Will the Religious Right Succeed? An Examination of the Hercules Ruling on the Birth Control Benefit


In May of this year, Jan Brewer signed into law Arizona HB 2625, a bill that would allow employers to opt out of the policy under the Affordable Care Act ensuring that all insurance policies cover preventive health care services for women, including contraception, without a co-pay.

It’s a simple concept, really: contraception is health care. Health insurance plans offer coverage for health care. Ergo, health insurance plans should offer coverage for contraception. Ta da!

Laws like Arizona HB 2625 undercut this simple concept. According to supporters of laws like HB 2625, contraception is of the devil. And because the Catholic Church’s official position on contraception is that it is sinful, the Church seems personally offended at the notion that any employer be required by the government to exist in the same space as women who are using their hard-earned wages to pay for contraceptive and other health care services that are anathema to church doctrine.

A couple months ago, I published a piece that described what I saw as a dangerous slippery slope regarding Arizona HB 2625 (and laws like it), which permit employers to claim some sort of religious affiliation and thus excuse themselves from providing critical health-care services to women employed by them.

In that piece (and in the lively discussion that followed in the comment section), I noted that the exemptions provided by the Arizona legislation for “religiously-affiliated employers” went far beyond the exemptions provided by the Obama Administration to religious institutions, insofar as the Arizona law permits any employer to, essentially, pinky swear that its business is steeped in Jesus.

HB 2625 provides as follows:

A RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED EMPLOYER MAY REQUIRE THAT THE CORPORATION PROVIDE A CONTRACT WITHOUT COVERAGE FOR SPECIFIC ITEMS OR SERVICES REQUIRED UNDER SUBSECTION YOF THIS SECTION BECAUSE PROVIDING OR PAYING FOR COVERAGE OF THE SPECIFIC ITEMS OR SERVICES IS CONTRARY TO THE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OF THE RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED EMPLOYER OFFERING THE PLAN. IF A RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED EMPLOYER OBJECTS TO PROVIDING COVERAGE FOR SPECIFIC ITEMS OR SERVICES REQUIRED UNDER SUBSECTION Y OF THIS SECTION, A WRITTEN AFFIDAVIT SHALL BE FILED WITH THE CORPORATION STATING THE OBJECTION. ON RECEIPT OF THE AFFIDAVIT, THE CORPORATION SHALL ISSUE TO THE RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED EMPLOYER A CONTRACT THAT EXCLUDES COVERAGE FOR SPECIFIC ITEMS OR SERVICES REQUIRED UNDER SUBSECTION Y OF THIS SECTION.

The law defines “religiously affiliated employer” as follows:

“RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED EMPLOYER” MEANS EITHER:
(a) AN ENTITY FOR WHICH ALL OF THE FOLLOWING APPLY:
(i) The entity primarily employs persons who share the religious tenets of the entity. (ii) The entity primarily serves persons who share the religious tenets of the entity.
(iii) The entity is a nonprofit organization as described in section 6033(a)(2)(A)(i) or (iii) of the internal revenue code of 1986, as amended.
(b) AN ENTITY WHOSE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION CLEARLY STATE THAT IT IS A RELIGIOUSLY MOTIVATED ORGANIZATION AND WHOSE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS ARE CENTRAL TO THE ORGANIZATION’S OPERATING PRINCIPLES.

Plainly, the limitation set forth in subsection (b) is no limitation at all. Any entity can change or amend its articles of incorporation relatively easily — it doesn’t take a lot of imagination. Indeed, when I first wrote about the Arizona law, I suggested that companies would rush to make their companies more Jesus-based in order to take advantage of religious exemptions, and to avoid being forced by Big Government to provide full health insurance coverage for women.

While my concern at the time related only to the Arizona’s contraception opt-out law, it seems that my prediction of what would soon come to pass is proving correct.

On Friday, a Colorado district court judge granted a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by an air conditioning company and its owners against the Obama Administration. In the lawsuit, plaintiffs*** complain that they have “a sincere conscientious religious objection to providing coverage for abortifacients, contraception, sterilization and related education and counseling,” and that a policy requiring coverage of birth control “constitutes government-imposed coercion on Plaintiffs to change or violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Here are some relevant allegations from Plaintiffs’ complaint. (Pardon the extensive quote, but it’s important to read exactly what air conditioning companies and the like are claiming about the inherent Christ-like nature of their small businesses — so read it!):

28. The Newlands are practicing and believing Catholic Christians. They strive to follow Catholic ethical beliefs and religious and moral teachings throughout their lives, including in their operation of Hercules.

