The religious liberty right to believe that algebra is an abortifacient

The lawsuit involving Tyndale House’s “religious” refusal to provide health care for female employees raises some intriguing questions.

Tyndale is Protestant, and thus lacks any longstanding doctrinal or theological basis for its alleged religious objection to contraception. So Tyndale House is pretending it’s not about an objection to contraception, but to abortion — because, contrary to science and reality and Tyndale’s own religious tradition, they “believe” that contraceptives are “abortifacient.”

Interesting.

Say you have a public school student who is an observant Jew. That student has a reasonable religious liberty objection to being offered only school lunches containing pork. But what if this student were to refuse school lunches containing beef, asserting that he believes beef to come from pigs and therefore to violate his religious commitment to keeping kosher.

Does the school have an obligation to accommodate the delusional belief that beef comes from pigs? Tyndale House says yes. The Christian publisher says it has a right to its own sectarian facts and sectarian reality, and that no such thing as objective truth exists that might constrain that.

The Rutherford Institute — which is like a much more thoughtful and interesting version of the religious right — is making a similar legal argument on behalf of a Texas high school student who objects to the GPS tracking in her school’s student ID badges.

One could certainly argue that this is an intrusive violation of students’ privacy, but the religious right does not believe in privacy. So instead the Rutherford lawyers are arguing that the ID badge violates the student’s “religious liberty,” because she believes she’s being asked to accept the Mark of the Beast spoken of in the book of Revelation.

Note that any sort of objective, knowable reality is irrelevant to this legal argument. It does not matter that the Northside Independent School District is not, in fact, the Beast of John’s Apocalypse. Nor does it matter that this student ID is not, in fact, the Mark of the Beast.

The student’s beliefs are factually wrong — demonstrably so. Her beliefs are based on poor exegesis, scientific ignorance, a haughty disdain for others, and a preference for fearful lies over objective truth. Yet they remain her beliefs. And thus, Rutherford says, she has a legal right to be foolishly, fearfully wrong. Sure, her church seems to be the sort of place that abuses the Bible, cherry-picking distorted proof-texts to reinforce a stunted, fearful incomprehension — but it’s still a her church.

Religious liberty cannot only mean the right to believe in that which can be proved. Nor can it only mean the right to believe in unassailable religious claims that can neither be proved nor disproved. It also has to include the right to believe in sheer nonsense that can be or even has been disproved. The state does not want to get entangled in the business of evaluating the relative respectability or legitimacy of various religious claims.

This is why the law surrounding religious freedom attempts to remain neutral about the legitimacy of religious claims, restricting itself to evaluating instead whether or not the state has a compelling secular interest in regulating behavior related to those claims. A school district can probably manage some accommodation for a student who claims to think ID cards are the Mark of the Beast, but what of students who claim to believe that vaccination is the Mark of the Beast? Or what if a student, emboldened by Tyndale House’s suit, claims that his religion forbids algebra because it is an “abortifacient”? (That claim would have as much basis in reality as Tyndale’s own supposed “belief” about contraception does.)

The bottom line, for me, is that we should try to accommodate even delusional kooks just as long as they are not hurting anyone else. The Texas student doesn’t seem to be hurting anyone else, so she can likely be tolerated as That Weird Kid With No ID Because She Thinks Everyone Else Is The Antichrist. She may cling to a theology that literally demonizes the entire school district, but since it’s also a flaccid, impotent theology that doesn’t require her to confront this supposedly Satanic evil in any meaningful way, she’s probably mostly harmless.

But Tyndale House is not harmless. The publisher is refusing to provide the health insurance its employees have earned. That is “wages kept back by fraud,” as the book of James says, and it should not be legally permitted, no matter what trumped up religious delusions Tyndale claims as justification for such wage theft.

