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Topic of the day: Religious business owners and the birth control mandate

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  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    Aug. 12, 2013 5:11 p.m.

    There is no debate over "businesses with potential religious objections" because businesses have no legal right whatsoever to make religious objections. Under the law, a for-profit business is definitionally secular. Period. End of story. If you want to get all preachy, become a 501(c)(3).

    The honest debate is whether the United States is willing to allow individuals with personal, moral convictions to dictate said convictions through for-profit entities in a discriminatory manner in defiance of the law and to the detriment of their employees.

    If you cannot distinguish between this issue and private entities choosing not to use their profits to sponsor a random event or procure product through particular supply chains then the subject matter is beyond your scope of understanding.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Aug. 12, 2013 5:32 p.m.

    You are either a business OR a religion.

    Trying to make something both will only exasperate the problem.
    And the column writer is correct - neither side will like the outcome if you do.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 6:59 p.m.

    Unless your business is a church, it should not be granted religious exemptions. Period.

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Aug. 12, 2013 11:17 p.m.

    Funny how I've never heard of any religion but Catholics having a problem with birth control in the past.

    Seems convenient to now suddenly have a surge of protestants that are opposed to birth control.

    It doesn't matter what religion you are you shouldn't let people die of curable diseases in one of the richest countries on Earth. Or anywhere else.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 6:47 a.m.

    What if a business owner is opposed to war based on religious views? Should he/she have the option to withhold funds from the Department of Defense?

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 13, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    Some people like to pretend it is the business or business owner who is "buying" the insurance.

    It's not. It's the employee.

    Employers found they could pay a lower hourly wage and get a tax benefit if they offered insurance - that is why insurance is through employers: they get a benefit.

    It is all part of the employee's compensation package - payment for the services the employee provides to the business.

    Don't believe me? Be honest with yourself as you consider the following:

    You apply for a job. The employer tells you they can pay x and provide insurance with a payroll deduction or they can pay y where y>x but no insurance. The difference between x and y is the employer's contribution to insurance minus his tax benefit. If the employer "buys" the insurance, why the different pay rates?

    Or:

    You have "employer provided" insurance. Your employer says he is dropping that, but not changing your wage. (Your check will go up the amount of your contribution.) Are you okay with that? Or do you feel that you have lost something and your work is being compensated at a lower value?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 13, 2013 8:51 a.m.

    @redshirt007 – “Seems convenient to now suddenly have a surge of protestants that are opposed to birth control.”

    Perhaps the biggest non-issue in the history of our on-going culture war! Stalwart Sentinel’s brilliant comment got it exactly right, and redshirt007 (which redshirt are you?) got to the heart of the matter above.

    This has nothing to do with birth control or even religious objections of business owners (since the laws of the land that govern commerce will always go against someone’s personal convictions and courts have always ruled in favor of the laws – see Scalia in the article referenced Peyote case).

    This entire issue is a tactical move meant to attack the President and part of the larger strategy in the mostly silly culture war.

    I wonder how many of those who are all fired up against this mandate are going to wake up in 5, 10 or 20 years and realize, “wow, I was played like a violin by a cynical media looking for pawns in their game.”

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 13, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    Let's list the violations that the Federal Government has made.

    - It is demanding that people have health insurance. Where in the Constitution is that duty enumerated?

    - It is demanding that businesses pay for birth control. Where in the Constitution is that duty enumerated?

    - It is demanding that religious beliefs be ignored. Where in the Constituion is that duty enumerated?

    - It is demanding that an establishment of religion pay for birth control as part of the insurance package that government has required. Where in the Constitution is that duty enumerated?

    There are too many violations to list, but in every case, the federal level of government has exceeded its authority and has assumed duties that were to be left to the States or to the people.

    Why has the federal government demanded that we all buy health insurance? It wants 18% to 24% more private sector money to be added to "revenues" of the federal government. It wants to mix that money with the general fund and then give out I.O.U.s to pay for health-care, just as it has done with Social Security.

    Follow the money. Always follow the money.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 13, 2013 10:29 a.m.

    @Mike Richards – “It is demanding that religious beliefs be ignored. Where in the Constituion is that duty enumerated?”

    I’m guessing that would be the 1st amendment – the one about passing no laws respecting an establishment of religion (i.e., “ignoring” religious belief when passing laws).

