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Hobby Lobby, Life and Religious Liberty Win at Supreme Court!

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Praise God. The prayers of many saints have been answered.

From TownHall.com:

In a victory for religious freedom, the Supreme Court ruled today 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. in the case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (formerly named Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby). The case was the strongest legal challenge to Obamacare since 2012.

Justice Alito authored the majority opinion, and Justice Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion. Justice Ginsburg wrote the dissent, joined by Justices Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan.

The lawsuit name was updated following the retirement of Kathleen Sebelius and the hiring of Sylvia Matthews Burwell.

Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. both claimed that the mandate violated their religious freedom. Both companies believe that certain forms of contraception induce abortion, which violates the religious convictions of their owners.

This story will be updated.

Here are some highlights from SCOTUSblog.com:

Closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraception coverage.

RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of closely held for-profit corporations like Conestoga, HL and Mardel.

The Court says that the government has failed to show that the mandate is the least restrictive means of advancing its interest in guaranteeing cost-free access to birth control.

Justice Kennedy’s concurring opinion says that the government could pay for the coverage itself, so that women receive it.

Here is a further attempt at qualification: This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to mean that all insurance mandates, that is for blood transfusions or vaccinations, necessarily fail if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs.

Here is more qualification: It does not provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.

The Court says that RFRA requires the Govt to provide closely-held corporate objectors the same accommodation it already provides nonprofit organization objectors.

To be clear: the Court holds that corporations (including for-profit corporations) are “persons” for purposes of RFRA. The additional question was whether corporations can have a religious “belief” within the meaning of RFRA. On that question, the Court limits its holding to closely held corporations, leaving for another day whether larger, publicly traded corporations have religious beliefs.

The implications of this victory for freedom cannot be overemphasized as the decision holds essentially that First Amendment religious liberties are applicable to corporations. It protects those with pro-life views from being forced by the government to be complicit in (pay for or provide) abortion homicide procedures, whether chemical or surgical.

There will be much analysis to follow and it remains unclear, but this bodes somewhat well for religious liberty in the context of how Christian business owners who sincerely hold to the biblical view of sexual morality may (or may not) “associate” with others who are engaged in the counter-biblical “LGBT” lifestyle or other forms of sexual immorality.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has issued a statement:

This decision protects the religious freedom that is guaranteed to all Americans by the First Amendment, and we’re grateful the Court ruled on the side of liberty. The central issue of this case was whether the federal government can coerce Americans to violate their deeply held religious beliefs, and thankfully the Court has upheld the proper limits on the government’s power.

The fact that Americans had to bring this case in the first place reveals once again just how intrusive ObamaCare is. It’s a misguided one-size-fits-all policy that not only failed to fix our healthcare system but has trampled on our Constitutional rights. Americans deserve a healthcare system that allows them to make the right choices for themselves, gives them more freedom, and comes nowhere close to encroaching on our First Amendment rights.

Update: Hobby Lobby owners David and Barbara Green celebrate victory…

Update No. 2: Christians and other pro-lifers celebrate in front to Supreme Court building…

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  • mlaperle

    One more nail in the coffin of ObamaScare. Keep hammering away!!

    • EQUALITY-FOR-ALL

      Im not sure what “coffin” are you referring to. The ACA is well alive and people are loving it and getting the healthcare they’ve always wanted.

      • thisoldspouse

        After many months of waiting… and waiting… and waiting.

        • fredk

          When the alternative is dying, a little waiting is not a bad thing.

          • QuadGMoto

            Tell that to the men on the VA (government health care) waiting list. Oh wait… You can’t!

          • fredk

            The VA screwed up – no question. But would vets be better off with no VA at all? In our system, possibly not.

  • Michex

    I am sure that homosexuals are disappointed at this decision, and any ruling that advances religious freedom. They want to force religious people, and everyone else, to accept everything homosexuals want. Homosexuality is the new religion of America.

    • JPT

      Actually, I would think that homosexuals are in favor of advancing religious freedom, that is the freedom of denominations to embrace homosexual marriage, which is well under way.

      Anti-homosexuality is the new face of fundamentalist denominations, such as SBC, who continue their drift into the wrong side of History—again.

      As with Slavery, Women’s Suffrage, Jim Crow, Miscegenation, Anti-Catholics, and Anti-Jews, they will accede to societal pressure or they will be pushed to the margins with dwindling coffers.

      • thisoldspouse

        Again with this ridiculous notions of history having “sides.” History is not a geometric shape.

        Just goes to prove how out of touch leftists are with the truth.

        • Ron White

          So there’s hope.
          Do none of you see what this says about the inequality of women amd about the power of ealthy men and corporations to bend people to their beliefs, however misguided?

        • EQUALITY-FOR-ALL

          Id say grab a history book then and do your own research. History obviously has different sides when it comes to many issues, and you are definitely in the wrong one, just like in Slavery, Women’s Suffrage, Jim Crow, Miscegenation, Anti-Catholics, and Anti-Jews, etc etc

          • thisoldspouse

            If history has sides, every civilization incorrigibly heads to the WRONG side as they progress. There have been no eternal nations, and ours is no exception.

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            Is that why you work for civilization’s destruction?

          • thisoldspouse

            Who, exactly, is working toward that end?

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            You are, actually…you see the advancement of civilization as “wrong”, and do everything in your power to reverse positive developments… as well as pine for your glorious apocalypse, aka godly genocide.

            Seriously, you people are sick.

          • QuadGMoto

            advancement

            “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            The expansion of civil rights, health care, sustainable living, etc… you know, all those good things ya’ll hate.

          • QuadGMoto

            You think putting everyone into a VA style health care system is an “improvement”?!? Unpredictable energy sources are “sustainable”?!?

            I take it back. You’re using more than one word that does not mean what you think it does.

      • SandyIam

        Those were all overturned because they all had a detrimental effect on society and no good could come from their continuation.
        Homosexual so-called “marriage” will suffer the same fate. The absurdity of “same sex marriage” has a deleterious effect on society and nothing beneficial could possibly come from it either for society in general, or the individual specifically. There is no value or contribution for the better of society in it and as such, it too, will be rejected by future generations who understand that “inclusion” and “equality” does not always lead to a better society.

        Death, disease, poverty, corruption are all “equal” and “inclusive” of a society, but no one would argue they should be codified and encouraged among civilized societies.