  • http://ifindaudio.blogspot.com/2010/02/joe-hill-sung-by-paul-robeson.html Murfyn

    Prosperous, well-educated women have fewer children than their poorer sisters.  Education and economics (and engineering and agriculture, etc.) are obviously “abortifacient.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    I think we can’t use harm as a gauge of what religious practices to allow or not, because the religious groups would then be able to counter-claim with harm beliefs. Birth control is an abortifacient, and taking an abortifacient is a danger to your immortal soul, potentially damning you to hell for all eternity, which is a far greater harm than merely receiving slightly lower wages.

    We can in fact use harm for that purpose; in fact, we must. The people claiming that something is harmful and should be prevented, reduced, and/or discouraged must prove the claim, though. Reasons preventing contraceptive use is harmful: some people don’t dare get pregnant or can’t bring a pregnancy to term (for a variety of reasons), some people have reproductive health issues that are best treated by daily doses of the hormones in the Pill. Citations, anybody who’s prescribed contraceptives ever. Reasons contraceptive use is harmful: it endangers one’s immortal soul and risks eternal damnation. Citations…um, first prove the existence of ‘immortal soul’ and ‘eternal damnation’.

    I don’t see a problem with minors drinking communion wine. A once-weekly sip of alcoholic substance isn’t going to hurt anybody.

  • AnonaMiss

    For example, I have no problem with saying it’s OK to serve alcohol to minors with their parents’ approval, even if the minors subsequently become intoxicated. And, sure, that should apply to Catholic religious services as well, if Catholics want it to.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that’s how it works. While in practice parents can serve their children alcohol in their homes, if the home were raided for an unrelated reason, I believe those parents could be charged with corruption of a minor and that the child (if above the age of 18) could be charged with underage drinking. As far as I’m aware, the religious exemption is the only exemption to the underage drinking ban on the books.

    Your position seems to be that there should be no such thing as a religious exemption – that religions should not have privileges not also afforded to other people on secular grounds. While this is a perfectly rational position to take, it’s not the position of the law in the United States. Christians are allowed to serve wine to minors, Alaskan natives are allowed to hunt endangered species, some native tribes are allowed to smoke peyote, and religions of all stripes (theoretically) are allowed to ignore federal labor laws for employees serving a religious purpose.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    There must be an abortion spell somewhere, right? (Probably in the Book of Erotic Fantasy. I’m thinking necromancy, wiz/sor 3rd or 4th?

    There is in GURPS!  Like three different ones, because it’s GURPS, and they have details for everything.  The GURPS spell list is remarkable in that it’s like 30% obvious adventuring use, 70% utility (things like ‘season’ and ‘tell time’), and 100% amazing.

    Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure that an abortion spell in D&D may be unworkable due to LoS rules.

  • Albanaeon

    Heck, if we really go whole hog logic here, than any sex has a non-zero chance of creating a fertilized egg.  That egg has a pretty significant chance of not-implanting.  Since Tyndale (and others) seem to think this is the same as an abortion, sex in and of itself can be considered an abortifacent.  In fact, it is the ultimate one since no abortion would ever occur if there wasn’t sex.

    So I expect these good folk at Tyndale to immediately abstain from sex, forthwith.

  • Lunch Meat

    there are scientific studies that show that birth control pills thin the uterine wall.

    Could you please provide a citation for this? As far as I know it has never been shown that contraceptives, at the dosages that are prescribed for contraception, can have an effect on the uterine lining anywhere near enough to prevent implantation. At much, much higher doses there’s an effect, but then, nearly everything can kill you at an extremely high dosage. If religious companies can deny coverage of contraceptives to their employees because they object to the possibility of being responsible for a theoretical effect that has only ever actually been shown to happen when they’re used wrong (by taking too many at once), then I should be able to deny coverage of any health care at all to my employees, because there’s a nonzero chance that any medical procedure or prescription could kill them, and I don’t want even the possibility of being responsible for someone’s death. Since this effect has never actually been shown, it should be the employee’s choice whether or not they want to assume the risk.

