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Freedom of and From Religion - Comments

Crazycharlie's Avatar Comment 1 by Crazycharlie

There are times when Moyers is too milquetoast for my taste. This video essay, however, is very good and one of his best. Occasionally, American practicality can override the zealots. The short clip of Obama is good too. Contrast that Obama clip with any of GW Bush's or S. Palin's speeches.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 16:44:43 UTC | #918897

microphage's Avatar Comment 2 by microphage

Religious Americans Enjoy Higher Wellbeing

PRINCETON, NJ -- An analysis of more than 676,000 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index interviews conducted in 2011 and 2010 finds that Americans who are the most religious have the highest levels of wellbeing. The statistically significant relationship between religiousness and wellbeing holds up after controlling for numerous demographic variables.

Then what explains the Tea Party ?

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 17:04:11 UTC | #918908

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 3 by Agrajag

Now some of the religious institutions are claiming that, since they are "self-insured", they are still being forced to provide a service they can't abide.
Maybe NBGA will step in where angel-believing fools fear to tread. ;-)

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 17:19:25 UTC | #918916

Mr Blue Sky's Avatar Comment 4 by Mr Blue Sky

Re NJ survey results at #2

Perhaps those who can compartmentalise their brains so effectively to blot out truth have evolved a way of coping in a fantasy world of their own construction - if only they could be left to fantasise on their own and in their own heads we could all live happily ever after?

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 17:35:09 UTC | #918924

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 5 by aroundtown

I can very much appreciate Bill Moyer's proposition on reasonable conclusions that should be taken from Mr. Obama's proposal but when has the religiously affected ever shown any reason or deference to those who do not adopt their view of the world. I was not surprised to see the ever pathetic Mitch McConnell spout his opposition to anything, and I mean anything, that the president puts forward. This despicable individual disgusts me with his constant rhetoric that is generally nothing more than practiced agitation that he loves to turn into an art form. The I'm going to whine and cry museum of Mitch McConnell sound about right.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 17:50:27 UTC | #918935

Sara25's Avatar Comment 6 by Sara25

The problem I had with this compromise is that insurance companies will probably just jack up the prices on other services for these institutions, giving wiggle room for the religious to continue to bitch and whine about paying for the contraception coverage. I thought the original exemption was a great balance between 1st and 14th Amendment issues and Obama should have stood his ground. The original exemption covered non profit organizations hiring and serving primarily its own adherents and whose primary purpose was the inculcation of religious values. So it covered, say, primary Catholic schools, but not Catholic affiliated universities and hospitals. I've seen a lot of whining on some other forums about the 1st Amendment rights of employers and about people's contraception choices not being the business of the government. I think more should have been made from the Administration on 1) contraception choices are not my employers business either, 2) the 1st Amendment rights of employees, i.e., they should not be held hostage to the religious beliefs of their employers, and 3) we're talking about secularly purposed institutions being told to follow the same laws as every other secularly purposed business in terms of health care coverage. Would we let secularly purposed, non-affiliated businesses do the same? We'd end up with employment divided along religious lines. Religion is divisive enough without adding another layer of nonsense.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 17:50:52 UTC | #918937

blitz442's Avatar Comment 7 by blitz442

Nice work on this Obama. It's good to know that we still have some adults running the country.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 19:51:55 UTC | #918977

debaser71's Avatar Comment 8 by debaser71

No special privileges for religion. Full stop.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 21:19:03 UTC | #919002

Quine's Avatar Comment 9 by Quine

As many know from my postings on the other thread, I have been following this story closely. Bill Moyers usually gives what I consider too much deference to the religious side, but he will let non-believers have their say. In this case it is interesting to see him come this far over our way. Yes, I agree with debaser71 that there should be no special privileges for religion, but the U.S. has the Free Exercise Clause that does grant a fuzzy area of privilege. Fortunately, the Courts have held that just because you have religious beliefs, that does not grant you a pass from general laws (i.e. the Pastafarians don't get to have underage strippers).

