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View Diary: Religious Exemptions: The First and the Fourteenth (41 comments)

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  •  It's so nice to have the benefit (6+ / 0-)

    of a medieval perspective.

    Non-profit religious corporations that accept government funding don't get to claim religious exemptions in performing public services. If you want to be a bigot, you can pay for it out of your own pocket.

    •  In my view, you have it backward. (2+ / 0-)
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      nextstep, VClib

      The government does NOT get to act primarily on the belief that a religious view is wrong or bigoted.  Absolutely.  Positively.  If the primary reason for a law, or a regulation, or an executive order, is because "that religious view is bigoted and you shouldn't be able to be a bigot," then that law, or regulation, or executive order, is almost per se unconstitutional.  Government CANNOT pass judgment on the propriety of religious views.  Government CANNOT impose a law, regulation, or executive order for the primary purpose of stifling an unpopular religious belief.  

      If the government chooses to contract with a religious entity, it takes the religious entity as it finds that entity.  It is unconstitutional for the government to condition a government benefit on a religious entity agreeing to violate its religious views.  

      The government certainly CAN decide that it will NOT contract with religious entities to perform public services.  That's perfectly fine and constitutional.  But once the government does decide to contract with religious entities, it cannot make a condition that the religious entity violate a religious belief because the government doesn't like that religious belief.  

      Before you call me "medieval" again, remember, my opinion that a religious nonprofit has the right to the free exercise of its religious beliefs is in accord with the position of the Administration, and the dissent, in Hobby Lobby.  Everyone in that case recognized the rights of a religious nonprofit to act in accordance with the religious beliefs of that organization.  The ONLY disagreement in Hobby Lobby was whether a FOR PROFIT corporation had those rights.  

      •  The Hobby Lobby decision (4+ / 0-)

        was pretending that the accommodations which the administration had voluntarily offered to non-profits were a workable and less restrictive alternative. That is not a recognition of an absolute right.  Three days later they pulled the rug out from under that arrangement. The whole thing is a judicial farce.

        •  I'll be more specific. From Justice Ginsburg's (1+ / 0-)
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          dissent at page 14 - 15:  

          The First Amendment's Free Exercise protections, the Court has indeed recognized, shelter churches and other nonprofit religious-based organizations.
          You may not LIKE that a religious non-profit organization has Constitutional protection for the free exercise of views you consider "bigoted."  But there's no question that they DO enjoy First Amendment protection for those views you consider "bigoted."  

          The First Amendment protects views that the majority of people find horrible in the same way it protects views that the majority of people like.    

          •  It protects the views. (6+ / 0-)

            It does not protect imposing them on other people.

            •  Wrong again. It protects not just the views, but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              the FREE EXERCISE of the views -- i.e., the right to act on those views.

              And nothing in the Free Exercise clause limits it to situations when nobody else is around.  

              In fact, Justice Ginsburg cites the following as instances where Congress recognized this right to Free Exercise:

              42 U. S. C. §2000e–1(a) (Title VII exemption from prohibition against employment discrimination based on religion for “a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work  connected with the carrying on . . . of its activities”); 42 U. S. C. §12113(d)(1) (parallel exemption in Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990).
          •  Within the group (2+ / 0-)
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            Dave in Northridge, skrekk

            That's things are inside a religious group.   All the people in the group agree that's how the group works.

            You join a chess club.  You pay $40 a year for membership dues.  No talking during a tournament game.

            Can a non-member come in and talk during the tournament?

            If the trespasser comes in, interrupts the games, can the chess club members call the cops to get rid of them?

            Why not then a religious group?

            Seems to me a key difference is if the religious group tries to go outside its group and enforce its rules--usually couched as morality--on others.

            For secular groups, the Field's code was interpreted to mean an employer could not impose the employer's beliefs on its employees.

            But a business is different situation, a different form of group--a secular one-- than a religious group, organized as a Church, and whose members share mostly the same beliefs.

            “Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects.” ― Will Rogers

            by MugWumpBlues on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 05:30:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  What is a religious belief? (3+ / 0-)

        Is a religious belief whatever the person or entity asserting it claims it is? Or is some further test required?

        I can assert for example that it against my "firmly held religious beliefs" to have to be at work from 9 to 5 on weekdays. Do I get an exemption on that basis? Can I arrive and depart whenever I please and assert that any restriction on that is an imposition on my religion? Or do I have to provide some sort of textual justification? And if I do how is the court to assess the validity of that text?

        •  The Supreme Court has developed a test for that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sfbob, VClib

          it was used during the Vietnam War, to distinguish those who had a sincerely held religious belief against all wars from those who were claiming a religious belief to get out of the draft.  See for example here.

          An ACLU discussion of the concept is here.

          Under those tests, there's pretty much no question that adherents to certain religions hold a "sincerely held religious belief" that (for example) same-sex relationships are wrong or sinful.  And because it would meet that test, it is entitled to Constitutional protection, no matter how wrong others think that belief is.  Government cannot constitutionally be in the business of determining which religious beliefs are right or wrong.  

        •  A religion is anything the religionista (1+ / 0-)
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          Dave in Northridge

          claiming special treatment decides to claim it is, That is pretty well established in US law. Many have been started and organized solely as hate groups. In many others, hating and hatemongering is, instead, a means to an end, but in neither case is it or anything else a bar to being a religion or church. The principal rare exception is where the church violates the inurement provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, in which case, it will not be treated as a religion or church for some purposes of taxation, though it might still be so treated for other purposes such as practicing bigotry in hiring, spreading hate and other such behavior.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:34:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  While the government cannot place a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave in Northridge

        restriction on the actions and behavior of hate based organizations on the sole grounds that they are hate based organizations, it likewise has no authority to require anybody else to be subject to the hate based behavior of said hate based organizations. As a result, it cannot, n any way contract with any such organization to provide goods and services to the public or otherwise interact with the public in any way.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:20:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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