Do you understand the Hobby Lobby controversy?

I ask because many people don’t.  They don’t because most media outlets are contorting Hobby Lobby’s actual position.  Abortion activists and Progressive talkers are trying to make the story one which paints the crafting retailer as being anti-birth control.  However, Hobby Lobby’s already-offered health insurance plans covered birth control.  So what’s the deal?  I was at Hobby Lobby over this weekend and decided to casually ask some employees what they thought.

I began the inquiry by asking a rather innocent open-ended question: what do you think about your store being in the news lately?  Of the four employees, only one knew what the case was about, but only the altered narrative.  She had heard her employer didn’t want to offer birth control in their health insurance because of religious reasons.  The other three only knew there was some controversy but didn’t know what it entailed.

I didn’t press the issue with any of them because I wasn’t trying to make anyone feel backed into a corner.  After all, they were at work and often employees won’t be honest about negative feelings they have concerning their employer.

I will contact Hobby Lobby management when the case is ruled on to see if they’ll permit me to ask some questions under the condition of anonymity.  I’m not optimistic, but I’ll give it a shot.

So what is Hobby Lobby’s position?  What is it they object to?  Well, it’s not birth-control proper.  As I said, their health insurance plans already covered that.  They protest drugs, prescribed or over the counter, or specific birth control methods which by design prevent an already fertilized ovum from implanting in the uterine wall.

What is important about this distinction?  Most birth control methods prevent fertilization.  By and large, there’s no moral issue there.  A single unfertilized ovum is not a living human being, and neither is any single sperm cell.  When brought together, however, when the egg is fertilized, a new living human being begins to exist even if it doesn’t implant into the uterus.  This is Hobby Lobby’s protest.

Hobby Lobby wants the freedom to not help facilitate drugs or particular birth control methods which affect an already fertilized ovum.  Opponents are spinning this position for political purposes because at the very heart of Progressivism is unbridled sexual liberty.  Sexual liberty is the notion that a woman should have the freedom to have sex as frequently or infrequently, with as many or few different partners as they desire, without the “consequence” of producing children.   Essentially: I want to have sex as often as I choose and not be required to have a baby.  This is why elective abortion is such a core issue with Progressives.  And this is why Progressives are trying to demonize and bully Hobby Lobby into offering even more options for not having children than they already do.

Hobby Lobby understands that it’s immoral to intentionally end the life of a living human being through certain means.  It is the owners of the retailer religious conviction that human life has inherent value.  They don’t want to be a party to something they consider immoral.  This is why it is about religious freedom.

Comments

  1. The mainstream media has painted it as being about birth control. Go figure.

    I wouldn’t have a problem if it WAS about birth control. Birth control shouldn’t be in ANY health insurance coverage, since it isn’t a healthcare issue, and raises the costs of the insurance for everyone else. Birth control is free – keep your pants on. And if you need to buy contraceptives, then they are cheap. But why is it only birth control for women is covered and men’s condoms aren’t?

    • Actually, birth control pills (and for this I’m ONLY talking about the pill, though the shot can sometimes help the issue I will be talking about too) should be part of most health insurance coverage because there IS in fact a certain number of teenage girls and women for whom the pill IS actually used to treat a health issue. There are plenty of teenaged girls and adult women who have been prescribed the pill because their menstrual cycle was too unpredictable, heavy, painful, or any combination of such conditions for over the counter medication to help them. In high school, I knew plenty of girls who ended up getting out on the pill because of issues with their cycle. I can remember an incident that took place shortly after I first started getting my cycle that resulted in me being forced to visit the nurse’s office because I was cramping so badly that I could hardly move. For me, it was an isolated incident that has only ever happenedmany maybe one other time in that twelve year span. However, there are plenty of women for whom that is their monthly experience unless they are on the pill.

      • I understand that there are tertiary issues it’s used for. But just because some women need it for some other issue, doesn’t mean it’s a universally necessary medication.

        I’m not opposed to such exceptions so long as the pill doesn’t cause a fertilized ovum to be destroyed.

  2. Glenn makes a great point regarding birth control as a health care issue. It is a totally voluntary issue to try to engage in sex for pleasure alone, and if that is what one wishes to do, it isn’t as if pregnancy is some surprise possibility. It is the biological purpose of sexual intercourse. If one wants to get pregnant but can’t, one could more reasonably argue that such inability is a legitimate health care issue. But prevention? Not at all. No birth control should be covered by insurance since, as Glenn points out, it is really easy to prevent pregnancy. What birth control coverage is, is societal financing of sexual pleasure. It is akin to forcing one’s fellow citizens to pay for bowling night, or dinner and a movie.

    Some would argue that if birth control is not covered, then things like Viagra should not be covered. While I don’t need to touch the issue of whether or not inability to impregnate, just as the inability to get pregnant, should be covered by health care insurance, trying to compare the inability to impregnate with the desire to have sex without pregnancy is apples to oranges.

    • Some proponents of birth control being covered will point to the health benefits not relating to actual contraception. However, it wouldn’t be all too difficult to isolate those specific medications into a different pill for those specific purposes. Unless it is the entire pharmaceutical concoction that is a birth control pill that fulfills those purposes. That I’m not sure of.

  3. This is a very honest post. It is absolutely the opinion of progressives that women should be able to have sex as much as they want and with as many partners as they wish. It is also the opinion of progressives that women should be able to have control of their reproduction. I don’t disagree with those assessments.
    Is this what the Hobby Lobby case is about? Not really, but maybe tangentially.

    The case has, as you point out, become a touchstone for both sides of the “culture wars”. But I think it is far more complicated than an argument over “sexual liberty of women” versus “religious liberty of employers.”
    My personal thoughts on the case as someone who is pretty versed in jurisprudence is that the case is really about to what degree the government can expect businesses to subsidize public policy and where the limits of that subsidy lie. It is obvious that the government CAN enforce national and state policies on businesses (minimum wage laws and employer safety standards being examples), but where do we draw limits and what are reasonable grounds (if any) to recuse yourself of a statutory obligation.

