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Contraceptives And Hobby Lobby At The Supreme Court

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Just about exactly two years to the day after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments challenging the Constitutionality of the individual mandate and other related parts of the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the law was before the nation’s highest court again today. This time the Justices were hearing arguments in two cases involving challenges to the mandate propagated by the Dept. of Health and Human Services requiring employers to provide, among other things, coverage for most forms of prescription birth control as part of their employer-provided coverage. Almost as soon as that mandate was announced, there were objections from religious organizations that would potentially be covered by the mandate, such as hospitals and other non-profit entities run by the Catholic Church and other religious organizations. In response to these initial round of protests, the Obama Administration ended up modifying the mandate in an effort to placate the concerns coming from religious organizations. To a large degree, though, these modifications were not seen as sufficiently addressing the concerns of the religious organizations and, in short order, a series of lawsuits were filed by religiously affiliated organizations ranging from Notre Dame University to a charity run by the Little Sisters of The Poor. Those cases remain pending at various levels of the Federal Court system,

In addition to the cases filed by religious organizations, though, there have also been a series of cases filed by private for-profit corporations that make the contention that they too should not be required to comply with the contraceptive coverage mandate because it violates their religious beliefs. Typically, these businesses have been small closely-held corporations, but there have been a few notable exceptions involving larger corporations, albeit ones that are not publicly traded and owned by a small number of investors who are typically all related. One such corporation is Hobby Lobby, a privately owned business compromising some ~200 stores around the country that sell hobby and craft related material. The family that owns Hobby Lobby contends that it would violate their religious beliefs to provide contraceptive coverage as mandated by HHS and, today, their case was argued before the Supreme Court:

WASHINGTON — In an argument that touched on medical science and moral philosophy, the Supreme Court on Tuesday wrestled with whether corporations may refuse to provide insurance coverage for contraception to their workers based on the religious beliefs of the corporations’ owners.

The court seemed ready to accept that at least some for-profit corporations may advance claims based on religious freedom. But the justices appeared divided along ideological lines over whether the objections before it, based on a requirement in President Obama’s health care law, should succeed.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who probably holds the decisive vote, asked questions helpful to both sides. He appeared skeptical that the two family-controlled companies that objected to the contraception coverage requirement were burdened by the law, as they could cease providing health insurance at all. He also expressed solicitude for “the rights of the employees.”

But Justice Kennedy also had reservations about whether the government could require the companies in the case to provide coverage in light of the many exemptions and accommodations it has offered to other groups.

The lower courts are divided over whether corporations may object to generally applicable laws on religious liberty grounds.

In June, the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver, ruled for Hobby Lobby, a corporation owned by a family whose members have said they try to run the business on Christian principles. The company, which operates a chain of arts-and-crafts stores and has more than 13,000 full-time employees of many faiths, objected to a requirement in President Obama’s health care law that large employers provide their workers with comprehensive insurance coverage for contraception.

Hobby Lobby told the justices that it had no problem offering coverage for many forms of contraception, including condoms, diaphragms, sponges, several kinds of birth control pills and sterilization surgery. But drugs and devices that may prevent embryos from implanting in the womb are another matter, the company said; its owners believe those would make the company complicit in a form of abortion.

Failure to offer comprehensive coverage could leave it subject to fines of $1.3 million a day, Hobby Lobby said, while dropping insurance coverage for its employees entirely could lead to fines of $26 million a year. Those choices, the company said, placed a burden on its owners’ religious beliefs in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

In July, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, ruled against the Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation, which makes wood cabinets and is owned by a Mennonite family that had similar objections to the law. The Third Circuit concluded that “for-profit, secular corporations cannot engage in religious exercise.”

The Third Circuit rejected an analogy to the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United, which said corporations have a First Amendment right to free speech. Though the First Amendment also protects the free exercise of religion, Judge Robert E. Cowen wrote for the majority of a divided three-judge panel, “it does not automatically follow that all clauses of the First Amendment must be interpreted identically.”

But a five-judge majority of an eight-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit, in the Hobby Lobby case, said that “the First Amendment logic of Citizens United” extended to religious freedom

“We see no reason the Supreme Court would recognize constitutional protection for a corporation’s political expression but not its religious expression,” Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich wrote for the majority.

A dissenting member of the court, Chief Judge Mary Beck Briscoe, wrote that the majority’s approach was “nothing short of a radical revision of First Amendment law.”

Lyle Denniston provides his usual concise summary of today’s argument:

The hearing could not have been a pleasant experience for two experienced advocates — Washington attorney and former U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, and current Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., making a return engagement from their encounter two years ago when the Affordable Care Act first came up for review in the Court — when each won something.

In the end, what made trouble for each of them Tuesday was the slippery slope: if we ruled for you, what would that mean for other factual scenarios or other laws that might impinge on religious beliefs?

Clement was badgered throughout his time at the lectern, especially by Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, who suggested that if corporations gain an exemption from having to provide birth-control services for their female employees, then the next complaint would be about vaccinations, blood transfusions, and a whole host of other medical and non-medical services that a company or its owners might find religiously objectionable.

Early in the argument, Justice Kennedy asked non-committally how the Court could avoid the constitutional issue of the mandate’s impact on the right to freely exercise religion.  Clement said it would be easy, and relying only on a federal law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, would clearly favor a corporate exemption to the mandate.

When Kagan and then Sotomayor said corporations could accommodate their female workers’ access to contraception at little financial cost, either by paying a penalty for not providing the service in the health plan or by giving up such a plan altogether, Kennedy chimed in to suggest that, financially, at least, it would be “a wash.”

When those two explored whether the government was letting too many businesses escape the mandate by “grandfathering” their health plans, Kennedy interrupted to say that the conversation was focusing only on the mandate from the perspective of the employers.  What about the workers, who may not agree with their employers’ religious beliefs, Kennedy asked skeptically:  ”Does religion just trump that?”

When it was Solicitor General Verrilli’s turn at the lectern, he found immediately that Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito, Jr., were ready to pounce, disputing each of the government lawyer’s core points about the need for the contraceptive mandate in this context.

When Verrilli began putting heavy emphasis on his point that the Court, in weighing religious claims, must take full account of the negative impact that has on “third parties” who would be affected, Justice Scalia told him that the RFRA law makes no mention of third-party interests.

When Verrilli said the Court has never found a right to exercise religion for corporations, Alito wondered if there was something wrong with the corporate form that it would not be accorded religion freedom rights.  Did Verrilli agree, Alito said, with a lower court’s view that the only reason for a corporation to exist was to “maximize profits?”  Verrilli said no, but Alito had made his point.

Chief Justice Roberts wondered why, if a corporation could bring a claim of race discrimination, why couldn’t it bring a claim of religious discrimination?  And, seeming to look for a way to rule narrowly for corporations, he suggested that the case might be decided by finding such protection only for corporations that are owned by a tightly limited group of shareholders.  Verrilli tried to resist both thrusts.

As Verrilli’s situation worsened, Justice Kennedy moved in to wonder why it was that Congress would allow a government agency — the Health and Human Services Department — “the power to decide a First Amendment issue of this consequence….  That is for Congress, not for an agency.”  Kennedy would repeat that criticism later in the argument.

As usual, Justice Kennedy appears to be the swing vote in this case and he will likely end up being the author of the decision in this case when it’s ultimately handed down in June. Additionally, while keeping in mind the general rule that one cannot always determine how a case will be decided based on oral argument, it appears from today’s argument that Kennedy, and perhaps other Justices on the Court, are looking for some kind of middle ground between the position advocated by the attorneys for Hobby Lobby and the position advocated by the Federal Government. As I’ve noted in my previous posts on these cases, the arguments advanced by employers such as Hobby Lobby are not entirely without merit. Based at least on the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, there is a strong argument that providing the coverage in question would indeed impose a burden on the religious beliefs of the owners of the company that outweighs the public interest at issue here. Even if one agrees, for example, that expanding access to affordable birth control is an important public policy goal, there are less restrictive means by which the Federal Government could accomplish this goal, including direct subsidies to the employees themselves as at least one of the Justices noted during argument today. Given that, one could make a very good case that the Court should rule in favor of Hobby Lobby in this particular case.

