U.S. Supreme Court chooses "God" over women in anti-contraception ruling

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Unionist
U.S. Supreme Court chooses "God" over women in anti-contraception ruling

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quizzical

they do?

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

they do?

Of course! GOD Bless America!

 

Aristotleded24

Could one of these religious conservatives please tell me where the Bible opposes contraception? I've read the whole thing cover to cover, studied it (although I'm more familiar with some parts than with others) and I still haven't seen one word about it.

Unionist

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Could one of these religious conservatives please tell me where the Bible opposes contraception? I've read the whole thing cover to cover, studied it (although I'm more familiar with some parts than with others) and I still haven't seen one word about it.

I'm not a religious conservative, but I sure know my Bible:

Genesis 38:8-10 wrote:
8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.”

9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother.

10 What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.

Praise the Lord that someone in the Supreme Court attended their Bible classes!!

 

6079_Smith_W

Good fundamentalist argument, Unionist, though it is cherry picking, when you look at the many other passages that don't support the argument that life begins at conception and before.

http://www.theskepticalreview.com/JFTPoliticsAbortion.html

Of course, the more reasonable interpretation is that the capital sin was the deception, not something that pretty much every man does on a regular basis.

As anyone who REALLY uses the bible knows, you can get it to say pretty much anything you want it to.

 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

I'm not pissed off at all, Unionist.

More amused at your presenting such a fundamentalist argument when really (as you say) it has more to do with interpretation than what is actually written. And the fact that it is hardly the final word on the matter in those books - even the Mosaic ones.

I think the question here is holding these people responsible for their own choices. Not their religion, nor the fact they are American. After all, we have similar religious exemptions here in Canada, and we're not dronestriking anyone.

 

 

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Good fundamentalist argument, Unionist, though it is cherry picking, when you look at the many other passages that don't support the argument that life begins at conception and before.

http://www.theskepticalreview.com/JFTPoliticsAbortion.html

Of course, the more reasonable interpretation is that the capital sin was the deception, not something that pretty much every man does on a regular basis.

As anyone who REALLY uses the bible knows, you can get it to say pretty much anything you want it to.

 

You seem to be pissed off about something. Or maybe that's just your writing style. I'm telling you that the the verse I quoted, in addition to Genesis 1:22:

Quote:
22 And God blessed them, saying: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.'

... were the purported basis of Orthodox Jewish opposition to birth control for a very long period of time, and (in case you hadn't noticed) is still in vogue among certain very numerous sects, including in Canada.

You want to have a theological argument with them, that they're misinterpreting the Bible? Be my guest. The Bible is a heap of crap, sort of like the Quran and other obsolete myths, whose sole purpose today seems to be to divide people into warring groups of the faithful, to justify oppression of women, queers, etc., and to console people who have no feelings of human solidarity or capacity for independent thought.

I just felt it might be of interest to answer A24's question. If you have a better answer - offer it. But your attempt to turn every conversation into some kind of running battle is getting frightfully fraying. If we progressive folks here all consider the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to be horrifying and disgusting, do we really need to find something to fight about? I simply posted it as yet another example of how the United States are not worthy yet to take their place among the ranks of human societies.

 

Unionist

Ok, then. In Canada, freedom of conscience means that people's sincerely held convictions of a religious nature need to be accommodated, within reason, and so long as that doesn't infringe on some other fundamental freedom.

It does not matter whether those religious beliefs are found in, or consistent with, or even a superficially accurate reading of any scripture. Those debates are stupid, and they pander to the notion that religion actually has some inherent worth.

What the Supreme Court has done is to privilege the religious convictions of some millionaire corporate owners over the rights of workers and especially women workers. That could easily happen in Canada as well under the current state of the law (even this particular example could conceivably happen here). It's just that the moronic dinosauric world-dominating gun-toting God-fricking-fearing We The People of Amerika are lots more likely to allow such monstrosities than we are. In that sense alone, we are entitled to a small but important tinge of moral superiority. Until Harper's next bill gets tabled, anyway.

