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December 27th, 2012
07:20 PM ET

Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN)– Craft store giant Hobby Lobby is bracing for a $1.3 million a day fine beginning January 1 for noncompliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare.

The company opposes providing some contraceptives to employees through its company health care plan on religious grounds, saying some contraceptive products, like the morning after pill, equate to abortion.

After failing to receive temporary relief from the fines from the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby announced late Thursday through its attorneys that it "will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees. To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs."

In September, Hobby Lobby and affiliate Mardel, a Christian bookstore chain, sued the federal government for violating their owners' religious freedom and ability to freely exercise their religion.

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"All they're asking for is a narrow exemption from the law that says they don't have to provide drugs they believe cause abortions," Hobby Lobby attorney Kyle Duncan, a general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told CNN affiliate KFOR in November. "Our basic point is the government can't put a corporation in the position of choosing between its faith and following the law."

The lawsuit says the companies' religious beliefs prohibit them from providing insurance coverage for abortion inducing drugs. As of August 2012, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employer-provided health care plans to provide "all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity," according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Churches and houses of worship are exempt from the regulation and a narrow exemption was added for nonprofit religious employers whose employees "primarily share its religious tenets" and who "primarily serve persons who share its religious tenets."

In the face of that opposition, the Department of Health and Human Services tweaked its original rule in February to require health insurers, not employers, to cover the cost of contraception coverage, reasoning that would prevent religious groups from having to finance such coverage. Critics have argued that exemption for nonprofits is far too narrow and a host of nonprofit religious groups have sued the administration over the regulations.

The Internal Revenue Service regulations now say that a group health care plan that "fails to comply" with the Affordable Care Act is subject to an "excise tax" of "$100 per day per individual for each day the plan does not comply with the requirement." It remains unclear how the IRS would implement and collect the excise tax.

The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, based Hobby Lobby chain has more than 500 stores that employ 13,000 employees across 42 states, and takes in $2.6 billion in sales. The company's attorneys say January begins a new health care plan year for Hobby Lobby and that excise tax from the IRS would amount to $1.3 million a day.

Hobby Lobby is owned by CEO and founder David Green and members of his family. "The foundation of our business has been, and will continue to be strong values, and honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with biblical principles," a statement on the Hobby Lobby website reads, adding that one outgrowth of that is the store is closed on Sundays to give its employees a day of rest. Each year the company also takes out full-page ads in numerous newspapers proclaiming its faith at Christmastime and on Independence Day.

The store is not formally connected to any denomination, but the Green family supports numerous Christian ministries and is behind the Green Collection, one of the largest private collections of biblical antiquities in the world. The family plans to permanently house the collection in Washington at a museum set to open in 2016.

On Friday, attorneys for Hobby Lobby petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene and provide temporary relief from the the fines until the case was decided by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

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Wednesday evening, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who handles emergency appeals from the 10th Circuit Court, said the company failed to meet "the demanding standard for the extraordinary relief," and that it could continue to pursue its challenge in lower courts and return to the higher court, if necessary, after a final judgment.

"Hobby Lobby will continue their appeal before the 10th Circuit. The Supreme Court merely decided not to get involved in the case at this time," Duncan said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment on the high court's move.

White House officials have long said they believe they have struck an appropriate compromise between religious exemptions and women's health. The White House has not commented specifically on the Hobby Lobby case.

"It's just so sad that Hobby Lobby is facing this choice. What company, even a successful family owned business like Hobby Lobby, how can they afford the government $1.3 million in fines every day? It's just really absurd that government is not giving on this," said Maureen Ferguson, a senior policy adviser for the Catholic Association. Religious liberty groups like hers are watching the Hobby Lobby case closely.

"I am optimistic that these cases will eventually snake their way back up to the Supreme Court and given a full hearing on the merits of the case, I am confident that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of religious liberty," Ferguson said. "But in the meantime there is serious damage being done to businesses like Hobby Lobby and nonprofit charitable organizations."

The Hobby Lobby case is just one of many before the courts over the religious exemption aspects of the law. The case represents by far the biggest for-profit group challenging the health care mandate.

After this piece of the law went into effect in August, religious nonprofits were given "safe harbor" of one year from implementing the law. "In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences," Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, said in January when the administration announced the move.

Dolan's New York Archdiocese won a victory this month in its legal battle against the administration and the mandate. In May it sued the government in federal court in Brooklyn over the mandate, saying it "unconstitutionally attempts to define the nature of the church's religious ministry and would force religious employers to violate their consciences."

The government moved to have the case dismissed. On December 4, Judge Brian M. Cogan denied the government's motion to dismiss the case, saying the government's promise of changes to how it will implement the law were not enough to merit dismissal. "There is no, 'Trust us, changes are coming' clause in the Constitution," Cogan wrote in in his decision to let the case proceed.

