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Supreme Court delays contraception mandate for two Catholic nonprofits
December 31st, 2013
06:33 PM ET

Supreme Court delays contraception mandate for two Catholic nonprofits

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN)–
The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily exempted two Catholic Church-affiliated nonprofits from requirements to provide contraceptive coverage to its employees under the Affordable Care Act.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a brief order late Tuesday, hours before the controversial Obama administration mandates were set to go into effect.

The Little Sisters of the Poor – a charity congregation of Roman Catholic women in Denver – and the Illinois-based Christian Brothers Services had filed a lawsuit objecting to the contraception mandate, saying it violated their religious and moral beliefs. Some religious-affiliated groups were required to comply with contraception coverage or face hefty fines.

Sotomayor said the two groups were exempted from the mandates until at least Friday, when the federal government faces a deadline to file a legal response in the case.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Pope Francis

soundoff (1,682 Responses)
  1. truthprevails1

    Not related to this but well worth reading, In 1964 Isaac Asimov made some predictions and many have come true:
    "Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books."

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/isaac-asimov-2014-predictions-2014-1#ixzz2pMiUyM00

    January 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      OH MY!!! It's a prediction come true! Isaac Asimov must be God! There can be no other explanation. It was even written in an old book!

      January 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Gotta be. 🙂

        January 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • Alias

          Slipery slope here –
          Another science fiction writer started a religion, you know.

          January 3, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    You mean to tell me,
    that a Jewish zombie can make me live forever,
    if I telepathically accept him as my master…
    all because a talking snake convinced a woman created by one rib
    to eat from a magical tree?
    Really???

    - Rainer Braendlein

    January 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
    • Alias

      Don't be silly.
      you are going to live for ever anyway.
      you are doomed to torture because of the bitten fruit, unless the zombie likes you.

      January 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        Ahhhhh. That explains it.

        January 3, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
  3. yikes

    > Evolution leads to him marrying his first cousin, gross.

    January 3, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If you can't keep it in your pants, keep it in your genes.

      You know, my partner's family are old world Catholics (from Portugal).
      She has an uncle who won't speak to his lesbian sister because her marriage is "unnatural" – and yet he sees nothing wrong with the fact that he married his first cousin.

      January 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • lunchbreaker

        RED DRAGONS!

        January 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • Live4Him

          what the heck are you talking about? (?)

          January 3, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          It's a Jason Ellis thing. Like a sometimes serious sometimes joking F-Yeah!

          January 3, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @lunchbreaker : It's a Jason Ellis

          Sorry, I'm clueless 🙂

          <><

          January 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
  4. Live4Him

    @Live4Him : Observer was arguing that LAW supersedes religious beliefs. In fact, the Constitution supersedes laws – something that Observer doesn't get.
    @Observer : The Consti-tution is the SUPREME law of the United States.

    True, but ObamaCare is NOT the Constitution, now is it? So, are you now agreeing that ObamaCare cannot supersede religious beliefs?

    <><

    January 3, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      how evenly do you split your viewing time between the 700 Club and FOX News?

      January 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Dyslexic doG : how evenly do you split your viewing time between the 700 Club and FOX News?

        Fox News as in TV or website? If the former, then it is equal – I don't view either. How evenly do you split your time between a conservative news site and a liberal news site?

        <><

        January 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          BBC World News and old movies. 🙂

          oh, and Deadwood.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Alias

          No Game of Thrones?
          Get a life.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • Observer

      Live4Him,

      ObamaCare is a LAW. We are back to where we started.

      Now please answer the questions unless you are AFRAID to do so.

      January 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Live4Him : So, are you now agreeing that ObamaCare cannot supersede religious beliefs?
        @Observer : ObamaCare is a LAW. We are back to where we started.

        But you didn't answer the question. Can ObamaCare supersede religious beliefs?

        <><

        January 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Observer

          Live4Him,

          Yes, LAWS take precedence over religious beliefs. That's why you wanted a law from prayers in schools. Do you read what you write?

          Still STUMPED?

          January 3, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • JL

          How is providing your employees infringing in your beliefs? IT ISNT. STOP LYING.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Observer : Yes, LAWS take precedence over religious beliefs. That's why you wanted a law from prayers in schools. Do you read what you write?

          Yes, but you kept arguing in a circle. So, if ordinary laws take precedence over religious beliefs, then why don't we have prayer in public schools today?

          <><

          January 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          "So, if ordinary laws take precedence over religious beliefs, then why don't we have prayer in public schools today?"

