Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

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Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Lou » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:39 pm

So far no one here on the BL boards has waded into the recent Supreme Court decision re. Hobby Lobby and one of the provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka 'Obamacare'). In the interest of fools rushing in where angels fear to tread, here I go...

In the midst of all the melodramatic hyperbole and doomsday hand-wringing from the political left over the Court's decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, it seems to me that something is being (conveniently) ignored: In their majority opinion, the Court cited as a precedent the 2006 SCOTUS decision to uphold the provisions of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as that Act applies to federal statutes. In other words, in the Hobby Lobby case the SCOTUS issued a ruling that was consistent with how they had previously ruled on another law (the RFRA).

And incidentally...that 1993 RFRA received nearly unanimous bi-partisan support in both houses of Congress (unanimous in the House of Representatives, and 97-3 in the Senate), and was signed into law by a Democrat president (Clinton); and its applicability in limiting federal laws that impact the free exercise of religion was upheld by UNANIMOUS vote of the Supreme Court in 2006. In deciding the Hobby Lobby case, the majority of justices simply agreed with what every single one of them (including the judicial liberals) had said back in 2006.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Neil Heath » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:53 pm

Lou, I need to point out that I have seen both moderates and conservatives who posted their disagreement with the HL decision, so I don't think it's the political left alone that has a problem with it.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Lou » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:24 pm

Neil Heath wrote:Lou, I need to point out that I have seen both moderates and conservatives who posted their disagreement with the HL decision, so I don't think it's the political left alone that has a problem with it.


Perhaps so, Neil, but the vast majority of the wailing and gnashing of teeth that I've observed has been coming from that side of the aisle. Of course, one has to factor in the reality that hyperbole and histrionics are 'coin of the realm' in political language--whether the speaker is Democrat, Republican, or something else. The point I was making (and probably making poorly) is that so many on the left are now upset about the consequences--unintended though those consequences might be--of a law that they themselves gave wide support to just a few years ago.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby KeithE » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:54 pm

Read more about this ruling here.

and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act here

The RFRA original was only applicable to when a person's religious freedom was being curtailed by a Federal Act.

This ruling has extended that to call "closely held corporations" not just persons as the RFRA clearly stated.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-141, 107 Stat. 1488 (November 16, 1993), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb through 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-4 (also known as RFRA), is a 1993 United States federal law aimed at preventing laws that substantially burden a person's free exercise of their religion.
underline mine.

The Greens and the Hahns (owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood respectively) can now offer insurance that does not cover 4 specific contraceptives that act before implantation:
The Green and Hahn families object to their closely-held for-profit corporations providing health insurance coverage to their female employees of four FDA-approved contraceptives that the Green and Hahn families believe may prevent implantation of a fertilized egg (many scientists disagree), which the Green and Hahn families believe constitute an abortion:[10][11][12]
Emergency contraceptive pills (sometimes inaccurately called "morning after" pills)
- Plan B (levonorgestrel) and its generic equivalents
- ella (ulipristal acetate)

Intrauterine devices (IUDs):
- ParaGard (copper IUD)
- Mirena and Skyla (levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs)


This ruling is no big deal in itself (their 21,000 employees at HL and 1,000 employees at CW will have to pay for these 4 contraceptives themselves or use other contraceptives or find employment elsewhere). However, the precedent set that the RFRA applies to corporations as well as person's may lead many owners of corporations (closely held or publically traded) to place undue influence on people in their employ (very possibly leading to discrimination in hiring, firing, welcome based on the personal religious views of their employer). I hope HL and other business owners do not feel so emboldened.

Thus the ruling has open the doors to corporation infringement on personal religious freedom/beliefs while limiting federal government infringement on corporate owners. Bad ruling in my opinion and a misapplication of the RFRA. Sorry Lou, I support the RFRA and it's emphasis on personal religious freedom (as any good Baptist should), but this 5-4 ruling sets a dangerous precedence and clearly a celebrated "culture war" event.

