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This diary is sparked by a discussion/debate in the comment section to this rec list diary

In the comments, one side suggested that a notary public refusing service to an atheist organization was part of a broader pattern of religious exemption-ism and hence linked to the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Supreme court hearing.

The counter position held that Hobby Lobby is an autonomous actor seeking an exemption to the ACA contraception provision and so it should not be conflated with the notary public (and employer bank supporting the self-proclaimed religion exemption). But when it comes to the legal machinations of the anti-abortion/anti-contraception movement, there is always a power bloc and linkages between the cultural, the political, and the legal.  So, lets connect the dots.  

On the March 26th edition of Democracy Now, Amy Goodman reported that an organization called the Alliance Defending Freedom

has played the role of "air traffic controller" by drumming up legal briefs submitted to the court in support of the two companies.
And who is the Alliance Defending Freedom? According Media Matters, they are:
A Scottsdale, AZ-based legal group committed to rolling back the rights of women and LGBT people on the grounds of "religious liberty." The organization has played a leading role in combatting marriage equality and non-discrimination policies in the U.S. while working internationally to criminalize homosexuality. Despite its rabid anti-LGBT extremism, ADF receives reliably friendly treatment from Fox News

Co-founded by none other than James Dobson, ADF has partnership linkages with anti-gay groups such as Family Research Council and RW think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation. And members from ADF are Fox News' go to "experts" for their annual war on Christmas narrative.

Major donors include the Bill and Berniece Grewcock Foundation, the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, and the Bradley Foundation - See more at:

And not to be forgotten,

ADF defines itself by its ability to strategize and coordinate with lawyers all over the United States. Lawyers who sign up for their "Blackstone Legal Institute" are expected to donate 450 pro bono hours over a three year period.
ADF has coordinated more than 750 lawyers and 125 right-wing organizations, and many conservative ministries on behalf of ADF-defined Christian legal issues
- See more at:

And last but not, least ADF attorneys played a major in developing and promoting Arizona's ill-fated legislation, SB 1062 bill (the so-called religious freedom bill that would have allowed business owners to refuse service to gays and lesbians on religious grounds).

Now the pattern becomes clearer. Across different contexts and legal issues, ADF is helping to advance a broader re-definition of religious freedom that allows business owners and now corporations to exempt themselves from federal laws and regulatory provisions.

In conjunction, Fox News promotes the meme that Christians are an oppressed group and that their being exposed to differing ideas and lifestyles is a form of persecution that impinges on their religious freedom. And I have noticed that in the last year, this odd redefinition of religious freedom as my right to discriminate against "sinners" has been gaining momentum in blogs, newspaper comment sections etc.

[Thus, the aforementioned bank teller may well have felt empowered and justified by the religious freedom meme and the examples set by the Arizona bill and the Hobby Lobby case. This does not imply that ADF lawyers were pulling the proverbial strings but only that the notary public was enacting a similar RW Christian conservative logic as manifest in the Hobby lobby suit.]

Through this network of relations, a general cultural familiarity with this corporate friendly redefinition of religious freedom is generated. Then, across different state legislatures and courts, various bills and law suits are promoted to institutionalize this perverse inversion of religious freedom (Some win, some lose but all move the media discourse to the right and make a once radical claim seem more and more reasonable).

Once established (if that happens and which it might in the Hobby lobby SC decision) around the issue of contraception and abortion (rallying the conservative base), it is not to hard to see other corporations seeking to expand the precedent by exempting out of other pesky Federal laws and regulations because, as we all know, God wants powerful corporations to maximize profits by any means necessary.  


Many commentators are picking up on the implications for corporate power that lurk in this case. On that point, I find hard to believe that this question asked by Judge Alito during the court hearing was a not a cynical ploy:

Justice Elena Kagan observed that using that reasoning, an employer might have a religious objection to complying with sex discrimination laws, minimum wage laws, family leave laws and child labor laws, to name just a few.
Hobby Lobby President Steve Green says the company should not have to provide insurance coverage for IUDs and morning-after pills for its 13,000 employees.

