Why Must Unalienable Rights Be Legislatively Restored??

Congressional voteBy Jeff Rutherford

Why do Americans tolerate post-Constitutional behavior by the federal government?  Is it because of ignorance, apathy or ambivalence?

I don’t know, and I don’t care, one way or the other.  I’m going to talk about it anyway.  First…to set the stage:

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A Brief Constitutional Refresher:

The First Amendment prohibits the government from infringing on the people’s unalienable rights to freedom of religion, speech, assembly, and redress of grievances through petition.

The Constitution didn’t “give” Americans these unalienable rights, nor did the Declaration of Independence.  Every human being who has ever lived possessed these rights from the moment they existed, endowed to them by their Creator.  They are “pre-political” rights, meaning they existed before ANY AND ALL governments that have EVER formed, ANYWHERE.

The U.S. Government cannot legitimately take away unalienable rights, because our Constitution is the contract by which we consent to being governed.  It would first need to be amended to remove the prohibitions of infringements listed in the first ten amendments – called the Bill of Rights.  Amendments must pass a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress, then be ratified by three-fourths of the states to reestablish the consent of the governed.

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30 June 2014 Supreme Court Ruling:

 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.

Justice Samuel AlitoHere is the first paragraph of this week’s majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito:

We must decide in these cases whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA)…permits the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to demand that three closely held corporations provide health-insurance coverage for methods of contraception that violate the sincerely held religious beliefs of the companies’ owners.  We hold that the regulations that impose this obligation violate RFRA, which prohibits the Federal Government from taking any action that substantially burdens the exercise of religion unless that action constitutes the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest.

The Supreme Court’s ruling correctly distinguished between “denying access to contraception” (which womens’ reproductive rights activists would have you believe Hobby Lobby is guilty of), and simply declining to pay for insurance coverage for the type of contraceptive drugs known as “the morning-after pill.”  Having to pay for health insurance premiums that cover this type of contraceptive drug violates the religious beliefs of the owners of privately-owned Hobby Lobby, because they feel it is a form of abortion.

Thus a reasonable argument can be made that government-mandated employer funding for religiously-objectionable insurance coverage is an infringement upon the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment.  This does not mean Hobby Lobby’s owners are imposing their religious beliefs on the employees, because employer-paid insurance coverage is not an unalienable right.  Besides, contraceptives are relatively inexpensive and can easily be made accessible to any American woman.  Lack of insurance coverage of the cost is not a credible barrier.

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What is RFRA?

In 1993, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was passed unanimously in the House, and nearly unanimously in the Senate (97-3).  President Clinton signed it into law on 16 Nov 1993.  Here is the heart of the RFRA text:

“Sec. 3. Free Exercise of Religion Protected.

(a) In General: Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b).

(b) Exception: Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person–

(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and

(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”

It greatly saddens me that laws like RFRA and the 1976 Hyde Amendment must be passed to “restore” unalienable rights that were never supposed to be infringed in the first place.  Further, it alarms me that this week’s Supreme Court case upheld RFRA by only a paper-thin 5-to-4 margin.

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Erosion of Liberty is Happening Right Beneath Our Feet, Every Day

So where the hell do members of government even get the spark of an idea that they can erode the unalienable rights guaranteed by the very same Constitution they swore an oath to defend and uphold?  How do these cracks of ethical erosion start?  Well, actually, they are appearing constantly, deepened by the steady tide of Progressivism flowing across the political battlefield.

Constitutional ErosionFor example, a proposed Constitutional amendment has been kicking around the Progressive members of Congress for a couple years.  It says:

“Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections, including through setting limits on—

(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office; and

(2) the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.”

It’s a fact of modern life that it takes money to communicate one’s views effectively in our technological society in ways that will be heard more than 50 yards away.  To regulate the flow of non-taxpayer money for elections is to infringe on political free speech.  This post-Constitutional behavior defies the principle of individual liberty.  And FYI, 43 Democrat Senators are co-sponsoring this proposed Constitutional amendment.

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Conclusion

Progressivism is incompatible with the Constitution and its underlying principles of liberty.  Pay attention, give a damn, and don’t consent to the Progressive elements of government pushing to erode your unalienable rights.

As one of my Facebook friends says almost daily, “Wake Up, America!”

Wake Up America(graphic credit)

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About Necessary and Proper

Jeff believes in the Individual's ability to excel when liberty and freedom of choice are protected. Also believes in the Community's ability to take care of the vast majority of its own issues and needs when the federal government leaves the Community's resources and sphere of control alone. State and local choice produce better results than centralized federal control. https://necessaryandpropergovt.wordpress.com/
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31 Responses to Why Must Unalienable Rights Be Legislatively Restored??

  1. “It greatly saddens me that laws like RFRA and the 1976 Hyde Amendment must be passed to “restore” unalienable rights that were never supposed to be infringed in the first place. Further, it alarms me that this week’s Supreme Court case upheld RFRA by only a paper-thin 5-to-4 margin.”

    Absolutely right, Jeff. The problem is, the RFRA is nonsense and was a waste of Congress’ time and taxpayers’ money for paying them to write this, because the protection, as you said, is there. Also, as you pointed out that it takes a 2/3 majority of both houses AND ratification by 3/4 of the states, makes RFRA all the more redundant. The real problem is we don’t hold our representatives’ and senators’ feet to the fire by demanding they uphold the Constitution.

    However slight the margin in SCOTUS, though, the victory still went to Hobby Lobby, and we can be thankful for that. Having said that, I still haven’t forgiven Chief Justice Roberts for his tie-breaking vote on Obamacare, which is the real problem here.

