Christian College Provided Emergency Contraception to Employees… But They Only Got Mad When Obama Mandated It

A lot of religious schools have been freaking out over Obamacare because they’re now required to provide emergency contraception to their employees… and they think that amounts to promoting abortion… because they don’t actually know how birth control works.

For the most part, it’s been Catholic universities leading the charge. But evangelical Mecca Wheaton College (just outside Chicago) has also joined in:

In the early stages of the battle over the contraception mandate, coverage mostly focused on the protest from the Catholic Church, but a growing number of Protestant organizations have joined the fight. The Wheaton College alliance marks the first-ever partnership between Catholic and evangelical institutions to oppose the same regulation in the same court.

“This mandate is not just a Catholic issue — it threatens people of all faiths,” says Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the college in its suit. “Wheaton’s historic decision to join the fight alongside a Catholic institution shows the broad consensus that the mandate endangers everyone’s religious liberty.”

According to the school’s community covenant, Wheaton’s religious convictions prevent it from providing its employees with access to abortifacient drugs. Through this lawsuit, the college contends it acts to preserve its religious liberty and the right to carry out its mission free from government coercion.

Team Obama has offered these schools a one-year pass on the contraception mandate while they figure out some sort of solution. So if your school didn’t offer employees such coverage in the past, you can continue not providing them with comprehensive health care for another year.

Here’s where things get hilarious.

As it turns out, Wheaton’s old health care plan already covered emergency contraception. So they’ve been frantically trying to get rid of it so they can pretend to be angry about it:

“In order to be eligible for the safe harbor, the institution has to certify that it has not covered contraceptives after February 10, 2012,” said Emily Hardman, communications director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Wheaton didn’t qualify because “for a short time after February 10, Wheaton’s policies inadvertently covered emergency contraceptives. Wheaton was in the process of fixing that error in February, but it was not fixed before the cutoff date.

No word on how long Wheaton offered employees emergency contraception before the “mistake.” But I don’t remember anyone at the school freaking out before last month. It’s almost as if the coverage wasn’t a big deal until it became part of Obamacare…

But, you know, they’re gonna sue the Obama administration, anyway. Because… um… RAWR! FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE!

I can’t wait for Wheaton College to sue itself next.

Rachel Maddow covered this beautifully the other day:

It’s amazing how much fake outrage these religious schools can drum up when it comes to denying women healthcare. The only thing they seem to get more pumped up about is eating chicken just to stick it to the LGBT crowd.

Jesus must be rolling in his grave. Or something like that.

(Thanks to Julie for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Andrew B.

    Wheaton: We should provide emergency contraceptives to our employees.
    Obama: Yeah, you should.
    Wheaton: Wah!  We don’t want to do it now!  Now it has Obama-cooties wahhhhh!

    • Blacksheep

      A bit more accurate:
      Wheaton: We should provide emergency contraceptives to our employees. (Personal Freedom)Obama: Actually, you have to. I’m going to make you do it. (Totalitarian Rule)

      • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

        You have a funny definition of “accurate.”

        • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

          S/he also has a funny definition of “totalitarian.”

        • Blacksheep

          “Yeah, you should” is innaccurate, “Actually, you have to” is much more accurate. My definition is simply to come closest to the facts. Yours?

          (Parenthetical comments are my commentary, not the facts)

          • Ken

            No, your definitions are made up.  There was nothing “new” in the plan for Wheaton.  They simply chose to be whining babies because they are mindlessly bigoted against Obama.  The insurance plan was already in place with contraception for everyone (no exclusions, hence forced, in a weird, fundie sense), but nobody is holding a gun to anyone’s head to use it.  The only change was Wheaton’s vaporish attempts to reclaim their spiritual virginity after enjoying years whoring among the heathens. John  Milius wrote a great line for the film Judge Roy Bean: “There is nothing more pious than a reformed whore.”  

          • 3lemenope

            Congress: Employers must provide access to contraception coverage.
            Catholic Bishops: Wahhhh!Obama: Hey, what if instead of you providing it, the government took it off your hands and provided it directly, that way you wouldn’t have to worry about violating you religious scruples, and…Catholic Bishops: [shuffles feet uncomfortably]…Wahhhh!Obama: Fine, then. Forget I mentioned it. You still have to follow the law.Catholic Bishops: WAAHHHHH! Body of Christ, ASSEMBLE!Other Christian Institutions who formerly didn’t care: WAAAAAHAHHHHHH!Bystander: But you didn’t care yesterday…Other Christian Institutions: But, they’re coming for the Catholics! It’ll be us next! Bystander: Godwin. You lose.Christians: WAHHHHHHH!
            —————————

            You wanted accuracy.

