Senate Democrats Move to Overturn Hobby Lobby Decision

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Senator Harry Reid, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, is leading the charge to overturn the Hobby Lobby decision.

From The Washington Post:

“One thing we’re going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on Tuesday. “This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we’re going to do something about it. People are going to have to walk down here and vote, and if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think it’s — they’re going to have — be treated unfavorably come November with the elections.”

Senator Reid can make this audacious claim because Hobby Lobby v Burwell was adjudicated on a statute, The Religious Freedom Act. What Senator Reid, and, according to him the rest of the Senate Democrats, wants to do is basically repeal the Religious Freedom Act. I only have a few points to make at this juncture.

  • As a lifelong Democrat and an 18-year veteran as a Democratic elected official (I’m still in office until November) I am ashamed of my party for doing this.
  • We need to convert the Democratic Party. If we do not, this kind of back and forth will continue until it destroys our Republic. We will never build a culture of life unless we convert this party.
  • I wish those who oppose the HHS Mandate would mount the same kind of of fearless and passionate offense against it. One thing that has been abundantly clear to me for well over 30 years is that pro life politicians do not have the same fearless commitment and willingness to do what’s needed for our cause as the other side’s politicians have for it. Where is the pro life Wendy Davis? Why hasn’t the House taken on the HHS Mandate with the same fervor that we are seeing in this attack against Hobby Lobby v Burwell in the Democratically-held Senate?

We are trapped between our own wishy-washy advocates who make speeches, gather votes based their “stands” and then do nothing, and these passionate, committed opponents who are willing to stake their careers on attacking religious freedom and the sanctity of human life. It is simply not an effective tactic for us to continue demonizing our opposition while we settle for nothing but empty promises and political grandstanding from our supporters.

We are being used.

Meanwhile, the other side of this fight has real political warriors with fire in their bellies who are willing to stake everything on defending their viewpoint

I am going to suggest you do two things today and one thing tomorrow.

For today, write both your United State’s Senators and demand that they fight publicly and behind closed doors to stop this re-write of the The Religious Freedom Act. It does not matter if they are Democrats, Republicans or Independents, they need to hear from you. Second, write your member of Congress and demand that they stop sitting on their hands and take action against the HHS Mandate.

That’s for today.

For tomorrow, check with your state political party about when precinct meetings will be held next spring. Put the date on your calendar and plan to go.

For Republicans, Google “(name of your state) Republican Party” or (name of your state) Republican Committee. For Democrats, Google, “(name of your state) Democratic Party”.  Examples: Oklahoma Republican Party, or, Oklahoma Republican Committee. Oklahoma Democratic Party.

Repeal the HHS Mandate. Do it for America’s Health.

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The ink is not dry on the Hobby Lobby decision, and already the outline of the counterattack is forming.

On and on, round and round, deeper and deeper down into the pit of acrimony and hate we go.

I have a solution for this. It’s simple, straight-forward, and it will work.

Repeal the HHS Mandate.

The HHS Mandate is not necessary. It is based on a lie and has been protected by lies. It has served no reasonable purpose other than to divide the country and pitch us headlong into protracted court battles over issues that should never have been pushed into our faces in the first place.

It is especially sickening to see the public discourse about this agency rule sink to mindless slander, self-righteous posturing and now incitement to violence on public venues. All this because a back-room, hand-appointed industry-heavy committee wrote themselves a little regulation attacking those they perceived to be their political enemies (i.e., traditional Christians) and our president signed it.

The HHS Mandate is, at base, irrational. President Obama compromised his presidency, scarred his place in history and raised up a whole army of political opposition against himself by signing and defending this needlessly divisive agency rule.

He lied to people who had trusted him and deceived the Congress in order to be able to do this stupid thing. Then, he lied to the American people about what he had done. The Mandate, which was born of lies, has been defended with lies and is itself a lie.

