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Government argues birth control mandate doesn't violate religious freedom

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  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Jan. 6, 2014 1:50 p.m.

    It’s a bad sign when Government appears to be apologizing for administering provisions of law. The Obama Administration undercuts its own effectiveness by offering a halfway out that ends up looking more like a fig leaf for themselves. It’s not fair to the other carriers and providers who do follow the rules. If providers with Catholic or other religious ties can’t meet those standards, it time for them to consider dropping their healthcare involvement altogether.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Jan. 6, 2014 1:17 p.m.

    Apparently, the only solution the Little Sisters of the Poor will accept is for the Federal Government to not apply legal provisions to their case. That's not being reasonable. Freedom of religion was never intended to exempt religion from compliance with the law.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 4:22 p.m.

    This case is incredibly weak, they are exempt already, all they have to do is sign their form declaring religious exemption yet they consider even that a burden which is just absurd.

  • Daniel Leifker San Francisco, CA
    Jan. 5, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    All these comments simply prove one point: horrible things occur when the government starts compelling some people to do unnecessary things for other people.

    The government's only legitimate role here is in compelling employers to do basic things such as paying employees on time, maintaining workplace safety, and preventing discriminatory hiring and firing. Not medical insurance.

    Break this insane link between employers and medical insurance. Employers should pay employees, and employees should be free to use their wages to buy whatever insurance they wish.

  • luvbug WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 8:25 p.m.

    The government is saying that the ACA birth control provisions are going to be mandatory. The plaintiffs are saying "this is against our Christian belief". I would side with the government on this one. This provision is a proactive approach instead of a blind one or biased one. The plaintiffs remind me of parents who believe their children (employees) will never have sex before marriage. That is unrealistic. I would support the decision of any woman to get on birth control verses having an unwanted pregnancy. With that being said, birth control should be used to prevent a pregnancy not take a life. Abortions should not be considered birth control.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 4, 2014 5:44 p.m.

    Hobby Lobby is not a person. It cannot believe in a religion. It cannot go to church. It is not a church. It is a business offering public accommodation. As such, it must comply with regulations that apply to all such businesses, including those that prohibit discrimination in hiring. Where do they get off demanding to be exempted "on religious grounds" from the laws that apply to the rest of us?

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Jan. 4, 2014 5:31 p.m.

    This is one of the major problems with Obamacare: You must buy an insurance policy that the government approves of, not especially what you need. Why in the world should a single man be forced to pay for a plan that includes maternity care?

  • funny_guy Vacaville, CA
    Jan. 4, 2014 1:10 p.m.

    Tyranny is government dictating how we must live our life. Anyone who claims to be a Progressive also believes they are smarter than the rest of us. To prevent tyranny, never vote for a Progressive.

  • PhotoSponge nampa, ID
    Jan. 4, 2014 12:33 p.m.

    Who is actually PAYING for the insurance? If the NUNS or HOBBY LOBBY is PAYING for it, then they have every right to say what goes into the policy they are buying for their employees: NOT obamacare! If the employees don't like it, they can pay for their own policy, or go work for someone who gives them insurance they do like.

    Do you now see what a complete mess this Obamacare is? It is such a frustration and an intrusion in so many ways: Legally, Religious, Personal, Financial, Taxation, etc.

    Counting the hours until this evil administration and it's corrupt judges, is no longer...

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    Let's just have universal healthcare, then the gov't will provide it and the companies won't be complaining anymore. Solves two problems at once.

  • Outside-View Federal Way, WA
    Jan. 4, 2014 11:31 a.m.

    So many are debating how far the religious exemption will be taken. That is uncertain.

    The point in this lawsuit is if the Nuns will sign a document stating that they are refusing to provide emergency contraception because of their religious beliefs, then the government will give them that exemption. Will the Obaba administration accept that for all of the other religious examples you have provided? I doubt it.

    People dont want the government to decide what religious beliefs they can practise.

    Court cases can be limited and for this one perhaps the Supreme Court can restrict the exemption so that practising these "long held" religous beliefs can be protected.

  • Aunt Sue SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 11:06 a.m.

    If the federal government was mandating that all employers had to pay for meals eaten by employees, vegetarian employers would be forced to pay for their employees' burgers and steaks. You would see them heading to the courts to cry NOOOOOO.

  • ray vaughn Ogden, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    None of the employees covered by a health plan offering birth control pills are being forced to order or take the pills. It is disengenous for a group of nuns, celibate by choice, to force everyone else under their plan to forgo birth control. health plans offered by the LDS church and its associated business offer addictioin treatment. yet the LDS churchs tenets prohibit alcohol and drug use. Should the involved business refuse to offer addictioin treatment merely because they prohibit using alcohol and drugs?