Clement responded that just because claims are being brought doesn't mean that they will all win. The courts, he said, can "separate the sheep from the goats."

"Have any of these claims ever been brought, and have they succeeded?" asked Justice Samuel Alito.

Answer: "Very few."

"With respect," interjected Kagan, "I think that that's probably because" until now this court has had "a different" understanding of how to interpret the constitutional and statutory law.

Seriously, how could a Supreme Court justice not understand how legal precedents work (i.e., the flood of cases come after the precedent has been set)? Alito--the pro-corporate, anti-abortion judge--was more likely trying to disingenuously distract attention from these problematic implications and many cheers to Justice Kagan for not letting that rhetorical move slide.

Dahlia Lithwick also has posted a very informative analysis of the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods cases. She notes that they meld together

the ambition of large, for-profit corporations to see themselves as people, with faith, convictions, and consciences, and the attempt of citizens, using their own science and their own facts, to declare when legal personhood begins, and then impose universal laws based on those beliefs

On the latter point, the Daily Show had great fun last night with the implication that the rubric of religious belief also frees corporate plaintiffs from any burden of proof that their "beliefs" are scientifically sound. So, we really could see corporations claiming exemptions from laws related to climate change on biblical grounds. Great for profits, terrible for the planet, and disastrous for democracy.

And on that point, thanks to mp2005 who linked to a very informative and disconcerting  expose on Hobby Lobby that has just been posted on Salon. The report documents Hobby Lobby's central position in an expansive, well-funded, and well connected Dominionist network that is hell bent on transforming the US into a Christian theocracy:

Thu Mar 27, 2014 at  9:18 AM PT: I am so glad this diary has been rec listed because the issue is so important and pressing. That is, the full on assault on separation of church and state coupled with a corporate agenda to claim personhood in very specific profit maximizing ways. I have added an addendum to the the diary, which has more extensive info than I can fit into the update box.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Advice to religious zealots: (37+ / 0-)

    Wanna freely practice your religious beliefs unhindered? Open a fuckin' church! Might even snag you a tax exemption.

    Wanna cha-cha commercially in the public square where the rest of us live, play by the fuckin' rules!

    •  Amen! (13+ / 0-)

      As an atheist who has never believed in a magical all-powerful father figure in the sky who cares about my sex life, I find this Christian movement to restrict civil liberties extremely disturbing.  

      These Tea Party zealots twist the constitution into pretzels and the conservative Supreme Court judges place their Right Wing ideology over critical thinking and facts.

      We are quickly becoming a religious government, on par with Muslim countries, where the Mullahs rule the roost.  

      •  Agreed, but I hasten to point out (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snoopydawg, lcrp, jodylanec

        there's nothing "Christian" about these self-appointed handwavers who pick and choose the paragraphs they like from scripture to support their personal insecurities and personality disorders... if they even read those ancient tracts for actual content.

        •  James Dobson, Social Darwinist. (0+ / 0-)

          About 8 or 10 years ago, the minister at my church (UU) told us of a book (I wish I could remember the author) setting forth Dobson's theology. I was amazed by how Social Darwinist it was. When I told the minister, he practically did a spit take.

          Freedom's just another word for not enough to eat. --Paul Krugman's characterization of conservative attitudes.

          by Judge Moonbox on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 05:59:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Who is to say? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I get that there are a lot of good people who call themselves Christians. On the other hand, there a lot of people who I would consider morally evil - sociopaths - that consider themselves Christians. Yet all claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. Let's face it - you all can't be right.

          It seems the sociopaths are by far the most vocal of the two groups. For the moment they are engaged in a perpetual pissing match with evil muslims, godless atheists, feminist nazis and LGBQT.

          While the rights of all Christians are being legally elevated,  the rights of the "others" are being systematically stripped and revoked.