The Hobby Lobby lawsuit was not about contraception, and it certainly is not in opposition to women’s equality or women’s health. Unlike many employers today, Hobby Lobby has always provided health insurance, including insurance paying for contraception, to its employees.

They drew the line at paying for contraceptives that were known abortifacients, specifically IUDs and the morning after pill.

Let’s put the issue of abortifacient aside for a moment. The most significant point in all this is that IUDs and the morning after pill are absolutely not good for “women’s health.” They also are not in any way necessary to women’s equality.

The current argument is that women must have IUDs and these IUDs must be paid for by a third party payor in order to maintain good health and achieve equality.

You heard that right. That’s the gist of it.

This argument is talking about IUDs. You know, as in IUDs that have been the object of class action suits for endangering women and have resulted in infections, infertility and quite a few funerals. According to the deep-thinking apologists for the HHS Mandate, women must have IUDs that are paid for by insurance, or their health and hopes of equality will be compromised.

The media has been hard-selling the lie that IUDs are all better now. They tell us that IUDs of today no longer do the nasty things that IUDs of yesterday did. They say that today’s IUDs are coated with sperm-killing hormones in addition to uterus-inflamming, conceptus-implantation-preventing copper wire. The bad old days are all gone now.

I wonder sometimes just why people are so stupid with their health. If IUDs killed women 20 years ago, if they hurt like the infernal regions to put in 20 years ago, if they perforated uteri and caused infections 20 years ago, then why are they so much better now?

Answer: Because it takes a while for the bodies and numbers and problems to pile up. But they are beginning to. And they will multiply as time goes by. It’s a sad state when trial lawyers who come along and mop up the damage are the true defenders of women’s health.

When discussion of the morning after pill comes up in debate, we hear about rape victims.

However, when the morning after pill is being pushed on young women, what they hear is “plan b,” meaning, essentially, have-sex-tonight and take-the-pill tomorrow and do it again anytime you want because, you see, it’s “safe.” The morning after pill is being touted and sold as a ubiquitous, totally harmless form of post coital birth control.

We know these things cause nausea, vomiting and cramping. Even their rah-rah proponents admit that much. We also know that ordinary birth control pills, with their much lower (and safer) dosage of hormones, can have devastating side effects. But we’re supposed to believe that using the morning after pill as birth control is not only harmless, it’s actually necessary for women’s health.

The morning after pills is being promoted as an over-the-counter remedy that is sold and bought like aspirin, and that is not a good thing for women’s health. High dosages of artificial hormones have long-term effects. These effects are so politicized that we will almost surely never hear the truth of it until the trial lawyers come along and start their mop-up work.

Some side-effects, such as cancer, as so long-term and difficult to connect that it’s doubt that anyone will ever put it together.

The stories you’re hearing about Hobby Lobby are lies.

The arguments in favor of the HHS Mandate are lies.

The Mandate itself is a lie.

What is true is that the HHS Mandate is destructive to the body politic and to our rights as free citizens. There is and always has been ways to provide insurance coverage for almost all employees without limiting or even involving First Amendment rights.

I think that the true purpose of the HHS Mandate is to attack the religious freedom. I think the Mandate was written by people who are actively involved with organizations that have fought traditional Christians in the culture wars for so long that they’ve become mentally bent with their hatred. I think the HHS Mandate was an act of hatred. It certainly was not an act of good governance. Subsequent events have demonstrated that rather clearly.

There is a simple way to do something really good for this country. It needs to be done as soon as possible.

Repeal the HHS Mandate. Start over with a fair committee to write real regulations designed to implement the legislation fairly without trampling on political opponents or enriching special interests. In other words, keep the promises President Obama made back when he was lobbying for passage of the Affordable Health Care Act.

Repeal the HHS Mandate and get this country out of this needless and stupid fight. The HHS Mandate is just an agency regulation. It is the product of a corrupt committee of special interests and one man’s vanity. And we are letting it damage our country. That is idiotic.