The issue facing the Supreme Court, though, is the fact that their ruling here is likely to have an impact far beyond Hobby Lobby and the other employers challenging the contraceptive coverage mandate. If the Court issues the broad ruling that Hobby Lobby wants, then it will establish a precedent that says that any corporation, regardless of size, can evade a generally applicable law by citing an alleged strongly held religious belief. Given the nature of such claims, it will be next to impossible for anyone to question the validity of those beliefs without potentially violating the First Amendment. While some of the hypothetical situations cited by opponents of Hobby Lobby’s position have been a bit ridiculous, it is nonetheless true that a ruling completely in their favor would likely open doors that we probably should not be opening. For that reason, it’s likely that what we’ll see from the Court will be something that goes down the middle, perhaps a decision that rules in Hobby Lobby’s favor while making clear that the ruling should not be applied beyond the specific facts of the case before the Court. More broadly, of course, Congress could alleviate the confusion here by amending, or even repealing the RFRA given that it appears to conflict with settled First Amendment law, but that’s not likely to happen in the current political context.

In any event, check back in June and we’ll see what the Court does.

Here’s today’s transcript, I’ll update with a link to the audio recording of today’s argument when it is posted by the Court:

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Et Al by Doug Mataconis

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Rafer Janders says:

    Based at least on the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, there is a strong argument that providing the coverage in question would indeed impose a burden on the religious beliefs of the owners of the company that outweighs the public interest at issue here.

    The owners have religious beliefs AS INDIVIDUALS, not as corporate officers. So here they want it both ways — when it comes to taking advantage of the protections of corporate law to shield themselves from personal liability for corporate actions, they don’t want to be treated as private individuals. But when it comes to imposing their beliefs on their employees, they want the government to pierce the corporate veil and stand as private citizens with religious beliefs.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 69 Thumb down 5

  2. wr says:

    ” it’s likely that what we’ll see from the Court will be something that goes down the middle, perhaps a decision that rules in Hobby Lobby’s favor while making clear that the ruling should not be applied beyond the specific facts of the case before the Court”

    Just like Bush v. Gore. The legal reasoning will be “we can find no actual legal or constitutional basis for our decision, but this is the outcome we want, so fvck the law.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 2

  3. al-Ameda says:

    Thank you @Rafer Janders: your post gets to the heart of the legal matter concisely.

    Let’s see: Conservative Catholics = Scalia, Alito, Roberts, Thomas, and Kennedy
    It sure looks like all we can do is hope that either Roberts or Kennedy are lapsed Catholics.

    This case is so wrong at so many levels. (1) Does Hobby Lobby senior management actively monitor the lives of their employees to ensure that no employee receives medical treatment that is the result of behavior, habits, or actions that are abhorrent to Hobby Lobby management? (2) Does Hobby Lobby expressly restrict coverage for treatment of alcoholism or is that not abhorrent enough? (3) The simple fact that health coverage may include a subsidy of contraceptives does not in any way compel any woman use contraception.

    This is exactly why we need to move away from our employer-based system of health insurance coverage, and toward more freedom for individuals and more labor mobility – a Single Payer system.

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  4. rudderpedals says:

    Hobby Lobby and the employees are better off if HL drops coverage. The horrible, massive, destructive penalty HL would pay is a whopping $200/yr/employee — far less than HL contributes to the scheme it prefers. Employees can get comprehensive coverage on the exchange, nevermind HL’s paternal meddling.

    The burden, such that there is, is insubstantial at best and disingenuous at worst.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  5. John Thacker says:

    . If the Court issues the broad ruling that Hobby Lobby wants, then it will establish a precedent that says that any corporation, regardless of size, can evade a generally applicable law by citing an alleged strongly held religious belief.

    Not really. Because the RFRA sets forth a balancing test of “compelling interest” and basically must be interpreted on a case-by-case basis. That’s why we haven’t had a parade of horribles yet, and we wouldn’t have one in the future. The RFRA restored exactly the same test as the Sherbert test, which held sway from 1963 until 1990 when the Justice Scalia-written Smith significantly narrowed it. Congress then adopted the RFRA to restore the “compelling interest” standard; the Supreme Court struck it down as it applied to states (since Congress cannot require of states what the Court says the Constitution does not require), but has accepted this legislative requirement to return to the earlier standard– even if the Court’s current opinion is that the Free Exercise Clause does not require that level of test (unlike what the Warren Court thought.)

    It’s true that it would have an effect by defining some boundaries. For example, it would likely mean that kosher delis and halal slaughterhouses would be able to prepare and serve meat according to their religious practices, even if a law like that adopted in Denmark and Switzerland banning kosher and halal slaughter (and in some cases, importation of such meat) were brought here. But because it’s an explicit balancing test of compelling need, it’s impossible for any ruling to establish an absolute precedent. Your worry here is unfounded.

    The original Sherbert case dealt with a Seventh-Day Adventist that South Carolina attempted to deny unemployment benefits to because her employer went to a 6 day work week, and she quit rather than work on Saturday, which would violate her religion. (The question was how voluntary her unemployment was.) Despite her winning her case, under that same standard we certainly saw no cases of people winning the right to much more absurd working condition demands on their employers (or else free unemployment) in the name of religion. It’s a balancing test.

    It is, for example, easily possible for the Court to note that the birth control methods are both inexpensive and can be obtained (either with or without insurance) outside the employer, and that some of those methods, such as Plan B, are specifically being approved for over the counter sales, which, by the own rules of the PPACA, make them impossible to be reimbursed via a HSA if that’s the insurance plan chosen. Especially with the willingness of the Administration to suspend the contraception mandate for certain employers, and the willingness to suspend the employer mandate for insurance at all– it seems somewhat odd that it is okay to offer *no* insurance at all, but insurance including all but one thing is prohibited. One can try to make a distinction between non-profit and for-profit corporations, but surely at least some for profit corporations have motivating principles beyond profits, especially those closely held like Hobby Lobby. (The aforementioned halal and kosher restaurants and meat preparation come to mind.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  6. Tillman says:

    Obviously, the solution here is for a group to form a religion in which the taking of birth control is considered a sacrament – perhaps a religion that doesn’t believe in procreation for theological reasons. Then they could claim religious discrimination when the corporation refuses to cover contraceptives.

    But drugs and devices that may prevent embryos from implanting in the womb are another matter, the company said; its owners believe those would make the company complicit in a form of abortion.

    A form of abortion the Lord Himself uses in fifty-plus percent of all fertilized embryos, you nincompoops. Jesus Christ. I can stomach religious exceptions for various reasons, but those reasons have to at least make sense.

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  7. Rafer Janders says:

    @John Thacker:

    it seems somewhat odd that it is okay to offer *no* insurance at all, but insurance including all but one thing is prohibited.

    Not really — this principle that you cant necessary pick and choose ‘s well established in the law.

    As an analogy, consider this sentence: “it sees somewhat odd that it is OK not to hire any new employees, but hiring new employees except African-Americans is prohibited.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  8. John Thacker says:

    (1) Does Hobby Lobby senior management actively monitor the lives of their employees to ensure that no employee receives medical treatment that is the result of behavior, habits, or actions that are abhorrent to Hobby Lobby management?

    No. Just as I suppose if a vegan restaurant, or even a closely held company with a vegan owner, serves free food to employees, but only vegan food, it would still not actively monitor the lives of its employees to ensure that all of them are vegans when they go home at night.

    All of which is, as you say, a good reason to simply pay people in money rather than in kind.

    But when it comes to imposing their beliefs on their employees

    In the case of the vegan restaurant or vegan owned company mentioned above, it is “imposing their beliefs on their employees” to offer free food to employees, but only vegan food? Or no vegan food? What about free food, but none of it kosher or halal? Or free food, but all of it kosher or halal? Free lunches every day cost a substantial amount of money (more than a lot of forms of birth control); a employee unable or unwilling to partake in what the company offers is missing out on a benefit and probably getting lower wages to pay for something other employees enjoy. They’d be better off getting cash, for sure, and that’s a good argument for paying people in money rather than benefits, but should we make it illegal for the employer to offer the food not acceptable to all? After all, in some cases there are efficiency reasons that do make it practical to offer in kind benefits. (Negotiated discounts for catered food, ability to have food prepared and served on the premises, etc.) Must they offer nothing at all instead rather than a limited choice that some will refuse?