      • Patterrssonn

        So the definition of totalitarianism is the enactment of laws by a government. I’ve always been under the, apparently mistaken, impression that there was something in between totalitarian rule and total anarchy. Thanks for the clarification.

      • Andrew B.

         Right, because anytime elected officials establish laws, THAT’S TOTALITARIANISM!

        Funny how Wheaton doesn’t complain about the fact that they have to (by law) provide sanitary and safe conditions in dorms/cafeteria/classrooms etc.  Funny how that’s not considered totalitarianism.

        • Baby_Raptor

          It’s only totalitarianism if the christianists find it offensive. 

      • Edmond

        How about this instead…

        Wheaton:  We should provide emergency contraceptives to our employees.

        Obama:  Yes, that is the right thing to do, it’s good for the employees, it’s good for health care costs in this country, it’s good for the birth rate, it’s good for everyone.  For these reasons, this should be the consistent model nationwide.  As President, this is my leadership decision.

      • Baby_Raptor

        How cute…It can throw around scary sounding words!

  • Lance Finney

    A friend of mine is in a similar situation. She works at a Catholic school, and she was mad at Obama for the mandate, even though she thinks birth control is good and uses it herself. However, she’s afraid that this issue will cause people to notice that her Catholic school _already covered_ birth control without controversy, and she’ll lose her access because of the overreaction.

    I tried to point out how little sense it made to be mad at the person who agreed with her and who was trying to enshrine access to something she used and enjoyed instead of being mad at the people who disagreed with her and who wanted to take the access away from her.

    I guess it’s Stockholm Syndrome.

    • Bender

       Why are you a friend of such an idiot?

      • 3lemenope

        Friendship doesn’t depend on agreement, in most circumstances. Thinking that a friend is silly or wrong about a matter of politics or religion is a strange reason to withdraw from them.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

          Strange, but sometimes necessary to save one’s sanity.  I had a dear friend with whom I shared several hobbies and we did them together a lot.  Unfortunately, whenever we were together to do said hobbies, she only wanted to talk about religion and then during an election year, she covered her yard and van with anti-gay marriage slogans and only wanted to discuss that, taking every opportunity to tell me I’m wrong.  I couldn’t maintain that friendship, regardless how much else we had in common and how much fun we sometimes had.

          • 3lemenope

            Oh, quite so. When their pursuit of those political or religious beliefs begins to wound, then it’s a different story. Friendships can be consumed by the disagreement, especially if there is a marked shift in emphasis. I was reacting to the notion that just because one disagrees with a person or thinks because of that disagreement that they’re being an idiot, that that in itself is a good reason to throw away a friendship (that is undoubtedly based on other things). If it ceases to be primarily based on other things, then the landscape changes.

          • Ken

            You were never her friend, just another victim to proselytize to.  Her real friend is Jesus, but since he never calls her, she just whines about him to you.  Gee, this sounds like what bartenders have to put up with regularly.  At least they get tips. 

            • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

              You are right… though I’m still the bad guy and intolerant of her views for no longer taking her calls or reading her religious, forwarded emails.  I’m the bad guy for not preaching to her about equal rights but continuing to listen to her proselytize her anti-gay views.  I’m just the heathen who wanted a friend with whom to share interests (darned scrapbooking attracting all the darned believers!!!).

  • Gunstargreen

    I’m not surprised at all, just incredibly annoyed.

  • Guest

    Of course.  It’s not news to anyone paying attention that it was never just ‘the Catholic Bishops.’  It wasn’t even just Christians.  Heck, it wasn’t even just conservatives.  Somewhere, somehow folks realized that first they go after the Catholics, and if we don’t say anything, it could be something we believe next.  So again, nothing really to see here.  

    But note the language: they ‘inadvertently’ allowed it.  Nothing they probably paid much attention to until the Federal Government made it an issue. Many didn’t, since they didn’t care about contraception (that’s unique to the Catholic tradition).  But when the power of the Federal Government rose up and told the Catholic Church ‘from now on to hell with your doctrines and beliefs because you will do this’, that caused a great many organizations to take a second look.  I know it would make me take a second look.  After all, if the Fed can do this to religious people, they can do it to any people.  And religious groups that are very not-Catholic have nonetheless realized that if this passes with the Catholics now, it might very well be them next.  That’s what’s called being smart and learning from history. 