    And heath care that includes coverage for contraception has a higher cost.

    Again, citation. I understand that insurance companies would rather fund contraception, because pregnancy, babies, and children are much more expensive. The same way they would rather fund dental checkups, because root canals are more expensive.

    Anyway, the ACA’s compromise for this was to mandate that if the employer does not want to offer insurance covering contraception, then the insurance company would contact the employee directly and offer the coverage at no extra cost. So the employer doesn’t have to pay for anything if they don’t want to.

  • AnonaMiss

    I just want to clarify  that I am totally in favor of contraception being included in any health plan labeled ‘comprehensive’, with the attendant penalties on those who don’t wish to provide comprehensive health insurance to their employees. I’d be even more in favor of single-payer, but baby steps.

    Personally I’m against pretty much all religious legal exemptions on the grounds that law should be entirely secular – with the exception of exemptions for Native Americans on tribal land because they deserve far more autonomy than we allow them, and religious exemptions are one of the few ways they’re able to exercise autonomy.

    I was raised in a liberal mainline protestant church with a heavy prohibitionist & social justice tradition and was taught that, while drinking and gambling weren’t wrong in themselves, if someone drinking or gambling with you was set on the road to addiction or did something harmful to themselves under the influence, that harm was partially your fault and definitely your responsibility to correct. (The denomination is also legally recognized as conscientious objectors, or-so-I-was-told, though from what I’ve heard of other branches of the denomination I’m not sure that’s actually the case). So I’m sympathetic to the idea that enabling-something-you-consider-harmful can be something you’re religiously opposed to.

    I happen to think Tynsdale are lying out their asses that it’s a principle they actually hold, since let’s face it, it’s Tynsdale House, but you’d have a hard time proving that in court. 

    The relevance of the wine comparison comes down to this, now that I’ve thought about it some more: if we can’t legally hold religious organizations to prohibitions because of their religious beliefs, how on earth can we claim we can hold them to legal requirements? And ultimately, for institutions that are religious enough, we don’t even try to: churches etc., actual ‘houses of worship’, are exempt from the healthcare fine for their religious employees. The harm that giving access to birth control does or does not do is irrelevant to the legality of the situation in their case, and so if Tynsdale House can successfully claim the protections afforded to houses of worship, the harm done by birth control or lack thereof would similarly be irrelevant.

    Fighting the battle on ‘harm’ comes down to a he-said she-said where we end up being required by legal precedent to come down in favor of the ‘he’ because ‘he’ thinks his god told him to and the precedent is that law is supposed to respect that, at least when it’s a religion that’s legally recognized. Imo the only ways to win this battle would be to 1) demonstrate that Tynsdale House isn’t ‘religious enough’ (murky legal ground to say the least, especially since as a purely religious publisher they could claim all of their publications as ‘ministry’); or 2) argue that if Tynsdale House wants a policy that doesn’t cover birth control pills on the grounds that they have their own definition of ‘abortifacient’, it must also refrain from covering any other drugs that fit that definition of ‘abortifacient’. Which would just further their ultimate goal of not being required to support 11!!SOCIALISM!11!.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    they believe that it ceases being alcohol once blessed

    No we don’t.

  • AnonaMiss

    I was pretty sure not believing in literal transubstantiation was a heresy; at least, the Catholic mother of a friend of mine pointed me to a verse that in that edition said that anyone who takes communion without believing the wine and host to be the blood and body of Christ damns themselves to Hell. (She seemed to think this would make me convert to Catholicism, and was put off/stopped talking to me for a while after my reaction was basically “Huh, that does seem to be the proper reading. Good thing I don’t believe in the bible!”)

    Does the transubstantiation happen after you’ve eaten it? Or is this one of those Trinity-esque “it’s both at the same time” things that, as a materialist, I have a hard time grasping?

  • Tricksterson

     Forgot atheists.  Muslims are exactly the same as atheists and don’t let either tell you different.

