The Hobby Lobby case violates the First Amendment

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Good morning:

I write again today about the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. I believe it is an awful decision with great potential to be used to impose a set of religious beliefs on people who oppose those beliefs.

The Freedom of Religion Clause was intended to assure and protect a person’s right to believe anything they wanted to believe that might reasonably be described as a religious belief, including a denial of the existence of God and a supernatural world. To protect religious freedom, the First Amendment prohibits Congress from enacting a law that discriminates against a person because of their religious belief.

Beliefs must be distinguished from actions. Although beliefs are protected, actions taken that are consistent with a particular religious belief are not protected. For example, a person cannot be discriminated against because they believe in human sacrifice, but they can be prosecuted for murder if they sacrifice a human.

In the Hobby Lobby case the Supreme Court has ruled that an employer can impose its religious beliefs against abortion and emergency contraception on its employees by excluding those acts from coverage in an employee health insurance policy.

Abortion and emergency contraception are lawful medical procedures. By upholding the employer’s religious based opposition to abortion and emergency contraception, which are lawful medical procedures, the court has approved of action taken in support of a religious belief to deny insurance coverage for lawful medical procedures.

A decision to have an abortion or to undergo emergency contraception is no one’s business except the doctor and the patient. A health insurance policy should cover all medical procedures. Denial of coverage based on religious belief permits people holding one belief to impose it on others who do not share that belief and that is exactly what our Founding Fathers sought to prohibit with the Freedom of Religion Clause.

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Thank you,

Fred

12 Responses to The Hobby Lobby case violates the First Amendment

  1. JJP says:

    The Hobby Lobby case was decided based upon RFRA, not the First Amendment. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The 103rd Congress approved the legislation to modify Title 42 of the U.S. Code. The RFRA statute is unconstitutional as-applied to the states pursuant to the City of Boerne v. Flores 521 U.S. 507 (1997). Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association (1988) and Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990) were the cases that motivated Congress to pass RFRA to restore the Sherbert and Yoder standard derived in Sherbert v. Verner 374 U.S. 398 (1963) and Wisconsin v. Yoder 406 U.S. 205 (1972) to allow mandatory religious activity without legislative prohibition. The Lyng decision disapproved of sacred land rights for Native Americans. The Smith decision upheld Oregon’s decision to deny unemployment benefits to two Native American men whose employment was terminated for testing positive for mescaline, which is the main psychoactive compound in the peyote cactus. The U.S. Supreme Court in the City of Boerne decision was resolving a question about the scope of congressional authority to enforce the fifth section of the Fourteenth Amendment with appropriate legislation. I agree with this decision because the government failed to establish pursuant to their burden of proof the following two elements: (1) compelling governmental interest from a rule of general applicability, and (2) least restrictive means for facilitating that compelling governmental interest in burdening the free exercise of religion from a rule of general applicability, which was the HHS edict. The question in the Hobby Lobby case was whether the HHS regulations substantially burdened the free exercise of religion under RFRA.

  2. MKX says:

    State sponsored religion is one of the pillars of Feudalism.

    Another is viewing the critical thinking that is the foundation of science as heresy.

  3. bettykath says:

    Recent decisions of the Supremes moves us closer to the feudal society that 1% wants. They have well paid celebrities to keep the masses distracted. They have well paid professionals – lobbists, Congress, lawyers, accountants, judges etc. to make “it” all look legal. They build the stock market with retirement funds and similar instruments, get out before the crash that they cause, reaping more wealth from the investments that are held for the middle class. Guess who’s buying up billions of dollars worth of foreclosed houses to turn into rental property? While having their own sources of food and water, they poison ours. This feeds the pharmaceutical companies, weakens the populace and ultimately reduces the population. There’s more. Think about it.

  4. crazy1946 says:

    It is almost amusing (if not so serious) that the Christian community in this nation is busily attacking those they consider heathens and those individuals rights as citizens, all the while crying that they are under attack for their religious beliefs… All thru written history it is seen that the (alleged) followers of Christ are more that willing to either kill or enslave those they consider non believers… it would seem that they intend to continue to rape, rob and pillage in the name of their god… Could what we see taking place in our country today, be considered a modern day crusade against the unwashed? When their hero’s such as Gov. Piyush Jindal of La. openly calls for revolt against the lawfully elected government of the USA, one could only assume they wish to establish a government controlled by the policies dictated by the Christian church upon all citizens of this nation… Too bad these very people that desire this must have never taken the time to read the book that was inspired by the God they claim to follow…

    • Could what we see taking place in our country today, be considered a modern day crusade against the unwashed?