    • 3lemenope

      I must have missed the part where the power of the Federal Government was forcing Catholics in America to use birth control. All five of them that didn’t already, that is.

      Given that, your story is an entertaining one, but consonant with reality it ain’t. Catholics have to follow the same rules as everyone else, and if those rules say “you must provide your employees with this level of coverage” then that’s what the rules say. Rules that were properly implemented through the political process, and even now bear the SCOTUS stamp of guaranteed fresh constitutionality. You wouldn’t be arguing for special rights for special people, now, would you?

      Invocations of Niemöller to deal with pretty much anything other than genocide  about is actually pretty distasteful, too, but it’s too fun a rhetorical bludgeon to not use, isn’t it? First they came for the cheesemakers, but I don’t like the Green Bay Packers, so I didn’t speak up…

      • Guest

        Nice little rewriting of what people are complaining about.  The federal government attempted to make Catholic institutions go against their doctrinal beliefs by providing something that is against their religion.  Your ‘government forcing Catholics to use birth control’ was so laughably off of the reality of the subject, tell me you didn’t really, really think that it was all about that.  If you are that ill-informed, don’t comment.  I would like to think you were using it as a slick dig in the hopes that others would be that ignorant of the topic at hand.  Oh, and the invocation goes for more than genocide, it goes for any time a government begins to oppress a people or infringe upon their rights; or do you think people should say nothing until it has risen to the level of genocide?

        • 3lemenope

          They were already, in many cases, providing contraception coverage to their employees, so their claim of suddenly realizing they were breaking the rules of their religion and are suddenly struck by pangs of conscience rings so hollow that the average casted chocolate Easter bunny is solid in comparison.

          They didn’t care they were doing it until they were told they had to, so all of a sudden they can’t and won’t. That’s five-year-old grade petulance right there.

          Oh, and the invocation goes for more than genocide, it goes for any time a government begins to oppress a people or infringe upon their rights; or do you think people should say nothing until it has risen to the level of genocide?

          It goes for when a government begins to infringe on rights. What right does a person have to ignore employment law if they don’t like it, again? That’s no right I’ve ever heard of. It sounds like someone angling for a special exception from the rules everyone else has to follow. 

          It is especially risible because the government offered a compromise wherein they wouldn’t have to provide contraception coverage, and the government would do it in their place directly to their employees, washing their hands of whatever pretended moral dilemma they claimed to have. They didn’t take the compromise, proving to me at least this has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with personal or religious conviction.

          • Guest

            Last question first.  Hell yes.  Just how much of the government mandating you to violate your beliefs is OK before you think they’re coming for you?  Oh, and given the over the top rhetoric of defenders of the mandate (war against women! They’re coming to get you!  They’re waging wars on your sex lives!), I wouldn’t get too self righteous about someone else using a more appropriate reference.

            And again, once again, the reason why denominations and individuals who have absolutely no problem with contraception have jumped on this is because of its implications:  In many cases, the Catholic Church had *chosen* to compromise on state levels.  In most cases, various organizations *chose* to offer the benefits.  But this was the Federal Government brushing aside all concern and mandating that a religious tradition be forced to compromise a major doctrinal beleif.  This wasn’t even some small thing.  Everyone knows that the Catholic Church has elevated abortion to they issue of the age.  That is why anyone with half a brain should stop and think, “Gee, if they could do something like that to the Catholic Church, they could do it to me.”  And that is nothing short of common sense and intelligent reflections on historical precedent. 

            • Bender

              That is why anyone with half a brain should stop and think, “Gee, if
              they could do something like that to the Catholic Church, they could do
              it to me.” 

              And what is “that”, exactly? Forcing them to abide the same laws as anybody else?

              • Rwlawoffice

                 Forcing them to ignore their religious beliefs in violation of their first amendment rights to practice their religions. Not unlike the attempt to apply the EEOC laws to churches in Tabor v. EEOC despite the long standing ministerial exception.