UPDATE: Hobby Lobby's $1.3 million Obamacare loophole

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church and state

soundoff (5,627 Responses)
  1. david defrank

    by the way tomtom is gay

    December 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I imagine you think that's a huge insult, don't you? For the record, dumbbell, I'm female, straight, and married. Now go back to watching Sesame Street.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:47 am |
  2. david defrank

    athyyyyyyyyyyteeee dont belive me call the fda.or are you a followerski.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  3. david defrank

    your write about my writing.but creap whats that gotty to do do with te sabject

    December 31, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Athy

      You don't understand the reply function either, do you? Not surprising given your lack of intelligence.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  4. david defrank

    hey all you no it all. the fda said your morning after does act as a aborfacient.it there for is abortion.ask any doctor .dont post the doctor stuff you claim it is.i think you are all nuts.if the stupid pill stops implantation after fertilization than its abotion smarty pants' by the way tom tom the raving nut case is very dumb dumb.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Athy

      David, you are by far the worst writer I've ever encountered on this blog. My second-grade grandson can write better than you. Anyone who writes as badly as you do cannot be taken seriously. Is it even possible to measure your IQ?

      December 31, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  5. Kay

    I knew I didn't shop at this place for some reason.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • david defrank

      kay you got the esp

      December 31, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  6. oj

    well, as they go out of business and people lose their jobs, thankfully we'll all have 'affordable' health care

    December 31, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  7. Thomas Jefferson quote

    "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny"-Thomas Jefferson

    December 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Extra Medium

      WahTF Jeffry: are you posting from North Korea ?

      December 31, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Akira

      I don't fear the government; if you do, it's time to move.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  8. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    No wonder Bill Deacon knocked up his girlfriend. He doesn't even understand the difference between and IUD and Plan B, or between abortion and contraception.

    Really, why does anyone even bother to discuss this issue with such an ignoramus?

    December 31, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Good question. Why have a discussion when you have the power to tax someone into oblivion if they believe something you hate?

      December 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why would anyone care about the opinion of some dumb sh!t who knocked up his girlfriend because he was too stupid to figure out how to use a rubber?

      December 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Did you really just say "Why should anyone care about someone who has an unintended pregnancy?" LOL

      December 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where, pray tell, do you see those words, you lying sack of sh!t?

      You created a pregnancy through your own ignorance and then got pizzed off when your girl aborted the results. Do you not get the irony? Plan B prevents ANY unintended pregnancy that occurs when some moron like you doesn't have the sense to put a wrapper on it.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • ryanbouse

      Since people around here would rather call names than throw out facts and are more concerned with the fact that David is not as highly edumacated as they are, I guess I have no choice but to jump in.

      Plan B, also known as the "morning after pill" is in fact an abortificant. Although it's desired purpose is not to cause an abortion, but instead to prevent conception, it does still act to prevent a zygote(fertilized egg) from implanting in the womb thus killing the child.

      "If fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation)."
      http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/EmergencyPreparedness/BioterrorismandDrugPreparedness/ucm109795.htm

      Now, can any of you hold a real discussion or are you going to keep playing the name-calling game like a group of 5 year olds?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are incorrect. That is not how the pills work. Read the facts and stop telling lies. I've already posted links to sites that EXPLAIN how they work. Read them.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:31 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Plan B works like other birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. Plan B acts primarily by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). It may prevent the union of sperm and egg (fertilization). If fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation). If a fertilized egg is implanted prior to taking Plan B, Plan B will not work.

      You seem incapable of reading, Ryan. It doesn't say what you claim it does-it MAY, not WILL, prevent a fertilized egg from attaching. That isn't the PRIMARY action; it works PRIMARILY be stopping ovulation, just like any other oral contraceptive. A fertilized egg is NOT a pregnancy. If you believe it is, then you must think women "miscarry" every time they have a period. That is ridiculous.

      Furthermore, you ninny, the point is moot. The pill is legal and effective in preventing pregnancy and reducing the need for abortion. And the law says that Hobbly Lobby is required to offer coverage that provides it. Get over it.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:44 am |
  9. Extra Medium

    Be a good Xtian Corporation: pay the employees for their health care and don't peek into their bedroom. Just basic human decency

    December 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  10. Skegeeace

    Question: The insurance they provide their employees now- does it cover contraception of any kind???

    Note; The morning after pill is NOT an abortion pill! UGH! It cannot dislodge an implanted fetus. I hate that people get those two confused.

    December 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Mike

      I recommend you look up the FDA's defintion of the drug.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Akira

      Here, Mike, I did it for you:
      This is what the morning after pill, covered by the ACA, actually IS, (with thanks to TTPS)

      Emergency contraception (Plan B One-Step, Next Choice, Levonorgestrel Tablets) is made of one of the hormones made by a woman’s body — progestin. Another type (ella) blocks the body’s own progestin.

      Both types of emergency contraception work by keeping a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs — ovulation. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm.

      You might have also heard that the morning-after pill causes an abortion. But that’s not true. The morning-after pill is not the abortion pill. Emergency contraception is birth control, not abortion.

      Morning-after pills can help prevent pregnancy if you’ve had unprotected s3x — whether you didn’t use birth control, you missed a birth control pill or your method of birth control failed.

      Morning-after pills can prevent pregnancy because conception typically doesn’t occur immediately after s3x. Instead, it may happen up to several days later. During the time between s3x and conception, sperm travel through the fallopian tubes until they potentially reach an egg. As a result, using emergency contraception soon after unprotected s3x isn’t too late to prevent pregnancy.