29. The Newlands sincerely believe that the Catholic faith does not allow them to violate Catholic religious and moral teachings in their decisions operating Hercules Industries. They believe that according to the Catholic faith their operation of Hercules must be guided by ethical social principles and Catholic religious and moral teachings, that the adherence of their business practice according to such Catholic ethics and religious and moral teachings is a genuine calling from God, that their Catholic faith prohibits them to sever their religious beliefsfrom their daily business practice, and that their Catholic faith requires them to integrate the gifts of the spiritual life, the virtues, morals, and ethical social principles of Catholic teaching into their life and work.

30. The Catholic Church teaches that abortifacient drugs, contraception and sterilization are intrinsic evils.

31. As a matter of religious faith the Newlands believe that those Catholic teachings are among the religious ethical teachings they must follow throughout their lives including in their business practice.

32. Consequently, the Newlands believe that it would be immoral and sinful for them to intentionally participate in, pay for, facilitate, or otherwise support abortifacient drugs, contraception, sterilization, and related education and counseling, as would be required by the Mandate, through their inclusion in health insurance coverage they offer at Hercules.

33. Hercules’ mission statement includes the commitment that “We will nurture and maintain the culture of a family owned business in which our employees grow financially, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.”

34. The Newlands have, for a substantial period of time to the present, operated Hercules in promotion of Catholic ethical principles in a variety of ways including but not limited to the structuring of their health insurance plan.

35. Under the Newlands’ direction Hercules has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Catholic parishes, schools, evangelical efforts, and charitable causes averaging nearly$60,000 every year since 2008.

36. Since 2010 the Newlands’ have been implementing within Hercules a program created by the Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership, by which companies build their corporate culture based on Catholic principles. Through this program, the Newlands have regularly trained their management to implement principles based on plaintiffs’ religious ethical beliefs.

In granting the preliminary injunction, the Court had to take into consideration two factors as a matter of law. One, whether or not plaintiffs were in danger of suffering irreparable harm, and two, whether or not plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their case (in other words, whether or not the ultimate conclusion of the case would be in favor of the company and its owners.)

On both points, the Court found in plaintiffs’ favor. As to the threat of irreparable harm, plaintiffs would be required to begin providing contraception in its health plan on November 1, 2012 and were therefore in danger of suffering of irreparable harm. No surprise there. (A Nebraska district court judge recently dismissed one of these contraception opt-out lawsuits, but only did so because the Plaintiff-employer was not due to adhere to the mandate until August 2013; the court found that there was no immediate threat of irreparable harm.)

The Court’s reasoning as to the second factor — whether or not plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits – is what is troublesome, to put it mildly.

Plaintiffs are claiming that the contraception mandate violated their rights under the First Amendment and under the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA). Under RFRA, the legal inquiry goes something like this:

1. When “a person refuses to provide health insurance that covers contraceptives and abortifacients, is that an “exercise of religion?”

2. Does the contraception mandate “substantially burden” such exercise of religion?

3. Does the burden of such exercise of religion further a “compelling governmental interest?”

4. Is the burden of such exercise of religion the “least restrictive means” of furthering a compelling governmental interest?

The court answered questions 1 and 2 in the affirmative, and 3 and 4 in the negative.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky.

Of course, promoting women’s public health is a compelling governmental interest, and the Court noted as much. But RFRA requires an examination of the burden as it relates to the actual person being burdened (or to the corporation being burdened, as the case may be — corporations are people, my friend!). Just because the mandate burdens all similarly-situated parties doesn’t mean that it is constitutional as applied to Plaintiffs specifically. The government must demonstrate that burdening Plaintiffs furthers a compelling interest.

And this is where the problem arises: How can the government demonstrate that burdening Plaintiffs furthers a compelling interest when it exempted 190 million health plans from complying with the contraception mandate? An even more difficult question is this: If providing preventive health care to women and doing so by uniformly applying this mandate to all employers irrespective of religious background is so compelling, then why exempt so many health plans?

From a legal standpoint, the Obama Administration may have difficulty answering those questions. Certainly, the Administration’s actions make sense from a political standpoint. Given the fact that the Catholic Church has its fingers in our contraceptive pie, the Administration had to work with the Bishops or risk having the whole deal fall apart. (It seems to be falling apart anyway; the Catholic Health Association reneged on their initial agreement that the mandate as revised by the Administration was suitable.) In other words, by working with the Catholic Church in order to craft this mandate in such a way that the Catholic Church would not bitch about it, the Obama Administration may have shot itself in the foot, because guess what? The Catholic Church is bitching about it.

