Religious Freedom vs. Public Interest (Working Women)

I dissent.

Let me start off by being clear that I am not a lawyer (on a blog with many lawyers). I have multiple decades of experience as a business executive in large corporations, overseeing the employment of thousands of people. As an executive, I understood very well what the applicable anti-discrimination laws were. Now that I’m a small business owner, I also recognize that many of those laws are not required for me, but based on my personal conviction and principles, I still run my business as if they do.

In a 7-2 decision, SCOTUS recently upheld a completely discriminatory ruling to allow employers (that are not directly affiliated with any church) to refuse to cover birth control in their employee healthcare plans. This decision rests firmly on a few shaky foundational assumptions:

  1. That any fool with religious beliefs can apply those views to other people in their employ, essentially that a business is the same thing as a person now, with beliefs and a conscience (or in this case, lack thereof), and that employees are not full people with choices and access to control over their bodies and lives.
  2. That birth control can be defined solely as a religious matter, subject to an employer’s beliefs about procreative duty, and not a medical issue. It assumes that birth control is optional for all women, that it is not a health issue.
  3. That bearing and rearing children, things that disproportionately create economic problems for women, don’t require any offsetting protections or remuneration (e.g. childcare subsidies) to even the playing field.

Let me take a crack at what’s so problematic about each of these three assumptions.

Issue 1: Applying “Religious Exemptions” to Companies

First, this is what I have referred to elsewhere as the expansion in scope of the application of “religious freedom” to include protections for employers in the private sector, not just for religious institutions. For my purposes, let me examine three different ways to look at “religious freedom.”

  • Religious institutions shouldn’t be compelled to act in ways that contradict with their religious beliefs. This is about ensuring that a Church is not restricted by the same types of laws that protect individuals in a pluralistic society (e.g. anti-discrimination laws). This one’s pretty basic and has been protected for a long time. When people start talking about “religious freedom,” even if they pretend they are talking about this one, they aren’t. It’s not under threat!
  • Religious adherents shouldn’t be compelled to act in ways that contradict their religious beliefs. This is about an individual employee refusing to perform work that they believe to be immoral, such as a doctor refusing to perform abortions. This is one that can be tricky. For example, let’s say the employee applies for a job knowing that she will refuse to perform a high percentage of the basic job duties. Is she protected from consequences at the expense of her employer? I mean, I don’t know who’s hiring people for jobs they don’t want to do, but that’s the potential problem.
  • Companies, whose owners have a religious objection, can’t be compelled to act in ways that contradict their owners’ beliefs. This is one I personally find reprehensible. To quote Mitt Romney, corporations are people, or at least they are often treated like people in the law and in tax codes.  In reality, they are people that live forever, get tax breaks, and are pathologically obsessed with profit to the exclusion of all else (and actually required to be!).

When we talk about religious freedom for individuals, we need to understand these distinctions clearly. A Church has always been a special case. You can’t require a Lutheran Church to consider pastors of all religions when hiring a new pastor. It’s their right to say who can and can’t preach. The Mormon Church has infamously used this same logic to fire women who had a baby (or to refuse to hire women with children between the ages of 0 and 18) from their paid jobs as CES instructors (interestingly, there are no such restrictions on being an unpaid volunteer, teaching early morning seminary). This is a policy that has since changed but was in place pretty recently. Read this horrifying interview published in 2012 by The Exponent for more information on the thinking behind that policy. But it is within their legal rights to do so. [1]

The other protection that is pretty sacrosanct in the US is the right of individual citizens to practice our religion freely.

The broader issue here, the one the US lacks the political will to solve, is that it is completely insane that our health insurance is tied to our employment. No one’s employer should have any say in their healthcare choices, religious objections aside. But here in the USA, that’s how we have it set up. Your employer chooses the plan options, and your employer is required to subsidize at least 50% of your premiums. If you don’t have a job, guess what, you don’t have health care coverage (or didn’t until the ACA was passed, a program which has been in the cross-hairs ever since). You can vote, but you don’t have coverage. You can get unemployment benefits, but you don’t have coverage. That’s how little we care about the well being of citizens in our country, perhaps unsurprising given our terrible response to the Covid pandemic.

Putting employers between citizens and healthcare is a terrible solution which favors larger corporations (who can get the best insurance rates and most afford to match or cover premiums outright). But to exacerbate what’s wrong with that model by allowing employers to pick and choose what healthcare coverage they like and don’t based on their subjective religious interpretations (without actually having any medical knowledge to back it up) is maximizing their control while minimizing their responsibility.

In our free market society, I would never work for a company that would seek such an exemption, one that exhibits open hostility toward the health of women, and I include the Church in that statement, even though their right to do it isn’t up for debate. As a religion, they have carte blanche to do all sorts of things. They can force women to wear nylons. They can force women to serve donuts to the men. They can pay women less or refuse them promotions if they like or fire them when they have a baby. They can refuse to interview a woman if she isn’t wearing a dress or if she’s too attractive. They can ask women personal questions about their sex lives or marriages that we would never allow a non-religious company to do. They have all sorts of protections that we haven’t given to corporations, and for good reason. To do so on the basis of a business owner’s personal religious convictions is to eradicate anti-discrimination laws entirely. It is madness. It works against the pluralistic society we embrace as a nation that allows freedom of religion in the first place.

Solution: Get employers (religious and non-religious) out of our healthcare. We need universal healthcare coverage that isn’t tied to your company or subject to the whims of the people running it. We live in a pluralistic society, and employees should have the ability to live by the dictates of their own conscience, not to be limited by the religious prejudices of their private employers where their health is on the line.