          It is only a matter of time before history repeats itself and they turn on other Christians again. Westboro Baptist Church and Fred Phelps were an example of this exceptionalism on steroids.

          "There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women." ~Madeleine K. Albright

          by jodylanec on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 06:52:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  bill and berneice BOTH grewcock? (3+ / 0-)

    that's some weird, messed-up right-wing shit right there

  •  Beware, they may get what they pray for! (10+ / 0-)

    If Hobby Lobby gets its approval from the right wing nuts on the Supreme Court, the wingnuts may just get what they are praying for.

    What are they going to do when a Muslim owned business seeks to impose its religious beliefs on its employees?

    Voters should select people to represent them in their government. People in government should not select people who may vote!

    by NM Ray on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 05:58:40 AM PDT

  •  the other big dot to connect is the number of (17+ / 0-)

    huge companies that are closely held.

    WalMart leads the pack, but there was a good diary on this a while ago that identified many more.

    This isn't a small issue affecting a few employees.  If closely help for profit corporations can do what they want, it's a big deal to a lot of people.  In Biden's words, a very BFD.

  •  Bernice Grewcock. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LillithMc, Cedwyn

    And these Republicans are opposed to stem cell research!

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 06:40:00 AM PDT

  •  I'm waiting for Exxon or BP (7+ / 0-)

    to suddenly find it has a "sincerely held religious belief" that global warming doesn't exist.

    1. Books are for use.

    by looty on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 07:04:40 AM PDT

  •  This is all part of the Dominionist/ (17+ / 0-)

    Christian Reconstructionist/New Apostolic Reformation attempt to turn America into a theocracy.  It has been going on for years, Chris Rodda, Rachel Tabatchnick, and Frederick Clarkson have been blogging about this at many places (including DKos) for YEARS, and it doesn't surprise me at all.

    Seriously.  It is all connected.

    Hillary Clinton was right.

    This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

    by Ellid on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 07:41:58 AM PDT

  •  Planted stories (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Christian victim stories are megaphoned in all the comments sections.  The story that an atheist at a bank refused to do a notary job is so typical it stinks of being a plant.  How many people are Christians?  How many are Atheists?  How many notaries care enough about a document to do this and if they did, they would not be a notary for long.  Propaganda to excite their base.

    •  That was an ironic diary title (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tacet, Judge Moonbox, jodylanec

      The post entitled "America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians" was an ironic beginning. The actual post is about a Christian notary refusing to provide service for a representative of an atheist organization.

      The diarist was seeking parody the idea that (conservative) Christians being a persecuted group when it far more commonly it is Christians imposing their beliefs on others

    •  How many read beyond the title? (0+ / 0-)

      I chose to claim a Christian had been denied service instead of an Atheist for a reason. While we might smell a tired same old "War on Christians" piece, there is nothing that excites a "good" Christian more than a "good" persecution yarn.

      Nothing I have ever written has made it onto Drudge Report before. I don't write for that audience at all! Had I used the same title that every other writer used the diary would have remained within our own echo chamber and that is pointless.

      Whoever posted at Drudge didn't read beyond the title and first paragraph either and that is what got that diary and the message in front of people who would never come here to read it.

      "There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women." ~Madeleine K. Albright

      by jodylanec on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 08:01:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Christian totalitarians have money and... (6+ / 0-)

    ...seem well organized behind the scenes.

    Those of us who believe in the separation of church and state do everything up front with little money and few organizations such as;

    Americans United for Separation of Church and State

    Secular Coalition for America

    People for the American Way

    Military Religious Freedom Foundation

    Freedom From Religion Foundation

    Strangely enough this Wikipedia link includes the Ayn Rand Institute but their separation is to prevent the government from ruling on religious discrimination by private businesses as Rand Paul told us.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 08:31:20 AM PDT

    •  A LOT of Randians are allegedly devout Christians (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, jodylanec

      In particular, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, and I'm pretty sure the Kochs and the DeVos family (aka, the scam artists who brought you the pyramid scheme called Amway).  How they can reconcile their religion with their politics is beyond me, but they do.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 10:15:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "I am a Catholic business owner" (5+ / 0-)

    I won't recognize the marriage of any couple where one person had been divorced.  No family insurance and no family medical leave for you.