Ultimately, pointing out that the 190 million exempted plans undercuts the notion that the mandate is necessary and must be uniformly applied is a good tactic on the part of contraception mandate opponents. It forms the basis of a solid legal argument, I think. The only counter-argument that currently comes to mind is that the compromises that the Obama Administration made with religious organizations, and the exemptions provided to them were necessary as a practical matter in order to pass the legislation in the first place. In other words, the interest being served by this legislation is so compelling that undercutting it slightly in order to promulgate it was warranted.

Right.

Doesn’t sound like as solid of an argument, does it?

As to the whether or not the contraception mandate is the “least restrictive” means of furthering the “compelling governmental interest”  – as in “ensuring that women have access to preventive care including contraception” — the Court said it wasn’t.

The Court found that less restrictive means existed; for example, government-provided contraception would ensure that women have access to contraception and would not substantially burden Plaintiffs’ exercise of religion. (At least until the Catholic Church decides that merely being governed by an institution ensuring access for sluts to contraception without a co-pay is an “intrinsic evil.”)

Obviously, the political landscape is such that any sort of socialized women’s healthcare is a pipe dream. Wingnuts are already losing their collective shit because they think women are currently demanding that the government provide free contraception: “Why should I have to pay for you to have sex!” (Of course, women simply want coverage for contraception in health plans that they pay into but don’t try to argue against conservafacts — you’ll just go mad.)

Imagine the outcry if government-provided birth control became an Obama Administration policy goal because contraception access was stymied by religious zealots whining about freedom of religion for themselves (and their corporations.)  “Obama is a pimp!” I can hear it already. 

These are the sorts of legal arguments that we are going to be seeing. Corporations will claim that they are people and therefore entitled to the same First Amendment rights to freedom of religion that actual living breathing people do. Corporations will claim that they are “person[s]” to which RFRA applies. Meanwhile actual persons are going to continue to be stripped of their rights as persons.

*** Notably, the preliminary injunction was granted to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs in the case are the air conditioning company and the owners of that company. Whether or not a corporation’s free exercise of religion is now a right that must be protected is a subject for another post, the mere thought of which causes me great distress.

[You can read my mark-up of the Court's order here on Scribd]

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  • marlowe28

    Over and over again, Obama has underestimated his opposition. If he had followed the Constitution in this instance, he would not have made the stupid “accomodation” that violated women’s equal protection and First Amendment rights in a fruitless attempt to satisfy a church that is so invested in both controlling women’s bodies and increasing their political power.

    Fundamentalist evaangelicals, fundamentalist Catholics and Fundamentalists Jewish sects are doing exactly what Mormons did in Illinois and Missouri to make themselves unpopular. They are growing their religions not just by conversions but by demanding that women have as many children as possible. Then, they’re running their own candidates and voting as blocks in order to take over local school boards, county commissions, etc., running those political entities according to their own religious tenets and forcing their beliefs on the community. In a particular suburb in NY, members of a very rigid Jewish sect occupy seven of nine seats on the local public school board. These men do not send their children to public schools and I’m not sure that they even believe in educating girls. The policies that they have supported since they took control of the board do not reflect the larger community’s values or benefit the children in that community.

     

    I’m a committed Christian, a church-going Methodist. We have a long history of social activism so I can’t, without being a hypocrite, call out other religions for trying to spread their values through non-violent means. Although, truthfully, I can’t recall ever being told how to vote or for whom to vote by my pastor or anyone else in my church. Our congregation is populated by people from across the political spectrum. I can call out my fellow believers who are so concerned with respecting other’s rights to believe as they like that we are allowing them to institute public policies that are in conflict with our values. 

     

    We need to be willing to say, firmly, repeatedly, even loudly, if necessary, that the birth control mandate is not an attack on religion. It is good public policy that was developed by non-partisan public health professionals whose mandate is to develop policies that benefit all Americans. The Catholic Church and its fundamentalist Protestant, Jewish and Muslim supporters in this war against American women are not just disrepsecting other faith traditions, they are making a mockery of the very Constitution that has allowed them to flourish in the world’s most “religious” developed nation. Shame on them all.

  • idiolect

    Can’t Catholics just confess and get absolved if they do something terrible like letting an evil atheist sinner have contraception before she burns in hell?  