I agree with Ruth Ginsburg's dissenting opinion where she said (among other words):
"Until this litigation, no decision of this Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law, whether under the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA. The absence of such precedent is just what one would expect, for the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities."
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Lou » Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:09 pm

KeithE wrote:This ruling is no big deal in itself (their 21,000 employees at HL and 1,000 employees at CW will have to pay for these 4 contraceptives themselves or use other contraceptives or find employment elsewhere). However, the precedent set that the RFRA applies to corporations as well as person's may lead many owners of corporations (closely held or publically traded) to place undue influence on people in their employ (very possibly leading to discrimination in hiring, firing, welcome based on the personal religious views of their employer). I hope HL and other business owners do not feel so emboldened.

Thus the ruling has open the doors to corporation infringement on personal religious freedom/beliefs while limiting federal government infringement on corporate owners. Bad ruling in my opinion and a misapplication of the RFRA. Sorry Lou, I support the RFRA and it's emphasis on personal religious freedom (as any good Baptist should), but this 5-4 ruling sets a dangerous precedence and clearly a celebrated "culture war" event.


The issue of closely-held corporations being accorded the same legal rights as individual persons under the RFRA is certainly an interesting one, and I suspect that we've not heard the last of it. But there is a problem inherent in 'slippery slope' arguments, because--paradoxically--they start us down their own slippery slope. For example, I don't know what the 3 Senate dissenters were specifically opposed to when they voted against the RFRA, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they were afraid that the Act might start us down a slippery slope to the very place where we now are with this Supreme Court decision. Did Congress and the President realize in 1993 that the RFRA might open the door to abuse? Almost certainly. But it was the opinion of 100% of the House of Representatives, 97% of the Senate, and the sitting POTUS that it was a risk worth taking in order to protect individual religious liberties from the encroachment of Federal legislation.

In any case, the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga decision encompassed the single issue of whether or not those corporations should be required to offer health insurance that provided drugs which the majority holders (the Green and Hahn families) believed to be abortifacient, and thus contrary to their religious beliefs. If that decision emboldens those corporations or others to take actions which over-reach into other areas not therein addressed, we can be assured that those actions will be similarly litigated.
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Mendacity is the course of the right's fight against Roe

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:40 pm

The Hobby Lobby case is interesting indeed, and the horribles; well no one knows. There was an interesting chat, Lou, yesterday on NPR Fresh Air program about how Roberts is setting things up that could make the church state landscape anti-BJC in 25 years for sure.

Will be interesting to see how this plays at the American Truth conference at FBC Spartanburg S.C. in September, home of Trey Gowdy and billy Graham.

Lou, I trust you've read the Stansell piece on mendacity and the politics of abortion at New Republic.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby KeithE » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:47 pm

Lou wrote:
KeithE wrote:This ruling is no big deal in itself (their 21,000 employees at HL and 1,000 employees at CW will have to pay for these 4 contraceptives themselves or use other contraceptives or find employment elsewhere). However, the precedent set that the RFRA applies to corporations as well as person's may lead many owners of corporations (closely held or publically traded) to place undue influence on people in their employ (very possibly leading to discrimination in hiring, firing, welcome based on the personal religious views of their employer). I hope HL and other business owners do not feel so emboldened.

Thus the ruling has open the doors to corporation infringement on personal religious freedom/beliefs while limiting federal government infringement on corporate owners. Bad ruling in my opinion and a misapplication of the RFRA. Sorry Lou, I support the RFRA and it's emphasis on personal religious freedom (as any good Baptist should), but this 5-4 ruling sets a dangerous precedence and clearly a celebrated "culture war" event.


