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View Diary: Hobby Lobby: Does RFRA violate the Establishment Clause? (263 comments)

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  •  First of all, Halal or Kosher Butchers are not (4+ / 0-)
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    chuckvw, Armando, California06, Nisi Prius

    violating the rights of other living American citizens in order to practice their religious beliefs.

    This is about the raising and butchering of meat animals and not about 51 percent of our population--WOMEN.
    So the law being applied in that way is disingenuous.

    Hobby Lobby is not providing a faith specific service. It provides art and craft supplies and home furnishings which are not of themselves religious in intent or content whereas Kosher and Halal are very specific in intent and content because they are meant for food stuffs so that believers can adhere to their religious dietary codes.

    Denmark declaring them inhumane is neither here nor there. What would they say about our cattle processing units? In this country we pass gag orders to keep animal rights activists from showing films of animal abuse in non-kosher and non-halal facilities.

    Hobby Lobby did not incorporate as a religious entity either. It is not in their articles of incorporation, so the intent of this business was not to be religious or to promote religion, but in fact, to make money selling inert objects to people.

    So no religious edicts are broken if women who do not share the faith of the owners or managers should have access to birth control devices, or information. Because religion is not the purpose of the "store". It was incorporated merely as a store and nothing else.

    In fact the "science" used to claim that certain BC pills and medications cause abortion is really pseudo science, so that is a major weak point in their argument when that issue comes up and it will.

    Hobby Lobby does this for two reasons: To burnish it's image in the US amongst other religious extremists organizations, (consider it an early campaign stunt to try and galvanize the base) by attacking women's rights and by attacking Obama Care.

    In short, they suck. Anyone but Hobby Lobby gets my art-dollars from now on.

    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

    by GreenMother on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 12:53:54 PM PDT

    •  Two parts (1+ / 0-)
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      JerryNA

      I want Hobby Lobby to lose, but I also want to make sure that the next company to try this stunt can't avoid whatever we set up.

      Hobby Lobby doesn't itself provide a faith-specific service, but what if we were talking about a Christmas tree farm, or a Christian bookseller, or a seminary?  I don't want to rely on that if it can be dodged.

      Likewise, their articles of incorporation don't say anything about God, but articles of incorporation can be changed, and new companies will come along.  If it said "To promote the Christian faith and all other legal purposes," would that save them?  Should it?

      The abortifacient issue is a big problem for them.  But they're taking a weaker stance than they might: their religion condemns premarital sex, but they're not resting on that.  I also want to beat back the company that throws that punch.

      Hobby Lobby might lose because ultimately, the facts aren't on their side.  They won't be able to convince a jury that anyone involved is lying about their beliefs.

      But I'm not sure that goes far enough.  I want a holding that puts the whole issue to rest.  I wish the Establishment Clause issue was before the Court.  That could get the whole stupid RFRA statute thrown out.

      •  There are already religious exceptions for (1+ / 0-)
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        JerryNA

        religious entities, up to a point, That ruling in favor of the Salvation Army for one, that allows them to discriminate against gay job applicants certainly set a very bad legal precedent.

        I don't disagree with your premise entirely, however, if Hobby Lobby incorporated as a religious institution --which they do sell Christian themed material through Mardels--is that any different?

        Has anyone looked at Mardel's insurance policies? Are there any discrepancies between the policies of Mardels and Hobby Lobby? Or their other affiliated company, Hemispheres which also sells furniture?

        The problem with the courts is if they allow one, they have to allow all, because the government is not equipped in our current laws to determine sincerity of faith--we got that way back int he 80s with Jesse Helms when he tried to introduce the notion that only some religions could file for tax exemption in the U.S. That didn't gain much traction. I believe either an additional suit or perhaps the suit involving the (The ULC?) had something to do with that too at some point. I apologize, it has been a few years.

        The point about the Halal and Kosher Butchers has nothing to do with treatment of employees. It has nothing to do with policy towards employees and their health care. AND To invoke Denmark of all places in an argument about birth control, family planning and women's rights is bold to say the least, especially in this context. Denmark has very progressive programs we can barely imagine. If I didn't know any better I would say he was waiving a red flag at women here with that reference.

        So it is immaterial to this discussion in that the argument--the Halal/Kosher case wasn't about civil rights of employees but humane treatment of animals in establishments singled out due to religious practices namely Judaism and Islam.

        If these places had decided to discriminate against women or violate their health care directives, on the basis of religion, then it might have been different. But here we argue something rather nebulous--the humane killing of meat animals. Will this country also outlaw hunting as well? But then again, that isn't about using religion as a means to deny individual human citizens their civil rights by discriminating against them based on gender and perceived sexual activity.

