You're either with our Liberal Orthodoxy or you're against us

Bird Dog's picture

After the Komen kerfuffle and announcement by Kathleen Sebelius, Jonah Goldberg observes:

Liberals are the aggressors in the culture war (and not always for the worse, as the civil rights movement demonstrates). What they object to isn't so much the government imposing its values on people — heck, they love that. They see nothing wrong with imposing their views about diet, exercise, sex, race and the environment on Americans. What outrages them is resistance, or even non-compliance with their agenda. "Why are you making such a scene?" progressives complain. "Just do what we want and there will be no fuss."

Even though 46% of the populace has serious issues with abortion, how dare a private charitable group elect to abstain from funding a controversial and polarizing and politically tinged organization (a fair perspective here). The irony in this case is that the donor in this less than two-fifths the size of the donee.

And when it comes to forcing religious organizations to provide contraceptives and "morning after" pills, the political calculus has been made, with support from the left-wing amen chorus. What's more, it looks like Barry will double down. Goldberg:

It [Komen] just wants to spend its finite resources on the race for a cure. But that's not good enough. The real motive behind this backlash is to make it very clear: You must choose a side — ours. And once you choose our side, you can never change your mind without severe consequences. And what is true of liberal politics is also true of liberal public policy. As the Obama administration has made clear to the Catholic Church, there is no neutrality, no safe harbor from liberalism's moral vision. You're either with us, or against us — which means we shall be against you.

The other irony is that, for all the complaints from the Left about the Right wanting to impose its values on America, the Left has no hesitation in trying to impose its values on America. The religion of liberal orthodoxy must be enforced.

UPDATE: Ross Douthat:

The idea that the state should only “tread carefully” on issues of liberty, conscience and freedom of religion in areas where polling data shows significant support for the position or community in question is a recipe for majoritarian tyranny and government overreach. The logic that he’s applying to orthodox Catholics could be applied just as easily to the Amish, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Orthodox Jews, and a host of other groups that don’t have the kind of institutional resources that Roman Catholicism can muster in its own defense. Yes, sometimes state interests are compelling enough to trump religious liberties, and defenders of this mandate have every right to make that case. But the argument that the state’s interests can trump religious liberties so long as the group of people being asked to violate their consciences is small enough is not an argument at all. It’s just a raw appeal to power.

Peter Wehner:

Not that many years ago, then-Senator Obama gave a speech in which he said, “Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square.” President Obama has done the secularists one better. He’s asking believers to leave their religion at the door before entering religious hospitals, charities, and universities. Believers across the land are rising up to say to Obama, in the most respectful way possible, “Get lost.”


ANOTHER UPDATE: Jake Tapper has a piece on the inner workings of how the Obama administration came to its decision on forcing religious organizations to cover birth control, etc. Noteworthy is that the head of Planned Parenthood had a seat at Obama's table when it came to the deliberations. Clearly, the ideologues prevailed over the pragmatists, and Obama sided with the ideologues.

Amy Sullivan frames the issue quite accurately.

The White House also bears its own large share of the blame for how it has mishandled the issue. Last August, the administration put forward the narrow exemption for religious employers as its starting point, giving it nowhere to go. Abortion rights groups didn't want a conscience exemption -- for anyone -- and Catholics balked at accepting such a limited definition, which covered only organizations that primarily employ and primarily serve individuals who share their religious tenets. This definition excludes most Catholic universities and hospitals, and many social service organizations, although it does include houses of worship. Then in November, Obama met in the Oval Office with Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops (USCCB), and reportedly assured the powerful prelate that he would "be pleased" with the administration's final resolution of the issue. But Dolan is most assuredly not pleased. He had requested the meeting to make clear his objections to the narrow exemption, and said earlier this week that he felt personally betrayed by the outcome.

But the most tone-deaf move -- the one guaranteed to turn the behind-the-scenes debate into a public controversy -- was made by whoever decided the administration should announce the final rule in connection with the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. The rule is not about abortion, so the signal the White House meant to send was unmistakable: this is a gift for our pro-choice supporters. The symbolism alone undercut the feeble attempts of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Obama advisers to insist that they had struck "the right balance between respecting religious beliefs and increasing women's access to critical preventive health services."

Until David Axelrod and others began to indicate this week that the president was open to reconsidering the religious employer exemption, White House spinners had doggedly ignored the fact that the relevant issue that troubles Catholics about the rule is religious freedom, not contraception. Religious liberty concerns are why Catholic journalists like E.J. Dionne, Melinda Henneberger, and Mark Shields -- none of whom argue that contraception morally wrong -- have criticized the White House decision. Similarly, religious organizations like the Baptist Joint Committee, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, National Association of Evangelicals, and the Orthodox Union all support the use of contraception but have expressed their opposition to the rule as well. More than 90 percent of U.S. bishops, not all of whom are conservative, have spoken out against the rule, and many have sent letters to be read from pulpits in their dioceses urging Catholics to engage in civil disobedience. Meanwhile, while the White House touts lists of doctors and scientists who support the rule, no major religious group has stepped forward to defend the White House's decision.

The question for Sister Keehan and Father Jenkins, for Senator Casey and Sister Campbell, is not whether lay Catholics disagree with the Church's teaching on birth control (a majority do) or whether nearly all Catholic women use birth control at some point in their lives (they do). It is not even whether some Catholic institutions already pay for employee health plans that include coverage for contraception (some do). The question is whether the federal government should be able to require a religious institution to use its own funds to pay for something it finds morally objectionable.

In effect, the Catholics who supported Obamacare got shat on for their efforts.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Joe Biden is a practicing Catholic and he wants to work out a deal that Catholics and other religious organizations can live with. Democratic and liberal Catholics have problems with the Obama decision. Hispanics, too. Even Eleanor Clift is questioning Barry's motives.

Rod Dreher points to a Bloomberg article that is similar to the Tapper piece, and The Anchoress weighs in:

These folks should realize that among the neanderthal Catholic voices crying out against this ruling are so-called “progressive” Catholics with sterling credentials as Obama supporters, including Michael Sean Winters, former Ambassador Doug Kmiec, Bob Casey, Sister Carol Keehan, former Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, Timothy Kaine and many others. These are the Catholics who helped deliver 54% of the Catholic vote to Obama and one can hardly lump them in with your ordinary despised reactionary.

And in “doubling down” on his decision, Obama has managed to do what no bishops or popes could: it has united the Catholic “left” and “right” (how I hate these labels) in opposition to the mandate. He’s even brought in the Protestants, and the Orthodox, both Christians and Jews!

Well, he did tell us he would be a uniter of a president — “that all shall be well.”

So, to be clear, as of right now if church-related entities (hospitals, schools and charities — many of which were serving the poor in their community before local or state governments had anything in place or had even thought to do so) do not comply, their choices are to either offer NO insurance at all, which violates Catholic social teaching, or to close up shop, altogether, which goes against the mission of the church since the time of the Apostles.

This is the government telling the church to knuckle under or cease to be who and what she has been for 2,000 years, as mandated by Christ himself.

A few people have said, either in conversation or via cyberchat that they feel the language of war — “Obama declares war on religion” — is too extreme.

You bet it’s war, and the reason you know it’s war is because this HHS mandate and this fight was entirely unnecessary.

Yep. The political season is here. It's on.

JUST ONE MORE UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer outlines the illogic of Obama-Sebelius doctrine when it comes the health care mandate.

But this Gospel according to Obama has a rival — the newly revealed Gospel according to Sebelius, over which has erupted quite a contretemps. By some peculiar logic, it falls to the health-and-human-services secretary to promulgate the definition of “religious” — for the purposes, for example, of exempting religious institutions from certain regulatory dictates.

Such exemptions are granted in grudging recognition that, whereas the rest of civil society may be broken to the will of the state’s regulators, our quaint Constitution grants special autonomy to religious institutions.