    As to your ultra-literalist no room for interpretation view of the Constitution, what about National Parks? Apparently the Constitution does not allow for their creation, so will you go on record as advocating their dismantling on returning all that land to private owners? Can’t wait to see Yosemite and Yellowstone after they have been transformed into Las Vegas…

    Back to the issue at hand -

    The reason we know this is a faux issue – 99% of American adults have used birth control including 97% of Catholics.

    Some enterprising journalist should do an investigation on those business owners who are objecting and find out how many of them have used birth control. Dollars to donuts most would be part of the 99%, a fact if uncovered would expose this whole charade for what it is.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    Re: "... what about National Parks? Apparently the Constitution does not allow for their creation, so will you go on record as advocating their dismantling on returning all that land to private owners?"

    And while we're at it, we can consider returning the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson thought the Constitution did not give the government "a power of holding foreign territory, and still less of incorporating it into the Union. An amendment of the Constitution seems necessary for this."

    But he changed his tune, or in the words of Merrill Peterson, "Jefferson buried his fears of making the Constitution 'a blank paper by construction.'"

    Jefferson: "I wrote to you ... on the subject of Louisiana, and the constitutional provision which might be necessary for it. A letter received yesterday shows that nothing must be said on that subject, which may give a pretext for retracting; but that we should do, sub silentio, what shall be found necessary." "... the less that is said about any constitutional difficulty, the better, and that it will be desirable for Congress to do what is necessary, in silence."

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 12:44 p.m.

    Tyler
    thanks for displaying your misunderstanding of the 1st amendmendment. but what else would we expect from someone who thinks CO2 is pollution?

    as for the increase in the number of noncatholics decrying the mandate that catholics fund contraceptives, the issue is not that we agree or disagree with the use of contraceptives, the issue is the govt is DEMANDING catholics be forced to buy something contrary to their convictions - in essence passing a law conserning the establishment of religion. in other words, when it comes to your religions, you are free to practice - as long as it does not interfere with government mandates.

    the idea that a business owner NOT buying his employee's abortificants is somehow forcing the owner's religion on the employee is as ludicrous as saying since I am not buying my co-worker his cigarettes, I am forcing my religion on him.

    NO ONE should be forced to abandon their beliefs to run a business. Regardless of all the sophistry you drag up, telling ANYONE they abandon their beliefs once they enter the world of commerce is contrary to the religious protections that were enshrined in the constitution, but constantly ignored by liberals

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    Aug. 13, 2013 2:23 p.m.

    lost in DC - Unfortunately, I fear you are unable to grasp the very simple concept that a business is not a legal extension of the owner. Under the law, there is literally zero recognition that the owner of a for-profit business is Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Agnostic, or Pastafarian. It is a business, secular in nature and nothing more.

    A business owner has, in no way, been forced to abandon any belief. Indeed, a business owner can continue to believe as she/he sees fit in their personal life. Notwithstanding, said owner has no legal standing whatsoever to channel her/his personal beliefs through the business onto the employees, particularly when said belief is contrary to established law.

    At the end of the day, the distinctions between the rights afforded an individual human being vs that of a for-profit company are real. It does not matter whether you are incapable of recognizing the difference between a human and a corporation or simply refuse to because the courts are able to discern between the two and our side will ultimately prevail. So, you can either accept reality by comprehending the differences or stand dumbfounded when your side loses.

  • Jon W. Murray, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 2:56 p.m.

    So not buying employees birth control means you are forcing the employees not to use it? How about the employees plunking down a little cold hard cash if they want to use birth control?

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Aug. 13, 2013 3:51 p.m.

    50% of women use contraceptives to balance their hormones and cycles - NOT for birth control.

    Why are Republicans so much against women's health?

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 5:00 p.m.

    Sentinal,
    I am afraid you are unable to grasp the very simple concept of freedom of religion outlined in the first amendment. If, as you say, the LAW says a for profit is definitely secular and not an extension of the owner, then the LAW violates the "congress shall enact no LAW concerning the establishment of religion" section of the 1st amendment. that simple.

