Free-Exercise-Wielding Individuals

I love -- LOVE -- this smackdown ruling delivered by Missouri Judge Carol Jackson to a Catholic business owner who claimed the Obama Administration's birth-control mandate violated his rights.

The burden of which plaintiffs complain is that funds, which plaintiffs will contribute to a group health plan, might, after a series of independent decisions by health care providers and patients covered by [an employer's health] plan, subsidize someone else’s participation in an activity that is condemned by plaintiffs’ religion. . . . [Federal religious freedom law] is a shield, not a sword. It protects individuals from substantial burdens on religious exercise that occur when the government coerces action one’s religion forbids, or forbids action one’s religion requires; it is not a means to force one’s religious practices upon others. [It] does not protect against the slight burden on religious exercise that arises when one’s money circuitously flows to support the conduct of other free-exercise-wielding individuals who hold religious beliefs that differ from one’s own. . . .

We do enjoy freedom from religion in this country as well.

  • bphoon

    Finally! Yea!

  • Draxiar

    Y’know, I’d love to see the Jehovah’s Witness institution try to argue that they won’t pay for Blood Tranfusions.

  • wizbing

    What “slight burden on religious exercise” is the judge talking about? There is no burden whatsoever.

  • Brutlyhonest

    But nobody better lay a finger on funding for woody-pills!

  • GrafZeppelin127

    Oh, this is too good. I was so hoping some religious nut would sue over this and get smacked down by a reasonable judge who understands what religious freedom is and isn’t. This isn’t so much a freedom-from-religion ruling as a religious-freedom-does-not-include-requiring-others-by-law-to-live-and-act-in-accordance-with-your-religion ruling.

  • Username1016

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I see NO difference between (a) employer pays employee a salary, and employee uses some of that salary to pay for birth control; and (b) employer provides employee with health insurance, and employee uses some of that health insurance to pay for birth control. In both cases the employer is providing some neutral thing as part of the total compensation package, and what the employee does with their compensation is entirely up to the employee.

    What am I missing? How is (b) any more outrageous than (a)?

    • Bob Rutledge

      Because white christian privilege is why.


      “Already, [plaintiffs] pay salaries to their employees—money the employees may use to purchase contraceptives or to contribute to a religious organization. By comparison, the contribution to a health care plan has no more than a de minimus impact on the plaintiff’s religious beliefs than paying salaries and other benefits to employees.”

      Justice Jackson agrees that there is no difference.