 

Aristotleded24

Unionist wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:

Could one of these religious conservatives please tell me where the Bible opposes contraception? I've read the whole thing cover to cover, studied it (although I'm more familiar with some parts than with others) and I still haven't seen one word about it.

I'm not a religious conservative, but I sure know my Bible:

Genesis 38:8-10 wrote:
8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.”

9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother.

10 What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.

Praise the Lord that someone in the Supreme Court attended their Bible classes!!

In the context of the times in which that passage was written, if your brother died without having any children, you were obligated to marry his widow to produce offspring, and they would be considered your brother's offspring, not yours. That's what the "sin" was in this passage, not the act of not having children in and of itself.

Unionist

Aristotleded24 wrote:

In the context of the times in which that passage was written, if your brother died without having any children, you were obligated to marry his widow to produce offspring, and they would be considered your brother's offspring, not yours. That's what the "sin" was in this passage, not the act of not having children in and of itself.

Thanks, much appreciated, A24, I'll instantly go and advise all those dumb Israelites that have been misreading it all these millenia. You know, just like Jesus said they'd been getting it wrong for centuries, that Yahweh was actually this really sweet loving dude who kissed his enemies (previously misread as "killed").

BTW, did you notice the death penalty part? Heavy shit.

 

cco

Unionist wrote:

Ok, then. In Canada, freedom of conscience means that people's sincerely held convictions of a religious nature need to be accommodated, within reason, and so long as that doesn't infringe on some other fundamental freedom.

If only Canada's standard were "within reason". It's "up to the point of undue hardship" instead. So some hardship is mandatory, I suppose. Of course, it's hard to apply "within reason" to a law that is specifically written to help people be unreasonable.

Unionist

You're correct, cco - although religious accommodation which requires infringement on (say) equality of women and men would almost certainly be viewed as past the undue hardship threshold.

 

6079_Smith_W

What is the real issue here, U?

Seems to me it is a question of equal rights in the context of women's control of their bodies, labour rights and medical coverage.

Want to make it all about religion? I'm sure the god botherers will love playing the victim on that one. We could also ask why they don't stone each other to death for wearing polycotton like they are supposed to.

When the issue was haircutting, I thought we both agreed the wisest course was to keep it to the secular principles so as not to seem to be xenophobic about it. We might be talking about a different and dominant religion (so I do understand the temptation to get a dig in), but really, the principle isn't all that different. 

(edit)

The biggest outrage I see here? That such open bias is allowed and even expected in U.S. supreme court rulings. Unless this is extended to allow Mennonites and other conscientious objectors to withhold part of their taxes that would have gone to the federal military budget. But I don't think the justices were really thinking about true freedom of religion at all. This is a political decision designed to step on the rights of women, and an attack on healthcare reforms.

 

 

cco

Just like Bush v. Gore, it's another ruling that tries to claim it sets no precedent whatsoever. Legally and jurisprudentially, it's a mess.

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

What is the real issue here, U?

Seems to me it is a question of equal rights in the context of women's control of their bodies, labour rights and medical coverage.

Want to make it all about religion?

Geez, no kidding, you are the all-time champion misinterpreter of my remarks. This has nothing to do with "religion". It has to do with a patriarchal imperialist racist capitalist society that doesn't view its victims (women, workers, foreigners, Indigenous people, queers) as fully human, and so uses any excuse to put them in their place.

Hope that's sufficiently clear.

My biblical references were intended to be sardonic - until you and A24 started saying, "ooo, wait, there's different ways to interpret that". Geez, to repeat myself.

Unionist

Anyway, wanna know what the real issue is?

It's Obamacare. The cowardly compromise which rejected the notion that society should look after the health care of its members - not insurance companies, individual savings, or charities. The cowardly retreat that took "single payer" off the table before it could even be debated.

That's how a "Supreme" Court can issue a ruling worrying about the religious sensitivities of millionaire insurance company owners.