  • Daughter

     I’m not understanding you when you say, “The problem is exacerbated by the number of companies who use SSN as an
    employee ID, even though they are explicitly not supposed to do that
    sort of thing.”

    Are you referring to employers who issue an actual ID tag to allow employees to enter their buildings, and saying that these employers use the SSN on those tags, even though they’re not supposed to?

    If not, then what do you mean? Because I thought the original (and primary continuing) purpose of the SSN was to serve as a record of your employment with any employer, to report your earnings to the IRS and  facilitate withholding for your future social security benefits.

  • Tricksterson

    !:  Lalalala Can’t hear you!

    2:  Obama!

    3:  It’s right in the Gospel According to Lahaye and Jenkins!

  • Tricksterson

    It is in Massachusetts.

  • xuinkrbin

    Actually, Tyndale is required by the mandate to provide contraception. Since Tyndale uses a self-insured plan, it pays, generally speaking, for whatever medical expenses are incurred by the Employees. If an Employee does avail Themselves of certain items under the mandate to which Tyndale’s Owners have a religious objection, the mandate does require said Owners to cover the cost of the same, thereby creating the “provision” to which Tyndale objects. As far as whether “Tyndale House should refuse to pay its employees any salary.  After all, an employee might choose to use that salary to purchase contraceptives,” such a distinction involves what the courts call “line drawing”, a practice in which the Supreme has stated courts may not engage for decades.

  • Tricksterson

    Only in the Book of Exodus.

  • Mark C

    It’s my understanding that since the pill reduces the number of eggs available for fertilization, the number of fertilized eggs naturally flushed out of the body in a sexually active woman would be reduced.  If the fertilized egg/embryo is a person… birth control would actually reduce the number of fetuses naturally aborted.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Fighting the battle on ‘harm’ comes down to a he-said she-said where we end up being required by legal precedent to come down in favor of the ‘he’ because ‘he’ thinks his god told him to and the precedent is that law is supposed to respect that, at least when it’s a religion that’s legally recognized.

    Only if he can produce evidence that his god (1) exists (2) told him to (3) ought to be obeyed despite the fact (which she has produced evidence to prove) that obedience on this point hurts people. If what he wants to do doesn’t hurt anyone, then he doesn’t need to produce any evidence beyond it being a religious thing. But if it hurts people, and triply so if the person being hurt is not the person whose religious beliefs are under discussion (case in point, someone nonreligious whose Catholic employer doesn’t want to cover the contraception that the employee needs), then there’s a higher standard.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     > any sex has a non-zero chance of creating a fertilized egg.

    I am startled to learn that.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    As far as I know, you’re correct about current U.S. law.

  • Tricksterson

    Okay, I can see your confision and I’ll admit up front that it’s been a real long time since I was Catholic so any corrent Catholics, or even other exes that remember better feel free to correct me.  The wine is wine and the literal blood of Christ, just as Jesus was 100% God and 100% man and God is simultaneously three beings and one being. (Okay, I’ll admit that since I believe in the existance of the Triple Goddess I have no room to poke fun on the last one).

  • Tricksterson

    So a cleric spell.

  • Daughter

    …then I think we can safely conclude they don’t actually give a crap
    about saving embryos,  just about controlling women’s sexuality.

    I wonder if that’s the case. Despite having attended conservative churches for many, many years and reading boatloads of Christian books and issues of Christianity Today, I never heard any objections to birth control pills until this year. I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of American evangelical women (outside of the Quiverful movement)  past the age of say, 23, have used them. Furthermore, they have done so in good conscience, not believing their use to be going against their churches’ teachings, the way Catholic users of BCP might.

    So if it opposition to BCP were merely about controlling women’s sexuality, they would have opposed them before now. (Note: I do think there are many ways that many evangelical churches try to control women’s sexuality. Until this year, however, opposition to BCP hasn’t been one of them).  Instead, I think this new anti-BCP push  is about tribalism (“we must oppose anything Obama proposes”); scare-mongering (“This is another example of gov’t encroachment on our freedom!”); and jumping on the bandwagon (“If we don’t start clamoring that we oppose the birth control mandate, too, then people might think we’re liberals!”).

