Freedom of Religion

The Hobby Lobby Decision Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means

Critics claim the ruling will allow countless companies to deprive female workers of health insurance coverage for birth control. It doesn't.

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Hobby Lobby
Dang Apricot / Wikimedia Commons

Organizations concerned with public policy have a habit of hyping developments that relate to their concerns. When the Supreme Court ruled that some corporations are exempt from paying for employees' contraceptive coverage under Obamacare, both sides loudly trumpeted its importance.

The right celebrated the verdict as a stinging defeat for an administration at war with religion, while the left decried it as the latest offensive in the conservative war on women. There was no one to say the decision is not a terribly big deal. So let me say: It's not a terribly big deal.

In the first place, the number of companies who will demand or qualify for the exemption is small. University of Virginia constitutional scholar Douglas Laycock told me that religious liberty claims by businesses like those here "almost never arise. These were cases where the owners unanimously agree on the religious commitments of the business and have demonstrated that over time." That doesn't happen very often, and regulations that genuinely conflict with those commitments are rare.

Critics claim the ruling will allow countless companies to deprive female workers of health insurance coverage for birth control. It doesn't. In fact, one major reason the court was willing to provide this accommodation to Hobby Lobby and other closely held corporations is that the administration can easily assure coverage for those women.

Some religious universities and hospitals had also objected to being compelled to pay for contraception. So the Department of Health and Human Services devised an alternative to spare them having to do so.

If an institution objects to providing the coverage, its insurance company has to provide it separately to employees, at no extra cost. Writing for the court, Justice Samuel Alito said, "HHS has provided no reason why the same system cannot be made available when the owners of for-profit corporations have similar religious objections."

If it were made available, he noted, the effect "on the women employed by Hobby Lobby and the other companies involved in these cases would be precisely zero. Under that accommodation, these women would still be entitled to all FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing."

That doesn't sound like the court is waging a merciless War on Women. It also doesn't sound like Christian conservatives have a lot to cheer about. In giving them a victory in this case, the justices pretty well doused their hopes in related cases. 

Those cases involve religious institutions that object not only to being required to provide contraceptive coverage, but also to the HHS alternative. The University of Notre Dame has sued, claiming that having to notify the feds of its objection violates its religious freedom. So has Wheaton College. An order of nuns called Little Sisters of the Poor is also challenging the procedure.

Their argument was always a reach. Filling out a form claiming an exemption is not much trouble. Nor does it make these institutions complicit in sin: The insurers have to provide the coverage even if they don't fill out the forms.

In this instance, Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said in ruling against Notre Dame, the odd thing is that "the beneficiaries of the religious exemption are claiming that the exemption process itself imposes a substantial burden on their faith." He compared it to a conscientious objector asking out of the draft while insisting that the government not draft anyone else instead.

But the way the court framed the Hobby Lobby opinion makes it even less likely to succeed. The justices in the majority, who stressed that the government can use an alternative means of providing contraception, are not likely to turn around and say the alternative is illegal.

The conservative alarms about the alleged threats to religious freedom are way overblown. But there is something to be said for government policies that let people of strongly held opposing views go their separate ways.

Religion has always been an emotional topic with great potential to provoke conflict among people of different faiths. The genius of our system is that it allows them to coexist, even if they deeply detest each other, by giving every group the space in which to follow one god or many gods or no god.

The ultimate resolution of the contraception issue in Obamacare will probably leave everyone dissatisfied. You could call that a curse. Or you could call it a blessing.

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  1. If an institution objects to providing the coverage, its insurance company has to provide it separately to employees, at no extra cost.

    Of course we all know insurance companies print their own money so it is really “free”. Beyond that, why would any company now not object? Why pay for the coverage when all you have to do is object and get it for free?

    The end result of this would seem to be that the tax payers or everyone who has insurance is now on the hook for providing free birth control to anyone who wants it. That seems like kind of a big deal to me.

    1. Health insurance is part of workers’ compensation. It is paid for by the individuals who get it, with their labor. This isn’t about people wanting free stuff. In this case it’s about employers getting an exemption from giving a certain portion of the compensation they owe employees, because they claim that their deity doesn’t like that bit.

      1. See Dances-With-Trolls below

        1. That is a stupid argument, as you all tell me whenever I say if you don’t like living by a social contract you are free to move somewhere that doesn’t have one.

          1. if you don’t like living by a social contract

            I never agreed to your social contract. I agreed to work for an employer.

            1. Your parents did on your behalf, you being a slimy infant at the time it became relevant to you.

              1. Your parents did on your behalf

                Who gave them that right? Not me.

                Honestly, that doesn’t even make any sense.

                1. Government and the social contract. You are in no condition to either accept or reject any kind of contract, or grant or deny permission to anyone, when you’re two seconds post-womb, and for many years afterward. Your parents are your custodians for a time, and if you want to get out of the social contract you were born into, you are welcome to once you are beyond their custodianship. To bitch about a social contract is to bitch about the fact that infants can’t consent to things.

                  1. Government and the social contract.

                    Huh? One big loop huh?

                    Your parents are your custodians

                    Yup, they’re my guardians. They don’t own me.