    Personally, I think that this case shows the weakness of trying to legislate a healthcare plan that is publicly mandated but privately underwritten. If you want a standard of care- if that is really what you’re after– then you need to make healthcare a publicly funded policy. There are just too many things in the mandate that might potentially be disagreeable or “arguable” to subject on private sector employers.

    If I were on the SCOTUS, my personal judgement would be to find in favour of the government- not because I agree with forcing employers to cover all forms of birth control (or blood transfusions, psychiatric care, antibiotics- or any number of other things that might be objectionable to a religious employer)- but because the government doesn’t force employers to provide healthcare at all. There is a simple per employee tax that employers can pay if they wish to opt out of health insurance. They don’t have to cover anything.

    • two things George. First, the government DOES require businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance (Obamacare) which covers government decided minimum coverages. This is why men must have maternity care and women have prostate coverage.

      Second, I don’t discuss ‘sexual liberty’ as merely a matter of personal choices. I think it’s much more nefarious than that. For the truly left wing, liberal progressive, sex is the ultimate thing. At all costs there must be no consequences for or prohibitors to promiscuity. No moral judgement, no babies, no nothing even if it means late term and post natal (Kermit Gosnell style) abortion. That’s the problem.

  4. George,

    My main point of disagreement with you is the notion that the government can force a business to much of anything, but more specifically, exactly how a business must compensate their employees. THAT should be between the employer and the employee. If a business finds it cannot get the kind of employee it seeks unless the business provides free underwear, then it will eventually provide the free underwear or come up with something it would prefer to offer that potential employees find of greater value for the trade off.

    Businesses began offering health insurance to employees when the gov’t capped wages during WWII. So what we’re seeing here is gov’t intrusion leading to more gov’t intrusion. Like a frog in a pot of water with the heat slowly increased, we come to tolerate the initial intrusion and forget how it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Then, we take it for granted and start all over with the next attempt of the gov’t to intrude again.

    So now we have a situation where health insurance is an expectation of those seeking employment, and somehow, a business is seen as greedy, selfish or uncaring if it doesn’t provide it, even if the wages are such that acquiring insurance privately is easily doable. (Put another way, if I was offered 100K for a gig, I could afford insurance on my own.) And with companies offering health insurance as a matter of custom, they are now forced to provide a level of coverage not of their choosing. Nutrition is a health issue. Why not force companies to cover groceries? That has a far more direct impact on health than does contraceptives.

    As if that wasn’t enough, this coercive behavior by the government ignores that the 1st Amendment recognizes, and therefore protects, an individual’s right to the free expression of his religion. Free expression was not seen as merely singing hymns in church on Sunday, but how one lives out one’s faith in their daily lives. This includes how one runs one’s business.

    There is nothing about forcing any business to supply abortion inducing drugs that can be defended without perverting the Constutionally mandated duties of the federal government.

  5. Even Viagra and such should not be covered by health insurance. Insurance is supposed to be about the unexpected, unplanned for expenses regardless of what is being insured. There is no way it should include providing ways for older guys to continue having sex, or for sterile people to have children (ever hear of adoption?). Liberals are always the first to say to keep out of their bedrooms, yet they want sanction for what they do in their bedrooms, financial renumeration for what goes on in their bedrooms, and the consequences thereof. The problem with our sexed-up culture is that they look at sex as being needed like food! I even had a promiscuous young man once tell me it was insane to suggest people shouldn’t have sex unless they were married, that it is insane to think people could live without sex.

    It is an upside down world.

    • It’s often overlooked that Viagra is a drug intended to correct a malfunctioning part of the body. It makes something that doesnt work, work again properly.

      Birth control on the other hand is intended to impede and prohibit a properly function of the body. It essentially makes a functional part of the body non-functional.

      That is a substantive difference, therefore I don’t have a problem with viagra but I do with birth control, especially since birth control pills are available through Walmart and Target pharmacies for $9 a month. Not exactly a bank breaker.

      • John,

        It’s not always the case that birth-control is intended to prohibit a properly functioning body. That simply isn’t true. There are many diseases for which birth-control is an oft-prescribed treatment. Acne, for example. (Can you guess how I knew that? Ugh.)

        • BC may be prescribed for a number of conditions, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually warrented. Rather, doing so is more likely to prevent proper health care.
          http://drfrankobgyn.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/is-contraception-preventative-health-care/

        • I understand, Kunoichi. But that is another debate entirely. I’m simply saying that the prevailing wisdom – right, wrong, whatever – is that birth-control is a legitimate treatment for a number of conditions, and so that is what doctors prescribe.

          We’re talking about a health care plan that follows the conventional wisdom of mainstream medicine, and so John’s statement was incorrect within those parameters.

        • T

          I know birth control pills are prescribed for different reasons. But theyre called birth control pills for a reason. They were invented and used for preventing pregnancy, ie preventing the body from performing a normal function. However, it was later found to have other benefits. Benefits for which theres other medications, but BC pills are relatively cheap, so theyre used.

          My contention is that you dont need BC pills for the other functions because there are meds which serve those purposes.

          Personally, I dont have a moral issue with BC pills as they are. So long as they prevent fertilization, and not terminate a living fertilized ovum.

        • John,

          You simply don’t understand the way contraceptive pills work if you think it’s possible to “isolate” individual functions. The fact is they regulate hormones, hence the reason they prevent pregnancy. By doing this, they also treat certain medical conditions for which there are no other medications available. Plus, it can also be a preventative measure for certain cancers.

          http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/features/other-reasons-to-take-the-pill

          • T

            What I am saying is birth control pills were invented for a specific reason, regardless of the tangential accidental other benefits they provide. They were invented to prevent the female body from conceiving a child, they were invented to prevent pregnancy. Pregnancy is a normal natural function of a properly functioning female body. Thus, BC pills prevent normal proper functions of the body.

            It is also the case that BC pills serve other medical purposes, but not in virtue of preventing pregnancy, but rather because they happen to cause other reactions in the body which serve other medical benefits. BC pills are currently used for multiple medical conditions, apart from their invented intended purpose.

            My view on this is that BC pills are not a necessary prescriptive medication because there are other medications which address the medical conditions for which BC pills are prescribed.