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  2. Here’s a great set of points about the Hobby Lobby decision from Denver talk radio host Mike Rosen’s Facebook page:

    If you’ve been following the recent Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court, here are some facts you may not be aware of.

    – Hobby Lobby will continue covering 16 different types of contraceptives for its employees. The only thing they didn’t want to cover is abortifacients such as Plan B and Ella, the morning-after and week-after pills. Covering these drugs would violate the religious beliefs of the family that owns the company.

    – When The Affordable Care Act was passed, it did not include coverage for birth control. Birth control coverage was added later in an executive decision by Kathleen Sebelius. The ACA would have never passed congress if it had included birth control coverage.

    – The supreme court ruling applies only to privately held companies. It does not apply to publicly held corporations since the owners of public corporations are the shareholders, and it is very unlikely that all shareholders would be aligned on a set of religious beliefs.

    – The Obama administration exempted non-profits from the birth control coverage requirements of the ACA (in another executive decision), but did not exempt for-profit companies. Essentially the supreme court said if non-profits can be exempted from the law, privately held for-profits can as well.

    – The actual court ruling was that the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton, does in fact apply to privately held, for-profit companies. Anyone who thinks this decision was a terrible one should really focus on repealing the RFRA.

    Of course we get nothing even close to fair and balanced coverage of these types of issues from the Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media, or from hysterical liberal politicians.

    – Jeff

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  3. Stephanie says:

    As a woman, I have a completely different viewpoint on the SCOTUS ruling and frankly, it scares the hell out of me. This ruling sets a precedence for upholding religious freedom as it applies to women only. From a female point of view, SCOTUS has ruled that women can be discriminated against in health decisions in the name of religion. What’s next? Will SCOTUS uphold a decision to stop women from being teachers? After all 1 Timothy 2:11-15 says “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Will SCOTUS uphold taking away my rights as a woman period in the name of religion? Genesis 3:16 says “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” Would SCOTUS uphold honor killings of women that are raped? Why not? It’s a deeply held religious belief/practice of some religions.Throughout history religion has been used to mistreat and discriminate against women. From a female point of view, SCOTUS has just opened the door to forcing women back to the dark ages all in the name of religion.

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    • Hi Stephanie. Thanks for commenting.

      I view most public issues through the lens of the theory of limited government. I believe that accounting for where various “rights” come from is key to accurate political debating.

      Unalienable rights are “pre-political.” As humans, we possess them regardless of whether we belong to an organized society or not. The test of whether a right is an unalienable “pre-political” one is this: Can I exercise the right at no cost to others — a cost that others would be unwilling to pay if not compelled by government enforcement? If there are such costs, then clearly it’s a political matter since the costs would need to be borne in some “collective” manner.

      The rights guaranteed (not granted) by the Bill of Rights are all unalienable ones: Freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, petition, self-defense, due process of law; and protections against unreasonable search and seizure, double jeopardy, confiscation of private property, excessive bail.

      Health insurance costs paid for by others (employers or taxpayers) are not an unalienable right. They are an employment benefit or a statutory entitlement. They are not free – they impose costs on others. They were placed on the battlefield of debate either through voluntary competitive strategies in the free market, or through legislative and fiscal budgeting actions by the government. Once placed there, these “optional rights” are fair game for endless debate and arbitration in judicial courts and the court of public opinion. When those debates and decisions result in the withdrawal of a formerly-provided benefit (at somebody else’s cost), that is not a violation of rights. Those entitlements were either voluntarily-offered employment benefits (that is, until Obamacare exceeded Constitutional limits by mandating such coverage), or politically-granted entitlements. You win some, you lose some.

      I see no discrimination in the witholding of insurance coverage for the cost of the specific category of contraceptive drugs known as abortifacients (more commonly known as the morning-after and the week-after pills). As I said, there is a reasonable argument to be made that forcing employers to cover the cost of such drugs can be a violation of their freedom of religion. I didn’t say everyone agrees, but I sure don’t think the folks defending their freedom of religion in matters of taxpayer-funded or government-mandated coverage of products and services involving abortion are crackpots who want to take women back to the dark ages. To the contrary, many (perhaps most?) pro-life advocates ARE women.

      I will conclude by returning to the theory of limited government. We’re only here arguing these matters of granting-then-rescinding statutory entitlements because the scope of government involvement has become unbounded. We’re not supposed to be here. Government policy and intrusion are supposed to be subordinate to the civil society, not dominant and overbearing upon it. 100+ years of Progressive activism now has government involved in regulating and mandating virtually every aspect of our lives, and way too many people just accept overarching government encroachment as “the way of things.” It’s not supposed to be so. Loss of a subsidized entitlement is not supposed to be viewed as a violation of basic rights.

      – Jeff

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  4. Jane says:

    As a woman, I’d like to address this issue of, “forcing the women back to the dark ages” accusation. I do believe there has been great mistreatment and discrimination against women in the name of “religion.” Yet, when you read about Jesus’s life here on earth, he brought great freedom to women and crossed many cultural and “religious” boundaries to talk and love women who were outcasts and thought to have been “untouchable” and defiled. He brought them life and hope and many of them were his most faithful followers.

    1 Timothy 2:11-15 says what it says because of what was happening in that church at that time. Women were calling across to their husbands during the service asking them questions about what was being said. It was interrupting the services, poor manners and women at the time were uneducated. That’s why later on in the scripture it talks about the women listening quietly. They needed to be listening, not interrupting the service, and later talk it over with their husbands.