        5000 years of civilized humanity has taught us nothing if not the basic fact that the strong survive and the weakest are culled or rooted out for the better of society.

        • EQUALITY-FOR-ALL

          “The absurdity of “same sex marriage” has a deleterious effect on society ” –> No effect has been shown under oath in courts. Id say 30+ court rulings have proven that your statement has no base on reality.

          “There is no value or contribution for the better of society” –> same contributions as heterosexual marriages. So you are saying marriage as a whole has no contribution to the betterment of society?

          “5000 years of civilized humanity has taught us nothing if not the basic fact that the strong survive and the weakest are culled or rooted out for the better of society.” –> Correct. Just as with Slavery or Women’s Suffrage rights, extremist right-wing bible fundamentalists will not succeed in their pursuit of suppressing minorities’ rights.

          • Halou

            The “deleterious effect” they were referring to was the evident rarity of LGBT stress deaths, murders, and suicides in friendly communities, and the fact that the life expectancy of gay people being up to two decades longer in friendly communities than it is in unfriendly ones.

          • polymath156

            And your evidence for this claim is? I have read a lot of sociological studies but your claim is; well provide some proof.

          • Halou

            Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health published the results of a study in February 2014. Researching gay people and the communities in which they live from 1988 to 2008. The study’s lead author, Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences.

            The information is there if you want to look for it. I would throw a link to you, but I’m not sure barbwire is link friendly.

            92% of LGB respondents living in low-prejudice communities were still alive; in contrast, only 78% of the LGB respondents living in high-prejudice communities were still alive.

            LGB respondents living in high-prejudice communities died of suicide on average at age 37.5, compared to age 55.7 for those living in low-prejudice communities, a striking 18-year difference.

            Homicide and violence-related deaths are one of the most direct links between hostile community attitudes and death, and results indicated that homicide rates were over three times more likely to occur in high-prejudice communities than in low-prejudice communities.

            Of the deaths in high-prejudice communities, 25% were due to cardiovascular disease, compared to 18.6% of deaths in the low-prejudice communities. A 6.4% higher rate in high-prejudice communities, and that is despite the 3x higher rates of homicide in those same communities..

      • QuadGMoto

        Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!
        — Nikita Khrushchev, November 18, 1956

        It only took 35 years for “history” to render its verdict. I expect the verdict in this case to take less time.

        • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

          Actually, the brutal Capitalist reality described by Marxists is still unfolding… to even more devastating effects.

          • QuadGMoto

            SMH

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            “La la la” isn’t a salient rebuttal.

          • QuadGMoto

            It’s impossible to argue facts and logic with someone who rejects the obvious.

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            You have nothing of the sort, woobie.

    • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

      Actually, this case held that is is ok for the owners of a corporation to prevent employees from getting birth control based upon their own religious values… meaning, they are forcing female employees to accept their religion.

      • QuadGMoto

        …prevent employees from getting birth control…

        You are a liar. Period.

        • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

          Preventing employees from getting birth control (which do NOT cause abortions) through their ACA-mandated company health plans will indeed prevent many of these employees from getting affordable birth control (which WILL increase the number of planned pregnancies, and thus inadvertently raise the abortion rates among these women).

          I await your apology, liar.

          • Wootsauce

            They are not preventing anyone from receiving anything. They are simply saying they will not provide abortifacients. You are indeed a liar.

          • fredk

            “Abortifacients” which don’t actually cause abortions. And PLG is correct – there is a huge amount of data showing that access to cheap and reliable contraception is the single most affective way to reduce the number of *actual* abortions.

            Pro-life shooting itself in the foot once again.

          • Wootsauce

            Did you have a retort to my point or should I just assume you meant to post somewhere else?

          • fredk

            This ruling is being touted as a win for antiabortion folks. If insurance does not cover contraception, it’s more expensive. Studies show cost makes people less likely to use it, hence more unplanned pregnancies. And more abortions.

            If you make something more expensive/difficult to get, you *are* preventing people from getting it, because not everyone can afford it or has the time required to get it.

          • Wootsauce

            Wow. That was quite a mental stretch. Entirely false and somewhat slanderous but nice mental gymnastics either way.

          • fredk

            Yet you don’t explain what’s false about it.

          • Wootsauce

            And PS. This was a win for religious freedom. The ability to say no to a government forcing you to violate your beliefs by being complicit in murder is a good thing.

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            There are no abortifacients under discussion.

          • Wootsauce

            That was Hobby lobby’s whole case. They have no problem providing birth control but have moral problems providing abortifacients which, they believe correctly, terminates human life. This includes the morning after pill.

            So yes. Abortifacients are the ONLY thing under discussion. Doesn’t shock me that you missed that though.

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            The birth control methods they wished to ban are NOT abortifacients… so the entire premise behind this case is faulty.

          • Wootsauce

            Well not according to the Supreme Court. More importantly even if you were correct, which you most certainly are not, a company has the right to choose what BENEFITS they extend. Doesn’t matter the reason.

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            Actually, the court seemed to suggest that the truth of whether or not the BC methods were abortificients was irrelevant… for the owners to merely BELIEVE they were was enough for them to impose their values on their employees… unsurprising coming form the 5 hyper-religious, corporate-supremacy-loving wackos on the court.

          • Wootsauce

            Once again. Not imposing their values. Just not providing those benefits. I have a Right to own firearms should my company HAVE to provide that for me?

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            Not providing benefits that they were required to by law, because they wanted others to have to conform to their godly plans.

          • Wootsauce

            The law was illegal.

          • http://FreedomOutpost.com/ Tim Brown

            no one was BANNING anything, they just didn’t want to offer it in an insurance plan. jeez, please keep things in context.

          • QuadGMoto

            How are they preventing people from going to their local medical supplier and buying it? That is precisely what you asserted and it is a lie.

            Could it be that you think they hired men in white suits to follow their employees around and intervene if they tried to buy any kind of birth control?

          • Tara

            So, when a women is raped and attempting to defend herself by taking plan b, she should consider hobby lobby’s religious freedom first and pay $50 out if pocket? When living paycheck to paycheck $50 is a lot of money! Fred and Phillip are right, plan b does NOT prevent implantation, it’s a contraceptive (which hobby Lobby covered to begin with). This entire lawsuit is a sham.