          I thought that is why we don't have prayer in school.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Of course there is still prayer in public school. When Christians claim that there isn't, what they are really complaining about is that there is no mandated Christian prayer.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • Doris

          The key word here is can. Laws can override religious belief. If the override is something that most people have heard about, I would think it's almost guaranteed that the law will in some way involve the 1st Amendment. But for any law really – who's to say that it, in some odd way, is not overriding the beliefs of some small group somewhere.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Plenty of people object to the military, animal experimentation and cattle farms on religious grounds, yet we all pay for them. Mainstream Christians are just a bunch of spoiled whiners who never had to learn how the world worked because it used to cater for them.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      LofA
      When did it become up to you, the RCC or any other religion to determine if a law is const!tutional? The supreme court will make that decision in due time, will you abide by its decision or not?

      January 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        I can't speak for the RCC, since I disagree with their theology, but if I was hired by my church, and the courts decided that I have coverage through my church employer that mandates abortion coverage and/or contraception coverage, then yes, I would disobey it.

        January 3, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          But would you accept the punishment, for example, going to prison for civil dis obedience?

          January 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          Sure. Why not? It's not like prison is the WORST thing that can happen. After all, as a Christian, I answer to a power that is higher than Obama.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Alias

          @ LoA
          I think you are confused.
          If you were employed by a church – or anyone else – and they provided insurance that covered birth control;
          That does not mean you have to take it. Zero infringement on your rights.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Alias,
          But I would be paying into a system that provided for abortion / contraception. In other words, my money is paying for someone to potentially kill their unborn child.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia
          Unless you are self-insured, that is already the case.
          Every insurance company offers some contraceptive care to someone.
          Your money supports that company's ability to provide that service.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • Johnny

          Seriously Lawrence if you don't want to pay for other people's birth control then you need to cancel your insurance policy.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          ME II,
          I happen to work for a large company in the SE that is self-insured, and we don't cover that kind of thing.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Lawrence, Do you work for an insurance company that doesn't provide benefits or a company that provides health insurance without using an outside company?

          January 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          I work for a company that is self-insured, but the insurance is carried through BC/BS, just not provided by them.

          January 3, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia
          "I happen to work for a large company in the SE that is self-insured, and we don't cover that kind of thing."

          Are you sure? If a women goes to her gynecologist and gets a proscription for birth control pills, are you saying that your company's plan Administrator would not cover the visit nor the prescription at her normal levels?

          In other words, are you saying that a large company in the US actually excludes these things from coverage?

          January 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Alias

          You do all realise Lawrence will lie to try to prove a point, right?

          January 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
    • Doris

      L4H: "True, but ObamaCare is NOT the Consti-tution, now is it? So, are you now agreeing that ObamaCare cannot supersede religious beliefs?"

      Without arguing for or against ObamaCare, but to address what I quoted from you, L4H, I would say if what is being tested in court is if ObamaCare is or is not conflicting with freedom of religion as specified const-itutionally, then it can be decided to supercede religious belief or not. And that decision would weigh rights given for religious freedom against infringement of rights and/or the effort of those avoiding federal requirements being seen as religious establishment. Again, I am not stating here how I see this particular case, this is just the flaw I see in your "Obamacare [any law really] cannot supercede..."

      January 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
    • JL

      It was upheld by the USC and the SCOTUS. Pay your fair share, religious slackers!

      January 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
  5. Colin

    By the way, Happy New Year to all regular bloggers – atheists, believers and those in between.

    January 3, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
    • Observer

      Amen.

      January 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
    • bostontola

      Likewise to all.

      January 3, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      and to you Sir!

      January 3, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
  6. Live4Him

    @Tim : How does that have any bearing on what Observer said??

    Observer was arguing that LAW supersedes religious beliefs. In fact, the Constitution supersedes laws – something that Observer doesn't get.

    <><

    January 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
    • Observer

      Live4Him,

      The Consti-tution is the SUPREME law of the United States.

      It is SHOCKING that you would be so ignorant of that fact.

      January 3, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
  7. Dyslexic doG

    Sagan 22:1 For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

    January 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
    • Cool

      Sagan 1:1-3 "An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no god. By some definitions atheism is very stupid.”

      🙂 Stupid is...

      January 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
      • Skeptic Al

        bu...bu...but, atheists are supposed to be smart, not stupid. You know because of logic and the scientific theory? I'm going to believe dyslexic dog and whatever he imagines. Not listen to some hack like Carl Sagan who probably wasn't smart enough to debate with online religious freaks.

        January 3, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
      • Saraswati

        Sagan was using a much more limited definition of atheism than is standard. Atheism is defined in the OED as

        noun
        disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

        So it can refer to simple lack of belief which is how many atheists use the term.

