Perspective

The Supreme Court hates women! Back-alley abortion coat hangars and so on!

Oops, wait:

(1) The Court assumes that the interest in guaranteeing cost-free  access to the four challenged contraceptive methods is compelling within the meaning of RFRA. …

(2) The Government has failed to satisfy RFRA’s least restrictive-means standard. HHS has not shown that it lacks other means of achieving its desired goal without imposing a substantial burden on the exercise of religion. The Government could, e.g., assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives to women unable to obtain coverage due to their employers’ religious objections. Or it could extend the accommodation that HHS has already established for religious nonprofit organizations to non-profit employers with religious objections to the contraceptive mandate. That accommodation does not impinge on the plaintiffs’ religious beliefs that providing insurance coverage for the contraceptives at issue here violates their religion and it still serves HHS’s stated interests.

So, in other words, the court agrees with the left that contraceptives (in this case, really, abortifacients) really really need to be given to women free of charge, it just disagrees prudentially that forcing Hobby Lobby et al. to do it is the best means of getting there.

So, the left is angry not that women won’t get free morning-after pills — because they will, one way or another — but that their enemies don’t yet get to be subjected to the indignity and humiliation of paying for it over their own objections. Such a big fuss over such a small scrap to have fallen from Caesar’s table.

 

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29 thoughts on “Perspective

  1. Proph writes how the Left seeks to impose on those who dissent from their program that the dissenters should “be subjected to the indignity and humiliation of paying for [that from which they dissent] over their own objections.” Punishing and degrading the opposition is now the raison-d’etre of everything on the Left’s agenda. It is enough to motivate the Left to place an item on the schedule of things to be implemented that dissenters will or already oppose it. It might be instructive to revisit Augustine’s analysis of the libido dominandi. The libido dominandi is not specifically sexual in nature, but sexuality is certain one of its main avenues of expression. The Left’s obsession (for the rest of us it is a nightmare) with forcing acceptance of what normatively and historically have been perversions testifies to its libido-driven character, but it also betrays the nasty secret of the totalitarians. The program of humiliation would not be effective if the things it sought to impose punitively on dissenters were not truly perverse and repellent.

  2. Pingback: Perspective | Reaction Times

  3. I don’t know what’s worse, the hysterical response on the left or the response of some traditionalists who act as those this was some kind of great victory. Rorate Caeli’s very misleading headline “U.S. Supreme Court ruling: thanks to Southern Baptists and Mennonites for upholding traditional Catholic moral teaching!” took the cake for me. Hobby Lobby is not in any way upholding traditional Catholic teaching.

    • or the response of some traditionalists who act as those this was some kind of great victory

      I think we just couldn’t believe we were able to win *any*thing in 2014.

  4. From the decision: Or it could extend the accommodation that HHS has already established for religious nonprofit organizations to non-profit employers with religious objections to the contraceptive mandate. That accommodation does not impinge on the plaintiffs’ religious beliefs that providing insurance coverage for the contraceptives at issue here violates their religion and it still serves HHS’s stated interests.

    This gives the appearance that the justice (Alito?) accepts the moral rationale behind the accommodation, i.e., that it does not impinge on “plaintiffs’ religious beliefs presumably because the material cooperation is remote. However, if whatever insurance company I contract with to cover my employees is in turn required to supply those employees with free contraceptives, then I am still being compelled to have a hand in it. The fact that the cooperation might be described as remote (it’s arguable) doesn’t grant me an automatic permission slip to indulge it. I’m wondering what the court’s words will mean for the Little Sisters of the Poor and several other cases still to come.

  5. I appreciate some of the insightful comments in this post and the comments, but the insistence that the glass is not only half empty rather than half full, but is, in fact is nearly totally empty seems at odds with the positive views on the decision by the U.S. Catholic bishops.

    From the Website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

    “We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize that Americans can continue to follow their faith when they run a family business. In this case, justice has prevailed, with the Court respecting the rights of the Green and Hahn families to continue to abide by their faith in how they seek their livelihood, without facing devastating fines. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to build a culture that fully respects religious freedom.”

    From Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville and the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops:

    “ ‘Pope Francis recently emphasized that “religious freedom is not simply freedom of thought or private worship. It is the freedom to live according to ethical principles, both privately and publicly.’

    On Monday, the Supreme Court recognized this basic freedom in the Hobby Lobby case, upholding the rights of Americans to live out their faith in daily life, through the closely held businesses they run.

    The court based its decision on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, which Congress passed in 1993 with nearly unanimous bipartisan support and President Bill Clinton enthusiastically signed into law.”