                • monyNH

                   It’s quite simple. If a religious organization does not want to abide by state and national employment laws, they should get out of the employing business. Within the churches themselves, they may discriminate to their hearts’ content, as granted by the First Amendment; those protections do not extend (as they ought not) to operations outside the church that administer to the wider public.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   The freedoms allowed under the First Amendment do not stop at the churches door.  It is not a freedom to worship despite your desire for it to be so.

                • Guest

                  In other words, get to the ghettoes or the catacombs if they don’t want to be forced to compromise their religious beliefs?  Nice. 

                • Ken

                  Nobody is forcing anyone to use the contraception.  The insurance is paid for by the employees, not the school — they have no standing.  The fact that the contraception is being used completely negates the coercion argument.  The only coercing here is by the school/church denying reality and dictating how their little minions should think and behave.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  The complaint says that Wheaton provides the health insurance plans.  Do you have evidence that they don’t pay for any portion of it?

                • Ken

                  Is any business completely paying for insurance anymore?  Aren’t employees having to pay into insurance plans everywhere?  Don’t they get a vote in this issue, without threats or coercion from the employer?

                • Lance Finney

                  Yes. Because Birth Control more than pays for itself.

                  Birth Control prevents much more expensive pregnancies, so including Birth Control coverage actually reduces costs in insurance program.

                  So, we know that the presence of Birth Control in the previously-existing plans _saved Wheaton money_. 

                • Guest

                  Yes, they are trying to force them to provide something against their religious beliefs.  They might as well pass laws making Jews eat ham at public schools (which most would think to be ridiculous, though this is basically the same thing).

                • Lance Finney

                  A better analogy would be a Jewish employer attempting to prohibit employees from getting heart-valve replacement surgery because the Jewish employer doesn’t approve of the pigs that are sources of the replacements.

                  Your analogy would apply if anyone were trying to force Catholics to use Birth Control. Since that’s not happening, you’re SOL.

                • Baby_Raptor

                  Religion is not an excuse to not follow the law. It’s that simple. The fact that you refuse to see that does not make it persecution.

                  Also, I’ve yet to hear somepony explain how a Catholic employer offering access to birth control for ponies who don’t believe that it’s wrong is a violation of the Catholic’s rights. Nopony is making the Catholics use it. They’re just requiring that it be available for people who don’t believe that it’s wrong. 

              • Guest

                Forcing them to go against their religious beliefs, as in congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of their religion.  You’ve heard of that I’m sure. 

                • Glasofruix

                  Just follow my thought for a while here. So because you have religious beliefs you should be able to ignore the law?

      • Guest

        Oh, and a little nod to your ‘all five of them’ comment.  That goes with the whole point people made that most Catholics don’t listen to the Church anyway.  Well, probably not.  I think the stats were about 95% of Catholics ignored it.  But since we all know that rights are not based on numbers, how many or few is not relevant anyway.  Unless, of course, rights are based on numbers. 

        • 3lemenope

          Claims about behavior are based on evidence of behavior. Claiming that Catholics have a strong and enduring attachment to forbidding and not utilizing contraception when 95% of them happily use it makes the claim just a teensy bit ridiculous. You can say, in seriousness, that a nearly universally ignored doctrine of the church says that contraception is bad, but when government have to deal with behavior and not what someone has in their heads, they have to work with what they have to work with. And what they have is evidence that Catholics really just don’t give a damn about contraception. They care, in this case, about being told what to do in the narrow and perfectly legitimate realm of employment law. If Catholics tried to leverage their doctrinal opposition to socialism against minimum wage laws and the 40-hr. work week, would we be bound to take them seriously? Would they be magically exempted from those laws?

          • Guest

            So what you are saying is that how the rights of individuals are determined has to do with just how many think this or that?  It is about the numbers?  Since 5% of Catholics is about 3 million people, that’s quite a few who suddenly don’t matter.  Oh, and I enjoy your sudden what matters is the here and now, not ‘what people have in their heads.’  Note the two-step shift.  Suddenly, the government can’t account for what people have in their heads, so it doesn’t matter? I was going to comment, but I think I’ll let the ramifications of that spin sink in.

            • 3lemenope

              Your argument ends logically with the hilarious punchline that the government should no nothing ever unless nobody objects. 

              So, uh, yeah, when a government sees 95% of a given group doesn’t have an objection, and the thing at issue is both well within their power to implement and being implemented universally (such as nearly all laws must be to preserve the formal equality of persons before the law), then the government is not oppressing the 5% who disagree. The only exception I can think of is if somehow the law or regulation was specifically targeted to deprive that 5% of some contrary right under the law, and the application of the principle was unnecessary to achieve the policy goal of the generally applicable law. Let’s see just how far you’re willing to pretzel-twist yourself to get the upper hand in this argument: do you think Rastafarian prisoners have a right to demand marijuana in jail for religious use?