          • Matthew T. Mason

            You know what? I have grown weary of proglodytes who try to change the parameters of a discussion by evoking a hypothetical based on a false premise.

            No, Tara. You suggest women who are raped will get Plan B and depend on their employer’s health insurance to pay for it? Prove it. I want specifics, with citations. Or move on.

          • QuadGMoto

            So your idea of justice is to punish a child for the father’s crime?

          • Tara

            There is no child if plan b works. It is emergency CONTRACEPTION.

          • QuadGMoto

            Wow. So you assert this again after I posted drug information on “Plan B”?

            SMH

          • Tara

            You posted false information from a website whose reliability is questionsble. I refuted your claim soundly from a reputable study. You must have posted this prior to reading my refutation.

          • QuadGMoto

            I just posted a response. Note that according your “reasoning”, the FDA and Plan B’s manufacturer are both organizations “whose reliability is questionsble.”

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            “How are they preventing people from going to their local medical supplier and buying it?”

            —The increased cost of the non-covered BC will prevent them from buying it. So stop lying.

          • QuadGMoto

            Increased cost? Over what? What they were already paying prior to 2010?

            You mean that’s supposed to somehow trump life and death morality?

            Who cares about saving a life if we can make you pay a few bucks more?

            I take it back. You’re not a liar. You’re just evil.

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            “Increased cost? Over what? What they were already paying prior to 2010?”

            —Over what they would be paying if the insurance kicked in for the BC under the ACA.

            “You mean that’s supposed to somehow trump life and death morality?”

            —What in the hell are you babbling about?

          • QuadGMoto

            Over what they would be paying if the insurance kicked in for the BC under the ACA they weren’t reaching into someone else’s pocket.

            There, fixed it for you.

            Life and death. The murder of a human being.

          • QuadGMoto

            (2) Amici supporting HHS argue that the $2,000 per-employee penalty is less than the average cost of providing insurance, and therefore that dropping insurance coverage eliminates any substantial burden imposed by the mandate. HHS has never argued this and the Court does not know its position with respect to the argument. But even if the Court reached the argument, it would find it unpersuasive: It ignores the fact that the plaintiffs have religious reasons for providing health-insurance coverage for their employees, and it is far from clear that the net cost to the companies of providing insurance is more than the cost of dropping their insurance plans and paying the ACA penalty.
            — Supreme Court Decision, 573 U.S. (2014), pp 4-5

          • QuadGMoto

            BTW, you need to learn English.

            prevent
            verb

            1. to keep from occurring; avert; hinder.

            2. to hinder or stop from doing something.

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            By not covering these birth control methods, they are increasing their employee’s costs, thereby PREVENTING these women from using said methods… which was their ENTIRE GOAL.

            I accept your concession.

          • QuadGMoto

            So by your definition, you are preventing me from fixing my car because you are not paying for it. So pay up, or I’ll sue!

          • Matthew T. Mason

            Bullhockey. People who wish to buy contraception still can, just that their employer doesn’t have to pay for it, which is the way it should be.

          • MDB

            The employers , then, should also be barred from paying for Viagra !

          • QuadGMoto

            What a fascinating shift in terms! This case was about being “forced to”, and so you jump to “barred from.” Is the concept of “choice” that foreign to you?

            Literally nobody—except you apparently—is arguing for barring companies from paying for abortifacients if they choose to.

          • MDB

            So any employer (corporation) can now argue that they can CHOOSE to NOT provide anything that is contrary to their closely held religious beliefs ? You do realize that this can be subverted and taken to it’s ultimate extreme ? Religious does not by default imply ‘fundamentalist, conservative or even Christian’. A corporation owned or run by atheists could exclude others from accessing anything contrary to their beliefs ? If religious conservative Christian fundamentalists run with this, which many have said they will do, what will prevent the abusive extrapolations and ensuing perfectly legal discrimination that will follow in those 29 states where there are NO anti-discrimination LGBT protections in employment or housing ??

          • QuadGMoto

            …could exclude others from accessing anything contrary to their beliefs

            You are obviously still not grokking the concept known as “choice”. You know… that idea our country was founded on known as FREEDOM.

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            The freedom to demand others bow to your religious will?

            No… no such ‘freedom’ should be allowed to exist.

          • QuadGMoto

            no such ‘freedom’ should be allowed to exist.

            Thank you for exposing your fascist ideology.

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            It’s fascist for me to oppose fascism? Oh noes!

          • Wootsauce

            Wow hyphen boy. You really are militant . I personally am looking forward to the time when your side calls for our imprisonment and extermination.

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            You mean like how your side calls for our imprisonment and extermination?

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            Because…?

          • Matthew T. Mason

            Because you are a stupid troll. Bugger off.

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            Then your “should” fails. Contraception for everyone! Abortion too… particularly for your kids, unless they are gay. And I REALLY hope they are.

          • MDB

            He doesn’t have the honor or integrity to apologize.

          • QuadGMoto

            He blatantly lied. Accurately saying so does not require an apology.

          • http://FreedomOutpost.com/ Tim Brown

            No one is preventing anything, except business owners being FORCED to provide abortifacients to employees in insurance coverage. That is the real issue that was decided. All those employees can still take their money and go buy the estrogen pills if they want and increase their risk of cervical cancer should they choose to do so, but the employer is no longer forced to provide it as an option in their insurance plans. Now we see exactly what your ideology is…..FORCING people into your religioin.

  • BadKarma

    Birth control has always been free. It is called self-control.

    The US Supreme Court has declared that Christianity trumps sexual behavior. This means that homosexuals, adulterers and whores can go pound sand.

    • thisoldspouse

      Not quite. Read the opinion. This is being applied VERY narrowly, surprisingly.

      • Michex

        Too bad Homosexual men will have to pay for their own abortions if another man impregnates him.
        Do homosexuals now have to pay for their own condoms? Gee, how unfair.

      • Halou

        Haha, ‘read the opinion’. Mission creep has a few words to say about that. The opinion is just eye candy for people to gawk at while state courts set to work on applying the precedent elsewhere.

        One line in the DOMA gets struck down, and suddenly every court in the land gets a mountain of related gay marriage cases.
        One corporation has “evolved” a conscience out of nothing, and I guarantee that courts across the land will get mountains of related cases.