            However, I don’t have a personal or moral objection to BC pills as a principle.

        • John,

          So what? Viagra was invented to control blood pressure. You’re saying it’s okay to make use of that drug for another purpose but not birth-control pills? Ridiculous.

          And not all contraceptive pills were invented for that reason. In some cases, the doseage of a particular birth-control pill is adjusted in order to treat a certain disease. So, here you have a medication designed to treat disease that happens to prevent pregnancy.

          Fact is, they’re used to treat many other conditions. It doesn’t matter what the original intent some 50 years ago was. The fact is, they are effective treatments, according to mainstream medicine, and should be covered for patients who require treatment for disease BC pills do in fact treat.

  6. I do indeed have a problem with covering Viagra. I was only pointing out how the comparison is lame, as John described in better detail. I believe insurance should only be for the more catastrophic illnesses and injuries. Which of either goes on the list can be debated, but regular check-ups and such should not. Part of the reason health care costs are high is because those costs are basically subsidized in a manner similar to college education. If the cost can be covered, there is less incentive to keep costs low, and in fact, incentive to raise rates. (Once again, this only accounts for one reason costs are too high.)

  7. I don’t disagree that pubic health policy has limited place in the private sphere. This is exactly why the US needs a universal publicly underwritten healthcare law. If you insist something be covered as a matter of public policy, you’re better served by a public provider.

    • Our federal government hasnt demonstrated the ability to make sound competent decisions. They are financially grossly irresponsible to boot.

      I trust the private health industry far more than my government.

    • Such insistence is inappropriate given the fact that there is no Constitutional support for health care as a public policy issue.

      • There is no constitutional support for building or maintaining roads. There is no constitutional support for granting corporations rights (or even acknowledging corporations). There is no constitutional support for many things the government does.
        I’m not understanding your objection.

  8. paynehollow says:

    John…

    I trust the private health industry far more than my government.

    Might I respectfully ask why? Flawed fellow humans make up the gov’t. Flawed humans make up the private health industry. Why do you trust one more than the other?

    Dan

    • Because the government isnt accountable to the consumer. They can put out a bad wasteful product and tell the consumer “too bad”. Private industry has competition and needs to gain and keep customers. Offer bad or wasteful products and you lose.

      Just look at how the government hanfled the ACA. It costs 3 times the projected cost. The website cost more than 600 million and shouldnt have cost more than 10. It crashes constantly. People have been kicked off their plan, their Dr’s arent covered, its a logistical disaster.

      The vast majority of Americans liked their coverage and companies. Now theyre screwed.

  9. paynehollow says:

    Well, the gov’t is accountable to everyone, at least in a sense, right?

    And they’re not the ones providing the healthcare, in this case, right? It’s still being provided by private firms.

    I’ve just never understood the whole trust of the people in the private sector and hostility towards people in the public sector, as if one entity was more prone to abuse or malfeasance than the other.

    But that’s probably another topic. Thanks for the answer.

    Dan

    • No Dan, the government isnt accountable to everyone. I’m not surprised you didnt know that. Congressmen and Senators are only accountable to the people in their district. Only the president is accountable to everyone, however, he doesnt write laws, he only approves or vetoes laws proposed by legislators.

  10. The trust factor was just explained to you, Dan. If you have to compete for business, you can’t just do anything to please yourself. You must keep your customers and their expectations in mind. Government does not do this at all when they try to take the place of the free market.

  11. paynehollow says:

    And if you have to compete for votes, you can’t just do anything to please yourself. Plus, with politics, everyone is watching you and holding you accountable. With businesses, only a subset of citizens (those interested in your products) is likely to be watching you or have much influence over you. My point was simply that I see no reason to trust one entity (private businesses, nominally in it to offer a product or service for profit) over another entity (gov’t, nominally in it for public service). Conservatives often seem overly pessimistic over their fellow citizens in gov’t work while seeming overly optimistic over their fellow citizens in private businesses and I’m not sure why. But I do get the point that businesses have to please their customer base (if not everyone else) and can’t just willy nilly do whatever they want. Thanks for remaking the point. I’m just noting that gov’t actors can’t just do whatever they want, they are accountable to everyone.

    Also in this case, gov’t is not taking the place of the free market, insurance will still be provided by private insurance companies, right?

    Respectfully,

    Dan

  12. I don’t have any problem with birth-control being covered because it actually saves companies money in the long-run. Seriously, think about it.

    However, I do not believe companies should be forced to cover abortifacients. The fact is that Hobby Lobby ALREADY covers 16 of 20 birth-control pills, and declined to cover the four they believe are capable of ending human life (i.e., an abortifacient).

    So, I think we’re getting off the point. This case isn’t about Viagra or Birth-Control. It’s about whether or not a private company can claim religious exemption under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. And I believe they should be able to.

    But this decision in this case will have far-reaching implications, folks, far beyond birth-control and Viagra. This case is about the religious freedom of for-profit companies, and I think we need to focus on that. What do you think? Should private companies be forced by government to pay and provide things that can REASONABLY be considered wrong according to the religion of the owner[s] of that company?

  13. Dan,

    The free market is not one entity. It is a population of entities, even within one industry, that compete against each other for customers. The government is not like this at all. When the government gets involved, you only get what the government pushes. Even with Obamacare, the various companies that are providing coverages are mandated to offer coverage consistent with the Obamacare mandates. This is not true free market competition, and as we can see by all the complaints, not much in the way of true choice for the consumer.

    Also, we know quite well, especially given the example of Obama’s reelection, there is little in the way of true competition in politics, as so many people do not respond to bad service in the same way they do in the private sector.

  14. Terrance,

    Birth control should not be covered, because preventing pregnancy is absolutely cost free. Because the insurance companies have been made to offer coverage for all sorts of things that do not fall under the umbrella of the catastrophic, we are made to pay increased costs for people who do not exert the self-discipline out-of-pocket expense would compel.