                    By your logic they could sell me into slavery, or more directly to your point, conscription. They can’t.

                    Your move.

                    1. Why can’t they sell you into slavery? Yeah, one big loop. You have a better idea?

                    2. Why can’t they sell you into slavery?

                      Because I own myself. They don’t own me. Did you think I was going to point to government or law or something? You fucked up then.

                      Yeah, one big loop. You have a better idea?

                      Yeah, admit it doesn’t make any sense like I originally told you, and re-examine your premises and beliefs.

                      Hey, you asked.

                    3. Because I own myself. They don’t own me. Did you think I was going to point to government or law or something? You fucked up then.

                      Says who? Without a law preventing them from selling you into slavery, they could in fact do that, no matter how loudly you shout about your self-ownership. I said “can’t” not “shouldn’t.”

                      Yeah, admit it doesn’t make any sense like I originally told you, and re-examine your premises and beliefs.

                      I wouldn’t know what to replace them with. You haven’t offered anything.

                    4. Says who?

                      Me.

                      Without a law

                      Laws are just words that authorize force. Since force is authorized for self protection, the law is superfluous when someone is trying to take ownership of you.

                      they could in fact do that

                      Free people never existed before government. Evar.

                    5. Would you like to be a random person living before government existed? Would you consider yourself free relative to today?

                  2. A 14 year old isn’t an infant. Neither is a 16 year old, or a 17 year old.

                    1. So without a social contract (hence, law) who gets to decide what the age of majority is? You? What if you parents disagree? Battle to the death?

                      You’re objecting to an abstract explanation for how things are, not an oppressive ideology. You want anarchy, defend anarchy, don’t just bitch about the way things are.

                    2. No no no, you’ve been asked a question and you haven’t answered it. You’re not dodging that by firing off chaff and hoping it distracts.

                    3. What was the question?

              2. “Your parents did on your behalf”

                What the hell? Seriously, this is the line of rationale you’re going to use? So it literally is like slavery; I have no control over the state owning me, and it’s for life?

                OK. I have three kids, and at no time did I ever sign any social contract on their behalf. They’re exempt, right?

                Just say it Tony; your social contract exists because your team has guns, and are willing to use them if we don’t comply with it. That’s it. It exists in the exact same capacity that all compulsory relationships throughout history have existed.

                And Dances-with-Trolls is right on the money. The imaginary social contract horse shit you guys come up with to justify your violence reeks of religious fundamentalism. You can’t see it but the idea of it makes you feel good. And it justifies your violence. And it always, 100% of the time, comes down to violence with you Leftists.

            2. It’s funny how progressives produce the “social contract” in much the same way and for many of the same reasons as fundamentalists cite their deities.

              It’s just another way of saying “I’m out of logical arguments.”

              1. Did I miss something in my understanding of the social contract?

                Didn’t the idea have more to do with government ruling only with the consent of the governed and having no fundamental rights of its own?

                How did it become an argument in favor of “if government says so, you have no rights”?

                1. Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. Sounds like the proggie argument is, “You didn’t build the world you were born in, so you owe it to everyone else to do whatever everyone else wants you to do because they were here first and they said so.”

                  1. “You didn’t build the world you were born in, so you owe it to everyone else to do whatever everyone else wants you to do because they were here first and they said so.”

                    Tony makes pretty much exactly that argument below.

          2. That is a stupid argument, as you all tell me whenever I say if you don’t like living by a social contract you are free to move somewhere that doesn’t have one.

            Heh. You can always leave…

          3. living by a social contract

            By definition, the terms and conditions of a contract are contained within the four corners of the document and nobody can show it to me. No such contract exists.

            Further, a contract broken on one side is broken on all. By not being able to produce the document, it is unenforceable, broken, and again no such contract exists.

            Once I became an adult, my parents’ agreements no longer have any legal hold on me, so again no such contract exists.

            I can do this all day.

      2. By that logic Tony, my demanding my employer pay for my yearly trip to Europe is not me demanding free stuff.

        Your thinking is so fucked up and illogical it is hard to untangle well enough to even give a coherent reply. But to give a try anyway, just because you work and you want a particular form of compensation in return, doesn’t mean your employer has to give it to you. Your compensation is set by whatever you and your employer agree upon, not whatever you demand.

        And yes, making the insurance company cover the cost of something is making the other policy holders cover it since the cost is passed onto them.

        1. Your compensation is set by whatever you and your employer agree upon, not whatever you demand.

          Well, in the real world it’s mostly set by the employer and you’re grateful to have a job at all. Leaving that aside, this is not complete. Your compensation is set by what you and your employer agree upon and by government regulations. You are entitled minimum wage or above, regardless of what your employer wants to pay you, for example. For various mostly stupid reasons health insurance is often part of the compensation package–wages are lower than they would otherwise be because insurance is included.

          So the point is Hobby Lobby gets to opt out of a portion of the compensation it owes by law because God speaks to its owners. And it’s extra egregious because it’s wholly sexist. It’s only taking a chunk out of women’s compensation given the nature of the coverage involved.

          1. Health insurance is part of compensation packages because your heroes of yesteryear decided they could run peoples lives better than individuals pursuing their own goals.

