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View Diary: Keep Your Religion Out Of My Bloody Life (357 comments)

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  •  my religion says no war. don't ask me to pay for (31+ / 0-)

    yours with my tax money.

    why is that any different?

    I am tired of laughing at the irony of their stupidity.

    by stagemom on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:03:38 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I'm against roads that dont go to my house. (18+ / 0-)

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:09:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And you aren't buying them. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stagemom, VClib, emelyn

        There's a substantive and legal difference between paying tax money to the government, and buying something directly yourself from a business.

        Let's say you are an atheist who believes strongly that no religion should be tolerated by the public. If the government said, you must go negotiate with this contractor to build a road that goes to a church, and you must pay that contractor directly for that road, then you are being forced to violate your "free exercise" under the First Amendment (this applies to any belief system that occupies the place religion would for some, so an atheist belief system is protected under the Free Exercise Clause).  That is more akin to the health insurance thing -- employers have to go out, negotiate for and buy the coverage themselves.  

        If this were a system where the government imposed an extra tax on ALL businesses based on the number of employees they had, and then the government went out and negotiated and bought the health care (more of a single payment type system, for example) then a religious employer would have no standing to argue that this violated the Free Exercise Clause, because the employer is not buying a product that violates the employer's religious beliefs -- the employer is paying taxes to the government.  The government then decides how to spend that money.

        On the other hand, if the government passed a law saying that employers could not provide health insurance as a benefit, but that the  minimum wage would be $20 an hour (so that employees had the money to buy insurance themselves) that would also eliminate the employer's claim for a religious violation.  

        The key here is that the employer is the one who has to negotiate for, contract for, and buy the product itself.  That gives the employer some standing to argue that the product he is forced to buy violates his religious beliefs.  

        Frankly, if this were an individual forced to buy a product that violates his religious beliefs instead of a corporation, I think that the outcome would be clearer.  The question for the SCOTUS is whether the fact that the law makes an individual use his property (his business) to buy the product eliminates the Free Exercise problem.  

        •  Do you do anything that might effect your (16+ / 0-)

          insurances premiums negatively, if so, I'm not paying for you my religion prevents me from so doing.

          Do you eat red meat, junk food, use sugar, too much salt come on detail your diet I want to know if you are affecting my costs.

          Do you drink alcohol, smoke, take drugs, hmmmm?

          I suppose you have a regular urine check to be able to prove this

          "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

          by LaFeminista on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:25:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, none of those makes the employer (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stagemom, VClib, emelyn, nancyjones

            buy a product that directly violates his religious beliefs.  

            Here's the difference.  Suppose  the government passed a law that said, every employer with 50 or more employees must provide an on-side cafeteria, and in that cafeteria, they must serve pork once a week because we think pork is healthier than beef.  A Jewish employer absolutely would have a Free Exercise claim there, because he is forced to buy pork.  (As I said, the complicating factor is whether using his business to buy the pork is essentially the same as buying the pork himself.)  But if the government said you have to pay the employee $5 a day stipend for meals, and the employee goes out and spends it whatever way she wants (gambles it away if she wants, but can buy pork if she wants) that would not be a Free Exercise violation.  

            The problem here is that the government forced the employer to buy the product directly.  

            It's one more reason why the system of tying health insurance to employment makes no sense, because it, by definition, involves the employer in the employee's health care.  

        •  I already (4+ / 0-)

          do have to pay directly for something I believe to be disregarding human life while calling itself interested in our health. just say'in

          re coffeetalk:

          Frankly, if this were an individual forced to buy a product that violates his religious beliefs instead of a corporation, I think that the outcome would be clearer.  
          Now, let me be clear, I am for single payer or some other solution that does not involve a powerful corporation.

          BUT I am thankful for the ACA, as a start, simply because many of my fellow humans can now get to see a doctor and have preventative testing. Next year I will probably just pay the fine, if there are no reforms. but I don't discuss that decision with people I meet.  I still support and recommend ACA to everyone I meet.

          •  If you are saying that buying something (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Skyye, Love Me Slender, VClib

            from a corporation violates your religious belief, you'd have a very hard time meeting the test of the SCOTUS for a sincerely held religious belief.  Part of that test is whether you have lived your life generally in accordance with that principle.  If you buy other things from corporations, you probably don't have a "sincerely held religious belief" against buying things from corporations.  

            •  There are (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shaharazade, JesseCW

              clearly laws to refuse me the right to decide. I am not trying to say that there aren't laws that are against my ability to choose.

              I just think if one set of valued voices can argue it, then so should the people who have endeavored according to their spiritual beliefs which to me is my religion, but is not attached to an organized religion.

              So I understand the point you have been making, my point now is who gets to decide what my religion is and if it will be honored as valid, even if it is not affiliated with some Approved list.