    Like food, contraceptive coverage is a basic, predictable expense that in most cases can be obtained without great expense even without coverage. That distinguishes it from the cases of unpredictable very expensive procedures, and reduces the “compelling interest” that is the heart of the law. The “compelling interest” would be greater if the overall employer mandate weren’t dropped. Indeed, something like allowing people to buy from the exchanges with subsidy if their employer offered a non-qualifying plan (but allowing the non-qualifying plans to be offered by such employers) would satisfy the government’s interest here with less infringement.

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  9. beth says:

    @John Thacker:

    Like food, contraceptive coverage is a basic, predictable expense that in most cases can be obtained without great expense even without coverage.

    Stop. Just stop right now. This is not nor has it ever been true. (I would suspect that retail clerks at Hobby Lobby who probably make at or near minimum wage would also argue this point.) I have no problem with the rest of your arguments even though I don’t agree with them, but please just stop repeating untrue talking points.

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  10. Rafer Janders says:

    @John Thacker:

    In the case of the vegan restaurant or vegan owned company mentioned above, it is “imposing their beliefs on their employees” to offer free food to employees, but only vegan food?

    But unlike the free food, contraceptive coverage is a not a gift — it is part of earned compensation just as much as cash salary.

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  11. Rafer Janders says:

    @John Thacker:

    Like food, contraceptive coverage is a basic, predictable expense that in most cases can be obtained without great expense even without coverage.

    Simply false:

    Surveys show that nearly one in four women with household incomes of less than $75,000 have put off a doctor’s visit for birth control to save money in the past year. Twenty-nine percent of women report that they have tried to save money by using their method inconsistently. More than half of young adult women say they have not used their method as directed because it was cost-prohibitive.

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/news/2012/02/15/11054/the-high-costs-of-birth-control/

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  12. Scott says:

    If the Court issues the broad ruling that Hobby Lobby wants, then it will establish a precedent that says that any corporation, regardless of size, can evade a generally applicable law by citing an alleged strongly held religious belief.

    Our two right wing Lt Gov candidates (David Dewhurst and Dan Patrick (Patrick will likely win)) were rattling on about Sharia Law during a recent debate. I would find it a supreme irony that any outcome on the religious rights of corporations would invalidate any law pertaining to Sharia Law as putting an undue burden on the religious rights of Muslim owners.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  13. rudderpedals says:

    RFRA was touted as post-Smith protection of the ability of priests to use wine in worship services, and butchers to use ritual slaughter methods to serve adherents, and the like, the common thread was it was a shield. These shielding allowances for celebrants somehow turned into a sword to use against non-celebrants. It’s wrong.

    It also isn’t applied all that consistently in terms of who benefits from the sacrificial exceptions. Ask a Santerian.

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  14. grumpy realist says:

    Well it looks like the ol’ Supreme Court is gearing up for another Dred Scott decision…..

    Some people have to have the evil consequences of a stupid decision rubbed in their faces before they realize that it was, indeed, stupid.

    It will be amusing watch Scalia contort himself into a pretzel to say exactly the opposite of what he said in Smith.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  15. Tyrell says:

    @al-Ameda: I have said since about 2005 that Medicare expansion for all people would be a good idea. Those who have lost coverage, have conditions, unemployed, etc., even those who want a supplemental coverage plan. There would be a price scale based on income and different plans offered. 2005 was about the time when the prescription plan was expanded – and everyone seemed to accept that without a problem, including the Republicans. And all the rollout, startup glitches, freezes, gremlins, bugs, stalls, stops, and malfunctions of the AHA could have been avoided.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  16. C. Clavin says:

    Once again we see that to Republicans religious freedom means the freedom to impose their religion on others.
    Does HL employ divorcees or single mothers or gays? Can’t wait HL to start discriminating against them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

  17. anjin-san says:

    @ Rafer Janders

    Corporations are people my friend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  18. Ben says:

    @John Thacker:

    Like food, contraceptive coverage is a basic, predictable expense that in most cases can be obtained without great expense even without coverage.

    Bull-f***ing-s***. My wife can’t take the normal BCP because it triggers crippling migraines (as confirmed by 3 different doctors now), which would result in her not being able to work or watch our son. The only choices she has at this point are a couple different solutions, all of which are north of $100 a month without insurance coverage.

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  19. Tyrell says:

    I think that dental procedures should be covered also, but I don’t see the government requiring that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  20. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Tyrell:

    No one is stopping you from bringing a similar law suit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  21. bill says:

    @Tyrell: true, and hearing aids- try getting an insurance company to offer reasonable coverage there.
    back to reality- most of you want the gov’t. out of your bedrooms, but you want the gov’t. to force companies to pay for what happens there? employees of hl are free to find less oppressive companies to work for if they want, it’s not like they’ve been sent to the gulag or something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  22. C. Clavin says:

    @bill:

    but you want the gov’t. to force companies to pay for what happens there?

    That’s a complete mis-representation of the issue. If you have to lie to make a point…it ain’t much of a point.

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  23. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:
    Actually it is required for children.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. James Pearce says:

    Congress could alleviate the confusion here by amending, or even repealing the RFRA given that it appears to conflict with settled First Amendment law.

    Couldn’t the Supreme Court hobble the RFRA if they wanted to? Or is that outside the scope of this suit?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  25. James Pearce says:

    @bill:

    most of you want the gov’t. out of your bedrooms, but you want the gov’t. to force companies to pay for what happens there?

    Here’s the thing, Bill. When liberals say, “Get out of my bedroom,” they’re not just talking to Republican politicians. It applies to Hobby Lobby too.

    If liberals were to concoct some scheme where the government can’t muscle in on your sex life but your boss can, they would cease to be liberals and become libertarians instead.

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  26. Rafer Janders says:

    @bill:

    most of you want the gov’t. out of your bedrooms, but you want the gov’t. to force companies to pay for what happens there?

    The companies aren’t paying for the health insurance — the employees are, via their labor. Health coverage is part of compensation, just as much as a cash paycheck is.

    What’s going on here is that Hobby Lobby is trying to tell its employees how they can spend their own money, purchased with their own labor. It’s no different than my employer telling me that I’m not allowed to spend the $20 bill I have in my pocket on a bottle of whisky.

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  27. stonetools says:

    What is alarming here is the easy assumption that Hobby Lobby’s religious position need take no account of objective reality.Hobby Lobby objects to the program because it forces them to pay for anti-abortion devices and drugs,(abortificants) because they say that these and a living soul exists from the time of conception( which is when pregnancy begins ( in their opinion) and that these abortificants kill that living soul by preventing implantation of the embryo in the uterus.
    Well, science and medicine has spoken on this. Doctors tell us that for medical purposes, pregnancy begins at implantation, where the zygote attaches to the cell wall. Many zygotes don’t implant, and when that happens they get washed out as waste when the woman menstruates.I go into all these technicalities just to show how illogical is that idea that zygotes are human beings. What do we think of those wasted zygotes? Moreover, tens of millions of women have used IUDS and none of them thave thought of these as abortificants
    As to Plan B drugs , science now tells us that the Plan B drugs work chiefly not by preventing implantation, but preventing ovulation. This means that sperm doesn’t meet egg.
    All this technicality is important, since it makes clear that the argument that these methods of contraception are abortificants are basically, bullsh!t. Prior to January 2009, nobody and I mean, nobody seriously thought of IUDs as an arbortificant. Also too, Hobby Lobby happily covered Plan B drugs until 2012, when the right wing machine decided to make the mandate a political issue.
    Given the science and the facts, the Hobby Lobby suit looks not like a noble defense of freedom but a mix of raw oppotunism, psuedoscience and bad religion.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  28. C. Clavin says:

    @stonetools:
    But Scalia’s comment and questions showed a clear lack of understanding of the issues you raise. We all know the GOP does not operate with any basis in fact and/or scientific knowledge. The GOP Justices and especially the Koch-franchised ones, like Scalia and Thomas, are no different.
    From Salon:

    Scalia said during the oral argument, “You’re talking about, what, three or four birth controls, not all of them, just those that are abortifacient. That’s not terribly expensive stuff, is it?” Is that a compelling counter?
    It’s not compelling, for a couple reasons. I think General Verrilli exposed, you know, Scalia’s sort of lack of knowledge … One among those four are IUDS … the most effective form of contraception, also the most expensive … The evidence presented in the brief suggested that women often choose contraceptives constrained by cost. And you know, the very point of the federal law is to ensure women’s health and ensure their reproductive freedom by making sure they have access to all forms of contraceptives …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  29. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    @al-Ameda: I have said since about 2005 that Medicare expansion for all people would be a good idea. Those who have lost coverage, have conditions, unemployed, etc., even those who want a supplemental coverage plan.