  • ananonymousfool

    Can’t Catholics just confess and get absolved if they do something terrible like letting an evil atheist sinner have contraception before she burns in hell?  

    Yes, about as much as they can confess and get absolved if they let an evil atheist sinner go hungry, be abused, be unloved. 

    Yes, about as much as they can watch their house burning and call in a few Arsonists for help. 

    Yes, about as much as they can watch their own children go hungry and do nothing about it. 

    Can’t wait for the follow on question … “Can’t Catholics mind their own business?”

    Let me cut to the chase – there is a common misconception in the media that religion is a private affair – to be done within the confines of the practioners home, at most, his or her place of worship. As illogical as that might be, the perception exists, is widespread and thrives. 

    So if that were the case, that indeed religion is a private affair – then shouldn’t just about anyone with ANY set of beliefs keep those beliefs to themselves or, at most, their place of worship or the local Starbucks. Carry that concept far enough and what you will be left with is that all speech and action carried out towards the goal of common public good would have to be banned. Afterall, if all beliefs are equally private then no belief can rule the day. No policy, law, or system of government can exist. Complete and total anarchy is the only viable and justifiable end to an institution of that assumption. Anyone should be able to do anything, at any time because anyone and every individual’s beliefs are of equal merit. 

    So the answer to that follow on question is … drum roll … No.  


    In Christ

    An Anonymous Fool

     

  • princess-jourdan

    Everyone’s religious beliefs ARE of equal merit!! Just because you are Cathikic does NOT mean your personal beliefs trump mine or are more important than mine. And yes, I have always believed that personal beliefs ARE and SHOULD be a private affair. I don’t share my beliefs with anyone else unless they directly ask me because they are so personal to me. I don’t even like to pray in front of other people, I only feel comfortable praying when I’m alone. Shoving one’s personal religious beliefs in other people’s faces is the definition of rudeness.

  • jennifer-starr

    Contrary to what you might  think, Fool–the freedom to practice your religion does not include the right to force others to follow your faith or to live by your peculiar religious rules.

  • ananonymousfool

    Marlowe28, Jennifer and Princess,

    Since you all both bring up the same points, I will respond to them as one …

     

    A) You all believe that (I may be including Marlowe28 incorrectly in this grouping) religious beliefs are a private affair.

    B) I believe that religious beliefs aren’t a private affair. 

    C) Each of these statements (A&B) are beliefs in themselves. Since only one can stand in any common venue (e.g. public policy on the death penalty) –  it is logical that one of these statements has to trump the other. 

    D) Alternatively, if all beliefs are of equal merit – then neither can trump the other.

    E) Since C & D are mutually exclusive, only one of those can stand. 

    F) So the question is which one? Let’s take that down to its conclusion …

    If we go with D – we can never get anything done in a common venue. One outcome is total anarchy. Any notion of compromise positions doesn’t work – since that implies C. Unless you prefer total anarchy – it seems obvious that C is the only tenable way to go. 

    G) If C is the way to go, then at the most granular dissection of any broad issue you have to either say religion has influence and let it win sometimes and at other times you have to let non-religious views win. Of course, each side can call out the dangers and pitfalls of the others position. This in the long run may be the only tenable stand. 

    However, that doesn’t seem to be your position, Marlowe28, Jennifer and Princess, you seem to be claiming that religious opinion has NO voice in public policy (or any other common venue). That is a totalitarian claim. i.e., you are essentially mandating your belief, that religion has no voice, on everyone else, particularly those that have religious beliefs. 

    My suggestion and recommendation is that you at least allow for the the expression of religious opinion in the public venue. It is after all guaranteed by the First Amendment. Let the rest play out as God (or Cosmic Dark Matter, if you prefer that) intends. 

    On the matter of the HHS Mandate, which is after all the main topic of discussion – are you certain that the religion is ENFORCING its opinion on others. Don’t you have that backwards?

    Let me present a hypothetical. If I, as a entrepreneur, choose to obtain an Insurance Policy for those that work in my enterprise (of their own free will) that does NOT include contraceptives, sterilization or abortifacients – why can’t I buy such a policy? Particularly when the market place (you know, that thing we have called a free market) is willing to sell such a policy to me? Why is the government so intent in forcing down a choice on me that I neither asked for, nor want? 