Repeal the HHS Mandate.

Do it for the sake of America’s health.

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The Greens of Hobby Lobby: One Family with Courage is a Majority

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There is no getting around the fact that Jesus offends some people. Nevertheless, He is too important in my life for me to cower in fear of mentioning His name. David Green, owner, founder Hobby Lobby

The Green Family (who are Okies, by the way) risked everything they had worked for all their lives.

They put everything but their lives on the line by refusing to accede to the HHS Mandate’s requirement that they pay for insurance coverage for abortifacient drugs. The Greens, who are Southern Baptists, already provided insurance coverage for contraceptives for their employees.

But they would not be participants in the evil of abortion. It conflicted with their faith in Jesus Christ.

So, they took a stand that was, in terms of business, totally stupid. They refused to abide by the HHS Mandate. What’s more, they put the name of their company, which they had built themselves from a $600 dollar investment, on a lawsuit.

This wasn’t a roll of the dice. It was an act of faith. The lawsuit was turned back, then resurrected in other rulings. When it was first turned down, the Greens said they would not abide by the Mandate, even if it meant paying millions of dollars a day in fines to the government.

This was not grandstanding. It was a reality of their lives at that time. They were facing ruinous fines for following Christ. It would most likely have put them out of business.

Another court overturned the earlier ruling and they were granted a stay.

Their lawsuit made it’s way to the Supreme Court, and today, the Court ruled that the Green family, as well as other owners of privately-held corporations, are exempt from the contraceptive portion of the HHS Mandate.

I’ve been watching and reading a bit of the reaction to the news. It’s totally predictable claptrap about how this ruling allows corporations not to follow “the law” and how it “endangers women’s health.”

My reaction to this is give me a break. First, the Supreme Court’s ruling is the law, which is something the HHS Mandate has never been.

The HHS Mandate is an agency rule which has the force of law. It was never passed by elected officials. It was created by an appointed committee. To call this thing a law violates the underlying principles of government by representation on which this nation was founded.

Second, women’s health is not endangered by not being able to get insurance coverage for abortifacients. What endangers women’s health is allowing things like the morning after pill to be put on counters where everyone can buy and use them as many times a month as they want. The health consequences of using the morning after pill for birth control could be terrible for women’s health.

Also, as I just said, the stuff is available over the counter. If a woman uses it the way it’s intended, it would be a once in a lifetime deal. If they are using it repeatedly, they are endangering their health. Period.

I’ve read all sorts of comments attacking this ruling, but I think the ruling is wonderful.

It puts a couple of teeth back into what has rapidly been becoming a toothless concept of religious liberty in this country. The government — the government — does not have any business requiring people to violate their faith under threat of government penalties. The government also does not have any business passing draconian agency regulations that infringe on American liberties by the fiat of a hand-selected back-room committee and calling it “law.”

The Green family saved our First Amendment freedoms today.

They did it as an act of faith in which they put their entire life’s work on the line based entirely on their faith in Jesus Christ.

May their tribe increase.

Our family is overjoyed by the Supreme Court’s decision. Today the nation’s highest court has re-affirmed the vital importance of religious liberty as one of our country’s founding principles. The Court’s decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith. We are grateful to God and to those who have supported us on this difficult journey. Barbara Green, co-founder/owner of Hobby Lobby

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Supremes Side with Hobby Lobby

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I don’t know the details yet.

Buuuttttt … it appears the Supremes have ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and against the HHS Mandate.

The ruling, as I understand it (haven’t read it yet) is very narrow.

It says:

1. Closely held corporations (i.e., non public, “family” corporations

2. Do not have to abide by the contraceptive portion of the HHS Mandate

3. Due to First Amendment protections of religious freedom.

I have been told that is was a 5-4 ruling.

My source for this information was verbal and off the record, so I can’t give you a link to it directly, but this is a source of some information.

We’ll talk more, as I know more.