Accordingly, it would be a mockery of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment if, for example, the Catholic Church were required by law to freely provide such “health-care services” (in secularist parlance) as contraception, sterilization, and pharmacological abortion — to which Catholicism is doctrinally opposed as a grave contravention of its teachings about the sanctity of life.

Ah. But there would be no such Free Exercise violation if the institutions so mandated are deemed, by regulatory fiat, not religious.

And thus, the word came forth from Sebelius decreeing the exact criteria required (a) to meet her definition of “religious” and thus (b) to qualify for a modicum of independence from newly enacted state control of American health care, under which the aforementioned Sebelius and her phalanx of experts determine everything — from who is to be covered, to which treatments are to be guaranteed free-of-charge.

Criterion 1: A “religious institution” must have “the inculcation of religious values as its purpose.” But that’s not the purpose of Catholic charities; it’s to give succor to the poor. That’s not the purpose of Catholic hospitals; it’s to give succor to the sick. Therefore, they don’t qualify as “religious” — and therefore can be required, among other things, to provide free morning-after abortifacients.

Criterion 2: Any exempt institution must be one that “primarily employs” and “primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets.” Catholic soup kitchens do not demand religious IDs from either the hungry they feed or the custodians they employ. Catholic charities and hospitals — even Catholic schools — do not turn away Hindu or Jew.

Their vocation is universal, precisely the kind of universal love-thy-neighbor vocation that is the very definition of religiosity as celebrated by the Gospel of Obama. Yet according to the Gospel of Sebelius, these very same Catholic institutions are not religious at all — under the secularist assumption that religion is what happens on Sunday under some Gothic spire, while good works are “social services” that are properly rendered up unto Caesar.

This all would be merely the story of contradictory theologies, except for this: Sebelius is Obama’s appointee. She works for him. These regulations were his call. Obama authored both gospels.

Therefore: To flatter his faith-breakfast guests and justify his tax policies, Obama declares good works to be the essence of religiosity. Yet he turns around and, through Sebelius, tells the faithful who engage in good works that what they’re doing is not religion at all. You want to do religion? Get thee to a nunnery. You want shelter from the power of the state? Get out of your soup kitchen and back to your pews. Outside, Leviathan rules.

And so rules the liberal orthodoxy.

OK. ONE MORE UPDATE: Even loyal Democrat and tingling-feeling Chris Matthews doesn't buy the Obama-generated spin on the "28 states" mantra.



Even loyal Democrat John Kerry and others on the Left are publicly announcing that they want a compromise. This morning, Jake Tapper reported that the White House will seek an "accommodation". Judging by how the last "accommodation" worked out, I won't hold my breath.

GRAND FINALE UPDATE: Ed Whelan makes the case that the HHS mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act here, from a conserative standpoint of course.

POST GRAND FINALE UPDATE: The Catholic bishops say "no" to the proposal, but right now they're on the wrong side of the politics. Democratic pols wanted some sort of fig leaf from Obama, and Obama granted it to them, so now they would rather close the door on the matter, proclaim that Obama is a great president for being so understanding, and move on.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

John Cole has my proxy on this


"Moderate Republicans- at this point, you are out of excuses. No more BS about trying to take the party back. No more crap about your principles or how you are an old school conservative or just don’t feel comfortable with Democrats. You vote Republican, you vote for the maniacs. No more bullshit excuses to help you sleep at night. You vote for them, you are one of them. Period."

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Thanks For Passing On The Gospel From Stockholm -nt-

M Scott Eiland's picture


. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I've asked you this before:


Are you not just an eensy bit concerned that in order to pass muster with your party's gate keepers, a politician has to proclaim that 1) the life sciences are a hoax designed to strengthen Satan, 2) climatology is a hoax designed to strengthen Communism, and now 3) that in no possible way should the government do anything that even has the probability of leading to someone being able to maybe procure the devices that lead to non-generative sex?  (Three will, for the time being, only result in massive amounts of hypocrisy from most married and for that matter unmarried Repubicans.)


At what point do you, as a fairly secular-ish fellow who actually believes that the sciences are more or less accurate, start to say, "Um, guys?"

The other side is always worse and MUST be stopped


That widespread sentiment among those who lean right allows Republicans to lurch rightward at an alarming pace.


That widespread sentiment among those who lean left allows Democrats to lurch rightward at an alarming pace.


Do you think the Santorum position


(i.e. disapproval of contraception) is a winning strategy for the GOP?

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Post grand finale update, that's what

brutusettu's picture

violence inherent in the system or whatever clamoring from the bishops

What the RCC et al affiliated hospitals and such are being asked to do, is in line with what Quakers do with paying for what was the Department of War.
As for Douthat, Kevin Drum poorly explaining or making a bad argument for X, that's just an example of Kevin Drum poorly explaining or making a bad argument for X. And Douthat's Muslim hospital example (found in a link to a link above) is extremely lacking, eating pork or looking through Playboy isn't some sort of preventive medicine (which a law deals with). He'd be perfectly fine with religious groups getting big enough to gain significant market share on a much needed or used public commodity (a public service in almost all the western world) and then be ok with that religious group forcing archaic measures onto anyone that isn't well off that is in their sphere of influence.
While the "fig leaf" which isn't much different than before. the 1st way of contraceptive funding that caused a firestorm would be like RCC et al. getting subsidies for church services and proselytizing instead of the new "fig leaf" of tax exempt status.
And expect the tax exempt fig leaf to be brought up when the RCC affiliated groups complain about de facto funding of things that make it easier for people to bump naughty parts w/o risking pregnancy as much.
What the RCC et al affiliated hospitals/universities are being asked to do is not much different than backdoor subsidies the RCC gets. Which it comes back to, not the 1st amendment, but what a good deal of people think is a legitimate government interest.
Many bishops don't like the law, but some of the [i]rationale[/i] is opening up doors they might not want open.
It's not like forcing pork to be served in Muslim hospitals, only an idiot or someone suffering from an episode of idiocy, would think of such things.

-Somehow money was fungible when the PP/Komen situation was going down, but I'm guessing those exact same folks that liked that line of [i]argument[/i] just might find it absurd on its face that non-believers are funding the Westboro Baptist Church and any group that is tax exempt.

Compromise "unacceptable"



aireachail's picture

Sometimes you can get so full up on magisterium that your good sense shrivels up.

So much for the "religious freedom" argument

Jay C's picture


From the bishops' own statement



“This is both unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern,” the bishops said in their statement. “We cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty."

So it really IS all about birth control? 

No real surprise....

Quakers don't get tax deductions to not pay for war

brutusettu's picture

And the bishops seem to claim the morning after pill causes induced abortion? What magic powers lead them to [i]know[/i] that the morning after pill were "abortifacient" and not contraception? Similar magic powers that make Jenny McCarthy think vaccines cause autism?

the bishops have "grave moral" concerns about people having it easier touching naughty parts in certain ways and not getting kids?
I have some moral concerns about his group telling kids that they'll burn forever for certain thought crimes, and his group gets tax exempt status to [i]help[/i] do stuff just like that.

I'm sure when [url=]Georgia picked rules for what was Kosher and what wasn't[/url], the same people were up in arms over that too? It looks like a clear cut case of a level of government picking one religious viewpoint over another with no clear secular government interest.

And Now the Accommodation


The change essentially shifts the responsibility for providing and discussing contraception from the religious employer to the insurers. Any employer who has a religious objections to providing contraception will not have to provide that service to employees, but in those cases the insurer will be required to reach out directly to the employee and offer contraceptive care free of charge.

All's well that ends well. Except for the insurers? Maybe they can come up with a religious objection to providing health care for free.


It is cheaper for the Insurance company to cover birth control


In fact it may just cost those companies more for making the insurance company do its job for it. 