  15. Marshal,

    If the goal of contraceptive pills is to prevent pregnancy then I have to agree with you on principle. But in reality, contraceptive pills are used to treat many conditions and should be covered for those patients. However, I do think companies should cover pregnancy prevention because it does save them money in the long-run. If government is going to force companies to provide insurance plans for employees and their families, then by covering pregnancy prevention they are saving themselves money. Now, should they be forced to cover pregnancy prevention? No, they shouldn’t. But I think companies should cover it anyway. It’s sensible.

    Regardless, this case is about religious freedom more than birth-control, Viagra, or anything else. And depending on the ruling, it could have far-reaching implications.

  16. Dan,

    I’d like to point out that you’ve failed to answer the implied question of the post, or in anyway address the topic at hand. You’re going off on tangents here with this whole “public vs private employee” nonsense. I’d hate to accuse you of violating the comment policy, so please, answer my question.

    Do you believe for-profit companies should be protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 if they have a legitimate and reasonable religious objection to something?

    Please, Dan, share your thoughts.

  17. paynehollow says:

    I don’t believe “companies” have rights. I believe humans have rights.

    Thus, I don’t think we can force a human to have an abortion, but expecting non-human companies – if they’re going to offer insurance – to pay for normal things that insurance covers, I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t think companies hold “religious” views, being non-human.

    Now, the human owners of the company may hold religious views against abortion or against any sex (think Shakers) or against gay folk marrying, or against black folk marrying white folk (think Southern Baptist in 1950) or against medical treatment at all (Christian Scientists, I believe) and I think those humans are free not to practice ANY of those behaviors, but I don’t their religious freedom trumps their employees’ religious freedoms.

    I think individuals have the religious freedom to make choices for themselves, but not force those on others.

    That’s my opinion, for what it’s worth.

    Terrance, may I ask you a question? Here’s a list (besides at least some in the Christian Scientist church) of faith groups that don’t believe in medicine, to some degree or another…

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/medical8.htm

    Do you think that, if these individuals owned a business and their religious belief was not to take medicine, that they should be allowed to only offer medical plans that provide no medicine? Do you think a business should be allowed, if it was contrary to their religious view, to turn down insurance for a gay family? Mixed race family?

    Where do you draw the line on what religious rules a business can impose on their employees?

    Thank you,

    Dan

  18. paynehollow says:

    I get the point you’re making, John. I talked about “the company” because that’s the way that Terrance put it to me. I’m quite insistent on the belief that companies don’t have human rights.

    Beyond that, I’m saying the individual has the liberty to make choices about his or her own life, but that the company (or the owner of the company) can’t impose his or her beliefs on their employees. Do you think an employer should be allowed to impose their religious views on the lives of their employees?

    John…

    No one is imposing religious rules on anyone in any business.

    If the religious owner does not believe in contraception of any sort and chooses to not offer insurance that includes contraception, that is a way of imposing – at least to a small degree that they have control over – that view on their employees who may not agree with that view.

    Beyond that, I’m saying, no, the owners of companies can’t run their business “in any way they want,” it has to be within the bounds of our national laws. On that point, I would imagine you agree – that a society has the right and obligation to require at least some boundaries for companies, even if they are owned by people with religious beliefs.

    Do you think the Amish employer should be “forced” to provide insurance to their employee who is in the National Guard, even though the Amish fella may not believe in serving in the military? Do you think the Church Scientist fella should be “forced” to provide insurance that includes “medicine” even if they don’t believe in medicine?

    Look, as a pacifist who has to pay taxes that then go on to be used for behaviors I don’t agree with, I’m sympathetic to the notion of being “forced” to pay into things that may be used for things we are against by religious conviction. I just don’t know how, in a religiously pluralistic society, we can have taxes or insurance that gets paid for at the group level be able to accommodate everyone’s personal religious views.

    Thanks for asking, glad to clarify.

    Dan

    • Dan, if you have a kid come mow your lawn, or shovel your driveway, who should get to decide the terms of compensation?

      Before you make the false comparisons to large companies, companies do exactly the same as above, except with adults. There is no difference between a private business owner who has a task to be done and wants to trade someone money or benefits to do the task for him.

      I dont expect you to understand what a capitalistic free market is, or why is it the most moral way to do business, or even that people should not have to surrender and compromise their personal convictions simply because they want to have someone do tasks for them.

  19. I don’t believe “companies” have rights. I believe humans have rights.

    Companies have the same rights as individuals, for the most part. So, it doesn’t matter what you “believe;” the fact is, they do have rights.

    Thus, I don’t think we can force a human to have an abortion, but expecting non-human companies – if they’re going to offer insurance – to pay for normal things that insurance covers, I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t think companies hold “religious” views, being non-human.

    And of course you’re playing semantical games, as usual. You are hereby cited for a violation of Sifting Reality’s comment policy.

    Now, the human owners of the company may hold religious views against abortion or against any sex (think Shakers) or against gay folk marrying, or against black folk marrying white folk (think Southern Baptist in 1950) or against medical treatment at all (Christian Scientists, I believe) and I think those humans are free not to practice ANY of those behaviors, but I don’t their religious freedom trumps their employees’ religious freedoms.

    And of course this isn’t about the religious freedom of employees, but of the owners. Nobody is telling Hobby Lobby’s employees they can’t obtain abortion pills. The government, however, is telling Hobby Lobby’s owners – humans, persons, peoples, peeps, mammals, Homo sapiens, etc, etc, etc – that they have to pay for it. Should people be forced to pay for things they have a legitimate and reasonable religious objection to?

    I think individuals have the religious freedom to make choices for themselves, but not force those on others.

    Oh, good. So you’re in agreement with us conservatives. People shouldn’t be forced to violate their own religious beliefs.

    Terrance, may I ask you a question?

    No. Because I said “legitimate” and “reasonable” objections. Not just any off-the-wall, goofball objection.

  20. Dan,

    Keep in mind that we’re going to be enforcing comment policy violations, and you have one already. You get a warning after the first and second violation. The third violation you receive a temporary ban. The fourth violation is an indefinite ban, pending a public apology. The fifth violation is an indefinite ban, pending a $5 dollar, provable donation to a charity of Sifting Reality’s choice. In your case, I think the charity will be Westboro Baptists Roof Fund.

    Don’t test me.

