Religion deserves no special treatment under US law

So a bunch of Catholic leaders are complaining about how allegedly unjust it is to require insurance plans provided by large employers to include contraception. They think Catholic organizations should get an exemption based on their religious convictions, you see. Dan Fincke currently has parts one and two up of a debate with a friend of his about it. I started reading it… and then couldn’t bring myself to finish. The position of the Catholic church on this one is just too damn ridiculous.

There’s nothing inherently noble about religion. Simply because a conviction is religious does not make it a good conviction. If you wouldn’t grant someone an exemption from the law based on their non-religious convictions, they shouldn’t get an exemption based on their religious convictions. Ideally, at least. Because religious convictions are so deeply held, I can recognize that it might be the pragmatic move to let religious believers have their way to avoid a fight… but every time the government decides to have the fight, it’s a fight for how things really should be.

And that’s what’s actually happening here: there is an exception for organizations like churches that employ and serve primarily people of one religion. There just isn’t going to be an exception for hospitals and schools and such that happen to claim whatever religious convictions. That’s a step in the right direction.

All this stuff about religious freedom and rights and how this is supposed to turn religious believers into “second class citizens” (in the words of one bishop) is bullshit. All that the Obama administration is doing is limiting the extent to which religious organizations can claim to be exempt from the law simply because they’re religious. This is a perfect example of how too many religious believers think loss of special privileges is “persecution.”

Incidentally, there’s speculation/rumors that if the rule takes effect, Catholic organizations will go the route of simply not providing health insurance to their employees anymore. That would suck for a lot of people, but one person I don’t expect it to hurt is Obama. Instead, the Catholic Church will just show the world that it cares more about its dogma on birth-control than it does about the well-being of the people work for it. (By the way, if someone could give me a link to confirm the rumors, that would be great.)

  • The Lorax

    I shall form The Religion of Science, and as the first tenant of my religious dogma, “Thou shalt not be ignorant of evidence.”

    I now claim that every scientist that follows that dogma religiously is part of my religion, thus I can claim with an amount of certainty that is surprisingly higher than I anticipated when I began writing this that collectively my religion has a very deeply held conviction, and because there are tens or hundreds of millions of people who follow this, we should be granted special treatment.

    To deny me and my millions of followers is nothing short of persecution.

    … I salivate at the prospects.

    • Gaius Gracchuss

      It is not special it is merely Constitutional (you know the first amendment) treatment do try and get that correct next time.

  • Gaius Gracchuss

    Interesting post however this issue here is actually not about religion but rather about the Constitution. The Constitution in the first amendment states that “Congress (read Federal Government)shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. This means that the Federal Government will not establish a state religion. So what is a religion?
    It can be defined as: A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
    So the Government by forcing Catholics to violate their belief system is establishing a “de jure” state religion.
    By the way it is not special treatment it is Constitutional treatment.

    • Chrisj

      So if my religion requires me to kill non-believers on sight, then attempting to stop me going on a mass murder spree would be unconstitutional, in your opinion? (As, presumably, would arresting me afterwards. Serial killers of the US: you have only to claim religious motivations to be let off all charges!)

      If your religion requires you to break the law, the law should win. Simple as that.

      • Gaius Gracchuss

        So you are comparing Religious Freedom the exercise of which does no violence to anyone to Killing people? Just a little bit of a “Sweeping Generalization” don’t you think? Why not try to reason it out and start with the facts that the Constitution and several court cases protect the position of Catholic Church.

        • raven

          Why not try to reason it out and start with the facts that the Constitution and several court cases protect the position of Catholic Church.

          News to me. Which parts of the constitution and which court cases?

          IIRC, organizations that receive federal funds aren’t free to discriminate. This is a quid pro quo, they receive taxpayer money but only if they obey US laws.

          If they don’t take or refuse federal funds, then they are free to hate and discriminate to their shriveled little heart’s content.

          The Catholic priests seem to have forgotten to mention this part.

          • Gaius Gracchuss

            Try the 1st Ammendment and say, to mention only the latest case, look up the Hosanna-Tabor case. Remember US Laws are subservant to the Constitution.

        • Michael

          It’s not really a generalization, just pointing out that there isn’t really a distinction between a law prohibiting murder and a law regulating health insurance. They are both laws. If religious freedom allowed you to be free from one, it would allow you to be free from the other. Religion is protected, not privileged. The government can certainly write laws that apply to everyone equally, to imply that they cannot defeats the whole point of government.

          • Gaius- Gracchuss

            You are almost correct. There are areas staked out by the Constitution into which the Federal Government is barred from going. This is one of them. Sorry.

    • sqlrob

      No, they just can’t do it as a business. If they don’t have any employees, they can’t break that law now, can they?

      • Gaius Gracchuss

        So when a Catholic goes into business he/she must leave their beliefs at the church door. You may think religious beliefs work that way however God does not. Sorry Religious Freedom as described in the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution agrees with me.

        • raven

          So when a Catholic goes into business he/she must leave their beliefs at the church door.

          They might. If a Catholic believes that they can’t serve black people, they aren’t going to be running an open to the public business for long.

          If a fundamentalist Mormon believes he can have 20 12 year old wives and they are his slaves, the law isn’t going to let him do that. Warren Jeffs tried that and got life + 20 years in prison.

          If an Aztec’s religion requires them to build a pyramid, stretch people out on top, remove their beating heard, all to keep the sun god happy, that isn’t going to work either.

          What you are (deliberately) missing is that quite often constitutional rights conflict and the courts and our society have to balance them. People have rights not to be oppressed and injured by your religion. You have no absolute right to do whatever you want and claim it is covered by your religion.

          • Gaius Gracchuss

            So as I said else where “So you are comparing Religious Freedom the exercise of which does no violence to anyone to Killing people? Just a little bit of a “Sweeping Generalization” don’t you think? Why not try to reason it out and start with the facts that the Constitution and several court cases protect the position of Catholic Church.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

      This is nowhere near how the establishment clause is currently interpreted.

      If the Catholics sued the government over this, they’d my understanding is that they’d probably cite the free-exercise clause. But the courts have said “no” to free-exercise protections for folks who claim that smoking pot is part of their religion.

      Now I think pot should be legal, but it makes the point that under current precedent, there are limits to how far the free exercise clause will get you.

      IMHO, the courts currently give religious believers too much slack under that clause. But nobody in their right mind thinks it’s a trump card for having to get out of following the law.