Win/Win for the insurance industry..... 


Also we get a week of rants and controversy and then the Administration gets to look reasonable again.... 


Now any objection is about Controception period and not the false flag attack on Religous liberty.... 


Knight takes Bishop..... 

Ask courageous questions. Do not be satisfied with superficial answers. Be open to wonder and at the same time subject all claims to knowledge, without exception, to intense skeptical scrutiny. Be aware of human fallibility. Cherish your species and yo

Which means that

aireachail's picture

the costs are shifted to the other insurance poolees. Whoda thunk it?!


Those other poolees get to pay for all those devout catholics' contraceptives and those of various catholic-related organization employees. The greater good of course, is that the church hieracrchy gets to maintain their position re: sin, and we can all continue to respect the...majesty...of the church.


Its a blessing then, that they don't have quite the same sensibilities regarding Viagra, else that pool would really feel the pinch.


Pass me a peyote button, please.


M Scott Eiland's picture

Last paragraph:
Policy experts within the administration believe that there is effectively no cost to providing contraception, because use of it prevents much more expensive care they would otherwise have to provide.

*Damn* those wingnuts in the Obama Administration for suggesting that market forces will favor insurance companies adopting this!

*Scott gloats*

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I wouldn't be gloating

HankP's picture

if it's such a no-brainer why did the socialist communist fascist Obama administration have to point it out to the Galtian overlords at the insurance companies? Looks like another market failure to me - and to anyone else watching.

I blame it all on the Internet

What Makes You Think They Did?

M Scott Eiland's picture

The regulatory and legal precedents that forced insurance companies to provide contraception coverage were from 2000 (and the court decision was only a federal district court decision that had virtually no actual teeth in it)--it would have been trivial for the GWB Administration to reverse it if the insurance companies had really wanted the policy gone. As it stands, it's a convenient excuse to put off any stockholders who might complain about the practice--only the groups with serious moral objections are bringing the issue up.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

And to focus the picture a bit more

Jay C's picture

I'll credit Scott with a least half a gloat here (ref. #274586): yes, "contraception costs less than [abortions/pregnancies]" as a rule, is quite correct, as far as general principles go; and this formulation can't be far from the thoughts of the fabled "bean-counters" in the health insurance industry; who, I am sure,  wield a non-trivial influence in said industry's considerations of what they will/won't cover. And who (IMO) are very much behind-the-scene players/political actors in the whole recent brouhaha.


However, I'll have to deduct about .4 gloats for the assumption that "market forces" have much to do with the Bishops' Conference/Republican/Right-wing Pavlovian oppositionism to the Obama Admin's decisions. To judge (foolish as it may be) by their public pronouncements, the whole issue is a matter of "morality" *- which, one would assume, stands outside of mere vulgar economic parameters - and so, quite removed from the "bean-counters'" concerns. 


Otherwise, what HankP said @ # 274614.



*Term (scare quotes intentional) chosen to obviate criticism for "contempt for religion"

You're missing the picture

HankP's picture

Obama came up with and announced a compromise that makes him look good and shows that he's pro-contraception. He let the GOP go out on a limb about special rights for the religious and have a major candidate who's against contraception being legal at all. Obama looks reasonable, the GOP looks crazy. Again.

I blame it all on the Internet

The right


wing has decided the commander in chief of the USA should be taking orders from the vatican after all.


Jay C's picture

What Would Mammon Do?



This site needs a "+1" button.


HankP's picture

just have a church buy some of their stock.

I blame it all on the Internet

By the way

HankP's picture

I think I've figured out why priests tend to bugger little boys rather than little girls - it's because there's no birth control involved.

I blame it all on the Internet

A Nice Summary of the Legal Issues Involved


at TPM. For those more interested in light than heat.

“One thing I think is crystal clear — there is no First Amendment violation by this law,” Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at UCLA, told TPM. “The Supreme Court was very clear in a case called Employment Division v. Smith, written by none other than Antonin Scalia, that religious believers and institutions are not entitled to an exemption from generally applicable laws.”


The Reagan-appointed conservative justice authored the majority opinion in the 1990 decision Employment Division v. Smith, a critical precedent to the birth control case, decreeing that religious liberty is insufficient grounds for being exempt from laws. The Supreme Court said Oregon may deny unemployment benefits to people who were fired for smoking peyote as part of a religious tradition, seeing as the drug was illegal in the state.

Although opponents have another legal avenue to pursue: 

Apart from the First Amendment option, there’s another, more substantial judicial route that opponents of the birth control rule can take. After Smith was handed down, Congress passed a law to push back on the ruling, which Winkler said “attempts to provide more protection for religion than the Supreme Court was willing to give.”


The 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act said any law that burdens religious freedom must satisfy strict scrutiny. The Supreme Court later said it cannot apply to states (which is why the28 states that already have the birth control rule the White House wants to take nationwide are in the clear), but held that those requirements shall apply to federal laws. First, the law may not be a “substantial burden” and can only be an “incidental burden” on religious practices; second, it must be justified by “compelling government interest”; third, it must be narrowly tailored to pursue that interest.


And it’s an open question whether the birth control requirement passes that level of scrutiny, Winkler said, arguing that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is opponents’ best hope to reverse the rule through the courts. “I could see arguments go both ways,” he said.










M Scott Eiland's picture

Passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by a Democratic President, then. If that law ends up upsetting the applecart, it won't be on the Republicans.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Well of Course It Would Be on the GOP


Since GOP-types would be pursuing the legal challenges through the courts.


But that's enough heat. I'm unclear* about how the RFRA would apply here. It protects religious practices -- such as peyote smoking -- but doesn't seem to have much to say about a religious institution's commercial practices**.


The Quaker thing has come up a lot during this discussion (why should religiously-inspired pacifists be compelled to fund the nation's war-making?). As it happens, the courts have ruled on that:

In the case of Adams v. Commissioner, the United States Tax Court rejected the argument of Priscilla M. Lippincott Adams, who was a devout Quaker. She tried to argue that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, she was exempt from federal income taxes. The U.S. Tax Court rejected her argument and ruled that she was not exempt. The Court stated: "...while petitioner's religious beliefs are substantially burdened by payment of taxes that fund military expenditures, the Supreme Court has established that uniform, mandatory participation in the Federal income tax system, irrespective of religious belief, is a compelling governmental interest."

And curiouser:

In the case of Miller v. Commissioner, the taxpayers objected to the use of social security numbers, arguing that such numbers related to the "mark of the beast" from the Bible. In its decision, the U.S. Court discussed the applicability of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, but ruled against the taxpayers.


*Likely because IANAL and the extent of my research on the law is via this wikipedia entry.

**The compelling government interest language reminds one of the argument the Administration has used to defend the individual mandate component of Obamacare. If there is insufficient government interest to compel the church to comply with the law's coverage mandates, perhaps there is insufficient government interest to compel individuals to purchase insurance. There could be a lot at stake here.


Thanks for the info. and background, notyou


Indeed you have shed light vs. heat on the issue. Appreciated.

In conflict with the RFRA

Bird Dog's picture

See my latest.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

That Dude Is Pushing




I only got as far as his first test (what constitutes "religious practice"). Unfortunately I haven't time to tackle the rest.


For his argument to work, he needs religious practice to extend through everything the Church does, from the pew to the trash pickup.


To support his claim, he quotes a bit of the HHS interim rule:

Indeed, HHS, in explaining its decision to allow the HHS bureaucracy to establish exemptions from the mandate for an extremely narrow category of "religious employers," states that "it is appropriate [for the bureaucracy to take] into account the effect on the religious beliefs of certain religious employers  if coverage of contraceptive services were required in the group health plans in which employees in certain religious positions participate." (See page 46623 of HHS's interim rule (emphasis added).) HHS is thus acknowledging that these employers are engaged in an "exercise of religion" (within the meaning of RFRA) when they refuse to provide health insurance that covers contraceptives. (Why else even contemplate a religious exemption?) Although HHS doesn't see fit to allow exemptions to take into account the effect on the religious beliefs of other employers, that doesn't change the fact that it implicitly concedes that other employers who refuse, for religious reasons, to provide health insurance that covers contraceptives are likewise engaged in an "exercise of religion."

