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Comments about ‘Supreme Court to decide whether to tackle religious liberty, contraception mandate’

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Published: Saturday, Nov. 23 2013 10:00 p.m. MST

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rw123
Sandy, UT

@ 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.

merich39
Salt Lake City, UT

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?

Pagan
Salt Lake City, UT

'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.

Oatmeal
Woods Cross, UT

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.

Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

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.

Ranch
Here, UT

@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.

merich39
Salt Lake City, UT

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.

Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

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?

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