      Morning-after pills do not end a pregnancy that has implanted. Depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, morning-after pills may act by one or more of the following actions: delaying or preventing ovulation, blocking fertilization, or keeping a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. However, recent evidence strongly suggests that Plan B One-Step and Next Choice do not inhibit implantation. It’s not clear if the same is true for Ella.

      Keep in mind that the morning-after pill isn’t the same as mifepristone (Mifeprex), also known as RU-486 or the abortion pill. Mifeprex terminates an established pregnancy — one in which the fertilized egg has attached to the uterine wall and has already begun to develop.

      All clear now?
      It's NOT an abortion pill.
      Glad I could straighten that out for you.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      From drugs.com:

      Risk of septic abortion, miscarriage, premature delivery, premature labor, and sepsis may be increased with the intrauterine system. Remove intrauterine system if possible. Long-term effects on offspring are unknown.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What the fvck are you talking about, Bill? Do you even know what an IUD IS? This isn't some intrauterine device, you idiot. It's a fvcking pill. it's even sold over the counter, if I'm not mistaken. Do you realize that some women who buy it are the victims of RA PE? Or is that just in inconvenient truth for you, moron?

      December 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Launching into invictive before checking the source? So unlike you TT. The page list a complication for the drug listed above as I posted. Later on the page it recommends that it not be used as a long term contraceptive.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are unbelievable. You are posting warnings about an IUD, idiot. Get a fvcking clue.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How in fvcking Odin's name would the "morning after pill" be used as a "long term contraceptive"? Does your ignorance know no bounds? Are you brain-dead?

      Or just drunk and stupid?

      December 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Akira

      Sorry, Bill, but TT is right; you c/p the wrong information.

      Not to mention that aspirin has side effects; ban aspirin!
      No, you are not against the contraceptives because of any possible side effects, which are nil to you, because you are a man and cannot take them; you are against them because the RCC is against them.
      Please stop being disingenuous, mmmkay, thanks.

      December 31, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • david defrank

      really yes noneyet no a child that needs a kidney i may donate. . no unless god asked me. i hope i answered your stupid questions you must be someone like jesus not.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!

      December 31, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • ryanbouse

      OP, I will copy my earlier comment for you, since you seem to think that because you don't want something called an Abortifacient, than it isn't. Sorry to break your heart, but the fda and the drug manufactureres themselves disagree with you...

      Plan B, also known as the "morning after pill" is in fact an abortificant. Although it's desired purpose is not to cause an abortion, but instead to prevent conception, it does still act to prevent a zygote(fertilized egg) from implanting in the womb thus killing the child.

      "If fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation)."
      http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/EmergencyPreparedness/BioterrorismandDrugPreparedness/ucm109795.htm

      December 31, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      A fertilized egg does not equal a "child" you moron. Fertilized eggs are flushed out of the uterus every single month. How stupid are you?

      January 1, 2013 at 12:34 am |
    • ryanbouse

      Tom Tom, we are not talking advanced biology here. The eggs that a womans body "reject" once a month are unfertilized eggs. If you were correct, than women wouldn't have a period until they lost your virginity. In fact, menstruation is normally an indication of the exact opposite of what you just said.

      "Menstruation is also called menstrual bleeding, menses, catamenia or a period. The flow of menses normally serves as a sign that a woman has not become pregnant."

      Now, will you stop throwing around childish names, act like an adult and learn something today?

      January 1, 2013 at 1:44 am |
    • Argle Bargle

      Jesus God damn Christ, fertilized eggs that fail to implant are flushed out, you freaking moron, ryan. How bloody desperate are you to prove HL's stupid case is just?? Do you have any fvcking idea how the female body works? No. Because you're a fvcking man. Get educated, retard.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:21 am |
    • ryanbouse

      @Argle, again, learn to read before posting. While SOME fertilized eggs will be flushed out, the NORMAL period is made up of unfertilized eggs. You keep throwing the word retard around yet you have no spelling or grammer skills and are trying to teach a biology lesson to a Anatomy professor. I do not need to be a woman to understand how her body works thanks to modern science. I only need to learn to read, have you done that yet?

      January 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  11. OSHA dave

    I would much rather pay for a morning after pill than an abortion. If neither happens, the chances are that I will be subsidizing welfare for 18 years.... I guess this is a choice of the lessor of two evils!!

    December 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  12. Reality

    ONE MORE TIME:

    Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- And Hobby Lobby et al should not be forced to subsidize the irresponsible members of society until said persons act responsibly.

    December 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Stuff it, you dolt. The morning-after pill is a contraceptive. Its use does not mean the consumer was "stupid," although your posts certainly show you are, Unreality.

      Knock off your spamming.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Akira

      AND ONE MORE TIME:
      Hobbly Lobby has to follow the law.
      They aren't paying for subsidizing irresponsibility; they're mandated by law to provide the pill to REDUCE what you're complaining about...

      December 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • JohnJSA

      Akira, so I guess if the government automatically banned free speech, you would be ok with it? Or just all of sudden abolished the Bill of RIghts, you would be ok with that? I mean, with your thinking, regardless if there is an established right or not, people should be subject to the latest laws, correct?