    The Genesis account is talking of sin and evil coming into the world and really just letting us know what will happen, and it did. It just isn’t a logical argument to bring in women killed because they were raped, random scriptures with no back evidence, and historical discrimination of women, to somehow say it is our unalienable right to be entitled to abortifacients such as Plan B and Ella, the morning-after and week-after pills. How can we think it’s discrimination if a company won’t provide something that many think aids in the murdering of a created being. You are still free and you can do the act that creates the child freely, they just don’t want to cover others’ consequences that would in their conscience be considered murder. Anyone can access those abortifacients cheaply and easily, so please don’t call this discrimination. It demoralizes the true meaning of discrimination which is horrible and unjust. If you don’t like the policy, don’t work for them.

    Really, this is a very serious issue of our government taking freedom away from companies, and trying to somehow attach it to women’s rights. It’s obviously unconstitutional, and that’s why we had the court ruling we did. I am so thankful for women’s rights and the feminist movement that did bring equality to women. That was hard fought and won. I do believe there can still be discrimination in some work places against women (and now even against men) but this is not a discrimination issue.

    Our government is out of control and I am thankful for a few companies that will stand up against it and say, “No, this is not right and we are not a dictator led nation, we are supposed to be a free democratic republic. You cannot force us to provide what our conscience says is murder.” Truly, they speak for many of us women who are for the freedom of women and children (born or unborn) and for the freedom of our future.

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    • Jane, thanks for contributing your viewpoint. Can you answer something I’ve been wondering?

      I realize that preventive contraceptives are not only taken by women to enable sexual freedom, but often are taken due to medical issues and complications. So I believe there are valid points of view on both sides of the argument over whether the traditional “pill” and similar preventive contraceptives are necessities for womens’ health, or are an elective choice…and respect for each other is called for in that specific aspect of the debate.

      What I’m wondering is this: Is the same true for abortifacients (e.g. the “morning-after pill”)? Are there also situations where there is valid medical necessity for using Plan B or Ella to treat health issues, and is that medical necessity unaddressable through other types of (less controversial) contraceptives? I’m just wondering if you know….

      – Jeff

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      • Jane says:

        As far as I know, Jeff, I can’t imagine how these aborifacients could be used due to medical necessity. They might be able to say because of something the mother has, if she gets pregnant, it could kill her, but it usually is guessing. I do have a friend that has to take a shot every day of her pregnancy to keep her and her baby safe and alive because of a blood condition she has, but they found that out later in her pregnancy and it is treatable.

        I had a pregnancy that was a death warrant to me because of a tumor I had in my adrenal gland. That was a fact and no one here could or would do surgery on me because of the complications of the situation. I was pregnant with twins and once I got to about 14-15 weeks gestation, my uterus would be large enough to touch the tumor and that was my death sentence. Also, during surgery, any touching of the tumor would shoot out too many hormones from my adrenal gland and that also would kill me. We were able to find an incredible laparoscopic surgeon who knew enough and was able to successfully remove the tumorous adrenal gland and my girls and I survived the surgery.

        I only add this because I’m not insensitive to life and death pregnancies. I actually went to a high risk specialist who had no real care of the unborn, and he was little help beyond aborting my twins. I feel in many cases, there is hope, and we can at least try to fight for the unborn.

        I do feel this is off course of what your original article is for, personal freedom of company owners to challenge our government’s new laws that infringe on personal rights and freedoms. I just don’t buy into there being many medical cases where abortion or those pills are the only option.

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  5. Stephanie says:

    Hi Jeff –

    It’s not about who pays for what or whether or not birth control, abortion pills, abortions, etc. are made available. I’ve been spayed a very long time, so have no need for any sort of birth control and I definitely don’t miss the monthly stroll down the tampon aisle at WalMart! :o) I also understand that it’s only abortifacients that are being contested, not birth control as a whole. In my opinion the issue is about religion.

    The First Amendment is very broad and generalized which, if I remember our 12th grade government class correctly, is why we have SCOTUS to interpret the constitution and it’s amendments. In this case an entity is using religion as an excuse to deny something and single out a particular portion of the population, which is a personal pet peeve of mine, and SCOTUS has upheld it. Throughout history religion and the Bible have been twisted to support a particular population’s battle cry or to single out a subset of the population for mistreatment or discrimination. For example, slaveholders justified the practice of slavery by citing the Bible. “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling – Ephesians 6:5 and “Tell slaves to be submissive to their master and to give satisfaction in every respect – Titus 2:9.

    Abortion is, and has been a political issue since Roe v. Wade, another landmark decision by SCOTUS. As the root of Hobby Lobby’s contention is abortion, which is a political cause, why has religion suddenly come into play regarding abortion? I echo Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s question – “How does the Court divine which religious beliefs are worthy of accommodation, and which are not?”.

    Stephanie

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    • Stephanie,

      Your first paragraph sets aside factors that you don’t view as material to the issue. In doing so, you are whittling the issue down to the aspect of it that is your personal concern. Your tailoring is understandable, but please realize that in doing so (excluding factors you feel are immaterial) you are no longer really doing justice to the issue.

      You rule out the motives of Hobby Lobby that I believe are their primary motives, and then you paint what you see as their remaining motives as “religious judgementalism hijacking the law.” (That’s the five-word shorthand I will use to represent the point you make in your second paragraph. I hope you accept it as a fair term…I’m only giving it a name to help my reply be more concise. 🙂 )

      In framing the issue this way, it seems like you are hobbling their dominant leg and then criticizing them for not having a solid leg to stand on. I think you are seeing a slippery slope that flows continuously from this contraception issue all the way down through all social issues. But, respectfully, I think there’s a “shelf” in that slope that you’re not seeing because of the factors you’re saying “it’s not about.”

