Discrimination Is Un-Christian, Too

Jul 22, 2014

By Kathryn Pogin

Much to the chagrin of women’s rights advocates, Hobby Lobby has won its legal battle — but claims of “victory” for religious freedom must be emended. Make no mistake: This is no victory for the freedom to exercise Christian principles. Though employers like Hobby Lobby are now free to deny women access to contraceptives through their employer-subsidized health plans on the basis of religious objection, they will be violating their own purported Christian principles if they do. While Christians are not compelled by their faith to engage in religious practices that impose upon the freedoms of others, they are compelled — by their belief that all persons, men and women, are created in the image of God — to oppose discrimination.

Some corporations that have objected to the contraceptive requirements of the Affordable Care Act, like Hobby Lobby, claim that they do not wish to discriminate against women by denying them access to contraceptives generally, and that their opposition is merely to abortion. However, their understanding of which medications act as abortifacients rests on an outdated understanding of medical science and is at odds with the facts of the matter. Use of these contraceptive methods is not tantamount to abortion, and moreover, providing women with access to safe, reliable contraceptives for free drastically reduces the actual abortion rate.

It is likely that women will ultimately retain coverage, anyhow, though religious employers are now able to legally withhold it. The Supreme Court assumed in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that the government has a compelling interest in ensuring that women have full access to preventive care. It appears that a majority of the courtbelieves that this interest is compelling. The issue still under real legal dispute is how that coverage will be provided.

One suggestion is that the Obama administration extend to closely held, for-profit corporations the same accommodation already in place for religiously affiliated nonprofits. If a corporation objects, on religious grounds, to covering contraceptives in its health plan, it can fill out a two-page form, with five questions (two of which are providing a signature and the date), self-certifying that it meets the requirements for religious accommodation. By submitting this form, employees will be provided contraceptive coverage directly from their insurance company rather than through their employer.

This very exemption, however, currently faces its own legal threat from some Christian religious organizations, which claim that notifying the government of their objections to contraceptive use is itself religiously objectionable, as doing so will “trigger” the provision of coverage by a third party. The University of Notre Dame and Wheaton College are among several institutions that have brought such challenges. There is very little sense to be made of claims that your freedom of religion is substantially burdened by someone else’s providing services that you do not want to provide yourself. This suggests that the legal challenges are not merely aimed at allowing corporations to abstain from facilitating behavior they deem immoral but instead are seeking to effectively prevent women from engaging in that “immoral” behavior by keeping financial barriers for women, and administrative barriers for the government, in place.

21 comments on “Discrimination Is Un-Christian, Too

  • 1
    Miserablegit says:

    We all know here the demand for Christian equality is always the right to discriminate against anyone who disagrees with the Christian way of life.



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  • Is this the same NY Times that allowed a full-page ad by the Freedom from Religion Foundation against the Catholic Church in response to the Hobby Lobby decision, while rejecting an “anti-Muslim” ad in 2012? I think so. Conclusion: Anti Catholic = good. Anti Muslim = bad.



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  • harry Jul 23, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Is this the same NY Times that allowed a full-page ad by the Freedom from Religion Foundation against the Catholic Church in response to the Hobby Lobby decision, while rejecting an “anti-Muslim” ad in 2012? I think so.

    That would be because the Freedom from Religion Foundation was challenging discrimination AGAINST everyone else by a Xtian sect, and not discriminating against the religious sect. They did not say Hobby Lobby should be banned from appointing Catholics. They said everyone should be treated equally rather than Xtians being given preferential treatment!

    Conclusion: Anti Catholic = good. Anti Muslim = bad.

    Biased discrimination against any group is bad!

    It’s just that when some Xtians are challenged on their bias AGAINST OTHER PEOPLE, they indulge in reversed thinking and play the martyr, pretending it is they who are being discriminated against, when others criticise and challenge THEIR abuse of their management positions, to operate unfair biased discrimination AGAINST everyone else in job opportunities.



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  • That would be because the Freedom from Religion Foundation was challenging discrimination AGAINST everyone else by a Xtian sect, and not discriminating against the religious sect.

    I read a report that said 64,000 people throughout the U.S. have signed up to support Hobby Lobby….not bad numbers for a “religious sect”



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  • That may be so, if the report was correct,but it doesn’t mean they are all members.
    As a strickt matter of logic it doesn’t matter how many people believe something.
    Thatis the argument from numbers fallacy. At one time everyone believed the earth was flat. They were all wrong.



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  • 8
    Cairsley says:

    Hi Old-toy-boy. The phrase ‘the chosen people’ comes from the Hebrew scriptures (the Christians’ Old Testament). It refers to an important theme in ancient Jewish identity as a people, namely the belief in being the people with whom God had chosen to enter into a covenant. Here are two Wikipedia articles on the subject:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chosen_people
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews_as_the_chosen_people

    The Christians claim to have inherited the role of chosen people through the new covenant established by God in and through you know who.