The other part of this is in the culture wars. President Obama has tried to approach this as carefully as he could while still holding to the basic idea that the ultimate goal is health care for all. It is a political call to the Religious Right to paint the President as encroaching on religious rights, even if there is no way to prove that in the Courts. They would like the President to come down on them with a heavy fist, even if they have no legal case, because it would allow them to play the victim card. So, the President had to solve a problem in a multidimensional phase space of law and politics and economics and scientific medicine. Not a fun job, and I agree with Bill Moyers (this time) that the President did this with great skill.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 22:09:48 UTC | #919019

wdbailey's Avatar Comment 10 by wdbailey

AFAIK it is illegal for a religiously affiliated hospital or whatever to discriminate in hiring against people of other religions. That being the case, Moyers reference to "Catholic women" is a red herring. What is at issue is that a religious affiliated institution would be allowed to impose the religious beliefs of that church upon non-members.

That is a clear violation of the 1st amendment in that the state would be permitting a religion a special privilege to violate the rights of their employees that the state would protect in other circumstances.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 00:04:20 UTC | #919066

debaser71's Avatar Comment 11 by debaser71

The Free Exercise Clause is exactly what the Supreme Court says it is. That means getting Presidents who will nominate Supreme Court Justices who think that the separation of church and state is absolute. You know, Justices that actually go with what the Constitution says. I'm tired of wishy washy democrat appeasers. Why can't we go back to JFK famous speech when separation was the norm? Fuck what Catholic Bishops have to say. Tax them, then let them say shit.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 01:00:40 UTC | #919082

HappyPrimate's Avatar Comment 12 by HappyPrimate

Some really fine comments above. I would just add that I think one of the reasons the bishops are being rather brazen on this issue is that the Supreme Court currently has a catholic majority which is an astounding first in U.S. history. If such an issue is challenged up to the SC, I think they feel they have an advantage. I hope they are wrong, but it wouldn't surprise me if they were right.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 01:02:27 UTC | #919083

cornbread_r2's Avatar Comment 13 by cornbread_r2

Comment 12 by HappyPrimate

Whenever I encounter Catholics bashing Catholic elected officials for being pro-choice, I ask why they never bash the Supreme Court Catholic majority that could have overturned Roe v Wade six years ago. I almost never get a response, but the bashing stops.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 01:37:13 UTC | #919087

Quine's Avatar Comment 14 by Quine

This discussion has brought back a term I have not heard for many years: "cafeteria Catholics." Young people out there may never have head this at all. It came about because after a while it became clear that the bishops were never going to change doctrine on contraception, and on this issue the sheeple would not keep in line, but rather, "pick and choose" what doctrine they would believe really mattered. Margaret Carlson explains that very well in this article this week.

The Supreme Court here has ruled that churches can discriminate in hiring based on a person's religious convictions if that person is involved in the teaching or "ministerial" activities. It is not too clear what that is, but if a preacher wakes up one day and realizes that he or she doesn't believe the mythology, any more, then the church can fire him or her for cause.

This ruling is a big part of why President Obama did not go straight at the religions making them provide care for their direct employees. But the interesting wrinkle is when the church owns a business or charity that serves the general public, and hires employees from the general public. (I resist calling these organizations things like "Catholic Hospitals" because the hospital is not a person with religious rights, but rather, just owned by a church. Someday the Courts may extend corporate "personhood" to include religious rights, but not yet.) In that case, no matter what that church teaches is morally right or wrong, it gets no pass from general labor law, and their employees do not have to give up individual rights. This is why the Church of the FSM can't fire employees of a strip club that they own (run on donations, of course) just because those strippers don't like pasta.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 02:03:46 UTC | #919094

Akaei's Avatar Comment 15 by Akaei

Did church officials say they would forgo the billions of dollars of federal funding if they could prevent recipients of their health coverage from having contraceptive choices covered?

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 05:42:01 UTC | #919111

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 16 by drumdaddy

Again the delusion business gets a free pass. We skim over the big question (Is there a shred of validity to religion?) and go straight to accommodating the prejudices therein. Only when we cease to concede that doctrines are above questioning will we make progress against man's most destructive viral affliction - religion.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 08:41:02 UTC | #919125

Sara25's Avatar Comment 17 by Sara25

That's the only other valid compromise between the 1st and 14th Amendments on this issue. And of course they won't. They make too much money.

Comment 15 by Akaei :

Did church officials say they would forgo the billions of dollars of federal funding if they could prevent recipients of their health coverage from having contraceptive choices covered?

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 13:30:39 UTC | #919192

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 18 by Border Collie

Catholic Bishops have NO moral ground on which to stand, g'damned sanctimonious wart hogs that they are.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 21:58:00 UTC | #919381

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 19 by Border Collie

Mitch McConnell, Republican-Kentucky ... what more can be said?

