Comments about ‘A Hobson's choice: Religious freedom in the business world’

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Published: Sunday, March 9 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

The real question is whether the government has been authorized by the people to require a business to participate in the elimination of human life by requiring it to fund contraceptives, abortifacients, or to indirectly provide funds to "services" that promote abortions.

Where is that duty assigned to government? The purpose of government to to promote LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The government is doing the opposite. It promotes the destruction of life in the womb. It promotes the cancellation of life through contraception. It removes our liberty to choose for ourselves whether we will participate with government in those endeavors.

The government has taken the stand that it can force us to pay for the restriction of new life. The concept of restricting life is a satanic principle. It infringes on our right to believe in God without government intrusion. If forces us to worship the satanic doctrine that mortal life is not necessary to our progression.

Salt Lake City, UT

This editorial repeats a fundamental dishonesty - contraception does not "end human life." Hobby Lobby's owners may believe it does, but that belief is inaccurate and misinformed. At issue is contraception - which prevents unplanned pregnancies but which is also used to treat a wide variety of conditions.

The editorial also elides an important distinction. Hobby Lobby's actions - refusing to offer insurance plans that cover contraception - force the views of the company's owners onto its employers. The other corporate decisions cited in the article do not force the corporate values onto their employees.

It is also worth noting that if it is allowed to refuse to offer contraception, Hobby Lobby's decision burdens its female employees in a way it does not burden its male employees. Since the principle of intent versus impact is important in US law, the effective outcome of this corporate decision is damaging to women.

American Fork, UT

Religion, however, and religious freedom must apply equally to every individual in society, otherwise it's a lie. And it must apply to individuals far more than it does to legal entities of any kind, especially those that make decisions that affect people. We are a citizenry of free people, not of churches. This is a phenomenal example of how badly we need a single payer health care system. We need to remove these choices from people and corporations with agendas of their own.

Brigham City, UT

The *moral* thing to do would be to include the birth control drugs and devices in their health insurance plans and then let the employees decide for themselves, individually, whether to make use of them or not.

And incidentally, the expression the author is looking for is "Hobson's choice," not "Hobbesian choice":

"Hobson's Choice A. Generally. This ever-growing CLICHÉ has loosened its etymological tether. Tradition has it that Thomas Hobson (1549-1631), a hostler in Cambridge, England, always gave his customers only one choice among his horses: whichever one was closest to the door. Hence, in literary usage, a Hobson's choice came to denote no choice at all - either taking what is offered or taking nothing.

"Though purists resist the change, the prevailing sense in AmE is not that of having no choice, but of having two bad choices ...

"C. Hobbesian Choice. Amazingly, some writers have confused the obscure Thomas Hobson with his famous contemporary, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). The resulting malapropism is beautifully grotesque."

- Brian A. Garner, "Garner's Modern American Usage," 2003.

Virginia Beach, VA

"The government is us; we are the government, you and I." - Theodore Roosevelt

What do you mean? . . . "the government can't have it both ways? Why can't we?

We the people decide what is best for us, and if any religious-based organization doesn't like it, they cannot just roll over the will of the people just because they think they can.

All "moral" claims are not the same. If someone's morality is inconsistent with the general welfare, it makes sense to toss it out. If Wal-mart wants to make human sacrifices because of some Old Testament religious convictions, we don't allow it . . . PERIOD.

It's interesting that the article is entitled "a Hobbesian choice." Hobbes believed very much in an extremely strong government, and he described life in the State of Nature (a life without government) as being nasty, brutish, and short.

Sorry folks, but we live in the land of reality, and the government given to us by the Founders and the Constitution still protects this nation and its people from the oppression of any group's religious morality.

Thank you Founding Fathers, and God Bless America.

J Thompson

If I were to lend a car, or buy a car for someone, knowing that he would use that car to "getaway" from a bank robbery, am I not guilty for aiding and abetting a bank robbery? The court might have a difficult time proving that I absolutely knew that my action would lead to the commission of a crime, but I would know. I would know that I had chosen to assist a bank robber.

Is human life of less importance than robbing a bank? If I promoted contraception, if I provided funds to buy contraception, if I encouraged the use of contraceptives, am I not "aiding and abetting" the forced restriction of human life? If I believe that God gave us bodies capable of producing children and if I knew that God told us to be fruitful and to multiply, then by promoting contraception, I would be rejecting God. That is a religious principle. That is religious doctrine.