        Sagan was right in his idea, but wrong in his simplified use of terminology.

        January 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • Ann

          Exactly. He was referring to gnostic atheists. Most atheists are agnostic.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    Galileo 12:16 It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved

    January 3, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
    • Cool

      "“The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go”"

      “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

      -GG

      January 3, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        Gordon Gecko?

        January 3, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • Cool

          Galileo, a Christian.

          "God is known by nature in his works, and by doctrine in his revealed word."

          January 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Johnny

          Galileo was Catholic so most of the crazy right wingers in America don't consider him to be Christian.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • Alias

          Galileo claimed to be christian because it was criminal to not be.

          January 3, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    Roddenberry 68:12 We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.

    January 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
  10. Dyslexic doG

    deGràsse Tyson 1:1 God is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance

    January 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
    • Cool

      Nice philosophy statement.

      January 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
  11. Dyslexic doG

    why won't your god show himself?

    he is obviously narcissistic and self absorbed enough to enjoy the praise and worship so why wouldn't he just show himself and have everyone on the planet worship him?

    January 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • Nope

      Just because you are narcissistic and self absorbed, doesn't mean if there is a god he is narcissistic and self absorbed. That isn't logical.

      January 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        the bible is supposedly god's word, right? Throughout the bible he commands the reader to worship him and praise him and submit to him and love him and praise him and praise him and praise him ... forsaking all others ... every day ... every day ... and his words brag about how great he is and how wonderful he is and how ferocious he is and how loving he is and how all knowing he is ...

        so please be embarrassed by your previous statement!

        January 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Nope

          I don't believe in the Bible. I'm only embaraszed for you.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          and by your spelling.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
        • Nope

          as.s is banned, genius. Another logical fail on your part.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          ass as in embarassed?

          January 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
      • ME II

        @Nope,
        I think @Dyslexic doG was speaking about the Christian god.

        January 3, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
  12. Colin

    It is an interesting question – when is it appropriate for the state to trump a person's private religious belief for the greater good. The answer is very practical and telling. It is when religion is harmful or potentially dangerous, as in the examples Doc V pointed out. Which goes to show, deep down, when it really matters, society will not put any investment in religion. We pay it lip service, but we would never risk public or individual health or safety on the existence of religious characters.

    January 3, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      How is a lack of contraception harmful or dangerous? And when did this become a "right" as a part of healthcare anyway?

      January 3, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
      • Colin

        You missed my point. I wasn't directly addressing the article. But now you mention it, I do think it is absurd that employees have to be denied coverage based on the infantile belief of their employer that some Bronze Age Jewish sky-fairy who supposedly created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies has a personal interest in how the employees have $ex. This, LoA, is patently absurd.

        January 3, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Whether YOU believe it or not is irrelevant. The issue is over CHURCH-AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS who hire only those who subscribe to that church's beliefs... It's like making PETA members pay for the manufacture of fur coats.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • Colin

          LoA – if employees of the organization accept employment on the basis that they are obliged to follow the religious code of the employer and that code prohibits birth control, I agree with you.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Colin,
          That is the issue as laid out in the article. I cannot speak for secular inst.itutions, (or the catholic church for that matter, since I'm not one) but if my church, who hires only Christians for pastor, secretaries, janitorial, etc., is made to adhere to a health coverage that mandates coverage for abortions and/or contraceptives that are against their religious beliefs, then their religious freedoms are being violated. And that is the heart of the issue.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • G to the T

          "But if my church, who hires only Christians for pastor, secretaries, janitorial, etc., "
          So your church practices descriminiatory hiring policies? OK to hire only white christians? Can't be too careful...

          January 3, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          G to the T,
          Nope, not "white" Christians... Just Christians and only Christians.

          January 3, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • Alias

          LoA just proved he is a typical bigot.
          It is okay for them to discriminate, but no one else should.

          January 3, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Last year, the United Nations declared that access to birth control is a matter of human rights.
        From their report:
        “The ability to decide on the number and spacing of one’s children is taken for granted by many in the developed world and among elites in developing countries. Anyone who’s been following the news in America over the last year knows that the battle for access to contraceptives is bitter and constant. While access is certainly greater in America than the Philippines, the roadblocks to sufficient access to birth control are similar in both places: Religious leaders and the politicians who cater to them would rather see women raise children they don’t want than provide access to birth control. Rather than a building block of a functioning society, they see birth control as an indication of loose morals.

        Religious groups are deeply opposed to ending unwanted pregnancies with abortion, and yet they don’t want women to have access to contraception that could prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place, and therefore prevent abortions.

