December 27th, 2012
07:20 PM ET

Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief']

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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

"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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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. clarity

    A quiz specifically designed for SoldierOfStupidity:

    1. The general Christian belief is that God snuffed out most people in the so-called Great Flood and any pregnant women's unborn children would have already been determined as sinners by God and therefore justified in His eyes, right?

    If #1 is true for your belief, then

    2. How as a Christian can you question another Christian who plans to have an abortion if they believe their God has spoken to them and already deemed that their unborn child will be a sinner and that they should have the abortion and let Him take over?

    February 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • SoldierOfConscience

      It's simple.

      only applies to great flood.

      did the woman who "thought the fetus was a sinner" be in a flood and come out alive?

      February 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • clarity

      Wow – SOC is more dense than I thought; or maybe they didn't read my post fully. I didn't say the woman "thought the fetus was a sinner" . I said the God of Israel spoke to her – that's what she might be claiming. Who are you to tell the other Christian she didn't actually hear his voice and follow his command to abort?

      February 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  2. SoldierOfConscience

    A quiz for you, to be answered YES or NO only. After all, you are either here or not here. You either have a house or are homeless. The world is black or white.

    Q 1 -> Is the fetus alive?

    Q2 -> Is the fetus composed of human cells?

    Q3 -> Does the fetus have its own heart (however badly formed it be) and have unique DNA not found in any other human?

    Q4 -> Unless the mom's life is in danger or is a case of r@pe / inc3st where there is severe psychological trauma, is the fetus harming the mom or any one else?

    If the answer is YES to all four above then the fetus is a living unique human being with a beating heart, that is not harming any one.

    I have then proved that ab0rt1on = murder

    February 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Troll. You are nothing but a troll. You post nonsensical pronouncements about the world being black and white, when you are quite aware that it is not. You're just on here to be obnoxious.

      And you're quite the success.

      This article is not about the legality of abortion, which has never been "murder" under any US law. It is about contraception and the law.

      Your silly diatribes aren't even believable.

      February 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @SoldierOfConscience -"Q3...and have unique DNA not found in any other human?"

      Despite the fact that the correct answer to this question is "it depends", since you are insisting on a "yes or no" answer, faced with these two options, the answer must be no (give it some thought and do a bit of research); you have, therefore, proven that abortion ≠ murder.

      Nice job.

      February 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...not to mention the fact that "murder" is a legal term and the law does not consider abortion murder; you have, once again; proven abortion ≠ murder.

      Strike two.

      February 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...I could go on, but what's the point? Fish in a barrel.

      February 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That's an insult to fish. Apologize and do penance to Poseidon.

      February 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Saturday

      Question: Is the fetus located in a female womb or in a lab petri dish? If in a petri dish does it have a soul?

      February 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Hi Really-O?-

      SoldierOfConscience is kind of typical and I actually agree, a fetus is a human being at some stage of development. We endow it with any rights it has. This is true of any human being. And we choose to endow it with rights that are proportional to its stage of development. Properly, when it is entirely and necessarily dependent on its mother, we should derive what rights it has from the rights of the mother. It's right to life should be according to what the mother wants. Abortion is not murder if we don't endow the fetus with an independent right to life.

      February 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Hey Tom, Tom, the Other One –

      Good points and I agree. From my perspective the focus of the abortion debate should be sentience; however, even if we are at some point able to determine definitively when during pregnancy fetal sentience begins, we would still be faced with dealing with the ethical issue of law denying women autonomy. I've reconciled with the reality of this issue always being contentious.


      February 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @Tom the other one........................Until a birth happens a fetus should have ZERO rights. The mother must come first, period. If you get into trying to determine when a fetus becomes a "person" you will then diminish the woman's rights. Women need the right to terminate the pregnancy if her life is in danger AT ANY STAGE. If she aborts, she can fix the problem and try again. If she's dead, she cant!

      February 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  3. eyesopened

    1st of all if one is truly in line with Gods word, one does not need anyone to bend backwards,or depend on politics for Hope. there for yeah there are just people arguing with people about choices like you state, that are forced on others.doesnt work, does it? why cant people just vote and trust in the God of the USA the same God who set up freedom liberty and justice for all. the gosple. this statement is not a statement of law but of Grace. And I get pretty bent when those who believe in this same grace, take it apon themselves to point the finger at whos right and whos wrong or whos the enemy and whos not. again if one has recieve the truth in their heart, they WILL know that they are their worst enemy

    February 15, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Science

      To eyesopened......

      Are they really.

      Education works for children

      Earth From Space

      Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth. Aired February 13, 2013 on PBS

      Program Description

      "Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.