    Republicans would never have gone for that, it is too much like Single Payer.

    Obama incorrectly calculated that Republicans would support ACA which was based on a conservative concept that was successfully implemented in Massachusetts. He was wrong about Republican support – it just was not there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  30. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: The IUD is widely known to disrupt implantation. It has been for years. That’s what it was designed to do.

    And how does the sequence of fertilization and implantation affect the morality of the issue? I don’t think anyone argues that life begins at implantation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  31. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:

    I don’t think anyone argues that life begins at implantation.

    But that’s what the entire “personhood” argument from Republicans centers around, isn’t it?
    At the instant of fertilization the baby’s genes and sex are set…voila…a person that deserves rights.
    Every sperm is sacred…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUspLVStPbk&feature=kp

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  32. C. Clavin says:

    @stonetools:

    Given the science and the facts, the Hobby Lobby suit looks not like a noble defense of freedom but a mix of raw oppotunism, psuedoscience and bad religion.

    So…basically Republicanism?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  33. stonetools says:

    While if you simply count to 5 conservative votes, it’s easy to despair, there is still a good chance Hobby Lobby will lose. Chief Justice Roberts may be conservative , but he is a coldly calculating politician. ( See the sneaky way he undermined the Voting Rights Act). He uinderstands that the Republicans are in a good place politically for the 2014, and he doesn’t want to screw that up. Now what would happen if five old Catholic men rule that women can’t have access to what they consider to be regular health care (over the vociferous objection of all three women), while allowing men to still have free and regular access to boner pills via their health insurance packages? There is really no way to spin that as anything but an attack on women’s reproductive rights, especially in light of right wing talking points about slutty young women going around having sex on the dime of good Christian folk.
    You don’t want Republicans to be discussing reproductive freedom in the summer and fall of 2014. They truly suck at that, and even the Democrats are going to make hay out of candidate Broun (“Evolution is a Lie!”) talking about reproductive rights. All this may drive young women and minority women to the polls in such numbers that it might affect the 2014 elections, and neither Roberts or the Republicans want that.
    What ERoberts will nt to do is to draft not the sweeping decision in favor of “religious freedom” wthat conservatives want, but a narrowly drawn decision in favor of Hobby Lobby.Heck , the might even go with a decision against Hobby Lobby, if such a decision left open the possibility of revisiting the decision later. The point will be to produce a decision that doesn’t rock the political boat, which is sailing the Republicans’ way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  34. stonetools says:

    @Pinky:

    The IUD is widely known to disrupt implantation. It has been for years. That’s what it was designed to do

    Yeah, and prior to 2009, did anyone claim it was an abortificant? Nope.No one did, and the women who used it certainly didn’t think it was an abortificant. It only can be thought of one only if you think life begins at conception-which goes to show that the whole “life-begins-at-conception” dodge isn’t truly believed by most people, but is only a cynical political ploy.

    And how does the sequence of fertilization and implantation affect the morality of the issue? I don’t think anyone argues that life begins at implantation.

    When life begins is a theological/moral issue. Science can’t decide that, since all science sees is a seamless process that begins before conception(itself a process, rather than one moment) and doesn’t really end till some time after birth.Doctors, however, are clear that pregnancy begins at implantation, not conception.It means that IUDs and Plan B pills aren’t abortificants, from the medical POV.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  35. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: Stone – It’s been a lot more than 5 years since I first read up on this stuff. Closer to 30. The IUD’s interference with implantation was as commonly-known as the condom’s blocking of semen. I’m not arguing a political or moral point here; this was just simply a known fact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  36. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin: You comically miss the point as usual. There’s a difference between fertilization and implantation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  37. C. Clavin says:

    @stonetools:
    You need only look at CO where their parenthood amendment was voted down by a 3-1 margin in 2010…and this week Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner who is currently challenging Senator Mark Udall was forced to flip-flop on the issue.
    I’m not a woman…but I am sitting here wondering to myself…why should anyone be forced to ask their bosses permission to use contraception?
    Seriously…hey boss, I’m going to spend some my paycheck on an IUD…is that OK with you?
    I mean, it just doesn’t even pass the giggle test. Unless of course you are a fundamentalist zealot…which these days is synonymous with Republican.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  38. RobZ says:

    “The IUD is widely known to disrupt implantation. It has been for years. That’s what it was designed to do”

    They very rarely work by disrupting implantation. Most of the time, they work by preventing fertilization.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  39. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    Well…if you insist on going ad-hominem…then no you ignorant douche-f&ck…it is you who is tragically ill-informed.
    Read the Colorado Personhood Amendment…it talks about the beginning of the biological process.

    “Section 32: Person defined. As used in Sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article II of the state constitution, the term “person” shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.”

    So in response to your statement:

    I don’t think anyone argues that life begins at implantation.

    You comically miss the point as usual.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  40. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: Pregnancy begins at implantation. Fair enough. Sometimes fertilized eggs don’t implant, either naturally or artificially. Agreed. The fertilized egg is a living thing by any definition of life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  41. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin: I don’t usually go ad hominem, but in your case almost everything you say is stupid, and I think that’s worth pointing out every once in a while. There are a lot of people around here who say wrong things, myself included, but you seem to say a remarkable number of stupid things, things that a person who ever thought about a particular issue wouldn’t say.

    If you look at the law you quoted, it would indicate the same thing I said, that a distinct human life begins at fertilization, not implantation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

  42. grumpy realist says:

    The problem is–deciding in favor of Hobby Lobby basically says that whatever religious beliefs the employers have trump the religious beliefs of the employees.

    If SCOTUS would be really Jesuitical, they would say to Hobby Lobby, yes, you can refuse to cover contraceptions you think are against your religion–but you also have to provide an extra $30K a year to any of your employees who wants to purchase said contraception.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  43. stonetools says:

    @Pinky:

    If you look at the law you quoted, it would indicate the same thing I said, that a distinct human life begins at fertilization, not implantation.

    So I just want to get some clarity here. Are you arguing then that any device that prevents implantation -like an IUD or (possibly) a Plan B drug- is therefore an abortificant.?
    Would you say that a zygote that doesn’t implant is a human death, like the death of a child?

    Did you always feel that way?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  44. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    Yoo need to look up and mull over the Dunning Kruger effect.
    @Pinky:

    I don’t think anyone argues that life begins at implantation.

    @Pinky:

    Pregnancy begins at implantation. Fair enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  45. C. Clavin says:

    @stonetools:
    And if the fertilized egg is a person with full rights as such…and then that fertilized egg splits into twins…which twin is the person and which twin has no rights?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  46. James Pearce says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Read the Colorado Personhood Amendment…it talks about the beginning of the biological process.

    In defense of my Colorado Republicans, none of whom I voted for, both Rep. Gory Gardener and Rep. Mike Coffman have stated they no longer support our twice-defeated and thrice-proposed “Personhood” Amendments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  47. C. Clavin says:

    @James Pearce:
    Exactly my point…because such nonsense, when exposed to people outside the base, becomes untenable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  48. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pinky:

    And how does the sequence of fertilization and implantation affect the morality of the issue?

    Morality of what issue? Whether your boss can tell you what to do with the money you earn from your own labor?

    The issue of implantation, fertilization, whatever, isn’t even at issue here. This case is about whether an employer gets to decide what healthcare an employee can purchase with the employee’s own money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  49. C. Clavin says:

    Roberts is apparently floating a solution that says closely held corporations, like HL which is not traded publicly, may be granted the religious exemption.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/john-roberts-birth-control-reasoning

    So @stonetools: may be prescient.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  50. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: Yes, that’s what I’m arguing.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church
    2270. Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.

    Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby Stores
    Brief for Repsondents

    “c. In the same way, the Greens’ faith affects the
    insurance they offer in Hobby Lobby’s self-funded
    health plan. The Greens believe that human beings
    deserve protection from the moment of conception,
    and that providing insurance coverage for items that
    risk killing an embryo makes them complicit in the
    practice of abortion. App. 50a-51a. Hobby Lobby’s
    health plan therefore excludes drugs that can
    terminate a pregnancy, such as RU-486. The plan
    also excludes four drugs or devices that can prevent
    an embryo from implanting in the womb—namely,
    Plan B, Ella, and two types of intrauterine devices.
    Indeed, when the Greens discovered that two of these
    drugs had been included—without their knowledge—
    in the plan formulary, they immediately removed
    them.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  51. anjin-san says:

    Of course bosses the job providers should be able to dictate to employees serfs about private matters such as medical decisions and how they spend their own compensation.

    Workers should shut up and be grateful that they have access to the company store at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  52. rudderpedals says:

    Pinky’s at least been consistent. When the dead woman was carrying a fetus it came out generally favoring a scheme where anyone with a viable womb could be compelled to donate its use to nurture another’s zygote (Pinky was referring to a fetus but it’s a distinction without a difference here). Sort of like a condemnation of a suitable, nearby womb. Is that fair Pinky?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  53. Pinky says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    This case is about whether an employer gets to decide what healthcare an employee can purchase with the employee’s own money.

    I’m sure that if the employee wants to spend money to buy healthcare that includes abortificants, the company would not prevent them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  54. Pinky says:

    @rudderpedals: I’m sorry; I didn’t follow that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. rudderpedals says:

    @C. Clavin: The article says it’s a trust that actually owns the company which begs the question as to whether yet another entity – a trust, presumably set up under state law – is also worthy of personhood. Where does that go?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  56. anjin-san says:

    What “conservatives” are basically arguing for is special rights for business owners who claim religious faith. It’s worth noting how quickly they change their tune on “special rights” when they are the ones getting something they want.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  57. C. Clavin says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    Well…in Pinky’s defense…it is an issue because there is a (red-herring) discussion about contraception versus abortificants. It should not be an issue, but is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  58. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pinky:

    I’m sure that if the employee wants to spend money to buy healthcare that includes abortificants, the company would not prevent them.

    That is in fact exactly what the company is trying to do now — it is trying to prevent them. Remember, healthcare coverage is part of compensation, it belongs to the employee and is compensation for labor performed just as much as the cash paycheck is. Hobby Lobby is arguing that it should be able to prevent an employee from using their paid compensation to purchase healthcare, that it should be able to insert itself between an employee and her private medical choices.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  59. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I don’t think anyone argues that life begins at implantation.

    Pregnancy begins at implantation. Fair enough.

    Those statements are contradictory only if life begins at pregnancy. Fertilization = conception. Implantation = beginning of pregnancy. As I’ve said, I don’t know anyone making the argument that life begins at implantation, at pregnancy. There’s a little stretch there where a living cell, barely visible to the eye, contains a full set of human genes, but is not implanted. (BTW, I’ve said that the genes are unique only to rebut the idea that the fetus is a part of the woman’s body. The genes could be shared, as in the case of twins, and it wouldn’t change the essence of the argument.) That cell may fail to implant; or it may implant, grow, and become a stillborn; or may implant, grow, be born, and die of drowning at age 30 or heart failure at age 102. Any one of those outcomes ends a distinct human life. They’re all tragedies in a way. They all may be natural. If any one of them is deliberately caused by another person, there is some moral responsibility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  60. Rafer Janders says:

    @anjin-san:

    What “conservatives” are basically arguing for is special rights for business owners who claim religious faith.

    Let’s assume Joe Smith, CEO of Hobby Lobby, has a religious belief that makes him want to prevent his employees from using birth control. Normally Hobby Lobby’s decisions are made by Joe Smith the CEO, not Joe Smith the private person. Here, now, Joe Smith argues that Joe Smith the person should be allowed to express his religious values in his role as Joe Smith the CEO, and that the government should in effect “pierce the corporate veil.”

    Now let’s assume that because of this lack of BC, one of his employees gets sick and dies. Her estate sues Joe Smith the person for damages and goes after his boat, his house, his car, his personal bank account.

    What’s Joe Smith going to argue then? That it’s totally fair because he did, after all, make the birth control decision based on his personal values, so it’s OK to sue him in his private capacity? No, not at all! He’ll argue that he made the decision as a CEO of Hobby Lobby, and that the estate can only sue Hobby Lobby the corporation and that Joe Smith the person is immune from suit and can shelter behind the corporate veil.

    That’s the key here — that they’re going to want it both ways. They want to be a person and a corporation simultaneously, based on whichever is most convenient for them in the moment.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  61. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    Everything you just typed illustrates the utter nonsense of the “personhood” fantasy.
    And to wrap it up…just because someone does not agree with you does not make them stupid, especially if you are making a radical ideological argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  62. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pinky:

    I’m sure that if the employee wants to spend money to buy healthcare that includes abortificants, the company would not prevent them.

    If the company truly believes that it’s abortion, why wouldn’t it try to prevent them? Money, after all, is fungible, and there’s no real difference between compensation for labor that comes in the form of cash and compensation for labor that comes in the form of healthcare coverage. They’re both an exchange of value for labor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  63. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin:

    just because someone does not agree with you does not make them stupid

    Agreed. Very much so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  64. James Pearce says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Exactly my point…because such nonsense, when exposed to people outside the base, becomes untenable.

    Pretty much…..

    It’s also testament to how unpopular this stuff is within Republican circles. Yes, the GOP looks out for the religious right. But I think they’re getting tired of taking their marching orders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  65. Tillman says:

    @C. Clavin:

    just because someone does not agree with you does not make them stupid

    Doesn’t that make them stupid by default? Technically, Pinky only said everything you say is stupid, not that you were stupid. Stupid people can say smart things (I am living proof), and smart people can say stupid things.

    @Rafer Janders:

    Hobby Lobby is arguing that it should be able to prevent an employee from using their paid compensation to purchase healthcare, that it should be able to insert itself between an employee and her private medical choices.

    Technically, Hobby Lobby is arguing that it has a religious reason not to offer a certain kind of compensation mandated by law, not that it should be able to insert itself in an employee’s private medical choices. The issue’s a bit grayer than you’re making it out to be.

    That said, their religious reason is absurd.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  66. C. Clavin says:

    @rudderpedals:
    Excellent point…I only profer Roberts political off-ramp…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  67. Pinky says:

    @Tillman: I don’t think I’ve ever used language like that online before. I may well regret it with a cooler head. There are some people who parrot one side, some people who miss the point in a debate, but Clavin seems unique to me in doing both those things while insulting people. It’s that thing from the movie Idiocracy, where all the people from the future were abusive and convinced that they were right. I’m sure I came off as abusive and convinced that I’m right, as well, in my comments to Clavin. I hope that I’m not being an anti-bullying bully.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  68. grumpy realist says:

    @Pinky: Pinky, if the fetus isn’t a part of the woman’s body, then we can remove it with no problem, right?

    I see no reason why my body organs get to be commandeered to provide a life support for another human entity, even if removing my organs from providing said life support means the death of the other individual. I didn’t ask for that other individual to pop into existence inside me and see no reason why I should be forced, willy-nilly, to provide my own body as a life-support system. .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  69. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    I asked a question…
    @C. Clavin:
    to which you responded with an attack….
    @Pinky:
    And you then come back with a bunch of yadda-yadda-yadda….
    @Pinky:
    But yeah…it’s my fault.
    Have a nice day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  70. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. The other stupidity about the personhood argument is that a) a sizable percentage of zygotes fail to implant or b) do implant and still end up getting sloughed off with the next menstrual period. So are we going to accuse women who fail to carry to term with involuntary manslaughter? If not, why not? And how much monitoring of women’s activities are we going to do in order to make sure that they’re not doing something wicked?

