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May we all who read this, stop right now and offer a prayer in thanksgiving....

So many anti-life setbacks....so many anti-marriage and anti-family decisions going forward: at last some hope that we can live a bit longer as Christians free to follow the directives of God and our conscience.

Hobby Lobby Wins!
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/pat-archb...lobby-wins

by Pat Archbold  Monday, June 30, 2014 10:39 AM Comments (8)


This morning the Supreme Court released its decision in the cases of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius about the ability of the government to force businesses and business owners to violate their religious principles by mandating contraception and abortifacients.

The decision is a narrowly defined 5-4 win for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood that says closely held corporations, like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, cannot be required to provide contraception coverage.

From Scotusblog


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.

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.

It seems clear that this is a narrowly defined win for the plaintiffs and the implications beyond closely held corporations is unclear.  How are Catholic colleges and Catholic television networks treated in relation to this decision? It would seem to me that they would also qualify for the exemption, but this is just my first pass.  Public corporations are a question mark, but it seems clear that for-profit institutions are "persons" under the RFRA and thus Catholic colleges and other religiously affiliated institutions would be exempt.

What seems clear, further court action will be required to determine what entities qualify for this religious exemption and what are the limits of this protection.  Today is a win, just how much of a win remains to be seen.

The Register will be providing breaking coverage of today's decision, as we and legal experts assess the ruling.

Update:  On contnued reading, I think this might be less narrowly judged than at first glance.  The opinion seems to be more sweeping in its scope and should provide protection from the mandate to almost all but publicly held corporations. This might be a bigger win that I first thought.  Reading continued...


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/pat-archb...z368w37P4w
Interesting article on this case from a few months back by Patrick Deneen: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/hobbylobby/

An excerpt:
Quote:The dominant narrative—religious liberty against state-mandated contraception—altogether ignores the economic nature of the case, and the deeper connections between the economy in which Hobby Lobby successfully and eagerly engages and a society that embraces contraception, abortion, sterilization, and, altogether, infertility. Largely ignored is the fact Hobby Lobby is a significant player in a global economy that has separated markets from morality. Even as it is a Christian-themed brand, it operates in a decisively “secular” economic world. It is almost wholly disembedded from any particular community; its model, like that of all major box stores, is to benefit from economies of scale through standardization and aggressive price-cutting, relying on cheap overseas producers and retail settings that are devoid of any particular cultural or local distinction. The setting where one finds Hobby Lobby near us—on Grape Road in nearby Mishawaka—is about as profane imaginable a place on earth, accessible by six lanes of concrete roads where there is a heavy concentration of large chain retailers, where it anchors a sensory-deadening row of retail store fronts that border acres of cracked and barren pavement, awash in discarded plastic bags and crumpled fast food wrappers. On the rare occasion that I enter the store, even amid the Chinese mass-produced crosses and the piped in Christian music, under the endless florescent lighting and displays carefully-managed to optimize impulse buying, I am hardly moved to a state of piety, prayer, and thanksgiving. I am, like everyone else, looking for the least chintzy item at the cheapest price.
This is the best news that I've heard since buffer zones around abortion clinics were shut down. Thanks be to God!
When large numbers of people commit the same sin together, the crowd mentality takes over, and somehow reduces personal culpability in each person's conscience;  this is what seems to happen when congressmen or senators vote.  On the other hand, Christians on the Supreme Court don't have much of a crowd to hide in.   
It is good news in that companies owned by Catholics, too will be protected from the HHS mandate, but at the same time it was founded on a false principle, so dangerous.

That false principle is that this has anything to do with religious belief. Catholics do not believe that abortifacients are wrong because of some teaching of the faith. Rather, we know they are wrong because they violate the Natural Law, and as a result moral theology hold them to be wrong.

It is not because of our Faith that we think abortifacient contraception wrong, but because it is wrong that our Faith teaches it.

And liberals do make a fair argument against this decision on that basis. If this is about "religious freedom" not about the violation Natural Law, then as Justice Ginsburg wrote in her feminist rant of a minority opinion:
Quote:Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (some Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)?