    The right wing really doesn't know how slippery the slope can become.

    •  I am a Catholic innkeeper. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jodylanec, Scioto

      I refuse to lodge the wives of ministers and rabbis, as it violates my belief that the clergy should be celibate. (I'm using exclusive language to focus on the one issue.)

      Freedom's just another word for not enough to eat. --Paul Krugman's characterization of conservative attitudes.

      by Judge Moonbox on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 06:30:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You can find out who the money is behind these (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    kind of lawsuits by finding out who has filed Amicus (Friend of the Court) briefs.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 09:00:19 AM PDT

  •  Now I know why Sarah Palin (0+ / 0-)

    moved to Scottsdale!

  •  Why isn't it mentioned more often (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madtownpopulist, Ellid, jodylanec

    that the insurance Hobby Lobby has been providing to employees all these years includes coverage for birth control? Has that been brought up to the Court during this case? They claim to have been operating on "Christian Principles" all along, but they never noticed? Or did they only become Christian since the election of that Kenyan, Muslim, Socialist?

    •  They are contesting IUDs and morning after pills (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ellid, Judge Moonbox

      They claim (mistakenly) that these forms of contraception are abortifacients. that was a point echoed by Scalia.

      And you can see the incremental approach. These case claims exemption to a small class of contraceptives and the next class claims a moral exemption to all forms (and with expanding the definition of when life begins).  

  •  Timely diary on an important topic. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ellid, jodylanec

    Thanks for taking the time to assemble the background info.

    As Ellid says above, HRC was right--though I think, unfortunately, not as right then as she is now. The VRWC is growing, not shrinking.

    Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 10:40:03 AM PDT

  •  Really overblown. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    All the horror stories about all the things people will be seeking to "opt out of" if this goes through are really overblown here, for two reasons.  

    First, if people -- individuals -- want to try to "opt out" of those things based on RFRA, they already are able to do that.  Here's the point:  if this were an individual suing on the exact same grounds as Hobby Lobby, or a sole proprietorship rather than a corporation, it's pretty clear that individual or sole proprietorship would win this case under RFRA.  Not even close.   The ONLY significant issue in the Hobby Lobby case is whether the outcome is different because the family business is organized as a corporation.  That's the issue.  If INDIVIDUALS felt that all those things -- minimum wage, vaccinations, family leave laws, child labor laws, whatever -- violated their "sincerely held religious beliefs (assuming they could past the test set up by the Supreme Court) they've been able to sue over that since RFRA was passed.  

    But here's the reason they probably haven't. RFRA does NOT say that if you claim a law burdens your religion, you get out of the law.  RFRA ways that if a law burdens your religion, the government has to show (1) that the law serves a compelling government interest; and (2) this particular law is necessary to meet that interest.  If the government shows that, then the religious person still has to comply with the law.  

    The issue with Hobby Lobby's "religious" objection over four types of contraception is that the law probably doesn't meet that standard under RFRA.  "Compelling" government interest usually means at the core of the government's function, like a constitutional function specifically delegated to the federal government, or protecting the safety of its citizens, not just something that's good policy.  And "necessary" generally means there's no other way to accomplish your goal.

    It is very difficult for the government to show that it has a "compelling" interest in making sure this employer provides insurance coverage for those four types of contraception when (1) the government has so many employers who do not have to comply with the requirement; and (2) the government's solution for Hobby Lobby is not to provide insurance at all, but pay the fine, which doesn't get those four types of contraception to the Hobby Lobby employees.  Second, if the government thinks it has a "compelling" interest in making sure that women can get those four types of contraception even if they can't afford them, there are other ways to do that, like provide vouchers to poor women or even provide them for free.  Those things were noted at the argument.  