    • fredk

      Easy access to effective birth control is arguably the greatest improvement in family life in the last century.

      And that’s not what the ruling says.

  • ben

    Just so that you guys know, this decision relies upon the federal RFRA. If that law were ever repealed, this decision would be voided.

    • BadKarma

      The legal precedent would still stand. You should demand a refund from that law school you attended.

      • CajunPatriot

        Ha! A refund, that is good. I think many who post on here should get a refund on any degree they may have achieved or any school from which they graduated.

        • Michex

          I agree. Homosexuals have no sense of history. Marriage began thousands of years ago, and was only between men and women. Homosexuals think marriage started a few hundred years ago in England.

      • Gustav2

        It would stand until it was challenged when the law was repealed.

    • QuadGMoto

      I’ve also been reading up on it, and it appears you are correct.

      What is this country coming to when the “supreme Law of the Land” has absolutely nothing to do with a case where it clearly applies, but “ordinary” law which is supposedly based upon that “supreme Law” is all that matters?

  • Ron White

    Corporations have religious beliefs? Where? In Fantasyland?

    • thisoldspouse

      Well, if a man can “become” a woman, than a corporation can have beliefs.

      FANTASY EQUALITY FOR ALL!!!

      • https://www.youtube.com/user/vampswagen Persephone Sixty-Six

        Meth, not even once.

    • QuadGMoto

      Corporations are a legal fiction invented so that people could work together to accomplish something. Attacking “corporations” is attacking people.

      • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

        More accurately, to attack a corporation is to attack the small number of people who own and control it and it’s employees. Do you think they’re communes or something?

        • QuadGMoto

          Riiiight. So driving a corporation out of business because they won’t bow to your agenda has zero effect on the employees?

          Or is it that employees are absolute slaves who have zero freedom of choosing who to work for?

          Uh huh…

          • Michex

            Right. Corporations can only have BELIEFS that are PRO-Homosexual.
            They must hire Homosexuals and make them feel at home, and really work hard to get Homosexual business.
            If a person like Brendan Eich has a contrary opinion, he should be forced out.
            Corporations are not allowed to have religious beliefs just Homosexual ones.

          • MDB

            Show me how a “corporation” can walk into a church an attend a worship service; or receive any of the sacraments of communion, baptism, confirmation, confession, last-rites, ordination, or even marriage ?? How does the Board of Directors, for example, who exist only when they physically meet, but in principle and theory for legal/business purposes the rest of the time – how does a corporate Board of Directors – “hold a personally held-religious belief”…note …personal(ly) is singular, not plural) does everyone in a corporation meet in a large athletic stadium and receive the sacraments of communion simultaneously…is there some mass corporate religiously-held baptism event that we have all missed ??? Is there a mass corporate pre-martial event where every women’s hymen is checked prior to marriage to make sure she is still a virgin ? Will corporations have to marry their widowed sister-in law? I just want to know how far this “religiously-held” sanctimonious legalistic nonsense is going
            to be taken ???

          • QuadGMoto

            Did you somehow miss the fact that corporations are organized groups of people?

          • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

            “So driving a corporation out of business…”

            —How is anyone driving Hobby Lobby out of business? Birth control would be a minor expense for the company’s bottom line.

            “Or is it that employees are absolute slaves who have zero freedom of choosing who to work for?”

            —In a capitalist society where unemployment is high and costs in every arena of life rising steeply, this is more of a truth than you would like to admit.

          • QuadGMoto

            How is anyone driving Hobby Lobby out of business?

            $1.3 million per day in fines if they are not willing to bow to your idol.

  • CajunPatriot

    This is a great and well-deserved win by Hobby Lobby and the Green family which already provide birth control, but stopped at providing abortifacients. Anyone can get discounted birth control at nationwide discount stores as well as locals. The Green family balked at providing those pills that can cause a baby to be aborted.

    Next cases to be heard will be church hospitals as well as religious orders operating hospitals, clinics, and other health providing facilities. They do not now offer abortions or abortifacients and are required to do so under ACA. I think additional exceptions will be made to these provisions under RFRA. The argument will not need to be made, though it could in a future case, that Muslims are excluded from the provisions of ACA on grounds of “religious objections” and if Muslims, then so should all others that have “religious objections.”

  • Max_1

    Matt,
    Any excuse to hate… eh?

  • Halou

    What about a business that is ‘pro-abortion’ that does the opposite and adds contraception coverage and associated payments to all of it’s staff regardless of the “religious beliefs” of staff members. What then?

    I put that in the “” because you give people a permission to do something they like, or to not do something they dislike and suddenly everyone takes it, like how just about every US city had Jewish majorities during the prohibition years.

  • nowaRINO

    Because of decisions like this one, within 15 years we will have single payer or Medicare for all. The backlash from the center and the left when it hits their pocket books and personal lives will be tremendous.

    • thisoldspouse

      Yeah, that $9 a month is going to be just devastating!

      Go away, Sandra.

      • nowaRINO

        Who?

  • Martin Rizley

    What a wonderful victory for religious liberty today! It represents a bold reaffirmation by our federal government of the principle that makes America so very different from China, North Korea, and a host of other nations that are founded on the denial of God’s existence– and that is, our national recognition of God-given, unalienable rights which no human government can give or take away, including the right to express one’s deeply held religious beliefs and convictions in the public square in the way one speaks and lives (and as today’s ruling shows, in the way that one runs a ‘closely held corporation.’) I wonder what the implications of this landmark decision will have for cake makers and photographers who have established their own businesses, and desire to run them in accordance with their own deeply held religious convictions?

    • Tara

      No one has to take contraception if they don’t want, so this is not a religious liberty issue. Having the availability of getting contraception through one’s health insurance is the privacy of the individual, and should not be at the discretion of the employer. The Green’s covered contraception before, so they are just hypocrites who want to shirk the law and force the public to provide health care to their employees. SCOTUS got it wrong today, and I’m never shopping at hobby Lobby again.