Of course, HHS had more to say:

Specifically, the Departments seek to provide for a religious accommodation that respects the unique relationship between a house of worship and its employees in ministerial positions. Such an accommodation would be consistent with the policies of States that require contraceptive services coverage, the majority of which simultaneously provide for a religious accommodation.

So, in fact, HHS DID not "implicitly concede that other employers who refuse, for religious reasons, to provide health insurance that covers contraceptives are likewise engaged in an "exercise of religion," because HHS drew a line between "ministerial" and "non-ministerial" religious activities.

Religious practice

Bird Dog's picture

As the law was written, Notre Dame, despite teaching Catholic doctrine, would be forced to pay for items that go exactly against their teaching. The phrase needs to be applied more broadly under HHS since the church itself is exempt but the good works of the church, i.e., the acts that are an expression of their faith, are not. The line they drew is fairly ridiculous.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Its very difficult to take seriously

aireachail's picture

something that kicks off with the line,

There they go again—"they" being the anti-religious zealots who are now dominating the Obama administration's decision making.

That isn't someone I'd look to for a legal analysis.


And here's the real goal

HankP's picture

Rubio Bill Lets ANY Employer Deny Birth Control Coverage


Hey, Republicans, go for it. Alienate women even more than you already have.


BTW, this is what most people would consider "special rights".

I blame it all on the Internet

And They Would Be Wrong

M Scott Eiland's picture

However, given that the law requires granting maternity leave, I suspect that given a choice most employers would continue to offer birth control, given that corporations are run with the bottom line in mind rather than some sort of patriarchal conspiracy out of a MacKinnonite rant.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

"most employers"?

Jay C's picture

Your faith in the efficiencies of market mechanisms is touching, Scott: but do you really think "the bottom line" (and the employers' "bottom line" is likely only to be bolstered by the reduced costs of limited healthcare packages) is going to be the major concern for an employer denying birth control to their workers?


Maybe a large corporation operating interstate, or in a fairly tolerant region might not be prone to do so, but it's not such a stretch to imagine a non-trivial number of smaller businesses (especially in the Bible Belt) retreating behind the shield of "moral objection" to save a few bucks. Especially as the Rubio/Manchin proposal seems to leave a fairly wide amount of leeway as to the definition of "moral"



Birth Control Is Less Expensive Than Maternity Leave

M Scott Eiland's picture

It's not a complicated concept--even if the leave is unpaid, temps need to be paid while the worker is gone and productivity is lost due to decreased efficiency. If the business can't do the math and decides not to provide the coverage, I'm fairly certain that women have been managing to pay out of pocket for birth control for a long time before mandates came along--the "war on birth control" label is rather dishonest, at least until people start seriously campaigning to reverse Griswold (I remember Bill White bringing up that horrible a few years ago, and as I stated at the time, precisely nothing came of it).

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

The lies at the heart of the updates

HankP's picture

The idea that the state should only “tread carefully” on issues of liberty, conscience and freedom of religion in areas where polling data shows significant support for the position or community in question is a recipe for majoritarian tyranny and government overreach.

How exactly did George W. Bush govern after the closest Presidential election in modern history? Did he say "gee, this country is pretty divided, maybe we should moderate our policies and approach to governing"? Of course not, he and his administration acted as if 50%+1 (actually 50%-1 by population in his case) was a massive majority with a mandate to do whatever they wanted. Do Republicans respect any minority (or majority, for that matter) positions that are in opposition to their policies? No, they do not. So spare me the tears about how he's being so mean and unfair to Republicans and conservatives.


Secondly, this has nothing to do with the religious freedoms of Catholics or any other religious individuals. This is an attempt to give businesses an "ignore any regulation we don't like" card based on religious beliefs.


I blame it all on the Internet

Same PRV as last time

Bird Dog's picture

To put it another way, BD is a purveyor of lies, either intentionally or out of ignorance. Either way, it's an insult to the commenter since the inference is that I'm of low character or an ignorant tool who doesn't know better. It was a PRV last time, and it's still a PRV.

The topic isn't about Bush, so you're playing the old game of "look over there". Bush is out of power. The topic is Obama, who is the leader of the free world and enforcing provisions that infringe on religious liberty.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Douthat is the one that's lying, you're just quoting him

HankP's picture

I'm assuming out of ignorance. But it's a lie nonetheless, because that's not how the GOP treats controversial issues. They tell the Dems to f(*k off and force it through. So learn to live with the SOP that your party implemented.


The topic is never about the hypocrisy of the GOP, is it? That's always "in the past". That's why conservatives never, ever mention Clinton or Carter.

I blame it all on the Internet

The PRV objection still stands

Bird Dog's picture

Prove the lie, Hank. You will come up short because he is offering an opinion, so I take your "lies" comment as just more hyperbolic bulls**t, and uncivil hyperbolic bulls**t at that.



"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Yes, we all know

HankP's picture

that you object most strenuously to a$$hats like Douthat being shown up as the hypocritical liars that they are.


Look, I get it. The GOP has destroyed their credibility in foreign affairs, economics and general governance. Culture war is all that's left. But it's not working like it used to.

I blame it all on the Internet

And the PRV objection still stands

Bird Dog's picture

Since you failed to prove the lie, you've demonstrated that your "lies" comment is indeed hyperbolic bulls**t. All you've shown is that you hate Douthat. Well, whoop de do.



"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Just like your attitude towards Obama nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

This whole exercise is just fascinating!

Bird Dog's picture

This exchange presents an interesting glimpse into the left-wing bad-faith realm of HankWorld. First, there is the accusation that BD is a purveyor of "lies", but in order to stay on the right side of the letter of Forvm law (but on the wrong side of the spirit of the onetime tenet of "be reasonably civil"), BD is not knowingly passing along "lies" because such an unfounded and untrue claim would cross the line of acceptable behavior. Rather, BD is an ignorant rube who doesn't know any better. It's still a PRV because it insults the commenter, but no matter, the false pretense of staying within the bounds is maintained, all aided and abetted by the uniformly left-wing elected amen chorus of authoritarian overlords.

Then, since Hank is either unwilling or unable to prove the "lies" of Douthat, it appears that the basis for the claim is "because I said so". Hank proclaimed it, therefore it is so. Move along, you uppity conservatives, the claim has been made. Do not deign to challenge the All-Knowing and All-Wise Liberalism of HankWorld as HW is a superior being. Us lesser non-liberal beings should say a few "I'm not worthies" and comply. Quite the ego.

Re Douthat, going by the generally accepted dictionary definition that a lie is a "false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive", in HankWorld the pundit must be metaphorically twirling his mustache every morning, conjuring up new and clever ways to deceive his readership. Or, in other words, apparently Douthat already knows the "truth" of liberalism and therefore must "lie" when presenting his points of view. It can't be that the man evaluates a situation and then arrives at his own genuine viewpoint, and it can't be that he looks at the same set of facts as liberals and honestly arrives at different prescriptions. Nope, it has to be that he's a dishonest hypocritical asshat. Either that, or there's the more broad-brushed and bad-faith conclusion that Douthat is a conservative and therefore is a liar. Since I proclaim to be a moderate conservative, what does that make BD? But HankWorld can't go there because of the aforementioned PRV constraint.

Even more interesting is the non-denial after BD observed that HankWorld hates Douthat. The HW response was "just like" BD's attitude towards Obama. Or, in other words, HankWorld turned BD's comment around and accused BD of hating Obama. For that, a...