      February 16, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • Science

      The bible is as crooked as the pope maybe this is proof.

      Pope will have security, immunity by remaining in the Vatican.


      Do not pass go.

      February 16, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  4. Held equal under the law?

    When will the RCC be satisfied? The administration has bent over backwards to make exceptions for religious insti_tutions and even Hobby Lobby would not have to pay for the insurance under the new conditions. A public forum to discuss the issue has been provided, your, the RCC, wish is to prevent contraception as much as possible and your stand will never waiver, if they are your followers or not.

    February 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  5. eyesopened

    I firmly believe that all of you who take the time to argue points that truly have a significant place, by way of giving or offering insite to a matter, would be worthy of more. I mean, people we all are alive there for we have an option, an option to represent ourselfs as wise and objective to treat eachother as we would like to be treated or behave in a way that blatently exposes our inner mind set which in this case, lack of self control. I mean grant it were not going to agree on everything in life, but it would be a step in the right direction to at least make good use of our time, especially if we actually cared about such things as solutions. I mean look at us for a minute we are supposed to be an authority on what? we are talking about other leaders that are doing a job that they chose to do in life. !st of all I wouldnt want those jobs and 2ndly how would you like it if someone who never did your job got all in your face about how your an idiot and you suck at your job. we would think that person was ignorant, right? why dont we try using the smarter sides of our heart and think of powerful good ways and ideas that would help at least us if not others who take the time to want to add concerns and insite that will make us have a stronger day an encouraged day. if you think about it if one makes a point souldnt the point be nessesary to both mark down not only a solution but the answer?

    February 15, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Jen


      Maybe you should learn how to form a coherent sentence before you decide to lecture people to use the smarter side of themselves. Just a thought.

      February 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  6. Michael Dorn

    Except it's not the employer paying for it. My employees are getting health insurance coverage as part of their compensation for doing work for me. I should not be able to decide what that health insurance covers any more than I can decide what they spend the cash I pay them with on. Just because I don't eat pork due to religious reasons doesn't mean I can dictate my employees to not eat pork or not to buy pork with the money I pay them.
    Same with their healthcare. My religious beliefs are just that. Mine. I should not be able to force or coerce my employees to abide by my religious beliefs.

    February 15, 2013 at 3:58 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      What if your religious beliefs prohibited you from contributing to the grievous sin of others? If you are, in fact, Jewish or Muslim with a proscription against pork then you also have the injunction I speak of.

      February 15, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Bill, That reads as though you are saying you want Orthodox Jews and Muslims to be allowed to tell their employees they can't spend their salary on pork. I'm guessing you don't mean that? Did I misunderstand you, or did you misunderstand Michael's point?

      February 15, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Mass Debater

      "you are saying you want Orthodox Jews and Muslims to be allowed to tell their employees they can't spend their salary on pork."

      No, Bill is saying that if you get high cholesterol from eating pork then the Bagel company you work for shouldn't have to pay for insurance that would treat you...

      February 15, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Mass, That would be a terrific solution to the unemployment problem. Imagine the legal and medical teams every heart patient would have to hire on to prove their illness wasn't caused by something the employers morals frown upon.

      February 15, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hi Sara, what I am saying is that Michael indicates people should be allowed their religious beliefs. Part of those beliefs for many people includes not cooperating with or enabling other people to commit sin. In the Hobby Lobby case, forcing the Greens to provide coverage for the medications they oppose would place them in jeopardy of doing so. F forcing them along these lines violates their right to free speech because it mandates a behavior, by the Greens, which they conscientiously object to. Michael draws the comparison to pork, which indicates to me he is part of a religion which prohibits consumption of pork. Possibly Islam or Judaism. Both of those religions also has proscriptions against aiding and abetting sinners; not for the benefit of the object sinner, but for the benefit of the subject believer.

      February 15, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Bill, you don't seem to understand that a for-profit business has to follow the laws that regulate for-profit businesses, no matter the beliefs of the owner. If the owner of Hobby Lobby wishes to break the law, they should be accountable for the penalty. This is the law of the land. No religion can, or should trump that.

      February 15, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bill Deacon –

      So, Bill, are you saying that businesses who's owners follow Islam or Conservative Judaism should be allowed to exercise control over whether or not their employees consume pork as this is prohibited by both religions?

      February 15, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ..."whose owners", not "who's owners". More careless composition and proofreading.

      February 15, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      What I am saying is that if Michael is an observant Jeu or Muslim he should understand the concept of contributing to another's sin and recognize his argument is false.