      • Martin Rizley

        The Greens are not opposed to all forms of contraception; they are only opposed to providing four specific drugs to their employees which are considered abortifacients. What you would like the federal government to do is to provide a definitive ‘national’ answer to a question that is of a deeply religious and theological nature,which Justice Samuel Alito expressed in this way: “What are the circumstances under which it is wrong for a person to perform an act that is innocent in itself but has the effect of enabling or facilitating the commission of an immoral act by another?” A deeply held religious conviction concerning the answer to that question is what prevented the Hahns and the Greens from being willing to comply with Obama’s demand that they provide abortifacient drugs to their employees. The believed that by providing those drugs, they would involve themselves as accessories in the immoral act of destroying a human embryo, and so they did not want to be involved in any way in such a thing.
        The Court ruled today that since their business is a “closely held corporation”– a family-run business– they shouldn’t have to violate their conscience and their deeply held religious convictions just to have a place in the public square as business owners. As Alito put it, “Arrogating the authority to provide a binding national answer to this religious and philosophical question [the one stated above?], HHS and the principle dissent in effect tell the plaintiffs that their beliefs are flawed.”

        The Supreme Court essentially said to the Obama administration-”You have no moral authority to tell these business owners that their beliefs are flawed– no authority to compel them to conform to your own religious value system, just because you are the president. If the government is concerned to provide women these drugs, they can find another way to do so, instead of burdening the conscience of these business owners to act against their religious convictions. You may not rescind the right of religious liberty guaranteed to them by the Constitution, nor may you rewrite the principle of religious liberty to mean nothing more than “freedom of worship”– the freedom to attend worship services in the “house of worship” of your choice.

        Although many would like to redefine religious liberty in that way, the Supreme Court sent a strong message today that is not in line with the first amendment– in other words, it is not the American way. The Court made it very clear that neither Obama nor anyone else is going to be able to “quarantine” religion in America to certain “religious free expression zones” like churches and synagogues, leaving the public square to Big Brother, so that he may impose on the public square his own value system and force everyone to run their businesses according to that value system or be disenfranchised. This has been a tremendous victory for free religious exercise in America. Religious freedom has been invited to come off the reservation where statists would confine it and to flourish in the public square along with other freedoms– all in keeping with our long-standing American heritage and values.

        • dawn1257

          The ruling of this case does NOT address the issue of specifically which contraceptives are covered and which are not. The SCOTUS gave free license to Hobby Lobby and others to make that decision of ‘what’ will be offered and what won’t when it comes to health care. Today they might cover some contraceptives. Tomorrow? Who knows.

          All based upon their ‘supposed’ religious beliefs. Which, like the wind are subject to change…….daily.

        • Tara

          Couple problems.
          1st, some drugs that the Green’s have a problem with do not cause abortions. Plan B has no impact on implantation, so SCOTUS is allowing the Green’s to make a moral judgement FOR their employees that they are completely ignorant of. How is that religious liberty?
          2nd, the ruling does not apply to publicly owned institutions, so your assertion that all corporations have the right to define morality for others is limited in some aspects
          3rd, where will this end? Do scientologists have the right to not cover chemo? Certain religions do not believe in blood transfusions, what about them? Or maybe pacifists will be exempt from paying taxes if there is a war going on. I mean, the ACA is a tax ultimately, right? I’m not sure those that are celebrating this ruling have really thought it through. The idea of government covering the cost of contraception was brought up over and over again in the SCOTUS arguments. By shifting the cost of healthcare from private to public institutions this is just more ammunition for a single payer system. Is that what you want?

          • QuadGMoto

            Plan B has no impact on implantation…

            Your relationship with truth is consistent, I’ll give you that.

            From the first drug information site I looked at, RxList dot com:

            What is levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive (Plan B)?

            Levonorgestrel is a female hormone that prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). This medication also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

            Levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive is used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or failure of other forms of birth control (such as condom breakage, or missing 2 or more birth control pills).

          • Matthew T. Mason

            Just what is the matter with people? Do they not think we will do research? This is the internet, for Pete’s sake.

            Tara has shown herself to be incredibly ignorant or a terrible liar.

          • Tara

            Quad did not do proper research. I once found on the Internet that benadryl changes people into a werewolves, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. Discernment of information does require a level of sophistication, Matt, maybe you’re not up for it.

          • Tara

            Rx list dot com? Seriously?! You do know that not everything you read on the Internet is true, right?

            Here are the facts:

            Gemzell-Danielsson. Contraception. 2010;82(5):404.
            Here is the abstract:

            A major barrier to the widespread acceptability and use of emergency contraception (EC) are concerns regarding the mechanisms of action of EC methods. Today, levonorgestrel (LNG) in a single dose of 1.5 mg taken within 120 h of an unprotected intercourse is the most widely used EC method worldwide. It has been demonstrated that LNG-EC acts through an effect on follicular development to delay or inhibit ovulation but has no effect once luteinizing hormone has started to increase. Thereafter, LNG-EC cannot prevent ovulation and it does not prevent fertilization or affect the human fallopian tube. LNG-EC has no effect on endometrial development or function. In an in vitro model, it was demonstrated that LNG did not interfere with blastocyst function or implantation.

            This study has had its findings reproduced in other large scale studies. Please tell me, what is your relationship with the truth?

          • QuadGMoto

            What a response! If some fact disagrees with your bias, just wave it off as if it doesn’t matter.

            There are numerous sites that are dedicated to describing how various drugs work. That just happened to be the first one in a long list that all said the same thing.

            Even more fascinating, you posted information that you apparently did not read. I quote:

            Thereafter, LNG-EC cannot prevent ovulation and it does not prevent fertilization or affect the human fallopian tube.

            Here’s what WebMD has to say about how it works:

            5. How does Plan B One-Step work?

            Plan B One-Step works like other birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. The drug acts primarily by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary. It may prevent a sperm from fertilizing the egg.

            If fertilization does occur, Plan B One-Step may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb. If a fertilized egg is implanted prior to taking Plan B One-Step, the drug will not work and pregnancy proceeds normally.

            So why would these sites think that this is how the drug works? Because that is what the FDA has been saying:

            12 CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

            12.1 Mechanism of Action

            Emergency contraceptive pills are not effective if a woman is already pregnant. Plan B One-Step is believed to act as an emergency contraceptive principally by preventing ovulation or fertilization (by altering tubal transport of sperm and/or ova). In addition, it my inhibit implantation (by altering the endometrium). It is not effective one the process of implantation has begun.