      • Gaius Gracchuss

        Look up the Hosanna-Tabor case just decided by the SCOTUS 9-0 and see if that does not change your mind.

        • Gwynnyd

          Possibly you could summarize the points relevant to this discussion and give them here? Why on earth should *I* have to do the look up and summary?

          • Gaius Gracchuss

            No look it up.

          • Gwynnyd

            Obviously no points in the cited case support him or he would be able to articulate them. – shrug – I have better things to do than chase citations down for him.

          • Gaius Gracchuss

            Too lazy to use Google and not up on current events, sad

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001345954729 Gwynnyd

            Gaius, cupcake. Do TRY to read for comprehension. I didn’t say *I* didn’t know the case. I said *I* was not going to do the work of summarizing it for YOU. I am certainly not going to second guess what points YOU think ought to be applicable here. Spell out YOUR positions on what this case means – in words without too many syllables if you think we won’t understand the long ones. We’ll cope. Just saying “go read this and see if I’m not right” doesn’t work here.

          • Gaius- Gracchuss

            Actually you indicated exactly that. You said” in post #1 Possibly you could summarize the points relevant to this discussion and give them here? Why on earth should *I* have to do the look up and summary?

            I replied in the negative and suggested you look it up yourself and you replied in post #2

            Obviously no points in the cited case support him or he would be able to articulate them. – shrug – I have better things to do than chase citations down for him.

            Well obviously this is not the case and it is just too bad that your false intellectual arrogance will not allow you to say so. So sad that you cannot conduct a civil discussion. “Cupcake” really?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001345954729 Gwynnyd

            But, Gaius. I was RIGHT. When pushed you were able to give a summary of why you felt Hosanna-Tabor might apply. You could have given your reasons initially, instead of insisting that I was simply ignorant of the issue and too lazy to look it up for myself. If you have a point, make it. Do not assume that we are all eager to spend our time trying to figure out what you think, so you can say, “*that’s* not what I meant”. I disagree with you that it applies here but I have no wish to ferret out your arguments for you. I am far too used to that tactic being used to move the goalposts. Even you admit that the courts are “divided over the boundaries of the ministerial exception when applied to other employees.” So, look! There IS room for a different interpretation of the ruling, which still may or may not be applicable to THIS issue.

            Why should I, or any of us, do your work for you?

          • Gaius- Gracchuss

            “But, Gaius. I was RIGHT.”

            Well you go right ahead and think what you want; but, I suggest you save your sermon for some of those posting here. They might actually care. I was clear, my reference was germane and your red herring was just that. Now do you have another point about the issue?

          • Gaius- Gracchuss

            “England hath long been mad, and scarr’d herself:
            The brother blindly shed the brother’s blood;
            The father rashly slaughter’d his own son;
            The son, compell’d, been butcher to the sire.
            All this divided York and Lancaster…”

            William Shakespeare, Richard III

            Ah well back to work… Look a court case from the SCOTUS especially one that was decided in the year prior is much easier to find than the “War of the Roses”. The decision had direct impact on this discussion and thus needed no other expansion other than to give it a name which could be used to look it up. Having provided such summaries in prior discussions and being accused of misstating the key point I find it better for those who wish to learn more to look them up for themselves.

            I agree others have made points, incorrect though they have been, but definitely eloquent.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001345954729 Gwynnyd

          Gaius – The War of the Roses. Yeah. Go look it up. You do know how to use google, right? There’s LOTS there that I find REALLY germain. If you go read something about it, you’ll see that I am absolutely right to have my opinions. I shouldn’t have to say anything more than that. (end sarcasm… just in case you didn’t get it)

          Others in this thread have already made my real points more eloquently than I can at this point.

          The First Amendment still does not mean what you’d like to think it does.

          • Gaius- Gracchuss

            Actually is does mean exactly what I have posted and this will be shown either on the 1st Tuesday in November 2012 or when the SCOTUS rules on the case. The Obama government has made a huge mistake opening this can of worms prior to the election. His arrogance is amazing don’t you think. Anyway I ask you to consider just why this government decided to set aside principals of Constitutional law that have been in effect for 200 years. You see I believe that the entire effort is to undermine the Constitution. You ought to consider the implications of that for you.

            Peace!

    • Ryan Jean

      The Constitution in the first amendment states that “Congress (read Federal Government)shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. This means that the Federal Government will not establish a state religion.

      Two fails for the price of one.

      First, while no person knowledgeable about the subject reasonably asserts that the 1st Amendment originally only applied to the Federal Government, it is exceptionally well established in law that the 14th Amendment applies it to state and local Government entities as well. That’s almost 150 years of legal precedent you have to ignore when you mindlessly repeat that trope.

      Second, “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is not equal to “will not establish a state religion” no matter how hard you try to pretend otherwise. The historical record on the debates of that very clause show exceedingly clearly that it was no mere accident that the language was as broad as it was, as several narrower versions were rejected in the process. The real key is that it says no law shall be made “respecting” an establishment. That means no special treatment may be afforded to religion; it literally is to get no *respect* (e.g. preference, privilege, status, recognition, deference, etc.) from government bodies. That government could not establish an official religion itself is true, but only as a subset of the principle of a prohibition on respecting.

      I’m betting you’re the same type of person who screams “this is a REPUBLIC, you damn lib’rul!!11!!” at democrats without recognizing that the argument from the other side isn’t that it *isn’t* a republic, but that what makes it special is the kind of republic it is: namely, a democratic one with a constitutional guarantee of liberties; basically, all the things the theo-political right loves for themselves but selfishly wants to keep from the rest of American society. There’s a reason that no American President goes around the world talking about wanting to spread republics…

      • Gaius Gracchuss

        “First, while no person knowledgeable about the subject reasonably asserts that the 1st Amendment originally only applied to the Federal Government”. Actually I am knowledgeable about the subject and the first Amendment originally ONLY applied to the Federal Government. States remained free to establish state religions and several did.
        “Second, “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is not equal to “will not establish a state religion” no matter how hard you try to pretend otherwise.” Really, hmmm, I think that the only thing that anyone could say to that assertion is that it is baloney. When Madison introduced the Amendment he said “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.” This was the intent and this is the meaning.
        “I’m betting you’re the same type of person who screams…” Obviously you are another of the individuals here who can read minds. Unfortunately your ability is as faulty as your misinformation about the Constitution. Do try and remain courteous and deal in actual fact argued with at least some logic.

        • Ryan Jean

          “First, while no person knowledgeable about the subject reasonably asserts that the 1st Amendment originally only applied to the Federal Government.”