    So, it's pretty clear that the reason individuals and sole proprietorships haven't challenged a lot of those laws under RFRA (when they've always been able to do so) is probably because (1) they don't have a "sincerely held religious belief (under that test I linked to) against them or (2) with things like child labor laws, preventing child abuse probably is a compelling government interest (it's a child safety issue) and laws outlawing child labor are probably necessary to that goal.  In other words, in many of those areas, the government WOULD pass the RFRA test.  

    In other words, even if the SCOTUS rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, a lot of this "the sky is falling" would probably not happen, even under RFRA.

    I completely understand why Justice Kagan, for example, asked those questions.  Part of the job of the Court is to pose hypotheticals to test the underlying basis for the ruing.  That's exactly what Justice Kennedy was doing when he asked the Solicitor General defending the law whether, under his view of the law, the government could compel a business owner to provide coverage for abortions.  But just like Justice Kennedy's question doesn't mean that such a law will ever happen (politically, it would never fly, for one) so too Justice Kagan's questions about those other things doesn't mean they will happen.   Clement answered -- quite correctly, IMO -- that if the Court ruled for Hobby Lobby, perhaps other business might try to challenge those other things, but that in no way means they'd win on those other things.  

    People need to keep in mind that the issue is not whether RFRA would allow PEOPLE to challenge those other things.  PEOPLE clearly have the right to do that now under RFRA -- but they'd probably lose.  The issue in the Hobby Lobby case is whether a business in a corporate form should be allowed, under RFRA, to bring the same kinds of challenges that PEOPLE can now bring under RFRA.  

    •  This is only the beginning (3+ / 0-)

      Please go check out the Talk to Action web site, or any of Frederick Clarkson's diaries.  Hobby Lobby is owned by a very wealthy, very powerful family that wants to inject a very ugly perversion of Christianity into the American legal code.  It's way past time to take this seriously.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 11:07:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Camel's nose (4+ / 0-)

      This comment skips rather lightly from individuals' "sincerely held religious beliefs" to corporations' "sincerely held religious beliefs"--which is another step toward corporatocracy, where corporations gain more and more of the rights of people, while remaining effectively free of most of the responsibilities. Because it takes a bizarrely twisted mindset to believe that corporations are people, my friend.

      To think that the enormously wealthy right-wing reactionaries who control large, powerful (but closely held!) corporations would not use even a partial victory in the Hobby Lobby case to further advance their theocratic agenda is to be dreadfully naive. Or secretly in agreement.

      A side note: The reason for Hobby Lobby's owners' selection of those four types of contraception is based on a religious interpretation of biology that disagrees with the medical interpretation. I'm sure that the prospect of being able to define reality on the basis of sincerely held religious belief, as opposed to science, is thrilling to these folks.


      •  Coffeetalk continues to stand his/her ground (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tonedevil, tacet

        Whether its stand your ground, or this case, there is NEVER anything to worry about in coffee talk's world. She or he has a crystal ball where nothing much of consequence ever happens and we are all just silly to think that if corporations are granted further rights of personhood, that they push the precedent. And it is silly to even discuss how Hobby Lobby is part of a larger rightwing Christian network pushing through these kinds of religious freedom laws.

        And the civil rights experts who express the sentiments below really need to talk to "coffeetalk" so they can be corrected in their way over blown concerns:

        Seen in this light, the ideological connection between the Hobby Lobby suit and Arizona’s recently vetoed legislation becomes clearer: One seeks to allow companies the right to deny contraceptive coverage while the other would permit businesses to deny services to LGBT people. “There are really close legal connections between [Arizona’s anti-gay SB 1062 bill] and the [Hobby Lobby] Supreme Court case,” Emily Martin, vice president and general counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, told Salon. “Ideologically, the thing that unites the two efforts is an attempt to use religious exercise as a sword to impose religious belief on others, even if it harms others, which would be a radical expansion of free exercise law,” said Martin.