      Good thing we actually have judges who use their brains, unlike you. There have been hundred of laws overturned by judges, because of their "illegal" nature. The Supreme Court being the final say so.

      No need to spread your ignorance on the internet.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Is the government banning free speech? News to me. What the courts have said is that as a condition of operating a business with a certain number of employees within the US, a company must provide access to health insurance that covers contraception.

      That's not infringing on anyone's "rights" you moron, unless you want to claim that any company has a "right" to operate its business in any way it wants to, regardless of labor laws.

      Is that REALLY what you're attempting to claim?

      December 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Extra Medium

      The surReality: your mom or dad dunno know how to read the label on the contraceptive box, that is why you are here

      December 31, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Akira

      John, I am not the ignorant one; this is being taken to court and it WILL be struck down because it has no validity.
      You don't GET to pick and choose what laws you want to follow.
      Before you accuse others of spreading ignorance, it would be wise to actually learn something; the BOR and the Consti tution are not being violated here, not by a long shot.
      Whoops, sorry you can't legislate your beliefs into law.
      Oh, and your analogy is retarded, as I suspect you must be for even bringing up such a stupid one in the first place.
      Fvck off.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Maddy Gascar

      John, does the JSA behind your name mean Just Some Ass hole? Because the example you gave is stupid as hell, and the reasons it will be upheld is BECAUSE you can't just defy laws at will, and nobody is trying to force the MEN who want to prohibit this to take the pills....and you should just shut the hell up when it comes to women's bodies because until you can concieve, carry, and give birth you have no God damned idea what you're trying to impose YOU will and YOUR beliefs on!

      December 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • ryanbouse

      Maddy, I am glad to hear that you don't think men should have a say in a "right" that was made up by a group of men. Now, would you please stop defending the erroneous law written by people who have no say in the matter?

      January 1, 2013 at 1:48 am |
    • Argle Bargle

      That isn't what she said at all, you tedious fvck. Ever notice that the ass holes who are protesting this are ass holes just like you? Fvck off, moron, and learn how to read, RYAN.

      January 1, 2013 at 2:27 am |
    • ryanbouse

      Argle, learn how to read,

      "obody is trying to force the MEN who want to prohibit this to take the pills....and you should just shut the hell up when it comes to women's bodies because until you can concieve, carry, and give birth you have no God damned idea what you're trying to impose YOU will and YOUR beliefs on!"

      January 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  13. al

    If they want to be a religious organization, then they should call themselves one, and file as one, and hey won't have any problem. But otherwise they have no business forcing their beliefs on employees. people have civil rights, not corporations
    Maybe Muslim owned corporations should force their christian workers to pray to mecca five times a day?
    or jewish corporations should force their employees to wear beards and not eat pork for lunch?

    December 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Kinda begs the question:
      Does Hobby Lobby refuse to sell their products to NON-xtians.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      What would you say if the government decided Jewish employers should be forced to provide ham for their employees?

      December 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Since when is ham part of basic health care, Billy?

      December 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      If you can play semantics by calling abortion "health care", I can do the same and call ham nutrition. I just need the right political climate to market my totalitarian views. It doesn't matter if you have a religious objection to ham. It's good for you.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Are you still trying to redefine contraception into abortion? Pathetic.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Besides, no one has to actually eat it. I just think if Jewish people are going to live in this country they should abide by our laws. Don't you?

      December 31, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      You really are incredibly desperate at this point.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      As usual Hawaii you're wide of the mark. It doesn't matter what the policy is or whether you support it or not. You support on e today but you may not tomorrow. The point is that people have legitimate deeply held convictions against certain proscriptions and our government has historically been prevented from imposing them on people against their beliefs. You may hate religion and believe contraception is the best thing since sliced bread, but others do not.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bill Deacon –

      Mifepristone (RU-486) is an abortifacient. Most "morning after pills", Plan B included, are birth control, not abortifacients. If you accept that as true, why continue to support Hobby Lobby's stance against "morning after pills"?

      December 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Good grief, you're stupid. This is NOT AN ABORTION PILL, you idiot. It is a contraceptive. It's legal and there is no reason the insurance plan offered shouldn't cover it. Had your girlfriend had access to it, she could have avoided an abortion.

      And again, what does ham have to do with heath care, moron?

      December 31, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • sam

      Bill, seriously, you are trying way too hard. It's embarassing.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      When soeone is against abortions, that doesn't automatically give them the ability to ignore federal regulations on insurance companies to cover contraceptions. I find it amazing how desperate you are for religious favoritism for your religion. I don't care what a CEO's religious beliefs are, because the company itself is not a person, and it is not a church. A CEO has no right to claim religious exemptions for his company, period. You talk about religious freedom, but you're just lying. You want favoritism for your pet religion, and could give less of a shit about any other religion.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Jen

      It's hard to take Bill seriously when he has refused to answer whether Jehovah witnesses should have the right to tell their employees they can't have transfusions (instead pathetically side stepping the question by saying he doesn't know what they believe when everyone with a third grade education knows jws believe blood transfusions are morally wrong). And if he were to answer he would probably say, 'well they can still pay for it themselves', knowing full well that anyone that almost anyone that works at hobby lobby would never be able to afford it out of pocket.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Jen

      Whoops error in the last sentence.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Thoth

      @Bill – IMO the government is protecting the rights of everyone by preventing religious business owners from forcing their religious beliefs on their employees. If you don't believe in using contraceptives, then don't use them. But to intentionally limit an insurance plan that would typically cover such contraceptives anyway, is nothing short of forcing personal beliefs on subservients.