              • Rwlawoffice

                 What a logical tightrope you are walking to try and avoid the obvious conclusion that would arise if numbers determined how the government should act.  I particularly  like the caveat where your position would argue against same sex marriage without it.  Good job. 

                • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

                  Please check your reading comprehension:

                  The only exception I can think of is if somehow the law or regulation was specifically targeted to deprive that 5% of some contrary right under the law, and the application of the principle was unnecessary to achieve the policy goal of the generally applicable law.

                  Sounds an awful lot like same-sex marriage to me.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   My point exactly.  The caveat I referenced was given to to specifically take same sex marriage out of the argument that the government should act on numbers.  it works for birth control but not same sex marriage. How very selective.

                • 3lemenope

                  The “caveat” was the caveat that currently exists in the law, per Smith and Boerne. So it’s a silly thing to point out as though it’s unusual.

                  And as I pointed out elsewhere, gay marriage actually wouldn’t fall under this caveat because the argument can’t even get off the ground: nobody can show that their religious exercise is burdened in any way by the existence of gay marriage, and so there is no need for a balancing test.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  The caveat i was referring to was your comment that the government should not work on numbers if the law deprives someone of a right that others enjoy.  My impression was you put this caveat n your post to avoid the obvious problem with using numbers to support the governments prohibition on same sex marriage.  If i was wrong then I apologize.

                  As for same sex marriage not affecting others religious liberties, we will disagree on this.  

                • 3lemenope

                  Since the squish is getting bad, I’ll respond at the bottom of the thread.

                • 3lemenope

                  I’m kind of disappointed in you, RW, for not recognizing the substantial determination in Boerne v. Flores regarding the appropriate test for universal regulations burdening religious exercise. This is, like, textbook; the case reinstated the Smith Test in incidental burden cases  by overturning the RFRA of 1993, which among other things if taken to its conclusion would require that Rastas be given marijuana and peyote-using tribes peyote–in all relevant contexts of concern, including the living conditions of prisoners–even though the bans on those substances are laws of general applicability and pursue a legitimate state interest.

                  Women’s reproductive health is  a legitimate state interest, the contraception mandate is a law that applies to employers generally. The burden on exercise is incidental to the action of the statue and is not unduly burdensome in comparison to the policy end being pursued. 

                  Passes the test with flying colors.

                  I have no idea where you’re getting “the caveat where your position would argue against same sex marriage without it”, since the Smith Test doesn’t apply at all; gay marriage doesn’t substantially burden the religious exercise of anyone in any way.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   I am very familiar with Boerne v. Flores. I am sure that the government will use this case in its briefs as this issue proceeds.  However,  Boerne was addressing the RFRA and determined that this law was unconstitutional because it overly limited the states freedom, it did not say that Congress could not pass laws to protect religious freedom.  It also held that the Boerne statute for historic preservation was not an undue burden on religion.

                  Here forcing a religious institution to pay for something that specifically goes against its religious beliefs is directly an attack on their religious liberty. By the way, nobody is denying anyone birth control, it is only objecting to paying for it. One court has already held that it violates the rights of employers who self insure their employees but whose religious beliefs  prohibited their paying for contraception.

                • 3lemenope

                  Well, no, at least not as applies to this case. The court actually said, re: religious exercise, two things, and a third follows:

                  1. Congress cannot unilaterally increase or decrease the breadth of a right found by the court to reside in the constitutional text of the 14th amendment; only the court can do that, and 

                  2. Congress *can* propose “prophylactic” legislation to help buttress the exercise of already existing defined rights, but must do so under a proportionality test, and cannot use such supplementary enforcement laws to shift the meaning of the underlying right

                  3. With the relevant portion of the RFRA struck down, the Smith Test is again the normal rule, which requires that substantial burden of religious exercise by generally applicable laws must also show particular violations of or burdens upon another right, else religious exercise would be a license to ignore all laws at will, in addition to the other prongs I’ve mentioned in posts above.