It's the abject failure of the U.S. political system to allow, let alone produce, a genuinely pro-people humane opposition to arise and take shape.

On July 1, just for a moment, I thank the gods that I live north of that border.

 

6079_Smith_W

Actually Aristotled24 asked the question before your sermon.

And it was a good question, because it gets to the heart of the fact that this IS a political move, no matter how much they might want to dress it up as religion.

As for the U.S. being not fit for whatever you think they aren't, I don't think we have that much to crow about up here. As I said, we have similar exemptions for public servants and doctors in some of our provinces. 

voice of the damned

Unionist wrote:

Just a little reminder, in case anyone thought the U.S. was progressing out of the Stone Age:

In fairness to the US, it's not exactly like the rest of the western world is living in the Digital Age when it comes to abortion law.

In 2010, Ireland's right to prohibit women from having abortions was upheld by the European Court Of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The two women who had their request denied had been pleading economic hardship.

In 2005, two Irish women and a Lithuanian woman[6] who had previously travelled to England for abortion brought suit in the European Court of Human Rights asserting that restrictive and unclear Irish laws violate several provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case, A. B. and C. v. Ireland, was heard before the Grand Chamber of the Court on 9 December 2009 and was decided on 16 December 2010. In that case the Court ruled that the first two women's rights were not violated by being forced to travel because Irish law was "legitimately trying to protect public morals".[6] ECHR also ruled that Irish law struck a fair balance between the women's rights to respect of their private lives and the rights of the unborn. Although it found that Ireland had violated the Convention by failing to provide an accessible and effective procedure by which a woman can have established whether she qualifies for a legal abortion under current Irish law. The Court's decision is binding on Ireland and all of the member states of the Council of Europe.[7]

Note that the rationale for forbidding the abortions was "public morals", more-or-less the same sort of jargon you hear from the anti-choicers in the US and Canada. If it was just Ireland doing this, I might not consider it a huge deal, but the Strasbourg ruling basically grants Irish law the imprimatur of the entire Council Of Europe, which pretty much represents the whole continent.

http://tinyurl.com/qgrsy4z

http://tinyurl.com/n3hj992

 

Tehanu

Well, I'm filled with outrage about this decision on so many levels, and I am also having a "glad I'm on the north side of that border" day. In effect SCOTUS has affirmed that corporations can have a religion. Isn't that interesting? I mean, I know some might treat capitalism like a cult, and free market ideology like theology, but I find it quite strange that a corporate entity can See The Light. Hallelujah!

Course these are the same folks who said corporations are people when it comes to campaign financing. Whatever it takes to destroy any vestiges of social equality.

Including for women. Worth noting that another delightful decision they made this week was to strike down buffer zones for abortion clinics. Anyone want to argue there isn't an anti-woman agenda at play here?

Unionist

Oh Tehanu, thank you so much for being here!

 

6079_Smith_W

Here is where they are spending their money:

http://www.salon.com/2014/03/27/hobby_lobbys_secret_agenda_how_its_secre...

And while they have from the start been vocal about their religious grounds, they did change their stance on some of the contested contraceptive methods.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-buffett/why-hobby-lobby-loses-eve_b_5...

Quote:

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 was originally designed to protect the rituals and practices of religious groups that might run afoul of the law. For example, Native American tribes that use peyote as part of their religious practice are protected from prosecution. Expanding the rules from a religion to cover a private business should trouble everybody.

Of course, here is the irony. Until the lawsuit, Hobby Lobby covered a number of female contraceptive options, including Plan B and others that they object to in the current legal action. Somewhere along the line, Hobby Lobby got "religion" on the issue. The owners of Hobby Lobby were for contraception before they were against it.

http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/jul/01/sally-kohn/d...

Quote:

"Hobby Lobby provided this coverage before they decided to drop it to file suit, which was politically motivated," she said.

We can’t determine if politics motivated the company, but we did wonder whether Hobby Lobby covered the types of birth control at issue in its lawsuit but dropped the coverage before filing its complaint.