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, as they say.

While playing the "religious freedom" card does achieve the effect desired (not to be force to violate the Natural Law), unfortunately it also confuses Natural Law and religious belief. In a sense this promotes the idea that even belief that there is a Natural Law is a religious tenant, which is not State indifference to religion, but the beginnings of State atheism, or denial of even natural religion. For the benefit of not paying for abortifacients, it widens the freedom to promote error under the guise of "religious freedom" and cuts away at the notion of Natural Law.

One good effect, but a dangerous slippery slope, since it has a false foundation.
People can't agree on what "Natural Law" is though. And many don't even know what it means. You would think that owning other human beings as slaves would obviously be against the Natural Law, and yet some people did own them and used the Bible to justify it. 

For what it's worth, I think playing the "religious freedom" card here is just a way to revolt against government mandated health care. If it wasn't birth control, they'd find something else to fight over.
(07-01-2014, 08:42 AM)SCG Wrote: [ -> ]People can't agree on what "Natural Law" is though. And many don't even know what it means. You would think that owning other human beings as slaves would obviously be against the Natural Law, and yet some people did own them and used the Bible to justify it. 

For what it's worth, I think playing the "religious freedom" card here is just a way to revolt against government mandated health care. If it wasn't birth control, they'd find something else to fight over.

Fair enough. On a practical level it does achieve true "religious freedom" for Catholic corporations. In effect it uses the false idea of "religious liberty" from the First Amendment against the liberals, and we can't be so ideal that we pass over practical solutions that do not undermine our principles. That's why I am happy about this decision, even if not about the extension of the false principles behind it.

People don't agree on what the "Natural Law" is because they do not have rightly formed consciences. Natural Law is not, however, a matter of opinion.

As regards slavery, it is not against the Natural Law per se. If I have the ability to "sell" my work for money, I also have the ability to "sell" my work for mere sustenance and no pay. Voluntary indentured servitude is not, therefore against the natural law. Forced servitude is not against the Natural Law in some cases, like when it is imposed as punishment for a crime. When it was forced on innocents and when the conditions were not germane, then it was against the Natural Law which demands to "give each man his due" -- i.e. Justice. In practice, however, even voluntary servitude was abused, and so gently eliminated by the Church. It was the Protestants who brought forced servitude during the colonial times and enslaved many Africans who were handed over by the tribal lords to the Dutch.
(07-01-2014, 09:05 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]Fair enough. On a practical level it does achieve true "religious freedom" for Catholic corporations. In effect it uses the false idea of "religious liberty" from the First Amendment against the liberals, and we can't be so ideal that we pass over practical solutions that do not undermine our principles. That's why I am happy about this decision, even if not about the extension of the false principles behind it.

I’m happy about it too, although I don’t think our First Amendment “religious liberty” is a false principle. I also think Justice Ginsburg has somewhat of a point with her concerns, BUT all those issues she listed will have to be considered case by case, if it ever comes to that. She’s overreacting.

This ruling in favor of the for-profit Hobby Lobby does not mean non-ecclesial, tax exempt religious organizations, like EWTN and Little Sisters of the Poor, are out of the woods. From what I understand about this (and I welcome correction if wrong), they are given a “break” by the government in that they do not have to actually PAY for birth control. A third party pays for it but they still have to provide it. And that’s why they are suing. They don’t want to provide it, paid for or not. That’s a bit different from the situation of Hobby Lobby, who were going to be forced to pay.

Quote:As regards slavery, it is not against the Natural Law per se. If I have the ability to "sell" my work for money, I also have the ability to "sell" my work for mere sustenance and no pay. Voluntary indentured servitude is not, therefore against the natural law. Forced servitude is not against the Natural Law in some cases, like when it is imposed as punishment for a crime. When it was forced on innocents and when the conditions were not germane, then it was against the Natural Law which demands to "give each man his due" -- i.e. Justice. In practice, however, even voluntary servitude was abused, and so gently eliminated by the Church. It was the Protestants who brought forced servitude during the colonial times and enslaved many Africans who were handed over by the tribal lords to the Dutch.