          D’oh! Looks like I got struck by Typo-Man!
          I meant to draw the distinction between what was originally the case (that the Constitution was initially Federal only) and what is the case after the 14th Amendment. Funny how you still ignore that part, even though context should have told you I made a typo and what you should actually have addressed. I guess the straw man is easier to deal with when you accuse me of being misinformed while you’re the one actively ignoring parts. It never ceases to amaze just how much people pick and choose from the amendments to take only what suits them and ignore the rest – not unlike what 100% of Christians do with the Bible and 100% of Muslims do with the Koran…

          As for the quote of Madison, at least this time it’s not a David Barton fabricated quote, but you still misuse it and misunderstand its importance. It wasn’t how Madison introduced the amendment, it’s a small section from the middle of a larger set of amendments he proposed that provided an important (but not all-encompassing) framework for the bill of rights. Even then, the establishment of a national church was *only one* reason, with the protection of the right of conscience being the real primary impetus. Of course, as I mentioned only for you to dutifully miss it is that one unsuccessful version from one founder does not a 1st Amendment make, but rather the full legislative history is important. That debate is clear, as numerous iterations were considered, all more tailored than what we now have (including several versions that were explicit about a national church), only to have them *rejected* in favor of the more broadly-applicable version. In other words, they considered exactly and explicitly what you want to imagine the establishment clause means, only to deliberately choose to pass on those versions, which means that the unambiguous legislative intent was not to limit the clause only to a national church. Your argument is rejected by reality and a history which is inconvenient to your wishes.

          The rest of your misguided pretentiousness could be dismissed as silly rantings of a Dunning-Kruger Effect textbook example if it weren’t for the fact that such willful ignorance is dangerously common today. I’ll give you a heads-up if you haven’t already figured it out: this [FreeThoughtBlogs] is a forum filled with an excess of people well educated about the very things you pretend to have mastered, with little care for breaking in the unprepared gently and consider trolls as practice more than as nuisances. Yes, it leans left, but only because the right gave up on caring about even the appearance of truth.

          • gaiusgracchuss

            Dear Ryan Jean,

            Generally speaking those who praise their intellectual prowess and call their opponents Trolls have neither intelligence nor the ability to discuss their ideas civilly. I did not accuse you of anything. You were either misinformed or you misspoke. I am not responsible for imagining what you mean I take what you post at face value.
            Now as to your argument. I contend that the 1st Amendment prohibits the Federal Government from establishing a state religion. You remarked
            “Second, “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is not equal to “will not establish a state religion” no matter how hard you try to pretend otherwise.”
            Now as I understand this comment you are arguing that that it was not the original intent of the 1st Amendment to prohibit the Federal Government from establishing a state religion; or is this another typo? I would draw your attention to Madison again who lead the fight to enact the “Virginia statute for religious freedom” written by Jefferson. The act says among other things:
            “…no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”
            I believe that you know that there are many other such founders’ statements and state statutes prohibiting a state religion. So how was this interpreted by SCOTUS, and we will look only after the passage of the 14th Amendment since you feel that that is pertinent.
            Lovell v. Griffin – (1938) The Court ruled that the city of Griffin, Georgia had no right to make an ordinance that someone had to seek governmental permission to distribute religious pamphlets.
            Torcaso v. Watkins – (1961) Maryland’s requirement that office holders declare a belief in the existence of God was ruled unconstitutional.
            Lemon v. Kurtzman – (1971) Statutes in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island that allowed state supplemental funding of parochial schools was deemed unconstitutional as it violated the separation of church and state
            Wisconsin v. Yoder – (1972) Amish parents declined to send their children to school after eighth grade due to religious reasons, therefore Wisconsin’s compulsory education law violated their religious freedom rights
            Edwards v. Aguillard – (1987) The Court ruled unconstitutional a Louisiana law that stated that evolution could only be taught in classrooms if “creation science” was taught with it.
            Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah – (1993) The Court found unconstitutional a Florida law that prohibited animal sacrifice in a religious ritual. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC – (2011) involved a lawsuit brought by an employee against a church-operated school. The employee alleged that her employment was terminated in violation of a federal anti-discrimination law. In a 9-0 decision authored by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court answered in the affirmative, stating that “[both Religion Clauses bar the government from interfering with the decision of a religious group to fire one of its ministers.”

            Now you may think that these decisions support your point of view; however, I do not think you are correct. Feel free to point out just where The Government is authorized to interfere with the belief system of any religion including the religion of Atheism. Have fun!

          • Ryan Jean

            GG,

            The comment system won’t let me nest a comment any further deep, so I apparently have to reply to my own comment to have it appear next to your latest reply.

            We’ll start with this quote from you: “The Constitution in the first amendment states that “Congress (read Federal Government)shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. This means that the Federal Government will not establish a state religion.

            I’ve highlighted the relevant sections. The 14th Amendment is of crucial importance, because it applies the limitations of the federal government on individual liberties to the state and local governments as well. We can chat about how it was meant initially, but you cannot ignore that the most important court decisions on the establishment clause were because the 14th made it relevant in a venue where it otherwise would not have been.

            As for the not establishing, look back at this portion of *my* first comment: “The real key is that it says no law shall be made “respecting” an establishment. That means no special treatment may be afforded to religion; it literally is to get no *respect* (e.g. preference, privilege, status, recognition, deference, etc.) from government bodies. That government could not establish an official religion itself is true, but only as a subset of the principle of a prohibition on respecting.

            My point is not that it *doesn’t* prohibit a national church, but rather that it doesn’t *only* do that. Your comments suggest quite heavily that you believe that prohibiting a national church is the limit and only purpose of the establishment clause. The legislative history makes it clear that while they did consider such narrow versions of the text that would clearly be limited to just that, those versions were rejected in favor of adopting wording with a broader reach. It wasn’t an accident, they thought about it carefully and decided to go above and beyond what was originally proposed.

            You can play quote games all you want. People educated on constitutional history rarely give such snippets much weight when removed from the broader context, precisely because the majority of the founders were prolific writers who left behind plenty of material that can be cherry-picked to almost any end. Context is important, and you chose to divorce your quotes from that context to try to make a point betrayed by the full breadth of the issue.

            The problem seems to be that you don’t like the lack of a Catholic exemption to the rule, so you declare it an imposing by the Fed of a secular (or atheist) religion and claim it violates the Establishment clause. Is this correct? If so, it is utter nonsense as you are simply asserting that a decision made *without* special favor to religion is equivalent to a decision made *explicitly* giving special favor to “non-religion.” I’m sorry, but that kind of murky thinking would get one laughed out of an introductory law course, as (among other things) it would effectively make *every* law be allegedly religious.