The issue of closely-held corporations being accorded the same legal rights as individual persons under the RFRA is certainly an interesting one, and I suspect that we've not heard the last of it. But there is a problem inherent in 'slippery slope' arguments, because--paradoxically--they start us down their own slippery slope. For example, I don't know what the 3 Senate dissenters were specifically opposed to when they voted against the RFRA, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they were afraid that the Act might start us down a slippery slope to the very place where we now are with this Supreme Court decision. Did Congress and the President realize in 1993 that the RFRA might open the door to abuse? Almost certainly. But it was the opinion of 100% of the House of Representatives, 97% of the Senate, and the sitting POTUS that it was a risk worth taking in order to protect individual religious liberties from the encroachment of Federal legislation.

In any case, the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga decision encompassed the single issue of whether or not those corporations should be required to offer health insurance that provided drugs which the majority holders (the Green and Hahn families) believed to be abortifacient, and thus contrary to their religious beliefs. If that decision emboldens those corporations or others to take actions which over-reach into other areas not therein addressed, we can be assured that those actions will be similarly litigated.


Slippery slope arguments can be weak (e.g. if we let Vietnam go Communist the whole world will slip into Communism). But if there is a culture war going on as we are seeing, people hop unto a multi-populated bandwagon (ie. the coalition of evangelicals, RW politicos, and business interests) I see that slope as pre-greased.

For instance I see where the Citizen's United decision (where corporations (and their money) were given the Constitutional right of free speech [traditionally confined to people not corporations] wrt political contributions) led to

the McCutheon decision wrt to unlimited contributions from individuals allowing the wealthy more voice in elections which has led to

the now the Hobby Lobby decision where corporations (not just people) have been granted religious freedom which paradoxically curtails the religious freedom of individuals if the owners wish. What will come next? The right to not hire someone for their religious beliefs even if that organization is secular in nature.

It is only with this current set of conservative judges (in the 5:4 majority) that any equivalency of corporate to personal rights has been made. Imo, the fact that the conservative evangelicals, the rich, and corporate interests generally vote Republican is the prime reason for these recent SCOTUS decisions. Traditionally Republicans and Baptists are been the ones favoring individual responsibility and rights. But now the lure of influencing social behavior (conservative evangelicals) and the retention/increase in wealth (the rich and corporations), they see matters differently.

BTW in case you did not know, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (now just called Baptist Joint Committee) was instrumental in the drafting and passage of the RFRA. And that was with individual rights in mind to go with individual responsibility before God that Baptists champion. I'd love to know James Dunn's or Buzz Thomas's or Brent Walker's view of this Hobby Lobby decision. Does anyone know if they have commented?
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Ha Lou read this?

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:52 pm

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Re: Ha Lou read this?

Postby KeithE » Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:37 pm

Stephen Fox wrote:http://abpnews.com/opinion/commentaries/item/28885-justice-blundered

Good article Stephen!
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Lou » Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:39 pm

Stephen, thanx for the heads up on the ABP article, which I'd not seen until now. I briefly scanned it, and plan to read it more thoroughly a bit later. At first glance, the writer makes (IMO) a much stronger case with her 2nd and 3rd points than she does with the 1st.

A phrase that is being given a lot of ink (or a lot of rearranged electrons) in this conversation is some variation or another on the theme of women being "denied the opportunity to make choices about reproductive healthcare"--a statement which is patently untrue. No one is being denied the opportunity to make choices; this Court decision was about who gets to foot the bill for those choices. Hobby Lobby's position is that they ought not be forced to pay for insurance which provides medicines which are abortifacient, but their employees are still completely free to take their prescription for those drugs to the local Walgreens and pay for them themselves. (That is where the ABP article's second, and much stronger, point comes in--whether a for-profit corporation should be accorded the same status as a church or other non-profit entity when it comes to making decisions about providing health insurance.) I read an interesting article this morning which stated that at least one of the drugs on the Hobby Lobby 'no' list can be had for less than 40 bucks at the local pharmacy, which is less than what I spent on my last Albuterol inhaler, even with my Blue Cross discount thrown in.