      Your last paragraph shows you recognize the relationship of the Hobby Lobby case to Roe v Wade. I don’t get your logic that since Roe v. Wade was a Supreme Court case, that makes it a purely political matter and not religious at all. Roe v. Wade was a purely religious matter for those who believe that life begins at conception, and therefore abortion must be murder of an innocent & defenseless human.

      (By the way, this is a good place to insert my disagreement with your characterization of the Hobby Lobby ruling as “singling out women.” It’s about abortion, which some believe is murder. Abortion occurs in the bodies of humans that incubate embryos. That happens to be women. If it happened to be men, then this abortion issue would be about men. My point is that the Hobby Lobby case isn’t singling out women in some discriminatory way. God/nature, not Hobby Lobby or the SCOTUS, singled out women to be the incubators of embryos. That’s just a fact. It can’t be changed.)

      In the 41 years since Roe v. Wade, a sort of de-militarized zone has been created between pro-life and pro-choice activists, wherein federal tax revenues (part of which have been collected from those who believe abortion is murder) are not to be spent on abortion products or services (except in cases of rape, incest, or real danger to the life of the mother). That’s the Hyde Amendment which has been attached to every federal appropriations bill since 1976 that could possibly fund such products and services. That was also part of the purpose of RFRA. With those safeguards precariously in place, there has probably been a lot of activist violence from both sides that has been avoided for the last 40-ish years.

      This Hobby Lobby case, I believe, is about the same religious objection to abortion that has been in play since 1973. Whether the ruling is the upper part of a direct slippery slope straight back to the dark ages is something we may have to agree to disagree on. For me, the ruling is an isolated part of the argument, and not a 4-lane highway to a land of unleashed religious puritanism. You are probably right in believing that religious activists will try to push further, but that’s true for every side of every social issue…no matter where the DMZ lines are drawn by SCOTUS and the court of public opinion. No matter WHAT the SCOTUS ruling was, the debate would have raged on.

      Finally, I personally discount Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s view because I think it comes from an underlying philosophical stance of indifference to, or disagreement with, the possibility that life begins at conception. Her stance is not persuasive to me, because I don’t think she sees an intermediate shelf in the slippery slope either. SCOTUS justices are not devoid of ideology…none of them. And since they’re only human, they can’t help but subjectively let their ideology affect their judicial opinions. Federal judges, including the Supremes, should be term-limited to 12 or 16 years.

      Respectfully,
      – Jeff

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      • Barbara says:

        Very, Very interesting discussion so far. I wanted to pop my head in and wrestle a few points, if I may.

        First of all – with nothing to do with the initial post, but germaine to Jeff’s last reply – I agree that SCOTUS terms should be limited, but they aren’t – and we are stuck with good and bad. Full disclosure – I’m a huge fan of RBG. Say what you will about age, but if you’re going to condemn based on a justice’s humanity shining through – I’d much rather it be hers as she fiercely defends the people. That’s IMHO

        As for the posted topic: I think any attempt to make this about actual law, or protection of the people is beyond naive. The way this nation jumps up to use the First Amendment to claim protection against everything is ridiculous. Sadly, all of these cases begin to set precedence, and therein lies my issue with this ruling in particular. I have also noticed (and it is documented somewhere, I will search for the link) that this court – and specifically the ruling gentlemen – have undone so many instances of long-term precedence that I am beginning to wonder what exactly they are looking at while ruling on the laws.

        I digress – I would argue that the court had no reason to take on this case. It is not of dire circumstance to the nation, it held no bearing on the liberties of any of the nations “People”, and it forced a decision that not only circumvented, but actually “Allows Corporations to Ignore” the federal law. The ruling is supposed to relate ONLY to “closely held” corporations – but those amount to approx 90% of corps. (Salon, June 30) Also, the “Narrow Opinion” that was only to effect Hobby Lobby’s objection to certain forms of birth control – was expanded on July 2nd – just days later – to include ALL forms of birth control.

        My major issues are that Corporations are NOT people, and therefore they do not have opinions and speech to be protected by law. 2 very basic, very important facts that were overlooked in the name of religious freedom in this case.

        Another issue is the one of Religious Freedom itself. Ginsberg did, as I saw Stephanie pointed out, remark about how this ruling leaves a wide, gaping berth over what religions these types of considerations would be given, and what considerations would be brought forward from this point on. I have seen the silly memes that gave me a chuckle when they inferred that a company could not hire someone who eats bacon if their religion is opposed to any form of pork products.

        I laughed – and then I stopped laughing because this is EXACTLY what just took place in the Supreme Court by deciding in favor of Hobby Lobby. In this instance, they didn’t decide who to hire, but what part of the overall compensation package they would allow workers to have (AFTER, mind you, providing them all along prior to the ruling). Health insurance isn’t some pretty gift betowed upon you by a benevolent employer – it is part of a package that is comprised of time off, sick pay, benefits of family leave, pensions, and other things.

        But again, I am brought back to the simple idea that this puts in question the main aspects of WHO are the courts protecting? WHAT is being protected? HOW is it being protected (and who stands to be HARMED by this)? and does this apply EQUALLY under the same law for all?