            Of course, there’s a different issue with calling atheism a religion. It betrays a deep lack of understanding of what it means to be an atheist, a term that shouldn’t *need* to exist (I’m also an a-unicorn-ist, an a-gnome-ist, and an a-fairy-ist, but you don’t see those being points of contention or being mistakenly called religions).

            After the Establishment side, it seems you also make comments that it infringes on free exercise. As many have had to point out to you over and over, something is not a free exercise violation (just like it’s not an establishment violation) if it serves a clear, secular purpose and advances an important social goal without giving undue consideration or favoritism to clearly religious viewpoints. The refusal to grant an exception to religiously-affiliated organizations that 1.) usually receive federal, state, or local funding, and 2.) provide an important social good of the kind that is clearly regulated when not so affiliated, fits clearly in the legal territory. This is no more controversial than requiring an ER doctor who is also a racist to treat all who need his medical services equally without being allowed to discriminate. In this case, they are being told that insurance plans must cover contraceptives, but you treat it as if it is mandating that those so covered make use of the services. The whole point is that it is left up to the insured individual to decide if they want that service, not the religious entity to decide whether they are permitted access.

            The Hosanna-Tabor case you keep mentioning isn’t relevant here unless you’re claiming that all the employees are acting in a “ministerial” capacity (which, by the way, is an exception; a privilege granted and not a right or law, much like state secrets – courts can ignore the privilege but typically don’t to avoid meddling too much in affairs that are strictly theological). Even that case is quite a fluke, because it’s an example of a really bad decision. The lower court found quite clearly that the extent to which the employment was ministerial in nature was negligible at best, and that the church-affiliated school deliberately used the “minister” title with its teachers for the exact purpose of trying to be exempted from laws that would rationally apply in any other case.

      • Gaius- Gracchuss

        I have gone all the way back up to your original post so that You have room to reply if you so choose. I will take your points in reverse order,OK?

        The Hosanna-Tabor case is a little broader than you indicate see below:
        “The federal courts of appeals have long recognized the “ministerial exception,” a First Amendment doctrine that bars most employment-related lawsuits brought against religious organizations by employees performing religious functions. The circuits are in complete agreement about the core applications of this doctrine to pastors, priests, and rabbis. But they are evenly divided over the boundaries of the ministerial exception when applied to other employees.
        The question presented is: Whether the ministerial exception applies to a teacher at a religious elementary school who teaches the full secular curriculum, but also teaches daily
        religion classes, is a commissioned minister, and regularly leads students in prayer and worship.”

        However I also included several other cases which when put together indicate that the SCOTUS does not look favorably on the government interfering with religious institutions in the way the Obama Government has in this case. The Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah case is particularly interesting since it goes against “common” sensibilities.

        “Wisconsin v. Yoder – (1972) Amish parents declined to send their children to school after eighth grade due to religious reasons, therefore Wisconsin’s compulsory education law violated their religious freedom rights

        Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah – (1993) The Court found unconstitutional a Florida law that prohibited animal sacrifice in a religious ritual.”

    • pyrobryan

      So by a literal interpretation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment the only thing it prevents is the federal government from establishing a state religion. If you want a literal interpretation, you wouldn’t have a de jure religion by simply excluding one religion. There are still thousands of others to pick from. Even if they took away the recognized religious status of all religions, you still don’t have an established religion because the government isn’t telling you which religion you must follow, it is simply not recognizing any would-be religion as having any special status under the law. No churches would be tax-exempt, no churches would have protections from hiring employees that are not of that “religion”, etc.

      How about the individual states? What if all 50 states decided that some religion other than yours was the only religion allowed to be practiced? It would seem that your literal interpretation doesn’t find this to be unconstitutional as it isn’t the federal government. Or what if they just decided that your particular “religion” was nothing more than some kind of scam to bilk its followers out of 10% of their paychecks and therefore mandated that all of its churches be closed down? That wouldn’t be unconstitutional according to you because they’re not establishing a state religion.

      Something tells me that if any literal interpretation of the First Amendment allowed for an impingement on your religious freedom, you’d suddenly start singing a different song about it.

      • Gaius- Gracchuss

        Read some history about the state thing it was already tried and failed. Read the 1st Amendment and you will discover two parts: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of RELIGION, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF”. I have mentioned both parts before sorry if you missed it.
        What do I mean? Why when you force someone to violate their beliefs you are “PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF”.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr sayeth,

    “We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law,” … “unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so).”

    • raven

      “unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to violate our consciences,

      That is just a lie.

      1. 98% of relevant Catholic women use birth control and have the national average family size of 2+. Clearly they don’t have a problem with birth control.

      2. Just because birth control is covered, doesn’t force anyone to actually use that feature. Anymore than having open heart surgery being covered means everyone has to go in for a quadruple bypass operation.

      3. The priests don’t have to use the birth control option either. Theoretically, that is.

      • Gaius Gracchuss

        Please do read the 1st Amendment and look at the relevant SCOTUS cases. Also please remember that the individual is not the Church. We all have free will and can (and do) choose to do evil. You all are treating this as if there was no other way for an individual to obtain abortions or birth control pills. This is not the case as I am sure you know. You are also presuming that a regulation developed by an agency has the same legal weight as the Constitution, it does not.

        • raven

          We all have free will and can (and do) choose to do evil.

          So you and the priests have chosen evil. Thanks for telling us but it wasn’t necessary.

          We already knew that.

          • Gaius Gracchuss

            Are you actually only 12 years old or do you have so little capability that you cannot hold a civil conversation with someone who disagrees with you without having to degenerate into 6th grade tirades. Pity

        • raven

          We all have free will and can (and do) choose to do evil.

          According to the US CDC 98% of Catholic women use birth control and don’t breed like rabbits.

          According to Gaius, they have chosen and are evil.

          That is quite a failure on the RCC’s part if 98% of their membership is “evil”. Doesn’t look like the church is very effective any more or the Catholic god is asleep, drunk, doesn’t care, or is dead.

          If my field had a 98% failure rate, we would have ceased to exist long ago.

