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  1. As some of you likely know, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby yesterday. Even if you don't know the case name, you have probably heard of the issue: Hobby Lobby is seeking an exemption to the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employer-provided health insurance policies provide coverage for certain kinds of birth control based on the argument that it offends their religious beliefs. Specifically, Hobby Lobby argues that because their religion disapproves of the use of birth control, they should not be forced to provide it to their employees.

    We already have a general Obamacare thread and we already have threads arguing about religion itself, so that's not where I want this thread to go. Instead I'm interested two questions:

    (1) To what extent do we think corporations - which are distinct legal entities from the people who own and work for them - can have religious rights and interests in the first place?

    (2) To what extent should we allow religious interests (of individuals or corporations) to supersede general public policy? Should that never be a factor, is there some principled line we can draw to carve out certain exemptions without opening the door to everything, or should religious people never be forced to comply with public policy that contradicts their views?
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  2. lol @ Hobby Lobby

    sounds like a place where you send your 3 year old to finger paint
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  3. I'm a lil torn. On the one hand it's redic to force people to pay for shit they dont believe in. On the other, does it matter? Someone can get an abortion with the cash you pay them in.

    1. Wtf does it matter if it's a corp?
    2. Idk. Maybe if there was an example?

    Obv the answer is decoupling work and healthcare imo
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  4. religion should never have a say in anything. Tax those fuckers.
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  5. (1) A religious person cannot absolve himself of his religious obligations by creating a corporation so a business owner's (or corporate executive's) objection to something that mandates him/her to violate their religion should be considered as much as a mandate that forces him/her the individual to do so.

    (2) A person's religious beliefs have always been respected in this country and that is one of the reasons that I love this country so much. People should be free to practice their religions openly and without restriction as long as their actions or inactions don't harm others.
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  6.  
    Originally Posted by norcaljeff View Post

    1. Wtf does it matter if it's a corp

    Well, how does "a corporation" practice religion? A corporation, by definition, is an artificial and abstract legal construct separate from the individuals who own or are employed by it. The only tangible forms a corporation takes are, like, its corporate bank accounts, its buildings, its inventories, etc... these are inanimate objects. I think it might be one thing if the corporation in question was, like, a sole proprietorship Jewish bookstore or something where the connection of the overall corporation to a religion were obvious...but how could a large public corporation with millions of shareholders who have just as many distinct religious identities be said to practice religion?

     
    Originally Posted by norcaljeff

    2. Idk. Maybe if there was an example?

    It's tough, right? I think its easy to eliminate to extreme positions (a Greek Mythologist's religious freedom obviously should not void laws against murder; the state interest in employment nondiscrimination shouldn't compel an Episcopalian church to hire a non-Episcopalian to be its Rector), but line-drawing in the middle is hard.
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  7. edited for shitjustgotreal.jpg
    Edited By: Lord Supremo Mar 26th, 2014 at 06:14 PM
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  8. BAN VAGINAS!
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  9.  
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028 View Post

    (1) A religious person cannot absolve himself of his religious obligations by creating a corporation so a business owner's (or corporate executive's) objection to something that mandates him/her to violate their religion should be considered as much as a mandate that forces him/her the individual to do so.

    Maybe that's true in a moral sense, but in a legal sense, incorporating gives an individual protections and rights he would not otherwise enjoy. But those protections and rights do not come for free; a corporation is subject to all manner of regulations and restrictions that would be unconstitutional if the government attempted to apply them to individuals. To invoke another First Amendment right, commercial speech can be regulated to a degree that would be unfathomable if applied to individuals. Why shouldn't religious liberty be similarly subject to restriction in a commercial context?

     
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028

    (2) A person's religious beliefs have always been respected in this country and that is one of the reasons that I love this country so much. People should be free to practice their religions openly and without restriction as long as their actions or inactions don't harm others.

    So, you're on the government's side in Hobby Lobby? Congress has entitled female employees to contraceptive coverage; when a corporation invokes religious liberty to nullify that entitlement, female employees of that corporation are demonstrably harmed. I think this is more complicated than you want to make it.
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  10.  
    Originally Posted by norcaljeff View Post

    Obv the answer is decoupling work and healthcare imo

    agreed. Single-payer ftw
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  11. Logically, it's ridiculous to think that corporations have free-exercise rights. There's also not any compelling legal precedent to support the idea.