    You’ve also got the problem of what to do with women who are informed by their doctors that they will have a hard time carrying to term. One could arguing that THAT case that a woman who then gets pregnant, knowing she’s very likely not going to be able to carry to term, should be charged with VOLUNTARY manslaughter.

    So basically the personhood champions would have accused my mother of murdering three children because she couldn’t carry to term. No thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  71. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Right…approx. 70% of fertilized eggs fail to implant. It’s a friggin’ genocide if you ask me….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  72. James Pearce says:

    @Tillman:

    That said, their religious reason is absurd.

    It’s worse than that. Hobby Lobby is arguing that following current law (the mandate) will provide a “substantial burden” on their religious rights.

    Note how a “burden” does not meet the criteria. Note how a “minor burden” does not meet the criteria. No, it’s a “substantial burden” as in “The government’s prohibition of peyote makes it impossible for me to practice my rituals,” not, “What do you mean I have to be a member of a recognized tribe and fill out Form 3-200-15A to get my eagle feathers?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  73. Pinky says:

    @grumpy realist: You keep asking for that. The technology doesn’t exist, and it’s not a natural process. If there were a means to protect every fertilized egg, I’d be all for it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  74. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    Seriously…you would like to see a 230% increase in the birth rate???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  75. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    You want to see a 230% increase in the birth rate…and you call me stupid??? WTF…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  76. Gavrilo says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Money, after all, is fungible, and there’s no real difference between compensation for labor that comes in the form of cash and compensation for labor that comes in the form of healthcare coverage. They’re both an exchange of value for labor.

    You keep making this point, and it’s staggeringly wrong. There is a huge difference between compensation for labor in the form of cash and compensation for labor in the form of health coverage. First, health insurance is not fungible. I can’t pay my rent with my Blue Cross card. Nor, do I get reimbursed in cash if I don’t utilize my health insurance. Second, health insurance is a benefit. Employers are not even required to offer it, at least not before Obamacare. And, even now, small employers still don’t have to offer it. Third, employers do get to dictate to some degree how benefits, and even some forms of compensation, are utilized. My company may provide me with a car and even allow me to drive it for personal use, but they can still dictate that I don’t drive cross country on weekends. My company can offer me stock options and dictate when and how much I can sell. And, yes, employers do get to dictate healthcare decisions based on the type of health insurance that they provide. Even with the Obamacare mandates, my employer determines which doctors I see, how much I pay out of pocket, and how much coverage I have based on the insurance that they purchase for me. If I don’t like it, I can pay for it myself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  77. David M says:

    @Gavrilo:

    The employer is asking the government for preferential treatment of the wages paid as health insurance, and the government is requiring the provided health insurance meets a minimum standard. You mentioned your out of pocket costs, the government regulates the maximum allowed costs as part of the same requirements.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  78. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:

    My company may provide me with a car and even allow me to drive it for personal use

    But they cannot give you a company car without seatbelts…the car must meet basic standards dictated by law. Hobby Lobby is asking to give you a car without seatbelts…or stock options that do not met SEC regulations.
    So yeah…you are:

    staggeringly wrong

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  79. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist: The difference (and I’m just pointing it out, I don’t believe in it at all) is when a zygote naturally fails to implant, or implants and then fails to progress, or a woman miscarries, God did those. They were “supposed” to happen. But when a woman takes an abortifacient birth control pill, that wasn’t God, that was her, and therefore bad.

    Only God is allowed to slaughter the entire human race, get it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  80. C. Clavin says:

    @Mikey:

    But when a woman takes an abortifacient birth control pill, that wasn’t God, that was her, and therefore bad.

    But didn’t God also guide Ms. Hypothetical to take the abortifacient?
    Sorry…but just because you are a zealot doesn’t mean you get to pick and choose when God is in control.
    She is either infinitely powerful, infinitely old, totally omnicient, and completely undetectable…or she isn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  81. Gavrilo says:

    @C. Clavin:

    You’re conflating my argument. I was refuting the absurd contention that health insurance is exactly the same as a paycheck. It is not.

    Yes, the government can require minimum standards for car safety or SEC regulations because the government has a compelling interest. No one is arguing that the government can’t require insurance companies to provide certain coverages. State insurance commissions have been doing that for decades. The argument in this case is that the Hobby Lobby’s religious freedom outweighs the government’s compelling interest or it does not. Even if the the government prevails in this case, it will still be a fact that employers will still dictate how benefits are utilized in all kinds of ways.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  82. Tillman says:

    @C. Clavin: You realize that’s been a contested point in Christian denominations for well over a thousand years, right? The God Hobby Lobby’s owners believe in might not guide every single action.

    And that’s not the issue here anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  83. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Even if the the government prevails in this case, it will still be a fact that employers will still dictate how benefits are utilized in all kinds of ways.

    Right…but those benefits will be subject to Government regulations and standards…like providing for reproductive health care. If HL prevails then Government regulations mean nothing because everyone can simply claim a religious exemption to anything they don’t like.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  84. C. Clavin says:

    @Tillman:
    Well of course…the beauty of religion for the faithful is being able to believe what you want to believe and discarding the rest.
    I’m sure the God that HL believes in only guides the things they believe in…like killing the gays with hurricanes…or whatever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  85. Gavrilo says:

    @C. Clavin:

    No, it won’t. Religious freedom is not absolute. In other circumstances the government may be able to prove that its compelling interest in regulating something (like peyote) outweighs the religious freedom of a particular group (like American Indians).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  86. Scott says:

    @Pinky: Well, in IVF there often is several fertilized eggs created. Not all are implanted. Some are frozen. By declaring life at conception then those frozen eggs are life and that discarding those embryos is now considered “murder”. When the abortion argument goes to black and white then it falls apart whether you are pro-life or pro-choice.

    Anyway, abortion is not what this case is about.

    For the life of me, I don’t understand why business wants to be in the healthcare business. The sooner we separate the two the better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  87. David M says:

    @Gavrilo:

    The argument in this case is that the Hobby Lobby’s religious freedom outweighs the government’s compelling interest or it does not.

    Not exactly, Hobby Lobby must also show the regulation poses as substantial burden on those religious beliefs. Given that (a) Hobby Lobby is a corporation and does not have religious beliefs and (b) they were already covering most of the required contraceptives, it shouldn’t be difficult to see why most people don’t take their argument seriously. Somehow people that oppose Obamacare take it seriously though…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  88. grumpy realist says:

    @David M: I still think that if this passes every IUD-using woman employed by Hobby Lobby should march into the head office and demand an increase in her salary in order to deal with the extra cost and hassle HL is dumping on her.

    If you want to have your squeamish religious feelings pandered to even when said feelings highly inconvenience your employees, then by god you had better pay for imposing said inconveniences on them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  89. rudderpedals says:

    Prediction: Another 5-4 split for the corp. I think this all will have to get fixed by legislation that specifically requires contraceptive coverage, avoiding the odious RFRA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  90. grumpy realist says:

    @Pinky: You had better modify that to “protect every fertilized human egg WITHOUT INFRINGING THE RIGHTS OF THE WOMAN IT IS INSIDE.”

    Funny how the “Personhood” arguers always conveniently forget that there is an adult human already around whose rights need to be protected as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  91. C. Clavin says:

    @David M:
    Exactly…until Obama was elected HL was happily providing what they now call abortifacients.
    Funny how prevalent this sort of thing is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  92. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Religious freedom is not absolute.

    According to Republicans it is…whether its baking cakes for gays, or providing reproductive health care…to Republicanists Religious Liberty trumps all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  93. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin: That’s false. See Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  94. matt bernius says:

    @Gavrilo & @David M:

    (a) Hobby Lobby is a corporation and does not have religious beliefs

    While I initially had the same reaction, I have to wondering. If Hobby Lobby — or any other business — explicitly crafted statements of religious belief into their founding documents, it does seem to me that they can claim that they are a for-profit religious organization. This goes back to the idea that something can be a *Kosher* deli (which in and of itself is an expression of Religious Belief — or at least at a minimum a commitment to operate to Religious Standards*).

    Perhaps the resident attornies can answer this.