...Karnak for projecting that BD hates Obama. I may have mentioned once or twice that mindreading is an intellectually lazy and dishonest practice. But this false claim has been made before, and it was proven false then and the falsehood is just as false today. I conclude that (1) HankWord is a pleasant self-sustainable place with solar power and natural fibers, but memory is not a strong suit, or (2) the prior exchange was indeed remembered but HW either does not believe what moderate conservatives like BD say, or they're liars, or (3) go back to the "because I said so" paragraph.

It has been a most fascinating exercise.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

And a PRV and karnak for you

HankP's picture

for saying I hate Douthat. Do you even see how unbalanced your commentary is here? You get all huffy about stuff that you routinely accuse others of.

I blame it all on the Internet


Bird Dog's picture

Look like its option 3: "Because I said so."

I'm sure that my commentary does look unbalanced to left-wing zealots. By the way, this unbalanced commentary I'm making? Obama must be similarly unbalanced because he made the accommodation he should have made in the first place if not for the feminist zealots who won the initial mandate argument.

EDIT: Or, to put it another way, if failing to link to Marxist economic professors, if abstaining from to write misleading factually-deficient diaries, if resisting the urge to make baseless assertions and "lies" accusations, if refraining from making s**t up about other commenters, if all of that is "unbalanced", then guilty as charged. I also plead guilty to run-on sentences.



"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Ha. Marxism again.

HankP's picture

Obama played you guys like a violin, deal with it. I'm sure "no contraception" will be a winning argument in November.

I blame it all on the Internet

"You guys"?

Bird Dog's picture

It sounds like you're too busy with your vindictive little warpath to bother to read updates.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

If you're going to take public money

stinerman's picture

You're going to live by public rules.  If the Catholic Church wants to do secular things, they get to behave just like every other secular enterprise, or they can not take the money.  I'm fine with whichever choice they choose.


Protip: Catholics like birth control.  It's the Catholic Chuch that doesn't.

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas

Not accurate

Bird Dog's picture

The Obama administrative is dictating to religious organizations to spend their own money to cover procedures they find morally unacceptable. See my update. The irony is that Catholic organizations supported Obamacare, and now Obama [EDIT: is being mean to] them.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I don't have a problem with that

stinerman's picture

1) I'm sorry, if you think that taking birth control pills is morally wrong, you're simply incorrect.  There is no logical defense of such a position.  Abortion, yes.  Estrogen and progestogen, no.  I'm not going to suffer idiots and the government shouldn't either.

2) If it hurts you or your imaginary friend's fee-fees knowing that Anne in accounting gets to be a slut because she's on the pill*, then you can either stop hiring sluts or simply get out of the healthcare business altogether.  Ain't nothin' that requires the Catholic Church to provide health insurance benefits.


* That's where all this really comes from.  The Pope and his cronies don't like the fact that women (and men for that matter) can involve themselves in some NSA screwing.  Too bad.  The jury is in and people like sex.

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas

Neither point is the point

Bird Dog's picture

The point is that religious organizations should not be forced to pay for or cover items that their faith deems morally unacceptable. This issue is about religious liberty, not the rightness or wrongness of birth control. This conflicts with the liberal left-wing orthodoxy, so screw those religious organizations, even though the Catholics played a significant in helping pass Obamacare. You're either with the liberals and Obama or against them.



"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Yes they should

stinerman's picture

Their faith is stupid.


Taking your comments at face value, I'm apparently supposed to feel bad because the Obama administration screwed the Catholics hierarchy of the Catholic Church -- rank and file Catholics don't care.  I'm not really losing any sleep (and I'm not much of an Obama supporter, much less a Democrat) on that one.


Again, this is a very easy decision.  Either offer birth control as part of your insurance plan or don't offer insurance.  There is still no law that requires employers offer insurance to their employees.  If your imaginary friend thinks all birth control up to and including pulling out is worse than providing health insurance, then you're going to have a lot of employees that don't want to work at your business (and you also have a really effed-up imaginary friend).  That's the free market at work.

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas


Bird Dog's picture

The "their faith is stupid" line was probably echoed by the feministas sitting around Obama's table while crafting the mandate, which is Obama's problem.

Like with the Keystone pipeline non-deal, Obama a political calculation, and despite support for Obamacare from legions of good Catholic Democrats, he welshed on the bargain. The issue isn't about liking or disliking the Catholic Church.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

This discussion is stupid...

TXG1112's picture

The Catholic church is not exempt from law. The law in question has existed since the Clinton Administration. This whole freakout is just smoke and mirrors to gin up electon year controversy.


That you think this is merely a feminist issue means you're more out of touch than I thought.

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.


HankP's picture

should a business owned by a Jehovah's Witness be allowed to exclude blood transfusions from their health coverage?

I blame it all on the Internet



You guys are wrapped up in the religious aspects here.  I'm still back at the fact that we have the government dictating benefits packages at all.  That the coverage in this case is something that's elective rather than life saving only makes the case worse.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Yeah, Dictating Benefits Packages


Sure sounds worse when you use oppressive-sounding phrasing.  Instead, how does this sound:

The American People are protecting their citizens from being denied routine medical services and being taxed to support religious zealotry.

Take out the bogey-words "Government" and "dictating" and golly, it sounds almost reasonable.  It's almost as if attacking the policy on substance were a losing proposition....

WTF are you talking about with 'oppressive-sounding'?


Benefits, to include healthcare, were inticements to recruit and retain/maintain talent.  This, a generally good idea at the start, has morphed into the 'American People' demanding coverage for elective prescriptions.  Since birth control is a choice, and more importantly, since there are effective forms of birth control that don't require a prescription we don't even need to get into any religious objection to make a case that this is well inside the realm of personal, rather than state or employer responsibility.  I think it's perfectly reasonable for an employer to state that they won't cover meds or procedures that are optional, especially when non-prescription alternatives are available. 

I'll restate that you guys, that is everyone except me on this thread, are getting wrapped around the 'religious' aspect of this.  The more significant issue is the role of government and when personal choice = personal responsibility.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

"non-prescritption alternatives"

brutusettu's picture

While on that train:
Are seat belts a choice?
are there effective forms of safety devices that aren't seat belts?
Are seat belts elective safety devices?
Is it reasonable for people to be denied safety devices because their [b]employer[/b] thinks it's "optional*"?

& take a look at (#274562) again

*And that is not, not at all what is going on here. that's not the objection afaact. So, would the actual reasons for the objections be BS, but luckily for them there's another reason why they have the right end result for all the wrong reasons?

You're getting somewhere Brut.


I really can't make sense of what you said so I'll take some liberties.  The government doesn't offer IVF coverage to it's employees, I know, been there on this one.  So, it's not as if it is all that supportive of funding personal choices about reproductive practices.  I paid out of pocket to the tune of $10k per attempt,  the fourth attempt worked.  Why is it that the govt doesn't fund the personal reproductive choices of its employees but expects private entities to do so?

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

"reproductive practices"

brutusettu's picture

But are people known to die from not taking part in vitro fertilization*?

-Certain kinds have people have been known to die from a pregnancy, albeit not exactly common with medical care.
-Certain kinds have people have been known to wake up with baby instain after intercourse.
-This rule is centered around "preventive medicine" preventing not getting pregnant, seems like more of a stretch of the rules.
-Condoms vs pills etc, would be like inhaler vs any pill option if there was one.

And taking a leap:
The government forces seat belt use. There are other forms of reducing vehicular death rates that don't require forced purchase of cars with seat belts and seat belt use when operating/in a vehicle off private property.

*aren't certain denominations anti-IVF?

Don't feel bad

stinerman's picture

I've known Brutus since the 7th grade IRL and most of the time I can't understand what he's saying.