        Addressing the unmet need for family planning worldwide would avert 54 million unintended pregnancies and result in 26 million fewer abortions. Research also shows that where family planning supplies, information and services are widely available, abortion rates are lower.”

        January 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          You're missing the bigger issue...
          People need to: #1, only have s.ex inside of marriage, #2 control their hormones, and not have s.ex during certain times to avoid pregnancy if they do not wish for a pregnancy...

          It seems absurd to most people these days that one can ACTUALLY control their desires... Go figure.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • Observer

          "not have s.ex during certain times to avoid pregnancy if they do not wish for a pregnancy..."

          Yep. Support for BIRTH CONTROL.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • Colin

          LoA. Why? Why not simply use contraceptives? Why not have $ex outside marriage?

          January 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Colin,
          That would begin a conversation on the existence of morality, and where it comes from...

          January 3, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Physical intimacy is important, whether you're making babies or not.
          S.ex is, of course, not the only aspect of a healthy relationship – just as s.ex can exist without love, so can love exist without s.ex – but it is still an important component of most relationships.
          My partner and I have been together for a decade.
          We both work and her schedule is less predicatble than mine. As a result, we can't really pencil in jiggy time based on her meunstral cycle – so we take the opportunities as they present themselves.
          And besides, the rhythm method and other forms of "natural family planning" are demonstrably less effective than contraceptives.
          When we are intimate, it re-affirms our connection to each other and while we don't want any more children, we DO want to keep on sharing ourselves with each other.
          I can't imagine what the state of our family would be without contraception.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc,
          The Bible doesn't have anything to say about contraceptives in general, but when those contraceptives carry even the slightest possibility of abortion, then there's a problem with them. Then my question is only over when and how this became a "right?" If it's a "right," then it's only encouraging young people to get involved in risky behavior.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Access to something isn't the same as encouraging risky behaviour.
          Do your 2nd amendment rights encourage you to shoot people?

          January 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          And we had the contraception/abortifacient discussion yesterday.
          Remember the study I cited from the Christian, Pro-Life obstetrician/gynecologist group?

          January 3, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc,
          Come on... If you've got a kid whose parents are out for the weekend, and there's an unlocked liquer cabinet in the basement, you don't think he's going to be more tempted than if it was securely locked away? Easy access to contraceptives is only going to add to the temptation for kids to engage in risky behavior, and to deny that fact is really looking the other way.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • Johnny

          Doc, they probably aren't real Christians though.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc,
          I do remember our discussion. And I also remember you ignoring me when I told you that I personally interviewed several pharmacists on the issue who disagree with you. And I followed that up with "If you can't trust professionals in the field with no skin in the game, then who CAN you trust?"

          January 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Lawrence
          The states in which young people are denied access to contraceptives and are taught "abstinence only" s.ex ed have the highest instances of teenage pregnancy.
          Education is the key, not ignorance. Prohibition doesn't work.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          LofA,
          That's not really analagous. The children cannot drink liquor unless they can access it (as you say) however they can, and do, have sex without contraception.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc,
          No, that's not proof against abstinence aducation, it's only proof against SECULAR abstinance education. I've seen it work in Sunday Schools in numerous churches to the amount of 90%. But you'd never get away with that in public schools, and that's the problem.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Lawrence
          Again, this has already been discussed.
          70% of women seeking abortions in the United States are religious.

          January 3, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc,
          Anyone who would willingly seek to murder their unborn child is no Christian – or they don't understand the significance of what they're doing...

          January 3, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • G to the T

          LoA – you seem to be asking for a nanny state where all possible "temptations" are removed. Why do you want to infringe upon my free will?

          It's a pluralistic society, whether you like that or not. In such a society the ONLY way we're ever all going to get along is if we take the "don't like, don't do it" stand and not the "don't like it, ban it" stance you seem to be advocating.

          January 3, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
      • Saraswati

        Pregnancy carries far greater risks than any form of birth control, and a policy of allowing the ethical whims of a company to dictate healthcare carries far, far greater risks.

        January 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • Alias

        Contraception can be used for things other than birth control.
        Lack of it can be harmful.
        However, that is not the issue here.
        The church has no right to control the behavior of poeple in the privacy of their own homes.

        January 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Alias,
          It does if those people are hired by that church, and subscribe to the church's beliefs. That's what church discipline is all about. (Proverss 12:1, 1 Corinthians 5:12, Matthew 18:15-17, and many more...) Actually, it goes beyond who the church hires, the church judges the lives of those who are members.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          If I'm a chef at a vegan restaurant, should my employer be able to stop me from eating steak at home?