    We already went well overboard by granting free speech rights to corps in Citizens United. Citizens United was a much closer call than this case based on this country's free speech history versus its free exercise history, and it still took huge logical leaps to reach its decision.
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  12.  
    Originally Posted by Purple Jesus View Post

    Logically, it's ridiculous to think that corporations have free-exercise rights. There's also not any compelling legal precedent to support the idea.

    We already went well overboard by granting free speech rights to corps in Citizens United. Citizens United was a much closer call than this case based on this country's free speech history versus its free exercise history, and it still took huge logical leaps to reach its decision.

    Is it really ridiculous for all corporations though? A church is a kind of corporation (albeit, a non-profit one, and maybe that's significant), and like I said above to ncj, I certainly wouldn't want to try to apply employment nondiscrimination laws to them to compel them to hire someone from outside their faith as a priest. Would you so compel a church? Or would you simply solve that at the level of statute rather than carve out Constitutional protection?
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  13.  
    Originally Posted by Lord Supremo View Post

    Maybe that's true in a moral sense, but in a legal sense, incorporating gives an individual protections and rights he would not otherwise enjoy. But those protections and rights do not come for free; a corporation is subject to all manner of regulations and restrictions that would be unconstitutional if the government attempted to apply them to individuals. To invoke another First Amendment right, commercial speech can be regulated to a degree that would be unfathomable if applied to individuals. Why shouldn't religious liberty be similarly subject to restriction in a commercial context?

    For the reason I stated above. A religious person cannot hide behind a corporation in his relationship with God and since our country has always respected that relationship, there should be no difference here.

     
    Originally Posted by Lord Supremo View Post

    So, you're on the government's side in Hobby Lobby? Congress has entitled female employees to contraceptive coverage; when a corporation invokes religious liberty to nullify that entitlement, female employees of that corporation are demonstrably harmed. I think this is more complicated than you want to make it.

    Actually, the government mandated that those female employees (along with everyone else) were required to buy a health insurance policy that covers contraception or pay a fine. Doesn't really seem to me that the government is saying that those women are "entitled to that coverage", but rather that the insurance company is entitled to sell those women contraceptive coverage.

    Further, the corporation is not "nullifying that entitlement", since the employee theoretically could and should have access to that coverage in other ways if not for the government mandating that it must be provided by the employer and that no health insurance plans be legally sold that don't include contraception.

    Also, if you really believe what you wrote above, wouldn't the government's delay of the employer mandate make the GOVERNMENT guilty of nullifying that entitlement?

    I agree that its a very complicated issue. I was just answering as succinctly as possible above.
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  14. all threads already exist, I am going to start a thread called 9:49, then 9:50..... anything people hear needs to be posted by clowns, crazy
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  15.  
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028 View Post

    since our country has always respected that relationship, there should be no difference here.

    Like I said, we've always respected free speech, but we have no problem imposing different rules on corporations than on individuals. Free speech is just as valid a First Amendment right as free expression...can secular government really treat these rights differently just because one appeals to the divine?

    Also, have we always "respected the relationship" between man and God? Certainly we won't allow a corporation to keep slaves even if they believe they have a religious right or duty to have slaves; nor do we allow corporations to discriminate against racial minorities even if their religion teaches that non-whites are cursed and inherently bestial/unequal. In fact, if the Supreme Court rules in Hobby Lobby's favor, it will be the first time in history that the court ruled a large for-profit corporation could be exempt from regulations other corporations are subject to because of "its religion."

    Finally, you're talking about an individual corporate executive. But a corporation isn't owned by its executives, its owned by shareholders. A corporation like GE has issued over 10 billion individual shares of stock, which are owned by positively millions of different individuals and institutions, who will have as many different religious beliefs and inclinations. I agree that I'd be more likely to think a corporation owned as a sole proprietorship, or perhaps a family-owned private corporation might be more likely to have cognizable religious beliefs, but how could that be said of a larger corporation?


     
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028

    Actually, the government mandated that those female employees (along with everyone else) were required to buy a health insurance policy that covers contraception or pay a fine. Doesn't really seem to me that the government is saying that those women are "entitled to that coverage", but rather that the insurance company is entitled to sell those women contraceptive coverage.

    Employers are required to provide access to contraceptive coverage. The intent is to ensure that women have access to that coverage. Refusing to give that coverage based on a religious exemption frustrates Congress' purpose that all women have contraceptive coverage and that they not face an especial burden in receiving that coverage. Call that frustration what you want, the point remains the same.

