Thursday, September 17, 2015

Religious Freedom Report 09.17.15

An appeals court has ruled that Obama's health care law violates the rights of religiously affiliated employees by forcing them to provide  contraceptive coverage.


A U.S. appeals court has ruled that President Barack Obama's healthcare law violates the rights of religiously affiliated employers by forcing them to help provide contraceptive coverage even though they do not have to pay for it.
Parting ways with all other appeals courts that have considered the issue, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis on Thursday issued a pair of decisions upholding orders by two lower courts barring the government from enforcing the law's contraceptive provisions against a group of religiously affiliated employers. Circuit Judge Roger Wollman, who wrote Thursday's decisions on behalf of a three-judge panel, said the court must defer to the employers' "sincere religious belief that their participation in the accommodation process makes them morally and spiritually complicit in providing abortifacient coverage."
The cases are Dordt College et al v. Burwell, No. 14-2726, and Sharpe Holdings Inc et al v. U.S. Department of Human Services et al, No. 14-1507, both in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.

Radio host Bryan Joyce chastises Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz for standing up for Kim Davis but not for Charee Stanley.:

It's odd that Frazier would say Cruz is "committed to defending" religious freedom, because incidentally, there's another woman in the United States who, just like Kim Davis, says her religious freedom is under attack. But Cruz is nowhere to be found. Neither is Huckabee! Not only are they not meeting with this woman, but as far as I know, neither one of them has even bothered to drop a dime and call her.
The woman I speak of is Charee Stanley, a 40 year-old flight attendant who converted to Islam two years ago. She says she came to a mutual agreement with her employer, ExpressJet, whereby other flight attendants would serve alcoholic beverages to any passengers requesting a drink on her flights. But after her fellow flight attendants complained to management, Stanley says ExpressJet reneged on their agreement, and placed her on unpaid leave.

 For three years, Charee Stanley has been a flight attendant with Atlanta-based ExpressJet Airlines. But, two years ago, she chose to be a Muslim. The Washington Post said that "Stanley’s conversion brought an outward change — she started wearing a hijab. But the 40-year-old flight attendant also felt that her new faith prevented her from fulfilling what some might consider a fundamental part of her job: serving alcohol." The missing problem, however, is why did she wait TWO years to suddenly decide her religious freedoms were being violated??

Speaking to students at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, Tuesday, September 15, 2015, Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said, “Our society has become so blind by its quest to redress wrongful discrimination against one class of people that it is now in danger of creating another victimized class: people of faith like you and me.”
It appears, though, that even the Mormons have their tares amongst their wheat: Hermia Lyly wrote at "Young Mormon Femninists" in an open letter to Rasband:
My wife and I listened to your devotional from our home, hoping to hear words of comfort and love. Within a few minutes, we had to turn off your devotional address–both my wife and I were sweating and nearly shaking because we were so disappointed by your message. While my response to you is regrettably incomplete because I did not finish listening to your devotional, I felt the need to protect my home from your words.

"Sweating and shaking?" Really? Sounds like a tactic used by the Freedom from Religion Foundation where atheist heads explodes every time they see a cross or a commandment in public.

I have seen some touting a poll by ABC/Washington Post:

  • An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Tuesday has found that the majority of Americans believe that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis should be required by law to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and said that equality under the law trumps a person's religious beliefs when the two come in conflict.

But, read the fine print. This is a sampling of 1,003 people. I don't think a case could be made for it speaking for the entire USA 

  •  A quick word on the polls, a practice which is central to modern analyses of political races. I believe that polls are far more scientifically unreliable than they are generally made out to be, and think that wild inductions are not the safest way to go. Talking to 200 people and deciding what 200 million are thinking is . . . risky. --Doug Wilson

In Oregon there is another government official who risks losing his job because he does not want to officiate over any same-sex marriage.:

 An Oregon judge is fighting an investigative panel’s accusation that by declining to perform same-sex weddings on religious grounds, he violated both the state’s constitution and code of conduct for judges.
This and other allegations could result in the judge’s suspension or removal from office. Vance D. Day, one of 14 judges on the Marion County Circuit Court in Salem, Ore., readily admits that he asked an assistant not to schedule him for same-sex marriages but instead to arrange for another judge to officiate.
Performing the marriage of two men or two women “conflicted with his firmly held religious beliefs,” Day told the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability.

And in Ohio:

 An Ohio church is suing a strip club and its scantily clad staff for protesting outside the house of worship during the past five years. The Columbus Dispatch reports ( ) New Beginnings Ministries Pastor William Dunfee filed the lawsuit against Foxhole strip club owner Thomas George and his employees last Friday in Columbus federal court.
The suit claims the topless protesters violated the Warsaw church's First Amendment right to religious freedom and the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
Dunfee is asking the court to order protesters to stop blocking church entrances, intruding on church property and intimidating parishioners.
George called the claims "very false." He organized the protests after losing a suit against the church in 2009 for picketing outside his establishment.

Depending on where this goes in court, a precedent could be set on whether or not it is OK for naked people to protest in front of your church during services.