          January 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc,
          We're talking about Christian inst.itutions, not secular ones. Everyone involved subscribes to the same morals. And besides, within a church body, the leaders DO have a right to police the actions of its congregants.

          January 3, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          They DON'T have the right to police the actions of their congregants when said congregants are paid employees.
          Once the church issues someone a paycheque, they become an employer subject to the same laws as any secular employer.
          For example, the largest ranch in Florida, Deseret Ranches, it owned by the Mormon Church. They are not legally allowed to fire an employee for not wearing their Temple Garments of for failing to pay their ti/the to the Church.

          January 3, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
  13. bostontola

    Something can't come from nothing. There has to be a first cause.

    These are examples of assertions of fact that are not fact but appear as obvious to lay people. 2 fields of physics, Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, which apply to physical scales beyond normal human experience reveal extremely non-intuitive aspects of reality. They are strange and the opposite of obvious.

    Quantum Mechanics is our most strange and simultaneously our most exact science. If any of scientific explanations of the natural world are correct, then something has to come from nothing, all the time. The most precise experiment ever conducted by scientists involves the measurement of the absorption spectrum of hydrogen. The quantum model of the hydrogen atom predicted a spectrum that was very close (to within a part in 10 million) but the measurement was good to a part in a billion. It showed a discrepancy. It took years for scientists to figure out what was going on. When you include virtual particles, ones that quantum mechanics predict will pop into existence from nothing, in the model, it predicts the spectrum found to the experimental accuracy (1 part in a billion). No other scientific measurement is that precise. If you don't believe in virtual particles popping into existence from nothing, you shouldn't trust gravity theory or anything else.

    You may think, well those particles don't matter, but you'd be wrong. Their finger print is on the cosmic background radiation pattern of the observable universe. Those virtual particles are responsible for the break in uniformity of the early universe, resulting in the stars, galaxies, and galactic superclusters that exist today. If not for stars, there would be no higher elements, planets, and ultimately us. All due to things that came from nothing.

    The lesson is, we can't trust our natural sense of what is obvious because that sense developed in our normal experiences within our spatial scale and the time scale of lifetimes. The start of our observable universe occurred at the intersection of these 2 great theories. When space and time were born, quantum effects ruled. Our common sense doesn't apply. First cause has no meaning when time doesn't exist yet. Something comes from nothing all the time.

    January 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
    • ME II

      "Nothing" is inherently unstable.

      January 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
      • bostontola

        Correct.

        January 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        That statement makes absolutely no sense...
        If one cannot observe "nothing" in a laboratory, then how can anything definitive be said about it?

        January 3, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • bostontola

          We can't observe the Big Bang in a lab either. We can observe the galaxies receding from each other at a rate proportional to their distances though.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • cross eyed mary

          Larry boy, u b outed

          January 3, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
  14. Mopery

    Behold the burgeoning American theocracy! Brace yourselves for the next Inquisition.

    January 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Nobody expect the American Inquisition!
      Their chief weapon is surprise....

      January 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        and fear...!

        January 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • Mopery

          Yes, our two main weapons are fear and surprise, and nice red suits...oh damn!

          January 3, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
  15. Alias

    This issue has nothing to do with religious freedom. It is about employer vs. employee rights.

    January 3, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
  16. Live4Him

    @Tim : Atheism means no belief in any gods.

    Then you'd better inform Merriam-Webster that their definition is wrong, because here is one of the ways that MW defines atheism:

    the doctrine that there is no deity

    <><

    January 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      there are different kinds of atheism. lie4him

      January 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
    • bostontola

      From MW:
      2
      a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
      b : the doctrine that there is no deity

      What would make you think MW is an expert on atheism? Other dictionaries disagree with MW. Look at 2a from MW. 2b is just what some people define it as.

      January 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
    • Tim

      I'll repeat, because you apparently think you're clever by not including ALL the definitions:

      Atheism means no belief in any gods.

      January 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Tim : I'll repeat, because you apparently think you're clever by not including ALL the definitions:

        Ditto! Any of the definitions could be applicable to the usage of the term. Thus, unless you consider yourself the supreme ruler, you cannot claim that your preference is the only one that can be used.

        <><

        January 3, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • Tim

          Atheism means lack of belief in any gods.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
  17. Live4Him

    Christianity is evidence based.

    John 14:11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.

    <><

    January 3, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Quoting the bible to prove a point is like you being the judge and the jury and all the witnesses at your own trial. There is zero credibility.

      The bible was written by (primitive) people in the same deluded cult as you so OF COURSE they are going to say things to back up your point of view. Likewise, your delusion comes from their deluded writings, so of course you think what they say is true.