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas

Actually it was a terrible idea to tie health insurance


to employment in this country as every other country with a different model that pays less and covers more shows.


In addition, even many libertarians, such as Frederick Hayek in the Road to Serfdom, recognize that public health insurance is a plausible exception to the general rule that government should not provide services that are funded by general taxes.


Your More Significant Issue


is not relevant here. The Church objected based on its status as a religion, not as a collection of individuals.


And besides, unless the legal challenges win out, the passage of ACA means the issue is settled, since, as Kathleen Sebelius tells us:

One of the key benefits of the 2010 health care law is that many preventive services are now free for most Americans with insurance. Vaccinations for children, cancer screenings for adults and wellness visits for seniors are all now covered in most plans with no expensive co-pays or deductibles. So is the full range of preventive health services recommended for women by the highly respected Institute of Medicine, including contraception.

The free market individual rightists at Reason had a generally ho-hum take* on the IOM's decision back when it was announced.



*Of course, the folks at Reason are opposed to government mandated healthcare as such; this issue wouldn't have come up had government kept its nose out of healthcare in the first place. 

Maybe. Just a little.

aireachail's picture

I certainly do enjoy poking at religion. And right about now catholic leadership is just such an inviting target that I can't deny myself the fun. I mean seriously...the image of the bishop lecturing on the sin of birth control while the members of his faith use it in abundance is just too good to pass up. 


But this is fundamentally about how employees are treated. The idea that employee benefits might depend upon the religious beliefs of the employer is just bizarre*. Is there any daylight between a catholic denying his or her employees contraceptive coverage because birth control is a "sin" and a christian scientist denying any healthcare that goes beyond fervent prayer and a diet of root vegetables? If there is it ain't much.


 Ultimately the admin will fold on this because they're political beings, and that will torque me off even more...


*edited several times before I settled on that word as the least colorful of the ones that I wanted to use!

Air, I'm not getting some of this


On the lighter side...'the bishop lecturing on the sin of birth control while the members of his faith use it in abundance'...I'd suspect that the bishop's most important lecture would be on the sins his congregation/diocese is comitting.  I'm perfectly comfortable in a church full of sinners and would never consider attending one that wasn't.

Not sure why you'd be torqued.  It was a political decision to start with.  Now the HRCC and Obama administration will rochambeau each other until one or both compromise. 

Re: your second paragraph.  I think I addressed that upthread. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Well of course

aireachail's picture

churches are full of sinners. Cripes; that's why they're there. But there's something really special about an anti-contraception sermon from a celibate to people who by significant majority don't really buy into what he's saying. This is the kind of stuff that begs to be captured in a Sergio Aragones drawing.


Torqued was imprecise. I'm disappointed that through their...ahem..."moral outrage", these folks were allowed to get other people to pay. And now it all seems to be just fine. Yeah. Moral outrage.

On the plus side, it very nicely calibrated a good number of public people for me!


I know that you were interested in the larger issue of whether there's a gov't role in heathcare. That horse seems to have bolted most of the way out of the barn, but I think this is a subject that can be discussed by reasonable folks in a rational manner. As it is, we've got what we've got and as long as we do, I'd like it to work as well as it can. Part of that means minimizing the kind of BS we just witnessed.


But this is just old me and my opinion. I'm not trying to convince anybody of anything.

aireachail, I will not be lulled with reasonable responses


On the first paragraph I see both sides of the issue and have no problem with any particular POV.

Third paragraph: '...whether there's a gov't role in heathcare...', yeah kinda.  For the sake of argument I'm assuming there is a role for govt in healthcare, I'm really just trying to define a reasonable limit.  I see birth control as something an individual exercises at their descretion and I don't see a state interest in having an employer cover the cost.  That's not to say an employer doesn't have an interest but I have no issue with an employer deciding not to cover the cost.  The HRCC went with a religious freedom reasoning, eh ok, I think their case would have been better made had they said 'Not our job.' but that argument was hollow because they backed B.O. on the ACA.  And of course that's the real story here, the back and forth nut-tapping that's so predictable it could be scripted, needs the outrage to stiffle the yawns.

Hey, but look at the bright side.  We're not talking about natural disasters, plague or red-heads gingers.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

It's funnier

brutusettu's picture

If one thinks along the lines that the members think it's like eating shrimp, [i]it's not an abomination, you just poop it out[/i] they think, and the preacher running his wheel from the pulpit about [i]God hates shrimp!!!!![/i]

House on fire,


and the priests want to talk about birth control. Wait, what's this? Another news story about mass child rape and coverups comes to light? 


F the catholic church. Bunch of corrupt, money grubbing dirty old men. Anyone who would put their children in an institution like that is making a mistake. Any other organization, club or corporation onthe planet would be destroyed by this kind of record of abuse and coverups, shamed out of existence and the perpetrators and those covering for them would be thrown in jail:


"Mistakes were made, ave maria and beg us for forgiveness you miserable sinners who would put a piece of rubber on your dick."



You know what they say

stinerman's picture

You have to use the framework you have, not the framework you might want or wish you have at a later time.  I think employers shouldn't be involved in insurance at all.  But without a major reworking of our insurance scheme, we're stuck that way.


Also, the government isn't dictating anything.  No employer is required to provide health insurance to their employees, they just get a tremendous tax incentive if they do.  To get that incentive they must provide a bare minimum of benefits.

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas

Maternal deaths due to pregnancy complications

brutusettu's picture

[quote]That the coverage in this case is something that's elective rather than life saving only makes the case worse.[/quote]


What's the tipping point to which a life saving move becomes life saving enough to mention its life saving benefits?

Abstinence only prorgrams?  Might as well tell people not to drive to save lives and excpect that to work.


Bird Dog's picture

Bartell's isn't a religious organization.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Somewhat less unacceptable

aireachail's picture

is my being asked to underwrite no-cost contraceptives for catholics so their religious organizations can deny them and maintain their erm...moral purity?


to whom?

28 states

HankP's picture

including that noted hotbed of flaming liberalism, Georgia, already have very similar laws on their books. That didn't lead to a culture war, wonder why this is?

I blame it all on the Internet

Because there was an implicit bargain that Obama made...

Bird Dog's picture exchange for Catholic support of Obamacare. Too bad Obama betrayed the Catholics in favor of his preferred circle of feministas.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Most US Catholics


Have used or currently use birth control. This affects a tiny number of people and they can go jump in the lake. You want to run a business and make money you follow the law. Your position is ridiculous.

The GOP is ginning up another culture war because Obama's numbers are improving and so is the economy.


stinerman's picture

Georgia notices it and repeals it by EOY.

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas

"why this is?"

brutusettu's picture

Obama is doing it.
[b]It's hot on the heels of PP/Komen[/b]
[u]A member of another party is doing it[/u].
Liberals always be attacking religion.
No co-pays is just tooo much.

--The health care plans are serving a secular purpose. it's not exactly rare for health care payment plans not to be taxed ("artificially" increasing demand via federal government action). [b] The rules aren't being tailored to curb religious practices[/b].

If Neo-Nazis wanted to sell car insurance, they'd have to put up with any [i]unacceptable[/i] government regulations like paying non-whites if any of their customers caused a collision. Albeit NN's are obviously idiots and wouldn't get defended by anyone (other than some of Ron Paul's buddies maybe) and accident victims obviously aren't always born with the wrong genitalia.

this isn't a decision to put pork in all food, or make for "no sea food Fridays" or take the Christ out of communion bread.

I'm lost now

brutusettu's picture

[quote]dictating to religious organizations to spend their own money to cover procedures they find morally unacceptable[/quote] Catholic hospitals et al. have to give out free contraception to anyone that ask?

Not quite

Bird Dog's picture

The health coverage they choose and pay for must include coverage for contraceptives, etc. As it stands, the Obama administration is forcing religious organizations to pay for items that violate the tenets of their faith.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Not quite.

aireachail's picture

Religious employers are exempt.