In any case, the business of permitting some medications and denying others for coverage by insurance companies is nothing new. It's certainly not a practice that begins only now that the SCOTUS ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby. There is not a health insurance policy now in force in this country that does not have exclusions and limitations written into it; and patients happily (OK, maybe not happily) adjust by seeking out the medicines or other treatments that their policies cover.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Neil Heath » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:59 pm

An equally important question in my mind centers around the idea that we should allow the Greens to act on what they believe to be true, even if it isn't true at all. The medical info I have read uniformly agrees that the 4 methods in question do not cause abortions.

I have read that the court let stand some lower court rulings that allowed others to refuse paying for all contraceptives, not just those 4, and also instructed that some other cases be reviewed in light of the high court's ruling. This could get quite interesting...

Update: I found the story I had read on the expanding effects of the decision.
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/supreme-court-scotus-hobby-lobby-all-forms-contraception
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Lou » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:09 pm

Neil Heath wrote:An equally important question in my mind centers around the idea that we should allow the Greens to act on what they believe to be true, even if it isn't true at all. The medical info I have read uniformly agrees that the 4 methods in question do not cause abortions.


That's a good question. In fact, it's a question that came up in a conversation I had earlier today about this issue. Think about it like this: Would you want for your religious beliefs to have to be empirically proven to be true, before you'd be permitted to act on those beliefs?

Consider the following logical syllogism:
* It is impossible for all religions to be true.
* The laws of the U.S. nonetheless guarantee that adherents of all religions have the right to believe as their own religions teach, and to act according to those religious beliefs. (I know there are obvious exceptions to this general statement--human sacrifice comes immediately to mind--but for the purposes of the syllogism, let's allow it to stand as written.)
*Therefore, U.S. law permits people to believe things that are not true, and to act on those beliefs.

Simplistic, I realize...but it does illustrate the logic of why the Greens (for example) should be allowed to act on their beliefs, even if what they believe happens not to be true (a point I'm not yet prepared to concede, awaiting further research on my part).

In fact, it's worth reviewing that 2006 SCOTUS decision, in which the Justices unanimously affirmed the RFRA's protections against federal intrusion in the matter of religious expression. That decision revolved around the case of a certain church whose members imbibe a tea containing a Schedule I Controlled Substance as part of their religious observance. Evidently those church members believe that drinking the hallucinogenic concoction brings them closer to God as they worship. Now...does consuming an otherwise illegal hallucinogen enable them to encounter God more easily and profoundly? I seriously doubt it, and I daresay that strict science would be on my side in that opinion. But science notwithstanding, the SCOTUS unanimously agreed that under RFRA, the Feds had no right to tell them they couldn't consume it. Bringing it back to the Hobby Lobby case, science might or might not be on the Green family's side, but the fact that the Greens SINCERELY BELIEVE that those birth control methods produce abortions makes it a serious religious and spiritual issue for them--and that's the basis on which the case was litigated.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Sandy » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:25 pm

I think the problem here is how to define the religious beliefs of a corporation. How is it that a corporation collectively holds a religious belief? And how is it a violation of individual religious freedom if the business they own, or partially own, can't be defined as a religious institution? Nor is the owner forced to pay insurance premiums for medications that they believe to be abortifacient, since it is not their money, but that of the corporation that pays the insurance premium.

This particular Supreme Court is the first one to apply constitutional rights to corporations and business entities that, in a strict constructionist view of the constitution, were intended to apply only to individual citizens. In the past, Supreme Court rulings have gone the other way, in preventing corporations from infringing on individual rights of employees and customers. If you can convince me that a corporation can experience conversion to Christian faith, then I'll concede that this Supreme Court decision was consistent with over 230 years of constitutional interpretation. If you think that they can be, then I guess you believe that pickles have souls.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Neil Heath » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:50 pm

Two very good posts, Sandy! Thanks for thinking on this and sharing what you've come up with so far.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Lou » Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:03 pm

Sandy, I was with you right up to your last couple of sentences:

If you can convince me that a corporation can experience conversion to Christian faith, then I'll concede that this Supreme Court decision was consistent with over 230 years of constitutional interpretation. If you think that they can be, then I guess you believe that pickles have souls.