    So tell me my fellow commentators, who is forcing whom? If my employees do not wish to work for me as a result of missing out on this benefit – let them quit and go elsewhere. Maybe NO ONE in their right mind will work for me as a result of my fundamentalist religious beliefs. Maybe NO Insurance Company will sell me such a policy. So be it – maybe I’ll file for bankruptcy and get what I deserved. Other fundamentalist religious employers will learn their lesson from seeing my fate and start offering all of these things in their plans. Free market rules! On the other hand – maybe I will thrive and always find employess that want to work for a God fearing Fundamentalist Right Wing Hardhead like me. Still Free Market Rules!

    Now remind me again – who is forcing whom and why is this mandate necessary as long as we live in a capitalistic society?

    Looking forward to reading your responses. 

    In Christ 

    An Anonymous Fool

  • ack

    A. The mandate doesn’t make religious employers pay for contraception. 

    B. The religious employers this actually targets are public sector agencies that receive tax-payer dollars. According the First Amendment, once they get taxpayer dollars, they pretty much lose their right to force their beliefs on other people.

    C. You make the incredibly weak argument that employees can just go elsewhere. If I’m a nurse in a rural area, and the only hospital in the region is Catholic, I don’t have a lot of choices. 

    D. People with strong religious beliefs indirectly pay for things that violate their beliefs ALL THE TIME. Hell, I’m contributing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act even though it is completely contrary to my beliefs. People with strong religious beliefs are paying for rent for unmarried couples, adoption by gay couples, contributions to pro-choice candidates… No one is telling you to keep a bowl of condoms on the table.

  • ananonymousfool

    A. The mandate doesn’t make religious employers pay for contraception. 

    Wrong. It doesn’t matter what accounting tricks you perform. If my rights as an employer are violated and I am made to pay for something through the premiums I put into the policy – then it is effectively the same thing. Second, what happens to self-funded or self-insured health plans?

     

    B. … targets public sector agencies that receive tax payer dollars …

    Yes, these institutions receive tax payer dollars. Note that they aren’t fully tax payer funded. Even if they were, the tax payer then gets the right to decide whether it is a legitimate use of their taxes to pay for abortifacients, sterilization and contraceptives. If it is, they have already done that – it is called Title X (approximate funding in 2010: $2 Billion – see http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contraceptive_serv.html for source). What is the dire need to force employers who do NOT wish for their rights to be trampled upon to be mandated?

     

    C. You make incredibly weak arguments … I am a nurse in a rural area …

    I would suggest moving. This is public policy – it will favor some and not favor others. Opinions on both sides of the issue need to be heard and solutions that do not trample on the rights of others need to be found. Of course, all sides will have opinions on the common good. So if a majority of employees of a majority of organizations live in rural areas and have no other choices – then policies that will work to help that without trampling on the rights of others need to be found. Can you establish that to be the case here?

     

    D. People with strong religious beliefs  pay for things that violate …

    Absolutely they do. Title X that I just mentioned above is a classic example. In your case, it is DOMA. However, that doesn’t mean you can silence my voice or that I can silence yours. Neither does it mean that you can trample on my religious rights. You don’t give rights to some by taking away the rights of others. 

    In every case before the Supreme Court, in trial after trial, religious rights, have always been upheld. They will be in this case too. 

    As with all times past, in all other forums, you like other readers past, failed to address my free market solution. 

    In Christ

    An Anonymous Fool

  • prochoiceferret

    Wrong. It doesn’t matter what accounting tricks you perform. If my rights as an employer are violated and I am made to pay for something through the premiums I put into the policy – then it is effectively the same thing.

     

    So you prohibit your employees from purchasing contraception with their salaries, too?

     

    What is the dire need to force employers who do NOT wish for their rights to be trampled upon to be mandated?

     

    Women need contraception more than you want to not participate in ensuring their health and well-being.

     

    I would suggest moving. This is public policy – it will favor some and not favor others. Opinions on both sides of the issue need to be heard and solutions that do not trample on the rights of others need to be found.

     

    Unfortunately, you don’t have the “right” to “not pay for stuff I don’t like for other people.” You could always move to a place like Iran or North Korea, however, where rights like this are recognized.

     

    However, that doesn’t mean you can silence my voice or that I can silence yours.

     

    Oh, you’re free to yammer about your imaginary “rights” all you want. But if you have female employees, and they receive health insurance, and you’re not an exempt institution, they’ll get their contraception without a co-pay.

     

    In every case before the Supreme Court, in trial after trial, religious rights, have always been upheld. They will be in this case too.

     

    Hey, this Court has made a lot of bad decisions. I can see why you’re hopeful.

     

    As with all times past, in all other forums, you like other readers past, failed to address my free market solution.