    “RFRA’s standard also maximizes religious diversity and the flourishing of civil society — the vital layer of voluntary associations between individual and government, which provide for so many of our needs, and so enrich our lives.”

    “Thank God for RFRA.”

    I agree with all the above sentiments from the bishops, but the Orthosphere appears considerably less sanguine. Who represents Catholic thinking on this matter, the Orthosphere or the U.S. Conference of Bishops?

    • I didn’t realize there was “official Catholic thinking” on matters of legal strategy. Seems to fall outside the charism (to the extent it even has one) of the USCCB. And in case I am being too subtle, there is no “Catholic” thinking on this issue any more than there is “Catholic” thinking that Argentina should have gone with Carlos Tevez over Rodrigo Palacio.

      • I see the whole contraception debate as a wasted opportunity on the part of the bishops. It could have and should have been a “teaching moment” where we could discuss the evils of contraception and why no society should allow it. Instead it got turned into another tedious debate about “liberty.” American liberalism allows us to be free so long as we stay within the ideological confines of liberalism. Sure it is doubtful such an action would have succeeded as the bishops have frittered away what little moral authority they had left between the scandals and their manifest incompetency in handling them. Now I assent to all the Church’s teachings including those on economics, which so often vary with American right-wing dogma, but the way the bishops express these teachings leaves something to be desired. Of course this weakness is not just with the bishops the entire American right-wing apparatus has come at this issue with such timidity. I recall watching a Thomas Beckett Institute interview where the lead attorney (she’s LDS) almost triumphantly claimed that “hobby lobby doesn’t not fund all contraception just a few!” and “we’re not trying to ban contraceptives!” That strikes me as such a paltry effort, just like Mitt Romeny’s abysmal presidential campaign. But then what else is new in American conservatism? The hand writing is on the wall of your culture’s impending defeat.

        On the other hand I’d say protestants and other assorted Americanists should be pleased. The vast majority of Catholics put being “good Americans” above being “good Catholics.” 99% of the Church in this country is culturally protestant/liberal in some form or another. Are we really that surprised, when Gerogetown a university founded in part from the sponsorship of the Whig-Catholic Carroll family would support American liberalism over Catholicism? That university is acting in the same character as its ideological and spiritual founders. Rorate is wrong to think that Hobby Lobby upholds Christian values. Even on the very narrow question of contraception they are not inline with Catholic teaching. Objectively speaking they are still cooperating with evil. I would also point out as Pope Francis’s recent and public statements consistently reiterate, that Hobby Lobby’s business model may very well offend Catholic Social Teaching on important issues like the just-wage. That is another sore point as well. Why is it in America that so many of the issues are only ever adjudicated in the market context? Why do corporations as “fictional persons” seemingly have more rights than unborn children? Furthermore why do so many “family values” conservatives seem untroubled by these contradictions?

        Right-liberalism squeaked out a minor victory, that likely will not have staying power anyway. It is hardly anything to celebrate. I care only for the freedom of my Church and not fight for the nonsensical religious freedom of others. The fight will have to go on, but in order to win we have to go beyond liberalism.

  6. “I care only for the freedom of my Church and not fight for the nonsensical religious freedom of others.”

    Contrast that spirit with

     Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Matt. 7:12

    • I much prefer this “If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, God speed to you.” (2 John 1:10). I guess St. John wasn’t into modern ecumenism or causes for religious freedom. Anyway that quote makes no sense applied to what I said, I would want others to point me to the Truth (Catholicism) ergo my actions are precisely what I would have others do to me.

      • Of course, it is quite a stretch to say that St. John was talking about the basis for the Hobby Lobby decision, which the bishops applauded. Do you consider yourself to be more authoritative or more orthodox than the bishops?

        Do you believe that the passage of Dignitatis Humanae by a vote of 2,308 to 70 in the Second Vatican Council and its promulgation by Pope Paul VI doesn’t really represent Catholic doctrine, but your views do?

        Are you a sedevacantist or otherwise reject the post-Vatican II popes and their teachings?

        I agree with Luther that Popes and Councils can err. Do you?

      • Of course, it is quite a stretch to say that St. John was talking about the basis for the Hobby Lobby decision, which the bishops applauded. Do you consider yourself to be more authoritative or more orthodox than the bishops?

        The vast majority of England’s bishops also joined in with Henry’s revolution. It fell to the layman St. Thomas More to defend and uphold Catholic teaching. More was fighting for the rights and freedom of Holy Mother Church- not heretics. He himself fervently persecuted Lutherans. By your logic More was like Luther in taking his stand?