      If I quote from a book that I wrote saying that I am the most handsome intelligent man in the world, how much factual credibility would you give it?

      come up with some independently verifiable points from outside your cult and then we will have a great conversation!

      January 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
      • Live4Him

        Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
        Josephus, Flavius, Antiquities 18.3.3

        January 3, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • Not impressed

          Ah yes the hearsay "historian" Josephus.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        LofA
        Didn't Hercules and jesus get a room or did they edit out the naughty bits?

        January 3, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
    • Joey

      First you will need to prove that the miracles happened without using the bible.

      January 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      LofA
      Replicate one of the miracles, please, if not it is simply myth and supernatural BS.

      January 3, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Apparently you're not familiar with the definition of "miracle."
        Only Christ, and for a short time after Him, the apostles were granted the power of miracles in the church age. But it was only a sign gift that authenticated them before an unbelieving world as messengers of the true gospel. Now that we have the written word of God, miracles are no longer needed, and have ceased as a normal occurance. Now, the authentication of any messenger is weighed against the canon of the Bible.

        January 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        LofA
        Sorry all sorts of scam artists declare they can perform miracles from travelling tent evangelists to the likes of Benny Hinn, today. Jesus was just the first of the hustlers and the disciples covered his back by repeating the BS stories. No miracles ever, although Dionysus always had very fine wine.

        January 3, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          I agree with you that the Benny Hinn's of today are scam artists. But I challenge you to prove to me that the resurrection of Jesus was a scam...

          January 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          What resurrection?

          January 3, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          ME II,
          Don't be obtuse. If you subscribe to the belief that the historical Jesus never existed, then you are in the EXTREME minority of both theists and non-theists alike. Now, we know that the body of Jesus "disappeared," so where did it go? Did the few Christians somehow overpower Roman soldiers and steal the body? Why then would they allow themselves to be crucified for a known lie? Did the Romans take it? What would that do for them? What about the Jews? If the body of Jesus was not resurrected, then you've got a lot of difficult questions to answer.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          No resurrection, no accession, All stories made up after the fact. If jesus was crucified as a rabble rouser by the politicians of the day, his body would have been thrown in a ditch with the others and covered over with just plain dirt. No son of god just one of many would be messiah's of the day hustling the sheep.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Sorry Dippy, ascension

          January 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          And who made up the stories? The church fathers? Those men who were the direct students of the apostles, through whose quotations alone the Bible can be almost entirely pieced together?

          January 3, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          Men make up stories about gods from Ra to superman and everything in between. Take a historical figure even a fictional one and embellish the legend and presto you have a god. See the theogony as relevant as the bible at one time.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,

          Obtuse? You claimed that a resurrection occurred. what evidence do you have to support that claim?

          While Jesus may very well have existed that does not validate every claim made by the Bible. In other words, many, many people died for which we have no body as evidence, including well-known people.

          "Now, we know that the body of Jesus 'disappeared,'..."

          Actually, it is *likely* that Jesus existed and was crucified, but what may or may not have happened to his body is not *known*.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • Award Notification Dept

      Instant Prize Winner! Occasionally, we award an instant prize for a superb demonstration of the Fundy Method of Inquiry & Verification. Congratulations! For those who do not know how this method works, it can be easily show graphically as follows:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YIj4rLYo0c

      January 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
      • Yes!

        I had to give one of those to a fundamentalist atheist yesterday. Funny how atheism doesn't solve human circular reasoning sometimes.

        January 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
    • rong

      How is that Colorado pot anyway?

      January 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
    • ME II

      @Live$Him,

      If there were evidence of miracles then those miracles might be evidence.

      January 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
  18. mungo

    Religious nonprofits are already exempt from providing contraceptive health care to their employees.
    What these nuns want to for the US government to make it illegal for church employees to get contraceptive insurance on their own.

    January 3, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
  19. Live4Him

    @Doc Vestibule : "A" + "Theism" = lack of belief in gods.

    Then aweight must mean lack of weight, right?
    And akin must mean lack of kin.
    And alight must mean lack of light.

    The reality is that NO ONE lacks a belief system. It is impossible unless that person knew all things (i.e. omniscient).

    <><

    January 3, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      wrong on so many levels ...

      January 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
    • Tim

      Did you think that made sense when you typed it out? Your love of semantics is tiring.

      Atheism means no belief in any gods. Why do you fight this so much? The fact that you can't imagine anybody else thinking differently from you.

      January 3, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Not all belief systems are predicated on supernatural enti/ties.
      If you are asymptomatic, do you take that as a sign of illness?
      Do you assume someone is Republican or Democrat if they describe themselves as apolitical?