     

    Health-care exchanges are not going to be up and running until 2014. For now, employer-provided insurance is all we’ve got.

  • crowepps

    DeWitt R. Thomas, who has a Hawkins address, filed a federal lawsuit against Two Rivers Grocery Store & Market in Big Sandy because he believes his civil rights and religious freedom were violated when an African American sacker touched his groceries against his wishes.

    http://www.news-journal.com/bigsandy_hawkins/life/lawsuit-against-two-rivers-claims-sacker-violates-customer-s-religious/article_34557b90-4f13-5b7a-90a8-1a569ebecb8f.html#.UBmgejeU_vo.facebook

     

  • leemd

    What if the Newlands were Christian Scientists, believing that any medical condition can be healed through prayer?  Would the Colorado Court give the Newlands the right to have no health insurance coverage for their employees, since medical care is a violation of their religious principles? 

  • cc

    “a legitimate use of their taxes to pay for abortifacients”

    Here we go with the truly tired meme, perpetuated by the Catholic bishops and Fox News, that the HHS mandate pays for abortion inducing drugs. It doesn’t. RU 486 isn’t covered by the policy. Emergency contraception is, however, covered and only in the medieval world of Catholic dogma is this type of birth control considered an abortifacient. What it does is prevent ovulation so that the sacred sperm has nowhere to go. Ergo, no fertilized egg – no pregnancy – no abortion. But if creating conditions that impede fertilization is an abortion, I guess male masturbation is also an abortion? Go figure.

    “In every case before the Supreme Court, in trial after trial, religious rights, have always been upheld. They will be in this case too.”

    Really, how bout the Employment Division Oregon Division of Human Resources V Smith?

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0494_0872_ZO.html


    If there is no substantial burden on your right to free exercise of religion in the absence of the least restrictive way of furthering a compelling government interest you need to follow the law. As a Catholic, you have no special privilege to descriminate against women whose health needs are being served by the mandate. 

    But women who don’t like the rules should go elsewhere? Scuse me? How bout Catholic employers following the law which impacts on non-Catholic women who would  be forced to have second class health care because of the regressive theology of their management. One suspects that prior to Civil Rights, there were many employers who advised African-Americans to work elsewhere if they didn’t like the rules. 

     

     




     

  • ananonymousfool

    <delete>

  • ananonymousfool

    Yes – of course, they should.

    Medical health insurance isn’t a right. Neither is Long term diability coverage, Life insurance, 401K, Vision coverage, dental coverage, Supplementary Health Insurance, Employee Stock Purchase Plans, Stock Options, Free Coffee, Free parking, etc. etc. etc. None of these are in the bill of rights or enshrined in the consitution. Health Insurance as a concept is a 20th century innovation!

    This is a capitalistic, free market based economy. An employee has the right to decide where they work. They can’t dictate the terms of that employment. The employer has a right to offer what they wish in terms of benefits. They can’t force any employee to remain there. If the employer is finding it difficult to run the business because she isn’t providing “adequate” benefits and can’t hire good employees – then she runs out of business. Period. The government has no business telling the employer what they should or should not offer as benefits. Absolutely none. 

    Keep your communist-socialist principles to yourself. Not in this country. 

    Further  there is absolutely no Compelling Government Interest in this case. As Judge Kane has pointed out in the Hercules injunction, 190 million people have been exempted from this provision (HHS Mandate). Scores of organizations (religious or otherwise) have been given exemptions. “Compelling Government Interest” – are you kidding me!! So this “law” that came out of no congressional deliberation, no due process, and was based on the recommendations of a non-elected group of self described experts and the pro-choice lobby is a complete sham. So do stop with the “descrimination”. That is the truly tired meme you are selling and it has about as much saleability as the Brooklyn Bridge. 

    By the way – I am fully on board with my support for the USCCB and for my Church. As for Fox news I wouldn’t believe a thing they said even if they were actually true. That’s how reliable I think they are. 

     

    In Christ

    An Anonymous Fool

  • ananonymousfool

    Yeah – how about it?

    Chief Justice Burger’s words “. . . only those interests of the highest order and those not otherwise served can overbalance legitimate claims to the free exercise of religion.”

    Note Justice Burger’s words on this front – those interests that cannot otherwise be served … 

    Are you saying that the 2 Billion dollars in Title X (2010 numbers, source: Guttmacher institute), every corner drug store, most public rest rooms, most 7-11s, grocery stores, gas stations … in other words, the absolutely widespread, inexpensive availability of contraceptives is somehow an interest that is NOT “otherwise being served”. 