Too many people are willing to let the government dictate to them that God is irrelevant. I disagree with government's self-proclaimed authority to dictate religion.

Ogden, UT

This is a curiosity question for Mike Richards, JThompson, and anyone else who argues against women having easy access to contraception. How many times do you think a woman should be forced to face the very real and serious risk to life and health that comes with pregnancy and childbirth? Allowing a woman to over-breed --to endure six or seven or eight or more childbirths (especially if they are less than 2-3 years apart) -- is allowing her to undergo one of the highest risk activities a woman can face and could easily cost her life. I really don't understand why anyone would be willing to have his spouse take that risk.

So -- quick answer -- how many pregnancies and childbirths should a woman be required to process?

Mike -- BTW -- nothing included in the health care requirement for contraception eliminates life or terminates pregnancies. The medications merely stop pregnancies from starting (which enhances a woman's life and heath, and educes the chance of hear death or maiming in childbirth).

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

In a "country of laws" we must have ONE common set of behavior code that can be applied to everyone and EVERYONE or at least a vast majority need to buy into that morality or it just simply can't be enforced.

Biblical morality isn't even completely bought into by Christians or they wouldn't be going to movies on Sunday and women would be required to be "silent in church " as it says in 1 Corinthians 14-34. So certainly morality can change for the better but I'm sure conservatives the year 35 AD would be all up in arms about the women being allowed to speak now.

We have a constitution as our morality. It's not biblical - nor should it be in a country designed to give liberty to everyone.

salt lake city, utah

"We have a constitution as our morality. It's not biblical "

Precisely switcheroo.

We are going to keep saying this over, and over, and over. Our morality as a society is secular not religious. You may choose to have a religious/biblical morality, but you do not have the right to force (through my employment) me to share your biblical morality.

The law is clear in this case. A human life is not being destroyed prior to 26 weeks of pregnancy.

You may not believe that, but as my employer it doesn't matter what you believe. I am allowed by law to do with my pregnancy as I wish until the law says I can't.

Salt Lake, UT

We can make birth control free for everyone without forcing a minority group to violate their conscience. In fact, a true liberal works hard to find a way to accommodate the needs of minorities.

One solution is for the federal government to establish a contraceptive fund that people can optionally donate to. We can make it the default option on a tax return to donate $5. Studies show that 80% of people choose the default option. Those who don’t want to donate can opt out. Those who want to contribute more will get a tax deduction. 136 million people in the United States file tax returns. This plan will raise at least $544 million dollars each year, which is enough to provide birth control for over 2 million people. We can use these dollars wisely by only providing free contraceptives to those who don’t get this benefit already, such as those on Medicaid and those with insurance plans that already provide it. Most people in the United States will happily donate to this fund to support the cause, to get a tax deduction, and simply because it is the default option.

This is a win-win for everyone.

Houston, TX

@Pragmatistferlife: "The law is clear in this case. A human life is not being destroyed prior to 26 weeks of pregnancy."

This is precisely why I affirm that our laws have become corrupt, and there is nothing we can do about it. We may as well give up on solving this problem politically or in the courts, and just hope that individual conscience will lead people to the truth.

Salt Lake, UT

Current birth control law does not accommodate the needs of minorities and must be revised.

The constitution of the United States sets a higher standard for its laws than majority morality. Laws in the United States must protect the practices of all its cultures, religions, and philosophies.

The first and most essential right in the United States Bill of Rights states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The constitution prevents the government from establishing any one group as the single voice of morality, and it protects the moral beliefs and practices of all groups.

Thus, our constitution tempers the will of the majority with a mandate to protect minority practices. This prevents the majority from becoming a tyranny that harms minorities.

Even though the laws of our country define our official standard of morality, each law must protect minority practices unless they significantly harm society. The court’s job is to overthrow laws that do not appropriately accommodate minorities.

Our forefather’s fought for the right to freely practice our personal beliefs. Let’s change current law to provide free birth control while also protecting the conscience of minorities.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

I wish the fervently pro-life would focus more on REAL children's lives than theoretical ones. I wish their god would suggest this to them. "Hey, folks, I'm all for discouraging abortion, but don't forget the LIVING children right in front of you. Take care of them first and you'll see that the problem of abortion starts to take care of itself. Oh, and ready access to birth control will go a long way towards solving the problem too, not to mention helping your over-population problem."