     
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028

    Further, the corporation is not "nullifying that entitlement", since the employee theoretically could and should have access to that coverage in other ways if not for the government mandating that it must be provided by the employer and that no health insurance plans be legally sold that don't include contraception.

    But the contraceptive mandate is law. You don't get to reason from an alternate legal universe.

     
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028

    Also, if you really believe what you wrote above, wouldn't the government's delay of the employer mandate make the GOVERNMENT guilty of nullifying that entitlement?

    I don't know what your point is here.
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  16.  
    Originally Posted by Lord Supremo View Post

    As some of you likely know, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby yesterday. Even if you don't know the case name, you have probably heard of the issue: Hobby Lobby is seeking an exemption to the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employer-provided health insurance policies provide coverage for certain kinds of birth control based on the argument that it offends their religious beliefs. Specifically, Hobby Lobby argues that because their religion disapproves of the use of birth control, they should not be forced to provide it to their employees.

    We already have a general Obamacare thread and we already have threads arguing about religion itself, so that's not where I want this thread to go. Instead I'm interested two questions:

    (1) To what extent do we think corporations - which are distinct legal entities from the people who own and work for them - can have religious rights and interests in the first place?

    Corporations have, to some extent, free speech rights, why would religious rights be any different?

    (2) To what extent should we allow religious interests (of individuals or corporations) to supersede general public policy? Should that never be a factor, is there some principled line we can draw to carve out certain exemptions without opening the door to everything, or should religious people never be forced to comply with public policy that contradicts their views? To what extent should corporations have first amendment rights? Does it matter whether they are "for profit" or "non profit"?

    There are already limits on commercial speech. We already draw lines on religious rights as well as speech rights, gun rights and many other rights. We already determine where these lines are drawn on somewhat of a case by case basis. The Supremes just doing their job right? They will draw a line in this case as well.Could go either way. Looks like Kennedy may be on the hot seat on this one.


    This is a tough case, no doubt. Unfortunately most people will simply side with the government because they like the ACA and don't like religion, or they will side with Hobby Lobby because they don't like the ACA and they think religious freedom means absolute freedom to never comply with regulations they don't like, all without any understanding of the more specific legal issues, which you raise in the OP. Then we have Kennedy, who is not exactly pro choice, but with a great understanding of the legal issues, perhaps deciding this case based on his feelings about abortion.
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  17.  
    Originally Posted by Lord Supremo View Post

    Like I said, we've always respected free speech, but we have no problem imposing different rules on corporations than on individuals. Free speech is just as valid a First Amendment right as free expression...can secular government really treat these rights differently just because one appeals to the divine?

    Also, have we always "respected the relationship" between man and God? Certainly we won't allow a corporation to keep slaves even if they believe they have a religious right or duty to have slaves; nor do we allow corporations to discriminate against racial minorities even if their religion teaches that non-whites are cursed and inherently bestial/unequal. In fact, if the Supreme Court rules in Hobby Lobby's favor, it will be the first time in history that the court ruled a large for-profit corporation could be exempt from regulations other corporations are subject to because of "its religion."

    Finally, you're talking about an individual corporate executive. But a corporation isn't owned by its executives, its owned by shareholders. A corporation like GE has issued over 10 billion individual shares of stock, which are owned by positively millions of different individuals and institutions, who will have as many different religious beliefs and inclinations. I agree that I'd be more likely to think a corporation owned as a sole proprietorship, or perhaps a family-owned private corporation might be more likely to have cognizable religious beliefs, but how could that be said of a larger corporation?

    Bold #1- Yes, I believe it can and should. The difference between this and free expression is that a religious person who is a decision maker in a corporation is being forced to actively violate his religion, which should matter. The other ways that corporations are treated differently (at least to me) are trade offs for the advantages that forming that corporation gives them.

    Bold #2- That's why I stipulated in my first post ITT "as long as those actions or inactions don't harm others". Slippery slope for sure, but government is the only reason that the slope exists to begin with.

    Bold #3- I can't speak for other religions, but as far as mine is concerned, there is a huge difference between a corporate executive and a mere shareholder. For instance, I cannot work on the Sabbath but I am permitted to own stock in a company that does, as long as I am not insisting that they work or benefiting exclusively from that work.

    I think that a religious corporate executive would certainly be reasonable in saying that this violated his religious obligations, but I would not feel that way if it was a simple shareholder.