      Furthermore, the BOR, including the 1st ammend were specific to individuals, not corporations, LLC, LLP, etc... that are made up of individuals with varying perspectives. In Hobby Lobby's case, over 13k perspectives....not to mention customer base, wich is not limited only to like-minded people. So HL will sell to anyone to make a buck. And consider their hypocrisy in promoting american values while the bulk of their merchandise is imported from essentially slave-labor places like China.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Jen

      Of course he won't answer, because he doesn't think they should. Remember, Bill thinks religious freedom means that those that agree with his religion can do whatever they want, and impose it on anyone that they want. Any other religious person or irreligious person is out of luck.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Bill Deacon

      You said, "The point is that people have legitimate deeply held convictions against certain proscriptions and our government has historically been prevented from imposing them on people against their beliefs."
      Nobody is forcing you to use them. You are free to determine which medication you want to use. You don't get to pick it for anyone else (except your kids).

      Access to contraception has been shown to significantly reduce not only the rate of unintended pregnancies, but also the rate of abortions. Preventing an unwanted pregnancy is also far cheaper than the cost of pre- and post-natal care.

      Easy access to contraception is on par with any other preventative care, like annual physicals, or dental checkups.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      He also apparently believes that there is a law that all employees must be given a ham.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Lin, I'll attempt to continue with you since most of the others here have flown off the handle again. The argument is not whether contraception is effective or moral or "good" or not. The question is just as you have described. One group of people should not be allowed to force their views onto other people. So, by your own argument, if the owners of Hobby Lobby should not be allowed to force their views onto their employees (They do not wish to and they should not), then why is it ok for the state to force the owners of Hobby Lobby to provide a benefit to the employees against their will? The fact that the Greens have stated it as a religious conviction only lends credence to their opposition. It doesn't require argument for or against their belief. Only that they have the right to exercise it. When the argument is that the state knows what is best and has the right to force people to contradict their beliefs you seem to be arguing for totalitarianism. The fact that you may support the policy they are enforcing today does not mean that will always be the case. But if you believe they have the right to enforce one policy, you are arguing that they may enforce any policy.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And as usual, Bill completely ignores any point he doesn't like.

      As I said Bill
      When someone is against abortions, that doesn't automatically give them the ability to ignore federal regulations on insurance companies to cover contraceptions. I find it amazing how desperate you are for religious favoritism for your religion. I don't care what a CEO's religious beliefs are, because the company itself is not a person, and it is not a church. A CEO has no right to claim religious exemptions for his company, period.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Akira

      Bill Deacon, the law states that the companies have to provide it, but nowhere does it mandate that the employees are required to take it...if it is against their beliefs to do so, they won't.
      Just like your insipid ham analogy, if one doesn't like ham, one won't eat it; an absurd analogy, by the way.
      I also find it amusing that one who is adamantly against abortion is also adamantly against something that would reduce the need for one, but then I never did understand why, in today's world, the RCC does anything it does...like refusing to address the rampant abuse of children by the very priests that are supposed to represent God.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Jen

      I've flown off the handle because I have asked you a question that you can't answer without throwing your entire argument out the window???? Tell me how I am flying off the handle please. Or better yet, answer the question. It is a simple one.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Bill, you moron, the company isn't the law and doesn't have the privileges of the law.

      The law DOES "force its view" on people; that's what it does. Of course a company doesn't do that. Why would you want a company to act in ways reserved for the law? How stupid.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Akira

      Bill.
      Here is why.
      "...A narrow exemption was added for nonprofit religious employers whose employees “primarily share its religious tenets” and who “primarily serve persons who share its religious tenets.”

      Hobby Lobby is a for profit organization.
      They sell to the public, both in a retail setting and online.
      They do not know who shares its religious tenets.
      They are subject to the same laws any other business is, regardless of their religious beliefs.

      THAT is why.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Jen the answer is simple also. So simple that the question doesn't really deserve to be asked. Whether it is ham or blood transfusions or contraceptives or broccoli doesn't matter. No group of people should be allowed to forcibly extract benefits from another group against their will. This is fundamentally American. Hobby Lobby is not preventing anyone from freely obtaining all the contraceptive they want. They simply have a reasonable and well founded religious conviction against providing that for them whether the employees use them or not. It doesn't matter whether you and I agree with their religion or support contraception. You cannot make an argument that requires one group of people to violate their believes for the gain of another group without calling it tyranny. If you are advocating tyranny then just say so.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      So what's the spread that Bill will not address any of the most recent points against his "argument"?

      December 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So Moby, the King was right when he taxed the colonies under his law then eh? No wait, we created a Constiitution to limit the power of the government. Pesky thing that Constiitution when you just know what's best isn't it?