            The PDF that contains this information also includes copies of the manufacturers’ packaging for Plan B, including the information insert. Here is what the manufacturer themselves is saying:

            How does Plan B® One-Step work?

            Plan B® One-Step is one pill with levonorgestrel, a hormone that has been used in many birth control pills for over 35 years. Plan B® One-Step contains a higher dose of levonorgestrel than birth control pills, but works in a similar way to prevent pregnancy. It works mainly by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary. It is possible that Plan B® One-Step may also work by preventing fertilization of an egg (the uniting of sperm with the egg) or by preventing attachment (implantation) to the uterus (womb).

            The FDA’s document was updated in 2009, which is also the copyright date on that packaging. The study you cited is from 2010. I assume the following quote from the abstract is the portion you’re hanging your hat on:

            In an in vitro model, it was demonstrated that LNG did not interfere with blastocyst function or implantation.

            If that is true, then the rest of the medical community, including the FDA has not caught up yet. But if the study’s experiment is valid, then the study itself states what that means about Plan B’s effectiveness:

            Taken together, the “ window of effect” for LNG-EC is rather narrow. It begins after selection of the dominant follicle but ends before LH begins to rise. LNG, if taken at the time when LH has already started to rise, cannot prevent ovulation and has no effect on the endometrium or other post-ovulatory events. Consequently, it is ineffective to prevent pregnancy.

            In other words, it is essentially useless as an emergency contraceptive.

          • Tara

            The FDA used to insert that bit of info because of a “what if” factor, but the FDA has since removed the warning because studies have refuted the assertion. There was a big NY times piece that explained the inaccurate assertion that plan b could alter or impede implantation (June 5, 2012). Look it up. Again, you are using incorrect information.

          • QuadGMoto

            I searched for “Plan B” and “levonorgestrel” on the FDA web site. (Separate searches.) For “Plan B” there are only two entries after the study you cited, and neither one states any changes regarding the usage, effectiveness, or how it works. One of those documents specifically lists Plan B stating there are no pharmaceutical changes. The other is a generic drug approval list.

            Again, if the study you cited is accurate, then Plan B should not be described as an abortifacient, heck, it should not even be on the market because it’s less effective than the rhythm method of birth control—who’s practitioners are known as “parents”.

          • Tara

            Why? Because it does not prevent ovulation? Your forgetting that plan b can delay ovulation and make changes on an egg waiting to be ovulated. It just doesnt work after ovulation (that’s the point). I agree plan b is not perfect, but that goes to my point. Think about it. If plan b caused abortion wouldn’t it be more effective and could have a larger window of effectivness?

            Did you read the NYT article? The FDA based their decision on lack of information. The HHS has no such claim, and it has NEVER been demonstrated that plan b affects implantation. All evidence proves that plan b does not interfere with implantation.

            Noe et al. 2011
            Novikova et al. 2007

          • QuadGMoto

            Your forgetting that plan b can delay ovulation and make changes on an egg waiting to be ovulated.

            Sigh.

            No. I am not. The window for that be effective is tiny. If the egg has already been released (or even just before release according to your article) it’s too late.

            Again, quoting the article you originally quoted:

            Taken together, the “ window of effect” for LNG-EC is rather narrow. It begins after selection of the dominant follicle but ends before LH begins to rise. LNG, if taken at the time when LH has already started to rise, cannot prevent ovulation and has no effect on the endometrium or other post-ovulatory events. Consequently, it is ineffective to prevent pregnancy.

            And more:

            Therefore, due to its limited window of action, although LNG is well-tolerated and easily accessible, there is still a need to develop more effective EC methods. To ensure the highest efficacy and to cover the entire window of fertility, the ideal agents for EC also need to target the endometrium.

            In other words, it’s ineffective as an abortifacient, and something better needs to be found.

            The FDA based their decision on lack of information.

            The FDA lists no such decision on their own official web site in any of their official documentation.

            You’re just wasting my time by picking at one drug which may not actually be effective at what it is being sold as which is an abortifacient. The simple fact is that the list of what is and is not an abortifacient can be expected to change as new information is learned and new drugs are developed. Your insistence on going incredibly narrow (one drug, one study, one newspaper article) while ignoring the big picture (many drugs, many studies, multiple sources) does not change a blasted thing. All you can argue is that at some point Plan B could stop being marketed as an abortifacient because it’s ineffective at that role. The broader picture that the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held corporations may not be required to pay for abortifacients is not changed in the slightest by which particular medications may be added or removed from that list.

          • Tara

            “In other words, it’s ineffective as an abortifacient, and something better needs to be found.”

            In other words, it is NOT an abortifacient, that’s the whole point.

            “You’re just wasting my time by picking at one drug which may not actually be effective at what it is being sold as which is an abortifacient.”

            Wrong again, Plan B is a emergency CONTRACEPTIVE, that’s my argumemt. It has a narrow mechanism of action and is effective if given in the right time period which is several days before ovulation. Once LH surges the egg will ovulate the next day, once ovulated the egg has 24 hrs to fertilize. Sperm, on the other hand, can live around 5 days in the female. Delaying ovulation or changing the chemical makeup of the egg can prevent pregnancy, so in those days plan b is effective but not perfect.

            “The broader picture that the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held corporations may not be required to pay for abortifacients is not changed in the slightest by which particular medications may be added or removed from that list.”

            My point in bringing this up with Martin is that employees are at the mercy of their employers ignorance of what a medication, medical procedure, ect is. The Green’s covered contraception, plan b is a contraceptive but they don’t want to cover it? SCOTUS gave employers immense power to define what a medication even is. That’s scary! Can you imagine the implication? “Sorry Sir, but some dude in HR thinks your skin graft is cosmetic.” And thats not even dealing with insurance companies. Yeah, this is going to work out well.

          • QuadGMoto

            My point in bringing this up with Martin is that employees are at the mercy of their employers ignorance of what a medication, medical procedure, ect is.

            So you’re expecting an employer whose business is not keeping absolutely update to date on every single medical study in the last week to know more about drugs than what the FDA, the drug manufacturer, and the drug information listings are saying?

            Like I said, you’re just wasting my time.

          • Tara

            Sure Quad, we can allow businesses to make moral and medical decisions for their employees, but we shouldn’t expect them to think about, research, or reevaluate their decisions because that would be too hard. Sorry for wasting your time again, I know you have a very full day of barb wire commenting to do.