     
    Originally Posted by Lord Supremo View Post

    Employers are required to provide access to contraceptive coverage. The intent is to ensure that women have access to that coverage. Refusing to give that coverage based on a religious exemption frustrates Congress' purpose that all women have contraceptive coverage and that they not face an especial burden in receiving that coverage. Call that frustration what you want, the point remains the same.

    I would see your point if employers were required to provide the contraception itself, but that is not the case. They aren't even required to require the coverage, just access. It doesn't really matter much to me that Congress' purpose is frustrated here because all that is being limited is a woman's ability to purchase something from one particular source. She is free to purchase that coverage herself so her rights are not being limited much at all.

     
    Originally Posted by Lord Supremo View Post



    But the contraceptive mandate is law. You don't get to reason from an alternate legal universe.

    I don't know what your point is here.

    You highlighted my point in the first line. Kinda. The mandate is law, but not really...yet. Since it is technically the law of the land that women have access to contraceptive coverage, the government's delay in enforcing that mandate is infringing on that right.
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  18.  
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028 View Post

    Bold #1- Yes, I believe it can and should. The difference between this and free expression is that a religious person who is a decision maker in a corporation is being forced to actively violate his religion, which should matter. The other ways that corporations are treated differently (at least to me) are trade offs for the advantages that forming that corporation gives them.

    The religious thing sounds like a trade-off to me too, I guess I don't see the line you're drawing.

     
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028

    Bold #2- That's why I stipulated in my first post ITT "as long as those actions or inactions don't harm others".

     
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028

    It doesn't really matter much to me that Congress' purpose is frustrated here because all that is being limited is a woman's ability to purchase something from one particular source. She is free to purchase that coverage herself so her rights are not being limited much at all.

    Therein lies the harm. If an employer says "I'll give you health coverage, but if you want contraceptive coverage you can't get it through my plan, you'll have to go elsewhere and pay $X to get it," then the woman is being harmed in the amount of $X, relative to other female workers who aren't forced to go elsewhere because their employers are subject to the law. The whole point of the law is to stop women from having to pay $X.

     
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028

    Bold #3- I can't speak for other religions, but as far as mine is concerned, there is a huge difference between a corporate executive and a mere shareholder. For instance, I cannot work on the Sabbath but I am permitted to own stock in a company that does, as long as I am not insisting that they work or benefiting exclusively from that work.

    I think that a religious corporate executive would certainly be reasonable in saying that this violated his religious obligations, but I would not feel that way if it was a simple shareholder.

    OK, but that's not what I'm talking about. Hobby Lobby is suing and seeking a religious exemption as Hobby Lobby, not as individuals who happen to own and/or work for Hobby Lobby. The argument isn't that the individuals have religious rights that are being violated, the argument is that the corporation has religious rights that are being violated. And that's really key: if the problem were "If I, in my capacity as a corporate executive, am forced to give this health coverage to my employees, that violates my religious liberty," then it would be really easy to overcome: have that particular executive recuse himself from that duty and give the job of choosing a corporate health plan to some other executive who doesn't have that problem, and if there are no executives who feel comfortable doing that, then the Board should create a position and fill it with someone who does feel comfortable.

    No, instead the argument is that the corporation itself has religious principles that will be violated if it gives this particular kind of health coverage, regardless of if the particular executive(s) implementing the health plan have a particular objection to it.

     
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028

    You highlighted my point in the first line. Kinda. The mandate is law, but not really...yet. Since it is technically the law of the land that women have access to contraceptive coverage, the government's delay in enforcing that mandate is infringing on that right.

    yeah, no I get that, I just don't get what it has to do with the broader discussion.
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  19.  
    Originally Posted by Lord Supremo View Post

    The religious thing sounds like a trade-off to me too, I guess I don't see the line you're drawing.


    The whole point of the law is to stop women from having to pay $X.



    No, instead the argument is that the corporation itself has religious principles that will be violated if it gives this particular kind of health coverage, regardless of if the particular executive(s) implementing the health plan have a particular objection to it.

    1) But it's a trade that no religious person should be forced to make because religion is a way of life for many. It should not be infringed upon.

    2) The ACA does not stop women from paying X. They are paying for it, even if their employer is providing their coverage for them.

