by their acceptance of freely prescribed Viagra, or, worse "the don't get pregnant" or "it's your problem"

    You want to intrude into the life of families and damage the public interest, while ignoring that religion must not be brought into the workplace.

    Moreover, it is conservative to prevent unwanted kids from burdening the taxpayers.

    Pursuit_of_Knowledge
    SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    @JP
    Let's take this a bit further. What if a business owner's religion believes being gay is a sin and does not want to hire gays?
    --- In most States, that unfairness is legal. Congress needs to pass ENDA.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 5:18 p.m.

    The first amendment (among other amendments) does not require living or breathing.

    In fact it only say what congress can NOT do. It can not abridge speech or religious practice.

    It does not say what an individual can do.

    it does not say what the people can do.

    It does not say what a business can do.

    Because ALL rights exist already with the people and however they organize or assemble themselves.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 4:56 p.m.

    The federal government coerces pacifist Quakers to engage in warfare against their consciences. While they are allowed to opt out of direct military service, they are not allowed to opt out of paying taxes (or that portion of total taxes) that goes to support the military. The federal government coerces observant kosher Jews and halal Muslims to subsidize unclean consumption against their consciences. They are not compelled to eat swine or shellfish, but they are not allowed to opt out of paying taxes (or that portion of total taxes) that goes to subsidize swine production, fisheries management, etc. Money is fungible, it is said, and the taxes paid go into a pool so that no one individual's contribution can be said to pay for any particular expenditure and therefore no religious conflict exists.

    Hobby Lobby and its employees pay insurance premiums into a pool along with thousands of others. Neither Hobby Lobby nor its employees is compelled to buy or use contraceptives, only to carry a policy that includes contraceptive coverage. Their premiums are fungible. They are no more buying contraceptives (or abortifacients, which seems to be the real issue) than a Quaker is buying a Tomahawk missile.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 4:46 p.m.

    If someone wants birth control as part of their insurance, let them add a rider policy at their own expense. Business should not be forced to provide that coverage.

    Additionally, I agree that Viagra should not be required for any insurance policy. If someone wants Viagra, let them pay for it. Don't force me or anyone else to pay for your Viagra or birth control.

    But just because Viagra is covered, at this point, should not mean that I have to pay for someone else's birth control or pregnancy coverage. Instead, lets drop the Viagra from coverage.

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 3:45 p.m.

    "And I paid for the $4 trillion dollars of the Iraq war."

    I am geniunely impressed I thought Bill Gates was the richest man in America.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 3:23 p.m.

    Pagan: Can I see the $4 trillion check you wrote for the Iraq War?

    This is a simple issue that is being made complicated by the haters of religion. No one is forced to work at Hobby Lobby. If you want insurance that covers birth control, work somewhere else or pay for it yourself. It is a product, not a right. If no one applies for work at Hobby Lobby because of their employment practices, then they will have to adjust them or not have employees. Somehow I think that Hobby Lobby will do just fine.

    This is called freedom of choice.

    Unformtunately, our society now operates on a hypocritical form of equality, based on what the far left agrees with.

  • Pursuit_of_Knowledge SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 3:10 p.m.

    @JP
    Let's take this a bit further. What if a business owner's religion believes being gay is a sin and does not want to hire gays? What if the owner's religion believes that being black is a mark of Cain and does not want to hire blacks?

    Where does a business owner's religious freedom stop? When it impinges upon another's freedom.

  • J in AZ San Tan Valley, AZ
    Nov. 25, 2013 2:55 p.m.

    Businesses that have stock for sale on the stock exchanges, i.e. publicly traded firms are treated differently in tax and regulatory law than companies like Hobby Lobby which is wholly owned by a single family. Treating them differently in this issue would be logically consistent with those other treatments.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 2:53 p.m.

    Personally as a middle aged male, and my wife, a female of similar age group, I don't need insurance for pregnancy. I'm pretty darn sure that she's not going to get preggers. Frankly, we don't need that added to our insurance. Someone ought to sue about that since Obama Care mandates make me carry maternity coverage as part of my insurance.

  • JP Chandler, AZ
    Nov. 25, 2013 1:32 p.m.

    @Pursuit_of_Knowledge "What if the business is owned by certain Christian sects that believe only in faith healing, not medicine? Should that business be allowed to avoid providing health care?"

    Yes, they should. And people looking for work can then decide for themselves whether or not they want to work for that company. That's the great thing about freedom.

  • Pursuit_of_Knowledge SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 10:12 a.m.

    This is a slippery slope.

    What if the business is owned by Jehovah's Witnesses? Can the business owner only provide medical insurance that does not pay for blood transfusions?

    What if the business is owned by certain Christian sects that believe only in faith healing, not medicine? Should that business be allowed to avoid providing health care?

    The list goes on-and-on as many religions have differing beliefs in what is allowed by God and what is prohibited.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    'Nice comments. But the AHA is asking business owners to pay for another's decision. '

    And I paid for the $4 trillion dollars of the Iraq war…

    and, men to be covered by Viagra.

    If you use religious arguments against something…

    why do you ignore the fact that some are not, part of that religion?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 7:08 a.m.

    Businesses are not living, breathing entities. They are not people. They do not have any freedom except that which governments grant them. Businesses do not have religious freedom; nor should they; ever!

  • ConservativeCommonTater West Valley City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 6:06 p.m.

    my counterpoint is that I will never get pregnant.

    Why should I have to subsidize women that get pregnant? Insurance is a pool of coverages, and of people. You cannot exclude the features that you don't like.

    If I could exclude features that I don't like (in government) I would exclude funding for wars. I don't get that benefit. Taxes, like insurance, is a pool of resources.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 5:11 p.m.

    @New Yorker

    Our freedoms and rights a extends to however we as people organize ourselves.

    All freedom and rights exist with the people. The constitution guarantees those rights and freedoms it does NOT give them.

    Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly freedom of privacy, etc. means nothing if it does not extend beyond the individual to however we may organize ourselves.

    We as the people and however we organize ourselves possess all rights and freedoms not explicitly given to the government.

    Nothing perverted about that.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 2:49 p.m.

    What an interesting conundrum. First the Supreme Court decides that corporations have all the political right of people (campaign contribution issue). If that's the now why would they have to even take this up. If individuals have political and religious freedom, obviously corporations would also have them by the Court's own perverted logic.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    Pagan and Hutterite:

    Nice comments. But the AHA is asking business owners to pay for another's decision.

    And if SCOTUS has ruled that corporations and institutions have free speech rights, why shouldn't corporations also have religious/conscience protections as well?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Nov. 24, 2013 8:09 a.m.

    Pagan; If you want birth control pills, pay for them yourself! Your beliefs stop at your person, not forcing any one else to accommodate your body!

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 10:37 p.m.

    Religious freedom has to start with all freedoms. That is, individuals first. And individuals, whether singularly or in groups, should be empowered to decide for themselves. But only for themselves.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 10:09 p.m.

    Don't want an abortion?

    Don't have one.

    Your beliefs stop at your person.

    Not someone else's body.