      If he is using the example of pork to ridicule various religious beliefs,that is disingenuous. We don't get to decide who's beliefs are valid or not in the country. All religious beliefs are held equal under the law. This then, turns Michael's argument on it's ear and shows why the ACA is unenforceable on its face because it is not generally applicable to the entire constiituency.

      February 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bill Deacon –

      Thanks for the response. I'm closer to understanding, but still not quite there –

      Are you saying that businesses, whose owners follow Islam or Conservative Judaism, should be allowed to exercise control over whether or not their employees consume pork, as this is prohibited by both religions?

      I do understand your assertion regarding majority opinion and PPACA, but that's a different issue.


      February 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Held equal under the law?

      Polygamy. really, Salem witch hunts, Baptist views on slavery, cover-ups of paedophiles, what the hades are you talking about, try and make some sense for a change.

      February 15, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sorry Tallulah, didn't mean to ignore you. We've covered this before. Just because something is the law doesn't mean it shouldn't be contested. That is what the Greens are doing. They are contesting the law. Otherwise, 11% of our population would still be picking cotton down south, wimmins couldn't vote and our president couldn't go to war without congressional approval.

      February 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Really, glad it's clearer. No, just the opposite. No one gets to mandate another's behavior against their religious beliefs. I can't make you buy pork, neither can I prevent you from it. You can't prevent me from buying birth control, neither can you coerce me to buy it for you. If either of us wants ham sandwiches and artificial birth control, we are free to provide same for ourselves.

      Under the law – show me the which religious doctrines hold those beliefs. Answer, you can't. Because while religious people practiced them and even defended them on religious grounds, religious tenets have not held them as doctrine, with the possible exception of polygamy,

      February 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Bill, I still think you're missing Michael's original point – that this is not his money as anemployer,but the employees money as part of their. compensation package. I suspect we all agree that there are issure regarding how insurance is purchased, but for now thie employer based system is what we are stuck with, but there is no issue here of an employer spending their money – they are merely an agency for transfer of the funds, and all of the costs associated with this are earned by the employee or there would not have been an economic advantage in hiring the employee. It is no different than salary. These aren't charitable donations from the CEO.

      February 15, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bill Deacon –

      Thanks Bill, that does clarify your position for me; however, I don't really understand your "doctrine" discrimination (I apologize that I'm not more well informed). That said, I have a couple of points –

      1) I agree with just civil disobedience and, as I see it, this is the foundation of Hobby Lobby's actions. Hobby Lobby will, however, need to comply with the decision of the court, once given, without any "bitching and complaining" about religious persecution (as Thoreau did by spending time in jail).
      2) Please stop indicating that Hobby Lobby is "paying for abortions/birth control/etc.). The payer (insurance provider) is paying for these. If a given insurance provider allows for cafeteria-style health care coverage, in violation of current federal law, then they too will have to suffer whatever consequences these actions incur.

      February 15, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Held equal under the law?

      So let me try and get this straight, if religious doctrine does not define some practice as against the law or evil but yet the laity performs these unlawful acts, it keeps the church free from culpability? In the early days of the nation the puritan states had open discrimination against catholics, they had escaped papal influence and did not want it creeping back into their lives. Once freedom of religion came into effect this slowly dissipated. Not so much in the southern states where it took many decades to first free the slaves and yet even in this day discrimination still exists. You and your church have an agenda far behind the times and the will of the majority, democracy has to suit your biased dogma or you will do everything in your power to fight it.

      February 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Held equal under the law....

      So let me try and get this straight, if religious doctrine does not define some practice as against the law or evil but yet the laity performs these unlawful acts, it keeps the church free from culpability? In the early days of the nation the puritan states had open discrimination against catholics, they had escaped papal influence and did not want it creeping back into their lives. Once freedom of religion came into effect this slowly dissipated. Not so much in the southern states where it took many decades to first free the slaves and yet even in this day discrimination still exists. You and your church have an agenda far behind the times and the will of the majority, democracy has to suit your biased dogma or you will do anything
      in your power to fight it.

      February 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Kind of combining Sara and Really's comments. I think there is some room for debate about when the insurance benefit transfers from the employer to the employee. That seems possibly an esoteric point of law. I'm often confused when I hear that the employer is not the payer. If that were true, there wouldn't be an issue to begin with would there? Are you suggesting that if HL stops making the premiums that the coverage will continue? Certainly the policy issuer is not the payer, unless you believe the claptrap the administration spews on that point. If the employee were the payer than HL could be excused from the entire transaction couldn't they?