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    Oh, "the government said so, therefore it must be true?'

    Remember, this is the same government that repeatedly lied to us claiming "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your insurance you can keep your insurance."

    I will defer to the interpretation of religious issues by leaders in the religions which are affected.

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Jan. 4, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    Multiplying by 10 or 100 future rulings and laws, when people need to sign off in order not to get a million fee ?

    How soon we have clerks of churches and church services go to jail ?
    Pretty soon, if not within some years.

    Religion in America ? Going to fight government more often ? I bet your pardon !
    Something very wrong here, and readers need to get up on more thinking.
    Here comes the camel and the tent in the desert story.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Jan. 4, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    Though we have great admiration for the basic concept of the proposed reasons behind the ACA, from the beginning, the methods were outrageous.

    Supposedly the idea was to make sure that everyone in the country had access to health care. Truly, a noble cause. So if this was indeed the underlying intent, why then not simply impose a miniscule tax on all health insurance that would help cover expenses for those who couldn't afford it --- far less costly than the current outcome of sky rocketing insurance premiums.

    Instead, it has been thousands of pages of regulations which have done more to deny coverage than to expand it. If people want birth control, let them purchase it, or ask for help to do so, rather than to force everyone to take on coverage and penalties if they don't.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 10:24 a.m.

    Many are arguing that individual or collective beliefs "should never dictate the actions and lives of other people." Oh really? The belief of many Americans that we should extend healthcare benefits to as many Americans as possible seems noble. But in doing so, should the government force religious groups and individuals to violate their consciences? Should anyone be coerced to pay for a social program which violates their most deeply held beliefs?

  • TripleCrown Santa Ana, CA
    Jan. 4, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    The whole issue of whether or not someone should have the freedom to utilize artificial conception prevention or termination methods would have remained a separate issue had all 3 braches of the Federal Government not insisted that government should interpose itself between healthcare services and patients and that all citizens should be FORCED to pay for someone else's healthcare services.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    If a law were passed forcing employers to engage in religious activity - leftists would be appalled, yet when government makes up a phony mandate (that can be modified without changing the law) forcing employers to violate their religious beliefs, leftist see no problem
    Furthermore - simply because your employer does not pay for something that has no relationship to your job - does not mean you cannot easily get it yourself

    This is why I have no respect for the innately hypocritical left

    Truthseeker
    it matters not one iota whether some Catholics see the mandate as being ok - it is up to individual people to determine their level of devotion - NOT YOURS, or Obamas or the government
    Your comment illustrates precisely why I distrust leftists

  • billster36 Nies, MI
    Jan. 4, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    If a for profit company like Hobby Lobby can argue that providing birth control coverage in it's insurance violates it's religious beliefs, then is it not denying religious freedom to it's employees by forcing those who want birth control to sign on to another form of insurance? It could be argued that by taking this step they are imposing their own religious values on their employees.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    Tekakaromatagi:

    Correction noted on the 7th Day Adventists and blood transfusions. It's the Jehovah's Witnesses who are opposed to blood transfusions.

    My other examples are valid. I work with many Indians, and while India is wrestling with the immorality of their caste system, one of the justifications is sin, or lessons not learned, in previous lives. It is a common perception that the "untouchable" caste are in their predicament for a reason, which is misbehavior in previous lives.

    Our nation has a long history of emphasizing individual and religious freedom, often to the detriment of... interestingly enough... individuals.

    Examples include the snake handlers, and whether the parents can subject their children to this kind of risk, and the fascinating precedent of the first child abuse cases being tried using animal cruelty laws, since the prevailing attitude was whatever happens inside of a family is that family's business, and nobody else's.

    All this uproar about these nuns not wanting to pay for contraceptives - even though there's an accommodation that makes it so they don't have to - is just a chance for people to take a shot at Obama, that's all.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Jan. 4, 2014 7:24 a.m.

    @10cc:
    7th Day Adventists don't object to blood transfusions. Where are you getting your information from? With regards to the rest of the cases you are bringing up, I think that you've got a pile of prejudices that you are talking from.

    With regards to the government's position that "that the law does not violate the religious freedom of a group of nuns challenging the mandate."
    If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it is a duck.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 4, 2014 6:49 a.m.

    This nothing more than the federal government beating up on a group of helpless nuns! Some of you people have no concept of religious freedom. You demand people keep their religions out of your government but have no problem forcing your government into people's religions! Leave these poor defenseless nuns alone! Stop bullying people!

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 6:49 a.m.