        And the common thread is the much bigger trend across the country. “Individuals and entities with religious objections to certain laws that protect others are seeking to use their religion to trump others,” Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, told Salon.

      •  Couple of points. (0+ / 0-)
        This comment skips rather lightly from individuals' "sincerely held religious beliefs" to corporations' "sincerely held religious beliefs"
        I don't know where you got the "skips rather lightly" part.  I said repeatedly, that RFRA clearly provides these rights to individuals, and the central question is whether, when individuals form a corporation for purposes of operating their business, the corporation owned by those people gets the same rights.  (This is not a publicly traded corporation but a closely held corporation, and the argument makes clear that all the SCOTUS is considering is that closely-held corporation).  
        Because it takes a bizarrely twisted mindset to believe that corporations are people, my friend.
        Nobody -- certainly not the SCOTUS in Citizens United -- has said that "corporations are people" in the literal sense.  (The Court in CU specifically said corporations are not "persons" but are associations of persons, which they are.) The question is whether laws that apply to people also apply to corporations.  Some clearly do -- some criminal laws, for example, freedom of the press for another example, liability laws as another example.  There are lots of instances when laws that apply to "persons" also apply to groups of persons operating in a corporate form. Even the administration recognizes that certain corporations -- nonprofits -- can have "religious" views, as the administration exempted some nonprofit corporations from the contraception mandate. The question for the Court is whether Congress intended for RFRA to be one of those laws or not -- whether RFRA applies to a closely-held, for profit corporation. That's the central issue in the Hobby Lobby case.  
        To think that the enormously wealthy right-wing reactionaries who control large, powerful (but closely held!) corporations would not use even a partial victory in the Hobby Lobby case to further advance their theocratic agenda is to be dreadfully naive. Or secretly in agreement.
        I have no idea what the people who own Hobby Lobby would, or would not, try to do.  I do know, from reading the briefs, that the government does not dispute the religious beliefs of the family.  I also know what the law -- RFRA - provides, and it limits the power of even corporations to claim religious exemptions (if the SCOTUS holds that closely-held corporations can use RFRA).  That's why I laid out the test in my comment - to show that, even for "natural persons" (as the SCOTUS called people in CU) simply claiming a sincerely held religious belief DOES NOT automatically get you an exemption from complying with a law.  If the law is necessary for a compelling government interest, religious belief or no religious belief, you have to follow the law.  That's what RFRA says.  To change that, these people would have to change RFRA, which means passing both Houses of Congress and signed into law by a President.  Changing RFRA to provide more power to those (natural persons or closely held corporations) is not going to happen any time in the foreseeable future.  If anything, if the SCOTUS rules for Hobby Lobby, Democrats will want to amend RFRA to provide LESS right to claim a religious exemption.  If the SCOTUS rules for Hobby Lobby based on RFRA, the ruling can be undone by Congress amending that law and getting the signature of the President.

        As for this

        A side note: The reason for Hobby Lobby's owners' selection of those four types of contraception is based on a religious interpretation of biology that disagrees with the medical interpretation. I'm sure that the prospect of being able to define reality on the basis of sincerely held religious belief, as opposed to science, is thrilling to these folks.
        It seems that you did not look at the link for how the SCOTUS defined a "sincerely held religious belief."    The case I linked to is a Supreme Court case discussing when a conscientious objector could claim a religious exemption from being drafted during the Viet Nam War.  (I'm old enough to remember the hoopla over then-named Cassius Clay trying to be exempted from the draft.)  The "sincerely held" test is to make sure that people aren't, in essence, inventing some "religious belief" that quite conveniently  gets them out of a law they don't like.  Look a the United States v. Seeger case.  One thing the courts CANNOT do is to evaluate the validity of a religious belief -- including whether it conflicts with science or not.  Prohibiting government from determining which religious beliefs are valid and which are not is the whole point of the First Amendment.  Read that Seeger case.  The Court's purpose is to see if this is a belief (religious or not) that holds a place in your life similar to what a religious belief would hold, and looks at things like whether you've lived in accordance with it and that kind of thing.  Under that test, and Under the Constitution, if all your life you've held a religious belief that green clothes are sinful and evil, and that you'll die if you wear them, and you satisfy that test to convince the Court that this notion, which seems absurd in the view of 99.9% of us, is sincerely held as a religious belief.  A court absolutely cannot determine the validity of that belief vis-a-vis science.  That would be the epitome of a First Amendment violation.  