          • Gaius Gracchuss

            “According to Gaius, they have chosen and are evil.”
            Really, I said that? Hmmm, I believe I said that “Please do read the 1st Amendment and look at the relevant SCOTUS cases. Also please remember that the individual is not the Church. We all have free will and can (and do) choose to do evil. You all are treating this as if there was no other way for an individual to obtain abortions or birth control pills. This is not the case as I am sure you know. You are also presuming that a regulation developed by an agency has the same legal weight as the Constitution, it does not.”
            This is significantly different from what you posted. In short you lied (i.e. Chose evil) Why, was you argument so weak that you had to lie to try and defend it? Sad

        • http://www.nick-andrew.net/ elronxenu

          You all are treating this as if there was no other way for an individual to obtain abortions or birth control pills.

          Of course there is. Church employees can pay for contraceptives out of their own pocket. As can employees of non-religious organizations. There’s no difference there. Yet the law states that an employer’s insurance plan has to fund these things, because it’s perceived as a public good which will improve women’s reproductive health.

          In other words, the fact that a woman can obtain contraceptives by other means is no excuse for churches to refuse to obey the law.

          What the Catholic church doesn’t comprehend is that they have no right to force their beliefs onto other people, even if those people are Catholic. The Catholic church has no right to stop a woman taking a contraceptive pill, even if she is Catholic. It’s legal and it’s her choice, if she is willing to violate Catholic doctrine. So all this talk about being forced to violate their beliefs is a load of malarkey, unless their belief is that they are allowed to force their beliefs onto others.

          • Gaius- Gracchuss

            So let me get this straight. In order for you to follow your beliefs I must (MUST mind you) violate mine. Is that correct? I think you need to reconsider just what makes up a civil society and how such a “might makes right” policy by the Obama government would destroy same.

    • raven

      Obama and the feds could do an end run around the priests easily.

      Just make the birth control coverage optional at the choice of the employees in question.

      That way, those Catholics whose conscience will be wounded by merely having an option available can opt out. This would include the priests and 2% of the Catholic women.

      The other 98% of the women could opt in if they want.

      • Pierce R. Butler

        raven @ # 3.2: Just make the birth control coverage optional at the choice of the employees in question.

        How optional is your choice when your fanatical employers get to see which box you check?

        • raven

          Yeah, I thought of that.

          That shouldn’t happen though.

          1. The insurance policy is between the employee and the insurance company, not the employee and the employer. The health provider bills the insurance company, not the employer.

          2. There are a lot of health privacy acts that should prevent the employer from even finding out or knowing what the employee’s health status is.

          If the employer can see what is going on, then it wouldn’t work as well. I suppose the Catholic church, being wild eyed vindicative morons would start firing people for using birth control.

          The US RCC has lost 22 million people in the last few years. They are self destructing and obviously could care less.

      • Gaius Gracchuss

        And what “individual choice” does the Church get? The 1st Amendment guarantees that the belief system of an individual Religion will not be tampered with unless it overtly infringes on the Constitutional rights of others. The Catholic Church is not prohibiting anyone from doing what they want. It is merely saying it will not be a party violating the law of God as the Church understands it

        • Pierce R. Butler

          Gee Gee, y’know, if the Holy Mutha Church were an “individual” – yr whines would still be incoherent nonsensical special pleading.

          • Gaius Gracchuss

            Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of RELIGION, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

            Not special pleading just a constitutionally Guaranteed right.

  • CeePeeThreeOwe

    Morality = “principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour”

    People who believe that doing right or wrong can affect their status in this or another world are not (at least not solely) acting out of concern for a principle, they are, to a greater or lesser degree, acting out of fear of punishment and/or hope for a reward.

    Christians who believe in heaven (good) and hell (not good/bad), whatever they may mean by those terms, are incapable of acting truly morally and should therefore STFU when the rest us discuss principles they have chosen to sublimate to their beliefs.

    • Gaius Gracchuss

      Similar arguments have been used by many totalitarians when trying to silence the Catholic Churches moral authority. Tell me when you can read minds so that you KNOW and can prove the motivational reason for anyone actions other than your own. Also the underpinnings for much that is reason and logic come through the Church See Francis Bacon, Thomas Aquinas, Augustine for more information if you wish.

      • raven

        Similar arguments have been used by many totalitarians when trying to silence the Catholic Churches moral authority.

        What moral authority? The RCC has as much moral authority as I do. Or my cat. Or really a lot less. I haven’t been committing atrocities for 2,000 years.

        Your “facts” aren’t facts. They are opinions and beliefs at best, delusions at worst. You have the right to believe whatever weirdness you want, but you don’t have the right whatsoever to impose it on anyone else.

        Someone else can feed the troll. This one is too simple and that is boring.

        • Gaius Gracchuss

          All human institutions make mistakes as I have said we have free will given to us by God and can and do choose to do evil. That does not mean that the Church established by Jesus Christ is evil or that it has no moral authority. History of the last 100 years gives the lie to your assertion that the Church has no moral authority. The attack on the Church by the Obama Government is just because it does have moral authority. An authority the government is set on destroying or co-opting. I suggest that you actually read some history of say the Thirty Years War or the Crusades and not accept the Agitprop that you have been taught or listened to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

    @GG:

    I hadn’t been aware of the Hosanna-Tabor case, but I had, for example, been aware of Wisconsin vs. Yoder, which allowed the Amish a religious exemption to laws about compulsory education.

    Now, frankly I think this is an awful ruling. Parents shouldn’t be allowed to keep their children ignorant, especially not in the name of keeping them indoctrinated in religion. But even current court precedent puts limits to what you can get away with under the free exercise clause, as shown by some of the cases listed here.

    • gaiusgracchuss

      Yep there are limits see the SCOTUS case : Employment Division v. Smith – (1988) States may accommodate illegal activities even if they are in the pursuit of religious activities, but they are not required to. This would seem to cover the case you listed.

      I would ask that you consider that the Court in this decision require activities that were opposed to the belief system of the religion. in fact in the SCOTUS case: Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah – (1993) The Court found unconstitutional a Florida law that prohibited animal sacrifice in a religious ritual. I suggest if this foolish overreach by the Obama Government gets to the SCOTUS it will be declared unconstitutional.

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  • Gaius- Gracchuss

    Number 2 response
    1.) usually receive federal, state, or local funding, and 2.) provide an important social good of the kind that is clearly regulated when not so affiliated, fits clearly in the legal territory.”

    I would contend that the Obama government and other previous governments has created a new financial baseline with regard to education and health. In this new baseline there are no institutions who do not receive government funds either directly as a sub-contractor or indirectly as payment for services. Because of this using the “receive federal, state, or local funding” can be used to suppress any institution which the government disagrees with. I believe that SCOTUS will see this and disallow the “funding gives us jurisdiction” argument.