                  O’Connor’s concurrence in Smith pointed the way out for your argument when it comes to state law, since nothing prevents states from passing their own RFRAs that apply to that state’s laws and regulations; in response, many of them did just that and reintroduced (I think somewhat unwisely) the RFRA’s strict scrutiny test. That’s just not so helpful here.

        • Randomfactor

           What’s relevant is that the few at the top of the church (and I don’t believe this is a Catholic college, by the way) are insisting that the Federal government change the law to allow them to infringe on their employees’ religious freedom to tell the Bishops to go urinate vertically along the braided hawser.

          • Guest

            No, the few at the top are saying the Federal government can do as it wishes, as long as it allows for those with deeply held beliefs to be exempt.  That is, the government can not force people to do things against their deeply held religious beliefs.  If people want birth control?  Have at it.  If the government wants to mandate coverage? OK. Just don’t make religious institutions do it, or other similar things, if it goes against their beliefs.  That’s all.  That’s it.  That’s all the Church – which actually supported Obama’s healthcare mandate by the way – asked that the law not do.  And I, for one, like a country that doesn’t have a federal government making someone do something against their religion.  Preventing them?  That’s one thing:  You can’t sacrifice virgins if you’re able to find them.  But making them *do* something?  That’s opening up a whole new can of worms.

            • 3lemenope

              Obama offered to do just that. He was rebuffed by the very people you say would have jumped at the compromise.

    • Patterrssonn

      I thought it started with the Rastafarians.

      • 3lemenope

        At first they came for the Rastas, but I didn’t speak up because I got high, because I got high, because I got hiiiigh…da dah dat da dah da…

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      The argument that Wheaton College didn’t care about the issue until Catholic institutions were required to provide contraception would hold more water if they weren’t claiming that being required to provide such coverage would hurt their integrity (stifle your guffaws for a moment and let me finish). Wheaton’s position is absolutely disingenuous: don’t make us do what we were already doing.

      You’ve provided your slippery slope, but have you considered what this kind of precedent could result in if religious liberty is seriously seen to take precedence over employment law? You could have a Christian Identity employer who refuses to hire non-white employees for religious reasons, or a Jehovah’s Witness employer could refuse to cover blood transfusions for their employees. I think you’ve let your martyr fantasies get the better of you on this one, frankly. The bottom line is that religious organizations shouldn’t be granted the right to get out of the rules that everyone else has to play by.

      • Rwlawoffice

         EEOC laws already do not apply to ministerial positions.  it is called the ministerial exception and was recently upheld by the Supreme Court.  And yes. Religious institutions are granted some waivers from laws because of their religious freedoms based upon the First Amendment.

        • MV

           First, general employees are not ministers.  There is a reason it’s called an exception.  Second, exactly why is a college a religious institution?  That has to be proved.  Third, it’s going to be difficult to prove in a lawsuit that your religious rights are being infringed when you were voluntarily complying with the mandate.  Fourth, religious freedoms don’t automatically trump other rights. 

          • Stev84

            Some of them are trying to get around that by having bus ministers, janitorial ministers and administrative ministers now.

        • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

          I’m aware of the ministerial exception, but that’s not particularly relevant. Neither are EEOC laws, as far as I can tell, since they are about employment, not about benefits. And I highly doubt that you could apply the ministerial exception to any employee of a religious institution, given that Tabor ruled much more narrowly than you want to claim. (That teacher was actually fulfilling ministerial duties and was ordained.)

          Funny how you didn’t at all address the points about the disingenuousness of the “integrity” argument, though. (And by funny, I mean “not surprising.”)

          • Rwlawoffice

             You mentioned employment law.  That is why I brought it up.

            As for your integrity argument, you can choose to disbelieve Wheaton college if you like and call them a liar.  That is your right.  However, it doesn’t make it the facts.  The college states that their policies inadvertently covered these items for a short while and they mistakenly covered them. Once they determined it they stopped.   I don’t know the facts one way or the other so instead of jumping to conclusions I didn’t comment.