        As applied to this case, everyone -- including the government -- stipulated that these people had a sincerely held religious belief that a fertilized egg is a human life, and that human life begins at the moment of conception, so that any contraception that intentionally prevented a fertilized egg from implanting was the intentionally killing of a human life under their religious views.  (Acknowledging their religious view as sincerely held does NOT mean the Court is validating it, as the Court can't do that under the First Amendment.)  Once Court acknowledged that this belief was sincerely held, the First Amendment means it can't conduct the kind of evaluation to see if that religious belief is supported by science.  (very little in religion is supported by science -- that's the whole point, in a lot of religions.)

        •  In which I almost go Godwin (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Coffeetalk, your careful description of the trees ignores the fact that we're in a forest here. You said,

          I have no idea what the people who own Hobby Lobby would, or would not, try to do.
          If you read some of the other comments in this diary, you'd know what they will try to do: outlaw contraception. Here's a spokesman for that point of view:

          Also, you apparently missed my allusion:

          It's all very well that the law currently limits these people from doing what they have said they would like to do, which is to impose their religious views on all of society. But brushing aside objections to their actions because of your confidence in those limitations is kind of like telling your neighbor not worry about that burglar who's whacking away at the lock on his door, because hey, it's a strong door and the burglar's chisel doesn't look that big.

          •  Great post (0+ / 0-)

            I love the burglar analogy.

            Another point is that the United States v. Seeger - 380 U.S. 163 (1965) case that coffeetalk keeps referencing is not the definitive touchstone case for deciding the sincerity of religious beliefs and several other cases have refined and complicated that ruling such as Friedman
            v. Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Welsh
            v. United States; and Wisconsin v. Yoder.

            These subsequent cases deal with the issue of protecting workers from discrimination in the workforce owing to their religious beliefs.

            Now lets think about this standard of individuals (either as conscientious objectors or someone seeking relief from religious based discrimination in the workplace)  now being extend to the right of a corporation to deny access to specific legally mandated rights (under the ACA) on religious grounds. the thorny question then becomes are workers, customers, shareholders part of the corporation and what if they disagree with the "religious views" of the corporation as defined by a founder or a CEO. If the subset of stakeholders can then hold all other stakeholder hostage to their religious beliefs, we enter into the land of corporate theocracy.

            But of course, coffee talk will say don't be such an alarmist, we can safely assume that these corporations will be oh so very reasonable in how they utilize their religious exemptions.

            So, coffeetalk who are you affiliated with? The NRA, ADF, who?   Or are you Mike Meyers? I always hated that coffee talk sketch on SNL.....

  •  My religion believes all drugs should be legal. (0+ / 0-)

    Therefore, I want to start a company that sells not only medical marijuana but heroin and speed and meth and crack. My freedom of religious expression should trump any state and federal laws, right? SUCK IT DEA!!!!

    If you don't watch news, you're un-informed. If you watch Fox news, you're mis-informed. (paraphrasing Mark Twain)

    by edg on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 11:02:00 AM PDT

  •  When is someone going to ask? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tacet, Judge Moonbox

    Is it not blasphemy to consider any creation of man such as a corporation (closely held or not) the equal of man who is a creation of God? How can a corporation, if not the equal of man, hold a religious belief?  Even if such a thing were possible, to whom or to what would the corporation direct its worship? And should that religious expression be protected under law? (BTW, rhetorical questions... I'm an atheist.)  

    “The aim of mankind should be to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”--Edith Hamilton (1867-1963)

    by cinepost on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 11:49:08 AM PDT

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