    * – understanding that there are countless different Kosher standards (as any Jewish Deli owner will tell you, Kosher boards often end up being another name for religiously permissible racketeering)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  95. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    Before the lawsuit, the insurance provided by Hobby Lobby covered Plan B and Ella, which they no longer want to cover.

    Why should that not lead to the conclusion that this is nothing more than another Republican temper tantrum over Obamacare?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  96. stonetools says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I didn’t ask for that other individual to pop into existence inside me and see no reason why I should be forced, willy-nilly, to provide my own body as a life-support system. .

    Well, they’ll argue you did-the moment you agreed to sex. They’re there to make sure you can never, ever, reconsider your decision. And if you used contraception and by accident your contraceptive measure doesn’t work, they’ll say you’ll just have to live with it.What’s more, after stigmatizing you as a welfare mother/slut, they’ll make damn sure the government does as little as possible to help you.
    Nice bunch of “Christian” folks they are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  97. beth says:

    @matt bernius: While not an expert, I did work in a hotel that had a separate Kosher catering kitchen and my impression was that Kosher guidelines exceeded the regular health department sanitation standards so it may not be a good thing to compare against.

    What if I was a single woman working for Hobby Lobby and decided to have a child on my own? Do you think HL would be within their rights to refuse to pay for my pregnancy/delivery medical bills and not allow me to put the child on my policy because it went against their morals to be a single mother?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  98. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt bernius:

    This goes back to the idea that something can be a *Kosher* deli (which in and of itself is an expression of Religious Belief — or at least at a minimum a commitment to operate to Religious Standards*).

    You can be a kosher deli, but that’s because there are specific Jewish religious beliefs governing food. There are not, by contrast, kosher garages or kosher novelists or kosher app developers, say, because food is not involved.

    Similarly, Hobby Lobby describes itself as a “retailer selling arts and crafts supplies, fabrics, baskets, silk flowers, needlework, picture framing, party supplies, furniture, and related items.” If there are any specific Christian dictates regarding the selling of arts and crafts supplies, fabrics, baskets, silk flowers, needlework, picture framing, party supplies, furniture, and related items, then I’m not aware of them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  99. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt bernius:

    If Hobby Lobby — or any other business — explicitly crafted statements of religious belief into their founding documents, it does seem to me that they can claim that they are a for-profit religious organization.

    But they’re not a religious organization — as I noted above, they’re a “retailer selling arts and crafts supplies, fabrics, baskets, silk flowers, needlework, picture framing, party supplies, furniture, and related items”, not a church or missionary society or nunnery or religious school or madrassa. There’s no religious mission or purpose involved in their corporate activities, other than the personal religious beliefs of the owners as individuals.

    If you let any business designate itself as a “religious organization” in order to evade generally applicable regulations, you’ve opened a loophole so large as to eviscerate corporate law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  100. wr says:

    @Pinky: ” If there were a means to protect every fertilized egg, I’d be all for it.”

    And how much would you be willing to pay in new taxes to raise those children once they pass the egg stage?

    Oh, let me guess: Zero.

    Because fertilized eggs are unique, wonderful human beings.

    And hungry children are takers and moockers who should be sweeping school floors if they want a meal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  101. wr says:

    @Gavrilo: “I was refuting the absurd contention that health insurance is exactly the same as a paycheck. It is not.”

    Here’s a little fun fact: If you argue by analogy and your analogy doesn’t make sense, then your argument doesn’t make sense.

    You don’t get to argue a nonsensical analogy and then, when caught, say “But hey, my main point is true anyway.”

    You’ve actually got to come up with a new argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  102. wr says:

    @Gavrilo: ” Religious freedom is not absolute. In other circumstances the government may be able to prove that its compelling interest in regulating something (like peyote) outweighs the religious freedom of a particular group (like American Indians).”

    That’s exactly right. To the radical Catholic majority on the Court, the government will always find a compelling interest in regulating something non-Catholics do that outweights the religious freedom of non-Catholics.

    And that’s why this is such a crock. It’s not about “religious freedom” at all. It’s about preserving the privelege of a small bunch of reactionary Christians who hate the modern world, and thus should be allowed to rule over everyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  103. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: “Funny how the “Personhood” arguers always conveniently forget that there is an adult human already around whose rights need to be protected as well.”

    Sorry, but no. “Adult human” only refers to white Christian males. You are talking about sluts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  104. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    I’ve read it in several locations, as apparently so has
    @David M:
    Which does not make it true .
    But if you’re going to call me a liar, after calling me stupid, you ought to provide a link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  105. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    In addition what HL calls abortifacients…aren’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  106. David M says:

    I took Pinky’s advice and read Hobby Lobby’s original court brief, where they admitted they were covering the drugs. Then Obamacare because the greatest threat to freedom of all time and everything changed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  107. Pinky says:

    Hobby Lobby’s
    health plan therefore excludes drugs that can
    terminate a pregnancy, such as RU-486. The plan
    also excludes four drugs or devices that can prevent
    an embryo from implanting in the womb—namely,
    Plan B, Ella, and two types of intrauterine devices.
    Indeed, when the Greens discovered that two of these
    drugs had been included—without their knowledge—
    in the plan formulary, they immediately removed
    them.

    The district court found this was not “due to anything other
    than a mistake. Upon discovery of the coverage, Hobby Lobby
    immediately excluded the two drugs, Plan B and Ella, from its
    prescription drug policy. [The government does] not dispute that
    the company’s policies have otherwise long excluded abortioninducing
    drugs.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  108. Pinky says:

    @wr: As I’ve said numerous times, I believe in protecting and supporting all human life. We probably disagree about the best way to support people, but that doesn’t negate my position.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  109. anjin-san says:

    I was refuting the absurd contention that health insurance is exactly the same as a paycheck.

    No, it’s not “exactly the same” as a paycheck. But it is compensation, and it is earned via labor and services – it’s not a gift or a perk – it belongs to the employee.

    I’m a Buddhist. I deeply believe that killing animals and eating them is wrong. If I have employees, can I dictate to them that they can’t bring meat onto the premises for lunch? That they can’t go out to lunch and eat meat? That they can’t use their pay to purchase meat?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  110. bill says:

    @C. Clavin: coming from you it’s a compliment! i notice most of these arguments have skirted the actual train wreck at fault i.e “obamacare”- i guess we all accept that it’s bad and are just nickle & dimeing it’s subtle nuances?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  111. anjin-san says:

    @ bill

    the actual train wreck at fault i.e “obamacare”

    How is Obamacare a “train wreck”? Be specific. And keep in mind that most of the “horror stores” are Koch Bros. propaganda that has been debunked…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  112. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    Covering them by accident shows how little they really care about the issue. And the drugs in question do not prevent implantation, no matter what Hobby Lobby thinks.

    That is why their claims are not to be taken seriously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  113. RAOUL says:

    Hobby Lobby was providing most of the drugs in question until the ACA came around. They certainly don’t sound principled to me. Griswold established a constitutional right to birth control-so jurisprudence has established that this an integral issue of woman’s health. Since we provide healthcare in this country through companies, depriving women from birth control is depriving them from a constitutional right. Ultimately, the issues concerning a woman’s health belong to that person. All Hobby Lobby is required to do was check a box informing the government whether they were providing birth control. How this is a burden baffles the mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  114. wr says:

    @Pinky: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You “support” all human life.

    And then you bitch about little kids getting lunch at schools because the little maggots are stealing your tax dollars.

    Tell it to someone who hasn’t read your messages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  115. Tillman says:

    @wr: The last thread we had over school lunches (back in December) had more to do with the black kid in the picture than anything about the policy. You mind citing a few of those messages? My memory is famously unreliable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  116. C. Clavin says:

    @bill:
    The fact that you have to make shit up in order to make your point is a compliment?
    OK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  117. Eric Florack says:

    Dangerous?
    Freedom usually is.
    Governmental control is invariably moreso.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  118. JWH says:

    @John Thacker:

    John, I concur with you that the complete parade of horribles is unlikely, given RFRA’s balancing test. But at the same time, I think that if Hobby Lobby gets its wide-ranging ruling, then the Supreme Court will upset a lot of settled law. Re-settling that law will not be a pretty process … and I suspect there will be at least two or three more trips to the Supreme Court to define the scope of the new RFRA application.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  119. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Show me a free society without Government control.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  120. Tillman says:

    @Eric Florack: Ah. Limiting how many words you use to limit the damage you do to yourself with them. A cunning strategy!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  121. Pinky says:

    @wr:

    And then you bitch about little kids getting lunch at schools because the little maggots are stealing your tax dollars. Tell it to someone who hasn’t read your messages.