          2. it owes by law

            Yeah, the SC disagrees.

            You lost that. You lost it. Swallow it, and deal with it, because you lost.

            1. And I’m saying it was a bad decision, and gets worse the more you look at it.

              1. And I’m saying it was a bad decision,

                And you’re being told that what you’re saying means fuckall.

                You lost. Swallow it.

                1. There is no reason whatsoever libertarians should be happy with this decision.

                  1. It makes you unhappy, which a good enough reason for me.

                  2. Why not?

                    1. What is pro-libertarian about opening the door to letting people claim religious exemptions to laws on behalf of other people who may not even share your religion?

                    2. What? That didn’t make any sense. What is unlibertarian about being allowed a little more freedom in engaging in voluntary trade?

                  3. Tony, the decision has what seems to a recognition by the Court that contraceptive access is a compelling state interest, that anti discrimination bans are not going to be exempted, and that the HHS accommodation to religous non profits is going to pass muster . I’d think you’d see those as impressive silver linings

                    1. There are always silver linings in the first of the Roberts court’s patented two-step process of rewriting vast portions of law to fit their conservative ideological agenda. The first is always a supposedly narrow ruling–telling conservative lawyers exactly how to proceed to get their agenda enacted the next time they show up.

                  4. There is slightly – very slightly – more liberty in the world due to this decision. There is slightly more choice for individuals out there to act as they please in a peaceful way.

                    So, I think we can be slightly happy about it.

                    1. More meaningless freedom for employers, less real freedom for female workers. I suppose that is the libertarian way with freedom.

                    2. Yes, the “libertarian way” is that you are not free to initiate violence against others. Maybe someday you’ll understand.

                    3. I understand that. Which is why this decision shouldn’t even be on libertarians’ radar. While you guys are still in the piss-filled kiddie pool debating first principles and imagining scenarios that will NEVER EVER come to pass in a million years, liberals are busy worrying about things actually going on in the world. Complex, arcane things. Like how to expand access to healthcare. Like the dilemma of slavery in the shrimp harvesting industry. And a thousand other real things. Do any of you appreciate just how bizarre it is to talk politics all the time without actually talking about the real world?

                    4. Tony, the governments position involved making the employers do something under penalty of law , of course we have to be against that.

                    5. Obviously, no problems can ever be solved without violence. Anyone who doesn’t want to beat their neighbor up is just an unserious person.

                    6. freedom for employers

                      Why is it government is always the people getting together to do things, but when the same thing happens privately it’s portrayed as evil?

                    7. Why is it government is always the people getting together to do things, but when the same thing happens privately it’s portrayed as evil?

                      Because democracy, duh. It’s right there in the social contract. Didn’t you read it before you signed it?

                    8. Yes it is. Freedom from coercion. Not freedom from consequences, not freedom from want, not freedom from offensive ideas or language, not freedom from reality.

                    9. Liberty is liberty, and should be secured for every person, even a greedy employer that believes crazy things. As with justice, which demands that a poor man return a dropped purse to the wealthy miser.

                    10. What about lollipops? And unicorns?

                    11. *barf*

              2. Only because it was too narrow.
                Personally, I’m still trying to figure when birth control became more vital to human health than food. Or dental, hearing and vision care for that matter. The whole set of claims about ACA is absurd on the face of it.

          3. Well, in the real world it’s mostly set by the employer and you’re grateful to have a job at all.

            If that were true wouldn’t almost everybody make the minimum wage?

            1. Tony, being a loser, sees the world from a loser’s perspective.

          4. LOL, I love the loops here.

            Guess what, dipshit: Government regulations now say that Hobby Lobby does not need to provide this kind of health insurance. Since you have no principles to stand on – your foundation is simply that the employer must do what the government says it must – you have no argument. The government no longer says that Hobby Lobby must do this. So there’s no controversy.

            This is the danger with hitching your argument to whatever the state says must be so. The government now says that Hobby Lobby does not “owe by law” this kind of health insurance package. Done and done.

            1. And I’m allowed to say this decision by “government” (five conservative Catholics will be playing “government” for this showing) is unprecedented and sexist.

              1. Let’s rewind back to 2012. The HHS offers an exemption to Hobby Lobby. The “government” (whatever bureaucrat approved the exemption) says that Hobby Lobby does not need to provide these 4 kinds of contraception, and we avoid all this drama.

                What do you think your reaction would have been? Because this regulation was being sloppily applied from the beginning. And it was invented entirely by bureaucrats, unlike the actual law that protects Hobby Lobby, the RFRA.

          5. So get employers out of the business of buying their employee’s health insurance.

          6. This is fucking stupid. I know I’m not unique, but I have never had much trouble finding a job, and I have typically had decent latitude in negotiating my compensation. While I can’t negotiate which health insurance company goes with, they normally have given a menu of options (and before Obamacare the options were much greater).

            If birth control is important to me, I don’t have to work for a company that doesn’t provide it. Just like if work-life balance or vacation is important, I’m not going to go work for an investment bank.