      January 3, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Doc Vestibule : Not all belief systems are predicated on supernatural enti/ties.

        Agreed – but your argument was that atheist LACK a belief system. Are you now backing away from that posit?

        <><

        January 3, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          No.
          The statement I made is that the term "atheism" describes a lack of belief in GODS – not a lack of belief system.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
  20. Dyslexic doG

    "faith": believing something without a single shred of proof.

    it amazes me that religious folk see this word as a badge of honor while any logical thinking person sees it as a mark of foolishness or insanity.

    quite a disconnect.

    January 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      Wrong.
      Faith is the as.surance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
      That is, faith (Christian faith) is confident obedience to God’s word in spite of circ.umstances or consequences.

      January 3, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        sooooo ... not really wrong at all ...

        January 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
      • Alias

        No. Faith is a belief without proof.
        There is no proof that any gods exist, including yours. You have faith anyway.

        January 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
      • Doris

        " the conviction of things not seen"

        unseen things have conviction? how would one know?

        January 3, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          By observing the effects of what is not visible, one is convinced of even the unseen.

          January 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • Doris

          What kind of observations, effects?

          January 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • Tim

          How the hell can you observe what isn't visible ?? Freaking absurd.

          January 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "What kind of observations, effects?"
          -----
          Life... Life can only come from other life. So where did the first life in our physical universe come from?
          Abiogenesis doesn't work. There must have been a non-physical first cause.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
        • Tim

          Life is visible. Therefore it is not unseen. You're talking in riddles; circles.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          Twists away from the question so he can go on one of his favorite apologist rants that life had to be created by a supernatural sp00k. Don't bite make him get back on topic.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Tim,
          Read my prior post... I said the EFFECTS of the unseen. Life is an effect.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        There is no "assurance of things hoped for".

        January 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
      • Frank

        Dyslexic Dog might want to google "faith". In regards to Christianity, his definition is dead wrong.

        January 3, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          I think the problem is when non-theists try to force secular definitions on words of faith. This happens a LOT on discussions of "free will" too. Of course, they're used to this when people like Lawrence Krausse redefine what the word "nothing" actually means... This of course, so that his absurd theories of the origins of the universe coming from "nothing" (now redefined) actually makes some sense.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
        • Frank

          They mock faith but don't understand the human psyche.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Dr. Adrian Rogers once said that man is incurably religious... Either he will worship the true God, or he will worship a god of his making after his own likeness...

          Romans 1:18-32 – "...Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures..."

          January 3, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • G to the T

          You get 10 christians together and you'll get 10 different defintiions of "faith".

          Some believe it means to believe without being able to truly KNOW one way or the other.
          Some believe it means to KNOW without requiring qualifying evidence.
          Some believe it means...fill in the blank.

          Let's see what google says:
          [faith
          /fāTH/
          noun
          noun: faith1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
          "this restores one's faith in politicians"
          synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction; Moreoptimism, hopefulness, hope "he justified his boss's faith in him"
          antonyms: mistrust
          2. strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.]

          The challenge is that definitions are not... well definitive.

          January 3, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
      • sam stone

        faith is not evidence, larry

        babble quotes do not count as proof

        January 3, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      Atheists claim to own rational thought, and yet to be an atheist, one must believe at least 3 impossible things before breakfast…
      1) That something can come from absolutely nothing
      2) That life can come from non-life
      3) That mutations can add information to the genetic code

      January 3, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        The common argument, “well, what caused the Big Bang?” with the implication that, because we have only theories and no iron clad explanation for the Big Bang yet, [the Christian] god must have caused it – does not make sense to us. “I don’t know” does not equal “god” to us, much less the Judeo-Christian god. We feel the answers to such a question are much more likely to be found in Einstein’s equations, quantum physics, large particle accelerators and radio telescopes than in Genesis Chapters 1 through 20. We’re crazy aren’t we?

        January 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          The first step towards theism requires one to admit that if science cannot (yet) provide an explaination for something, one cannot logically exclude the existence of the supernatural and miraculous. This applies to the origins of the universe, as well as any other unexplained or unexplainable event. And origins will never be able to be scientifically explained since basic science requires observation.

          January 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          if you can't grasp "That something can come from absolutely nothing", then who or what created your god?

          January 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • Doris

        Wrong, Mainly because you, like L4H still don't understand mainstream atheism.

        January 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        and if you can't grasp "That something can come from absolutely nothing", then who or what created your god?

        January 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Every causal chain requires a first cause. In our physical universe of cause and effect, there must have been a first cause that was not physical, since infinitely long causal chains are paradoxical.

          January 3, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          LofA, Presuming a first cause, why do you think that it is your god?

