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View Diary: Threats to "Religious Liberty" That Aren't ... Are They? (43 comments)

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  •  The short version for me (17+ / 0-)

    Is that I don't have the right to practice my religion AT anyone else and nobody has the right to practice their religion at me.

    Because, under the Establishment Clause, all religions are accorded equal validity, the public sphere has to be neutral with respect to their views. This means, in practice, that the public sphere my permit activities which a specific religion prohibits.

    I do think you're on to something when you note that an employer normally doesn't get to weigh in on how their employees spend their paychecks and, since health care coverage is part of the employment compensation package, there should be no valid reason not to include such contraception coverage in employee health benefits.

    •  Thanks for the short version! :-) nt (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfbob, annan, radarlady, Buckeye54, Cedwyn, Munchkn
    •  My short version, which I came up with while (8+ / 0-)

      writing this, is that I'm free to obey my religion's laws and rules, not to enforce them.

    •  Yes. The Establishment Clause. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      The diary is an excellent discussion of the logical limits of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment on an individual's right to religious exemption from general laws.  It seems to me that the answer becomes clearer when you consider that exempting an individual from a general law based on their religious opposition to that law can be an official endorsement of that individual's religious view - prohibited by the Establishment Clause.

      Imagine a general law with a clause that said "Worshippers of Woba need not obey this law."  That clause would be clearly unconstitutional, right? It would give Wobans special exemptions not available to the general public.  Now we non-Wobans are indirectly paying for their employees' contraception.

      A right answer to the wrong question is a wrong answer.

      by legalarray on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 12:08:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Paying for religion (0+ / 0-)

      To me it has more to do with what I (as a taxpayer) has to pay for.  I shouldn't have to pay taxes to build or run someone's church ( we do that, but that's another story)?  I shouldn't have to pay for a cross to be built in the public square.  You get the idea.

      A person with very strong religious beliefs against contraception should not be compelled, through their tax dollars, to pay for someone's contraception (although they may still have to pay for a military to kill people, even if their religion forbids that).   So, as the argument goes, as a business owner I should not be compelled to provide (pay for) an insurance plan that covers contraception for my employees if that plan violates my religious beliefs.

      There is a problem with this reasoning, however.  NO employer pays for an insurance plan for his or her employees.  To pay for an insurance plan, an employer must first hold revenues back from wages and other compensation to provide it to an employee.  Make no mistake about it - if you have an insurance plan through your employer, you pay for it.  All of it, regardless of how much your employer pays of the premium.  The employer pays his portion with money he didn't pay you in salary or wages.

      Because of this fact, an employer should have NOTHING to say about the morality of what the insurance plan covers.  It is the employee who pays for  the coverage.  

      •  I think it's also important to point out... (0+ / 0-)
        NO employer pays for an insurance plan for his or her employees.  To pay for an insurance plan, an employer must first hold revenues back from wages and other compensation to provide it to an employee.  Make no mistake about it - if you have an insurance plan through your employer, you pay for it.  All of it, regardless of how much your employer pays of the premium.  The employer pays his portion with money he didn't pay you in salary or wages.
        ...that a "religious" employer could simply choose to look at it this way, and thereby absolve himself in his own mind of any violation of or affrontery to his own religious beliefs. I'm against contraception, but I'm not using it, not providing it and not paying for it; I am simply providing compensation to my employees for their labor, which my religion does not prohibit.

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