Local residents react to 'Hobby Lobby' decision

Saturday , July 05, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Faith was a motivator behind a number of Standard-Examiner readers speaking out for and against a Supreme Court decision that has become known as the Hobby Lobby case.

In a 5-4 ruling known as Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court Monday upheld a June 2013 ruling by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals protecting Hobby Lobby and its co-founders, David and Barbara Green, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate.

The ruling stated that certain closely-held U.S. corporations cannot be required by the federal government to pay to cover after-conception contraceptives for their employees.

The Greens objected to the Affordable Care Act requiring them to provide and facilitate, against their religious convictions, four potentially life-terminating drugs and devices in the company’s health insurance plan. The Greens argued that the mandate substantially burdened their religious beliefs in violation of a federal law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

● Some thought the case championed religious beliefs and rights.

“This case was not about contraception, nor about the so-called ‘war on women,’” said Terry L. Halverson of North Ogden.

“It was about standing up against government infringement upon our religious beliefs. The Bill of Rights nowhere guarantees the right to health care, abortion or contraception. I am all for the rights of employers to provide these benefits if they so choose.”

She noted that the Constitution guarantees that the government shall not make any law that prohibits the free exercise of dearly held religious beliefs.

“The (Not) Affordable Healthcare Act forces believing Americans to not only violate their consciences but also to pay for doing so,” she said. “The bottom line: We live in a culture that has chosen to reject God as the very foundation of our society.”

“Ultimately I am pleased with the decision, because it protects religious freedoms, and it's not like the women don't have access to the contraceptives. They still can choose to buy and use it if they feel that that is the right decision for them. It's just not paid for by their insurance,” said Katie Short of West Haven.

“The separation of church and state must be considered in this instance, also the First Amendment,” said Martin Batchelor of Duchesne.

“The current government feels like it can mandate that we pay for birth control regardless of our religious beliefs or our political ones. That is what must be stopped. The government is taking our rights away one at a time. What's worse is that there are those who don't seem to care.”

● Others questioned why a business was being treated as a church.

“I don't believe that a business UNLESS it is a religious business should reflect the owners’ beliefs,” said Debi Fletcher McEntire of Huntsville. “You go into business (or you should) open to all ethnic, religion and lifestyles!”

“If a business is a church, it should file for tax exempt status and appoint a minister,” said Charles Trentelman of Ogden. “Hobby Lobby is a simple ‘we sell stuff’ business. As such, it has no right trying to control the health choices of its employees under a claim of ‘religious freedom.’”

Tremtelman suggests that if business owners want, they could hand their employees brochures telling them it is a sin to have an abortion or use a particular contraceptive method.

“But refusing to pay for valid health care is not OK, it is using employer power to control people,” he said.

“When I go to work or own a business, my religion stays home,” said Les Miller of Tremonton. “Render unto God, that which is God’s.”

He said leaders should render unto the public and employees the protections that are guaranteed under the constitution against religious persecution. “Persecution is a two way street,” he said.

● Some objected to government control.

“Personally, government needs to stay out of businesses, religious organizations, and personal lives,” said Neil Higley of Hooper. “Yes, there needs to be a regulatory govern body, but come on, this whole health care is a big set up for control of the people, and nothing else.”

● Some objected to “morning-after” contraception.

Jana Kellett Talbot of West Haven called the use of morning-after pills insane.

“In a Christian belief, they believe that when conception takes place, and a pill is taken, to destroy an embryo, it is considered an abortion,” she said. “Other forms of birth control by pill, patches, vasectomies, and other birth control is covered under their health care plans.”

“I see the morning after pill as aborting what you started,” said JanaLee Fowers Thurston of Hooper. “My mother taught me ‘If you play, you pay.’ ... I do not see the morning after pill as being ‘health care’ and it was not to be used like contraceptives.”

● One woman said the idea that the pills caused abortion was unfounded.

“The ONLY drug considered to cause an abortion is RU-486 and it was NEVER part of healthcare plans under the PPACA,” said Kris Baker of Layton.

● One woman said women still may choose.

“I believe in a woman’s right to choice,” said Lisa Axton-Bevers. “The choice comes BEFORE any consequences need to be dealt with. ... Don't force me to pay for your birth control and I won't force you to place money in my church’s offering plate.”

● Kathy Hougaard-Lively of Hooper said the issue is being blown out of proportion.

“This law doesn't even apply to 99.9 percent of the people in this country anyway,” she said. “Not really that much to whine about!”

But others said there was plenty to complain about, even encouraging others to boycott Hobby Lobby as a result of the issue.

● Some said the case was cause for future trouble.

Jen Baker Anaya of Ogden said the issue was opening the door for future problems.

“So when a Jehovah’s Witness business owner doesn't want blood transfusions covered is that going to happen as well?,” she said.

“I believe we are on a very slippery slope,” said Bill Wade of Clearfield. “First declaring that a ‘corporation’ is a person and has the right of ‘free speech’ and now that corporate ‘person’ has religious rights.”

He asked what other rights would be granted to corporations in the future, naming the right to vote and for food stamps as some examples.

You may reach JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at JaNaeFrancisSE. Like her Facebook page at SEJaNaeFrancis.

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