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.
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.
Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Amanda Marcotte brings up a crucial point: while the cultural image of an abortion patient continues to be someone a lot like the title character in Juno, the reality has changed considerably.
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?
by Amy Frykholm
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.
Do we spend more time in closed rooms--trying to articulate to other church professionals why we are right--than we spend speaking to the media and articulating to the larger world why we believe in the inclusive love of God?
So, the Blunt amendment got killed in the Senate. And good riddance: you wouldn't know it from the L.A. Times's writeup, but the measure was a good bit broader than a reversal of the Obama administration's contraception mandate (which itself would have been nothing to celebrate). From the amendment text (pdf):
A health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide the
essential health benefits package...on the basis that it declines to
provide coverage of specific items or services because...providing
coverage (or, in the case of a sponsor of a group health plan, paying
for coverage) of such specific items or services is contrary to the
religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer, or other
entity offering the plan.
In other words, essentially a line-item veto of whatever the boss is morally opposed to, based on church teaching or otherwise.