          • QuadGMoto

            Considering that every source but one is saying that part of it’s action is preventing implantation (and that includes the FDA’s own web site), what you are demanding is MORE knowledge and research than professionals who make a living at staying on top of such information.

            You don’t know much about what it takes to run a business, do you?

            BTW, think about what you are arguing here. Essentially, that there is doubt whether or not the drug prevent implantation. (Your source said in vitro which means laboratory conditions, which does not necessarily translate to in vivo which is in natural biology.) What makes you think it is reasonable to come down on the side of “do it” if there is reasonable doubt that an action might kill a human being?

          • Tara

            “You don’t know what it takes to run a business”
            The Greens asked for this remember. What’s your point?

            There is no doubt in the medical community that plan b has no role in implantation. A FDA spokesperson has gone on the record to say “The emerging data on Plan B suggest that it does not inhibit implantation.” I’ve given you 3 studies that prove my position. What are your facts that plan b has a role in implantation? All you’ve really tried to do is argue falsely about ovulation. What is your proof that plan b effects implantation?

          • QuadGMoto

            A FDA spokesperson has gone on the record to say “The emerging data on Plan B suggest that it does not inhibit implantation.”

            A) “EMERGING data on Plan B SUGGESTS…”. Think about that phrase for a moment. “Settled?” No! Not by a long shot! Apparently you don’t understand standard careful scientific wording, either.

            B) Again (for the 4th or 5th time), the FDA web site does not say that in any place I have been able to find. Because the FDA CURRENTLY says it acts as an abortifacient, then it is unreasonable to treat it otherwise.

    • fredk

      The court made this a very narrow ruling that only covered contraception with respect to government mandates. However, where this might lead, no one knows. If it eventually protects your gay-hating baker, then there’s nothing stopping it from protecting your black-hating baker too. Congratulations.

    • Vicky Fisher

      I agree Martin the Hobby Lobby decision was wonderful today so was Harris vs Quinn The Greens did provide 14 contraceptives just did not feel due to their beliefs comfortable in providing abortafacients . The cake bakers case or photographers that falls under public accommodation laws should be clear. Also the Supreme Court refused to hear the case on bans for conversion therapy for those under 18 in CA.and did not comment on it either. I think those therapys have harmed many gays although I do not like restrictions on speech.

    • MDB

      Please define for the rest of the class just WTH is a “closely held-corporation” – as opposed to a “loosely-held corporation’ ?!?

      • Martin Rizley

        “Closely held firms are those in which a small group of shareholders control the operating and managerial policies of the firm. Over 90 percent of all businesses in the United States are closely held. These firms differ from most publicly traded firms, in which ownership is widely disbursed and the firm is administered by professional managers. Most—but not all—closely held firms are also family businesses. Family businesses may be defined as those companies where the link between the family and the business has a mutual influence on company policy and on the interests and objectives of the family. Families control the operating policies at many large, publicly traded companies. In many of these firms, families remain dominant by holding senior management positions, seats on the board, and preferential voting privileges even though their shareholdings are significantly less than 50 percent.”

        When people speak of a “mom and pop” store down the street, that is likely a “closely-held” corporation. A corporation is considered more “loosely-held” when ownership of the corporation is distributed among many shareholders, and stock in that company is traded regularly on the stock market.

        So what this decision means for freedom in America is that people who want to start their own family business, as long as their company remains a ‘closely-held corporation’ will be able to do so without having to violate their deeply and sincerely held moral convictions.

        The Supreme Court decision helped to drive a stake into the ground for “free religious expression” being a part of life in the public square in America. It is not something confined to “religious activities” that people engage in when they enter “religious free exercise spaces” like churches or synagogues. It is something they exercise in the public square, and that may influence the policies business owners may adopt for running certain kinds of businesses. That’s the way things have always been in America, and the way they should remain.

        So the decision of the Supreme Court helped to safeguard us against moving in the direction of a fascist economy. A fascist economy is one in which business owners have no real control over how their businesses are run. There exists a total union between businesses and the State, with the state telling the business what to do, with private ownership. In my opinion, our current president appears to hold more or less to a fascist view of economics. I am so thankful that his abominable vision of the relationship between family run businesses and the state received a blow yesterday by this decision, and the first amendment received a shot in the arm!

      • Michex

        Why don’t you go look it up yourself? Can’t you homosexuals Google?

      • mlaperle

        You may want to ask the SCOTUS. But, from the context of the ruling, it appears to mean privately held corporations that are founded, owned and run by a family, as opposed to publicly traded corporations. Does that help?

  • thisoldspouse

    Contraception is not health care!!!

    • MDB

      Neither are boner-pills.

      • mlaperle

        Agree with both statements.

  • John OMalia

    A good decision for as for as it went. What is even more disturbing is that 4 Justices, supposedly well versed in the Constitution, decided that their political views trumped the Constitution. The issue was clear, religious freedom is under attack and the battle has just begun. Of more importance is the issue: “Can the Federal Government dictate to insurance companies what provisions must be in all their policies”? If each policy has to have abortion drugs as a covered benefit then people of another religious view are still forced to buy that policy if no others are offered. It is a weak excuse to be told the government is only getting rid of garbage policies when in reality many excellent policies can not longer be offered because they do not provide what the Democrats feel we need. .Big brother still looms large.

    • ReidDA

      This case wasn’t decided on a Constitutional basis.

      • John OMalia

        That is what’s disturbing. The SCOTUS has the constitution as it’s primary directive but they go out of their way to make a PC ruling narrow in scope so as to not offend (or whatever) or upset the apple cart. Partially it is the fault of the plaintiffs. They go into court and present their case to get the most favorable outcome, not the outcome that upholds the constitutional principles and what would be the best decision for most citizens. Still this is better than nothing.

        • ReidDA

          I’m guessing you don’t quite know what I meant by that. This case was decided under RFRA which is more restrictive than the Constitution. If they had decided this purely as a Free Exercise claim the most recent precedent that they would have had is from Employment Division v. Smith in which Justice Scalia found a neutral law of general applicability isn’t a burden on free exercise and the ACA would have fallen under that category and the mandate would have been upheld.

