Yesterday I posted about the Hobby Lobby decision, observing that it can’t be both a broad precedent that will protect liberals’ freedom of conscience along with conservatives’ and a narrow ruling that isn’t really a big deal. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court was clarifying that whatever the ruling ultimately means, it definitely isn’t quite as narrow as to apply to just the allegedly abortifacient contraceptives Hobby Lobby’s owners object to.
Is Burwell v. Hobby Lobby about freedom of (corporate) conscience broadly, or is it just about a few specific contraceptives? It can’t really be both.
Be sure to read Amelia Thomson-Deveaux's article on the emerging evangelical-Catholic alliance over contraception. I think her historical analogy is entirely fair: evangelicals haven't always been opposed to contraception, but then they weren't always galvanized against abortion, either. And I appreciate that she doesn't simply endorse one of the two standard narratives on how evangelicals came to hate abortion—that either they came around to this opposition organically as they learned about the facts OR they were cynically manipulated by political operatives. There's truth in each of those stories; they aren't mutually exclusive.
I am a woman of faith who longs for the reduction of poverty, the empowerment of women, and an individual's right to practice religion—and an individual right to practice religion ought to be protected from corporate personhood's religious whims.
The courts have been inundated with cases from corporations that refuse to provide insurance for contraception based on the religious beliefs of their owners. The Supreme Court will be hearing the cases soon.
In case you missed it last Friday, the Obama administration quietly issued a proposed update to regulations coming out of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as "Obamacare." The verbiage is a bit dense, but here's the upshot: the ACA requires health plans to provide contraceptive coverage to all insured members. Some religious organizations and even a few for-profit companies objected to this requirement, citing religious beliefs.
I've so far declined to comment on Wheaton College's decision to join the election-year culture war skirmish du jour by suing the feds for stomping all over its religious freedom requiring insurers to cover basic women's health needs while allowing faith-based employers to themselves stay out of it. I was sad but not surprised to learn of this move. Wheaton takes it as not only one legitimate view but an article of evangelical conviction that the morning after pill is unacceptable? Sure, okay. I disagree with my alma mater, but it's hardly the first time.
A few months ago I preached a sermon that a lot of people loved and a few people hated. I heard from both groups but spent more time, as is perennially the case in ministry, with the few. I didn’t set off to be controversial. I looked at the texts, read some commentaries. (Get behind me, Satan.) And then, in the middle of the week, a United Methodist preacher's kid made the news.
First the bishops sought an expanded exemption. Now they claim the contraception mandate itself violates religious liberty. It doesn't.
Is there an anti-birth control shift taking place among evangelicals? If so, do their arguments mirror Catholic thought?
Who would have thought that contraception would become such a major issue in this election year? Or is it? The U.S. Catholic bishops stress that the issue is not really contraception but religious liberty--the right of Catholics, and by extension any group of religious people, to practice and live out their faith. That's a plausible argument, as the Century editors acknowledged a few weeks ago, and it is certainly one designed to gain allies among other religious people.