  21. paynehollow says:

    ? I am sorry, Terrance. I’ve received a “warning” for what? I do apologize for whatever it is I’ve done, if I’ve done something to cause offense. But I have to say that I’ve been trying extremely hard to be respectful and topical, and I just don’t know what I’ve done in this case, I suppose the aforementioned “semantical games,” but I am not clear what that is in response to.

    I appear to have violated some rule about semantics with my response to your question about corporations/businesses. I was simply trying to directly answer your direct question. To that end, where you note…

    “Companies have the same rights as individuals,”

    I would just respond, they are not human, companies can not have human rights. I know that there are some laws in the US that suggest that companies have human rights. I, and many others, disagree with this. If you are asserting that companies have, in the US, some human rights from a legal standpoint, you are perhaps correct. I disagree with this philosophy.

    My apologies if my opinion on the topic causes offense, it is not my intent. I was just striving to answer your direct question with a direct answer.

    But setting that aside, you asked…

    Should people be forced to pay for things they have a legitimate and reasonable religious objection to?

    Yes, we do this all the time. Everyone pays tax dollars and some of those tax dollars go to pay for things I, you and everyone else holds SOME religious or philosophical objection to. I don’t know a way around it.

    Again, as a taxpayer whose money goes towards things I disagree with on religious/moral grounds, if you can offer some way where we can have group money pools (like federal taxes, like local taxes, like insurance), where we can all keep our money from going to those parts we disagree with, I’d love to hear it. I think it would make society even freer for all of our consciences. But I don’t know how to do it.

    Do you think pacifists should not be “forced” to pay for things with their money they disagree with? Do you think those religious folk who disagree with medicine should be forced to pay for insurance decisions others make, including taking “medicine…”?

    What is your suggestion on how to collect taxes and insurance money while still allowing people object to individual aspects of where that money goes?

    Or do you think taxes are a different matter than insurance?

    Looking forward to your answer.

    Dan

  22. ? I am sorry, Terrance. I’ve received a “warning” for what?

    Dan, you can find Sifting Reality’s comment policies here. If you scroll down to number three, you’ll discover: Be Concise,

    You are decidedly not, Dan. You ramble on and wander all over the place, often taking the discussion off topic.

    My apologies if my opinion on the topic causes offense, it is not my intent. I was just striving to answer your direct question with a direct answer.

    I’m going to have to violate you again, Dan. You are now going off topic. You started by asking me a legimate question, then went into some diatribe regarding human rights, and are back to these excuses. That’s another violation, Dan. I will not allow you stray off the topic of conversation like this. That’s two.

  23. John,

    Did you get my Facebook message about that guy on Twitter? LOL. Can you believe he said that?

  24. paynehollow says:

    My apologies.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, my interpretation of Fisking leads me to believe this post is yet another violation of the rules. Therefore, you now have three comment policy violations. I have sent a request to John for final authorization of this ban. It will be temporary, of course.

      Until John responds to my request, you’re free to continue posting. Keep in mind, however, I will be watching for additional violations.

  25. paynehollow says:

    Concisely stated: My opinion is that we live in a diverse society. I do not know of a way where we can say to any one individual: Your individual religious opinions can allow you to not pay taxes or not pay for insurance where you disagree with, in some way, how it will be used.

    We do not do this for pacifists and taxes, I don’t see how we can do it for individual business owners and insurance.

    Respectfully,

    Dan

    • There you go off topic again. No one is talking about not paying taxes.

      The issue is: should a business owner be forced to pay for particular medications which they believe to be immoral?

      No one is arguing that Hobby Lobby wants to be able to prevent employees from getting these medications, just that they dont want to have to pay for it.

      Why do you refuse to acknowledge this? You cant even bring yourself to characterize the issue accurately.

  26. Christ’s church is not a building. It is the people who make up the church. A cathedral or a chapel is a building, but a church is the people.

    In the same way, a company is not a building or simply an “entity”, but the people who make up that company and do business toward a common goal. More specifically, a company is the owner(s) of that company. The company is the person who is doing business and all who have been hired by that person to work toward the goal of the owner for whatever compensation the owner(s) offers for participating in the achievement of that goal.

    What a company does, how it behaves in doing what it does and all things related to that is a reflection of the owner(s). If a company pollutes, it is the owner who authorized the polluting behavior who is guilty of pollution. A business owner is generally greatly concerned about how his business operations reflects back upon his own reputation. A business owner does not generally wish to appear to the public to be of low character. What constitutes low character or honorable character in the mind of the owner is based on his own ideology and understanding of morality, ethics and character.

    No one has the right to dictate to another what he should believe, and people like Dan feel otherwise in suggesting that a business, owned and run by people, can have beliefs dictated to them. This is unAmerican, unChristian and not surprising of leftists who insist on imposing their beliefs on everyone else.

    There is no such insistence by an employer who does not wish to provide abortion inducing drugs. Employees are not prohibited from access to abortion inducing drugs simply because their employer chooses not to pay for them. An employer has every right to refuse to provide for abortions, abortion inducing drugs, sex-change operations, or insurance of any kind whatsoever. Religious convictions are a legitimate reason for an employer to decide how or if he will compensate an employee. The employee is then within his rights to find another job with an employer as unconcerned about ethics and morality as he is.

  27. paynehollow says:

    John…

    There you go off topic again. No one is talking about not paying taxes.

    My apologies for appearing to go off topic. My point is that, like with insurance, taxes are another example of a group pool that we pay into and where we may disagree with how it is spent.

    I do not think in a pluralistic society, we can let people pick and choose how other people will spend that money – whether it’s tax money or insurance money.

    This is my opinion, respectfully submitted, for what it’s worth.

    Dan

    • So Dan, if you were to hire a neighborhood kid to mow your lawn and he told you he wanted the money to buy drugs and hookers, you’d say to yourself, “self, its not my business what this 10 yearold buys with the money I give him”.

      Youre full of it.

      Its money, via health insurance, that the owners of Hobby Lobby are being FORCED to give. On top of being FORCED to give them the money, they are requesting that the insurance that they are being FORCED to give not kill living human beings.

      How dare you, as a professing Christian find it acceptable to force anyone to finance the death of human beings.