          7. Well, in the real world it’s mostly set by the employer and you’re grateful to have a job at all.

            In my case, my employer is lucky to have ME. And I’m not saying that to brag, it is just a fact. My employer needs someone who can bring what I do to the company, and couldn’t get by very well without me. In exchange, the employer and I have determined a compensation package which is appropriate and acceptable to me.

            Most people’s jobs are like that, you know. Despite what the Left would have you believe, there’s not very many folks scraping by on minimum wage, a paycheck away from sleeping under the viaduct.

            I think that the idea that progs have is to make hiring people difficult enough that everyone will feel lucky to have a job. And keep demanding more from employers, so they will hire less. Seemingly the philosophy from the Left is that people start and run business solely to provide employment for others. When this falls apart, what a great argument for the unemployed masses to demand a switch to full-on Marxism.

      3. It comes from the employee’s wages, but it is transferred to an in-kind contribution managed by the employer. That’s the rub with in-kind compensation: the employer does get a say in what the benefits are. If you want it to be as fungible as cash, get them to pay that part of the compensation package in cash.

        An analogy I saw today: as part of my benefits package at a department store, I’m offered $500 store credit. I want to spend some of that store credit on whiskey, but the store doesn’t sell alcohol. Can I complain that the employer is trying to determine how I spend my compensation?

        1. Of course, but new regulations (which are still constitutional and legal) require birth control coverage in employer-sponsored plans. This is not about employer choice, it’s about religious exemption to the law.

          1. It’s not about employer choice, it’s about what the employer is forced to choose? OK then.

        2. Incidentally, vasectomies are not required to be covered in the ACA, but Hobby Lobby covers them anyway.

          1. I had not heard that vasectomies stop the heart of a beating child.

            Wait, that sounds…hmmm…

            1. None of the procedures they objected to come close to stopping anything’s beating heart.

              1. *barf*

          2. Good for them, so fucking what?

          3. They also cover 16 forms of birth control. What are you bitching about again?

      4. I saw Tony’s comment, verbatim, on Huffington post yesterday in the a comments thread.

  2. But now corporations can foist Sharia law on their employees! George Takei said so!

    1. Well…at least it’s not Dispensationalism.

    2. You know, I like George Takei, but I never imagined him to be that irretrievably stupid.

    3. To quote Mrs. McSuderman:

      12) What if my employer says it has a sincere religious belief in human sacrifice — can he kill me?

      Yes. If your employer has a deeply held religious belief in human sacrifice, they can strap you in a cage, reach into your chest with their bare hands to pull out your still-beating heart, then drop the cage into a fiery pit. It’s a tough break, but from time to time, the Tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots. Sorry about that.
      http://www.bloombergview.com/a…..-questions

      1. That’s awesome. You can practically hear the weariness in her voice by that point.

  3. This wouldn’t be a problem at all if congress hadn’t passed that law prohibiting people from quitting their jobs and seeking one with the compensation they prefer.

    1. Well, they can, but it falls under “choose your poison.”

      “You can leave any time that you want through any of these 3 doors! Door #1 contains molten lava behind it. Door #2 has hungry and ferocious grizzly bears and Door #3 contains Debbie Wasserman-Shultz.”

      1. Choose Door #3. When confronted with the Wasserman-Shultz, use your scroll of High Logic. While her head is exploding, run past her to freedom.

        1. “Y’know, the thing about a progressive, she’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes. When she comes after ya, she doesn’t seem to be livin’ until she bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white, and then – aww, then you hear that terrible high-pitch screamin’, the room turns red, and in spite of all the poundin’ and the hollerin’, they all come in and rip ya to pieces.”

          You won’t even be given a chance.

  4. One side holds that the state may do anything it chooses while the other side adamantly insists that the state may only do *virtually* anything it chooses. These are your political checks and balances.

  5. I was both pleased and horrified to see that in the days following the release of the opinion, nobody else could figure out why contraception was any different from any other healthcare product with respect to an employer being able to object on religious grounds. The court just said it was, but didn’t explain why–as I said here that day. The extra perverse thing is that by singling out contraceptives (and explicitly saying things like blood transfusions weren’t the same), the court is validating the idea that a particular type of religious objection is more legitimate than others–one five conservative Catholic men might be particularly interested in. That would be religious objections to women having control over their bodies. They can’t even claim it’s about abortion, since they were scientifically wrong on that count.

    So can someone who understands the right’s bizarre fixation on policing women’s private lives answer a question for me? Is it because they want as many white married women as possible out there pumping out babies? Like, is it a racial panic thing? Or just mindlessly holding fast onto traditional gender roles?

    1. “the right’s bizarre fixation on policing women’s private lives answer a question for me”

      This woman doesn’t want to be raped! Can anyone understand her bizarre obsession with sex? Why doesn’t she just submit?

    2. So can someone who understands the right’s bizarre fixation on policing women’s private lives answer a question for me?

      Because not forcing is policing. Not giving is taking, and war is peace. Does doublethink hurt?

      1. Hobby Lobby’s insurance plan covers Viagra and vasectomies. It’s about not treating people differently because of their sex. If your employer paid women twice as much just because they were women, would you acquiesce in quiet dignity, satisfied with the knowledge that as long as he’s paying you something, he’s not really harming you?

