Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Liberals v Supreme Court Religious Liberty Rulings

Liberals' efforts to fundamentally transform America, from the land founded on freedom of religion into a tyranny of secular totalitarians, has been dealt repeated blows by the U.S. Supreme Court -- not only yesterday's blow against ObamaCare, but also:

Supremes Rule Christians Free to Pray in Jesus' Name at Government Meetings

Supremes Rule Unanimously that President Obama Can't Veto Church Leaders

Supremes Rule Unanimously that Christians are Free to Speak near Abortion Clinics

And even still, Vice President Biden Insists that Gay Agenda Trumps Religious Beliefs

For background, read Mississippi Religious Liberty Law Infuriates Liberals and also read Tennessee Democrats & Republicans Pass Religious Liberty for Schools as well as Kentucky Religious Freedom Act Enacted over Veto by Dem Governor

And for background on the ObamaCare War on Christianity, read Christians Oppose ObamaCare, Support Hobby Lobby and also read Catholics Defeat ObamaCare in Court

-- From "Supreme Court sides with religious liberty" posted at Orange County Breeze 6/30/14

The United States Supreme Court has issued its 5-4 ruling in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. that pitted the Obama Administration against closely-held corporations that did not wish to violate the religious beliefs of their owners by providing abortifacient contraceptives.

In short, in an opinion read aloud by Justice Alito, the Supreme Court sided with religious liberty and ruled that closely-held corporations can be considered persons under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA], and cannot be coerced by the federal government into act that violate the religious beliefs of the corporation’s owners.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Supreme Court rules against Obama in contraception case" by Bill Mears and Tom Cohen, CNN 6/30/14

[The Supreme Court ruling] set off a frenzied partisan debate over religious and reproductive rights that will continue through the November congressional elections and beyond.

The four liberal justices appointed by Democratic presidents, including the high court's three women, opposed the ruling as a possible gateway to further religious-based challenges that limit individual choice and rights.

. . . the issue revolved around a 1994 federal law known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which Alito's opinion said prevents the government from "taking any action that substantially burdens the exercise of religion unless that action constitutes the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest."

Alito wrote that the court's conservative majority rejected the argument by the Department of Health and Human Services that "the owners of the companies forfeited all RFRA protection when they decided to organize their businesses as corporations rather than sole proprietorships or general partnerships."

"The plain terms of RFRA make it perfectly clear that Congress did not discriminate in this way against men and women who wish to run their businesses as for-profit corporations in the manner required by their religious beliefs," he wrote.

. . . many [liberals] worry giving corporations religious freedom rights could affect laws on employment, safety, and civil rights.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Religious Liberty Wins in Court" by Grace-Marie Turner, Forbes Contributor 6/30/14

The Supreme Court today rang a victory bell for religious freedom as it ruled 5-4 that “HHS’s contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion” of three closely held companies – Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties, and Mardel.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, noted that the companies have “sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point.”  The administration had argued that the plaintiffs were for-profit corporations and therefore couldn’t have religious beliefs.

“Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations…protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them,” the court found in citing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

People would be second class citizens if, as owners of corporations, they were not allowed to exercise their religious freedom, Justice Alito said this morning from the bench in announcing the decision.  The court’s decision means that Americans have religious freedom in all aspects of their lives:  If you go into business and start a corporation, you do not lose your rights.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "A Ruling That Both Sides Can Run With" by Jeremy W. Peters And Michael D. Shear, New York Times 6/30/14

“The court has made clear today that the Obama administration’s assault on religious freedom in this case went too far,” said Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, one of several conservative Republicans weighing a White House run. “But this assault will not stop in our courts, in our schools and in the halls of power.”

. . . Conservatives have prevailed on legal grounds by making their arguments about the First Amendment. And many Republicans signaled Monday that they would continue to fight Mr. Obama and Democrats on the broader principle of religious freedom.

The narrative that the president and his policies favor the power of the government at the expense of the individual is an especially potent one among conservatives.

Yet even as conservatives celebrated coming out on the winning side of a divisive social issue, their court victory may have also handed Democrats an issue that will turn out liberal voters in the fall.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Re-Establishing Religious Liberty Post-Hobby Lobby" by Carmel Martin and Joshua Field, Center for American Progress 6/30/14

. . . the principle of religious liberty is being used as a sword by a range of conservative groups currently engaged in an organized effort to discriminate and impose their doctrinal views on a pluralistic nation.

Today’s 5–4 ruling provides clear evidence of how the conservative Roberts Court has misinterpreted the free exercise of religion to the point of absurdity . . .

[It is time] for Americans to consider legislative fixes to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, and state-based RFRA-like legislation that provides for religious exemptions from generally applicable laws.

To read the entire liberals' "call to action alert" above, CLICK HERE.

From "Hill Democrats plot response to Hobby Lobby" by Paige Winfield Cunningham And Seung Min Kim, Politico 6/30/14

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin [D-IL] says he’s introducing a bill requiring corporations that are newly exempted from the contraception mandate to disclose their coverage policy to employees and job applicants.

But there were few specifics Monday from Democrats on what other measures would entail, although one senior Senate Democratic aide said a legislative response could come in July or September — right before the midterm elections.

Democrats don’t appear to see many political downsides to taking on the decision. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out an email shortly after the ruling fundraising off it, and several vulnerable red-state Democrats up for reelection were quick to criticize the decision, even though they’re typically reluctant to talk about other parts of the health care law.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Hillary Clinton blasts Hobby Lobby ruling" by Katie Glueck, Politico 6/30/14

“It’s the first time that our court has said that a closely held corporation has the rights of a person when it comes to religious freedom, which means the corporation’s … [‘closely held’] employers can impose their religious beliefs on their employees, and, of course, denying women the right to contraceptives as part of a health care plan is exactly that,” she said. “I find it deeply disturbing that we are going in that direction.”

. . . she argued that the Hobby Lobby decision is a setback for women’s rights, and at one point called it a step toward a “really bad slippery slope,” noting that some employers don’t believe in, for example, blood transfusions.

Asked about a measure [RFRA] signed by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, tied to protecting religious beliefs under federal law, Clinton said it was authorized “because, at that point, there were legitimate cases of discrimination against religions. The people who wanted to build a church, or a synagogue, or a mosque in a community and they fit into the zoning, but the community was saying, ‘We don’t want one of those in our community’.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby Ruling Ignites Debate Over Religious-Freedom Law" by Kristina Peterson, Wall Street Journal 6/30/14

The high court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case refocused attention on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that passed Congress overwhelmingly in 1993, with the support of some lawmakers still serving in both the House and Senate. The statute requires federal laws to accommodate individuals' religious beliefs unless there is a compelling interest at stake that can't be attained through other means.

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the lead Republican sponsor of the religious-freedom law when it passed the Senate in a 97-3 vote, said Monday's decision affirmed Congress' decision to pass the law in the first place.

"As the Supreme Court rightfully said today, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act could not have been clearer in saying religious liberty of all Americans must be equally protected and not unnecessarily burdened," Mr. Hatch said in a statement. "That's why RFRA passed Congress overwhelmingly more than 20 years ago."

The bill passed the House on a voice vote and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

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