Editorial counterpoint: Religious freedom means just that

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  • Updated: December 15, 2013 - 5:42 PM

Hobby Lobby has a constitutional right to exercise its owners’ values with respect to birth control and the ACA.

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goferfanzDec. 15, 13 2:29 PM

This column gets it right, and if HL loses in our ever more tyrannical country, then they should close their doors and let Obama continue his "awesome" job of saving the economy. Forget the many failures in the healthcare/gov = ACA rollout, the biggest lie in the contraception debate has been about cost. For 98% of young people, since 2007, contraception is literally about 1/20th the cost of their cell phone service. Likely less. Contraception cost is a nonissue, but this is another example of this President picking a big fight where none was needed (ie Afghanistan, delaying ACA mandate one year, Keystone, etc).

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pumiceDec. 15, 13 4:04 PM

The subhead reads, "Hobby Lobby has a constitutional right to exercise its owners’ values with respect to birth control and the ACA." That subhead implies that David Green's definition of "contraceptives" as "abortifacients" is scientifically accurate. On Nov. 26, 2013, CNN reported: "The privately held company does not object to funding other forms of contraception -- such as condoms and diaphragms -- for their roughly 13,000 employees [...]." From that perspective, David Murrin's contention that the ACA's contraception mandate is "clearly targeted against socially conservative Christians" loses validity. David Green's objection to the contraception mandate is clearly targeted at women who would choose forms of contraception of which David Green does not approve.

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chuckdancerDec. 15, 13 4:36 PM

Confusing. The guy claims that " To protect the application of the First Amendment after it had been made impotent by the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)." So he is pinning his hopes on the enacted law but then he turns around and starts talking like it the First amendment that is the basis for his argument. But obviously to retain the system of health care in this country that we have currently the people that are affected directly by employers picking and choosing what is included as health care for insurance coverage are the employees, who have no obligation under the Constitution to share their employer's beliefs. This appears to be another good reason why employer based health insurance coverage is a bad system and why the whole thing should be under the government. Tat takes the religious beliefs out of a nonreligious matter and all citizens would be free to follow their own beliefs; employer or worker.

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ericgus55Dec. 15, 13 6:01 PM

Honestly, I hope Hobby Lobby wins, too, but not because I support them. I think their position is idiotic, but I don't like the employer-based health insurance system and would prefer to have a Canada/Europe-style single-payer system. If employers can choose to deny coverages (not just Catholics and contraception, but Scientologists could deny your kid's ADHD or schizophrenia meds, a Jehovah's Witness could deny your blood transfusion, and a Christian Scientist could deny all medical care - or any of us could make up our own religion and deny whatever we want). If employers can 'object' and deny, then the whole employer-based system will fall apart, and single-payer will become inevitable. Ironically, single-payer is what Democrats were trying to enact ('Hillarycare') when Republicans invented this mandate/penalty idea in the 90's, and the 'religious right' might just get it for us.

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reidDec. 15, 13 6:24 PM

They might have seemed generous in offering higher wages and a somewhat more humane working environment... as long as you believe as THEY believe. If not, you are under the spell of their morals. What if I'm Muslim? What if I'm atheist? As soon as the employer decides what public employees will or won't get, then what is to stop them from requiring that the employee attend their church, for instance, as a condition of employment? Being eligible for insurance, if offered, or if mandated (especially for all the things ACA is being heralded for such as no predisposing conditions or children covered til 26, is something one cannot pick and choose, and be a storefront open to do public business. Perhaps they think that dirt and grime is good, and would flaunt the public health department ordinances and laws on cleanliness? Its in the same bracket. But because women have now the right to control their fertility with very safe methods which are not abortion, these folks get all steamed? If they feel that strongly, then they perhaps should close their shop or downsize to where they do not need to offer insurance as a benefit. The good of the many, and many different backgrounds and needs, in this case outweigh the few from forcing, yes forcing, their morals on others just to work there. Ring. "Hello, Marj? Yeah its me. You heard right, I'm preggo again. No, Larry and I didn't want a sixth, but since I can't find another job other than the HobbyLobby one, and they don't offer insurance that covers even the pill, I got pregnant again, right after maternity leave. Bummer." What if these employers felt that sex was not for pleasure or creating an ongoing bond between husband and wife, and fired them for having sex for fun? This indeed is a very slippery slope.

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georgepaulDec. 15, 13 6:31 PM

If the owners of Hobby Lobby don't want to support birth control coverage, then they shouldn't hire employees who use birth control.

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bythebeachDec. 15, 13 7:00 PM

reid - Try actually reading the article. They don't object to covering all contraception - just a specific abortifacient. And nothing like being stupidly incendiary - trying to make people think they would actually pay someone of a different faith less. Do you really think anyone would believe that?

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julio57Dec. 15, 13 7:03 PM

The First Amendment is not universal to all beliefs, speech, and religions. There are countless examples of the govt. regulating the First. The freedoms guaranteed in the First only extend so far as that you do not interfere with someone else's beliefs, and that the govt. cannot choose to enact a law/regulation for one group and not another based on religion. Either it applies to all or it applies to none. There are many who will say, "what about the Amish?" That is a valid point, but they are also a minute fraction of the population, and they use virtually zero govt. services, and their religion is not interfering with anyone else. HL's refusal to offer contraception as required by the ACA is actually depriving the employees of their legally guaranteed rights, as was upheld by the Supreme Court. I don't like ObamaCare, I think it is terrible legislation and does infringe on our rights, but the Supreme Court says it is legal, so there is nothing we can do about it. Hobby Lobby and the author also lose credibility when they espouse their wonderful treatment of their employees, but then refuse to offer contraception at no more cost, even if the employee wishes it. What is more sacred, the company's right to deny services to the employees or the employees' right to access to healthcare services that the Supreme Court has guaranteed them.

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ericgus55Dec. 15, 13 7:14 PM

If contraception can be objected to, then why not the opposite - childbirth? If my 'religion' leads me to believe in a zero-population growth position, could I then deny my female employees the costs of pre-natal care, childbirth, and pediatric visits after their kids are born? Once objections are allowed based on religious belief, and since religion is personal and indefinable, the possibilities are endless.

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melloncollieDec. 15, 13 7:23 PM

You don't like HL's position? Don't work there.

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