      Held under – I am going to agree with what you said, not what I believe you meant to say. Yes, If a religion holds a behavior sinful and a government legislates it illegal, then the relevant church is not culpable when a member violates both the doctrine and the law, even if the perpetrator erroneously invokes the name of the religion or government as a conferring authority. Otherwise I could say I consume all these cookies in the name of Held Under and you would be the one to gain the weight.

      Also Really, it doesn't matter to me whether the drugs are abortion inducing or not. That is central to HL's case but I think that is a tactical error on their part because it diverts the argument to a discussion on medication. To me it doesn't matter whether it is abortifacients, pork sandwiches or blood transfusion. The federal government has no authority to coerce contracts onto free citizens against their own self interest. So, while I can and will make arguments against abortion and artificial birth control from a moral perspective, I do not use those to support the case against the ACA

      February 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bill Deacon –

      More good stuff, thanks.

      -When I use the term "payer", I'm using it as employed in medical revenue cycle management, i.e. Insurance providers are "payers"; providers of services are "providers".
      -When we're talking about employer sponsored healthcare plans, in the majority of cases, employers only foot part of the bill for premiums – employees also contribute.
      -In point of fact, in the U.S., if an employer stops sponsoring employee healthcare, healthcare coverage does, ultimately, continue – sponsored by the individual, state, or a combination.
      -Finally, as citizens we are all forced to comply with regulations with which we do not agree (some think they have a "right" to speed or consume illicit drugs or hold cockfights, etc.). Asserting that religious belief trumps all other rights, seems to be pitting the Constitution against itself.

      February 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Held equal under the law?

      Well Bill, I guess I do not see your group/religion as any more than a powerful lobby group, no different than oil and gas, defence industries, tobacco, NRA gun industry, etc.. The fact that you can clothe your demands around your christian dogma is of no import to me, you are doing what all the rest do, protecting your business.no matter what the consequences.

      February 15, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      OK, but the right to religious freedom is guaranteed in that same Constiitution. DO you have any idea how the court determines when someone has a valid religious conviction as opposed to a willy nilly self serving belief?

      February 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The US Supreme Court often applies two levels of scrutiny to laws that may discriminate against groups of people. The rational basis test is always applied first when a state or federal statute is challenged as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause. In order for the law to survive the first challenge, the Court must be satisfied that the law is "rationally related to a legitimate government interest."

      Please describe the compelling government interest satisfied by the ACA. Then we'll move on to general applicability.

      February 15, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bill Deacon – "...how the court determines..."

      No, I do not. Ultimately that decision will reside with the court, certainly not the electorate. With regard to Hobby Lobby, it is important to remember that thy are not being forced to provide something to which they are opposed; they are being instructed that they are do not have the right to deny something to which they are opposed. It seems subtle, but there is a world of difference.

      February 15, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Hey! Bill Deacon

      No tell us Bill, how does the court determine religious convictions? So in the past we had an enclave of people in an area that practiced polygamy, we had the whackos in Wako, could shiara law be legal in an area with a majority of moslem radicals, so many more examples, are you saying these people do not believe in their dogma less than you do?

      February 15, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • redzoa

      @Bill – Happened upon this exchange and it appears you know the answer to the question of when the State can distinguish between genuine religious conviction and self-serving claims, and so I write this to explore your understanding based on my own...

      To my knowledge, the correctness or an inference of ridiculousness for a belief simply can't be challenged pursuant to SCOTUS precedent and the Fed. Rules of Evidence. Generally speaking, the law doesn't typically reach the belief itself, but rather targets the legality of an adherent's particular behaviors. However, the sincerity of an individual's belief must be established by a preponderance of the evidence standard if the individual seeks to invoke a free exercise defense or claim. In other words, this would include evidence/testimony of the individual's practices which are consistent with the claim of a sincerely held belief (e.g. routine church attendance, etc).

      If this isn't your understanding, then I'd be curious to hear your thoughts...

      February 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yes, red, that is my understanding. I remember when American Indians in various penal systems began suing for the right to wear their hair long as an established religious observation and they won. I think Muslims now use the same precedent. So I can't just decide out of thin air that I believe I should be granted a religious exemption that is not based on a substantial, verifiable and demonstrable adherence to the belief. Or some such legal description

      February 15, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Try again really. You were doing so well. No on is denying anyone the right to purchase or use insurance coverage or contraception. What is at issue is who is going to pay the bill. When I say payer, I usually mean the one who supplies the money.