    For crying out loud – are you out of your mind???

    Also you are, of course, I might add mistakenly, depending on what you believe to be the lynchpin of your argument – Justice Scalia’s words in Employment Div v. Smith. Here are his words for reference:

    It may fairly be said that leaving accommodation to the political process will place at a relative disadvantage those religious practices that are not widely engaged in; but that unavoidable consequence of democratic government must be preferred to a system in which each conscience is a law unto itself or in which judges weigh the social importance of all laws against the centrality of all religious beliefs. (underlines and emphasis, mine)

    The HHS Mandate supporters have gleefully proclaimed the words of Scalia as the ultimate weapon against the various suits brought against it. And they will be sadly mistaken. Pay attention to his words. Yes, he has always maintained that “leaving accomodation to the political process” is better than the anarchy that will result from “each conscience is a law unto itself” . But, note the other phrase I underlined – “not widely engaged in“. The government has given 190 million people and myriad organizations (religious and otherwise) exemptions throwing out their own defense based on “compelling interest”. The “law” itself was never passed by a political process and is the result of pure fiat. Finally, this isn’t a case of any single conscience creating a law unto itself. There are 58 plaintiffs in 24 cases across spectrum – probably the largest set of suits in the history of the United States against any one issue. That ought to give some indication of the number of people that are collectively and conscientiously objecting to this unconstitutional mandate. 

    Between the precedent set by Burger’s words and the true import of Scalia’s words – this Mandate has the same chance of surviving as the legendary snowball in hell. 


    In Christ

    An Anonymous Fool

     

  • cc

    “I am fully on board with my support for the USCCB and for my Church.”

    And your church needs to realize that this is not medieval Europe where your church was free to impose its will, through their pals in the monarchy, on those who did not subscribe to its “values.”  It took a Reformation to eliminate that problem. Not for nothing are one of of every ten Americans, ex-Catholics. These folks and non-Catholics, who are very supportive of the HHS mandate (see Clergy Coalition for Choice) are appalled that the ultra wealthy Catholic Church seeks to impose its sexist agenda under the guise of “religious freedom.”  And BTW, apart from the birth control mandate, your church is somewhat favorably disposed towards a health care system that covers all people – like what they have in those “communist-socialist” countries in Europe where they have universal coverage and far better outcomes than we do. Obviously, you prefer a third world situation where folks are free to die on the streets. Funny, when I attended 12 years of Catholic school, we were taught that we needed to care for our neighbor. But I left that church decades ago. I guess your church is more concerned with women’s reproductive organs (they are using their huge lobbying power to, if not outright criminalize abortion, make it less accessible for women of ALL faiths and no faith. 

     

    As noted in another comment. The religious argument is a slippery slope. Should Jehovah’s Witness employers have the right to deny their workers coverage for life saving blood transfusions. Should Catholic employers, who believe that sex is only for married couple, be able to deny pregnancy coverage for non-married women who get pregnant. Oh, right, we need to have our freedom even if it means that some folks might suffer. How very Catholic – but then again, your bishops have made their signature issues abortion, birth control, and gay marriage. Poverty – meh.


    “Are you saying that the 2 Billion dollars in Title X (2010 numbers, source: Guttmacher institute), every corner drug store, most public rest rooms, most 7-11s, grocery stores, gas stations … in other words, the absolutely widespread, inexpensive availability of contraceptives is somehow an interest that is NOT “otherwise being served”

    FYI, the birth control mandate does not cover condoms. That is an outright lie being peddled by the anti-choice movement. Birth control pills are available, with a perscription, from pharmacies some of whom have nice Catholic pharmacists who refuse to fill the perscriptions. Not all women have convenient access to Planned Parenthood especially those in rural areas – and you folks are doing your best to defund PP which will cause closures of clinics now funded.  Also, IUD’s are not available at the corner store. For those women who cannot take birth control pills they are an option – but a very expensive one. Not that you care. 

    “None of these are in the bill of rights or enshrined in the consitution. Health Insurance as a concept is a 20th century innovation.” 

    Neither is NASA and the highway system. The abolition of child labor is also a 20th century innovation. I   guess, in the interests of the “free market,” you want to abolish that? We have this thing called a social compact (which Pope Leo XIII embraced, in part) which allows us to do these things, not enshrined in the Constitution, for the betterment of society. 

    “There are 58 plaintiffs in 24 cases across spectrum – probably the largest set of suits in the history of the United States against any one issue.”