  28. paynehollow says:

    Just to clarify, so that I don’t offend in my responses: Are analogies not welcome here? If so, let me know and I’ll avoid using them.

    John…

    should a business owner be forced to pay for particular medications which they believe to be immoral?

    John, should a business owner who does not believe in medicines (Christian Scientists, for instance) be forced to pay insurance that offers particular medicines (most of them) they believe to be immoral?

    I think so. I would guess that maybe you all think so, too, and if so, then in principle, we would agree. If, on the other hand, you think business owners’ religious liberty has no limitations and, if they believe it, then they can enforce it on their employees’ insurance plan, then we would disagree.

    ~Dan

  29. Now you’re purposely inflaming the thread. I’ve had enough. That’s four.

    • Terrance,

      Far be it from me to appear to be defending Dan’s routine, but I feel you are getting worked up for nothing. It does no harm to allow fools to expose their foolishness as long as they aren’t being profane and obscene. You risk doing exactly what Dan does at his blog by your protestations. It should be enough that you protest his antics at all. You do not have to acknowledge his comments or respond to that which is off topic if you don’t want to. Simply focus on the topic alone and let him wander off.

      Not trying to single you out here. But I think there is great value in letting even bad opinions flow freely.

      Carry on.

  30. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Dan, if you were to hire a neighborhood kid to mow your lawn and he told you he wanted the money to buy drugs and hookers, you’d say to yourself, “self, its not my business what this 10 yearold buys with the money I give him”.

    Youre full of it.

    I recognize that this is an analogy, but since you asked me, I’ll assume it is okay to answer the question: IF I hired anyone to do anything for an agreed upon amount, I don’t think it’s my business what the person does with their money. I do not want my employer telling me how to spend my money, I want my employer to recognize my liberty of conscience to make up my own mind on a world of opinions. Similarly, I would treat any employees the same way. As a matter of religious liberty.

    In my opinion, religious liberty does not mean my liberty to decide how everyone else should act, but the liberty all of us have to make up our own minds about moral matters.

    Perhaps we have a fundamental difference of opinon on what religious liberty means.

    Respectfully,

    Dan

    • Dan, if youre saying that if a 10 year-old told you he would use the money you gave him for mowing the lawn for drugs and hookers, and you dont have a problem with it, you’re sick. As if I needed yet another reason to doubt you’re professions of being a Christian, this just adds to it. That’s evil. Not only that, its a sin.

    • Dan claims it is not up to him to insist how another spends their own money, yet he is doing exactly that by demanding an employer pay for something that conflicts with his firmly held belief. The problem here is not only the double-standard, but the implication that by allowing an employer to decide how to spend his own money, he somehow prohibits his employees from spending the money they earn in whatever way they see fit. This is ludicrous.

  31. Whether a birth control pill can be used for other things than contraception isn’t the issue. That’s just a straw man and even a red herring. The issue is “contraception” – NO ONE should be forced to pay for another’s contraception. If you want sex without pregnancy, pay your own way!!!!

    • Indeed. If the Pill has other uses medically, that’s one thing. But if it is sold as contraception, that’s another thing. I would hope that any physician who prescribes the Pill for non-contraceptive uses, would encourage women for whom it is prescribed to avoid sexual intercourse while on that drug. I would hope even more so that no honorable physician would prescribe the Pill under false pretenses in order to allow a woman to acquire the Pill for contraception.

  32. You’re not even framing the issue correctly, Dan. Hobby Lobby IS NOT TELLING THEIR EMPLOYEES HOW TO LIVE! Why are you having trouble with this immutable fact?

    This whole comment thing was basically an April Fools joke (albeit belatedly), but in all seriousness, why the hell can’t you be honest and frame the issue the right way? Why must you distort the truth and set up straw men all the time?

  33. paynehollow says:

    If he told me that was the reason he wanted some money, I would not hire him for the job. If I had any employee, though, I would not presume it’s my role to tell them how to spend their money, as a rule. If I had an employee and he worked for me for years and told me, “With THIS paycheck, I’m going to go out and get drunk…” I would not tell him he could not do that.

    Would you?

    Dan

  34. paynehollow says:

    Terrance, I’m answering John’s and your questions, where you asked me what my opinion was. I’ve offered my opinion to the questions you’ve asked.

    Respectfully,

    Dan

  35. Dan,

    So, you admit that you’re talking in generalities and that you don’t believe those things in this case because IT IS FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT?

    Are you admitting this?

  36. paynehollow says:

    I’m sorry, I am not sure of the point of your question. I’m saying that, in a pluralistic society, we have some pooled funds such as with insurance and I do not think that one group (employers) can tell another group (insured) how to use that pooled source of money because of reasons of religious liberty.

    I am saying I of course support religious liberty, but in cases of pooled money (like insurance), we will sometimes have competing religious liberties, and that each person is free to decide for themselves – they have that religious liberty – but not for others.

    Does that address your question?

    • Dan, religious liberty only works in one direction? Wheres the liberty of not being forced to violate your conscience? What about the liberty to not financially fund killing human beings?

  37. Dan,

    I see. And you believe this for all companies, or only those who are for-profit? Should Catholic organizations be forced to pay for things that violate their religious freedom?

  38. But John, companies don’t have rights. Companies are lucky government allows them to even exist, and therefore should do whatever government says.

  39. paynehollow says:

    John, with insurance, we have two competing religious liberties: The insured’s liberty to make their own medical decisions based on their belief system and the insurer’s liberty to decide what others do with their insurance. We’re both saying there is a limitation to religious liberty – you’re saying the insured does not have the religious liberty to make medical decisions they deem appropriate and be covered by insurance. I’m saying that the insurer does not have the religious liberty to decide for the insured what procedures/medicines/options they use.

    In that case, I’m saying the insurer is stretching his religious liberty to include deciding for others what their insurance will include. His religious liberty ends with his medical decisions, not others.

    Again, if we can come up with a solution where both the insured’s and the employer’s religious liberties are protected, I’m open to it. it’s like that other analogous situation I described: In a pluralistic society, we don’t always get our way with how pooled money is spent.