        It is overwhelmingly a NO. In this case, the courts aren’t protecting an individual’s rights. They are declaring that a corporation’s owners have the right to use their ideals in creating a compensation platform for those who work for them. This is dodgy ground, as while I agree that if I run a store, I’d LOVE to have my ideals met – but as a sane person living in a kaleidoscope society, I know that I MUST recognize that not all share my beliefs. I’m not saying that the owner of Hobby Lobby should be forced to participate in abortion rituals – but I am saying that healthcare coverage is personal to the PERSON WHO IS COVERED, and the blanket of coverage should not be dissected on a corporation by corporation basis.
        WHAT was protected? The right of a company to deny aspects of health coverage to those who work for them, even at a cost of HARM – via health-related necessity for some forms of birth control, infringement on other’s belief systems, and unequal treatment; is, at it’s core – wrong.

        I think the courts were used in this case to establish precedent for upcoming religious/political battles that have no place in that arena. I can say with complete certainty that if I were to make the same argument under the guise of a different religion, that case would never have been heard, and I would have been right where Hobby Lobby should be now – allowing individuals to make their own choices regardless of my personal opinions about them.

        For those who are using biblical quotes to support or deny arguments – that is inappropriate. Jane – you specifically argued against yourself when you said on one hand that “Government is out of control, and companies need to stand up” yet then you say that you are thrilled at the decision – one in which the very same Government then decided how companies can act. It seems to line up with your ideology, so for you, this decision is a great one. It is exactly this type of thought that is a disservice to us all.

        We need to keep the church and state separation in tact for there to be ANY cohesive legislation that isn’t laden with loopholes to allow for the justification of ONE religion to rule them all.

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        • Barbara, thank you for your comment.

          You said, “I would argue that the court had no reason to take on this case. It is not of dire circumstance to the nation, it held no bearing on the liberties of any of the nations ‘People’….”

          Please pardon my being beyond naive, but I believe this case was entirely about freedom of religion of the many American people who own corporations that employ other people, owners who hold sincere beliefs that abortion is murder. Their moral conscience objects to being forced by law to pay for insurance coverage that includes abortifacients. Much of the discussion that preceded your comment discussed this, yet rather than address that discussion you virtually ignored it and seem to be pretending that’s not the issue. Why do you believe this doesn’t matter?

          Fighting through the fog of my naivety, I was able to discern your tactic (5th paragraph) of simply asserting as fact, with no supporting rationale of objective logic, that “Corporations are NOT people.”

          In my opinion, Barbara, that’s your opinion — not a fact.

          Like many who argue from a leftist viewpoint that embraces statism, you’re using that assertion to manufacture a rationale that this case “held no bearing on the liberties of any of the nations ‘People’.”

          David Green owns Hobby Lobby. He is a human being — an American entrepreneur. Without him, Hobby Lobby wouldn’t exist, nor would the more than 20,000 jobs his enterprise provides. He is a Christian who sincerely believes that abortion is murder. As a business owner, he doesn’t want to be forced to provide insurance benefits that subsidize the use of drugs that kill already-fertilized embryos. He has no objection to paying for coverage of a number of other preventive contraceptives. He is not legally advocating that the government ban abortifacients, so he is not denying access to them. He is simply petitioning for redress of his grievance that his unalienable right to freedom of religion is being infringed when the government mandates that, as the owner of his corporation, he must pay to provide abortifacients.

          Despite these aspects clearly being a big part of the preceding discussion here, you didn’t address any of it. You only mentioned the word abortion once, at the beginning of a sentence whose ending contradicted its beginning: “I’m not saying that the owner of Hobby Lobby should be forced to participate in abortion rituals – but I am saying that healthcare coverage is personal to the PERSON WHO IS COVERED, and the blanket of coverage should not be dissected on a corporation by corporation basis.” You’re cleverly allowing that employees are people that have rights, but employers are not people and therefore have no rights. Quite convenient, but where’s the foundational rationale? You have presented none. (By the way, your choice of the word “rituals” seems like perhaps it was designed to get under the skin of (naive?) people who take this matter seriously. Kind of a low blow, Barbara. One use of the word “IMHO” doesn’t buy you that much leeway. Just sayin’….)

          Barbara, I would like to ask you a few questions. They pertain to the theory of government as you see it, and what you think constitutes fair recourse under the law, and for whom.

          From your perspective, when the government passes laws that regulate corporations, who has a right to legally challenge those laws?

          Is your view that owners of corporations simply have no right to petition for redress of grievances?

          If that is your view, then who CAN petition for redress of grievances regarding laws and regulations that impact corporations?

          Do you fail to realize that any individual that would have tried to sue the government over the insurance coverage mandated upon corporations would have been disallowed to bring the suit because they wouldn’t have standing ?

          Or do you indeed realize this, and you just happen to like that Catch-22 because it guarantees the outcome you desire (i.e. the ends justify the means — any means)?

          If so, then do you realize that your view, if it were to legally prevail, would mean the government can levy corporate regulations that are absolutely unchallengeable?

          Is that OK with you? If so, could you please explain why?

          And in your explanations, could you please include the rationale by which an unchallengeable government is consistent with the following portion of the most famous sentence ever written?

          “…That to secure these [unalienable] rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….”
          (ref: Declaration of Independence)

          You brought up a dozen or more other things, but if you don’t mind let’s start by focusing on this assertion you made, and the two subsequent ones you also made that rely on the first one. I would appreciate if you would help me understand the underlying basis of your logic.

          Thanks,
          – Jeff

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        • Jane says:

          Hi Barbara:)
          I really appreciated reading your comment. You bring up great points.

          I feel Jeff covered already what I would say to your comment, ” Jane – you specifically argued against yourself when you said on one hand that “Government is out of control, and companies need to stand up” yet then you say that you are thrilled at the decision – one in which the very same Government then decided how companies can act. It seems to line up with your ideology, so for you, this decision is a great one. It is exactly this type of thought that is a disservice to us all.”