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

     And heath care that includes coverage for contraception has a higher cost.

    Higher than health care that has to pay out for pregnancy? Or anything, really – hey, we can make health care a lot cheaper by dropping all sorts of things.

  • AnonaMiss

    I disagree that all of this evidence is legally necessary for an exemption. If it were, then houses of worship would be required to provide insurance including contraception for their religious employees (not that a church conservative enough to oppose contraception would likely have many female employees). As the law stands now, churches & houses of worship are exempt from providing contraceptive coverage under the ACA, despite being unable to prove the three things you listed, so there is legal precedent for exemption for ‘sufficiently religious’ employers. 

    The legal question isn’t what the right thing to do is. The question is whether Tynsdale House, by virtue of being a for-profit organization which engages in nothing but “ministry”, should be categorized as an exempt ‘religious institution’ or a non-exempt ‘business.’I completely agree with you on what the law should be, but I disagree with you on what it is.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Or is this one of those Trinity-esque “it’s both at the same time” things that, as a materialist, I have a hard time grasping?

    Yes. It’s not transformation, they’re still wine and bread, they’ve just become something more.

  • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

    Since Tyndale uses a self-insured plan, it pays, generally speaking, for whatever medical expenses are incurred by the Employees.

    The law does not require that they be self-insured.  If being self-insured requires them to act against their conscience, then they should stop being self-insured.

  • Lunch Meat

    The law does not require that they be self-insured.  If being
    self-insured requires them to act against their conscience, then they
    should stop being self-insured.

    Exactly. Being self-insured does not give them the right to police their employees’ health care decisions. Allowing self-insured companies to decide what they will and will not cover because of “conscience” opens the door for those companies to refuse to offer coverage for anything they want, which directly harms employees, by denying them compensation that they’ve earned, and defeats the purpose of the ACA.

  • xuinkrbin

    Oy, Got. Where to begin? Okay. If I may start with a diplomatic summary: this article has so many flaws, it’s not even wrong.

    “Tyndale is Protestant, and thus lacks any longstanding doctrinal or theological basis for its alleged religious objection to contraception.” — The Supreme Court has long held “doctrinal or theological basis” is not a necessary condition for raising and sustaining a Free Exercise Clause objection to a law.

    “So Tyndale House is pretending it’s not about an objection to contraception, but to abortion — because, contrary to science and reality and Tyndale’s own religious tradition, they ‘believe’ that contraceptives are ‘abortifacient.’” — No, Tyndale objection is the fact /some/ products classified as “contraception” may have an abortifacient-like effect by preventing a fertilizing egg from successfully implanting into the uterine wall. Tyndale may have good reason to believe such since, for example, copper IUDs, *seem* to have, as one mechanism of action, the destruction of said egg before implantation occurs. If such a mechanism did not exist, the theory goes, copper IUDs would have similar “failure rates” as, say, Plan B; however, copper IUDs have lower “failure rates”, in line with the theory.

    “But what if this student were to refuse school lunches containing beef, asserting that he believes beef to come from pigs and therefore to violate his religious commitment to keeping kosher. … Does the school have an obligation to accommodate the delusional belief that beef comes from pigs? Tyndale House says yes.” — The school in this hypothetical scenario would have the option of allowing Students to bring lunch in from home, thereby “opting out” of the otherwise government mandated food choices with no penalty attached. In the Tyndale case, no “opting out” is permitted, absent the payment of fines which amount to almost $40,000 per Employee per year regardless of the number of violations involved: leave such coverage out for even just 1 Employee and the fine is levied. Since 50 full time equivalent Employees are needed for the mandate to apply, the fines easily reach the $2 million level per year, if not more.