      February 15, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • redzoa

      INAL, but just a couple more thoughts given the context. The strict scrutiny test you're referring to here would apply under a direct challenge of the const-itutionality of the ACA as well as under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, i.e. Compelling State Interest, Narrowly Tailored to the interest, and Least Restrictive Means. Not sure the EPC or DPC challenges under the 14th Amendment would be necessary or applicable given the direct const-itutional claim. Nonetheless, to my knowledge, claims of Free Exercise infringement generally fail when relating to taxes, as tax collection is typically held to meet the compelling interest standard. In light of the holdings of NFIB v. Sebelius, which upheld the mandate as a proper exercise of congressional taxing power, I'd be surprised if such a challenge wouldn't meet a similar fate as other free exercise challenges of taxing power.

      February 15, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Jen

      HL supplies the money either way Bill. Either through a paycheque or through insurance coverage.

      February 15, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "What is at issue is who is going to pay the bill. When I say payer, I usually mean the one who supplies the money."

      So is HL covering ALL the costs of health insurance for its employees, Bill? Do the employees have no premiums to pay?

      February 15, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bill Deacon – "No on is denying anyone the right to purchase or use insurance coverage or contraception. What is at issue is who is going to pay the bill. When I say payer, I usually mean the one who supplies the money."

      "When I say payer, I usually mean the one who supplies the money."
      When you say "payer", you are using the term in a way that belies ignorance to the proper use of the term in the medical/insurance industry – just so we're clear.

      "No on is denying anyone the right to purchase or use insurance coverage or contraception. What is at issue is who is going to pay the bill.
      No, Bill, you're incorrect. Hobby Lobby must, due to the number of individual they employ, provide healthcare insurance. How, precisely, does Hobby Lobby assert they can determine what percentage of employer/employee premiums are being used for which services? What I was "doing so well" at up until this point, was bending over backwards being civil and giving you the benefit of the doubt. So, Bill, again – how exactly does Hobby Lobby determine which services the portion of premiums they pay supports? They can't, and, therefore, they are trying to tell there employees how they can spend their own income. And that is irrational, unethical, and illegal.

      February 15, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • redzoa

      Ok, one last try. I was confusing the RFRA contraception coverage claims with direct claims against the ACA. If the compromise shifts the burden to insurance companies to pay the contraceptive costs and the religious-organization exceptions apply, this still leaves a number of self-insuring employers faced with being forced to purchase plans covering contraceptives. The EPC claim comes from alleged different treatment for these self-insuring companies subject to the Administration's rule in light of the exceptions and those employers exempt for other reasons (e.g. fewer than 50 employees). So the compelling interest must lay in that particular class of employers who self-insure and are subject to the rule. I guess the issue is how one defines "incidental effects." That is, by dollars, by numbers affected, or by the subjective interpretation of the impact on those opposed. My guess is that it will be a difficult case to argue against the impact of the contraceptive coverage rule as anything but an "incidental effect" given it targets a market and there's no evidence that the rule is over or under inclusively fashioned as a pretext to target the religious beliefs of those opposed to contraception.

      February 15, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Jen & Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son –

      Bill's arguments seem to me another glaring example of how dogma blinds.


      February 15, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bill is disgusting. He wants to deny all women the choice his wife was able to make.

      He's a hypocrite.

      February 15, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      red, Thanks for the intelligent discussion. I suspect you are right. The case will be difficult to move forward. You seem conversant with the principles involved and I have to admit, I cannot prognosticate on how the court will ultimately rule but it is fascinating to me to see the debate move from the emotional context of abortion advocates and religious defenders into the fulcrum of Constiitutional adherence. I agree that the taxation interest probably doesn't exempt HL from the mandate but I can't reconcile the tax element with the detailed contraceptive mandate in the ACA. I think the administration has made a best approximation at a single payer system, which would not have passed the legislature but I think they have a flaw when they conflate the tax power with the policy details.

      Tom, thanks for reminding me.

      February 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  7. Ken Margo

    Step up folks and see the third moron to join eyesopened and answerman. Prolife. It's amazing how these phoney crooked christian conservatives can multiply. I guess being phoney is fertile!

    I noticed how prolife didn't offer any money for the kids he so badly wants to be born. I've said it before KIDS ARE NOT FREE. If you really care, you'll put up some money to help these kids out. Please spare us your self serving crap on donations. If you are pro life. YOU HAVE TO HELP ALL, NOT SOME OF THE KIDS. So until you offer a lot of money, you have zero credibility.

    You guys are probably tea partiers. Crying about taxes. Do you realize every child born adds money to tax bills. The govt. has to provide schooling, shelter, food, roads and other essential services. Those things cost money. But being republicans you probably want to CUT the very services these kids and parents need. I guess god don't matter then.

    February 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • prolife

      we do through donations medical referals housing money from the state baby clothes counceling ect. where you been magot .you want us to kill these children?never minde i allredy no you punk.your a sick man.