    Such as the one where I said that…?

    ???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  122. C. Clavin says:

    @Tillman:

    A cunning strategy!

    And yet, apparently still too many words.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  123. Tillman says:

    @C. Clavin: I felt really bad when I realized I could’ve wrote “self-inflicted damage” instead of “damage you do to yourself with them.” Like, I felt really dumb.

    I feel as if I’ve given him a small victory by not putting him down as concisely as possible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  124. beth says:

    @Tillman: Ah, but he could have just written:

    Freedom – good!
    Government – bad!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  125. anjin-san says:

    @ Eric Florack

    No doubt then that you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices, and marriage equality for all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  126. C. Clavin says:

    @anjin-san:
    No silly…you see…Florack is a victim…because his right to discriminate against women and gays and people of all colors…other than pale white…is being abridged.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  127. Gavrilo says:

    @anjin-san:

    No, it’s not “exactly the same” as a paycheck. But it is compensation, and it is earned via labor and services – it’s not a gift or a perk – it belongs to the employee.

    I’m a Buddhist. I deeply believe that killing animals and eating them is wrong. If I have employees, can I dictate to them that they can’t bring meat onto the premises for lunch? That they can’t go out to lunch and eat meat? That they can’t use their pay to purchase meat?

    I’m not arguing that employer provided health insurance is not considered compensation. I’m arguing that it is a benefit and as such, the employer can dictate the manner in which it is utilized. Benefits can certainly be considered compensation. The employer purchases the insurance, and therefore, determines a number of ways in which the insurance is utilized.

    Congratulations on being a Buddhist. Could you dictate that your employees not bring meat onto the premises for lunch? Absolutely. Can you dictate that they not eat meat outside the office? No. Can you dictate that they can’t use their pay to purchase meat? No.

    Is Hobby Lobby dictating that employees not use certain forms of birth control? No. Their employees are free to purchase any birth control they want. I have employer based health insurance that includes vision. However, it didn’t cover the Lasik eye surgery I had five years ago. I paid for it myself. Never once did I ever conceive that my employer was somehow prohibiting me from getting the surgery for that fact that they didn’t pay for it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  128. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:

    I’m arguing that it is a benefit and as such, the employer can dictate the manner in which it is utilized.

    Argue all you want…you are WRONG.
    The benefit, in order to qualify for tax benefits, has to meet standards. Just as there are regulations for 401K’s. One of those standards is providing reproductive health care for women.
    Now it’s very possible that the SCOTUS, sponsored by Koch Industries, will strike that regulation. When that happens then all sorts of discrimination will become legal. And Republicans shall rejoice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  129. Barry says:

    “But drugs and devices that may prevent embryos from implanting in the womb are another matter, the company said; its owners believe those would make the company complicit in a form of abortion.”

    So if I believe A to be B, the government is compelled to act as if A was B?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  130. DrDaveT says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Once again we see that to Republicans religious freedom means the freedom to impose their religion on others.

    Why not? The US has a venerable tradition, going back to the Pilgrims, of exactly this interpretation of “religious freedom”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  131. Gavrilo says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Pay attention, Brickwall! I never said the government couldn’t impose standards that insurance companies must meet. In fact, I explicitly said that the government could. And, I noted that state insurance commissions have done exactly that for decades. All I did was refute a ridiculous claim that health insurance is the same as monetary compensation. It’s not. Never has been. Never will be.

    In fact, Hobby Lobby isn’t even arguing that the government can’t regulate standards that they must meet in providing health insurance to their employees. They are arguing that some of those standards conflict with their right to practice their religion, which is both a constitutional protection and codified in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  132. anjin-san says:

    @ Gavrilo

    I’m arguing that it is a benefit and as such, the employer can dictate the manner in which it is utilized.

    So if you need a heart operation to save your life, in your world, your employer is free to say “sorry pal, no heart surgery for you”?

    some of those standards conflict with their right to practice their religion

    If the employer believes birth control is wrong, no one is forcing him/her to use it. How exactly are the employers rights being violated?

    Let’s go back to me as a hypothetical employer, your employer. Your doctor tells you that a lifetime of eating meat has clogged your arteries, and you need a bypass. I say “sorry Charlie, eating meat is wrong, and I am not covering the consequences of your disgusting meat habit” – you good with that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  133. anjin-san says:

    It would be interesting for an employes to counter sue on the grounds that many so called “Christian Conservatives” clearly do not follow the teachings of Jesus, and are therefore not true Christians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  134. Gavrilo says:

    @anjin-san:

    Yes. If you demonstrate that heart surgery violates your religion, then as an employer, you should be able to provide health insurance that doesn’t cover heart surgery. As an employee, I can pay for my own heart surgery or buy my own insurance that provides the coverage that I want. Just like employees of Hobby Lobby can buy their own birth control or opt out of Hobby Lobby’s insurance and buy their own health insurance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  135. David M says:

    @Gavrilo:

    If you demonstrate that heart surgery violates your religion, then as an employer, you should be able to provide health insurance that doesn’t cover heart surgery. As an employee, I can pay for my own heart surgery or buy my own insurance that provides the coverage that I want.

    That’s just nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  136. Rafer Janders says:

    @Gavrilo:

    If you demonstrate that heart surgery violates your religion, then as an employer, you should be able to provide health insurance that doesn’t cover heart surgery.

    Congratulations. You’ve just made a great argument for why employers should not be able to pick and choose which procedures they’re allowed to cover.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  137. anjin-san says:

    their right to practice their religion

    Their right to practice their religion is not at risk in the slightest. No one is asking them to use birth control.

    Dictating to others that they are restricted by the employers beliefs is not religious freedom. It is exactly the opposite.

    I mentioned earlier that eating meat is against my beliefs. We will be entertaining at home this Sunday, pot luck. We will have vegetarian dishes, but we have told everyone they are welcome to bring meat dishes.

    Why? Well, for one, I am not an asshole who thinks everyone should have to play by my rules. My beliefs are just that – my beliefs. I have an extra set of dishes for meat dishes. Live and let live, and respect the beliefs of others. My karma does not require me to try and dictate the actions of others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  138. mantis says:

    Taxes are against my religion, so my company won’t pay them. I’m loving this “ignore any laws free” card religion turned out to be!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  139. al-Ameda says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Yes. If you demonstrate that heart surgery violates your religion, then as an employer, you should be able to provide health insurance that doesn’t cover heart surgery. As an employee, I can pay for my own heart surgery or buy my own insurance that provides the coverage that I want. Just like employees of Hobby Lobby can buy their own birth control or opt out of Hobby Lobby’s insurance and buy their own health insurance.

    Yet another excellent case made for a Single Payer Health Insurance system.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  140. Gavrilo says:

    @anjin-san:

    I mentioned earlier that eating meat is against my beliefs. We will be entertaining at home this Sunday, pot luck. We will have vegetarian dishes, but we have told everyone they are welcome to bring meat dishes.

    Yes, and how would you feel if the government mandated that you buy and serve meat at your little party?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  141. David M says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Your analogy completely fails, as the businesses are asking the government to help pay for a significant portion of the employees health insurance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  142. anjin-san says:

    Yes, and how would you feel if the government mandated that you buy and serve meat at your little party?

    People don’t need to go to parties. They do need medical care. The nature of that care is the business of individuals and their doctors, not religious fanatics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  143. Eric Florack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    My irony meter just melted.
    And I';m sure you have no concept as to why.

    You’re dismissed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  144. Katharsis says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Yes. Mixed material fabrics are bad, as in “Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.”

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+19%3A19

    A simple search reveals many colorful excuses why this is no longer a deeply held belief or, conversely, that it depends on what your definition of ‘kinds of material’ is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0