    Several of these cases have already been thrown out. There are probably more plaintiffs and cases against a defective Canadian roof shingle than those against the HHS.  

    “The “law” itself was never passed by a political process and is the result of pure fiat.”

    HHS health care policy is not legislative. It is done by a process in which the government and the private sector meet and resolve issues. That was done for this policy. It’s only the bishops and the fundies who are upset. 

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Your alleged superior moral cult with its endless religious cleansing wars and perversion of family values has certainly brought chaos to the public square.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    You are the spoiled religious totalitarian here:  no one is denying your constitutional right to attend your preferred church or pray or evangelize.  However, totalitarian you and your corrupt USCCB are falsely cloaking under “religious liberty” your criminal demand to kidnap all women’s wombs for killer baby milling on behalf of your coddled pedophile priests.  Would you support forced organ donations (including male reproductive organs and appendages) by the living to save or improve the lives of the sick or injured?  Since you want to make multiple organ-ruining pregnancies the consequence for all sexual active women, would you support forced organ donations by pedophile priests and Viagra-abusing adulterous male GOP politicians?  Perhaps you could donate a testicle or two to an injured war vet?

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Cherry picker, where is your outrage over Viagra insurance coverage that enables bishops and priests to go on Asian sex tours and GOP men to commit adultery, etc.?  I’ll bet you’re a fan of Gingrich even though he and mistress Call-Girl-ista would never bother with NFP to remain child-free for two decades.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    You are definitely not “in Christ” with your murderous “free market” contempt for low cost safety nets for the poor.  I am sure you would condemn Christ for his free-of-charge miracle cures of the “undeserving sinful” poor that reduce your social Darwinism for-profit health care dividends.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Fool means that he’s on board with the pedophile priest-serving USCCB and Vatican.

  • ananonymousfool

     


    2 Pt 1:16-19

    Beloved:
    We did not follow cleverly devised myths
    when we made known to you
    the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
    For he received honor and glory from God the Father
    when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory,
    “This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
    We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven
    while we were with him on the holy mountain.
    Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable.
    You will do well to be attentive to it,
    as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
    until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.



    I tried. 

    It appears that everyone of you wishes to respond by attacking strawmen as opposed to the issue or the points raised by me (or TJ – but, I’ll let TJ speak for him/her self). Not one of you has had an effective defense or anything concrete  to provide against the points I have made. 

    Instead you attack me, the Church, the Church’s history and so on. So be it. The Church, as Christ said, is for sinners and sinners we are. That doesn’t mean that we don’t speak the Truth that was revealed. No amount of good done by the Church will justify or compensate for the evil some of its priests and their partners in crime did. But, that doesn’t mean that we, members of the Body of Christ, sinners in our own way, are to stay silent on the Truth.  He came for us sinners to lead us from sin to life. We thus have a responsibility to get on that path and stay there. 

    If it is only the sinless are to fight for what is moral and just – then no human being can, if he is honest in his heart, stand up to claim that.

    I provided solutions based on free market choices – you rejected, ignored them and refused to acknowledge them.

    I provided points from Judge Kane’s injunction – and you simply chose to walk all around it, while harboring only that fear in your hearts that ultimately the HHS Mandate might fail – never acknowledging the merits of his arguments.

    The Church, its insitutions, and those with a conscience against the HHS Mandate will not be persecuted by this unjust travesty of a “law” that has neither the common good in mind, was never passed by any Legislative body, is pure fiat and has already provided exemptions to scores of organizations and 190 million people.

    The administration will lose on this one and lose badly. Their arrogance will cost them dearly in this election in November. But, that sadly, is a mere consequence of their actions. Since, win or lose, it will not change the hearts and minds of those who support this unjust Mandate. There lies the real tragedy.

    Grace is a gift from God. We do not merit it, we do not deserve it. Yet, if God so desires, we are given it. I will pray that the authors and commenters in this forum will receive this Grace so they may see the Truth and may get on that path to life. 

    Goodbye my friends.  

    In Christ

    An Anonymous Fool

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Dear anti-christ pedophile mother killer, folks here did give you great answers about your unchristian Darwinist free market final “solution” to affordable health care in America.  You’re just too corrupt, greedy, misogynist and hateful to understand.  Many here are survivors of RCC abuse and are offended by your evil cult pushing.  Also, you never acknowledged the horrific and often lethal complications of pregnancies which underlie and justify all women’s need for effective family planning.

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