            • Ken

              Oooh!  Oooh! I inadvertently took merchandise from the store for years.  I didn’t mean to stuff all those goodies in my pockets and forget it was there as I walked out the door every day for years.  And I resent the implication that I am being dishonest in my denial.  Police brutality!  Police brutality!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      A person’s rights end where another’s rights begin. No one is being forced to use birth control. It has simply been decided that birth control is a basic health care right. A Catholic employer has every right to not use birth control, but he/she does not have the right to deny birth control for another person. Too bad, so sad. I know Catholics really wish they could keep everyone in the world from using birth control, and they try so hard to do it…but they can’t! That’s not their right!
      And of course, you’ll try to insist that a person who wants birth control can just go buy it themselves. But they are buying it. That’s how insurance works. They pay for the insurance and they get healthcare. When you’re working, a small part of your paycheck is taken away so that you can have this coverage. If someone was denied birth control, they would have to spend additional money either on birth control or on a different healthcare plan, but they wouldn’t get refunded for their employee health care. That’s why it was decided that healthcare from employers should provide certain basic things, birth control being one of them.
      What’s the big deal? The employer doesn’t have to use it. The employer doesn’t even have to pay for it. The insurance pays for it with the money they get from the employees’ paychecks. The employees are the ones paying for it.
      What if someone had a moral problem with obesity and decided they didn’t want to indirectly provide their employee with type 2 diabetes medication? Would the government have “come for” that tiny population that didn’t want to help people with type 2 diabetes?

      • Rwlawoffice

         Some of these institutions are self insured so they are paying for it.  For example, Hercules Industries in Colorado is a self insured company that has never had birth control in their self insurance plan by choice based upon their catholic beliefs. The employees knew that when they became employed there .  The HHS tried to force them to now cover it under Obamacare.  They filed suit saying their religious liberties were being taken away.  The court so far has agreed with them.

        By the way, nobody is denying anyone birth control. The question is who has to pay for it.  What right do you have for me through my tax dollars or me as your employer to force me to pay for your birth control.  And if I did, could I limit it to condoms or some other birth control of my choosing?

        • walkamungus

          Perhaps I as an employee don’t want to pay for my boss’s Viagra, or his erectile dysfunction meds, since he’s an entitled old lech and thinks he has the right to feel up all the female employees? Give me a break. 

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          Are you really that stupid? Did you not read my comment before you replied to it?
          As an employer, **you do not pay for your employees’ healthcare.** You take a portion of money out of their paychecks and give it to the insurance company. THEY pay for THEIR healthcare.

          • Rwlawoffice

            Maybe you should read my comment before you throw around insults. Do you understand what self insurance means? It means that there is no insurance company involved. So the company is paying for the health care.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

              So the company pays for the healthcare. Who is the company? A Catholic business owner is not the same as a company. It’s not like the boss would be paying out of pocket for someone’s healthcare. It is paid for by company money earned collectively by the people of the company. That money wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the employees who help earn it and keep the business alive.
              It has been decided that contraception is a basic health care right, and should be provided through employee health care plans. As others have explained, disagreeing with a law is not the same as being oppressed. I’m sure you disagree that birth control should be covered, but to insist that it is religious discrimination to indirectly provide someone else with something they need is ridiculous.

              If Catholics have moral problems against using birth control, fine. However, they should not try to stop others from using it.

      • Guest

        They do?  Really?  My rights are only good insofar as they don’t interfere with another’s?  Really? Is that a blank standard by which all rights are then measured?   This is what happens when people start trying to strip away the rights of one group, they begin accepting principles that eventually could easily be used to strip away their rights.

        • 3lemenope

          The paradigmatic quote is Zechariah Chafee, Jr.’s “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.” (Often misattributed to several prominent sources). The general principle is obvious; our actions are not strictly our own, because they impinge upon others. Unless we start picking favorites with the law,  no person has priority for their rights’ lateral consequences to be considered less or more important than any others. In service to that, rights, when they conflict, are subject to balancing (one against another, the state against both) such that civil society may survive the full flowering of their expression.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          Yes…they do. Is this something new to you?
          Have you never noticed that when people get in trouble with the law, it is because it causes harm or potential harm to others?
          You’re not allowed to speed because you could hurt someone. You’re not allowed to steal because you’re taking from someone.

          You are completely within your rights to practice your religion, but you are not allowed to deny someone else birth control simply because you disagree with it. Whether or not they agree with it is for them to decide.

          • Rwlawoffice

            Who is denying anybody birth control? The question is why should you be able to force me to pay for something that violates my religious beliefs?

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

              1) Sure, they’ll still be able to get birth control, but it’s much more expensive if they can’t get it through their employee insurance. When you pay for healthcare insurance, you expect to get…you know, *healthcare!*

              2) Once again. You’re not paying for it. Either the insurance company is paying for it, or the company is paying for it with money that was earned by the whole company, due to the work of all it’s employees, not just the boss.