I'm assuming that parting shot was directed at me, seeing as how I'm the only one of my opinion to have weighed into the conversation up to this point. Sandy, I'll gladly engage you in a civil discussion of facts and opinions about those facts, as I believe we've had to this point. But if the conversation degenerates into snide condescension, I'll find other things to do.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Sandy » Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:53 pm

No "shot" intended. I'm simply putting two things into the same category. Clearly, pickles do not have souls, neither can corporations experience a conversion to Christ, or to any religion. The Supreme Court has always, until now, defended individual rights against corporations, trusts, cartels, or other for-profit conglomorates. All of a sudden, it is creating a situation which allows individual rights to be trampled, and which is setting up a scenario that will allow corporate entities and business interests to buy the favor of the government by campaign contributions, and to use religious exemptions to increase their personal profit.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby William Thornton » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:14 am

Sandy is as of now wrong. Corporations have certain first amendment rights. It is a thorny issue.

But I would ask my mod/lib friends to set aside the corporate hating and Democratic talking points, and for the piece linked above by Campbell-Reed, the buzzword rich women's rights stuff and consider the matter from this viewpoint.

Hobby Lobby is a closely held corporation, not a person, just a person for legal purposes. That's what corporations are. It's big but there are gazillions of small corporations. I'd bet many BLers are part of some either by ownership or employment. I'm part of a very small family corporation. What we do is as personal as if there were no corporate structure and the family all paid portions of every bill as a personal expense. Is there any real difference between my acts and the acts of the family corporation? Not really. If the corporation had a female employee (we have none) who, in the interest of controlling their bodies and reproductive health, decided to have a full term baby ripped from her womb and dismembered, should I and a few other family members be forced to pay for that? Is there some reason that gummit could not impose such a requirement that companies pay for partial term abortions of their employees if gummit so deemed it in the public interest?

You might argue that Hobby Lobby is far beyond what should be considered a closely held yet public corporation, perhaps that will be litigated, but the court made some provision for such entities and their religious beliefs. No one knows where it might go. Bruce speculates that Muslim corporations might require burqas of their female employees, and praying five times a day. That's a bit of nifty speculation. Others speculate that corporations might refuse to serve certain races. All that is shrill nonsense at this stage. Protecting religious freedom is a complicated thing. I see no lessening of the complexity.

I'd be more worried about gummit driving certain unfavored groups out of the commercial life of our nation under the guise of public welfare.

Since gummit has created a business environment that makes certain corporate structures advantageous, indispensible actually, to modern commerce, could gummit so act as to punish those individuals who wanted to engage in commerce in our society and maintain their moral principles? And could gummit act in response to certain constituencies so as to drive those of certain religious convictions from the economic life of our nation through both corporate law and health care or other mandates. You bet gummit could, would, and given the freedom to act, some legislative bodies would do so in a heartbeat. Although Campbell-Reed had a caveat about gummit requiring health care to be paid for by businesses, one might reasonably assume that she or those of similar mind would readily push gummit to so act.

If I were a big bidness hater like Sandy, or feel that the gummit should force, with guns and blood if necessary, citizens to act against their beliefs in order to make them pay for the health care of others, a position Timothy takes and others here, I'd might be worried about where this can go. I fear the power of gummit more than some fundy business owner. The former has guns, armies, and bullets. The latter has very little power.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Ed Pettibone » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:43 am

Ed: Despite a bit of deliberate incendiary language this was one of your best post William. :thumb:

As you say " I'd bet many BLers are part of some either by ownership or employment. " That is a good bet Most denominations and many churches are Incorperated.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:21 am

For me, as for many I'm reading here, this SCOTUS decision is neither a victory for Christians or corporations or liberty. I'm no legal scholar, but the application of religious rights to corporations can cause all sorts of havoc as individual rights are trumped by corporate rights. For example, a friend believes that the debt provisions of the Sabbath Year in the OT should be applied. Does that mean that someone believing this from a literal scriptural interpretation should be freed from all remaining debts after 7 years? Corporations, claiming to be Christian, certainly are selective literalists in their application of scripture.