        As far as the bishops and Vatican II, traditionalists are probably the most faithful adherents to what the actual Council taught against both radical and moderate modernists, who often times take actions well beyond any VII document. I think in hindsight many of the documents could have been better structured and worded. For my part I am in full throated agreement with the Church’s social teachings including as reiterated by the bishops, that includes immigration, wages, marriage, contraception, freedom of the Church and just war. I wish these things could be better expressed at times, and I find the over expansive defense of “religious liberty” highly problematic in the American context. It is not rooted in Church tradition or theology but is rather an unfortunate reflection of the society we live in. It is fundamentally problematic because the Church is subordinating itself to political interests in this case right-wing interests. I am certain however that I am much more in with the Church than the conservative Catholics you probably admire like Robert George. Do you think George or Weigel speak for the Church, when they very publicly and openly dissent from Church teaching on economics, just war and the common good?

        I must say I find your questions and over all position evocative. I would ask my fellow Catholics here to yet again observe how our good “conservative” allies like us only to the extent we assent to Americanism, which is to say liberalism. I feel though as though you’ve only proven the points I usually make here.

      • Replying to Ita Scripta Est | July 7, 2014 at 5:29 am

        While I admire the intellect of Robert George and George Weigel, I naturally assume that the Popes and Bishops not Catholic writers or bloggers represent Church teaching. If they are in conflict with the Pope and the Bishops on economic justice, etc., that is their problem, and their ecclesiastical authorities should speak to them about it.

        “I am certain however that I am much more in with the Church than the conservative Catholics you probably admire like Robert George.” How am I to judge that?

        Pope Benedict XVI identified religious freedom as:

        “the pinnacle of all other freedoms. It is a sacred and inalienable right. It includes on the individual and collective levels the freedom to follow one’s conscience in religious matters and, at the same time, freedom of worship. It includes the freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true and to manifest one’s beliefs in public. It must be possible to profess and freely manifest one’s religion and its symbols without endangering one’s life and personal freedom. Religious freedom is rooted in the dignity of the person; it safeguards moral freedom and fosters mutual respect.

        Every government bears the profound responsibility to guarantee in its Constitution, as your First Amendment and the entire text secure, religious freedom for its people and must moreover uphold religious liberty both in principle and in fact.”

        See http://www.holyseemission.org/statements/statement.aspx?id=454

        This is a far cry from, one might say a polar opposite of, and “I care only for the freedom of my Church and not fight for the nonsensical religious freedom of others.”

        Was Pope Benedict just putting us on? If so, that is a serious charge. Was Pope Benedict’s idea of religious freedom merely the Catholic mirror image of dhimmitude? If I take his words at face value, obviously not. Are the Pope’s words and sentiments “highly problematic” and “subordinating” the Church to “right-wing interests?” If my religious freedom is “nonsensical,” “unfortunate,” and “not rooted Church tradition or theology,” then Catholics value my religious freedom less than Muslims would under Sharia law. It is hard to imagine the calls by both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis for religious freedom in the Middle East in that context.

        It is true that a large number of English Bishops eventually gave in to Henry VIII. Are you suggesting the U.S. Conference of Bishops is similarly trembling before President Obama? President Obama, thanks to our Constitution, lacks the power to behead them or remove them from their bishoprics. Thomas More was true to his conscience, but was circumspect before Henry. Henry, who was a monster, wouldn’t let him alone. Luther and More could both err. More was, of course, wrong to persecute Lutherans, and I am happy to note that the neither the Catholic Church nor the English government currently persecutes Lutherans. Are you suggesting it would be a good idea, rooted Church tradition or theology, to return to the persecution of Lutherans?

      • Leo,
        “More was, of course, wrong to persecute Lutherans”

        Do you know precisely on what grounds More was persecuting Lutherans?
        If suppose someone calls for the Church to be dispossessed of its properties and actually agitates for the dispossession, that could lead to disturbance of peace and could even unsettle the State. Then should we let those agitators agitate undisturbed?
        Should America let Communist agitation and propaganda unhindered?

      • I think what Benedict said could be reconciled with traditional Catholic thought, though I do find it unfortunate, that he cited the First Amendment. I chalk up his pro-American sentiments to his being influenced at young age by American ideology in occupied Germany. History is replete with instances of the Church leaders getting swept up in the ruling great power’s ideology. The problem with America though is that America in many ways was an explicit rebellion against Catholic principles. There simply cannot be a fusion between the two.

        then Catholics value my religious freedom less than Muslims would under Sharia law. It is hard to imagine the calls by both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis for religious freedom in the Middle East in that context.