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 22:01:52 UTC | #919383

Quine's Avatar Comment 20 by Quine

Nice wrap-up video of the last couple of bat-shit crazy days:

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 22:12:40 UTC | #919385

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 21 by Border Collie

As long as there is freedom of religion there must be freedom from religion, "from" much more than "of". Personally, the only thing I think is important is freedom from such. The thought of "respecting" religious liberty nauseates me a little.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 22:17:41 UTC | #919389

Akaei's Avatar Comment 22 by Akaei

At first glance it appears the church has two legs to stand on. But in reality they adhere to a legal tangent via silly putty.

The catholic institutions effected by this are not religious institutions but secular institutions overseen/managed/owned/run by the wider reaching catholic mega-corp.

Case in point, there were two full-fledged hospitals in my town, less than a mile apart. One is Freeman with no apparent religious affiliation. The other was St. John's... until their god decided to hit St. John's with an F5+ tornado. Anyhoo, before the tornado people had a choice. But of all the comparisons I'd overheard people make over the years, no one offered religious or catholic affiliation as a selling point for St. John's... or against Freeman.

Do people go to medical hospitals for spiritual reasons? Are medical professionals legally required to provide the best available medical care? Or are they legally required to provide the best available spiritual care? Do non-catholics go to catholic hospitals with the expectation that their care may be suppressed by church doctrine? Does a medical professional applying for a job at a catholic hospital have the expectation that a church is going to tell them how to care for the sick and injured? Would it be OK for doctors or pharmacies in catholic hospitals to freely dispense narcotics or prescription drugs without legally sound reasons?

It better be clear that secular institutions run by religious institutions are still required to obey local, state and federal law. (Feel free to take a moment to scoff at "one nation, UNDER God.") This includes discriminatory practices in hiring, firing and benefits. The fact that these secular catholic institutions receive necessarily secular federal funding only makes it clearer. This cake doesn't need any icing and yet, it's completely frosted.

The church doesn't have anything like a case to make. The only real concern they should have is if they are willing to cherry-pick doctrine one more time. If these modern day sadducees have to choose between the money and influence their secular periphery brings and following an interpretation of divine will... I think they'll find a way to take the money.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 05:11:44 UTC | #919482

Perfect Tommy's Avatar Comment 23 by Perfect Tommy

Why can't Pat Robertson or one of the other holy rollers be this damn reasonable?

@Crazycharlie - yeah, the absolute beauty of Obama's speeches compared to Bush or Palin is just mind blowing. The more the conservatives of this country yammer on and on about all of this religious lunacy, the more likely Obama is going to get a second term. So let them rail on and on, it's doing nothing but energizing their base, but pushing everyone else away. They seem to forget that they need a majority of the vote to win the presidency (well in delegates but I digress), and that means moderates and liberals would need to vote for them.

So let these out of touch catholic bishops keeping having these meetings comprised nothing but men who don't have sex, yet feel the need to tell women what to do with their bodies. When II saw that little confab of conservative religious men on Hannity's show (from the Daily Show clip), all I could think was: this is the American version of the Taliban. Same. Damn. Thing. Only difference is that conservative religion in the west has evolved under the pressure of progressives and reason. It was only 500 years ago that this same church was burning people at the stake.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 16:53:28 UTC | #919670

some asshole's Avatar Comment 24 by some asshole

The solution was so simple. Catholics were whining that their freedom of religion was being infringed by the requirement that they subsidize contraception. OK, so all you have to do is cut off all federal funding for Catholic organizations. Ta-da! No more First Amendment (that is, church/state) issue, real or imaginary. Do what you want, but don't ask for one goddamned red cent from us ever again.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 17:32:31 UTC | #919685

Akaei's Avatar Comment 25 by Akaei

@some asshole

Not really. As this applies to secular institutions of the religious organization they are still required to comply with labor laws regardless of federal funding. The federal funding just puts a few billion more nails in the coffin and a spotlight on the hypocrisy. Well, one of the hypocrisies.

Mon, 20 Feb 2012 02:56:10 UTC | #919869

Hobomidget's Avatar Comment 26 by Hobomidget

Now I understand why the bible tells people not to question it. because once you do, it falls to pieces. The book looses it's credibility pretty fast considering everything.

now I also understand why the preachers and church owners are so worried.

Mon, 05 Mar 2012 09:52:05 UTC | #924546