              So to be clear, I am not an attorney nor legally educated, you seem to be at least well informed about these laws pertaining to the subject, and I actually am not disputing the law, as you state it. I just think we need new laws, I guess

              •  There's a test for exactly this question (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Skyye, VClib
                So I understand the point you have been making, my point now is who gets to decide what my religion is and if it will be honored as valid, even if it is not affiliated with some Approved list.
                It's in the United States v. Seeger case, which involved objectors to the Viet Nam War.

                Basically, you get to decide the validity of your own beliefs.  The test is to see if it's a "sincerely held" belief (not just one invented for expediency to avoid a law you just don't like or don't want to comply with) and whether it holds the kind of place in your life that a religion would hold (so atheists beliefs can qualify).  That case at that link goes into some detail.  

                •  I understand (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  VClib, Tonedevil, JesseCW, Lilredhead


                  I simply don't agree with this law. Especially how I might need to prove my beliefs against some other rules.

                  We all have beliefs we hold dear, spiritual beliefs, guides if you will. So, I understand fully that I would never be able to PROVE my stand and therefore under law am demanded to do as I am told, by the law enacted by those who make them.

                  Please accept it just as my viewpoint and opinion.

                •  Sorry, coffeetalk, I'm not convinced. (4+ / 0-)

                  First, corporations are legal contracts, fictions, not people, simply a legal means to protect money. Secular legal documents can not have religious beliefs. If a person wants to use that legal separation from the company to protect their money, then that legal separation also means it is the corporation, not the person, being affected by the law. The owners of Hobby Lobby are trying to benefit from corporate law when it helps them, but claim they are exempt when it bothers them. Sorry, they can't have it both ways. Any legal finding for HLInc may be justified by twisting words around, as any well paid lawyer can do, but it is not reasonable to say that corporations are people, and it is not reasonable for the owners to get an exemption. What's next? Christian Scientists who own corporations will offer prayer-only policies? Exemptions from snake bite treatment for businesses run by those fundie cults? Those are sincerely held beliefs, too.

                  Second, the money used to pay for medical insurance belongs to the employee as negotiated compensation, not to the employer. The employer should be obligated to negotiate for the best interests of the employee, not themselves (though that is often not the case with laws which are written by businesses (Chamber of Commerce, ALEC) for businesses).

                  •  two points. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    VClib, raspberryberet

                    with respect to your first argument, that's exactly wy this is before the SCOTUS -- the primary question is whether one surrenders any Free Exercise claim to the extent that one is operating through a for-profit business.  That's what the briefs -- on both sides -- are about.   If you read those briefs, both sides have some precedent on their side, but the question has never directly been addressed before.  

                    Second, with respect to "the employer has to disregard his own interests and act in the best interests of the employee," that would make the employer the fiduciary of the employee, and that's NEVER been the law anywhere.  An employer has no duty to act in the best interests of his employees if the employer believes it's to the detriment of the employer.  For example, it's clearly in the employee's best interests for the employer to negotiate something where the employer pays virtually all of some very high premiums and the employees pay little in premiums and have very low deductible limits.  But an employer has no legal duty to do that.  

        •  What's the next step? (6+ / 0-)

          If you're bold enough to say that you have to approve of my healthcare because you pay for it, then what's to stop you from saying that you have veto power over what I do with my paycheck, since you paid it to me?

          What's to stop you from setting up a company store and saying that you'll only pay me in trinkets that are good in your store?

          Pay and health are benefits for working.

          If you're all hung up on the type of health benefits that I need, then you're looking at it wrong. You're simply providing the money to pay for the healthcare. Just like you're providing the money for the paycheck. You don't have a say in how it is used after that

          Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort. - Voltaire
          Don't trust anyone over 84414 - BentLiberal

          by BentLiberal on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 03:56:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You must be a Republican! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Sailor, wishingwell

        "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

        by merrywidow on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:48:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, I'm a big supporter of the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, high uintas

          First Amendment.  

          When these exact same principles I'm describing were applied to objectors to the Viet Nam War, to excuse them from being drafted, the principles expressed here  were considered liberal.  

          Are they somehow not liberal because, rather than benefiting people who opposed the Viet Nam War, these same principles might benefit people who oppose contraception?  I don't see how that can be.  It seems to me if you think the principles were correct when applied to objectors in the Viet Nam War era, you have to be in favor of applying them here (whether you like the views they protect or not).  Otherwise, you'd be a First Amendment hypocrite -- the First Amendment only protects views you agree with.  

          •  Good example: SCOTUS found that Joan Baez (8+ / 0-)

            DID have to pay taxes to support the War(s) which had she been a man, she would NOT have be required to serve in, herself.

            Because there's a difference between money, which is fungible, and "service", which is in the nature of "specific performance."

            However, the Selective Service Act had been drafted specifically to provide a religious exception for Quakers and Anabaptists ... allowing the Court to decide., much later,  that any "sincerely held  belief "was entitled to the same deference as the beliefs for which the law was originally intended.

            The ACA  provides mechanisms to put the purchase of contraceptives at an ever greater distance from the Employer than Joe Baez's tax bill.