        Yes I certainly do not value the freedom of false religions neither do most trad Catholics I know, I guess you’ll just have to do without us in your campaign for religious freedom.

        Are you suggesting the U.S. Conference of Bishops is similarly trembling before President Obama? President Obama, thanks to our Constitution, lacks the power to behead them or remove them from their bishoprics

        Our civil theology does in fact govern how our religions conduct themselves. As the commentator noted below, Ginsberg was right in her dissent in pointing out that the state is the final arbiter. For this reason I think once the complexion of the court changes, this decision will be overturned.

        The idea that you seem to subscribe to of this “absolutist” notion of religious freedom, is such an absurd concept. American thought on this subject is so horribly muddled take Jefferson:

        That to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own;

        That it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order;

        Is Jefferson following in the tradition of Hobbes? The state may regulate acts and not beliefs, therefore the “freedom of conscience” is maintained- seen in this light, the “freedom of conscience” seems to be not much of a substantive “right.”

        What precisely constitutes the “public good and order?” That clause is so broad and nebulous so as to basically ensure the very thing Jefferson warned against in the previous clause. Would the state be justified in stopping a religion that sacrificed children? Would the state be justified in quashing a cult that preached mass suicide of its members or engaged in temple prostitution? By what right would the government have to step in and violate the “deeply held religious beliefs” of these groups? Well of course the state would regulate in most of the above cases, but that’s just it, the final decision lies with the secular state. That is the order bequeathed to us by the Constitution. Now you can talk on and on about the genius of the founders and all but that argument has been proven meaningless and it has never worked anyway. I have said it before and I will say it again, the federal government was morally and even constitutionally justified in quashing the practice of polygamy in Utah.

        At any rate I strive for a social order informed by Catholicism not liberalism. Frankly I think I can speak for most Americans, in that we find political Mormonism’s over the top Americanism much more threatening and off putting. Whether it is the Bundy ranch episode which was representative of this the spectacle of people “demanding their rights” not recognizing the sovereignty of the federal government and with militia men running around looking for conflict. The modern right in so many ways strikes me as standing more for anarchy than anything- anarchy in religious belief bleeds into anarchy in politics which in turn bleeds into the social fabric. Enough is enough.

        You can keep Bundy and your militias, I’ll take St. Thomas More defender of the faith and persecutor of heretics.

      • I am left with one of three conclusions:

        Pope Benedict was deluded or otherwise in error in his pronouncements on religious freedom, which seem quite clear, and Ita Scripta Est, who also seems quite clear, represents the true Catholic doctrine and theology on the subject.

        Pope Benedict was merely dissembling for tactical purposes and Ita Scripta Est represents true Catholic doctrine and theology.

        Pope Benedict actually presented the true Catholic doctrine and theology and Ita Scripta Est has it wrong.

        I am wondering if the numerous Catholics who read this blog could help me out determining which conclusion I should draw.

      • My suspicion is that they are both right, with respect to the different conceptions of religious freedom about which they are speaking. I unfortunately don’t have the vocabulary or sophistication to explain the distinction very well, but in a nutshell, ISE is speaking of religious freedom in the sense condemned by preconciliar Popes (basically liberal indifferentism + license to do whatever you want because nothing matters anyway) while Benedict is speaking of it in the sense endorsed by Dignitatis Humanae (which affirmed those earlier condemnations while articulating a “right” born of the duty of Catholics not to unduly coerce others into accepting the faith; which right, DH is at pains to stress, does not extend to allowing false religions to aggress against the natural law).

      • I am left with one of three conclusions:

        Pope Benedict was deluded or otherwise in error in his pronouncements on religious freedom, which seem quite clear, and Ita Scripta Est, who also seems quite clear, represents the true Catholic doctrine and theology on the subject.

        Pope Benedict was merely dissembling for tactical purposes and Ita Scripta Est represents true Catholic doctrine and theology.

        Pope Benedict actually presented the true Catholic doctrine and theology and Ita Scripta Est has it wrong.

        I am wondering if the numerous Catholics who read this blog could help me out determining which conclusion I should draw.

        You are just repeating the Catholic Answers party line. You can stack up quotes from the Conciliar Magisterium appearing to support the loony idea that the Catholic Church teaches that it is intrinsically evil for civil governments to violate religious liberty. ISE can stack up quotes from the pre-Conciliar Magisterium which condemn this idea. Wat do?

        The Conservative Catholic solution is to apply a brutal acid of shielding skepticism to the pre-Conciliar Magisterium—folding, spindling, and mutilating it profligately until they force it to agree with whatever the GOP is saying this week, I mean with whatever Karl Keating is saying this week, I mean with whatever Pope Francis is saying this week, I mean with what the Catholic Church teaches. Then, they layer on top of this a demented pretense that they can’t see anything odd or problematic with their own exegetical antics. Traditionalists, having, you know, at least some tiny shred of respect for the Church’s teachings, point out the problem.