Okay, makes sense. Admittedly I was thinking of the inhuman treatment of Africans during the colonial times, making them out to be subhuman, soulless beings in order to defend the indefensible. I wasn’t considering other forms of slavery/ forced labor.
(07-01-2014, 07:50 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ](snip)

And liberals do make a fair argument against this decision on that basis. If this is about "religious freedom" not about the violation Natural Law, then as Justice Ginsburg wrote in her feminist rant of a minority opinion:
Quote:Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (some Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)?

(snip)

This is exactly so. One'd hope that people would start thinking about things like this and realize that some sort of "faith-based" belief or "value system," if not a true morality, is at the heart of any kind of system of law. Someone's idea of the good and the true is going to inform what's legal or not.  The only question is "what religion should it be?" If people would start pondering that, and then look at real History (i.e., minus the anti-Catholic propaganda), the effects of the various religions on the world's cultures (for ex., in terms of how the weaker members of that culture are treated, how the religion inspires or thwarts the development of science, how it affects art, etc.), how the religion's doctrines make sense sociologically (for ex., how it helps form healthy families and healthy children, whether or not it leads to anomie, etc.) -- then folks would have to come around to Christianity, even if they have no religious faith. I mean, Christianity -- by which I mean Catholicism (trad-style, of course) -- just makes sense, and would even if it's treated as "an opiate for the masses" by lawmakers. It just works. Western civilization, before the Protestant revolt, speaks for itself. Science, the great cathedrals, the inspiration of men, the respect for women, art, literature, drama, all the little technologies that make life more pleasant, laws that respect the family and individuals, monarchy without absolutism, a calendar inspired by something much greater than us and that honors the seasons and the earth, chant and Bach and Beethoven -- all of this, all together, can only have come from a Catholic-centered view of things. And it was all so beautiful!

(The allowing of usury was the big black mark that, IMO, planted the seeds for its demise)

(07-01-2014, 11:49 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-01-2014, 07:50 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ](snip)

And liberals do make a fair argument against this decision on that basis. If this is about "religious freedom" not about the violation Natural Law, then as Justice Ginsburg wrote in her feminist rant of a minority opinion:
Quote:Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (some Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)?

(snip)

This is exactly so. One'd hope that people would start thinking about things like this and realize that some sort of "faith-based" belief or "value system," if not a true morality, is at the heart of any kind of system of law. Someone's idea of the good and the true is going to inform what's legal or not.  The only question is "what religion should it be?" If people would start pondering that, and then look at real History (i.e., minus the anti-Catholic propaganda), the effects of the various religions on the world's cultures (for ex., in terms of how the weaker members of that culture are treated, how the religion inspires or thwarts the development of science, how it affects art, etc.), how the religion's doctrines make sense sociologically (for ex., how it helps form healthy families and healthy children, whether or not it leads to anomie, etc.) -- then folks would have to come around to Christianity, even if they have no religious faith. I mean, Christianity -- by which I mean Catholicism (trad-style, of course) -- just makes sense, and would even if it's treated as "an opiate for the masses" by lawmakers. It just works. Western civilization, before the Protestant revolt, speaks for itself. Science, the great cathedrals, the inspiration of men, the respect for women, art, literature, drama, all the little technologies that make life more pleasant, laws that respect the family and individuals, monarchy without absolutism, a calendar inspired by something much greater than us and that honors the seasons and the earth, chant and Bach and Beethoven -- all of this, all together, can only have come from a Catholic-centered view of things. And it was all so beautiful!

(The allowing of usury was the big black mark that, IMO, planted the seeds for its demise)

You NAILED it here Vox!  Every law ever passed is based on someone's version of morality. Our current predicament is that God has been declared Dead. And now, we Men and Women must pick up the slack. Without God, there is no natural law. Without natural law, there can be no good laws.
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