          I would agree with you if companies weren’t owned by individuals who have grown them to what they are. When do individuals quit having the right to challenge our government because their companies are big? That doesn’t make any sense to me, as Jeff pointed out. As I said, our government is a democratic republic, of the People, by the People, for the People. These are people (owners) who are using our legal system (checks and balances) to challenge our government, who they believe are making them provide a pill that aides in the murder of unborn children. They are not saying you can’t go get those pills, they just don’t want to provide them, thus aiding in that act. They are one of the few companies that put their money were their morals and convictions are. They feel abortion is murdering of innocent lives, so they are standing by that with their company. Shouldn’t everyone have that right?

          Like

        • Barbara, I’m sorry you were unable to remain engaged in this discussion. I was looking forward to continuing it. If you’re still monitoring replies to your comment, I hope you will find time soon to re-engage.

          Some additional questions occurred to me today that I wanted to ask you:

          If corporations aren’t people, then why is Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew calling upon corporations to adopt “a new sense of economic patriotism” instead of legally choosing to acquire a foreign company and move their headquarters overseas to a country with more reasonable corporate tax rates? Patriotism is an emotion. How could a non-person be unpatriotic?

          If corporations are just supposed to follow the rules enacted by Progressive legislators and executive branch regulators, and since moving a headquarters overseas is perfectly legal, then from a purely logical and business-sense standpoint, what’s the problem?

          Which is it…are corporations supposed to simply be silent accounting entities obediently following any regulation imposed by the government, or are corporations supposed to be patriotic Americans that are bound by heartfelt loyalty to pay higher taxes than any other industrialized country in the world without objection?

          Why can’t Progressive politicians, who are real people just like business owners are, do the patriotic thing and reduce the U.S.’s ridiculously high (35%) corporate tax rates? That would be a win-win…it would keep the corporate tax revenues here in the U.S. and it would boost the economy, lower consumer prices, and reduce unemployment.

          Hoping to hear from you….

          – Jeff

          Like

  6. tannngl says:

    We are a nation under God. It’s all over our federal buildings, money, memorials. The founding fathers were Christians. *gasp*

    So the Christian faith and conscience of a person who makes his living in his business is deserving of its rights under God.

    The Supremes made the correct decision.

    I’m looking for a swing back to the conservatism our Constitution lays out if one just reads it.
    But I’m just old, I guess.

    Like

    • Welcome back, tannngl.

      Regarding swinging back to the principles of individual freedom and limited government that were compiled in our Constitution: Some think the Constitution is no longer valid because it comes from a different time, and it’s obsolete. Do you agree that fundamental human nature changes so much over time that a whole new set of rules to control how humans interact in society is needed?

      – Jeff

      Like

      • tannngl says:

        That is a good question. You’re a pretty smart man.

        I don’t want to be too wordy, but this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while.
        I was born into a Christian home and raised on the Bible. I used to believe the people in the Bible were different than we are. I thought some how, they were closer to God. They must have been more ‘moral’ than we since God talked with them, walked with them, sent angels to them.

        Then I left my faith. I won’t go into the details, but I became my own god and over a period of about 30 years I happily lived like everyone else with only my own power and guidance. I totally walked away from the Almighty, pursuing my own goals. I did very well in the world’s terms. Promotions came every 2 years til I was a VP in a city hospital. I was successful, prosperous. Then for some reason at 50, I began to wonder if there really was a god. I began reading books on comparative religions, focusing first, on the eastern religions. Then it came to me that I should just read what I used to know…read the red in the Christian Bible. So I did. Soon I was reading the black and the red and when I finished the New Testament, I began reading the Old. My faith was returned to me. There was no question God existed. And as I read, I was taught directly by our Creator.

        As I began to read the Old Testament, I thought: “Why, the Old Testament, God? It’s just a lot of begets and begots.”
        But God in his wisdom had me read. After reading the first half of Genesis, I realized an old fallacy I had believed. The people of the Bible, even back in the beginning named their babies with the same names in each generation. They were no different than us in that certain names become popular in each generation of people and you can trace a person back to his/her year of birth by knowing the first name! Sounds like a small thing but from this I learned that those people were the same as we are! And as I read the book, I watched as they did the same things we do. They murdered, were unfaithful to their spouses, went to war, were full of ego and pride, sacrificed their children’s lives for their own gain, sought wealth and fame. I saw no difference in the people of the time of Genesis as the people of today.

        I’ve been in email discussions with an atheist, a wonderful Jewish doctor I met on the net a couple of years ago. We contacted in a conservative medical forum. He has given me his reasons for his atheist philosophy and I have given him my testimony of faith. At one point I had been reading in a book by Stephen Hawlking and the author said that ‘because there is a law of gravity the universe can and will create itself from nothing.’ (Or words to that effect.) I posed that thought to my friend and asked if that wasn’t a faith in itself. He replied that we must not question someone with a mind as far advanced as Dr. Hawking. He also thought that mankind had ‘progressed’ to such a degree that we are far superior than those in our ancient history.

        He’s incorrect, of course.

        And the Founders, with God’s wisdom laid out the framework, the Law (the Constitution), for the greatest nation in the history of time.

        Providing any new laws to grant us our liberties which are clearly stated in the Contitution, must in essence provide restrictions for those freedoms. The more law that is written, the more interpretation can be done. And those with the progressive ideology, can then restrict and eventually remove those rights.

        Sorry to be so wordy. My experiences for me, trump my intellectual philosophies. It’s what I know to be true.