Is Religious Freedom Threatened? Duhhh … Is This a Trick Question?

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When the roll is called down yonder, we’ll all line up according to our politics.

At least that appears to be the situation regarding the answers to the question of whether or not religious freedom is threatened.

There’s a lot of gas expended on this question, and most of it falls so predictably into political camps that the answers look more like responses to a roll call than genuine thinking.

Liberal Democrats, say no, of course not; only ignorant fools think so. Liberal Protestants, who are also almost entirely liberal Democrats, say no; only bigots who want to cling to their bigotry say yes. Conservative Republicans say yes; only liberal flat-liners who’ve sold this country out doubt it. Conservative Protestants, who are becoming more and more a solidified conservative Republican front, say yes; only weak Christians think otherwise.

Catholics? As the religious group that is Liberal Democrats, Conservative Republicans and every single thing in between, all sitting around the same table, we answer, yes/no/what did you say? and whatever.

So what do I, a decidedly liberal Democrat who is also a decidedly devout Catholic, say?

Before I answer that, I’m going to narrow that question to whether or not religious freedom is threatened in United States of America. I think the answer for much of the rest of the world is so obviously yes that those who doubt it fall into the same intellectual space as holocaust deniers.

Even when I narrow the question to the United States, I am tempted to reply … Duhhhh … Is this a trick question?

Rather than go for the golden one-word/one-off, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding answer, let’s review the obvious, public and undeniable facts.

What did the Supreme Court do this week?

It heard three cases brought before it by people who feel so strongly that their religious freedom is being violated that they are willing to risk their businesses and life’s work to stand against it. These are not rabble rousers. They are stable, quiet, pillars-of-the-community types, who normally eschew both litigation and the spotlight. They are the people who are the foundations of this country.

These people didn’t want to be part of a Supreme Court case. They were backed into this position by an overweening government that is so bent on enforcing an agency regulation that infringes on religious liberty that it is willing to precipitate a Constitutional crisis to do it.

What is happening in court rooms all over this country? We have mom and pop businesspeople — again quiet, apolitical, non-litigious, pillars of the community types — who are being forced to risk their livelihoods rather than violate their religious beliefs. This is happening because of overweening government force.

Not one of these people wanted to do this. Not one of them is the type who loves standing in front of microphones and sounding off. Every single one of them is putting their livelihoods on the line to stand for what they believe against a government that has taken hubris as its operating standard.

According to court testimony by administration attorneys, the fiction that is driving these government attacks on religious liberty is a deliberate narrowing of the First Amendment. Instead of religious freedom that applies to every man, woman and child in this great nation, the Obama Administration is seeking to shoe-horn it into the box of a narrow “freedom of worship.” In other words, keep your faith behind the closed doors of church sanctuaries, or suffer government-mandated penalties.

The standard argument against all this is either a stubborn sophistry which simply denies the obvious, or an insulting version of the hayseed argument. The hayseed argument goes like this: We sophisticates in the know understand that these hayseeds out in the hustings are deluded fools for thinking that their rights are being violated. We morally superior denizens of right-thinking also know that the hayseeds in the hustings are so blighted morally that their outdated ideas of religious fealty need to be shut down for a greater good that is defined by — you guessed it — us.

The hayseed argument, stupid and arrogant as it is, is actually the driving argument behind all these initiatives against individual freedom. It is the insider’s view of what they think is outsider foolishness for opposing the obviously higher morality and wisdom of their betters.

A slightly different version of the hayseed argument is the moral ingrate argument. It goes something like this: Moral imperatives which have been discovered in the last five years require that the moral ingrates of this country abandon their claims to religious freedom in order to serve the higher morality that we sophisticates have fashioned for ourselves and which we are going to use government force to enforce on everyone else.

The hayseed and moral ingrate arguments often overlap in actual practice. Sometimes they merge. The subtle difference between them is that one appeals to the pretension of moral superiority on the part of those who purvey it, and the other feeds their pretensions of intellectual superiority. Both arguments are at base a pose and a sham that have far more to do with bell-jar/echo-chamber thinking than anything approaching reality.