    FORCING someone to buy something they strongly oppose for religious resaons is enacting a law estblishing religion. NO ONE should be forced to abandon their beliefs to participate in the capitalist system. Or would you rather they all close their businesses and go on foodstamps and other forms of welfare? how about they make ALL their employees parttime? do you prefer THOSE alternatives?

    open minded?
    no one is opposed to women's health. Since I am not personally feeding EVERY PERSON in Philadelphia, I am opposed to people in Philly eating? get real!

    c'mon, fess up, you liberals just want someone else to bear the cost and responsiblity of your sexual activities; someone else pay for the contraceptives, someone else pay for the abortion, someone else etc, etc ad infintum.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 5:25 p.m.

    Jon W. says:
    "So not buying employees birth control means you are forcing the employees not to use it? How about the employees plunking down a little cold hard cash if they want to use birth control?"

    They already do, they're called "premiums".

    @DC;

    See what I said to Jon W. (And you clearly ignored what Stalwart said).

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 5:26 p.m.

    Every business should be treated alike. If a church owns a business, that business should be subject to the same rules and regulations as every other business. If a religious person owns a business, that business should be treated like every other business. Just because a business owner has strong religious beliefs doesn't mean that certain rules shouldn't apply to him. The religion or religiousness of the owner should never be a consideration before the law.

    A business owner's rights and beliefs are not more important than the rights and beliefs of his employees, and his rights and beliefs should not limit theirs.

    Religious organizations should decide: Are they churches, or businesses? They can't be both. If a man owns or operates a business, he's a businessman. If a religious organization owns or operates a business, it's a business organization. By owning or operating a business, a church becomes a business itself.

    "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 5:30 p.m.

    Despite the fact that the American Constitution is only talking about churches and religious establishments, somehow the idea of freedom of religion for individuals themselves got stuck into the American creed. If we are to have religious freedom for people, we must limit the kind of religious freedom the churches want.

    First thing is to keep organized religion out of government. That not only means their lobby and their evangelical military chaplains but the business lobbies of the church own and operated businesses.

    There’s no law against churches owning and operation a business but if the choose to operate a business in the public square they must follow the same rules as other non-religious businesses. If churches are allowed to ignore civil law based upon religious beliefs then we should also allow any individual to ignore civil law according to his own personal beliefs.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    Aug. 13, 2013 5:44 p.m.

    lost in DC - A few points:

    1 - It seems your understanding of the 1st Amendment on this subject matter is inverted. The fact that government makes no recognition of religion at the corporate level (ie HobbyLobby is not a Christian business, Hebrew National is not a Jewish business, both are simply businesses) ensures no establishment of religion occurs, not the other way around. Of course, if you disagree and believe a 1st Amendment violation has occurred, by all means, file a lawsuit. I can't wait to learn the outcome.

    2 - There is a difference in meaning between the words "definitionally" and "definitely." I trust you can look those up.

    3 - No one is being forced to do anything here, it is imperative that you extricate the individual from the corporation. Again, there are noted legal distinctions between a corporation and the individual who owns/operates said corporation. Further, if an individual is opposed to fair treatment and compliance under the law, then they are free to not participate in the marketplace. There is no injustice in that.

    4 - Finally, writing something in all caps does not make the statement more true; no one is fooled by such trivialities.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 13, 2013 6:10 p.m.

    When an individual starts a business, they set it up such that should their business be sued the individual's home, possessions, and finances are protected and cannot be taken if the business loses.

    An individual's religion should be just as separate from the business - and for the same reason.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 13, 2013 6:27 p.m.

    @Stalwart Sentinel,

    Would you explain the difference between "an establishment of religion" and "the establishment of religion"? Your whole argument depends on the use of "an" or "the". One word is definite the other is indefinite. One word prohibits Congress from interferring with religion. The other word prohibts Congress from creating a new religion.

    Just to help out a little, Congress is not prohibited from creating a religion, but it cannot dictate to that religion any doctrine. If it wanted to create the Church of Congress, it could, but it couldn't tell the Church of Congress what to teach, what doctrines to follow, what ordinances to perform, or what convenants to keep. On the other hand, it cannot at any time or in any way tell a religion what to do about anything for any reason - including what services that religion must provide to people who work as employees of that religion.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 7:00 p.m.

    There are no established religions or churches in the United States, though some of the colonies once had them. An established religion or church is one "recognized by the government as the national church or religion" (The New Oxford American Dictionary), or as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it: "Established Church: The Church as by law established in any country, as the public or state-recognized form of religion....So State Church."