    Although the idea of being God’s chosen people may seem to be a privilege and even cause for pride, the prophet Amos was at pains to point out to his fellow Jews that it was “a responsibility which the nation has to discharge by faithfulness and right conduct.” (New Jerusalem Bible, footnote Amos 3b)
    On this account that stern prophet said things such as:
    “You alone have I intimately known of all the families of earth,
    that is why I shall punish you for all your wrongdoings.” (Amos 3:2)



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  • “Some corporations that have objected to the contraceptive requirements of the Affordable Care Act, like Hobby Lobby, claim that they do not wish to discriminate against women by denying them access to contraceptives generally, and that their opposition is merely to abortion. However, their understanding of which medications act as abortifacients rests on an outdated understanding of medical science and is at odds with the facts of the matter. Use of these contraceptive methods is not tantamount to abortion”

    Perhaps the most disgusting thing about this ruling is that the Theocrats (all Catholic men) who made the majority ruling also ruled that the actual science was irrelevant. The fact that the Hobby Lobby people believe that the medicine is an abortifacient is (according to the court) what matters.



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  • Oi oi, Harry’s back.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I would never take issue with a religious individual, they’ve got enough problems as it is, I challenge the doctrines and dogmas of religions themselves, which, if you examine them are all surprisingly similar; maybe that’s why they fight against each other so ferociously, it’s a family row, a civil war; a my God is better than your’s thing.

    And pity those poor unfortunate sods in the Amazon who’ve just encountered the joys of gentle Jesus; there they were living simple lives according to their needs and the traditions which have stemmed out of them, when along comes the preacher man and starts telling them that they’re doing life all wrong; arrogance unbounded.

    Be religious by all means, but for Christ’s sake keep it to yourself. Pun intended.



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  • Hobby Lobby has managed to get the SCOTUS to vote in their favour. The 5 Republican appointed judges voted for Hobby Lobby and the 4 Democratic appointed voted against. So much for blind justice. No matter what is done to try to help women the religious right will be against it. With this kind of thinking the GOP will go along with them because they are the religious right themselves. When you can show indisputable facts to a group of people and they will deny their validity you must go around them. There is no other way with people who refuse to accept facts.



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  • 13
    old-toy-boy says:

    Thanks for the info Cairsley, ( I was being a bit sarcastic, but thanks all the same). On a more serious note, The fact that there are “chosen” people in the bible, implys that there are those were are not chosen. So clearly all of the motheistic religions dicriminate. Lets face it, they did not even consider women to be human beings (in biblical times).

    P.S. Everything that is written in any holy book cannot be trusted. Hence there is no reason to even open those books, never mind quoting from them.



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  • Bruce Jul 23, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    No matter what is done to try to help women the religious right will be against it. With this kind of thinking the GOP will go along with them because they are the religious right themselves.

    It is a feature of “faith-thinking”!

    They may understand none of the questions, but still confidently “know” all of the answers! (Its a Dinning-Kruger thing!)



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  • True. This is perhaps because the issue is far more broad than the NY Times would lead people to believe. For many Americans, I’m sure Hobby Lobby represents individual rights vs big government dictate.



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  • 18
    bigterguy says:

    Why does the government have a say in what an employer offers in their health care package? It is a private contract between employee and employer. It’s none of anyone’s business. If Hobby lobby or the NYT only want to cover liposuction and not diabetes, it’s none of our business.

    This ruling was wrong in that it did not go far enough. It’s not a religious issue, it’s a private contract issue. The state has no right or Constitutional authority to interfere.



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  • I think it’s pretty obvious that Christians pick and choose which parts of the Bible will define their Christianity. Plus, there are always a bunch of “free styling” ideas thrown in for good measure, like the rapture, etc.

    So many contemporary American Christians lean far to the right politically, in spite of the fact that their Savior is clearly described as being much more closely aligned with Socialism.

    In fact, in the book of Acts there is a story about how the Apostles were organizing the early church and everyone was expected to share everything. The Apostles collected everything and distributed it equally among the church members.

    There is even a story about a couple who sold some property, but decided to keep some of the proceeds for themselves instead of giving all of it to the Apostles. They were found out and killed!

    Now what kind of modern day government system does that most resemble?

    Christians are experts at rationalizing their beliefs. So no matter how divergent their convictions might be from Scripture, they will always be able to give an excuse to justify their views.



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  • harry Jul 23, 2014 at 6:11 am

    I read a report that said 64,000 people throughout the U.S. have signed up to support Hobby Lobby….not bad numbers for a “religious sect”

    Not bad numbers for the cheerleaders for a football team either, but bias is bias! and yahoos are yahoos!

    For many Americans, I’m sure Hobby Lobby represents individual rights vs big government dictate.

    That is because they are not bright enough to recognise citizen rights vs big corporate bigotry!



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  • bigterguy Jul 24, 2014 at 6:53 am

    This ruling was wrong in that it did not go far enough. It’s not a religious issue, it’s a private contract issue. The state has no right or Constitutional authority to interfere.

    Most civilised governments set minimum standards of heath-care, insurance, safety standards, etc. for their citizens, to protect them from selfish exploitative corporations and reckless individuals.

    The USA for some reason, (probably media manipulation by big money), has citizens who elect people who refuse to protect citizens from abuse and rip-offs. Hence Americans pay twice the price for a poorer health service than most OECD countries, http://thesocietypages.org/graphicsociology/2011/04/26/cost-of-health-care-by-country-national-geographic/ and have only recently got national coverage.



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