There is one other argument that surfaces in these discussions. That is the every-kid-in-China argument. This one is familiar to mothers of previous generations who were faced with recalcitrant children who wouldn’t eat their veggies. You know: The every kid in China would love to have that spinach on your plate, so you’d better eat it argument.

Applied to the question of attacks on religious freedom in America today, it goes something like this. Christians in other parts of the world are suffering real persecution. They are being burnt, beheaded, raped, imprisoned and tortured. So how dare you complain about government oppression of your little rights?

The irony is that this particular argument is usually advanced by someone who, in other contexts, does everything they can to deny and minimize the horror of Christian persecution.

I’m going to circle back here and take another look at the original question: Is religious freedom threatened in America today?

The answer is, of course. That’s obvious. The parsing — and that’s all it is — runs along lines of party affiliation and prejudice.

 

Note: This post is my reply to the discussion about Patheos’ Public Square Question: Is Religious Freedom Threatened? 

Hobby Lobby Founders Discuss the Supreme Court Arguments on the HHS Mandate

I’m not going to do a post mortem on the arguments the Supreme Court heard on the Hobby Lobby/HHS Mandate case.

I won’t give you a run-down of which justice twitched, which one pulled his or her earlobe and who coughed. Trying to divine how the Court will rule by studying the questions justices asked and the expressions on their faces has become a kind of sport, like handicapping a horserace. Only it’s not nearly so accurate.

I think we would know just as much about what they’re going to do if we slaughtered a goat and studied its entrails.

Besides, I’m too nervous about this one to do that. The Court hasn’t exactly been a friend to people with traditional Christian values for a long time now. In fact, the Court has made itself the architect of this brave new baby-killing, marriage-is-meaningless world we inhabit. To a great extent the whole social mess is of the Supreme Court’s devising.

But this decision is one of the really big ones. Will we be free after this ruling?

It depends.

On how they rule.

The Court can destroy religious freedom with this ruling. It can also do as it did with the gay marriage ruling last summer and just put out a row of dominoes for others to knock over and destroy it in succeeding months.

What are the chances that the Supreme Court will actually rule in favor of religious freedom?

Will we be free after this ruling?

It depends.

On them.

 

The owners of Hobby Lobby spoke about yesterday’s arguments before the Supreme Court. Here is what they said.

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Religious Freedom: Will the Supremes Let Us Keep It?

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Photo Source: Deseret News

Today’s the day in which the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in Sibelius vs Hobby Lobby.

The question at hand is not whether the HHS Mandate is Constitutional. The question which is being brought before the Court is whether or not the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 protects Hobby Lobby against the fines and penalties of the HHS Mandate.

The Obama Administration has argued in previous court appearances that the First Amendment only applies to formal worship activities and other direct actions of federally recognized churches, within the confines of their church proper. This narrow interpretation of the First Amendment would end freedom of religion in this country. In fact, it is very similar to the kind and type of religious freedom that totalitarian states operating under communism grant.

So much is at stake with this case.

Please pray that the Supreme Court will preserve the religious liberties and religious exemptions that Americans have long enjoyed.

From SCOTUS Review:

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

Linked with:

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
13-354 10th Cir. Mar 25, 2014 TBD TBD TBD OT 2013

Issue: Whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb et seq., which provides that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless that burden is the least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest, allows a for-profit corporation to deny its employees the health coverage of contraceptives to which the employees are otherwise entitled by federal law, based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners.

Baptists Teach Catholics How to Follow Church Teaching

 

This is basically what Pope Francis teaches about economics in Evangelii Gaudium.

There is nothing “Marxist” about it. It is basic Gospel teaching that every serious Christian should seek to follow.

It comes from an Oklahoma Southern Baptist family, talking about their business. This is the brave Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby.

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