      December 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Akira

      Add to my above post:
      When Hobby Lobby proclaims itself a church and changes its name to Our Lady of Hobby Lobby and gets out of the profits business, it may have a leg to stand on.
      Until then, no.
      Nada, nyet, non.

      @Brother Maynard:
      Of course not. There's no profit in that.
      Which is why their whole argument is absurd.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I'm not making an argumern Hawaii. I'm posing a question. Here it is simply put. "How can the government mandate compensation which violate your conscious for my benefit without it being tyrannical?"

      December 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Jen

      Well then you must be okay if hobby lobby starts paying their employees less than minimum wage then (or nothing if they so choose). What bigger benefit is an employee extracting from their employer than money?? Under your argument there's nothing stopping an employer from avoiding paying minimum wage, paying maternity benefits, vacation pay, providing a safe work environment, or complying with the law in any way shape or form, as long as they say it is against their beliefs.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Akira

      And yet, AND YET, you think it's perfectly OK for Hobby Lobby to force their employees to follow their beliefs??
      Guess what?
      Hobby lobby isn't, and never will be, a church.
      If they want to BE a church, they should go out of business.
      Again, what they BELIEVE is not applicable is a PROFIT-DRIVEN retail business...and they will lose soundly.
      As they should.
      Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar...and that pesky Const itution also separates church from state.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Akira, it's not about beliefs. Try to keep up.

      Jen. You are right. Under an absolute free market, you would be able to pay your employees as little or nothing as you wish and they would likewise be free to market their services to another employer. WE don't have that. The other way to get labor for nothing is under fascist totalitarianism wherein we would be coerced to work for whatever compensation the state allows. We don't have that either. What we have is a compromise. Employers and employees are generally free to negotiate labor agreements with a minimum of government interference to address safety issues, indentured contracts, and equitable wages. But regardless of prior government oversight which most people see as reasonable and have no objections to, why should the state be allowed to violate the Greens beliefs and dictate the form of compensation? Why not simply allow them to arrange a package under which the employees are paid an acceptable wage and they can then provide their own contraceptives?

      December 31, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Bill

      I never said that the law was "right," I said that it's function was different than that of Hobby Lobby or a private company.

      You are the one that tried to say that we should use the same reasoning for the law as for a private company. I pointed out that that was stupid because the two have different functions.

      The argument over whether or not the law is correct is separate, and not part of your argument or mine.

      If you want to insist that Hobby Lobby should leave the country, with everyone who believes as they do (that the gov't is oppressing them) and go take away some land from a bunch of natives somewhere by slaughtering them with disease-infested blankets in the name of some deity who they believe is giving them the natives' land, then that's another separate issue.

      Bill, why are you so intent on dismissing your own arguments in favor of other notions not even implied by your words or mine? Is that really how you think this works? Is that really how you think logic should operate?

      December 31, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You're correct Moby. There is a question over whether the law is right or not. In fact, there is a question over whether it is Constiitutional or not. America has plenty of laws that are not right but still Constiitutional. All HL was asking is for an injunction against economic coercion until their appeal for religious exemption could be determined. Sotomayor refused and allowed the heavy hand of government to tighten around the neck of America citizens who operate a legal, moral, sound company because they have a religious conviction against the government policy. Imagine the policy was one you disagreed with and tell me again why this is not totalitarianism.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Bill Deacon

      You said, "The argument is not whether contraception is effective or moral or "good" or not."
      No, that's exactly what it is about. The US Government has determined that free access to contraception is a very good way to help keep the population healthy.

      The US Government gets to make all sorts of regulations. They mandate health warnings on alcohol and tobacco. They mandate seat belts and airbags in cars, they require safe work environments, etc. There probably isn't a thing in your daily life that isn't, in some form, regulated by some level of government.

      Just to name a few (let me know if you need help identifying how these are regulated):
            The bedding that you wake up in
            The time your alarm clock displays
            The plumbing in your bathroom
            The food that you eat for breakfast
            The car that you drive to work
            The roads you drive on
            The building you work in
            The hours that you work
            The furniture you use
            The equipment that you work with
            The pay you receive
            The restaurant you have dinner at
            The store you get your groceries at
            The TV programming you watch when you get home

      You said, "So, by your own argument, if the owners of Hobby Lobby should not be allowed to force their views onto their employees (They do not wish to and they should not), then why is it ok for the state to force the owners of Hobby Lobby to provide a benefit to the employees against their will?"
      Because they are also required to provide at least minimum wage. They are also required to provide breaks and access to bathrooms. And, while the employees are not required to use the bathrooms, but they have to be available should they choose to use them.

      You said, "When the argument is that the state knows what is best and has the right to force people to contradict their beliefs you seem to be arguing for totalitarianism."
      Of course not. There is a vast difference between making sensible regulations, and totalitarianism. Free access to contraception, just as access to bathrooms, is just sensible regulation.

      You said, "The fact that you may support the policy they are enforcing today does not mean that will always be the case. But if you believe they have the right to enforce one policy, you are arguing that they may enforce any policy."
      Accepting and abiding by policies that you may not agree with is the price you pay for living in a civilized society. I don't care for churches to be tax-exempt, but it's one of those rules that seems pretty popular.