    “The Christian publisher says it has a right to its own sectarian facts and sectarian reality, and that no such thing as objective truth exists that might constrain that.” — No, Tyndale’s Owners say They have a right to Their own *beliefs* and no court may say review the accuracy of those beliefs, both of which are true. The right to belief is guaranteed by the Free Exercise Clause and the Supreme Court has for years held the judiciary will not inject itself into assessing religious beliefs, most recently in the Hosanna-Tabor case.

    “The Rutherford Institute — which is like a much more thoughtful and interesting version of the religious right — is making a similar legal argument on behalf of a Texas high school student who objects to the GPS tracking in her school’s student ID badges. … her church.” — Red Herring fallacy. Tyndale =/= Rutherford Institute.  However, even if they were the same, clearly, the Student is free to belief what She wants to believe and Courts are not permitted to second guess that belief. What matters in both cases is whether the belief, whether accurate or not, has been balanced with any compelling government interest.

    The bit about religious liberty including belief in demonstrably true, demonstrably false, and neither, and about the state needing to stay neutral with respect to the three is absolutely correct. At the same time, the reductio ad absurdium is undercut by the examples given. “[W]hat of students who claim to believe that vaccination is the Mark of the Beast? Or what if a student, emboldened by Tyndale House’s suit, claims that his religion forbids algebra because it is an ‘abortifacient’?” — Courts have held, since alternative sources of education exists in the form of private schools, parochial schools, and home schooling, a public school may require vaccination (and in the alternative scenario, algebra) as a condition of enrollment; Those not vaccinated are free to seek schooling elsewhere without penalty. In the Tyndale case, however, even if Tyndale Employees were offered no health insurance coverage, Tyndale and, by extension, Tyndale’s Owners would face massive fines; no zero-penalty provision exists.

    “But Tyndale House is not harmless. The publisher is refusing to provide the health insurance its employees have earned. That is ‘wages kept back by fraud,’ as the book of James says, and it should not be legally permitted, no matter what trumped up religious delusions Tyndale claims as justification for such wage theft.” — This is where the logic train completely flies off the rails. (1) Health insurance coverage =/= “wages”. Health insurance is far closer to a voucher for specific purchases, each of which involve binary choices [i.e., get a vasectomy or don't, have a pap smear or don't, see a Specialist or don't], and is distinctly different from the generally universal fungibility of cash. (2) Fraud can only occur where deception exists; no deception has occured. (3) Theft involves either fraud or the deliberate taking of something which belongs to Someone Else, neither of which is happening by Tyndale’s refusal to pay for contraception in its Self-insured medical plan. (4) Getting a law passed is not the same as Employees “earning” what the law says They should get; while the law may be a good one, the goodness of a law is not the same as Employees “earning” the changes that law brings. (5) Tyndale telling Employees, “If You want contraception, You have to pay for it out of the cash We give You in salary/wages, as opposed to the funds left in the Tyndale checking account after We have paid You,” is not harm; if it were, Tyndale would be harming Employees Who are mugged if Tyndale did not provide every Employee a loaded gun to carry around. Neither is Tyndale preventing Competitors from offering an otherwise identical line of employment with the same salary and benefits plus contraception coverage, which would be the only other way I can imagine Tyndale might possibly “harm” Employees by not directly providing contraception.

  • Katie

    The Pill can slightly thin the uterine lining.  If it is taken according to direction and it is working properly.  But if the Pill is working as its supposed to, then the cervical mucous will be thicker and ovulation will be suppressed, which will prevent conception.  If the Pill isn’t working as its supposed to, and conception happens, then a woman has the same odds  of of successful implantation as a woman who isn’t using contraception at all.  At least, this was the finding of a study that was done in England a few years ago that Google isn’t helping me find. 
    The idea that a thinned uterine lining can cause a embryo to not implant is based on a theory of how implantation works, and how the Pill works, that, it appears isn’t correct.  Which is good news, if you actually care about the fate of embryos, and bad news, if your real goal has to do with controlling sexual behavior or scoring political points.