          January 3, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          In Santa,
          The proof of the first cause doesn't prove the existence of the Christian God, it merely proves the existence of the supernatural, which is the logical first step to transitioning from atheist to agnostic to theist.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          What casual chain? If a casual chain forms a circle where would the first cause be? Like your attempted reasoning always ends up in a circular argument.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Not so.
        "A" = lack of
        "Theism" = belief in gods.
        "A" + "Theism" = lack of belief in gods.
        The term is a negative statement that describes only what one does NOT believe.
        It implies no behaviours, worldviews, morals or other characteristics whatsoever.
        It is akin to calling the singer in a band an "a-instrumentalist". The term is technically correct, but it doesn't describe what they actually do.

        January 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
      • Tim

        To be a Christian, one has to pretend they know what atheists think.

        See how utterly stupid generalizations are??

        Atheism is lack of belief in any gods. ANY. Even yours.

        January 3, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
      • AtomHeart

        Mainstream atheists do not spend countless hours online acting hostile toward religious people on faith and belief blogs.

        There is an extreme side of atheism that does that. Most atheists accept and appreciate people of other belief systems. Most atheists would rather post on a science and technology blog.

        January 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
      • BRC

        Lawence of Arabia,
        Mutations can, and do, add to genetic codes. So do some viruses. so can radiation and a selection of environmental factors. DNA is not set in stone.

        January 3, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          And where is the research that shows that the genetic information for growing wings can force itself upon pig DNA? Silly example, I know, but if you believe "A" then you must believe "B." Mutations degrade genetic code, not upgrade them. Even Christopher Hitchens was quoted as saying that he couldn't think of one example of mutations adding information to genetic code.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          It isn't matter of "upgrade" or "degrade" – it is a matter of alteration. DNA/RNA self-replication is not always 100% accurate.
          DNA is a quadranary code, like computers use binary code.
          Altering the sequence of 1s and 0s in a large computer program may or may not produce immediately demonstrable effects, but the accu.mulation of subsequent code built on top of the altered bits will indeed be different with the effects of the parent change becoming exponentially more different than a parallel, unalteered source with each generation.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
      • bostontola

        LoA,
        You summarized it fairly and correctly.
        1) is a scientific fact. Virtual particles come into existence all the time. The evidence is the hydrogen spectrum, the cosmic background radiation pattern, and many more independent tests.
        2) while this is still belief, science is very close to demonstrating this.
        3) this is also a scientific fact. Laboratory experiments have shown this to be true.

        January 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
      • Damocles

        1) Something can not come from nothing.

        I don't understand this argument for a couple of reasons. One, if there was 'nothing' then there is nothing for anything to create something. If you say your deity is eternal, or exists out of time, or whatever, that's fine, you have that right. Doesn't make sense since the universe could and probably did exist in one form or another for all eternity. Time is also irrelevant, it is a manmade way of keeping track of something. The universe does not conform to our units of measure, we just came up with a way to measure certain things around us.

        2) Life can not come from non-life.

        Well, if you look at what makes up the human body, proteins, minerals, vitamins, elements, it seems life can come from the non-living.

        3) Mutations adding to the genetic code.

        This is not an area that I have studied, so I can't really say much about this, but I can say that at no time in my life did I ever say 'oh, mutations don't add anything so I have to be a believer.'

        January 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
    • AtomHeart

      If there is just 1 person alive who can demonstrate logical thinking equal to or greater than your ability, and that person also believes in faith for different reasons than you theorize, your whole statement becomes a hollow and shallow opinion with very little evidence to support it.

      January 3, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        well that's not very logical thinking ...

        January 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • AtomHeart

          There are smarter men and women than you and I that believe in faith and not for the reasons you claim.
          Logically, you might be wrong in the opinion you stated.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Dyslexic doG : "faith": believing something without a single shred of proof.

      Well then, you must agree that this definition does not apply to Christianity.

      John 10:25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me,

      John 10:38 But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

      John 14:11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.

      <><

      January 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
      • Tim

        Quoting Bible verses proves nothing.

        January 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • Live4Him

          It proved that Christianity was started because of the evidence.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          In which case you've also proved that scientology and mormonism were started because of the evidence.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          "evidence"? LOLOLOLOL Thanks for that! Comedy gold! LOLOLOL

          January 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • Tim

          No it doesn't. It proves, as I stated, nothing.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
      • Joey

        So some most likely made up quotes by Jesus saying basically "Believe me. Please believe me" is now considered evidence?

        January 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          pitiful isn't it?

          January 3, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • Joey

          It is pretty darn absurd.

          January 3, 2014 at 1:18 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.