The short answer: Yes.

cco

6079_Smith_W wrote:

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 was originally designed to protect the rituals and practices of religious groups that might run afoul of the law. For example, Native American tribes that use peyote as part of their religious practice are protected from prosecution. Expanding the rules from a religion to cover a private business should trouble everybody.

Funny you should bring the peyote thing up. In the case that prompted that 1993 law, here was the opinion of one Antonin Scalia:

Quote:

Precisely because 'we are a cosmopolitan nation made up of people of almost every conceivable religious preference', and precisely because we value and protect that religious divergence, we cannot afford the luxury of deeming presumptively invalid, as applied to the religious objector, every regulation of conduct that does not protect an interest of the highest order. The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind.

We have never held that an individual's religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition.

As described succinctly by Justice Frankfurter in Minersville School Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586, 594-595 (1940):

Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs. The mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities.

We first had occasion to assert that principle in Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879), where we rejected the claim that criminal laws against polygamy could not be constitutionally applied to those whose religion commanded the practice. "Laws," we said,

are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. . . . Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.

Subsequent decisions have consistently held that the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes).

Quoting Justice Burger in United States v. Lee, he went on:

Quote:

The obligation to pay the social security tax initially is not fundamentally different from the obligation to pay income taxes; the difference — in theory at least — is that the social security tax revenues are segregated for use only in furtherance of the statutory program. There is no principled way, however, for purposes of this case, to distinguish between general taxes and those imposed under the Social Security Act. If, for example, a religious adherent believes war is a sin, and if a certain percentage of the federal budget can be identified as devoted to war-related activities, such individuals would have a similarly valid claim to be exempt from paying that percentage of the income tax. The tax system could not function if denominations were allowed to challenge the tax system because tax payments were spent in a manner that violates their religious belief.

Scalia again:

Quote:

Congress and the courts have been sensitive to the needs flowing from the Free Exercise Clause, but every person cannot be shielded from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs. When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.

What a fucking hypocrite.

6079_Smith_W

Good find, and I agree with you  in one sense.

On the other hand, He is entirely consistent in pushing his political interests. In this case, anti-women, anti-Obamacare, pro-right wing religious base.

After all, its not like this result was a surprise.

Ruth Ginsburg's dissenting opinion:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/best-lines-hobby-lobby-decision

Quote:

"Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be 'perceived as favoring one religion over another,' the very 'risk the [Constitution's] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude."

Unionist

Just a little reminder, in case anyone thought the U.S. was progressing out of the Stone Age:

[url=http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/jun/30/supreme-court-employers-relig... side with Hobby Lobby and rule companies can claim religious exemption from Obamacare birth control mandtate[/url]

Quote:

Conservatives celebrated a victory over Obamacare on Monday after the supreme court ruled that some companies should be allowed a religious exemption from rules requiring them to include all forms of contraception in employee health policies.

In a judgment with significant implications for the legal rights of corporations, a narrow majority of five justices argued that “closely held” businesses such as the family-run Hobby Lobby chain of stores, which brought the test case, enjoyed the same religious protections under law as individuals.

Hobby Lobby's Christian owners and others like them will now be free to remove four controversial contraception methods from insurance plans provided to their 13,000 staff, claiming they amount to a form of abortion because they take effect after the point of fertilisation.

This is the country which sends troops and drones to protect women and girls the world over.

 

josh

Without getting too much in the legal weeds, here's the basis of the decision.  In 1990 the court, in an opinion by Scalia, held that Native Americans could not escape legal consequences for using peyote in their religious ceremonies.  Concerned that the legal standard used by Scalia would impinge on religious rights, a Democratic congress and a Democratic president enacted into the law the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," which brought back the previous standard that the government had to have a compelling interest for infringing on the free exericse of religion, and that that interest had to be "narrowly tailored" by being the "least restrictive means" of achieving that compelling government interest.  The majority in Hobby Lobby, relying on RFRA, held that the government did have a compelling interest in providing access to contraceptives, but that it requiring a close corporation to pay for it was not the least restrictive means of acheiving that goal because the government itself could pay for the access. 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

But who is to say what direction this could be taken?