    But it does work both directions. The insured does not get to tell the employer how he should spend his insurance dollars. Both ways. Liberty.

    Dan

    • “But it does work both directions. The insured does not get to tell the employer how he should spend his insurance dollars”

      False comparison, the employee isnt paying for the employers policy.

      Youre saying the controlling party is the receiver, not the giver. The Giver must give what the receivers wants. That’s not liberty, thats not even close.

      You havent given a reasonable explanation as to why, if I decide to hire someone to do a job, I must forfeit some of my liberty in order to expand my hire’s. Why must the employer concede and not the employee?

  40. paynehollow says:

    Because the employer is removed from the choice.

    An analogy, if allowed: It would be wrong to say to the pacifist: You must forsake your beliefs and go to war.

    But, in a pluralistic society, saying, “If you make enough to pay taxes, then you will pay taxes because that is how we operate in our nation. And you don’t get to pick and choose how those moneys are spent.”

    Similarly: It would be wrong to say to the conservative employer: You must forsake your beliefs and have an abortion.

    But, in a pluralistic society, saying, “If you own a business that offers insurance, then you will offer insurance because that is how we operate in our nation. And you don’t get to pick and choose how those moneys are spent.”

    We aren’t telling the conservative or the pacifist that they must engage in the behavior that they disapprove of, but their moneys that go into these pools, they can’t say, “You can’t spend it that way.”

    If a conservative doesn’t want to pay for insurance because it offers contraceptives and they don’t believe in paying for insurance that includes contraceptives that OTHERS might choose, then they have the liberty of not having a business that offers insurance. But, if they offer insurance, they have to abide by the way insurance works in our nation.

    No one is forcing anyone to pay for others’ insurance if they don’t want to, but IF they run a business that does offer insurance, then they have to abide by our national rules and don’t get to decide how that money is spent.

    The decision on how that pooled money is spent is removed from them as it is from the pacifist. That’s why the payer must concede in both cases.

    One man’s opinion,

    Dan

    • Dan, you changed the terms of the analogy. I agree it would be wrong to say to the pacifist, you must go to war, likewise it is wrong to say to the prolife employer, you must pay for abortion.

      “No one is forcing anyone to pay for others’ insurance if they don’t want to,”

      This is false. Comrade Obama’s Obamacare says if youre an employer, you must provide health insurance, and it must provide abortafacients. this is the problem. the second problem is you dont already know this.

    • “John, with insurance, we have two competing religious liberties: The insured’s liberty to make their own medical decisions based on their belief system and the insurer’s liberty to decide what others do with their insurance.”

      As John said, this is an improper comparison. The insurer does not in any way impose anything on what medical decisions the employee makes, especially in this case. Contraception is not a medical decision. Contraception does not require drugs or appliances of any kind. It only requires self-discipline. Engaging in sexual intercourse is not an accident, it is a conscious decision one needn’t make if one is unprepared for the potential consequences. Killing one’s own offspring in the womb is also not a medical decision. It, too, is elective and immoral. Refusing to offer the means by which one can kill one’s own offspring is something that should be celebrated, encouraged and supported by anyone who claims to be a Christian or a pacifist or a lover of one’s fellow man. It is a conscious decision to take innocent life, whereas taxes for war is for defense, which is not evil in any way.

      It is also immoral to demand that any employer offer insurance of any kind. The idea that health insurance is a right would still, if one were to concede the point, not make it moral to demand that one person provide it for another, rather than for each person to provide it for themselves. While there is a distinct and obvious argument for religious liberty being denied an employer for refusing to pay for baby killing drugs, there is no religious or moral obligation for any employer to offer insurance of any kind as compensation for work provided by employees.

  41. paynehollow says:

    John…

    “No one is forcing anyone to pay for others’ insurance if they don’t want to,”

    This is false.

    The point being, John, is that if you don’t want to run a business and have to comply by our rules, you don’t have to run a business that has to offer insurance. There is a way out, if you don’t want to pay for insurance. It’s analogous to the business owner who doesn’t believe in complying with environmental regs as a matter of his religious beliefs: He is not compelled to comply with the regs unless he runs a business that conflicts with them.

    But the business owners don’t get to dictate the rules for everyone else as to what they will and won’t comply with, even if it conflicts with their religious sensibilities.

    Similarly, if the pacifist doesn’t want to have to pay taxes that pay for warring, they have the option of making less than taxable wages. Or leave and find a country where they don’t have to pay war taxes. Admittedly much harder for the pacifist than it is for the business owner.

    I’m not sure that you all are getting my point about how this decision is a step removed from the business owner, but I’m out of energy and time to remake it.

    Thanks,

    Dan

    • So your entire argument is, its the law, if you dont like it, too bad.

      We do get it, youre saying, if you want to own a business you have to expect to lose your rights and have others rights trump yours.

  42. Interesting that Dan claims corporations don’t have human rights, OK no problem. However corporations do have legal rights.

    It is also interesting that those on the left are perfectly comfortable with the notion of a corporation having race or gender, but religion heaven forbid.

    I just don’t understand why folks can’t understand that this is pretty simple. Hobby Lobby’s insurance provides numerous birth control options for their employees. They object to being forced to pay for coverage for a few types of “birth control”. It’s really not that hard to understand.

    Terrance, I kind of like the new comment policy.

  43. And of course Dan failed to answer my questions regarding non-profit companies.

    Craig,

    Yeah. LOL. It was an April Fools joke, albeit belatedly. But John doesn’t censor people and neither do I. But yeah, sometimes, I wish we did!!!!

  44. Terrance,

    Ya got me! I’m so distracted by actual fools!

    • Oh, okay. You see it now. LOL. I thought the whole, “Well, Dan, by my interpretation of fisking, this is against the rules.”

      Ya know, a little play on Dan’s usual, “Well, by my interpretation of the Bible…” blather.

  45. paynehollow says:

    Terrance, I did not see your question. Now I do…

    And you believe this for all companies, or only those who are for-profit? Should Catholic organizations be forced to pay for things that violate their religious freedom?

    I believe that non-profits should abide by our laws, as long as they are not contrary to their beliefs. And, even if they are contrary to their beliefs in cases where they’d try to deny others their rights.