    One of many examples of the kind of clash between governmental intrusion and the exercise of freedom that we are destined to see anytime people who believe they have the right and ability to dictate what others are allowed and/or forced to do, are voted into power. Because the power is **always**, ultimately, with the people, the remedy, when needed, is the same. VOTE!

    Assuming the voting process isn't rigged and actually reflects the will of the majority, the real problem, of course, is for those in the minority who are on the short side of the governmental compulsion game.

    They are the ones punished for not complying with the "law", even if, as in this case, it is a compliance violation caused by the dictates of their own conscience. As opposed to, say, violations of more "traditional" laws which are meant to constrain people from violating the rights of other. Such as, for example, laws governing actions produced by the dictates of someone's sexual appetites, or compulsion to steal or burn down property, or assault somebody, etc.

    Ultimately, we, the people, decide. Choose wisely.

  • New to Utah PAYSON, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 6:31 a.m.

    Hobby Lobby, Little Sisters of the Poor are correct in challenging ACA (ObamaCare). This totally
    partisan legislation is so convoluted with so many exceptions and political payoffs its literally
    impossible to understand.Thankyou Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters for fighting for your rights.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 5:44 a.m.

    'But signing a government certification form that effectively shifts the mandate's obligations onto a third-party would still violate the conscience rights of the nuns, whose Catholic beliefs prohibit facilitating the use of any form of artificial birth control, sterilization or abortion, their attorney said.'

    1) If their beliefs were valid, they would not have to look for legal exceptions to laws. i.e. People 'should not' need birth control.

    We all know this is not the case.

    2) I think 10CC is right on point. The 'slippery slope' argument is used on many things, why not this one? Why is one religious exception (birth control) 'not' as valid as another? (snake handling)

    Both, are based on belief.

    Not facts.

    And last, what happens when one belief, contradicts another? i.e. a woman 'believes' that God wants her to have birth control, and another does not?

    America, is not a theocracy.

    Your beliefs, should never dictate the actions and lives of other people.

    Don't believe in birth control? You have ever right to not use it.

    Do not, pretend that belief, should apply to anyone but yourself.

    Otherwise, whatever you are going to eat today, violates my belief system.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 1:44 a.m.

    Re 5Tina

    You are partially correct. Some contraceptives do kill a fertilized egg. However since the Catholic Church opposes ALL contraception I presume these nuns are trying to disallow ALL contraceptives in their insurance plan. Not just the kind that kills human life in its earliest form. If so what the nuns are trying to do is wrong. They are trying to impose their particular religious restrictions on their employees.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 1:32 a.m.

    While employers have every right to adhere to their own religious restrictions. They ought not attempt to impose these restrictions on their employees.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Jan. 3, 2014 11:12 p.m.

    Re:5Tina

    Birth control pills are used to treat a variety of conditions, not just pregnancy prevention. And in some caes, pregnancy could threaten the health or life of a woman.
    The morning-after pill prevents ovulation, it is not an abortifacient.
    The Catholic Health Assoc which represents 620 Catholic hospitals and 1400 nursing homes finds the religious accomodations in Obamacare acceptable.

  • 5Tina American Fork, UT
    Jan. 3, 2014 10:24 p.m.

    In response to 10 CC of bountiful In most of your arguements the result would most likely be death or serious harm to someone else. Individual rights end with harming someone else. I agree we do have to draw a line, but I believe you are saying that they the nuns should have to cover contraceptives and I don't believe that is the right line to draw.

    In the case of taking a morning after pill you ensure you are killing/ causing harm to someone else the unborn fetus in the view of the religious people like the nuns in the article. Thus this legislation does persecute their religious views. So by your implied reasoning up above I could argue in behalf of the nuns not having to cover a morning after pill because it harms someone else. Then you may say why object to the other contraceptives that don't harm fetus'.

    Well can you say that almost every time a women doesn't take a contracptive it results in death or serious harm, no. Thus objecting to paying for covering contraceptives is nothing like the above examples you gave.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 3, 2014 7:56 p.m.

    So, what is to prevent a Hindu employer objecting to pay for cancer treatment? Hindus believe one's lot in life is related to how one behaved in a previous life, and easing the suffering of cancer patients, even children, might be construed as interfering with some kind of Universal Karma and an atonement that should be paid for sins in a previous life.

    Seventh Day Adventists may object for paying for emergency surgery for car accident victims, since they believe blood transfusions should be avoided.

    Some parents in Wisconsin were convicted of homicide because they refused to have their diabetic child treated, opting for prayer instead. Isn't this religious persecution? Where's the outrage among religious liberty advocates on this issue?

    At some point society needs to draw the line, like in the cases of snake handler parents who get their children bit by poisonous snakes...you know, to help them develop faith, or something.