        Like

        • Jane says:

          tannngl,
          I really enjoyed hearing your personal story. Thanks for being part of the conversation, which I’m thoroughly enjoying. I feel you really nailed it with your last few paragraphs.

          Like

  7. gwynell says:

    Wow, what a nice change from Facebook and Twitter. This is a civil discussion on both sides. Kudos to all involved for keeping it respectful. I am another one of the women who are past the age of needing contraceptives of any kind, but I am very relieved that the SCOTUS ruling went in favor of Hobby Lobby.

    I am of the opinion that people have choices. We choose where we work, we choose where we live, we choose where we will go to college. In choosing where we work, we (I did, at least) look at the benefit package. If the company does not provide the types of benefits you need/want, then you find a different place to work. My first love was restaurant work way back in the day, but there were very few that provided health insurance and other benefits. I chose to find a job where I would be provided with those things. My point is, the decision has been made and people know that Hobby Lobby is a Christian company and they will not be required to provide, excuse my candor, baby-killing drugs for their employees. There are other options. Choose another place to work. Life is full of choices and we live with the consequences of those choices.

    This company believes that these 4 forms of birth control (out of 20 possibilities) kill babies. They, like many millions of people in this country, have a deeply held religious conviction about this and our Constitution protects them along with those of you who may choose NOT to have a religious conviction about this (or anything, for that matter), from being forced to do religious stuff you don’t agree with. The protection goes both ways.

    Like

    • Welcome Gwynell. Thanks for commenting, and for subscribing to the blog.

      You pointed out something in your last paragraph that I hadn’t thought of before. That is, the people who may not feel that contraception types, access, costs, mandates, etc. have anything to do with religion are apparently convinced that everyone else sees it the same way. So they’re apparently mystified why others have a different take on it. You have kind of alluded to an implied freedom that’s not mentioned in the Constitution: The freedom to have freedoms. Just because others are willing to give up a freedom, that doesn’t obligate EVERYONE to be so willing. You’re saying to others, “You are free to give up YOUR religious freedom, but you’re not free to give up MY religious freedom.” Are you always so profound?

      The strategy that is seemingly being employed by the Progressive rhetoric industry is to paint these kinds of issues as an “us vs. them” situation, where any freedom retained or returned to conservatives/libertarians comes only at an EGREGIOUSLY HIGH price to Progressives. This creates an environment where no compromise is possible. As I said in the original article, the thin “truce” that was made possible by the consistent application of the Hyde Amendment starting in ’76 has now become unacceptable to the left. They’re ready to push for new Progress. So the small patch of middle ground that was the cease-fire zone has apparently disappeared, and it’s an all-out war of rhetoric. Both sides are suspicious of the slippery-slope motives of the other side. I believe the “freedom to have freedoms” is now in great jeopardy.

      Thanks for provoking our thoughts here.
      – Jeff

      Like

  8. gwynell says:

    Thanks Jeff, but I am rarely profound. I just kind of stumbled into it. It hit me as I was typing that the progressives would be all over the SCOTUS if Hobby Lobby was demanding that their workers attend church on Sunday since Hobby Lobby is so generous to give them the day off. The slippery slope argument has merit up to a point, but it is used, in this context, essentially as a straw man to avoid conceding the point that the 5-4 decision did not deny women birth control, it denied women who work at Hobby Lobby free access to 4 cheap ways to potentially abort their babies. And the lie is, those 4 pills are not even birth control. They don’t prevent pregnancy. They END pregnancy. The lies of the progressives are endless and that is why they need the slippery slope argument. The facts are not on their side.

    Love the blog!!!!
    Gwynell

    Like

  9. Waaahhhh, Waaahhh. Whine. Whine. Seriously, the entitlement that is the foundation of the progressive attitude kills me. This may be a bit off topic, but the ACA is the problem. Sure, we are entitled to free birth control – that is apparently some sort of God-given right. But cancer meds…forget it. With my new and wonderfully affordable ACA insurance plan (which is anything but affordable, costing well over 10% of my family income), my expensive, daily, little cancer-treatment pill isn’t covered at all until I meet my $6500 deductible. And I have to pay a pretty penny for my asthma medications…you know, the ones that help me breathe. I honestly can’t even believe this is an issue. Let people pay for their own birth control (which is relatively inexpensive)…just like I have to pay for my prescription drugs, which are clearly much more medically necessary. It really bugs me that they make this into a “women’s issue.” Honestly, it makes women look like a bunch of whiney victims, conveniently ignoring the real issues.

    Like

    • Thanks for the great comment, StephanieL.

      I just spotted this wonderfully concise rhetorical question in a blog at HotAir.com:

      “If your birth control isn’t your boss’s business, why are you asking your boss to pay for it?”

      I wish I could be that concise.

      – Jeff

      Like

  10. Hello Jeff, I really have nothing else to add to the conversation as you, Gwynell, Tangirl, and Barbara have covered pretty much all the bases on this one. I just wanted to drop a word and say Kudos on another excellent blog. God bless you all, everyone on the thread ! Also, I do have to say I admire the respectful and courteous dialogue.

    Like

  11. Headline:
    SUPREME COURT’S FAVORABILITY INCREASES AFTER HOBBY LOBBY DECISION

    Subhead: “Public opinion of the Supreme Court has improved in the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, particularly among independents”

    Please give it a read.
    – Jeff

    Like

  12. The Ed says:

    The constitution is an agreement between the states and the people governed with the federal government. It is the responsibility of the members of the federal government, the states and the people to live up to that agreement or to change the agreement. It has become clear that our governments want the freedom to legislate, to execute and to judge outside the confines of that agreement without bearing their responsibility to change the agreement first. Laws like RFRA are merely foot stomping, that is, “the first amendment is there and we are going to live to it!” The fact that it was enacted and that it is upheld to a 5 to 4 margin says something about how far our federal government is willing to step outside of its constitutional boundaries to do what it wants to do. This is one more aspect of the divorce between freedom and responsibility and as such it it wrong.