  • Michex

    It’s so easy to know what homosexuals will and will not, in general, support.
    If it’s liberal or requires the state forcing people to do something, or offends tradition or religion, homo-fascists support it. Homosexuals tend to support things that tear society apart and that involve sex, with which they are obsessed.
    The Homo-Imperialists even want to be able to dictate what happens in Africa.
    I wonder if homosexuals are even real Americans. I think in some ways they hate America and are nihilists.

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/vampswagen Persephone Sixty-Six

    Sounds like special rights.

  • Jeff Baker

    Now, maybe we can get Hobby Lobby to change its investments in its employee retirement plan. 3/4 of them are in funds that cover surgical abortions, abortion drugs and contraceptives. Not a word from the “pro-life” community. Not a word.

    • Matthew T. Mason

      Maybe you can provide evidence of this, with citations.

    • mlaperle

      After you provide evidence (if you can), maybe you can tell us if the investments are in the form of direct stock purchases or mutual funds…

      • ReidDA

        Mutual Funds, can’t post links here but a quick trip to the google box will fix any links or citations you may want.

        • mlaperle

          That’s what I thought. Don’t know that I would hold them too accountable for what is in their mutual funds, especially compared to individual stock purchases and the like. Of course this makes me wonder how you get “3/4 of them are in funds that cover surgical abortions” from mutual funds. How do you know the percentage?

          • ReidDA

            I don’t know where the above poster gets surgical abortions but they do offer plans that are invested in the companies that make drug used to induce abortions, as well as the contraceptive devices that they object to and the medications that they object to. They manage the 401(k) themselves so they have the fiduciary responsibility to know what equities those funds hold. They could also easily specifically invest in funds that are created to avoid those types of holdings which would remove this discussion altogether. Current holdings are about $73 Million in 9 funds which is approximately 3/4 of the funds assets (confirmed via filings with the US DOL) of $104,000,000.

      • Jeff Baker

        Yup! They keep deleting it! Google “Hobby Lobby employee retirement abortion” and see what you get!

  • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

    An IUD is one of the safest, most effective means of birth control… which is why anti-abortion cretins hate it so much. Now if a woman who works for Hobby Lobby needs one, she’ll have to fork over a month’s paycheck to get it.

    All for sweet, sweet Jesus. You people are loathsome.

    • QuadGMoto

      An IUD kills a human being by preventing implantation. Why do you love killing so much?

      • Russell Sayce

        Because those who do not Love God, love death. They call evil good, and good, evil, like when Phillip Darkdum-Goff calls people “anti-abortion cretins”. In his mind, anyone that opposes child sacrifice, is evil. Don’t waste too much time, he’s a goner.

      • Phillip Lightweis-Goff

        From PP:

        “Both the copper and hormonal IUDs work mainly by affecting the way sperm move so they can’t join with an egg. If sperm cannot join with an egg, pregnancy cannot happen.

        For some women, hormonal IUDs may prevent the egg from leaving the ovary. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm. Progestin also prevents pregnancy by thickening a woman’s cervical mucus. The mucus blocks sperm and keeps it from joining with an egg.”

        As for the morning after pills, they also prevent the egg from leaving the ovary. But even if if it were to prevent implantation, that is still preventing a pregnancy from starting at all. PLENTY of fertilized eggs are spontaneously shed by women all the time… was she pregnant for those few hours? Preposterous!

        • QuadGMoto

          PP? Are you sure they’re telling the full story?

          From the manufacturer of Mirena, one of the IUDs:

          12 CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

          12.1 Mechanism of Action

          The local mechanism by which continuously released LNG enhances contraceptive effectiveness of Mirena has not been conclusively demonstrated. Studies of Mirena and similar LNG IUS prototypes have suggested several mechanisms that prevent pregnancy: thickening of cervical mucus preventing passage of sperm into the uterus, inhibition of sperm capacitation or survival, and alteration of the endometrium.

          They don’t explain exactly what “alteration of the endometrium” means, but several sites do.

          WebMD:

          The progesterone-releasing IUDs also cause a subtle change in the endometrial environment that impairs the implantation of the egg in the uterine wall.

          MedicineNet:

          Levonorgestrel-releasing IUD (Mirena): This form of IUD releases a progestin hormone from the vertical part of the T. Progestin acts to thickencervical mucus, creating a barrier to sperm, as well as renders the lining of the uterus inhospitable to implantation of a pregnancy. This form of IUD is approved for up to five years of use.

        • QuadGMoto

          But even if if it were to prevent implantation, that is still preventing a pregnancy from starting at all.

          What implants into the endometrium? An unfertilized egg?

  • Forcercn

    Libs – Obammy – and Reid are sooooo angry about this. I can understand Obammy’s distress, his boyfriend never told him he couldn’t get pregnant – NO MATTER HOW HARD HE SUCKS !!!

  • SorryNotSorry

    Matt Barber is pure evil.

  • Andrew Skidmore

    Obviously, as a gay man, I find the SCOTUS ‘Hobby Lobby’ judgement disappointing. I am curious, however, to see how it will play out in the coming years. Already, other Christians are calling for further discriminatory practices against the so-called LGBT community in the American workplace: I refer of course to pastor Rick Warren et al. One wonders the extent to which all sorts of religiously-oriented beliefs may begin to affect, and subsequently to degrade, the rights of these people.

    There is the broader issue to contend with here, too: the steady re-characterisation of gay people as ‘other.’ Whatever the ‘sincerely held beliefs’ of those who campaigned for and welcomed this judgement – and I do not doubt that they are sincere – the more insightful among them will surely recognise that they are contributing towards a social environment which, in the preservation of their own liberties, may become actively toxic to gay people.

    Listening to the public protestations of evangelical pastors, whose mantra rings out, ‘love the sinner, hate the sin,’ I find this position hard to reconcile with privately circulated opinions calling for ‘active and robust discrimination’ (Scott Lively), along with the general trend among many Christian denominations towards biblical literalism – undergirding their precisely calibrated understanding of what that means for homosexuals – and their tacit support for highly restrictive, frankly horrifying, anti-gay legislation around the globe.

    As I say, I’m concerned to see how this will all play out. There are likely to be some mighty legal tussles in the years ahead; the whole issue looks set to become a bun fight. A couple things I will predict: it’ll be messy, perhaps violently so – although I for one sincerely hope not, and there won’t be any winners.

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