  • Albanaeon

    Yep, that was my fault for forgetting the male with female part of sex. 

    Sorry about that folks.  It’s fixed.

  • AnonymousSam

    Actually? Once upon a time (about a century ago), a doctor posted a research paper in which he claimed that women who are educated become less fertile than women who are uneducated. One could extrapolate this with the contraception/intentional infertility=abortifacient logic to be an indication that algebra is, indeed, an abortifacient.

  • Lunch Meat

    I haven’t the slightest idea where you’re getting your “$40,000 per employee per year” figure. This is from healthcare.gov, which explains all the requirements of the ACA:

    Starting in 2014, large businesses (those with 50 or more full-time workers) that do not provide adequate health insurance will be required
    to pay an assessment if their employees receive premium tax credits to
    buy their own insurance. These assessments will offset part of the cost
    of these tax credits. The assessment for a large employer that does not
    offer coverage will be $2,000 per full-time employee beyond the
    company’s first 30 workers.

    $2,000/year is less than the average amount that most people pay for their insurance coverage. Most companies who are not self-insured would save money if they refused to offer insurance. I don’t know how much self-insured companies pay for their employees’ health care, but it’s probably not much more than $2,000.

    Health insurance coverage =/= “wages”. Health insurance is far closer to
    a voucher for specific purchases, each of which involve binary choices
    [i.e., get a vasectomy or don't, have a pap smear or don't, see a
    Specialist or don't], and is distinctly different from the generally
    universal fungibility of cash.

    Health insurance may not be wages, but it is compensation/earnings. If the employees haven’t earned their health insurance, if Tyndale is only paying for their healthcare out of the goodness of Tyndale’s heart, then can Tyndale refuse to cover any procedure just because they have a problem with it? Can Tyndale refuse to cover surgery because the employee hasn’t prayed hard enough for God to heal them? Can a Jehovah’s Witness institution, if self-insured, refuse to cover blood transfusions? Can an institution whose owners are vegan refuse to cover medications derived from animal products or tested on animals? Can a Jainist institution refuse to cover procedures that kill bacteria, viruses or tumors?

    The bottom line is that employers do not get to police their employees’ healthcare choices just because they are involved in the payment of health insurance.

  • AnonymousSam

    Considering the Bible would have us place women in isolation and burn everything they’ve touched while on their period, along with some people tying it to original sin and proof of Eve’s wickedness, I don’t think you’d have to look that hard to find people who’d agree with this logic.

  • AnonymousSam

    I thought the same thing. It’s not that big of a leap when there are conservatives who want to get rid of minimum wage, with the argument “If you don’t want to make five cents an hour, just work somewhere else, DUH.” Just tweak the wording a little: “If you don’t want to work for free, just find a paying job, DUH.”

  • Kubricks_Rube

    (2) Fraud can only occur where deception exists; no deception has occured.

    The deception is that contraception = abortion.

    (3) Theft involves either fraud or the deliberate taking of something which belongs to Someone Else

    Are the female employees of Tyndale paying the same amounts for their piece of the insurance policy as the male employees? Then they have earned and paid for equal access to comprehensive coverage.

    (4) Getting a law passed is not the same as Employees “earning” what the law says They should get

    Tell that to the EEOC, which ruled that an insurance plan that inlcudes prescription drug coverage but does not cover contraception is discriminatory.

  • The_L1985

    Actually, the peyote exemption was struck down.

  • The_L1985

    Generally, it is believed that the consecrated wine is both wine AND blood at the same time. Because miracle.

  • The_L1985

    Gay people don’t exist, haven’t you heard?

  • ReverendRef

     By the same reasoning, Tyndale House should refuse to pay its employees
    any salary.  After all, an employee might choose to use that salary to
    purchase contraceptives.

    Or dildos.  Because I’m sure Tyndale does not view sex as fun.