      February 14, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I said in my post your self serving donations mean nothing! There are a lot of people that are homeless, hungry, w/o health care, prison, school drop outs etc. THEY ALL NEED HELP. YOU CANT JUST HELP A FEW. I have 2 kids. I take care of BOTH OF THEM. NOT JUST ONE. WHEN YOU ARE PRO LIFE YOU HAVE TO HELP ALL CHILDREN AND ADULTS. You speak of god's power, well let his monkey azz put some of that power to work and help those that are not being helped.

      I'm sure you voted for Mutt Romney? You should be ashamed of your crooked christian azz. Mutt wanted to cut/gut every program children and adults need. Again god didn't matter then.

      February 14, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Obviously Answerman, eyesopened and prolife don't know how plan b works. It's a contraceptive. It PREVENTS PREGNANCIES. If a woman is NOT pregnant. She can't have an abortion. Simple. If a woman takes the pill AFTER she is pregnant. Nothing will happen. She will have the baby as if she didn't take the pill. You can twist your panties in a bunch all you want. Facts are facts.

      February 14, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • SoldierOfConscience

      Margo your stupid logic is similar to the following:

      If a coworker is just sitting around not doing his job, then if I report him to my boss then he may get fired. In that case I will be responsible for paying for his wife/kid's food, medicines etc, his rent.. so I should not report him.


      dont work -> natural consequence is get fired
      dont want to get fired ? work hard. I am not responsible for your bad decision

      have unprotected s3x -> natural consequence is have baby
      dont want to have baby? dont have unprotected s3x. I am not responsible for your bad decision

      February 15, 2013 at 2:18 am |
    • End Religion

      SOC, there is a zoo near my house. I've heard parrots there that are smarter than you. Why is that?

      February 15, 2013 at 2:53 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Ken, you dung heap!

      February 15, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • SoldierOfConscience

      "End Religion" is hearing things now. What next ? seeing things?

      February 15, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Mass Debater

      The religious don't have a leg to stand o in this argument. It basically comes down to a certain section of American society that is racist, bigoted and hateful towards people of color or those not of their faith and can't stand to think that even one penny from their pocket would go to help anyone but themselves. It's disgusting and abhorrent but they will wear their hate proudly all while proclaiming loudly "We are the best!" We are the best!" It's enough to turn ones stomach.

      February 15, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      The Planned Parenthood Federation of America has perpetuated a “genocide on the black community,” says a group of African-American pastors who claimed Thursday the birth control and abortion provider has had a racist agenda since its beginnings in 1921.

      Holding a brief vigil and press conference in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington, D.C., the group of pastors and activists said they were incensed by the results of recent “undercover” inquiries into several Planned Parenthood clinics across the country.

      “Every day … over 1,500 black babies are murdered inside the black woman’s womb,” said Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, of Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND). “This is a race issue.”

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,352537,00.html#ixzz2KzrpPRYp

      February 15, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Bill, Total fertility remains higher for black women than for any other racial group (some ethnic groups are slightly higher, but as a race, black women still have the highest fertility). This means, by definition, that no genocide is taking place. Get back to us when thatnumber changes, but you'd better have proof in hand that those women are being given abortions against their will.

      February 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Over the summer, The Advocate investigated the financial dealings of Planned Parenthood and made some shocking discoveries about the clinic-owning “nonprofit.” We obtained the information by having an actor call clinics across the country and pose as a donor. The actor who called, The Advocate’s advisor, communicated to them a very racist agenda—the one that Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s founder, had envisioned. He then asked to donate money specifically for the abortions of African-American babies in order to “lower the number of blacks in America.”

      Despite his bigoted requests, no Planned Parenthood employee (or director of development, in one case) declined the tainted money. Some even asked to speak with other employees to get permission. In the first day of calling seven clinics, not a single Planned Parenthood representative expressed outrage or concern at the racism behind donations specifically “to reduce the number of blacks.” In fact, some even went as far as agreeing with the anti-black agenda.

      Planned Parenthood’s 800 clinics receive more than 300 million dollars of taxpayer money annually. It is unacceptable for a nonprofit to accept donations that target specific races. Unfortunately, The Advocate’s investigation discovered this is official policy. The calls unearthed a Planned Parenthood program that poses a threat to minority communities. Many centers set up “women in need” or “justice” funds designating money specifically for minority abortions. With more than 79% of clinics in minority neighborhoods, and more than 1400 black abortions daily, these programs are doing precisely what our actor asked them to do. Planned Parenthood is (intentionally or not) exterminating the black community.