            Only Hobby Lobby Inc. doesn't want to use THOSE methods.  

            What good is having money and being a Boss, if you don't get to "boss" the Help,  right?

            And then there IS the question of whether a Corporation, chartered by the State has the same rights of conscience as a natural-born human being.

            (We do know corporations have a First Amendment right to contribute to politicians to a degree that would be illegal for a candidate to accept if offered by an individual.)

            •  So Hobby Lobby won't use (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              the remedy to the core problem, how do you think this will come out in the court?

              And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

              by high uintas on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:32:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not betting the Farm, but ... (6+ / 0-)

                I think the Roberts Court is NOT wholly beyond law or reason ...

                And if Lawrence v. Texas is an example of how they will behave in general ... it appears they have discovered they can do their duty to Party and Ideology without the undergraduates at Harvard Law snickering at them, too much -- by issuing rulings about which the Right can cry "Foul" for decades, if not generations ...

                It raises funds.
                It rallies the Base.

                And it lulls the Liberals with a false sense of accomplishment.

      •  I love it, well said !!! (0+ / 0-)

        Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at

        by wishingwell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:13:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Because you are giving tax money to the (4+ / 0-)

      government, not being asked to negotiate for, and buy, the guns and tanks yourself.  You pay tax money to the government.  The government then makes the decisions what it will need to buy to wage war, negotiates for those things, and contracts directly with the supplier.  There's a clear difference under the law.  

      If the government said, everyone must buy a gun for their employees so that those employees will be ready to wage war, and your religion said no guns, then that would be more analogous to what is going on with health insurance.    

      •  appreciate the clarity. but the irony of viagra (6+ / 0-)

        and the penis pump being ok with the religulous still irks.

        but back to war, or anything else i'm against:
         my congress ppl are negotiating on my behalf as my proxy/ representative in matters of state, true?  is the distance of one person truly that different under the law?
        the government to whom i pay tax to to carry out my "beliefs", is just like a group plan, no?  
        i mean this comment generally and theoretically and philosophically...i assure you i understand the difference.
        i don't need you to type further.  i get it.

        i know this is a bit tongue and cheek, but it fries me on some level.  

        I am tired of laughing at the irony of their stupidity.

        by stagemom on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:36:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  My personal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      religion (not organized) says,

      I should not contribute to greed and corruption. Should my tax dollars fund wars and insurance companies who have no true legal interest in healthcare for the clients, or the corrupt politicians. harming my fellow citizens economy?

      •  There's a difference between tax dollars (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and you supporting it directly.  

        For example, if your religion opposes wars, you probably can't be excused from taxation.  But if the religious belief meets the test set out by the SCOTUS, you CAN be excluded from a law like the draft, which forces you to serve in the military.

        So, when you say "should my tax dollars fund xyz" you are not in the realm of the Free Exercise clause or RFRA.  

        To be a Free Exercise or RFRA issue, the government would have to force you to work for the military or an insurance company, or force you to buy a gun or buy a product from a health insurance company -- i.e., to do something directly.  

      •  My personal religion has freed me from shopping (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmfp, Skyye

        at Hobby Lobby.

        •  drmah (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and walmart, and att and verizon and home depot and on and on, one at a time, as is at all possible.

          I now get gas at QT and when eating out Chipolte or family owned local restaurant, I shop at Costco, use Credo, moved bank account to community bank and credit union.

          I now inquire about employee wages, ask if the place offers healthcare or at least an avenue, living wages etc.

          Everywhere I can locally, or online (I use stop rush firefox add-on) I avoid giving any of them my money.

          That doesn't mean I can do it every single time, but it's about 90% of the time so far.

          One step at a time, one step after the other, keep on driving home

          •  I've wondered about standing outside fast food (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            restaurant with a "begging can" to collect money for health insurance for non-covered employees.  Maybe we could SHAME businesses into caring about their "people."

            •  Hmmm (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              that thought might have potential. Something creative could come of it!

              One other thing I've taken to doing is, I go to the QT when I have to get gas now since I heard they are good to their employees.

              Every time I go in I remind the person behind the counter, (loud enough so other customers can hear me), that I choose QT because I understand the company pay their employees a living wage and good benefits. I ask, is that right? They always smile and say sure is, I'm happy working here :)

              It always raises a smile or a comment of that's interesting I didn't know that. I usually say, oh yes and another company is Costco, next time you're near stop in and ask yourself! (I have done this at costco too)

              When I go into a new QT, I ask if there is a manager and I ask them to let Corp know I get my gas there because of how they treat their employees.

              I wonder if we could just go in and ask for the manager, and then ask them, do they provide benefits and a living wage to the employees. When they say no, say okay thank you, I appreciate it, I can't buy here, since I am committed to spending my dollars with those who do. Be kind and thank them and walk out.

              Oh how about getting a group together and hit facebook pages of those who don't? I might even get a facebook being for that!

              Sooo.. One word at a time. One sign at a time. Just shining light on the truth :)

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