A Message About Religious Freedom From Citizens Next Door

 

and around the corner. Folks of every creed, every color, and every political persuasion. Folks who recognize when their government has overstepped its boundary, and overreached.

See if you approve of this message too.

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  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

    I do. I support the freedom of employees to have full benefits, used according their beliefs, rather than held hostage to the beliefs of their employers.

    That is religious freedom.

    • Ted Seeber

      You must have some strange meaning of the word “freedom” that means “slavery”.

      • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

        Who’s enslaved?

        • Faith

          The employers are. They are forced to pay for something that is morally reprehensible to them. The employees are free to move to another job or decide not to take the job if they know the employer does not provide free contraceptives. Or they can go and get cheap contraceptives from the drugstore.

          • Frank Weathers

            I’ve yet to find an employer that will provide me with free beer. Perhaps a SuperPac would help?

          • Vision_From_Afar

            So by not allowing dictatorial control over employee health benefits (remember, we’re talking about forcing extra benefits, not removing existing ones), that enslaves the employers to the chains of choice for those who may not be of the same religion? That whole “free to go somewhere else” crap didn’t cut it in the 60s, and it doesn’t work now.
            The employee should not be forced to job-hunt specifically to find the health coverage that is the least restrictive, at least not while we live under the monopolistic auspices of the current regime of health insurance companies. If prices were allowed to be actually competitive, and people were allowed to create collective bargaining groups (akin to what companies currently do for their employees) outside of an employment sphere, the entire point would become delightfully moot.
            The root of the problem is the stranglehold the current insurance companies have over the cost and availability of health care. Create the conditions for a truly open market, let the companies cease to cover employees directly and simply puts the money in their paycheck to purchase whatever insurance they want, et voila, problem solved!

        • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

          No, they’re not. Any more than giving someone a paycheck and then having that person spend it on heroin forces an employer to pay for something they consider reprehensible.

          Insurance, just like a paycheck, is compensation. So unless you believe that my employer can tell me what do with my pay, then they have no control over what people do with their compensation. And that’s as it should be.

          Don’t believe me? Its not just a humble commenter like myself using this argument. Its US courts. Here’s one such case, written by a Republican appointee.

          http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/10/03/court-rejects-challenge-to-contraception-mandate/

          • Frank Weathers

            Insurance. Yes, I remember what that is for. Catastrophic losses. Feel free to scroll thorough all of the posts you’ll find on the HHS Mandate in this space. There are even some court cases too.

          • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

            Actually, giving your hair splitting argument far more time than it deserves your still wrong.

            “2: a means of guaranteeing protection or safety”

            Health care coverage protects and makes your health safe. And that applies to doctor visits and contraception. Similarly, while there are places where contraception can be gotten cheaply, different women have different chemical compositions, meaning that the generic version might not work for them, or give horrible side effects. And the more long term and most effective forms of contraception can be quite expensive, running into the thousands of dollars. Its like arguing that no should have poor nutrition in American because everyone can afford something from the McDonald’s dollar menu.

            And once again, since this seems to be the theme of your posts, it is no more an restriction on religious freedom to mandate health care insurance companies cover a certain procedure than it is to mandate that car companies put seatbelts in their cars.

          • Frank Weathers

            But are contraceptives via artificial hormones “safe?” That’s the question.

            But the fight is against the government deciding for a religion what is a sin, and what isn’t. To date, the U.S. Government never decided they were the font of intrinsic truth. Until now. That is the issue.

          • Faith

            Your comparison of the mandate for employers to provide benefits for contraceptives and sterilization and a simply paycheck is specious at best. If it was just a matter of paychecks that would be a different things altogether. Suppose you hired me to work for you. I knew you were a vegetarian who was passionate about preventing animal cruelty. What if a law was passed that said you had to provide benefits to me that specifically covered my being able to buy meat. It wasn’t just me taking the money I had earned and going out and buying meat privately, but it forced you as my employer, even though everyone knew you felt eating meat was morally wrong, (perhaps even it is one of the founding principles of your enterprise), to specifically fund my purchase of meat. You had to pay for a benefit that could only be used to buy meat. See the difference? Just giving me my paycheck and my doing my thing and you doing your thing is different from a law forcing you specifically to underwrite something that you find morally reprehensible.

            The thing I have noticed about my friends who don’t understand what the big deal is about the HHS mandate is that they aren’t very religious to begin with. I think religious freedom just doesn’t register with them. It is kind of amazing how little imagination they have or how they just stumble logically when it comes to the issue. Like Nathaniel here they conflate all sorts of things and refuse to see logical differences. I had one usually reasonable friend argue that since I paid taxes which may or may not pay for things I object, I had some how given up all rights to object to having to pay for anything that the government forced me to do. So by being a law abiding, tax paying citizen I had forfeited any right to conscientious objection. Wrong. And deeply at odds with an understanding of how the Constitution works.