        Notice what happened in the last Pontificate. The second the boot seemed to be coming up off the neck of people who notice the problem, suddenly noticers were coming out of the woodwork. The boot is back down now, and hard. So, the noticers will be quiet again.

        In any event, it is not so hard to make Benedict’s quote conform to pre-Conciliar Catholic teaching, especially if you grant yourself the kind of legerdemain ConservaCaths routinely do when it comes time to dismiss pre-Conciliar utterances:

        It includes on the individual and collective levels the freedom to follow one’s conscience in religious matters

        As long as we take “conscience” to mean “properly formed Catholic conscience,” there is no problem. People with a properly formed Catholic conscience aren’t practicing Lutherans, for example.

        In answer to your questions, I don’t know. I do find it odd how easy it usually is to find loopholes to turn post-Conciliar utterances back into pre-Conciliar understandings of the Church’s teachings. So, I incline somewhat to the theory that the whole Conciliar project is an attempt to camouflage the Catholic Faith to mitigate the damage that the modernist beast does to it. Thus, I think the most probable interpretation of the Conciliar Magisterium is that it has a false exoteric meaning and a true, somewhat esoteric meaning. That is, your alternative 2 is most probable, but nobody as far out of the know as I am is likely to find out which is right prior to Judgement Day.

      • Along with what Proph and Dr Bill noted even if the Church could adopt the First Amendment as our teaching, Catholics would support the suppression of religious activity that goes against the public good and order and the natural law. This is precisely what the US did in the case of polygamy. Thus for Leo, we would still be “bad” Christians and bad Americans for stiffing his religious expression.

    • “I care only for the freedom of my Church and not fight for the nonsensical religious freedom of others.”

      Contrast that spirit with

      Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Matt. 7:12

      Is there supposed to be some sort of intellectual tension between these two? They seem perfectly consonant to me.

  7. We should take the decision for what it is.

    A) Good in the respect that it seems to increase religious freedom for we Christians to go about our activites, making our lives easier. It could have knock-on effects.

    B) Bad in that it is insane that abortion is legal, and contraception a right.

    C) This isn’t even in keeping with the US Constitution. Got to laugh at how divorced the SCOTUS is from the men who founded the nation. Another failure of liberal democracy with a masked ball of judicial activists conducting social engineering.

    • If the court is going to walk back Roe (no guarantee on that, but with God all things are possible), it can only do it a step at a time (procedurally and practically) and only with some new members.

  8. Although I sympathize with the tone of Proph’s observation, I must point out that it proceeds from an inaccuracy in legal reading. All that the U.S. Supreme Court (or any court) means when it “assumes,” is to signal the phrase “even if.” Even if accepting the premises, the logic does not follow. Just taken as a given.
    As one might imagine, given the Sophistic rubbish the U.S. Supreme Court has spewed periodically, it would be very difficult–and cloud the value of the opinion–if justices attacked premises which could not possibly be overturned, every time they wrote. Occasionally Thomas will concur or dissent on something regarding federal law, and voice opposition that the U.S. Congress has any authority (from the Commerce Clause) to enact XYZ statute. That the Commerce Clause allows a myriad of things to Congress, that had til then been seen as accessible only to State legislatures, has been a given since the 1930s.

    To my mind, everything regarding sexual relations and the public square, is a done deal since Griswold.

    This may seem paradoxial, but I think that the USCCB response was the most disheartening aspect of this. They keep on ploughing down the irrational, in addition to the unCatholic. There is no such thing as “freedom of religion,” and there is certainly no RIGHT to it, which is what the USCCB wants to applaud. The fact is, ironically (or perhaps not) Ginsburg’s dissent is correct, in that this is really an unworkable path if pushed. The Civic Religion holds sway, or it does not.

    Me thinks this case represents a strategy to avoid a real backlash, even while keeping up the pressure in favour of the Civil Religion.

  9. The Civic Religion is oriented around the ultimate telos of freedom and democracy, and assumes pluralism (substantively, really an oxymoron here).
    As such, its Basic Law is this: All other things being equal, you are required to respect another’s choices, unless those choices interfere with you in terms of your own material gratification. This duty becomes an affirmative one if there is legislation of a material good. Such legislation arises when the demand for a cognizable gratification becomes strong enough, e.g., the material “good” for persons to be gratified by sexual relations, translating into a right that must be supported.

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