      That is exactly what they are doing in the name of their neoliberal supply-side Jesus. They have been seduced by greed and rewritten history to replace the biblical Jesus with an abomination he would not have tolerated.

      In so doing, they have damned themselves.

      They have no excuse.

      • crazy1946 says:

        Professor,

        “In so doing, they have damned themselves.”

        Unfortunately, they are taking us along for the ride as well… IMO if the rapture that is talked about in the Christian Bible were to occur tomorrow, do you think any of the present inhabitants of this world would notice? I would hazard that very few of the “alleged” Christians in this nation would be on the bus headed for a better place in the celestial sky… It would seem to me that if they truly believed in Jesus then they would worry more about their salvation than their neighbors sex life, just sayin… I’m not sure that the Deist’s that founded this nation were aware of the problems that plagued England and the state established Christian church would eventually evolve into a similar situation in this nation. I will give them credit for trying to protect us from that happening by putting freedom of/for/against religion into the Constitution of this nation. I can’t imagine that they envisioned the SCOTUS would at some point strive to over ride that limitation…. Do you suppose that they put the 2nd Amendment in place to ensure that we were protected from the Christian elements that are attacking this nation today? I guess that when I get thru here, I should check Craig’s List for a low mileage fully equipped tank?

  5. MKX says:

    To me, it is also discrimination based on gender.

    Health care and a pay check are compensation that an employer pays to an employee for services rendered.

    So, not only has this case allowed an employer to dictate an employees action, based on their religious view. They have also, reduced the amount of compensation a female gets in comparison to a male for the same amount of work at the same skill level.

    And I feel the religious issue is just playing the right wing Christians like a fiddle to get what the Capitalist really wants – lower compensation paid.

    That’s why the right wing 5 added the argument that the government should remedy the situation.

    Single mothers raising children are the most economically exploited group in our country. They provide vital labor for corporations that make billions, but are demeaned because they have a child they can’t afford, thus needing SNAP.

    Let us look at this from the point of view of fair compensation for what one provided to our society.

    The mother not only provides labor that adds value to the capital of a concern such as Wall Mart – although Wall Mart does not even pay her enough to feed her kids, thus getting part of her compensation covered by tax payers rather than them – , but she also adds value to our society by raising another child who will become another source of labor. And she gets no monetary compensation for that. No, instead she gets slut shamed.

    See through the smoke and mirrors.

    Single women who have babies are the greatest commodity in the eyes of a capitalist. So they are going to do everything in their power to increase the odds of a single mother having a child. For a women raising a child will put up with a lot if abuse because they “need” their job.

    One of the memes that the left has to start driving home hard is that one does not get compensation that exactly matches what they contribute to the value of capital. And that principle is well expressed by Adam Smith.

    Another meme is that not all of what we do in life to add value to society, thus increasing the wealth of those who have title to it, is compensated.

    For example, a REIT with rental holdings would not have any value, if not for the mere existence of a mass of humanity who must pay rent.

  6. Malisha says:

    Clearly, a person’s needs can be withheld if he or she does not conform to the expectations of the powerful. If right-wing Christians are the most powerful, they can bully everyone in any way they like. For a period of 40 or 50 years this country looked like it was trying to pull away from such conduct but it has relapsed worse than anybody ever imagined and the relapse is, I believe, fatal. I am glad I have no grandchildren.

    • Malisha says:

      And of course, great thanks to the ACLU: Once “money is speech” was clear, we all know where our “free speech” has gone. It lives in that wonderland with “free money.”

    • MKX says:

      Hopefully, a hard left will emerge. A big problem in the USA has been the total eradication of a real left wing in the USA which started around 1919.

      When I read America’s Loss of Innocence by Elliot Asinof, I just kind of roll my eyes in disgust at those who think they are left because they support the Democratic Party.

      And the lack of a left is one of the reason we are at odds with Europe.

      The Republican equivalents were in cahoots with the Nazi’s when their countries were occupied. Just look up the politics of suck asses such a Petain or Quisling. However, the left put their lives on the line fighting for resistance movements. So they had an honored place in the creation of a post WW2 society.

      One of the biggest false memes that gets banged loud over here is comparing Chamberlain to liberals. Chamberlain was a respected member of the Conservative Party. And the mantra of the Conservative party in the 1930s was “better Hitler, than Stalin”.

      One of the great liberals of the 1930s was the French Prime Minister – Leon Blum. Blum refused to be “rescued” and risked his life by staying in France during the occupation.

      Would France demeaning faux tough guys like Limbaugh, O’ Reilly, or Nugent have done that?

      What I find appalling is the weak knowledge of history displayed on progressive sites such as DK or TP.

      What? Do they really believe Hollywood and TV accurately portray anything?

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