      February 15, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The moron SoldierOfConscience says:

      have unprotected s3x -> natural consequence is have baby
      dont want to have baby? dont have unprotected s3x. I am not responsible for your bad decision"

      You are so stupid it sits on you like a second skin. What part of this doesn't dawn on you, moron? The fact that contraception IS protection? The fact that Plan B IS contraception?

      You aren't even consistent! You said on another thread that no one should TRY to prevent a pregnancy.

      Fvcking troll. Crawl back under that rock.

      February 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • SoldierOfConscience

      Tom, from the unborn child's perspective there is no difference between the two scenarios I laid out. You will kill he/she because of YOUR mistake? would be similar to you corrupting records at the office to shield said co-worker's mistake. both are wrong.

      February 15, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Simple SOC puppet, the fetus doesn't have a "perspective," nor does it have any rights. Women do. Get over it.

      You have outed yourself as a liar. You claimed that nobody should prevent pregnancy and now you are claiming that people should use contraceptives to do just that.


      February 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  8. prolife

    please listen to deana durbins ave maria shuberts.you may then have a little grace to help you combat your buddy the devil.she is on you tube for all you devil worshippears .im going bye bye.

    February 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  9. prolife

    honey my cat is paralized

    February 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  10. prolife

    i hate this site.because most of you are the most evil people i ever met.accept the baby killer doctors who you adore

    February 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
  11. prolife

    whaty is so big about the internit not you johhhnie corson

    February 14, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  12. prolife

    cross country pop ulation bomb theory is stinky like your logic.its people making babieees that grow s ecomony not your dumb reasonoing.tyou aree stuped

    February 14, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  13. prolife

    rolph so youu dont understands

    February 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • At prolife/eyesopened's house

      "Honey! The cat is running back and forth acress the computer keyboard!"

      "I know, but I'm busy. But don't worry. It's not like it's posting anything on the internet."

      February 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
  14. prolife

    tom tom your not worth correct spellllingg i prefer being lazy minded since you make liitlee sence cents>:::::::::;no joke fool.i bet you are a jeapoorde chamkp

    February 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  15. prolife

    i reeed alll you baby killers are still trying to bullsheet everone.how stopid you all aer

    February 14, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
  16. Ken Margo

    Here again we hear from a new whack job. eyesopened. No solutions and no ideas. I'm sure eyesopened is having an orgasm over the choice of new pope. Just what the world needs, another old white guy, not getting any, not solving any problems and talking out his AZZ. But hey Catholics, please hurry up, line up bend over (especially you young boys) and kiss his ring and oh by the way. Don't forget to leave something in the box on your way out. Bless you F00Ls er I mean people.

    February 14, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • prolife

      ken you got perversion mixed up with us catholics.its you ken that is a foolish nut case.whats a matter you got something against your creator??????????you are on your way to a place you want vto go.what a foolish little evil spirit you are and tom tom.2 dumb little devils trying to out wit your god.

      February 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
  17. eyesopened

    Oh and just for all of those who have leaned onto their own understanding and believe that they are being judged as wackos for being followers of Jesus, as though when Jesus said if they hated me they will hate you also, it was the religious people that set the pace for this hatred. He was bad for buisness. So if you are blending in amongst the religious so much for the narrow gate. Jesus came to His own and they recieved Him not. He was religious nor politicly correct was He? makes sense though as He said My Kingdom is NOT of this world.

    February 14, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • End Religion

      you aren't judged as wacko, you are indeed delusional.

      February 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  18. eyesopened

    ken margo is stating a fact about so called parents or Christians as well as your politicians, when he states that they dont care, Gods word says it best my words are on your lips but your hearts are far away from me. when you think of the statistics on the so called amount of christians that are in the USA thats all it proves stats and nothing more. But as far as the out right testimony of hypocricy in this world falls on the those of the 1st part. I know the Lord Jesus as my Savior and my greatest threat is my own understanding or my flesh, I walk in constant conviction to this truth taking every thought captive against the word of God, He wants to change the heart of man people not the world. ken along with so many others are forgiven already because of Christ. and we think we are capable of rightousness that is of any worth, let alone caring about our neighbors our children? God says apart from Him we can do nothing, our love is corrupted along with this world but that does not give us the right to pass judgement. dont we see the irony here we will reap what we sow. Christian wackos! thats what we get when WE do God, its called works of the flesh and it profits us nothing. Jesus understood humility, Hope is a Gift complete forgiveness a Gift it is NOT OF WORKS, Grace is flawless unlike people. Those of the Faith should be set apart, one should be able to tell the differnce between a humble and Grace filled person and one who is in need of this but thats Gods doing, anybody can tell someone what they should or should not be doing and then be decieved that you are better then that person. Grace does not condemn it heals but thats just it we all need healing or to be made perfect in Gods sight, not mans

    February 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Rolph Eczema

      Why do Christians write so badly?