    • RW Ahrens

      28 States already require what the Obama Administration has recently decided to require nationally, and all Catholic Institutions in those States comply fully with those regulations. As a matter of fact, in five of the States that do NOT so require, many Catholic Institutions already provide that coverage.

      I haven’t heard of any particular whining on the part of the RCC as to any violations of conscience in any of those States.

      So this isn’t any kind of a violation of conscience, but an opportunistic use of this event to force a national brouhaha that they imagine will hurt Obama.

      • Gaius- Gracchuss

        The issue is very simple. Is the policy against the belief system of the Catholic church? YES!

        Does the Constitution prohibit such actions by the Federal Government? YES!

        End of argument.

        • Tony

          GG:

          The issue is very simple. Is the policy against the belief system of the Catholic church? YES!

          -Which means that if an individual doesn’t want to partake of contraceptives, that’s their choice. The problem is that your evil organization (and yes, an organization that purports to be the moral authority with a direct hotline to god that has been involved in a massive child rape scandal for decades, as well as selling children{ http://www.newsytype.com/12834-catholic-church-stole-babies/ }, all the while being more concerned with screwing over gays and women and…that’s a pretty vile organization ) feels that it has the right to tell *all* people what they can and cannot do. The policy does not force anybody to utilize contraceptives. No one who doesn’t want birth control will be forced to use it. But hey, it’s nice to know that you’re in favor of denying a pagan, wiccan, atheist, mormom, scientologist, deist, taoist or any other non-Catholic access to contraception if they’re employed at a Catholic run hospital.

          Does the Constitution prohibit such actions by the Federal Government? YES!

          -You’re right. If we’re talking about PRIVATE institutions. The policy affects PUBLIC hospitals, colleges, and social services. Yes, many of those are run by the Raping Children Church, but since they’re open to the public, and employ people from all walks of life, they have to adhere to the law, just like any other public institution. If the RCC wants to continue to place the rights of a fetus over those of a woman, they don’t need to be a public institution. Again, the policy doesn’t force a Catholic to use birth control.
          http://news.yahoo.com/contraception-mandate-outrages-religious-groups-083825840.html

          The regulation includes a religious exemption if an organization qualifies. Under that provision, an employer generally will be considered religious if its main purpose is spreading religious beliefs, and if it largely employs and serves people of the same faith. That means a Catholic parish likely would qualify for a religious exemption; a large church-run soup kitchen probably would not.

          -The hospitals, colleges and social service organizations that are run by the RCC employ and serve people of varying religions. The purpose of a hospital, college or social service organization is NOT spreading religious belief. To remain neutral, it seems the Obama administration is treating religion as if it’s not a factor. It would be a massive violation of the law if the administration had catered to the mewlings of RCC leaders to grant *them* special exemption. It would have been a government policy that applies to all public institutions *except* those run by the RCC. That-most definitely-shows favor to that tyrannical organization.
          What so many Catholics seem to miss is that the welfare of the citizens of the country trumps their whining. Not only that, but once again, it’s not as if anyone will be *forced* to purchase birth control. If the Raping Children Church doesn’t want to abide by the policy, they can show their true colors and close down all public institutions that they run and then open new, private ones that employ only Catholics and serve only Catholics. The RCC, like several other religions, doesn’t care about the rights of women. Heck, the RCC has already shown that their primary concern isn’t for the welfare of children (because they’ve been so quick to cooperate with authorities in bringing all the perpetrators to justice, as well as providing adequate compensation for the victims) since they closed several adoption agencies (because NOT providing services for gay couples is more important than placing children in loving homes).
          I wonder who is left for the Catholic Church to discriminate against?

          • Gaius- Gracchuss

            I will try and answer your cry for help. I hope I can start you on a path that will resolve your fear and hatred.

            “-Which means that if an individual doesn’t want to partake of contraceptives, that’s their choice.” Correct, and under the Constitution it is the Church cannot be obligated by the Federal Government to take actions against their belief system.

            “The problem is that your evil organization…”

            You might want to try and tell the entire allegation as known to date:
            “The practice of removing children from parents deemed “undesirable” and placing them with “approved” families, began in the 1930s under the dictator General Francisco Franco. At that time, the motivation may have been ideological. But years later, it seemed to change – babies began to be taken from parents considered morally – or economically – deficient. It became a money-spinner too. The scandal is closely linked to the Catholic Church, which under Franco assumed a prominent role in Spain’s social services including hospitals, schools and children’s homes. Nuns and priests compiled waiting lists of would-be adoptive parents, while doctors were said to have lied to mothers about the fate of their children.”

            I appreciate your anti-Catholic bigotry that Assigns guilt to the Church and its beliefs over the actions of individuals. Do you assign blame to all of the Occupy Wall Street members for the rapes and killings that individuals in that group have done??? Interesting and exposes you lack of knowledge about the Catholic church. The Church as you should know condemns such actions. Individuals do have free choice and can choose evil as well as good.

            “feels that it has the right to tell *all* people what they can and cannot do.”

            Once again you expose your lack of knowledge about Catholic beliefs. God provides the laws of moral behavior not the Church. The laws we are talking about predate the church by several thousand years. In fact they are the same laws that are the basis for your condemnation of the actions in Spain. These laws came through the Catholic tradition.

            “The policy does not force anybody to utilize contraceptives. No one who doesn’t want birth control will be forced to use it.”

            No I agree but please tell the other side which is that it does FORCE Church which teaches that all life is sacred and that contraceptives use and abortion is wrong to become facilitators of what is evil in their belief.

            “But hey, it’s nice to know that you’re in favor of denying a pagan, wiccan, atheist, mormom, scientologist, deist, taoist or any other non-Catholic access to contraception if they’re employed at a Catholic run hospital.”

            This is another false argument. The church does not deny access, access is available from other sources. The Church is just not willing to become complicit in acts it considers wrong.”

            “If we’re talking about PRIVATE institutions.”

            Actually the Constitution makes no such distinction and the SCOTUS has shown time and again that it does not consider the 14th Amendment “equal Protection Clause” to apply to these cases.

            “If the RCC wants to continue to place the rights of a fetus over those of a woman, they don’t need to be a public institution.”

            You once again demonstrate a lack of knowledge of the Church’s beliefs in this area: Catholics believes that all life is sacred from the instant of conception to Natural Death. This does not favor one individual, the mother, over another, the in utero child.