        1. If your employer paid women twice as much just because they were women, would you acquiesce in quiet dignity, satisfied with the knowledge that as long as he’s paying you something, he’s not really harming you?

          False dilemma. There’s a whole range of options between “just shut up and take it” and “respond with violence”.

        2. Tony, they don’t see Viagra or vasectomies as prohibited by their religion. That’s consistent with the internal logic of pro lifers, don’t you see?

          1. What bothers me is that what counts as logic for people who believe in Sky Santa and His moral agenda now counts as a legitimate means to evade the law.

            1. As someone else pointed out, according to the Government, now, Hobby Lobby’s refusal to pay for certain forms of contraception does not evade the law.

              1. Fine, evade the law as it applies to everyone else.

                1. Fine, evade the law as it applies to everyone else.

                  This is a much more interesting argument than anything the left has otherwise come up with.

                  I’d be inclined to hear it made, but war on women silliness has dominated.

                  1. The problem, Wagon Wheel, is that a prior law (passed by Congress, unlike the HHS regulation saying all 20 contraceptives must be offered) allows Hobby Lobby and others to “evade” the regulation as it applies to everyone else.

                    1. I’m speaking more generally about religious exemptions, but I get your point.

                    2. Right, but it’s important to note that the RFRA is neither broad nor unreasonable. It’s based on what should be the standard test for every piece of legislation: the compelling state interest must not be easily achieved in some other way. If it is not a compelling state interest, or it can be addressed in a way that does not burden people’s sincerely held religious beliefs, should the law really stand?

                      Though if the problem is that it only applies to religious beliefs, I’m with you there.

                    3. Though if the problem is that it only applies to religious beliefs, I’m with you there.

                      Yes that’s it.

                    4. I’m speaking more generally about religious exemptions, but I get your point.

                      The problem with the argument that exceptions (religious or otherwise) to laws allow people to evade the law is that it boils down to the idea that people who take legitimate deductions on their income tax returns are “not paying their fair share.”

                      The idea that a legal exception to a law is “evading” the law is nonsense.

                      The nation decided (1st Amendment) that religions get special treatment in this country. If you (generic not personal) want to get rid of religious exemptions, repeal the free exercise and establishment clauses of the first amendment.

                    5. The problem with the argument that exceptions (religious or otherwise) to laws allow people to evade the law is that it boils down to the idea that people who take legitimate deductions on their income tax returns are “not paying their fair share.”

                      Well let’s be honest, sometimes they are, but that’s not the point.

                      The idea that a legal exception to a law is “evading” the law is nonsense.

                      Not really, it is the definition of the word evading, but again, that’s not the point. I don’t care what terminology you use, if the word evading bothers you, don’t use it, it wasn’t my word, but there is still a discontinuity, which is what I actually care about.

                    6. If you (generic not personal) want to get rid of religious exemptions,

                      And who said I wanted that? Not me. I’d prefer to give the protections to everyone rather than remove them.

            2. I’m actually sympathetic to that argument. However, I also advocate a system of governance based on a very highly limited set of laws, such that the odds of those laws conflicting with people’s free expression of their beliefs is minimized. In my view the necessity for religious carve-outs arises mainly from having the government intrude into every single aspect of human experience.

              1. “In my view the necessity for religious carve-outs arises mainly from having the government intrude into every single aspect of human experience.”

                ^^ This.

            3. Well, your real issue is with our legal provisions providing some exemptions for people based on their religious beliefs without regard to how logical they may appear

        3. Hobby Lobby’s insurance plan covers Viagra and vasectomies.

          And 16 different BC methods that women can choose from.

          If your employer paid women twice as much just because they were women

          I would work elsewhere, you would bitch about reality not living up to your childish idea of fairness. Unless I worked in the porn industry, where its common for women to make much more than men do. Should I alert the media of this horrid state of affairs.

        4. If your employer paid women twice as much just because they were women, would you acquiesce in quiet dignity, satisfied with the knowledge that as long as he’s paying you something, he’s not really harming you?

          …how attractive are these women that you’re talking about?

    3. “…one five conservative Catholic men Supreme Court Justices.

      Hate the Game, don’t hate the Playas.

    4. If I were teaching a class that had anything to do with critical thinking I would use your posts as examples of how people concoct arguments to arrive at a predetermined conclusion.

      How to build a narrative and stick with it.

      1. Oh good, you’re here. Maybe you can help me. What’s the actual motivation behind obsessing about what women do with their genitals? I’ve offered racial panic and mindless traditionalism as possibilities. Is it one of those or something different?

        1. Only you and the left seem to be obsessed with genitals.

        2. Gee, maybe they view destroying a fertilized egg as murder. Nope, no possible reasons other than racial panic and mindless traditionalism.

          1. I respect the latter two a whole lot more than that insane bullshit.

            1. Whether you respect it or not is beside the point, you drooling imbecile. Contrary to your assertion, they’re acting in accord with their beliefs.

              1. That’s the whole scary problem. If that insane bullshit counts as a legitimate excuse for not having the law apply to you, what other insane bullshit might we get to employ?

                1. what other insane bullshit might we get to employ?