The test for "Religious Employer":

• Nonprofit organization

• Primary purpose is the inculcation of religious values

• Primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets

• Primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets



Catholic church which has nuns in its employ? Exempt. No need to provide coverage to 'em.


Catholic university and makes merit-based (religion-neutral) hiring decisions? Sorry...not exempt.




They're not "religious organizations"

HankP's picture

because religious organizations have an exemption. These are businesses that have some percentage of ownership by religious organizations.


You know, Quakers and other pacifists have had to pay taxes that support wars for some time now. Perhaps they should get an exemption from paying for things that violate the tenets of their faith?

I blame it all on the Internet

"giving out free contraception"?

Jay C's picture

Not quite: as I understand it, the heart of the issue seems to be that some Catholic-affiliated institutions (hospitals, say) that serve the general public and/or take Federal funding can't carve out contraception from their employees' healthcare insurance coverage, and/or charge extra for it (?charge at all?). Whether the employees are Catholic, or not. This doesn't apply to "purely" religious establishments - churches themselves, diocesan offices, seminaries, etc. - only those with some "secular" business as well.


Of course, as far as any healthcare issue goes these, it's fair game for the Right and/or Republicans: any chance to dump on "Obamacare" is too good to pass up; particularly if they can wrap it in the mantle of "religion" and/or "religious freedom" and gas on about "morality". Actual health issues? Especially those that mainly affect women? Meh.....

Heh. Me too!

aireachail's picture

Am I 'sposed to take it that these same catholic hospitals would be fine with the contraceptives as long as they could charge for them?


Is it that covering "morally unacceptable" procedures are OK as long as someone else foots the bill?


Do these catholic hospitals confine their services to catholics only?


As offensive as this apparently is to catholics, why are all these catholic patients asking for contraceptives, fercryinoutloud?


Is a puzzlement.

Catholic hospitals

HankP's picture

not only have to give out free contraceptives to anyone who asks, but they also have to force Catholics to use it at gunpoint*






*not intended to be a factual statement.

I blame it all on the Internet

I doubt if anyone "likes" birth control.

mmghosh's picture

Its messy and intrusive.  I used to counsel about it at one time, and, apart from a vasectomy or tubal ligation, I could see that all other methods turned off my counsellees in some way or another.


Unfortunately, birth control is a demographic necessity in an age where most second trimester preganancies run to term, maternal and infant mortality are low and so on.


In fact, if anything, terminations (after contraception failure) are pretty distressing (and stressful) to, all concerned.  At least Islamists-Christians have the solace, if I remember my Aquinas correctly, that all embryos, from zygote stage onwards will be reborn in heaven.  

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency


stinerman's picture

I don't mean to let you know more about me than you'd like to know, but let me say that I absolutely *love* birth control...that the girlfriend has to use.

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas

Until recently, contraception has been the woman's business

mmghosh's picture

or at least here, anyway.  And you've put your finger on exactly why that is so.  


How long have condoms been available for general sale in the US?  There's a lot of patriarchy issues buried in birth control history.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Well again

stinerman's picture

The girlfriend likes it a lot better that way too.


Wikipedia states that condoms became standard issue to soldiers after WWI.  The legality of selling such devices was a state issue.  States could (and sometimes did) ban the sale of any birth control.  These laws were found to be unconstitutional by Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965, which extended the "right to contraception"* to married couples only.  The right was later extended to anyone via Eisenstadt v. Baird in 1972.


*It wasn't a "right to contraception" but a "right to marital privacy".

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas

There's no male Pill

mmghosh's picture

there is also the perception here that men are unreliable, and that women have to bear the burden of pregnancy and childbirth (including the pain and many complications attendent upon pregnancy), which is why women take the responsibility upon themselves - at least when they can.


But I'm surprised that this is the case in the US, where responsibilities are shared and delivery is painless for the most pasrt.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

If A Male Pill Existed, It Would Be Used

M Scott Eiland's picture

Ideally, it would be something that mixed well with beer--the scientist who pulls that little trick off will be the world's first trillionaire.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Yes, reliability and alcohol going together. That would work.

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

It Would Solve *One* Problem Associated. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .with excess drinking and waking up to someone unexpected the next morning, anyway.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I find that if I down enough whiskey


that problem sort of takes care of itself.

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.


You're doing it wrong



No he's not. No he's not.


It's been a while now but back in the day I have dropped to my knees and thanked the almighty for a case of whiskey-d*ck the night before.  Whatever the male version of the walk of shame is, I did it skipping. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 


HankP's picture

there is no male walk of shame. It's called the stride of pride.

I blame it all on the Internet

Dont see anything wrong


Dont see anything wrong with the government seeing to it that people should have access to medicine and medical care. Nobody is forcing the women into using contraceptives or getting abortions. There are no religious liberties being trampled upon.

What happened with the debates and the election campaigning? Is the substantive part of the campaign over already, and from now on, we are to be subjected to this kind of identity politics squabbling?

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

Shall we send Jonah Goldberg some cheese...

Jay C's picture

... to accompany his whine?


OMG, the odor of pity-party is overwhelming here - these sort of breathless apocalyptic screeds are really, IMHO, the last arguments of a loser. Yeah, we can't really expect too much more from hacks like Goldberg, but basically, his "argument" amount to little more than "WAHH! Mean libruls are MEAN!!" coupled with as blatant a case of projection ("...What outrages them is resistance, or even non-compliance with their agenda.") as I've ever seen put into print.


It also cuts right to the heart of what I see as the fundamental problem with American politics (and to a similar extent, the society at large); a sort of absolutist with-us-or-against-us mindset with regard to policy/ideology: a stark Good-v-Evil dichotomy which posits Only One True And Right Position for any issue of public import, and sees any compromise of any sort as an unacceptable Evil. Unchecked and/or unexamined, it can only lead to more and bitterer polarization in the nation. It's the facile response to simply take to the Internet and bleat "but THEY started it!" or "well, THEY'RE worse! - but that does little good and advances no debate anywhere at all.


It's only what one would expect from someone like Jonah Goldberg, it's disappointing to see YOU buy into it, BD....

"territorial pissings"

brutusettu's picture

[url=]"Just because you’re paranoid"[/url] [quote]I have a hard time believing many non-wingers care about the Catholic church contraceptive thing. I’m not saying there’s none, but most people support access to birth control, and the “I support birth control but I oppose the church having to provide access to it in their health care programs” position is too complicated for mass consumption. It sure doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker. I’m not demeaning liberal Catholics who hold this position, just saying that I doubt there are many people in their boat and even fewer who are single issue voters on this one.[/quote]

---just some thoughts
Health coverage an easy market to enter?
The RCC is offering health coverage to non-Catholics. Does the government have a legitimate concerns about equally enforcing laws?

-expanded mega edit-

brutusettu's picture

[quote]Even though 46% of the populace has serious issues with abortion[/quote]
[url=]pdf of questionnaire and the leading question used[/url]
[quote]Do you think abortion should be...[/quote]

How much would the results change if the question were:
" do you think pregnant woman should get arrested and charged with homicide when trying to not carry to term...?"
"do you think qualified personnel should get arrested and charged with homicide for attempting to end a pregnancy under the full consent and direction of a pregnant woman...?"

[quote]contraceptives and "morning after" pills[/quote]

shouldn't that read "contraceptives including the 'morning after' pills"
afaik, those fit very neatly and fully in the [i]contraceptive[/i] definition.

-Any entity offering health coverage that includes prescription coverages for customers cannot opt out of zero co-pay contraception, correct? This rule doesn't apply if the customers aren't predominantly only of that denomination, correct?
-Groups could get around this by offering [i]free[/i] health coverage, correct?
-People covered by these plans, are not forced to buy or use contraception, but will help pay the bill ([i]money be fungible[/i] Megan McArdle says), correct?
-Can't contraceptives can kinda arguably reduce abortions?