Salt Lake City, UT

@mike65536 - 99% of American women will use birth control during their lives. The 1% of women who do not use contraception are not harmed in any material way by making it available for free to the 99% who use it.

Opponents of contraception cannot point to any real world harm they suffer by making it available. No one is forced to use against their will nor are they forced to think it is a moral good.

At its simplest, making contraception easily accessible and free improves the quality of life for women, children and men; it improves women's health, wihch improves the health of children. Access to contraception reduces the incidence of unintended pregnancy and abortion.

As a matter of fact, researchers have found that for every $1 we spend on contraception we save between $4 and $5 in medical costs. Those costs are shared by all of us through our insurance plans and tax dollars. As a public health issue, contraception is good for society.

salt lake city, utah

""The law is clear in this case. A human life is not being destroyed prior to 26 weeks of pregnancy."

This is precisely why I affirm that our laws have become corrupt,

You do realize gmlewis that the 26 week period wasn't just made up, it's what research tells us is the point a bunch of cells actually can function together to be a human. Prior to that it is just a bunch of cells growing together.

You can take stem cells put them on a structure and build a system that looks like and functions like a human heart. Is it really a human heart however until it's inserted into a human body and begins to function in harmony with other human cells?

This is exactly the same thing, with the exception that one is naturally enlivened and one is artificially implanted and artificially enlivened.

Salt Lake City, UT

JThompson: "If I were to lend a car, or buy a car for someone, knowing that he would use that car to 'getaway' from a bank robbery, am I not guilty for aiding and abetting a bank robbery?"

A somewhat more accurate metaphor applicable to to the Hobby Lobby case would be you and a thousand other people parking cars in a lot. You cede title to the cars once you park them in the lot. The cars are available for others to use. Some might use the cars to drive to a hospital to get cancer treatment. Some might use them to rob banks. You don't know which, but either is a possibility. You don't know if the bank robber will use your car, because they ownership is all pooled together. Is there still a chain of causality between the bank robbery and you parking the car?

JThompson: "If I promoted contraception, if I provided funds to buy contraception, if I encouraged the use of contraceptives, am I not 'aiding and abetting' the forced restriction of human life?"


Centerville, UT

One of the points made in this article discuss the charitable payments by public corporations. If a privately owned company should not be allowed to make policies based on moral choices, then public company administrations making charitable policies reducing the bottom line are stealing from the shareholders and are failing to hold to the moral imperative of making the most profit for its owners. And yet the public makes no outcry about the thefts.

Lethbridge, 00

I just looked up what babies look like during their development in the womb. From about 12 weeks on, they look pretty human to me. With faces, little arms, and little legs. If they really are just a bunch of cells growing together, they're pretty human looking. I think it's important to note, that harassing people, or intimidating people, that their religious beliefs are somehow wrong, inapplicable, or scientifically inaccurate(when I looked at those pictures, seems to me they're living human beings) doesn't help satiate their conscience. It just makes them want to entrench more. I believe in freedom of religion, and consider that constitutional right to be important. Even more important than getting access to contraception through your employer. Personally, I don't know of many religions that have getting contraception as part of their doctrine or belief system. I understand that other people want access to contraception through their employer. Ok. But there needs to be considerations, even exemptions, for those who believe otherwise. I believe that freedom of religion is a basic civil right, for all citizens.

Centerville, UT

The metaphor Lagomorph attempts to promote is not well articulated. The correct provision would be there are two lots, one that will not be used in a crime and the other which may or may not be used for committing a crime. The choice is made and the car is placed in the lot that it will not be used in a crime. Lagomorph uses the same logic of all progressives, the car has to be placed in the second lot and there is no choice. This then is the progressive's Hobson's Choice.

To those who argue the 26 week rule, remember what the president of Planned Parenthood said, when asked when life begins, "It is not something that I feel is really part of this conversation.” And 50 million abortions later. How many Einstiens, Mozarts, Angelos, and other great minds have been snuffed out.

Los Altos, CA

The examples given of corporations changing their policies are not moral choices, but were made for environmental or health reasons. So the conclusion that the government is acting inconsistently is false.

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