    • Baby_Raptor

      The government is not forcing the Catholic church to do anything. They went out of their way to make sure the actual Catholics themselves were completely out of the picture–The option to just have the insurance cover it. 

      But no. The Bishops are now whining that anyone having access to birth control violates their beliefs. 

      A Catholic’s employees having access to something the Catholic zirself does not approve of is NOT a violation of the Catholic’s rights. It’s just not, no matter how you try and spin it. The only way you could possibly make it such is if anyone having access to something that offends one person is a violation of that person’s rights. 

      And frankly, I think it’s about time that the christianists got some of the shit they’ve been shoving on the rest of us back in their faces. Ask any gay person what being denied rights actually is. Sadly, that isn’t happening here, despite the lies and BS used to hyperventilate people incapable of thinking. 

  • Houndentenor

    It’s funny to watch the same church that shuttled rapists around the country thereby abetting them to rape more children, act persecuted because they might be indirectly paying for birth control.  There is no end to the hypocrisy and fake outrage of these so-called “christians”.

  • LesterBallard

    Lying for Jesus pieces of shit.

  • The Captain

    Ah yes, the screams of “religious liberty” by a bunch of people who are mad that they may loose a means to force their religious beliefs onto someone else. This bastardized the idea of negative liberty has come to in the US. All you need to do is read “Guest” post to see that “liberty” only applies the person in power in a relationship. In this case that of the employer. The employees “religious liberty” is never brought up. Why is that?

    Well sadly I’d say it comes from the desire to obtain control over others through private economic means. The basic fact is people have to have a job. People have to pay bills, buy food, and raise children all of which cost money that most people get from their employer. Yet the opponents of this bill would also demand that employees also give up their freedom of religion to the deference of their employer along with their labor in exchange for those things..

    Opponents of this may scream about their freedom all they want,, what they are screaming for is the “liberty” to economically take away the liberty of others. It makes me sick when I hear these types of people cry “freedom” since hey don’t care one bit about the “freedom” of anyone else!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

    You know, I face this with my 12-year-old son all the time… I see him sit down with a snack of slice cucumber.  I tell him I’m glad to see him eating some veggies.  He immediately says he doesn’t like them and tries to put them back in the fridge.

    As an aside, I’m getting really sick of colleges, religious organizations, and the government sticking their nose in my female business.  This insurance thing, abortion in general, and now NY with their YOU MUST BREAST FEED nonsense.  Where are the laws governing what a man can and can’t do with his body?  Oh right… he gets to make the laws about my frail, child-bearing body because I’m too stupid to know what’s right and wrong with my own actions.

    As the Professor says, “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001231305999 Barry Meehan

    A person’s healthcare coverage shouldn’t be defined by the religious beliefs of their employer. What if your employer was a Jehovah’s Witness and refused to cover your blood transfusions on religious grounds. Would there be the same campaign to protect their ‘religious freedoms’.

  • RobMcCune

    Conservatives only get mad when Obama does it, then get madder when people point out the hypocrisy. This shouldn’t be news by now.

    Still, I almost fell out of my chair when I read this yesterday.

  • 3lemenope

    @f9ab744ac2cf87a6ea19f6dc4f252ac0:disqus 

    You’ll have to explain some about how you think the existence of gay marriage burdens religious exercise; this isn’t one of those “agree to disagree” sort of situations, at least not yet, because so far as I know nobody has been able to forward a plausible argument for burden of exercise. Not for lack of trying, mind you; in the California Prop 8 case, the court begged the defendants to make, well, any substantive argument at all. They failed, hence the court deciding that the ban didn’t even pass muster on a rational relation test. You can count on one hand the number of times that’s happened before.

  • http://twitter.com/mywall mywall

    Couldn’t help noticing this in the article:
    “Wheaton’s historic decision to join the fight alongside a Catholic
    institution shows the broad consensus that the mandate endangers
    everyone’s religious liberty.”

    A christian group joining up with another christian group is considered a broad consensus? Did someone fail to notice the fact that they’re practically identical?

  • Alan C

    It’s all about who gets to tell you what to do. Choose: Either (1) Freedom or (2) Give it up to central command-and-control government telling you what to do. 

    I want people to eat healthy and NEVER do I order a 16-ounce cup of soda but I do NOT want a petty dictator telling me what I can buy or sell. 


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