In the first place it sets a terrible precedent that businesses can opt out of coverage for their workers or otherwise claim that laws don't apply to them for what are essentially political reasons. And secondly, it might not always be a case where government can fix it by paying the bill.

Someone tried in 1968 (using different legislation) to claim religious grounds to refuse service to African Americans. In that case the supreme court turned him down unanimously.

http://www.forwardprogressives.com/sc-restaurant-owner-refuses-serve-bla...

 

 

josh

That's the danger.  The slippery slope that Ginsburg warned against in her dissent.  Of course that all could have been avoided had RFRA not been enacted.  Scalia, for once, was right in limiting the right of people to opt out of laws of "general applicability" for religious reasons.

6079_Smith_W

I wouldn't say he was right, and I don't think we can blame to blame a bad decision on a law that helped correct a wrong.

There have been cases where governments were able to act despite RFRA, and sections of the law have been struck down already.

Let's remember that this was at its heart a political decision - one which four of the justices did not support. Erasing a law won't change those biases one bit.

 

josh

In 1997, the court held that RFRA could not apply to the states because congress didn't have the power under the 14th amendment to change a standard set forth by the supreme court.  However, did not reach the same holding with regard to laws passed pursuant to federal law. 

There was no injustice to correct.  The court was right in the peyote decision.  Permitting religious exemptions from laws of general applicability creates one big slippery slope.

 

Mr.Tea

This opens up a major pandora's box.

What if you work for a company run by Scientologists who don't believe in psychiatry? Can they refuse to cover your mental health treatment?

If your company is run by CHristian Scientists who don't believe in blood transfusions or vaccinations, are you out of luck there?

What if you got HIV while engaging in gay sex and your fundamentalist boss thinks that AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality? No anti-retroviral drug coverage for you?

voice of the damned

Concerned that the legal standard used by Scalia would impinge on religious rights, a Democratic congress and a Democratic president enacted into the law the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act

I recall an episode of Firing Line discussing the peyote exemption, from just around that time. Archconservative Catholic William F. Buckley was pretty enthusiastic in support of the right of First Nation groups to get the exemption. The Hobby Lobby ruling would presumbaly give us a clue as to why.

Personally, I could see granting an exemption to the First Nations on the grounds of herditary rights, ie. they were there first, and did not consent in any meaningful way to be governed by Euro-American laws(less sympathy if they move to Sweden and ask for the same exemption). But I assume that's not the rationale the RFRA was using.  

voice of the damned

Mr.Tea wrote:

This opens up a major pandora's box.

What if you work for a company run by Scientologists who don't believe in psychiatry? Can they refuse to cover your mental health treatment?

If your company is run by CHristian Scientists who don't believe in blood transfusions or vaccinations, are you out of luck there?

What if you got HIV while engaging in gay sex and your fundamentalist boss thinks that AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality? No anti-retroviral drug coverage for you?

I imagine the answer to those questions would be "yes", assuming we are talking about the same kind of companies that are protected by the current court ruling.

I have to agree with Unionist that the main culprit here is Obamacare. I actually DON'T think a right-wing Catholic employer should have to pay for HIV treatment, or a Scientologist for psychiatry, etc. In a properly ordered welfare-state, those things would be paid for by the government.

That said, I don't really know that Canada has much cause to trumpet its virtues on that score, because as far as I know, most provincial health plans still don't pay for dental care, and don't mandate employer coverage either. Basically, without even having to argue a religious exemption, Canadian employers are totally free to leave dental out of whatever coverage they offer, thus leaving the employee to pay out of pocket.

And if you think dental care is no big deal, do a google on "tooth decay and heart disease".

 

voice of the damned

Oh, and just as a point of information...

If your company is run by CHristian Scientists who don't believe in blood transfusions or vaccinations, are you out of luck there?

