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Section A: General News


Editorial: Freedom of religion in crosshairs with President Obama’s papal visit




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About politics and other things
April 2, 2014 | 4,205 views | 31 comments

First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ... .”

Perhaps at no time since the founding of our country has freedom of religion been so under siege, so maligned, and so misunderstood. Even as the term “freedom of religion” is bandied about, the Supreme Court is hearing another constitutional challenge to freedom of religion. The entire nation, and in fact, the world, are watching the arguments in the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby case.

At stake is the right of privately owned businesses to make employment decisions based on the religious beliefs of the company’s owners. Hobby Lobby’s CEO and founder, David Green, and its president, Steve Green, have always operated their business according to strongly held religious convictions. Now those long-held, biblically based beliefs have come into direct conflict with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The ACA, also known as Obamacare, is roughly 11,000 pages of onerous regulations affecting every individual, business, and corporation. Obamacare requires every person to be covered by health insurance that meets ACA requirements, or face fines. For Hobby Lobby, those fines amount to $26 million a year if it drops employee insurance altogether.

Obamacare, however, is much more than just health insurance. It comes down to our constitutional rights. The question before the Supreme Court now is whether these privately held corporations such as the “Little Sisters of the Poor,” Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., and other private companies will be forced to pay for certain contraceptives they consider morally unacceptable abortifacients. There are 20 types of contraception included in Obamacare, but only two or three are in question in this case.

The government argues that if a corporation excludes specific contraceptives, they are “shifting the burden to employees.” Well, it seems to me that an employer should have nothing to do with contraception and certainly should not be burdened with having to pay for another’s birth control, whether or not it’s against their religion.

Freedom of religion used to mean that the government would not get involved with sponsoring a state religion like the Church of England. In America, the Pilgrims came to be able to follow their own religion, as did others for centuries.

But then politics reared its ugly head and freedom of religion became embroiled in Supreme Court battles. The Court went beyond the Constitution and borrowed from Thomas Jefferson’s letter about “separation of church and state.” The Court reached other decisions as well, such as the right to privacy. While no such language exists in the Constitution, these issues have become rights granted by the courts. This includes a right to an abortion.

While some demand a right to contraceptives paid for by others, at the same time, they want to be free to choose a specific type of birth control, even if it is morally objectionable to those who are paying for it.

As all these issues simmer on the political boiler, Obama visits Pope Francis. The New York Times, one of Obama’s de facto press agents, quotes the president as saying their visit focused, not on social issues, but on the poor, and on world peace.

“We actually didn’t talk a whole lot about social schisms,” Obama is quoted as saying, just hours after his private audience with the pope.

Another report, however, wrote this: The Vatican said in a terse statement that the two sides had discussed “the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection” -- a reference to the ACA.

Of course, it was a private audience, so no one knows for sure. You can choose to believe President Obama or Pope Francis.
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
April 7, 2014 6:29pm
 
Bob...Were you expecting anything less ? :-)

 
Bob Pritts  
St Hedwig, TX  
April 7, 2014 3:38pm
 
Grouch, I appreciate your honesty in response to my previous blog entry.

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
April 7, 2014 12:56pm
 
Mr Pritts....Being honest, my decision to drop the Foxfire browser was not a good decision in a practical sense. The few seconds of a feel good sense of doing something was overcome by the irritation of have to verify ID ... More ›

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
April 7, 2014 12:32pm
 
Bob Pritts.....You certainly are privy to lots of information that does not seem to available elsewhere such as the majority of Mozilla employee's sexual preferences. BTW, I attended Sunday School in my youth and am familiar ... More ›

 
Bob Pritts  
St Hedwig, TX  
April 7, 2014 10:44am
 
Grouch, I'm responding to your posting of 5:09 pm yesterday. If your 'intention' succeeded and Firefox was brought to its knees, and perhaps forced to close up shop, who would you have hurt most, albeit perhaps unintentionally? ... More ›

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
April 7, 2014 5:47am
 
Bob Pritts....You seem to revel being in the aggrieved state. How long have you considered a challenge to your ideas to be hate directed at you ? Have you always dwelled in the land of self pity and victimhood ? I recall ... More ›

 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
April 6, 2014 7:37pm
 
Bob, that is a legitimate question about whether or not I (and others who may choose to discontinue using Firefox as our browsers) would be hurting ourselves more than sending a message. Actually it's not hurting us at all. ... More ›

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
April 6, 2014 5:36pm
 
Bob......If your blog was just about asking a question of Elaine and I, you accomplished that in the first short paragraph. What was the purpose of the remaining (one long) three paragraph other than to remark on our perceived ... More ›

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
April 6, 2014 5:22pm
 
Hey Bob, I forgot to answer the question about the color of the sky in my world. Nothing remarkable about the boring color of socialistic blue. The only time I pay much attention to the sky is when it is alive with blazing ... More ›

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
April 6, 2014 5:09pm
 
Bob Pritts......My intention, when I canceled the use of the Foxfire browser, was to decrease the number of their web users thus decreasing the advertising revenue stream. If this action is initiated by millions, it will ... More ›

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