      You live in a country where these rules and regulations are set by elected officials. And, as long as these rules don't go counter the US Constitution, they get to make those rules. It's their job. Your option is to vote for people that would repeal the legislation you don't agree with. All you need to do is get enough of them elected.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Jen

      I would disagree that there are 'many' companies that have issues with complying with this legislation. Most companies would rather pay for insurance that covers contraception then pay maternity benefits. On that note, I'm sure there are plenty of companies that would prefer to fire a pregnant woman then deal with accommodating her and paying maternity benefits. So why can't they opt out like hobby lobby wants to for contraception? Why? Because they would break the law that's why.
      Most people think that the government forcing this form of compensation on employers is reasonable. For those that don't, tough.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I think from the last two post we have come full circle. The government knows best and if you don't like it tough. At least we now know what we are dealing with. I'd say we've done a remarkable job of describing the modern Democratic party and it's belief in a government solution for everything, including our bedrooms.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      And you have completely ignored for days the response that they cannot extend their religious views into company practice. They are a for-profit organization, and fall under federal regulations. They don't like it, they can sell and start a religious for profit that also takes no money from the government, then they can cover whatever they want.
      They aren't exempt, and never will be, get over it.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      should be "religious non-profit".

      December 31, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Bill, you're a moron.

      If you think a law is unconst itutional, you go through the courts and appeal to the legal system, but you don't just decide that you're not going to obey the law. If I think that the law is wrong to not execute christians, should I do what HL is doing, and start doing what I think the law should be telling me to do and go start executing christians? Why won't you use your brain, Bill?

      December 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      The point I outlined has been brought up to you multiple times over the last week, and you have yet to address it. You ignore it, orstop posting. If your going to be dishonest, at least be better at it instead of being a disingenuous punk.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Surprise

      Bill Deacon
      Of course you have recourse in a free country to challenge what you consider to an unconsti tutional ruling. The Justice in her ruling even suggested that course of action. I as sume that Hobby Lobby will do just that and that the RCC will ask for intervener status in the proceedings, be patient, this is how the system is supposed to work, In the mean time I hope you are not advocating for civil disobedience, give onto Caeser... etc. Should your position be deemed correct Hobby Lobby will be allowed to do as it is legally enti tled too, otherwise they must obey the law.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Jen

      Well no, I never said the government should decide everything. I have no problems with this law though. If hobby lobby doesn't want their employees to take birth control then they should only hire people they think won't use it (though I'm sure they will continue to have no problem using Chinese suppliers that think gender specific abortion is a-okay).

      As for the democrats deciding what goes on in the bedroom, wow...that's hilarious. Last I checked they weren't telling my gay relatives that they don't deserve marriage rights, or what I get to do with my own body. What a joke.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Bill Deacon

      You said, "The government knows best and if you don't like it tough."
      Sometimes that's just the price you pay.

      I despise the discrimination that has been written in State and Federal law restricting same-sex couples from getting married. I will fight tooth and nail to get those laws overturned, but until they are, I will live with them.

      You said, "At least we now know what we are dealing with. I'd say we've done a remarkable job of describing the modern Democratic party and it's belief in a government solution for everything, including our bedrooms."
      All you show is that you don't vote for Democrats, and that you seem to have a poor understanding of how things work in a civilized society (or very selective memory). Regulation isn't unique to democrats. Republicans will use every opportunity they get to do the same. The difference is that you seem to agree with those rules and regulations.

      Furthermore, the regulation we've been discussing here is in no way about the government intruding into the bedroom of anyone. If anything, it's about preventing a company from intruding into the bedrooms of their employees. Regulation that can be seen as an intrusion in the bedroom is more the domain of Republicans.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Surprised – I agree, HL should, and likely will continue to test the case. I am only trying to steer the debate away the ramifications of birth control, which is a whole other argument. I think the government is overstepping it's bounds and I hope that is what the court ultimately finds. Pity the nation if the Supreme court finds the government can mandate violation of religious freedom for "social remedy" and that tide turns against the left, or even if it accelerates against the right. It's fascinating to me how the brown shirt can be traded from one political spectrum to the other so swiftly.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "I'm not making an argumern Hawaii. I'm posing a question. Here it is simply put. "How can the government mandate compensation which violate your conscious for my benefit without it being tyrannical?""

      An idiot who can't figure out that a "conscience" isn't the same as "conscious" is attempting to discuss the law. It is to laugh. The fvcking idiot couldn't manage to avoid impregnating his own girlfriend by simply using a rubber. He doesn't know the difference between an IUD and Plan B.

      And this ass hole thinks he has a point?

      December 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Akira

      Bill, ME keep up?
      It's ALL about beliefs, and you have not answered most questions that have been put to you today, so I have to conclude YOU can't keep up.
      Oh, I saw this the other day and thought it's worth a re-post!

      What's the RCC, and yours, position on priests wearing condoms when they r.ape the children?
      Pro or con?
      After all, the condom is considered a contraceptive device, do I'm guessing you'd be against it, and judging by you getting your gf knocked up, you are.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Maddy Gascar

      Akira, it's not about beliefs. Try to keep up.
      HL's whole case is about its beliefs! How do you not know this?? Shut the hell up!