Christian Scientists actually reject medical treatment in general, not just transfusions. But I don't think they are too strident about it(at least accodring to a CS I talked to, they more or less leave it up to the individual). It's Jehovah's Witnesses who specifically reject blood transfusions(but not medical treatment generally), and ARE pretty strident about that.

I'm not sure where either of the group stands on vaccinations.

josh

6079_Smith_W wrote:

josh wrote:

There was no injustice to correct.  The court was right in the peyote decision.  Permitting religious exemptions from laws of general applicability creates one big slippery slope.

Using this miscarriage as an anti-religious foil in that way is just as bad as Scalia's hypocrisy (see above) or making the argument that there is are valid religious grounds for corporations being outside the law imposing sexist, anti-poverty dogma on their workers. 

And it is an insult to all our intelligence that we can't see the difference in where the power lies in these two very different situations. How can you equate firing a worker for doing nothing wrong on the job, and simply testing positive for peyote, with this terrible decision.

Again, spinning this as a religious conflict is not only a distraction from the real issues, it plays into the hands of those who are using religion to justify their right-wing discrimination, and love nothing more than to portray themselves as being crucified.

 

 

 

Can't tell whether we're talking past each other.   I'm simply saying that the standard set forth by Scalia in the Smith case was the correct one.  And while he was wrong in joining the majority in Hobby Lobby, he wasn't hypocritical signing on to an opinion using the RFRA standard because he was (atypically) deferring to congress.

Rikardo

We Canadians love to criticize our southern (only) neighbour's internal politics,  Were I an American I'd answer:  Its none of your business.

 

6079_Smith_W

josh wrote:

There was no injustice to correct.  The court was right in the peyote decision.  Permitting religious exemptions from laws of general applicability creates one big slippery slope.

Using this miscarriage as an anti-religious foil in that way is just as bad as Scalia's hypocrisy (see above) or making the argument that there are valid religious grounds for corporations being outside the law imposing sexist, anti-poverty dogma on their workers. 

And it is an insult to all our intelligence to ignore the difference in where the power lies in these two very different situations. How can you equate firing a worker for doing nothing wrong on the job, and simply testing positive for peyote, with this terrible decision.

Again, spinning this as a religious conflict is not only a distraction from the real issues, it plays into the hands of those who are using religion to justify their right-wing discrimination, and love nothing more than to portray themselves as being crucified.

(edit)

and @ VOTD.

Cross posted. The companies aren't being forced to go and buy these things and walk out with it in a paper bag. They are paying for coverage.

Obamacare is a half-measure, to be sure. But blaming it for the court's decision is essentially supporting the Republicans and Teapartiers in their argument.

And there is a correlation between bad teeth and heart problems, but the idea that bad teeth causes heart problems has been disproven. That aside, I agree with your argument about dental care completely.

 

 

 

voice of the damned

And there is a correlation between bad teeth and heart problems, but the idea that bad teeth causes heart problems has been disproven.

Well, thanks for the info. If you could the state of my teeth, you'd know why I'm relieved to hear that!

But anyway, there are examples of other things that the Canadian health-care system does not provide, eg. as far as I know, pharmacuetical costs. At least, I never got them for free.

6079_Smith_W

josh wrote:

Can't tell whether we're talking past each other.   I'm simply saying that the standard set forth by Scalia in the Smith case was the correct one.  And while he was wrong in joining the majority in Hobby Lobby, he wasn't hypocritical signing on to an opinion using the RFRA standard because he was (atypically) deferring to congress.

I'm saying the 1992 decision was a bad one; I don't think it was justified at all, especially since it was based on a war on drugs mentality, and it truly did concern an individual person suffering discrimination. And even though the RFRA may have been tainted (because it was backed by right-wing as well as progressive groups) it was a necessary thing in correcting that. And it is, if used in reasonable way, a good law.

The difference between then and now is in the law being used as a sword to inflict damage rather than as a shield to protect.The decision made in this case did not automatically follow from RFRA. Again, we do have the capacity to weigh the issues and make a reasonable decision. Personally, I give Ginsburg's argument more weight that Scalia's.