-Could a splinter cell of LDS offer health coverage to the public and offer everything but treatments [b]they think[/b] only/almost only people with African decent would use? Can Bob Jones University not allow "interracial" dating if they get tuition payments via Pell Grants etc? What if BJU didn't receive Pell Grant funds, but cornered significant market share in undergrad education? Would/are people arging "freedom of religion" there too? Are certain "race" laws supreme to "religious" freedom?

-Are there less out-there examples of religiously affiliated groups [b]not being legally able[/b] to fully implement their religious doctrine in a [u]commercial and/or healthcare related setting[/u]?

I think he's got it.

aireachail's picture

The significant number of Catholic converts in public life right now plays a big part in this. Converts tend to be more...enthused. And of course it doesn't hurt that there's an election approaching.


I wonder...are there any other instances where the employer's faith determines one's healthcare access or coverage? I'm not aware of any, but I've led a sheltered life.

Nah, it's all political

HankP's picture

28 states already have similar laws on the books. It's just another political attack under cover of religious hysteria, SOP for the GOP. And the reason why? The economy is improving. The better Obama does, the more you'll see these culture war issues, that's all the GOP has left.

I blame it all on the Internet

This sums it up


for me at least: [img=440x440][/img]

That's a good summation


But he's right when he writes about why we shouldn't expect a truce on these matters.  The appeals to rights and to freedom from governmental intrusion are tactical manuevers made from a position of weakness; they attempt to couch an argument that's failing in the public sphere in the only moral language our polity speaks: rights-talk.  But on questions like these -- questions that touch on the legitimacy of the family as a preserve of male privilege and female subordination -- rights-talk is insufficient to resolve the disputes.  We're dealing with incompatible forms of life: sexual license and the liberation of women from the sphere of the family absolutely do threaten traditional marriage; socially authoritative shame in the service of traditional values absolutely does threaten (for lack of a better word) progressive forms of life.  


These are big, important things, and there's no reason to compromise except for tactical reasons.  Douthat's right about that.

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.


Well now it seems to be official

Jay C's picture

Well, now it seems to be officially a war on birth control - at least that's what Sen. Marco Rubio seems to want to start - all in the name of "religious freedom" of course - so much for the "well, it's only all about abortion" trope.



Uneven comparison

HankP's picture

sexual license and the liberation of women from the sphere of the family absolutely do threaten traditional marriage; socially authoritative shame in the service of traditional values absolutely does threaten (for lack of a better word) progressive forms of life.


To employ "socially authoritative shame" you need a social authority backed with the power of the state. I just don't see that happening. That's where 50% + 1 shrinks to 25% unless the proponents just blatantly lie about what they're planning to do. And the backlash on that would be severe.

I blame it all on the Internet

It's uneven


because social conservatives are losing; state power isn't a precondition for socially authoritative shame - a quick glance at religious communities that cut themselves off from intercourse with wider society is sufficient to illustrate that - but it is an avenue of redress when those forms of life have been weakened by cultural 'creative destruction'.  And state power was and remains an avenue of redress for those who find themselves repressed by traditional mores.


My point is that the question of who's being illiberal - by infringing on religious liberty or by limiting personal autonomy - is not an illuminating one.  These are ways of living that are hostile to one another, and for one to thrive, the other has to be marginalized.  

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.


I agree they're losing

HankP's picture

but I have to disagree with your example, an isolated religious group is isolated specifically because they're trying to emulate state power by isolating their followers from the world. And I agree that the state appears to be hostile to people like that because it's no longer enforcing their prejudices.

I blame it all on the Internet

Serious psychological projection here

HankP's picture

the liberal position on social issues and specifically abortion is to allow people to make up their own minds on issues. It's conservatism that wants to decide for women what to do with their bodies.


This is also the Sarah Palin view of the first amendment, which is that it's an abuse of free speech when people criticize her for her (incredibly shallow and idiotic) positions. Conservatism has become the victimization party, always talking about how those mean elites are always making fun if them. They want to be able to state their positions without criticism, while indulging in the most extreme demonization of liberals whenever they want to. For those with short memories, I'd like to see an example of any liberal politician or group airing an attack ad like this:




... and of course any sampling of the works of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, etc. etc. who's been spewing venom for decades now.


Nobody said Komen couldn't do what they wanted to do, fund or defund PP or any other group. What they did say, loudly, was that they disagreed with the decision and wouldn't sponsor or donate to Komen if they did so. Komen, showing that they were all about the dollars rather than any principle, quickly caved.


For years conservatives attacked liberals in all sorts of ways, calling them un-American, calling them sick, calling them a disease. Now the tide is turning and no one agrees with or wants to hear the whining and self pity. Republicans screwed the pooch, the tea partiers have been exposed as clowns. Live with it.


The funniest thing is, conservatives can't even stand other conservatives as the Presidential primaries are illustrating. You guys were given a slightly boring party of businessmen and cautious types, and you f(*ked it up. You used cultural warfare to denigrate your opponents and split the country and you're now showing that you can't even keep your own party together. Good riddance.

I blame it all on the Internet

"a slightly boring party of businessmen"

mmghosh's picture

also "the cautious types" - what an excellent description of conservatism.  IMO, it is not a bad thing to have many such within a society, as very useful ballast.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Of course not

HankP's picture

I'm pretty damn cautious about making radical changes myself. But that's no longer the Republican party, they purged all the moderates and only support reactionaries now.

I blame it all on the Internet

"Conservatives" caught up


in victimhood fantasy. That cross must be heavy, guys. Anyone is free to give to SGK. Anyone is free to give to PP. You just don't like the way popular public opinion went, and now you wanna play victim.


Utterly unsurprising. Fact is, a few right wing kooks with a hardon for PP steered SGK in a direction that was fiercely unpopular with people. Then they proceeded to lie about it a few different ways once they were gobsmacked by the fact that PP is widely popular outside the wingnut cocoon. Both these orgs function based on people giving them free money. There's only a lefty behemoth here in your imagination, and until a little while ago, pretty much everyone in the US had positive feelings about SGK. You can't un-santorum the bed. But it's OK for the right wing political hacks that did it, fox news, book tours, political appointments and wingnut welfare will take care of them for the rest of their self righteous christian lives.


Oh well. SGK was only contributing about 16% of it's donation income to research anyway. Mostly they were in the business of making money and pink plastic crap. 


Oh, and check this out from a long, long time ago in a year called 2010:


In the book, she discusses how the Curves workout chain withdrew their support to Komen in 2004 due to Komen's grants to Planned Parenthood centers. Brinker is clear about why they refused to buckle to Curves' pressure:

"The grants in question supplied breast health counseling, screening, and treatment to rural women, poor women, Native American women, many women of color who were underserved--if served at all--in areas where Planned Parenthood facilities were often the only infrastructure available. Though it meant losing corporate money from Curves, we were not about to turn our backs on these women."



And lookie here:


Republicans want to control your diet, too.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

The real motive behind this


The real motive behind this backlash is to make it very clear: You must choose a side — ours.

Nonsense. The backlash was about a supposedly neutral organization taking a political stance and then pretending that it wasn't.

The rest of your diary aside...


what happened to SGK was that they made an unpopular decision that led to a public backlash. While they certainly weren't under any legal obligation to fund Planned Parenthood, the public wasn't under any obligation to continue to support them for making what proved to be an unpopular decision.


As for the contraceptive rule, all the law says is that if you provide health insurance that covers prescription drugs, then you have to cover contraceptives. Unless Catholic hospitals intend to hire and treat only compliant Catholics. Contrary to what the Right would have you believe, no-one is forcing Catholics or anyone else to use contraception.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)