      December 31, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      True enough that HL's case is based on their religious belief's being violated. However the current discussion on this thread was not about the content of their belief's but about whether they have the right to have them or not. TT thanks for the grammar lesson, we can always count on you to resort to the mundane.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If it WEREN'T about beliefs, Bill the Dul la rd wouldn't even BE here. He doesn't have a clue about co ntraceptives or law, so he can't make a co gent arg ument on that score.

      I think it's hilarious that some du mb@s s who couldn't manage to put on a ru bber to keep from impre gnating his girlfriend is attempting to le cture anyone on the issues of reproduction or legal matters relating to them. What a friggin' bozo.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Akira

      deacon, my phone is slow, and by the time I post something, there are usually 12 more replies, usually to something you have said erroneously...you don't drive the thread, deacon, much as you would like to think so.

      December 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Drive the thread"? I wouldn't let that moron drive a friggin' golf cart! Wait. Scratch that. He's too dumb to drive a friggin' SHOPPING CART!

      Really, what kind of idiot can't figure out how an IUD is different from Plan B? And is stupid enough to exhibit his abject stupidity publicly?

      December 31, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Akira

      And I notice he hasn't been back since he posted that, either, TT.
      Funny how he picks and chooses what RCC mandates he wants to follow, as the RCC frowns upon premarital s3x, as well.
      If someone isn't bright enough to cap it before he taps it, he should NOT be speaking for women at ALL.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  14. hennahands

    Well, they just lost my business!

    December 31, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  15. david defrank

    cnn you all suck to

    December 31, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  16. Liz Parks

    Since when is a corporation considered "religious"? Individuals can have belief systems. Corporations cannot.

    December 31, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Google "corporate belief systems" You'll be surprised

      December 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  17. Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

    So whatg is Hobby Lobbys tax penalty up to now? lol

    December 31, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      zero at this moment

      December 31, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  18. david defrank

    benidick face arnold suck it

    December 31, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  19. Remember Christ

    Hobby Lobby is not being asked to force a single employee to take a single contraceptive, use a contraceptive or have an abortion. Hobby Lobby is being asked to allow their employees the freedom to live their lives.

    I agree that if they are believers who are committed to radical faith, then they would be concerned that not every single one of their thousands of employees are as deeply radical believers as the Green family might be and might choose to use a contraceptive. I guess they would feel that having even a single employee who accesses contraceptive services would be a sin visited on their hands?

    They could then just be committed to only hire those who share their exact faith, which would also likely be illegal, but that is the quandary, they are not a church, they are a public business worth billions of dollars with employees and customers of many faiths and even those without a faith.

    I hope they can learn to accept that there are those who do not share their faith and that religious freedom is not just about being able to live the exact faith that you think God is calling on you to live, but allowing others to live theirs.

    Good luck people.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • kwdragon

      Very well said.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Mike

      Nice try spinning it. The employees still have the right to live their lives how they choose. Hobby lobby doesn't want to be forced by the governement to provide coverage on a controversial drug that its employees can obtain without medical aid or insurrance. I can go to the store and buy Plan B on my own I don't need my employer or an insurrance company to pay for it. This isn't a prescription drug and isn't a medical necessity the government has no right to force an employee to provide this coverage. What next? Will the government force employers to provide coverage for free slim fast? Another interesting but irrelevant note is that Hobby Lobby's minimum wage is $11/hr this is 3.75/hr more than the federal minimum wage so its lowest paid employees are still making an additional $150 they wouldn't be making elsewhere, this is plenty enough to pay for a recreational over the counter drug like Plan B.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Plan B is not controversial except where the ignorant are concerned.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You're right TT. Rresponsibility, contraception and abortion are not controversial except for the ignorant, by which I mean the ill informed, not the moronic.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, Bill, you couldn't make your point unless you lied.

      Thanks for showing what a great God-lover you are.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      ?

      December 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are puzzled? Gosh, what a shock.

      You are an idiot.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Not aware of any lies I've told TT. I'm sure you can contrive a straw man with little effort though.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Of course you aren't. You live in denial, you ass wipe. Try to figure this out, moron: There IS NO ABORTION DRUG BEING LEGISLATED HERE.

      Do you need a flashlight? A map? Neon lights?

      December 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  20. david defrank

    anoter thing.hobby lobby believes that a soul is given that enbryo.now i allso believe this.if a soul is sacred to hobby then why pick on them.there are millions of us who would give our very life for one of these little ones because we belong to god .

    December 31, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Shove it, davey dumb.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Crowgirls

      suck it Tom

      December 31, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Mary Arnold

      david defrank – Here's the problem with your notion or protecting life: Most loving couples do choose to plan when to start r not start a family. Choosing to prevent pregnancy is not murder; it's simply opting to not have the potential risks of a loving relationship occur. This is not an argument about abortion, but about preventing them. Get smart.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, what's the matter, herbie? Knickers in a twist again?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Maddy Gascar

      It doesn't matter what HL believes. They can't force that belief on their employees. What part of that don't you get?

      December 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @david defrank –

      You "would give [you're] very life for one of these little ones"? How many of your organs have you donated to save the life of a child? Have you donated everything you own and all of your income to children in need?

      December 31, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.