            As for the one instance of the Republican judge – there are pro-choice Republicans and judges who make bad law all the time. Hopefully, things get straightened out in the long run.

          • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

            It isn’t deciding whether contraception is a sin. The Catholic church can declare its a sin till the cows come home. Similarly, even though inter racial marriage has been the law of the land since Loving vs. Virginia, there are still churches that believe mixing races is a sin. And there is no one stopping them.

            You want to know whats a lot more dangerous than the most side effect prone contraception? Pregnancy. To the tune of 12.7 mothers dying for every 100,000 pregnancies. 49th lowest in the world, which places us about a third way down the list. Of course this is for the entire population. For African Americans specifically its 34.8.

            And if this still seems small, in comparison the number for the worst, Afghanistan, is 1,400 out of 100,000 or about 1.4% of pregnancies end the death of the mother. Making contraception widely available in Afghanistan could save 100s of women a year.

          • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

            @Faith
            “What if a law was passed that said you had to provide benefits to me that specifically covered my being able to buy meat?”

            You mean like food stamps, that can be used for any kind of food whatsoever? Your position is like a Jain arguing that foodstamps represent an infringement of their religious beliefs because it allows people to get food from killed animals.

            More directly related to work, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that blood transfusion is a sin. Do you hold the position that a employer who is a Witness should have the right to mandate their employees pay out of pocket for such potentially life saving procedures?

            Or what about a Christian scientist? Can they demand that if their employees are so foolish as to rely on anything other than God and prayer for their good health they must do so without the help of insurance?

            Or to go back to my car example, if it a terrible infringement of religious freedom if a car company CEO thought that seat belts were a violation of a commandment to put trust in God above all, yet was forced to put them in his car designs anyways?

            To declare say is to say that any and all laws and rules are subject to the veto of a person’s personal ideology, without regards to the rights or the safety of others. If I had a religion that held that washing hands is a sin, would you be terribly impressed with my cries of persecution when my attempts to become a surgeon were denied?

            And furthermore, no Catholic organization will have ever have to pay single cent for contraception. That is entirely decided by the employee and their insurer. Just as other forms of compensation are spent by the discretion of the employee.

            And the notion that insurance is compensation is borne out by history. In World War 2 the US government mandated wage control to prevent inflation. So in order to be competitive companies started to offer health insurance as an alternative means of giving compensation. Its because of that historical artifact we’re even having this discussion in the first place.

            And I’m very aware of religious freedom. In this case, I am particularly keen on the freedom of employees to use their compensation freely, without veto because their boss is religious.

          • Frank Weathers

            “And furthermore, no Catholic organization will have ever have to pay single cent for contraception.”

            Unless they’re self insured, in which case they clearly will. And if they aren’t self-insured, they’ll be paying the bulk of the premiums for the health insurance of their employees, thus “paying” for the mandated contraceptives in that way. Which is why the Church sees right through the mandate, it’s flimsy accommodation and is fighting this battle in the courts.

            You know, employees can use their Flexible Spending Accounts to go to Walmart, Target, Walgreens, etc., and buy the pill for 9 whole dollars a month, all on their own, and without insurance. That’s cheaper than buying a twelve pack of beer AND they would get a tax benefit by using their pre-tax FSA dollars.

          • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

            “You know, employees can use their Flexible Spending Accounts to go to Walmart, Target, Walgreens, etc., and buy the pill for 9 whole dollars a month, all on their own, and without insurance. ”

            You know, it would be nice if you could actually respond to arguments I have made in response to this position. It would make me feel more sure that you’re actually reading my posts and comprehending them.

            “Unless they’re self insured, in which case they clearly will.”

            Being self insured is a choice. Nothing is forces a company to do so.

            “they’ll be paying the bulk of the premiums for the health insurance of their employees”

            They’ll be paying money to a third party to provide service to their employees as alternative form of compensation rather than straight cash. If they feel uncomfortable because of the actions of a third party, they can always stop paying insurance in favor of paying their employees in higher pay checks as an incentive to join their company. Nothing is preventing them from doing so.

            Furthermore, if this is such a horrible case of infringement on religious liberty, why are they only complaining now?

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/08/08/christian-college-provided-emergency-contraception-to-employees-but-they-only-got-mad-when-obama-mandated-it/

            Wheaten College, a plaintiff in a case against the mandate, already had contraception as part of their insurance plan. Furthermore, before the HHS mandate 26 states mandated contraception coverage in insurance plans?

            http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/insurance-coverage-for-contraception-state-laws.aspx

            If this is really such a defining civil rights issue, why did the Catholic Church only start complaining when such a rule went national?

