The FFRF’s ad against the Hobby Lobby decision

July 2, 2014 • 1:31 pm

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) has paid for a full-page ad to run in the July 3 issue of the New York Times, protesting the Supreme Court’s decision that two companies could, on religious grounds, opt out of covering female employees’ contraception. A small screenshot of the ad is below; click on it to see the full pdf.

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These ads are hugely expensive but visible; do consider joining or contributing to this worthy organization (you can do so here).

 

53 thoughts on “The FFRF’s ad against the Hobby Lobby decision

    1. Hey, why stop at LGTBQ people? let’s bring back Jim Crow, that worked great for nearly a century.
      /sarcasm

  1. Somebody should ask Bill Clinton how he feels about signing RFRA and thus being, in part, responsible for this awful Supreme decision.

    1. Don’t forget about his repealing Glass-Steagall. That made the ‘Great Recession’ possible.

      1. I like how the politicians across the board claim repealing Glass-Steagall wasn’t a driving factor. It may not have been the only factor, but it was the final straw that allowed for companies to become too big to fail, relax lending standards (while being cheered on by the likes of Frank and Dodd saying everyone has the “right” to a house), and create a bubble that still hasn’t recovered almost a decade later.

        Of course, both parties overwhelmingly supported this act, so it’s no wonder the denial is so strong.

        1. Whether the Republicans or Democrats have had control of congress has had no discernible impact on fiscal policy for a very long time. The financial lobby (or energy, or pharma or any other well-monied, well connected enterprise) pays ALEC to write a bill favorable to their interests and ALEC lobbies Congress to rubber stamp their gift-wrapped law. YEA DEMOCRACY!!!

      2. And DADT. Clinton made a lot of compromises.

        OTOH I think we shouldn’t be too critical in hindsight. RFRA + health care is a lot better than no health care at all, and DADT was a lot better than suspected gays being drummed out of the military on hearsay. I think we have to see these things as highly imperfect stepping stones to a relatively more liberal US. They advanced their causes without winning a complete victory.

  2. I don’t like the emphasis on the justices being Roman Catholics. It’s the kind of thing you see in Northern Ireland. I just don’t like it. The Roman Catholic Church has plenty to answer for, in Ireland and just about everywhere else, to be sure. But this sort of “they’re bad because they’re Catholics” rhetoric makes me wonder if the FFRF has been taken over by the Orange Order. Maybe it’s just me.

    1. So just ignore that the conservative judges just happen to be ruling in ways that conform to their church doctrine? A complete coincidence?

      1. I’ll point out that Sotomayor is also RC. Roman Catholics happen to have a majority on the Supreme Court right now, six out of nine. Can you come up with any other “Catholic” decisions? How about one in which all six voted as a block? The justices that support extension of corporate personhood continue to support the expansion of corporate personhood. That’s all there is to it.

        1. This decision privileges the “right” of closely held corporate entities religious belief convictions, regarding listed human reproductive control products limited to the feminine gender, to dictate policy regarding aspects of distribution of those products.

          The decision bestows precedence of said religious belief conviction over the personal convictions of consumers of the products. The decision elevates personal religious beliefs about reality over the empirically validated facts of exactly how these products interact with human reproduction processes. The decision validates the insertion of this religious privilege into heretofore private physician-patient medical care.

          It is not fair to solely target RC ideology as the only opponent of the use of pharmacology and medical technology for use in control of the human reproductive process. A large number of Protestant Christians and people of other faiths also believe this is Divinely proscribed sin they are morally obliged to end on behalf of their omnipotent Divinity entity (ignore this contradiction, I command thee!). There may even be non-theist’s who oppose birth control, for all I know.

          In their published opinions regarding the HL ruling FFRF notes that others besides Catholics oppose birth control. The HL owners are on the record as Protestant, not Catholic. The Justices who ruled to limit female gender reproductive choice are, however, to a man male and Catholic.

          In my opinion and that of everyone else I am aware of, this opinion privileges the religious beliefs these Justices hold over both empirical fact and any contradictory religious beliefs held by others. Hence, imo, the nature and composition of the negative remarks aimed their way. If it makes you feel better, I despise the faith of both the Catholics and Protestants equally.

          1. These are all good points, but I think we need to go deeper to get the root cause. The Catholic Church has always held (and mandates it’s members do likewise) that contraception is a sin, a sin so grave that one risks eternal damnation for committing it. This puts it on the same level as abortion and murder in their view. The justification for this? It’s rooted in Genesis with the sin of Onan.

            Any rational person will naturally ask how wasting sperm in a condom is different from wasting it during nocturnal emissions is any different. Much has been written about how the latter is not voluntarily violating Natural Law. Of course, part of the justification here is often that we aren’t therefore interfering with God’s will. I’m sure there is even further justification beyond this, but it seems to me that they have now crossed the line into very much believing in an intervening deity, not just an intervening one, but one who actually cares about where individual sperm wind up and head just select one out of a hundred million that were “wasted” to become a new human!