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    Unless the ID cards are also used to unlock the doors a la corporate ID cards.  (Then you have to watch out for “tailgating” or “piggybacking” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piggybacking_(security) )

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    Which brings us back to, why does Tyndale pay employees at all when they might spend it on birth control? 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    $2,000/year is less than the average amount that most people pay for
    their insurance coverage. Most companies who are not self-insured would save
    money if they refused to offer insurance. I don’t know how much
    self-insured companies pay for their employees’ health care, but it’s
    probably not much more than $2,000.

    This explains why I see so many people carping and moaning about how zomg they want to offer their employees health insurance but that big McMeanypants Obama isn’t letting them do it.

    This strikes me as one of those unintended-effects things that the health exchanges will probably fix if people can buy into the federal gov’t employee plan en masse.

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    Not to mention that birth control drugs are also used to control painful and potentially life-threatening conditions like endometriosis.  I have friends who would like children, but would have to stop their endometriosis treatment to have them.  

  • Joykins

    Yeah…anyone who is really strict about Kosher isn’t going to eat anything except maybe a vegan type salad/fruit plate in a public cafeteria. Even if all ingredients are obvious (and in school cafeterias, they aren’t), the butchery or utensil/dishware rules are sure to kick in.

  • Brad Jones

    For a citation that birth control pills thin the uterine wall, it’s on the back of the box (and their website):

    http://www.mirena-us.com/what-it-does/how-mirena-works.jsp

  • Joykins

    Tyndale doesn’t have only one religious belief here.  There are a whole chain of religious beliefs here, actually, to wit:

    1) certain types of birth control prevent or inhibit implantation.  FACT: This is speculative at best. We do know that Plan B almost does not work this way, and all the ways IUDs work are  not fully understood. (It is also thought that breastfeeding inhibits implantation).

    2) Inhibiting or preventing implantation intentionally is exactly the same as an abortion.  (see breastfeeding, above–that doesn’t count, apparently, although it has the same kind of effect on the endometrium–although I do not know whether Tyndale covers lactation services.  And of course probably most fertilized eggs fail to implant on their own).

    3) Abortion is immoral.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     “…if we can’t legally hold religious organizations to prohibitions because of their religious beliefs, how on earth can we claim we can hold them to legal requirements?”

    But we CAN legally hold religious organizations to prohibitions, despite their religious beliefs.   It’s illegal to cut off your daughter’s clitoris in the US, for example, although unfortunately it’s still done.   Many states have laws protecting parents who fail to provide medical treated for religious reasons, at least in some situations.  However, not all of them do, and parents *have* been convicted on those grounds. 

    Try murdering someone and claiming that your religious beliefs required you to murder them.  It’s unlikely to go over well.

    Yes, the federal and state governments have CHOSEN to provide religious exemptions to some laws.  They’re not REQUIRED to.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Re: the Pill as an abortifacient.  My understanding is that ANYTHING that messes with the menstrual cycle can, occasionally, lead to a failure to implant.  That means not only the Pill, but exercise, stress… 

    Breastfeeding definitely can lead to failure to implant: if any action that could hypothetically cause a zygote to fail to implant is abortion and therefore a mortal sin, breastfeeding after the menstrual cycle resumes is certainly a sin and should be avoided at all costs.  But if religious organizations have rules prohibiting breastfeeding, it’s news to me.

     

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     My understanding is that the manufacturer’s statements about thinning the uterine wall, failure to implant, etc. were based on beliefs about how the Pill and Plan B might work when they were first released.  No studies had actually been done, but the manufacturers thought it MIGHT happen, so it went into their information.

    Subsequent studies have indicated that these initial beliefs were incorrect.

  • Carstonio

    But if religious organizations have rules prohibiting breastfeeding, it’s news to me.

    Sure, because they’re treating the real wrong as not wanting to be a mother, or worse, wanting to have sex without wanting to be a mother.


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