I see nothing but endless litigation ahead with the flood gates opened by this decision. Companies with deep pockets will be looking for religious exceptions. I believe individuals will be the losers in the freedom as corporations get religion for their own gain.

Also, there was nothing in the Hobby Lobby decision that questioned the convictions of the Greens in the realm of science. In fact, the scientific evidence of how a couple of the named drugs work did not support their allegations about them. Have we opened a door where claims that are not supported by evidence now can become the law of the land? If so, we are in deeper waters legally than we dare to go.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Lou » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:26 am

I knew something was wrong with Sandy's logic, but it took reading William's post to realize what it was (for which I thank you William).

While it's true that corporations, in their definition as legal entities, are incapable of making moral choices, it is nonetheless true that corporations are capable of acting in ways that are either virtuous or evil. How is that possible? It's possible because corporate decisions aren't made by some nebulous business entity; they are made by people in positions of ownership and/or leadership within those corporations. If a corporation uses its resources to engage in business that is found to be illegal, the prosecutor doesn't gather up the corporate documents and have those documents arrested, or take the equipment that was used in the perpetration of the crime and throw it in jail. No, he finds the person responsible, and holds that person accountable. And if it's true that the owners of a business can be held legally liable (by the government) for the actions they take in that ownership role, it's also true that those owners ought not be forced (by the government) to act in ways that they believe to be morally wrong.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Lou » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:40 am

Dave Roberts wrote:For me, as for many I'm reading here, this SCOTUS decision is neither a victory for Christians or corporations or liberty. I'm no legal scholar, but the application of religious rights to corporations can cause all sorts of havoc as individual rights are trumped by corporate rights. For example, a friend believes that the debt provisions of the Sabbath Year in the OT should be applied. Does that mean that someone believing this from a literal scriptural interpretation should be freed from all remaining debts after 7 years? Corporations, claiming to be Christian, certainly are selective literalists in their application of scripture.


Under the Levitical code, the Israelites borrowed and extended loans with the understanding from the get-go that those debts would be cancelled after 7 years. That reality was part of the transaction from the very beginning. Not so with modern loans--before the lender hands over the check, the borrower pledges to give the money back (with interest). If your friend borrowed money on the basis of a promise that the debt would be forgiven in 7 years, then he has every right to expect that promise to be upheld. But if he borrowed money with the promise that he would pay it back with interest, the lender has every right to expect your friend to keep his promise.

Also, there was nothing in the Hobby Lobby decision that questioned the convictions of the Greens in the realm of science. In fact, the scientific evidence of how a couple of the named drugs work did not support their allegations about them. Have we opened a door where claims that are not supported by evidence now can become the law of the land? If so, we are in deeper waters legally than we dare to go.


See my reply to Neil, above.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Bruce Gourley » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:40 am

The Hobby Lobby decision is a disaster for freedom of conscience, religious liberty and church state separation. Baptists in the 17th and 18th centuries gave their all to win freedom of conscience and religious liberty equally for all, and now the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized religious discrimination in the workplace. In short, your employer can now legally force his or her religious beliefs upon you.