    2. Read the decision. Alito says that similar consideration should not be expected for other religiously-frowned-on medical procedures, such as vaccinations and blood transfusions. Why birth control and not those things? If the Roman Catholic status of all five members of the majority are not relevant, what could possibly explain that difference?

      1. According to both Alito and Kennedy, what explains the difference is that there is alredy a government system in place that can provide alterante, free contraception coverage for HL’s employees. There is not a government system in place that can provide alternate, free transfusion or vaccination coverage for other company’s employees.

        Whether you buy that or not is up to you. I think it’s probably post-hoc reasoning justifying a bias they already had…but on the other hand, we can now use their own logic to prevent the expansion of religious exemptions to other areas, which is a good thing. Can the Koch brothers’ companies not hire gays? Blacks? Can theynot provide (other) prescription drug coverage because they suddenly find a religious opposition to it? Nope, nope, nope, because it doesn’t pass the Alito/Kennedy test of an existing alternative already being in place.

      2. SCOTUS justices, particularly conservative ones, have historically worked to generate decisions that are as narrow as possible. Right? Hobby Lobby is a bad decision, but I see it as an extension of corporate personhood as in Citizens United. This bashing of people who identify as Catholic at best distracts from the real issues at hand.

        1. One Catholic justice voting differently doesn’t mean the other 5 are not rationalizing their religion into their decisions. The sixth could just as well be rationalizing some of her decisions, except she is doing it in different areas. Or perhaps nothing has come up that suites her own specific religious beliefs.

          83.3% is not insignificant.

          BTW, we have seen the Catholic church punish people (John Kerry) for failing to use their religion to guide them in their public decisions. This more then anything tells me we have a duty to criticize them for their belief.

          Are the justices conservative because they are religious or religious because they are conservative? There is no way to know.

          There is no way to ever really know if they rationalize their decisions on their faith, because rationalizing is what judges do.

          I have no problem bashing them for their religion. They are (arguably) some of the most powerful people in the world. Their decisions change society, and not just United States.

          And I would point out that at least one of them believes in angels and demons and a real Satan, and would probably consider atheists to be the pawns of Satan. I don’t know about you, but this scares the hell out of me to know such a powerful person has such ideas. But only Scalia put out his beliefs. The rest have remained silent. The rest could be worse.

          The Catholic church has made a point of interfering in politics, despite it being against their standing as a tax free religion. They do it anyways. They promulgate irrational dangerous policies and try to force those policies into the public sphere and teach that Catholics have a duty to follow the teachings.

    3. This is surely just a function of the unbalanced make-up of the Supreme Court. If there were 6 Protestant evangelicals backing teaching the controversy, for example, the FFRF would surely point that out. Would you think it inappropriate for the FFRF to say that the ‘all-Protestant majority puts religious dogma over children’s rights’?

    4. I doubt they’ve been taken over by the Orange Order, but you just made me smile because that’s absolutely something my Grandparents would’ve said. I suppose it could be seen as unnecessarily sectarian, given that a court with 6 evangelical christians would probably have reached the same decision, but they aren’t evangelicals, they are, in fact catholic. It is very likely that their catholicism was a factor in the decision.

  3. It seems to me that the Religious Privilege Establishment Act (as the RFRA should have been called) is blatantly unconstitutional and fails two prongs of the Lemon Test (I argue that here).

    How would one go about gaining standing to challenge the RFRA’s constitutionality?

    1. It will not be easy to do that. The RFRA does not grant exceptions, but rather establishes that each case should be considered separately. Merely being harmed by one particular case would not give you standing to challenge the constitutionality of the RFRA itself.

      I think there would have to be a pattern of decisions that favored one particular religion, so that you could argue that the RFRA was in effect establishing a religion, before you could challenge it on constitutional grounds.

      1. Here was Justice Stevens’ argument against the constitutionality of RFRA, in City of Boerne vs. Flores:

        In my opinion, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) is a “law respecting an establishment of religion” that violates the First Amendment to the Constitution.

        If the historic landmark on the hill in Boerne happened to be a museum or an art gallery owned by an atheist, it would not be eligible for an exemption from the city ordinances that forbid an enlargement of the structure. Because the landmark is owned by the Catholic Church, it is claimed that RFRA gives its owner a federal statutory entitlement to an exemption from a generally applicable, neutral civil law. Whether the Church would actually prevail under the statute or not, the statute has provided the Church with a legal weapon that no atheist or agnostic can obtain. This governmental preference for religion, as opposed to irreligion, is forbidden by the First Amendment. Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 52-55 (1985).

        Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

  4. I’ve had personal experience with church intervention in medical practice so this is a hot button topic to me.

    http://pictoraltheology.blogspot.com/2014/07/non-prophet-heathcare-systems.html

    http://pictoraltheology.blogspot.com/2014/06/a-controversy-lasting-more-than-four.html

    Religion affects the choices that individual patients make every day, but it cannot define the menu of legitimate medical services that a healthcare system provides.

  5. Am I the only one who is having issues joining from outside the US?

    I’ve tried on different computers but still get an error page upon hitting the confirmation button.

    Also submitted a contact form on their page, but haven’t heard back yet.

    Anyway, anyone else having trouble?

    1. O my. I am so sorry re your glitching with FFRF’s joining and contact – us sites.

      Please keep trying.

      Alternatively, I have had splendid responses’ luck any time when I have directly e – sent transmissions to individual staff members of here: ffrf.org/about/getting-acquainted#staff with e – address formatting, for examples, of prose@ffrf.org or ecavell@ffrf.org.

      Volunteer Rose and Attorney Cavell have both always been very, very helpful and nearly immediately responsive to my e – queries, that is, including long ago – troubles myself renewing.

      fyi,
      Blue

  6. “Somebody should ask Bill Clinton how he feels about signing RFRA…”

    I used to consider myself a supporter of him. But having just finished Christopher Hitchens book “No One Left to Lie To” I’ve changed my mind. Read it if you want more reasons than RFRA for disliking his presidency. I won’t be voting for Hillary even if it means throwing away my vote.

    1. Hold your horses. What do you think SCOTUS rulings would look like with even more Republican nominees?

      1. If one of the current members of the GOP clown car is elected POTUS in 2016 and they have a majority in at least one house then I don’t think there is much hope for the experiment that is the USA. But frankly the Democratic party as a whole is worthless. Yes, they have some decent members (Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, etc.) But not enough to inspire any confidence.

        I used to ignore party affiliation except as a tie-breaker if I couldn’t make up my mind. Then in 2006 I started voting straight-line Democrat in response to George W. Bush’s first term. To say I’ve been underwhelmed with the results would be a major understatement. So I’ve started voting for the non Democrat/Republican candidate if there is one that is even remotely acceptable and selecting the Democrat as a last resort.

        1. If you think there is no difference between R and D, you aren’t paying attention. All 5 of the justices who voted in the majority were R nominees. Hobby Lobby, and the other extremist decisions are all the result of Republican politics.

  7. This kind of things is inevitable when governments and corporations get involved in our personal life/health.

    For example, if I ran a company, I would prefer to pay people enough for them to choose their insurance and pay for it on their own. If forced to provide insurance, I would refuse to pay for any quack medicine. According to your logic, this is somehow denying them the right to receive quackery. IMO, it forces people to pay for their own medicinal preference.

    The solution to contraceptives is to make them over the counter and they would become much cheaper. Women could buy them or not according to their beliefs.

    1. But an IUD still needs to be fitted by a doctor, so just making it available over the counter wouldn’t necessarily solve the problem. And long-term pill use should be monitored by a doctor. It’s not just the contraceptive products, at issue, it’s the whole package.

      I’m also not convinced that OTC contraception would get cheap enough, especially for minimum and low-wage workers and unemployed people, for whom reliable contraception is essential. For example, I buy allergy pills that used to prescription-only, and even the generic brands are a chunk of change.

      I agree with your first sentiment though, pay people enough to get their own insurance.

      1. Not to mention that there’s a whole variety of birth-control pills that serve different purposes, depending on active ingredient/dosage etc. You still need a doctor for the right fit in your particular circumstances. Condoms are OK to buy from a vending machine in a pub’s toilet – pills, not so much.

      2. Take heart, I think we are 10-20 years away from that exact solution becoming the norm.

        Right now corporations manage health care because that has just been the way the US operates for the last umpteen years, and because employees did not have any realistic options to get it on their own. But think of the hassle on the corporation’s side: they have to employ HR people to help their employees with health care issues. They have to haggle with providers over plans, on a yearly basis. The ‘good’ companies have to weigh the cost vs. benefit of plans to wide variety of employees, because they’re only going to be able to provide a couple of options to their workforce. All of this HR management costs the employer overhead.

        Now along comes ACA, and all of a sudden your employees have a realistic option for buying and managing their own plan. I’m betting that the corporate policy “here’s some extra money, do it yourself” is going to look really, really enticing to a lot of corporations. The transition will be slow because people will fear/resist change, but I bet it’s going to happen. IMO, in 2034, the standard health care practice will be something like this: Your employer says they will give you up to $X towards health care. You go to the ACA exchanges and puchace a plan. The provider sends some confirmation of payment to you on a monthly basis. You then forward it to your employer, so that they know to pay you back in pretax dollars. Or maybe they just cut out the middle man, and once you choose a plan the provider contacts your employer directly and just bills you for the difference.

    1. So HL agrees that we shouldn’t be shopping there because contraception is bad, right?

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