    That is, in cases where there is a conflict of religious beliefs – in cases where we will be denying or limiting one or the other’s religious beliefs – I think company/agency owners can still choose for themselves what they can and can’t do, but they can’t choose for someone else, as that would be a conflict of the other’s religious liberty.

    You have the liberty to choose the type of birth control you want, or don’t want. You don’t have the liberty to choose for someone else.

    Again, I ask: Do you support the Christian Scientist business owner who’s glad to provide insurance for their employees, AS LONG AS it doesn’t cover medicine?

    I think we can agree there are some lines that can’t be crossed simply because someone claims “it’s against my religion,” it’s just a matter of where we draw the line.

    ~Dan

    • Short answer, yes Christian science employers should be able to restrict what their offered plans cover. I dont think employers owe employees insurance.

      Your definition of liberty that its a one way street is absurd.

    • I’d also agree that a Christian Science organization should be able to choose what they offer in health insurance – just as every single company/business/corporation, etc should. No one should be forced by the government to even OFFER a health insurance plan. Offering such plans is a way to get employees and should be only at the desire of the company.

      My health insurance plans have NEVER offered hearing or vision insurance. Should the government force them to do so? NO!!!

  46. paynehollow says:

    Okay, so we disagree about insurance coverage.

    How about when we move the question to the analogous tax question? Do you then agree that people of any particular faith tradition can opt out of paying taxes if some of that money is spent on programs they might disagree with? Can Quakers opt out of paying war taxes? Can Christian anarchists opt out of taxes all together? Can extreme Muslim fundamentalists opt out of taxes that go to educate women and girls?

    I think the principle is a similar one and, once we say people can opt out of group monetary pools, then we’d have a hard time collecting taxes. Where do you draw the line on taxes, if I may ask?

    Respectfully,

    Dan

  47. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Christian science employers should be able to restrict what their offered plans cover. I dont think employers owe employees insurance.

    This gets back to George’s earlier point that, if we removed the point of insurance from employers to gov’t, then we don’t have to worry about what religious beliefs employers may have as it relates to various insurance policies. Not that I’m necessarily advocating for it, just noting that it solves at least one problem.

    Dan

    • It would only solve one problem. It would create chasms of fiscal waste and fraud just like everything else the government handles.

    • “This gets back to George’s earlier point that, if we removed the point of insurance from employers to gov’t, then we don’t have to worry about what religious beliefs employers may have as it relates to various insurance policies.”

      This is how we got into this mess…too much government where it never belonged in the first place. I’ve been reading various things regarding how much government intrusion led to the rising costs of health care, with some people discussing how little major medical events in their lives cost back in the 1960s, for example, and how they were able to handle the costs out of pocket because it wasn’t oppressively priced. It was totally market driven. While there were still instances of people unable to afford certain things, assistance was easier to find because of the overall low cost of health care. Charitable sources of all kinds could and would step up, but doctors were able to negotiate payment plans specific to the patient and his needs.

      Now, we have gov’t thinking it can step in and correct the problem it did so much to create by doing much the same things it did to put us in this position. Among those dirty deeds was mandating what insurance must cover, or pressuring insurance to cover situations for which insurance was never intended in the first place. As to what employers must do, this is started when gov’t capped wages and health insurance was an alternative idea meant to attract employees.

      The notion of having gov’t any further involved in health care, as opposed to getting their sorry asses out of it altogether requires ignoring history and reality. And that’s what the left is all about.

  48. “You have the liberty to choose the type of birth control you want, or don’t want.”

    Just to be clear, Hobby Lobby is not restricting the choice of birth control of it;s employees.

    “You don’t have the liberty to choose for someone else.”

    Hobby Lobby is not choosing for anyone else.

    The problem with these statements is the assumption that someone has the ability to force someone else to pay for their choices.

    I also agree about the Christian Scientist. They should have the ability to offer their employees whatever package of compensation that is mutually agreeable. The interesting thing about this hypothetical is what options the Christian Scientist employer has. If they chose not to offer insurance and paid wages comparable to their competition that would have trouble getting employees. If they actually gave their employees the cash that they would have spent on health insurance, they would be able to maintain their religious principles as well as offer competitive compensation for their employees.

    Where this falls down is that the hypothetical is not analogous to the Hobby Lobby situation.

  49. As it happens, my wife’s employer just gives her a check every month for her to purchase her own insurance. To that we add what we need to purchase the coverage we find acceptable for our needs. I don’t know how long we’ll be able to do it that way now that Obama has so drastically interfered, but we’ve been happy enough with it to this point. There is a point in time where it will either be discontinued or the cost of it will increase beyond what we’d prefer to pay. But I digress…

    The point is that by doing it this way, her employer doesn’t have to worry about what is or isn’t covered by any plan he could provide and whether or not he could live with it.

  50. Hobby Lobby understands that it’s immoral to intentionally end the life of a living human being through certain means. It is the owners of the retailer religious conviction that human life has inherent value. They don’t want to be a party to something they consider immoral. This is why it is about religious freedom.

    Apparently, it’s not about that either.

    http://freethinker.co.uk/2014/04/04/us-christian-companys-stunning-hypocrisy-exposed/

    • Z

      I saw that. The most likely explanation is that they have a financial firm invest for them. Its not the owners directing individual investments. No doubt it looks bad, but I dont see it as a problem especially since they’ll pull those investments.

      • Z’s article is really recent and Hobby Lobby has yet to respond. That doesn’t matter to the Rick Ungars and Mother Jones people. The left typically puts forth anything that either seems to fluff their pillows or disparages the opposition. Far better to wait and get all the pertinent details.

        Regardless of true character of the Hobby Lobby owners, the point is still more than merely valid. Demanding that any employer offers what conflicts with their firmly held religious beliefs is unConstitutional, unAmerican and unnecessary, given the fact that there exists businesses for whom sales is the only consideration.

        • To be sure, even if the owners know about the investments, it wouldnt negate their right to object to particular BC methods.

          Being hypocritical doesnt negate rights, it might make you look bad, but it doesnt forfeit anything.

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