    The United States has no national church or religion. One purpose of the first amendment is to prevent an establishment (i.e., to prevent an establishing) of any church or religion, that is, to prevent any church or religion from becoming the national church or religion of the United States.

    As Leonard W. Levy writes in "Origins of the Bill of Rights": "The classic establishment of religion denoted a legal union between a state and a particular church that benefited from numerous privileges not shared by other churches or by the nonchurched or unbelievers. An uncontested and uncontestable fact that stands out from the establishment clause is that the United States cannot constitutionally enact any law preferring one church over others in any manner whatever" (p. 79).

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Aug. 13, 2013 7:01 p.m.

    If corporations are people then slavery still exists in the US and should be abolished since corporations are mandated in every action yet have no compensation or free will of their own.

    If corporations have free speech then they are being forced to say whatever their owners want them to say and their 1st amendment rights are violated as determined in the Citizens United case.

    If corporations have religion then they have no right to force people that work for them to follow that religion.

    See what republicans do to our country?

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 7:52 p.m.

    Interesting concept, except we are talking about a business not a religion, or is the business now capable of transcending this world into Catholic after life? As Kalindra astutely pointed out, why then is there a barrier one way to protect the business owner from personal responsibility if the owner and the business are one and the same?

    With all Stalwart Sentinel said, and explained so well, your going to use the Bill Clinton Defense?

    Just to help out a little, Congress is not prohibited from creating a religion, but it cannot dictate to that religion any doctrine.

    Why did the government prohibit the LDS church from practicing what God told them to do.
    Why does the government prohibit the Native American Churches from practicing what God told them to do.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 14, 2013 11:13 a.m.

    Sentinal
    Sorry you just refuse to get it. No one is forced to do anything here? Oh come on! Please do not be untruthful in your debates. Employers are being FORCED under Obamacare to offer insurance with abortificants and contraceptives. Please tell me how no one is being forced to do anything? Extricate the individual from the corporation. To do as you instruct forbids religious people from involvement in enterprise – contrary to the 1st amendment.

    I am sorry you feel intimidated by emphasis; I only used all caps for one word this time so as not to frighten you further. Sorry if the one word intimidated you.

    Ranchhand
    Since I refuse to buy cigs for my employees, I am then forcing my religious beliefs on them. Good grief!

    Lightdowser,
    See comment to ranchhand

    Ultrabob
    No, the constitution is NOT only talking about churches and religious establishments.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 14, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    @lost in DC – “I am sorry you feel intimidated by emphasis; I only used all caps for one word this time so as not to frighten you further. Sorry if the one word intimidated you.”

    Are you a religious person?

    I’m just curious because your frequent use of sarcasm, condescension, and in some cases flat out misrepresentation (e.g., my views on C02) would seem to belie that fact.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 14, 2013 9:01 p.m.

    lost in DC says:

    "Employers are being FORCED under Obamacare to offer insurance with abortificants and contraceptives."

    Is the employer the corporation or the individual? It's either one or the other. Corporations are not people; people are not corporations. Therefore, the people who own the corporation are not being "forced" to do anything. As has been pointed out, the corporation has no religion. And, you are not buying cigarettes for your employees, but you're not buying the birth-control pills either. Your employees are, all you're doing is providing insurance and they use that insurance as benefits them; and they are, most likely, paying premiums which means that you ARE violating their religious beliefs if you make them adhere to your version.

  • J in AZ San Tan Valley, AZ
    Aug. 15, 2013 12:16 p.m.

    To Ranch Hand

    In reference to your point on 8/14. You are not completely correct. A public corporation, one that is traded on the stock exchanges, has a legal existence separate from the stockholders. The Modern Corporation and Private Property by Berle and Means explains this at length. Certainly in that case, ownership is separated from operational control and teh shareholder has little say on the governance of the company other than withdrawing their investment if they disagree with the actions of the management team.

    However, regardless of how it is organized for tax purposes, a business that is managed by it's owners is still their property no matter how many people that they employ. Are you suggesting that in the normal course of life, the government should be able to compel you to use your property in ways that are contrary to your moral beliefs?

    Or are you suggesting that if a person has strong moral beliefs, then they had better not start their own business?