    I see a lot of the Roe v. Wade arguments in this blog. What is wrong with the arguments is manifest in the dynamics. For the pro-life people, life begins at conception therefore abortion is murder. I will not gainsay that position. I will recognize the results. Anyone who believes that life begins at birth will not believe abortion is murder and they build a communication wall against anyone who openly accuses them of murder. Now we have an issue with battle lines, each side is trying to force their opinion on the other side through the media, the courts, the legislation and any other way they can find even though no success changes any of the minds on the other side. Like the drug war, it is not working and like the drug war, what else are we supposed to do?

    What we are supposed to do is to win and to hold the culture. We have lost the culture in our K-12 schools, in our universities, in our television, in our movies and in our print. We have to recapture it. That means that we have to become teachers, professors, broadcasters and journalists. We have to write. We have to communicate.

    Most of all, we have to remarry freedom with responsibility. When our forefathers met in Philadelphia, the idea of freedom being wedded to responsibility was ingrained in the culture. It was considered as obvious as the need for air and water. I wonder what they would think if they saw how easily that wedded bliss can be undone by the offer of freedom granted with someone else bearing the responsibility.

    It is dysfunctional to divorce sexual freedom from parental responsibility. In every dysfunctional relationship there is an enabler. With alcohol it may be the older sibling who takes care of the younger children when mom and/or dad are out of it, or the wife who calls in sick for the inebriated husband so he does not get fired. Abortion and the morning after pill are enablers that allow sexual freedom to be divorced from parental responsibility, that allow men and women to be sexually active outside the marriage framework. If we want to stop abortion, we have to undo the dysfunctional relationships that bring about its “need”. And that is a cultural issue. The war against the pro-abortion crowd has gotten nowhere.

    Please notice that I am being deliberate in presenting my arguments outside any religious framework. I do so because the efforts to win the culture must embrace all religions and non-religions. It must be able to reach across generational lines. It must be able to cross the gender “chasm”. It has to transcend any racial or ethnic barriers.

    The divorce of freedom from responsibility can be found in abortion, drugs, fiscal irresponsibility, human trafficking, a government that exceeds its authority, and a myriad of other social ills that are plaguing this country. These too are cultural issues. So I do not ask that anyone here abandon the idea that life begins at conception. Just recognize that while battle-lines are drawn in the courtrooms and the legislative houses, the wars are won in the culture.

    Like

  13. Jane says:

    Ed,
    I 100% agree with you. I do have a question about your statement, ” The war against the pro-abortion crowd has gotten nowhere.” I don’t feel there has been a war against the pro-abortion crowd but for the rights of all born and unborn, and especially for the women who feel pressured to have an abortion because they feel they have no other choice. Yet, at least with this article, it has nothing to do with Roe v. Wade but with the rights of owners to stand up to the tyranny of our government. Yes, those who don’t like the outcome of this ruling throw in women’s rights and Roe v. Wade, but that’s just a distraction of the real issue, don’t you think?

    Like

  14. The Ed says:

    Jane,
    The reason I have said the war against the pro-abortion crowd has gotten nowhere is that all of the efforts to change the Roe V Wade decision or to move the decision to the states has been feckless. The pro-abortion crowd and the liberal media crucify any politician who would attempt such a thing. They get away with it because the left has captured the culture. In the capture of the culture, what was previously a normal solution to an unwanted pregnancy, adoption, has become so difficult that couples go overseas to adopt rather than adopt here in the US. Women are socialized to thinking that the unwanted children they bear will be better off with them rather than in a home with an adoptive mother and father who want them. I will never understand this.

    As for no other choice, I have to agree with you. Coerced choice is not choice. You would think the “pro-choice” crowd would know this. It is ironic that they do not get it.

    Abortion is ultimately an enabler of irresponsible or otherwise bad behavior. One place I agree with the left is that employers do not have to provide any accommodations for smokers. Smoking is bad behavior. Providing accommodations is enabling bad behavior. Employers should not have to enable bad behavior – not smoking, not alcohol, not drugs, not bad driving, not irresponsible sex. The Supreme Court was right to side with Hobby Lobby. This is one more reason why they were.

    Finally, in the abortion debate we have to decide if we want to have fewer abortions or punish the women who have them and the doctors who perform them. I vote for fewer abortions. For that we have to change the culture.

    Like

  15. Jane says:

    Ed,
    Thanks for clearing that up. Very well put and I absolutely agree with you on it. I love our local Stanton Healthcare here in Boise that gives women another choice than abortion. They are for women, empowering and helping them have a choice other than abortion. I do think this is the new swing of the pro-life movement. Like you said, we need to capture the culture, and in doing that it means showing women we are for them, their rights, and their mental and physical health. It does look like the tide is turning and 58% of people now do believe abortion is wrong. And with that, we need to be providing women with alternatives to planned parenthood, so they do have a choice.

    I really like how you explained that an employer should not have to provide accommodations that enable bad behavior. I’ve never heard it put that way and it’s right on.

    Like

  16. The Ed says:

    Thanks Jane,
    When it comes to changing the culture, it helps to find common ground.

    Like

  17. Pingback: 1/23/2016: WHEN LOVE BECOMES AN EXCUSE FOR TYRANNY – Citizen Tom

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