            “What so many Catholics seem to miss is that the welfare of the citizens of the country trumps their whining.”

            Here we have a misunderstanding of the purpose of the Constitution. The Constitution trumps the rule of the majority (even when it is not the majority which is what we have here) and as I keep saying your view that faith directed institutions are not protected from Federal encroachment is just incorrect.

            I have duly noted the bigotry and hatred with which you have posted here and find it a less than convincing reason to agree with you. I recommend that you actually look into the belief system of the Church and the reasoning behind the beliefs. Here is a website that may help you to “Know your enemy” so to speak; however none of us consider you an enemy. http://www.catholic.com
            Here are some books that also may help you understand where the Catholic Church is coming from.

            Peace!

            Apologetics Bibliography
            • Armstrong, Dave. A Biblical Defense of Catholicism. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2003. A comprehensive look at the biblical support of Catholic teaching.
            • Chacon, Frank, and Jim Burnham. Beginning Apologetics Series. Farmington, NM: San Juan Catholic Seminars, 1993-2005. A great set of booklets that systematically lays out how to defend Catholic teaching amongst a variety of specific groups.
            • Drummey, James J. Catholic Replies. Norwood, MA: C.R. Publications, 1995. 800 Questions and answers on some of the most pressing questions Catholics face.
            • Drummey, James J. Catholic Replies 2. Norwood, MA: C.R. Publications, 1998. 800 more questions on a wide variety of important Catholic topics.
            • Hahn, Scott. Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith. New York: Doubleday, 2007. Comprehensive overview of how to explain the Catholic faith to others.
            • Keating, Karl. Catholicism and Fundamentalism. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1988. A more in depth look of the differences between Catholics and Fundamentalist Christians, as well as an analysis of the roots of many of the common misconceptions Fundamentalists have regarding Catholic teaching.
            • Keating, Karl. What Catholics Really Believe: 52 Answers to Common Misconceptions About the Catholic Faith. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1995. Written for beginners.
            • Madrid, Patrick. Pope Fiction: Answers to 30 Myths & Misconceptions about the Papacy. San Diego, CA: Basilica Press, 1999. As the title suggests, this book addresses the most common misconceptions people have regarding the Pope.
            • Madrid, Patrick. Search and Rescue: How to Bring Your Family and Friends Into — Or Back Into —the Catholic Church. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2001. This book takes a pastoral approach in giving advice to the reader on how to approach the topic of Catholicism with family and friends. Not an apologetics book per se, but very helpful in applying the information learned from other apologetics books.
            • Madrid, Patrick. Where is That in the Bible?. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2001. This book identifies and explains the scriptural roots of those doctrines unique to Catholicism.
            • Madrid, Patrick. Why is That in Tradition?. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2002. Similar to Where is That in the Bible?, this book uses the writings of the Early Church Fathers to illustrate that the earliest Christians were Catholic in their beliefs and practices.
            • Salza, John. The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2005. Similar to Armstrong’s book, but briefer.
            • Schreck, Alan. Catholic and Christian: An Explanation of Commonly Misunderstood Catholic Beliefs. Revised ed. Cincinnati, OH: Servant Publications, 2004. A good overview of Catholic teaching from an apologetics standpoint.
            • Suprenant, Leon J., Jr., and Philip C.L. Gray. Faith Facts: Answers to Catholic Questions. Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 1999.
            • Suprenant, Leon J., Jr., and Philip C.L. Gray. Faith Facts II: Answers to Catholic Questions. Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2004.

  • Gwynnyd

    Gaius – do you truly want to be addressed as “cupcake” again for your obtuseness?

    Why do you assume that no one here understands the position of the Catholic Church? I was schooled well into adulthood by Dominicans who were very disappointed in me when I turned the critical thinking skills they had given me on doctrines I ought to have been taking on faith. I understood and REJECTED long ago those positions you are so sure I just need to hear about.

    This is another false argument. The church does not deny access, access is available from other sources. The Church is just not willing to become complicit in acts it considers wrong.”

    Definitely a false argument. You do not have to be complicit if you/your church don’t want to be. NO ONE is forcing you or your church or any institution to be complicit in anything you might disagree with on however spurious a moral ground. Just walk away from the public funding, employ only people who buy into your tenets, and the whole issue goes away. Poof, like magic. If you do not care enough to walk away from the money, then from my perspective, the whole thing is simply an obvious and illegal grab for privilege. If you are worried about the services currently being supported by these institutions not having funding to continue at the level they are now … hey, dig deeper into your own pockets. Give away all your worldly possessions and be a true Christian.

    And, seriously? You can state with anything like a straight face, “The church is not willing to become complicit in acts it considers wrong”? Does this apply to anything besides what women do with their uteri? Seems to me the Church has, historically and recently, been complicit in a lot of things it considers wrong on paper.

    Don’t bother to answer that. Your apologetics are repetitious and are beginning to bore me.

  • Gaius- Gracchuss

    “…I turned the critical thinking skills they had given me on doctrines I ought to have been taking on faith. I understood and REJECTED long ago those positions you are so sure I just need to hear about.”

    “For it is by his grace that we have been saved through faith, and this faith was not from you, but it is the gift of God…” Ephesians 2:8

    Your self-declaration of non-belief raises nothing in me so much as pity for you: however be that as it may and risking “boring you” here is my reply.

    “Just walk away from the public funding…”

    If this were possible to do then I am sure the Church would do so; however, are you aware that you cannot opt-out of Medicare without losing your social security? The Government has created a financial environment in medicine and education that it is impossible to “legally” operate independent of the government. Given that reality and your understanding of the Constitution the government is authorized to violate any article of the Constitution just as long as government money is involved. I am sorry but I do not think that that was either the intent of the framers nor will it be supported by SCOTUS should this come to the body.

    “employ only people who buy into your tenets…” Oh come on now you know that you would protest any effort to do this so why bring it up???

    “and the whole issue goes away. Poof, like magic.” NOT! The issue is the Obama government attempt to remove the Constitutional Right of religious freedom, not women’s health smoke screen. Thus the issue only goes away when for the Obama government when they destroy the 1st Amendment.

    “illegal grab for privilege.” The right of Religious Freedom not privilege.

    “… hey, dig deeper into your own pockets. Give away all your worldly possessions and be a true Christian.” I totally agree and some of do; however, for the majority the way taxes are now structured, Local, State and Federal; in this country such Charity is discouraged. And of course the Obama government is on record to eliminate the few deductions now allowed.