  • Tim in Cleveland

    Is that Justice Sotomayor in the middle of the first photo?

    • Frank Weathers

      Heh!

  • Faith

    I tried to post yesterday but it kept saying I was spammy! Anyway, I’ll be brief because I don’t have much time:

    @Nathaniel, let me just pick apart your first fatuous argument since I don’t have time for all of the them. Comparing my example to food stamps is silly. Food stampa are something you apply to the gov’t to receive, so are different from private compensation from a job. Also, there is nothing in food stamps that forces one to buy meat only. So it was just a dumb response to my example. It is better to argue a point from reason than emotion, just to give you a little free pointer there. Then you’ll be less likely to make really stupid comparisons that work on no level whatsoever.

    2. You don’t understand the point being made here. The First Amendment restricts GOVERNMENT. That’s why they added those amendments to make sure government didn’t overstep its bounds. There is no fundamental right to contraception protected by the First Amendment. There is a fundamental right to the free exercise of religion, meaning that the government can’t interfere with a citizen’s exercise of religion. So an employer refusing to pay for an employee’s contraception is not violating any fundamental rights whereas the government forcing the employer to buy insurance that specifically covers contraception, something that goes against the employers religious beliefs, is violating the free exercise of religion.

    3. Birth control pills are rated as a class 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization. This is what the gov’t wants to be given to women for free. This is what you want thrusted upon poor women in the name of health. What would protect women from death in childbirth would be good prenatal care, food, water, medicine. I was just reading a book about Haiti where there was a community that had an incredibly high death rate, not just for women in childbirth but everybody. This community had no easy access to potable water. Some charity group built a well for them and suddenly no more deaths! Water is more important than birth control pills. Birth control pills open up a whole can of worms (they do not protect against STDs which are of epidemic proportion now, for instance). It just heartless, in my opinion to hand a poor woman BC pills instead of attending to her basic human needs first.

    3. I think you also misunderstood Frank’s point about insurance. Insurance used to mean paying something into a fund that would protect you in case of an emergency. Now it’s meaning has transmogrified into something that is a payment plan for regular health care. It is true that in the U.S. it became the practice for employers to compensate their employees by making certain benefits part of their payment. However, this wasn’t always the case. You could be just paid in money and then go and buy your own private insurance coverage. I think (if I understand things correctly) the fact that it became considered normal to get not only payment in money but in insurance actually drove up the cost of individual insurance policies. People became stuck to their jobs, even if unhappy with them because they could never afford to pay the insurance separately. So if John Smith wanted to quit his job, he was afraid to because little Johnny Jr. needed braces or because his wife had a pre-existing condition. So insurance as compensation actually had a backlash in terms of affordability.

    Gotta run and take care of my kids.

    • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

      And yet you ignore every other single example I made.

      Well, that’s certainly an interesting interpretation of the 1st amendment you have. One thankfully rejected by the courts for decades. The government is quite capable of restricting religious practices if they conflict with the rights of other people.

      Great example is Christian Scientists. They disavow any use of medicine, electing to pray away their illnesses instead. Even for their children. Even when their children die as a result. And as a result of that, these parents have been fined, punished, or even sent to jail for this. Is this a horrible infringement on their religious freedom by the government, or the government protecting the rights of children? You tell me.

      Your third point is a complete non sequitar. So are alcohol, char marks on steaks, and artificial sweeteners. All it means is that there is some evidence somewhere that links such things to some person’s cancer.

      I bet you didn’t even know what that term meant. Its just a scary sounding phrase Catholics use to titillate each other around the campfire. Ooooh!

      As for number four, you have essentially conceded the argument. Saying that insurance used to mean something different is like saying that gay used to mean happy. Completely irrelevant.

      I’ve been glibly told that if people want contraceptive coverage, they could just get a job elsewhere. Your frank admissions belie that claim. As you correctly note, many people before Obamacare couldn’t leave their jobs for fear of losing their health insurance, potentially the only thing keeping them from poverty if something goes wrong.

      Given that circumstance, Obama and Congress concluded that coverage should be comprehensive as possible, including contraception. Contraception not only improves the health of women on aggregate, but also is far cheaper than pregnancy and childbirth.

      • Frank Weathers

        I bet you didn’t even know what that term meant. Its just a scary sounding phrase Catholics use to titillate each other around the campfire. Ooooh!

        Flag on the play, Nathaniel. 10 yard penalty.

        I have no problem with folks having a civil argument in the combox. Henceforward, ensure you keep ad hominem attacks in your pocket at all times. Otherwise you’ll get ejected from the game.

        So be civil. Capice?


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