 

Mr.Tea

voice of the damned wrote:

I have to agree with Unionist that the main culprit here is Obamacare. I actually DON'T think a right-wing Catholic employer should have to pay for HIV treatment, or a Scientologist for psychiatry, etc. In a properly ordered welfare-state, those things would be paid for by the government.

That said, I don't really know that Canada has much cause to trumpet its virtues on that score, because as far as I know, most provincial health plans still don't pay for dental care, and don't mandate employer coverage either. Basically, without even having to argue a religious exemption, Canadian employers are totally free to leave dental out of whatever coverage they offer, thus leaving the employee to pay out of pocket.

And if you think dental care is no big deal, do a google on "tooth decay and heart disease".

 

Yeah, I tend to agree with you here on both points. I don't like the idea of forcing a devout Catholic to pay for birth control or even a devout Scientologist to pay for anti-depressants if that is a strongly against their values and beliefs. The issue is that most people are in the position of having to rely on their employers for health care coverage in the first place. If there were public coverage available to all, this whole issue would be moot.

And, yes, as a dentist myself I know all about people having to rely on employee benefits to get dental work done. If you've got certain types of jobs, you get great coverage. If you're unemployed or a freelancer or various other situations, you're stuck paying out of pocket, which can be very expensive and people will often do without. I've often had patients come to see me and they need a LOT of work done. Their teeth are full of cavities, rotting away. I'll tell them they should have come to see me for treatment years ago and they'll reply that they didn't have coverage until now. So, instead of doing minor treatment and preventitive treatment at the right time, you're now doing five years worth of it, cause the problems built up while they didn't have insurance.

abnormal

First, I'm not defending the decision (simply put, regardless of my personal opinion of Obamacare I don't like the SCOTUS ruling)

josh wrote:

... that all could have been avoided had RFRA not been enacted. 

When RFRA was enacted Ted Kennedy said the following:

Quote:

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Senator Hatch and I, and 23 other Senators have introduced, would restore the compelling interest test for evaluating free exercise claims. It would do so by establishing a statutory right that adopts the stand­ards previously, used by the Supreme Court. In essence, the act codifies the requirement for the Government to demonstrate that any law burdening the free exercise of religion is essential to fur­thering a compelling governmental interest and is the least restric­tive means of achieving that interest.

The act creates no new rights for any religious practice or for any potential litigant. Not every free exercise claim will prevail. It simply restores the long-established standard of review that had worked well for many years and that requires courts to weigh free exercise claims against the compelling State interest standard. Our bill is strongly supported by an extraordinary coalition of or­ganizations with widely differing views on many other issues. The National Association of Evangelicals, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Coalitions for America, People for the American Way, just to name a few, support the legislation. They don’t often agree on much, but they do agree on the need to pass the Religious Free­dom Restoration Act because religious freedom in America is damaged each day the Smith decision stands.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/372272/misogyny-anti-contraception...

In short, the law of unintended consequences strikes again.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

abnormal wrote:

In short, the law of unintended consequences strikes again.

Again, to say that absolves Scalia and the others of any responsibility, because they were just doing their jobs, and essentially made the right decision. What does it say about the justices who ruled against? That they are in error? It begs the question of what the perceived wrong is here - a 20-year old law, or the right-wing here and now trying to push an anti-woman, anti social safety net, pro-corporation agenda?

Again, Ginsburg correctly pointed out the double standard. For all the horror stories no one is ever going to allow stopping transfusions because that is not what this is about.

(edit)

Cross-posted josh. I'm not sure I understand.  Can you explain what you mean, just so I am clear?

 

 

 

abnormal

6079_Smith_W wrote:

abnormal wrote:

In short, the law of unintended consequences strikes again.

Again, to say that absolves Scalia and the others of any responsibility, because they were just doing their jobs, and essentially made the right decision. 