    3) What about a corporation (like mine) whose shareholders are all religious, observant Jews?
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  20. corporations cannot have a religious belief - cars cannot have a religious belief. corporations and cars are not people.
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  21.  
    Originally Posted by Lord Supremo View Post

    Therein lies the harm. If an employer says "I'll give you health coverage, but if you want contraceptive coverage you can't get it through my plan, you'll have to go elsewhere and pay $X to get it," then the woman is being harmed in the amount of $X, relative to other female workers who aren't forced to go elsewhere because their employers are subject to the law. The whole point of the law is to stop women from having to pay $X.

    To illustrate this point a little more clearly: let's say the Supreme Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby in this case and says that corporations can have religious rights and those religious rights can override public policy. Let's further say that a corporation owned by Christian Scientists sees the ruling and decides that it has been given license to completely ignore the employer mandate altogether, because they believe that faith healing is the only legitimate treatment for ailment and that using traditional medicine is sinful. You can see the obvious harm this would do to their employees, right? Hobby Lobby is essentially the same thing, just on a more narrow scale.
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  22.  
    Originally Posted by EyeKnows View Post

    corporations cannot have a religious belief - cars cannot have a religious belief. corporations and cars are not people.

    /caseclosed
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  23.  
    Originally Posted by EyeKnows View Post

    corporations cannot have a religious belief - cars cannot have a religious belief. corporations and cars are not people.

    but the laws imposed on corporations are actually imposed on real people
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  24.  
    Originally Posted by Lord Supremo View Post

    To illustrate this point a little more clearly: let's say the Supreme Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby in this case and says that corporations can have religious rights and those religious rights can override public policy. Let's further say that a corporation owned by Christian Scientists sees the ruling and decides that it has been given license to completely ignore the employer mandate altogether, because they believe that faith healing is the only legitimate treatment for ailment and that using traditional medicine is sinful. You can see the obvious harm this would do to their employees, right? Hobby Lobby is essentially the same thing, just on a more narrow scale.

    This

     
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028 View Post

    but the laws imposed on corporations are actually imposed on real people


    ...and this, actually.
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  25.  
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028 View Post

    1) But it's a trade that no religious person should be forced to make because religion is a way of life for many. It should not be infringed upon.

    Free speech is a way of life for many, too...

     
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028

    2) The ACA does not stop women from paying X. They are paying for it, even if their employer is providing their coverage for them.

    Not when coupled with the nondiscrimination parts of the ACA

     
    Originally Posted by jetsjets1028

    3) What about a corporation (like mine) whose shareholders are all religious, observant Jews?

    What about a corporation like yours whose shareholders are all religious, observant Jews? I'm not sure what question you're asking. I'd certainly be more inclined to listen to the idea that such a corporation has religious rights (and that's part of what makes Hobby Lobby interesting, because even though its a rather big company, it is privately owned, I think by just one family), but it does invite the line-drawing problem I mentioned in the OP...what kind of unanimity among shareholders will suffice to constitute "the religious beliefs" of a corporation? What kinds of beliefs are so important that they can override public policy? How sincerely held do those beliefs have to be? These questions are really hard to answer, and the answers may be harder still to adjudicate.
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  26. Agree 100% that this will be difficult to judge. My opinion on this is pretty straightforward tho, but I will respect your request in the OP to stay away from ACA debate.
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  27.  
    Originally Posted by Lord Supremo View Post

    Not when coupled with the nondiscrimination parts of the ACA

    Explain please....
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  28. Wtf does it matter if it's a corp or a family-owned small business? Or one dude?


    And why did the admin specify "for profit" businesses? ( iirc)
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  29.  
    Originally Posted by norcaljeff View Post

    And why did the admin specify "for profit" businesses? ( iirc)

    For profit's are financially driven, non-profit's are socially driven. There's a huge difference in the moral outcomes and relevance based on this.

    *i.e. if Hobby Lobby wants to hide behind it's owners religion then its motives should be religiously driven, and they aren't.
    Edited By: Realbigfish4 Mar 26th, 2014 at 08:52 PM
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  30.  
    Originally Posted by Realbigfish4 View Post

    For profit's are financially driven, non-profit's are socially driven. There's a huge difference in the moral outcomes and relevance based on this.

    *i.e. if Hobby Lobby wants to hide behind it's owners religion then its motives should be religiously driven, and they aren't.

    I started and continue to run my business with the primary goal of turning a profit, but that doesn't mean that I have no social motivations in running my business the way that I do. It doesn't need to be one or the other in the case of a for-profit.
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