                  Hey man, you signed the social contract. You can always leave if you don’t like it.

        3. What’s the actual motivation behind obsessing about what women do with their genitals?

          Which is a more egregious example of “obsessing about what women do with their genitals”: Hobby Lobby refusing to cover some forms of contraception (which women can still obtain on their own), or undercover police arresting women for having sex for the wrong reason (exchange of money)?

          I’d argue the latter is a much bigger deal. Why aren’t your Democrats pushing for a repeal of anti-prostitution laws?

          1. I’m all for it.

        4. Tony, it happens that what women do with their genitals is intimately involved with the origin of human life. Babies, that is.

          Conservatives can’t help the fact that biology gave women the ability to product new lives, and specfically put that ability in their genitals.

          1. They are welcome to get involved politically once there are actually babies to talk about.

            But this is never really about babies, it’s about sex. Even people who think it’s about babies, like latter-generation evangelicals who really believe it, aren’t really talking about babies. If they cared so much about babies they would spend 99% of their time talking about childcare and 1% talking about abortion, which is like the opposite of what happens.

        5. What’s the actual motivation behind obsessing about what women do with their genitals?

          Hobby Lobby shouldn’t have the right to tell women when to have sex or with whom. Wait, that wasn’t what the case was about? Oh, then why are you so obsessed with what other people do with their genitals?

    5. I was both pleased and horrified to see that in the days following the release of the opinion, nobody else could figure out why contraception was any different from any other healthcare product with respect to an employer being able to object on religious grounds.

      No one?

      It’s different because it’s ELECTIVE. No one needs contraception any more than they need a boob job.

      Hasn’t that been made clear to you people?

      Viagra restores normal function. Blood transfusions and psychiatric drugs restore or repair normal function. The pill, when used to regulate menstruation, restores normal function.

      Contraception INTERRUPTS normal function.

      People may WANT contraception, but they damned sure don’t need it.

  6. “In this instance, Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said in ruling against Notre Dame, the odd thing is that “the beneficiaries of the religious exemption are claiming that the exemption process itself imposes a substantial burden on their faith.” He compared it to a conscientious objector asking out of the draft while insisting that the government not draft anyone else instead.”

    In the Little Sisters of the Poor case, the nuns have already done the equivalent of a conscientious objector seeking an exemption from his draft board – the Little Sisters wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services (which administers the contraceptive mandate the way the draft boards administered the draft). The Supreme Court issued an order allowing the Little Sisters that option temporarily – until the end of the case (or permanently if they win the case).

    But the Obama administration wants more. To pursue the draft analogy, they want the would-be conscientious objector to write to another potential draftee, authorizing that person to serve in his stead. The regulation requires the Little Sisters to write to the provider authorizing it to offer birth control.

    1. We know the difference is important because the administration insists on it. The Little Sisters filed the wrong form and sent it to the wrong place – they sent it to the agency seeking an exemption, when they’re supposed to send a different form to the provider authorizing it to act in the nuns’ place.

      Would a Quaker conscientious objector really agree to write a specific person saying “you’re authorized to join the Army in my stead?” They don’t want *anyone* be drafted, and by simply seeking an exemption from the draft board they’re placing the onus on the government to draft a substitute. But by writing directly to the substitute to give him permission, the Quaker might think he was endorsing the draft.

      So much for that analogy! Next excuse, please.

      1. Very disappointing that Posner did that.

        1. But not surprising. He has persistently attacked the Catholic teaching on sex, especially in his book *Sex and Reason,* and in this blog post:

          http://www.becker-posner-blog……ts/page/2/

          Posner’s Catholic-baiting was condemned by Gerard Bradley, who referred to “Posner’s recurring caricaturization of the Catholic Church when he should be engaging in counterarguments”

          http://www.professorbainbridge…..icism.html

          1. And for all his purported expertise on Catholicism, Posner couldn’t tell the difference between Pope Paul VI and Pope Pius XI. All those Roman numerals must be confusing, your honor!

            http://www.professorbainbridge…..ption.html

            1. It seems I can’t tell the difference either. Posner referred to Pius IX as *Pius* VI, an 18th century pontiff, while Pius IX was in the 1920s and 1930s.

  7. What can’t employer-provided insurance pay for and why?

  8. Help! My employer is denying me access to food because they won’t purchase it for me!

    /Tony logic

    1. If only Tony knew, he could take the check that is given to him once a week, cash it, receive green pieces of paper, and then use those pieces of paper to buy whatever the fuck he wants to*.

      *Except for raw milk and weed, among other things.

      1. At least we can still purchase gay wedding cakes baked by Christians.

        1. And that, is freedom.

  9. Co-existence with progressives is fundamentally impossible. They patently refuse to allow others to exist.

    1. The social contract means that you owe progressives something by being born. Progressivism is, by definition, a philosophy of enslavement.

      1. It means you owe everyone, not just progressives, because everyone has been picking up the tab for the civilization you were lucky enough to be shat into.

        You guys are the biggest would-be freeloaders of them all.