      February 14, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Because so many of them barely made it through high school and they're intellectually lazy.

      February 14, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • prolife

      eyesopened what?

      February 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
  19. My 2 Cents

    Opinions about their beliefs and/or intelligence is irrelevant. This is a legal issue.
    Does the first amendment right free exercise of religion extend to a business?
    Courts have long established that other first amendment rights extend to businesses.
    I suppose the courts will have to decide whether this right is excluded.

    February 13, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @ 2 cents............This is a made up issue by religious whack jobs. Plan B does not cause abortions. Period. A woman can take a bottle of plan B after confirmation of her pregnancy. IT HAS NO EFFECT. The pregnancy will continue. SHE WILL HAVE THE BABY. Some say it prevents implantation, some say it prevents fertilization. In either case, that makes it the same as a con'dom. Nobody says con'doms cause abortions. The phony crooked christian conservatives DO NOT CARE about the kids, not one bit. We have a president trying to cut down on abortions by making birth control easier to get. But because the president is black, the religious whack jobs are bit'chin bout something else.

      February 13, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Actually Ken, he's right. You maggot

      February 14, 2013 at 11:17 am |
  20. SoldierOfConscience

    Some couples say that they will be open to life but will contracept between kids. In other words, they will be completely open to life—except when they sterilize their acts of love. Imagine if they had the same mentality with other parts of the wedding vows.

    Can a wife say she is faithful except when she has affairs? Can she say that she will give herself totally to her husband as long as he’s rich? Can a husband say the marital act is free except when he forces himself upon his wife? All this is absurd, but contracepting couples contradict their own vows in a similar way when they refuse to be open to the gift of life. When it comes down to it, they are afraid of what s3x means.

    February 12, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • clarity

      "if they had the same mentality"

      Mentality – hmm. Let's look at the mentality of many Christians who believe that when God first destroyed most everyone with his purported flood, that he had already deemed those that were to perish as sinners, including women and their unborn children. With that kind of mentality, it should be reasonable to assume that, unless in-depth questioning by a fellow believer proves otherwise, a couple may use contraception at times or may even have an abortion because one or both of them may have heard from their God that their potential child/fetus is already deemed by Him to be a sinner and that they should not continue (and that He will take over).

      I think there are more abortions amongst Christians, right?

      February 13, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Ken Margo

      @soldier of stupidity..................Please pull your head out of your AZZ. Kids are not free. They have to be fed, clothed and provided for. If the parents don't have any money, what are they going to do? Are YOU going to provide some funds? I don't think so. So take your phony crooked christian AZZ to the zoo and wrestle a tiger. Schmuucko.

      February 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ignore this troll. SOC admitted he was posting this sort of nonsense just to get a reaction. He doesn't believe a word he posts.

      February 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What about couples who decide they don't WANT children? Where in the marriage vows does it say ANYTHING about "being open to life" or any other malarkey? There's no requirement that people who marry have kids, dingus.

      February 13, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @SOC.......Why waste your time? Do you need attention? There's enough christian wackos posting crazy stuff as it is.

      February 13, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "Some couples say that they will be open to life but will contracept between kids. In other words, they will be completely open to life—except when they sterilize their acts of love."

      Apparently Soldier here wants every woman to walk on their hands with their leg's spread so they can be "open" to life. I mean, you just never know when an errant ejaculation out the window of a multistory building might be God trying to bring more unwanted children into the world.

      February 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      Mass D

      'errant ejaculation' made me choke on my muffin.


      February 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • CrossCountry


      Moderating how many spawn you have is called being responsible. Good god! We've all seen what happens when woman just can't stop having kids! Its irresponsible on so many levels!!! Its a huge demand on our government programs, schools and day cares etc etc. Se.x can just be good ol fun with out any procreation needed!

      Have your kids and then know when to stop!

      February 13, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • SoldierOfConscience

      Ken Margo,

      I have no obligation to feed and clothe children produced by acts of omisson and comission by others. Once they come into this world, they are unborn humans. It's then the responsibility of those who brought them in.

      To give you an analogy, if a coworker is reeeally slacking and i report him/her, he/she may lose the job. Then is it my responsibility to support the family? NO. the chain is slack -> lose job -> cant support family

      Similarly, here the chain is
      have s3x -> have baby.

      Natural consequences.

      Do not kill unborn humans to avoid natural consequences.

      February 16, 2013 at 11:55 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63
About this blog

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.