    “Seems to me the Church has, historically and recently, been complicit in a lot of things it considers wrong on paper.” This is why I contend that despite your declaration of total knowledge of the Catholic Church doctrine and the logic behind it you actually appear to know nothing. Who is the church in this world? The corporate body headquartered in Rome or the collective body of the faithful? As you are wrestling with that question: or ignoring (whatever you feel able to do), consider is God present in the world (because He is a real presence even today)?

    Peace!

  • Gwynnyd

    Gaius – Please TRY to read for comprehension.

    however, are you aware that you cannot opt-out of Medicare without losing your social security?

    That argument is non-sensical in this context. Medicare and Social Security do not apply to institutions. The Institutions who wish to opt of following First Amendment rights for everyone need to not *bill* Medicare and accept NO other public funds for the work they do and then they can opt out as much as they like. How do they pay for what they do? They ask you, and other like minded people who wish to support them, for more money. If these institutions do not get enough to support themselves that way and have to stop supplying services, that is NOT MY PROBLEM. I expect that if push came to shove, most of the Catholic institutions/hospital/charities now bleating so hard about oppression and tyranny would rapidly, but no doubt sorrowfully, acquire a more secular board and focus rather than go out of business.

    You can do all the handwaving and mewling about it as you like. Until I see the alleged morality actually take precedence over the money, I decline to be impressed by claims of privileged moral stances.

    “employ only people who buy into your tenets…” Oh come on now you know that you would protest any effort to do this so why bring it up???

    No I wouldn’t. It is absolutely the point. It has been said here, over and over, that the real issue is the taking of public funds and still wanting your own group’s special ideas about morality to override the law. Follow the law while accepting public funds, or opt out of public funding and do whatever your group wants about what your insurance covers. The issue is not as complicated as you’d like to make it. It only feels complicated to you because you have no real base to stand on for an exemption and want to justify your clawing at it by dragging in everything and the kitchen sink to obscure the quite simple basic issue.

    Who is the church in this world?

    Well, it’s apparently not the 98% of avowed Catholics who are fine with having birth control, nor the Catholic institutions in 20-some states that already offer it on their policies. My vote goes to the rich old men who are “Princes of the Church” sending out hysterical screeds saying, “Help! Help! I’m being oppressed” (cue Monty Python image) as they become increasingly politically irrelevant, and deluded people like yourself who buy into their privilege. These are the same privileged people, in case you’ve forgotten, who also covered up for pedophile priests, preached the Crusades, and ran the Inquisition. What was that you were denying about the RC church’s recent and historical complicity in moral wrong? Oh, of course. None of those heinous things involved some non-Catholic women potentially using birth control coverage on their insurance policy and so were quite minor on the scale of Catholic morality’s right and wrong. I’d bet against myself that you will argue, “the people who did those things aren’t REAL Catholics”, but I know I’d lose.

    Is god present in the world? {blink} You go right on believing that, cupcake; whatever makes you happy on that issue without trampling on my First Amendment rights.

    • Gaius Gracchuss

      Sorry for the late reply but I had a few other chores to do and wanted to give you my feeble best for a reply. So here goes:

      however, are you aware that you cannot opt-out of Medicare without losing your social security? That argument is non-sensical in this context. Medicare and Social Security do not apply to institutions. I believe it is you who are ignoring the facts of Obamacare. That piece of legislation makes it impossible to operate in the Healthcare field without some contact with government money. Any, I SAY AGAIN, any contact with government money obligates the institution to follow ALL government rules. Thus your option of they can opt is not possible, sorry.

      You can do all the handwaving and mewling about it as you like. Until I see the alleged morality actually take precedence over the money, I decline to be impressed by claims of privileged moral stances. Well Thomas you travel in interesting company, “So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” John 20:25. And like Thomas in the end I have hope that you will come around, but anyway back to your post.

      “employ only people who buy into your tenets…” Oh come on now you know that you would protest any effort to do this so why bring it up??? No I wouldn’t. O really? OK if you say so (he says with extreme doubt in his voice). However, the Church will not fire people over this. I actually believe that the church leadership welcomes the opportunity to go to jail rather than obey this unconstitutional dictate.

      Who is the church in this world? Well since you say you are baptized you are along with 1 Billion others around the world. And that 98% I would not be too sure of that number you might be surprised; but, either way American Catholics are but a segment of the entire church. I am glad; however, that we agree that the Church is not just the corporate Church. That is a good start for your recovery of faith.

      Is God present in the world? {blink} You go right on believing that, cupcake; whatever makes you happy on that issue without trampling on my First Amendment rights. After Obama’s dictate you do not have much 1st Amendment right remaining. I also note your attempts to be insulting always appear when your insecurity about your relationship with God is the topic. The existence of God is a rather inconvenient fact that deniers have to live with. I am truly sorry for you and continue to pray for your well being. Peace!

  • Gwynnyd

    Oh, lookie! It’s a totally moot point anyway. See, Gaius – I told you you were making it too complicated! It’s even easier than I thought. It’s not even necessary to invoke the First Amendment, it’s already covered under Title VII of the Civil rights Act and has already survived numerous court challenges.

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/controversial-obama-birth-control-rule-already-law

    “In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn’t provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. That opinion, which the George W. Bush administration did nothing to alter or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today—and because it relies on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. Employers that don’t offer prescription coverage or don’t offer insurance at all are exempt, because they treat men and women equally—but under the EEOC’s interpretation of the law, you can’t offer other preventative care coverage without offering birth control coverage, too.

    Not even religious employers were exempt from the impact of the EEOC decision. Although Title VII allows religious institutions to discriminate on religious grounds, it doesn’t allow them to discriminate on the basis of sex—the kind of discrimination at issue in the EEOC ruling. DePaul University, the largest Roman Catholic university in America, added birth control coverage to its plans after receiving an EEOC complaint several years ago. “

    • Gaius Gracchuss

      Thanks for telling me but you are still missing the point.

      “DePaul University, the largest Roman Catholic university in America, added birth control coverage to its plans after receiving an EEOC complaint several years ago.”

      Did you know several former Catholic Universities declared themselves secular some years back for financial reasons. As with individuals, institutions must choose to follow God’s law or not; and as you point out so continually, sometimes they choose the wrong path. However, the fact of an EEOC violation of the 1st Amendment as well as the HHS violation does not make it OK. As the old saw goes “two wrongs do not make a right”. Do take heart, I know that God wins in the last round. All one can do until then is hold up your candle and provide as much light and love as you can.
      Peace!

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