        "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

        by GreenMother on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 03:13:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GreenMother, No Exit

          I mean there are exceptions for religious organizations, but there don't have to be.  They tend to be legislative choices not constitutional commands.

          But if Congress can give exceptions for religious organizations, what stops it from giving exceptions to religious people or companies run by religious people?  The current law is potentially ambiguous, but it could be written to clearly include for-profit corporations.  Arizona just tried.

          And I think the government can and does review claims of religious belief, like it reviews any other legal matter which looks inside someone's head.  Was this an accidental or an intentional attack?  Was this motivated by racial bigotry or something else?  Etc.  RFRA's been in place for 20 years (joined by its kin, RLIUPA), and prisoners sue under it looking for all kinds of religious accommodations.  The litigation is frustrating to all parties, but courts have found themselves competent to determine who is sincerely expressing a religious belief and who is just lying their way to a perceived benefit.

          The halal example isn't that farfetched.  That specific law may never come to the U.S., but it's an example of a neutral, generally applicable law.  The Constitution, we know, will not protect the butchers.  But RFRA might - so does it matter if the butchers are incorporated?  Should it?

          If you want something more concrete, New York City has tried to regulate Orthodox mohels, who ritually suck the blood after circumcisions and occasionally infect their patients with herpes.  RFRA doesn't apply to state laws and New York doesn't have its own version, so there's no equivalent case here.  But what if the law passed in Connecticut, which does?

          The individual mohel would be able to be heard on the issue.  What about his employer, an incorporated synagogue?  Is it natural to see one as having a challenge but the other not?

          That's why I think the Court needs to jump past the specifics of any given case, or the quirks of individual/corporate exercise of religion, and state simply that the government cannot excuse religious people from general laws, at least, not without extending the same rights to nonreligious people with sincere moral beliefs.

          •  Then why invoke a law in Denmark, which is (1+ / 0-)
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            JerryNA

            nothing like the US, it even has a National Church.

            And the Mohel with Herpes--the Rabbi's duty is to make the child fit for membership in the Jewish faith/Community, however if he gives the child herpes on his genitals, he endangers the child's sexual health and ability to produce healthy children from that community, knowing that eventually that will be spread the spouse who then gives birth to the children.

            So that was and is a public health matter in which religion is an incidental, because it was not intended to give herpes to a child as part of the ritual circumcision.

            The Hobby Lobby Case is about a Business that hertofore had covered birth control options in their insurance, but decided not to, based on the religious grounds of the citizens who run the business. Blatantly ignoring the civil rights of the citizens who work there, and discriminating against said citizens due to their gender (female) and perceived sexual activity.

            When has Hobby Lobby mentioned Cialis, Viagra or Penis Pumps? Or any other medical intervention that may help a man achieve an erection which exists for the sole purpose of sexual intercourse.

            Not once.

            And does the Owner of that business or should the owner of that business have more rights than the employed? And if they do, does that violate our civil rights statutes and our labor laws regarding the wall of separation of church and state.

            Cows and Goats don't go to church. They are animals that are kept for meat and milk. You don't hire them, you buy them. They don't care what church you go to or don't go to. They don't vote, or write letters to a congressperson, nor do they finance PACs. So the argument of inhumanity towards animals is an entirely different discussion, whereas the inhumanity to other humans--that is the hobby lobby case.

            This looks to me to be another jab at women and feminists by using a farm animal case as a metaphor for our rights AGAIN.

            I wish the female justices had put him in his place for trying to invoke such a metaphor which is beyond insulting and ridiculous.

            "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

            by GreenMother on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 04:13:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  THIS! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA
            That's why I think the Court needs to jump past the specifics of any given case, or the quirks of individual/corporate exercise of religion, and state simply that the government cannot excuse religious people from general laws, at least, not without extending the same rights to nonreligious people with sincere moral beliefs.
            I agree entirely

            "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

            by GreenMother on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 04:17:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with you in principal... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA, GreenMother

            but this court will never do it.

            In fact, it's hard for me to imagine that we'll even get a dissent that goes there, though I hope we do.  Stevens could have.

            Didn't the ninth circuit once hold that the phrase under god in the pledge of allegiance couldn't be compelled in public schools...  I actually agreed with that too... Lol

            Balkinization has a great series of posts on this case if you're interested in a law profs informed analysis.  

            If you didn't care what happened to me, and I didn't care for you, we would zig zag our way through the boredom and pain, occasionally glancing up through the rain, wondering which of the buggers to blame, and watching for pigs on the wing. R. Waters

            by No Exit on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 05:32:08 PM PDT

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            •  This court won't do it because the bench is (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              No Exit

              mostly neocons and male religionists.

              :(

              "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

              by GreenMother on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 02:36:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  FYI here is the link to the blog mentioned (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              No Exit

              "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

              by GreenMother on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 02:38:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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