That's not what I meant - regardless of whether or not Scalia et al acted "correctly" the fact is that the machinery to allow this decision happened to be a piece of legislation that was intended to apply in a very specific circumstances and it has led to a result that I'm sure the drafters of the law never thought about.

josh

6079_Smith_W wrote:

josh wrote:

Can't tell whether we're talking past each other.   I'm simply saying that the standard set forth by Scalia in the Smith case was the correct one.  And while he was wrong in joining the majority in Hobby Lobby, he wasn't hypocritical signing on to an opinion using the RFRA standard because he was (atypically) deferring to congress.

I'm saying the 1992 decision was a bad one; I don't think it was justified at all, especially since it was based on a war on drugs mentality, and it truly did concern an individual person suffering discrimination. And even though the RFRA may have been tainted (because it was backed by right-wing as well as progressive groups) it was a necessary thing in correcting that. And it is, if used in reasonable way, a good law.

I'm not talking about the decision itself, but the standard set forth for analyzing such cases.  I think the standard was correct, if not the decision.  RFRA was enacted to undo the standard, not out of sympathy for peyote users.

6079_Smith_W

Gotcha, fair enough. But this was a split decision; not every justice reached that conclusion. There is no reason why the original makers of that law should have anticipated this, any more than those who made jaywalking and littering laws, which are also applied in a discriminatory way.

Pretty much any law can be bent out of shape by someone in power determined to abuse it. It doesn't invalidate the law.

voice of the damned

it has led to a result that I'm sure the drafters of the law never thought about

If I read the Kennedy statement correctly, one of the main drafters of the law was Orrin Hatch, a famously anti-choice Republican from Utah. I'd be willing to bet that something like this result did in fact cross his mind, and is one of the reasons he drafted the bill.

abnormal

BTW, for those that haven't seen it, Hobby Lobby's lawyer commented on the scope of the decision.

http://en.video.canoe.tv/video/featured/editors-picks/2480354564001/hobb...

6079_Smith_W

Hatch didn't exactly pull it out of his back pocket, and the law passed unanimously in the house and 97 to 3 in the senate.

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

Quote:

The Smith decision outraged the public. Many groups came together. Both liberal (like the American Civil Liberties Union) and conservative groups (like the Traditional Values Coalition) as well as other groups such as the Christian Legal Society, the American Jewish Congress, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, and the National Association of Evangelicals joined forces to support RFRA, which would reinstate the Sherbert Test, overturning laws if they burden a religion.

josh

I'm not sure I understand. Can you explain what you mean, just so I am clear?

 

 

Scalia set forth a standard for deciding these cases. Basically putting the burden on those who sought a religious exemption. RFRA, in effect, shifted the burden to the government to establish why they shouldn't be so entitled. You can agree with the standard set forth in the case without necessarily agree with the outcome of the case, i.e, that the peyote users were not entitled to unemployment benefits because they were fired for illegal drug use.

6079_Smith_W

Thanks.

THing is, that is only one narrow aspect of two cases which are very different in many other respects.

And I don't buy at all the idea  that Scalia and the others made the decision they did because they felt their hands were tied by a bad law. He had every opportunity to join those in opposition and rule against Hobby Lobby.

Fact is, this was the result he truly wanted, and as cco said, it is hypocritical in that respect.

 

 

 

cco

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I'm saying the 1992 decision was a bad one; I don't think it was justified at all, especially since it was based on a war on drugs mentality, and it truly did concern an individual person suffering discrimination. And even though the RFRA may have been tainted (because it was backed by right-wing as well as progressive groups) it was a necessary thing in correcting that. And it is, if used in reasonable way, a good law.

The proper remedy is to end the stupid, ineffective, deadly, devastating, multi-trillion-dollar war on drugs for everyone, not to carve out religious exemptions so as to remove one ugly case from the public eye. The fact all of Congress got outraged about the deprivation of one tribe's religious rights in the same year they passed even more draconian laws that would end up depriving millions of mostly black and brown people of their freedom tells you everything about where American priorities were in 1993 (and to a large extent, still are).

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