This us unconscionable and diametrically opposed to our Baptist heritage, the teachings of Jesus and the Gospels as a whole.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Sandy » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:30 pm

William completely sidestepped the issue. The fact of the matter is that there is no precedent, nor any constitutional support, for this ruling. The constitution allows the legislative branch of government to pass laws which regulate corporate and business entities, including regulations which protect their employees in matters of salary, benefits, hours and working conditions, and a whole host of other protections. It is the government (of the people) responsibility to be the line of defense for its citizens when it comes to employment standards. That's why there's an age requirement, why employers must meet certain safety standards and regulations, why they must pay social security, why there's a minimum wage. All of those laws, and accompanying Supreme Court rulings, are based on the constitution's guarantees of individual rights. This ruling allows the religious convictions of a majority shareholder, through their business operation, to impose their religious beliefs on their employees through their business practices.

William conveniently left out any references to precedent, because he's flat wrong, and there aren't any. First amendment rights are individual protections, including protection from the exploitation of corporate entities and business interests.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby KeithE » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:43 pm

Bruce Gourley wrote:The Hobby Lobby decision is a disaster for freedom of conscience, religious liberty and church state separation. Baptists in the 17th and 18th centuries gave their all to win freedom of conscience and religious liberty equally for all, and now the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized religious discrimination in the workplace. In short, your employer can now legally force his or her religious beliefs upon you.

This us unconscionable and diametrically opposed to our Baptist heritage, the teachings of Jesus and the Gospels as a whole.

Well Bruce I agree it could conceivably get so bad as legalizing religious discrimination in the “for-profit” workplace, but this ruling does not go anywhere near there. Its effect is limited to women not being insured for 4 contraceptives that the Greens/Hahns believe are abortioncides (which is debatable). That’s a long way off from legally forcing religious beliefs on their employees. And yes I did read your article. Here are some lines from that article that overreach, imo.

Similar to that earlier era, the religious dogma of the Green family (the Southern Baptist owners of Hobby Lobby) is now legally binding upon employees.


For example, the second-largest shareholder of News Corps, parent of Fox News, is Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a Muslim. The way has been paved for News Corp to decree that women employees must wear Islamic garb, and that all employees must pray five times a day toward Mecca. The many Mormon-owned corporations (Mormonism being “the most capitalist religion”) can now, if they wish, set their sights on requiring employees to abstain from coffee and tea while on the job, or mandate the wearing of Mormon sacred garments as a part of the workplace dress code.


America’s — and Baptists’ — hard-fought heritage of church and state separation is now endangered by five radical members of the Supreme Court who, in the space of two months, have twice decreed that the religious dogmas of powerful and privileged Christians must be favored over and against the rights of ordinary citizens.


BTW, there is an exemption for providing insurance for contraceptives/abortioncides that clearly cause an abortion that any corporation/insurance company can employ now under the ACA. This Hobby Lobby suit was merely arguing over technical details wrt 4 abortioncides and driven by our “culture wars". It made a mountain out of a molehill with great religiosity fervor. More important in my view, is that it gave corporations freedom of religion rights meant to be rights of individuals - a dangerous precedence just like the Citizen’s United ruling has set a dangerous precedence by declaring corporations are people with free speech rights (unlimited money can be contributed to election campaigns).

And BTW, religious organizations (not for-profits organizations like Hobby Lobby) can choose to hire only those of their brand of religion currently.

The Christian Right Wing has a persecution complex, instead of accepting persecution (as minor as it is in this country) as Paul, Peter both teach, they may attempt further steps towards coerced Christian beliefs through the ruse of the religious rights of corporations or other means. However, I’m not so cynical to believe that even this SCOTUS would allow that. The door has been cracked as you say Bruce, but it is a long way from being opened. Usually I’m am right with you on these C-S issues, Bruce, but I think you over-reached on this one.
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Re: Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS decision

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:18 am

Ed: Keith I agree. However when you write "And BTW, religious organizations (not for-profits organizations like Hobby Lobby) can choose to hire only those of their brand of religion currently.
I think it would convey your thought more clearly if you had started the parenthetical statement after "not". As it is on first read, it looks as if your are calling Hobby Lobby a "not for profit".

I hope our friend Bruce faces no real disaster.
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