        1. IUDs – the price of Civilization?

          Oh gawd.[face palm]

        2. This is insane. Are your socks commanding you to murder santa?

        3. Not being a slave is freeloading? That’s about as dumb a comment as I’ve seen, even from you.

          1. Not paying for the shit you use is freeloading. If you’re lucky, from the moment you are born (actually, months and arguably generations beforehand) you are benefiting from innumerable aspects of modern civilization, bought and paid for by other people.

            You want to come into the world already having been given a priceless thing, and continue using that priceless thing, and you want it for free. Freeloader.

            1. If somebody washes my car without asking, I don’t owe them jackshit. Anyway, modern civilization is the product of voluntary trade, not government coercion.

              1. Did your brains all stop developing sometime around age 14? Is that what this is about? The magnitude of the sense of entitlement is staggering.

                How do we do civilization as we know it without this kind of arrangement? You can’t ask every newborn if he wants to be a part of society. You can make people give birth on individual isolated islands and them ask if they want to come in and enjoy our centuries-old civilization. What do you want? It sounds for all the world like you want to live in Mom’s basement rent-free and get free meals and then bitch when Mom makes you do the dishes.

                1. “this kind of arrangement”

                  What kind of “arrangement,” exactly? Why do I feel like you’re being vague on purpose?

            2. My wife’s flower garden provides a benefit to everyone in my neighborhood. Can I force them to pay for it? If they refuse can I put a gun to their head?

              The people who actually improved civilization did so for their own reasons and interest. As long as they were not forced against their will nobody owes them or you a damn thing.

              Shorter reply: Fuck off slaver.

              1. No, you fuck off, mooch. You do avail yourself of your civilization, do you not? What gives you the right not to pay your part? That you’re a whiny little bitch? Is that it?

            3. What a sweet deal. I thought I was already being paid for the services I offer, but it turns out I’m owed even more! Wahoo!

  10. My progressive friends inist that this is what the Hobby Lobby case leads to…

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/l…..obby-lobby

    1. You mean they’ll want to exercise religious rights in other areas too? When will the madness end?!?!

    2. All of this can be boiled down to this:

      “Someone else’s beliefs have led to a sub-optimal outcome for me or people I like. Force them to violate their deeply held beliefs for my convenience. KAITHXBAI.”

      1. I seriously don’t understand why anyone would NOT want to know who the assholes are. I mean – why would you want to force someone to hire you if they don’t respect you? It boggles my mind. I can never get a straight answer either because they wear me down with arguments ad absurdum – going on about “well what if nobody wanted to hire LGBT people and there were no jobs! What then!”

        1. It has nothing to do with every-day reality. It’s all about punishing your enemies.

    3. OMG, how dare CORPORATIONS have VALUES?!!! I mean, they are supposed to be soulless profit-making machines with no conscience!

      This ruling could mean that corporations could force their while employees to share bathrooms with blacks.

      It could mean that CVS could refuse to sell tobacco products even though that hurts their bottom line!

      The idea that corporations might exhibit some sort of sense of morality could cause a complete wholesale breakdown in our souless capitalist economy. Corporations could just start exhibiting morals willy nilly. And then where would we be able to purchase RedSkins T-shirts made by guatemalan sweatshop labor ?

      1. Corporations are only people when they want to bitch about the pay of the CEO, or have a face for a boogeyman, or complain about working conditions, or to perp walk their management.

        Otherwise, CORPORATIONS AREN’T PEOPLE!!1!!1!

  11. SC,

    The Supreme Court victory for religious freedom is in itself minor, but it’s major in that the Court narrowly rejected very extreme anti-freedom arguments.

    If the Obama administration and Justice Ginsburg had their way, everyone who organized their business on a for-profit business, even if they were a small family firm, would surrender all their religious freedom.

    So the New York Times Corporation would have the First Amendment right to *denounce* religious freedom, but the Hobby Lobby Corporation and others would not have the right to *exercise* religious freedom. What principle can possibly allow this bizarre result?

    If Obama and Ginsburg had their way, the right to contraception would be so sacred and inviolable that it would override a business’s decision to pay their employees in money rather than in birth control. A business which gave their employees enough of a salary to buy all the birth control they wanted would be in violation for not giving birth-control as an insurance benefit. Thus birth control must not only be provided, but businesses should be forced to adopt unnecessary methods of providing it – it seems that it’s the coercion, not the birth control, which is important here.

    It’s a looking-glass world where the supporters of religious freedom have to run just to stay in place, to get a limited ruling restoring religious freedom to what it was way back in the old days of 2012, before the mandate.

    1. How would not granting a corporation the ability to exercise religion for the first time be the bizarre decision?

      1. Does the New York Times Corporation have First Amendment rights?

        Does the Hobby Lobby Corporation have First Amendment rights?

        1. Now they do. Whether they can have a religion is another matter, and a question better suited to a Lewis Carroll story than serious jurisprudence.

          1. Does the New York Times Corporation have First Amendment rights?

            1. Apparently so.

              1. So a newspaper owned by a corporation didn’t have freedom of the press until Monday?

              2. So it’s thanks to the Hobby Lobby decision, which you oppose, that the New York Times Corporation enjoys First Amendment rights?

                1. This case wasn’t about the First Amendment.

                  But let’s stop being idiotic. The First Amendment’s purpose is to protect free thought and the expression of thought from government oppression. When we’re whoring it out to give the government-created entities called corporations special rights that make them more money and allow them to evade the law, that has really nothing to do with that intent.

                  1. The New York Times Company is a government-created entity called a corporation.

                    http://investors.nytco.com/fil…..on2007.pdf

                    And I suppose you applauded the Nixon administration because it didn’t want this corporation to evade the law by publishing classified government documents (the Pentagon Papers)?

      2. Why is it that Whole Foods is allowed to exercise a moral belief about sustainable agriculture, but Hobby Loddy is not allows to exercise a moral belief about abortion?

  12. The furor over the idea that corporations can have religion is absurd.

    Progressives are totally in favor of corporations having moral beliefs and values, right up until the point that OMG!, a corporation dares to have a value they disagree with!

    See the whole corporate social responsibility movement. They think that corporations should have a social conscience. They think they should promote environmental sustainability, they think they should promote ALL SORTS of values they regard as positive social goods.

    But HOW DARE Hobby Lobby have a moral belief about abortion or birth control! Don’t you know that corporations are supposed to be soulless entities with no morals aside from profit making!!!

    It’s perfectly OK for Whole Foods to stock only organic food, because THAT values is a good one they agree with. It’s perfectly OK for ben and Jerry’s to donate to eonviromentalist causes. it’s perefectly ok for corporations to put pink ribbons all over their shift to raise breast cancer awareness.

    But not Christians. As soon as a corporation has a value that progressives don’t share, well, that’s just beyond the pale!!!

    1. This. They’re always talking about the triple bottom line and how corporations should do more for social good rather than profit.

    2. Well said.

    3. A most excellent point, Hazel. I’m stealing this, if I ever decide to actually discuss with this anyone outside the board.

      Really, I don’t see any upside with being fleckspittled.

  13. People still attempt to “argue” with Tony? Have none of you ever wrestled with a pig and/or Warty?

    1. .

  14. For-profit corporations have “had religion” for a very long time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oneida_Limited

  15. Do I necessarily need affiliation with an established religion to argue my convictions? Can’t I be a principled agnostic and simply cite the philosophy I live by?

  16. What confuses me about all of this that Hobby Lobby can only object to the insurance policy having coverage for these items rather than their argument that they are “paying” for them. Hippa law would prevent them from ever knowing when or if this coverage was used. In theory it would be possible for none of their employees to request these forms of contraception, even if that is unlikely. The actual amount said coverage would raise their premiums by would be negligible to the point of non-existence. I guess all of Mr. Greens nervous hand wringing and profuse sweating over lost zygotes is speculative at best. This is more a case of religion pervading personal rights and freedoms than religious rights being infringed upon. I guess the lie that the right believes in freedom and the Constitution has just been exposed. We got this one wrong and it’s going to have repercussions in our individual rights. Please boycott this business and if you haven’t set foot in a church for years,stop “identifying” yourself as a “Christian”. It make them think they are representative of the country.

    1. If (a) the charges for the insurance policy are the same for both Hobby Lobby AND for the other companies that pay for explicit coverage of the abortifacient coverage that Hobby Lobby objected to, then under the non-compromise “compromise”, Hobby Lobby is paying for that coverage of abortifacients all the same.

      The insurance companies will provide NOTHING for “free” any more than government provides anything for “free”. Somebody pays for that “free” lunch, and if the money for that “free” lunch comes from a tax fund that YOU pay into, then YOU are paying for that “free” lunch whether it’s explicitly stipulated or not.

      Even Reason subscribers seem to understand this fact when it comes to the welfare state.

  17. What confuses me about all of this that Hobby Lobby can only object to the insurance policy having coverage for these items rather than their argument that they are “paying” for them. Hippa law would prevent them from ever knowing when or if this coverage was used. In theory it would be possible for none of their employees to request these forms of contraception, even if that is unlikely. The actual amount said coverage would raise their premiums by would be negligible to the point of non-existence. I guess all of Mr. Greens nervous hand wringing and profuse sweating over lost zygotes is speculative at best. This is more a case of religion pervading personal rights and freedoms than religious rights being infringed upon. I guess the lie that the right believes in freedom and the Constitution has just been exposed. We got this one wrong and it’s going to have repercussions in our individual rights. Please boycott this business and if you haven’t set foot in a church for years,stop “identifying” yourself as a “Christian”. It make them think they are representative of the country.

  18. IIRC Hobby Lobby only objected to a few of the “contraceptives” that also act as abortifacients.

    Plus the lying sneaky snaky so-called “compromise” of forcing the insurance companies to provide these “no-cost” contraceptives and abortifacients without charging the objecting persons in the ownership is one big fat obvious fraud, because we all know what fungible funds are. If you don’t, then look it up. The freebie is calculated by the actuaries and will show up in the cost charged to whomever gets charged. The only way that flies is if the insurance company charges LESS to all other clients. In that case, the other companies are paying for the employers of the objectors.

    Government sucks, there’s no way they can respect everybody’s religious rights and other rights because they make you pay for “protection” you don’t want.

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