Issue 2: Birth Control is Health Care for Women

Next, let’s talk about what birth control is and does. In this case, we are specifically talking about prescription (e.g. “the pill”) or procedural birth control (e.g. IUD) which is what involves medical bills and health insurance (rather than condoms which only require cashiers’ inquisitive glances). This assumes that women take birth control solely to prevent pregnancy. This is not even remotely true. Birth control pills are used for many other women’s health issues, including:

  • endometriosis
  • irregular periods
  • acne
  • painful periods
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – 10% of women have this
  • cramps

These are things that can prevent a woman from working due to illness or discomfort. The pill doesn’t just prevent pregnancy (which it does imperfectly); it also reduces the economic downside to having a uterus by treating other women’s health issues.

To allow an employer to prevent healthcare coverage for something that alleviates pain and suffering of women, increases employee productivity, and yes, also gives women more control over their reproduction is not only a public good, but it is a huge overstep for an employer to withhold this access. Nobody’s claiming that their religious belief prohibits addressing women’s hormonal problems or ovarian health, yet allowing them to prevent the coverage of birth control is doing just that. [2]

Issue 3: The Child Care Penalty

Years ago, a Mormon feminist who was also a stay-at-home-mother lamented that if society values mothers so much, why aren’t they paid? It’s honestly a really easy answer, but at the same time, a really hard one. The easy answer is that we really don’t value motherhood, either as a society or as a Church, meaning we literally assign no monetary value to it; we consider it a free service mostly provided by women who are often themselves financially dependent (and therefore receiving care by a benefactor, not earning as an economic contributor). But the hard answer is something that has long been debated: should there be financial compensation to offset the Child Care penalty that women suffer in the workplace? And that’s a tougher problem to solve.

In the 90s, early in my career, it became a big push for employers to provide on-site child care for workers as a perk to attract the best talent. I was involved in piloting this in our Oklahoma call center. This wasn’t free child care, but it was more convenient to the working parents who could visit their children on their lunch break and reduce child care pickup and dropoff times, and the cost of childcare was subsidized by the employer (rather than a privately owned for-profit child care company). It was largely successful, but the problem remained that only large corporations could afford to do this. Employees of smaller companies and small businesses were at a marked disadvantage.

Later in my career, I managed a large-scale change to telecommuting across the Western US and then across Australia, moving over 75% of our workforce to working from home. Company policies were strict about the home office setup, though, and separate child care coverage was required, just as it was for people working in the office, and it was not compensated. In other words, you couldn’t telecommute in order to avoid child care costs by watching your kids while you were being paid to work.

This brings us back to the “big unsolved question”: who should compensate workers for child care coverage? Essentially, workers without children are a greater benefit to companies than workers with children; they are more available and less distracted. Their insurance premiums cost less. [3] In the US, it is almost always pushed over to employers to solve all problems, giving large corporations a huge advantage and also making things much more difficult for those who work for smaller companies.

While there are some government programs to assist those living below the poverty line or those with special needs children, the current pandemic has revealed how utterly inadequate our child care coverage is to maintain a productive workforce. Parents can’t be productive working from home while simultaneously replacing the public school system in their new at-home work space. As most women know, child care coverage can cost nearly as much as the woman makes in an entry level position, which demotivates women to work. We almost never look at male compensation in this same way. There’s an unstated assumption that it’s the woman’s job to provide the child care or to earn enough to cover that and still have some left over to pay bills. Of course, that assumes that the children have two parents in the home, both theoretically capable of earning. In the case of divorce or other causes of single parenthood, the custodial parent may be reduced to poverty as a result of child care expenses unless there is financial compensation from an ex-spouse, which is not a given. Even when it’s awarded, it’s often not paid in full, an occurrence so common it’s a specific question in the Church’s temple recommend interview.

It may feel that we’ve gotten far afield from the original religious freedom exemption, but consider this. Are those businesses who don’t want women to have access to birth control willing to pay the costs of child care? If not, they are effectively setting women up to fail in the workplace, to have a financial burden that is hard to surmount when compared to male salaries. And what is the religious purpose of refusing to cover birth control? Is it to encourage more sexual reproduction or to punish women and prevent them from earning an income?

If it’s to encourage human reproduction (certainly an outcome of not having access to birth control), then why aren’t these same people promoting universal child care solutions like both Sanders and Warren did during their campaigns? Could it be because it’s really a lie that this is their aim, that their aim is really to punish women who earn money? It sure looks that way to me.

Discuss.

[1] Based on a “ministerial exception,” claiming that since women don’t have the priesthood, they aren’t eligible to be treated as “ministers.” Which is funny because when I was a missionary in Spain, they claimed I was a “minister” to get my Visa to be resident in that country long-term. From a legal perspective, though, the US is generally willing to ignore what religions claim a religious exemption to do.

[2] According to anecdotes of those receiving insurance through the Church-owned schools, birth control is only covered after a woman has been pregnant a minimum of five (5) times, or can be covered if prescribed by a doctor for something other than pregnancy prevention. However, the bar to prove that the prescription is warranted is pretty high, according to some of these stories. For example, one woman was required to “prove” that her period flow is heavy in order for her to receive coverage. I’m not sure how she did that, but I have some ideas of what I would suggest. While this shows that the Church is at least attempting to be reasonable, noting that there are some exceptions where coverage is appropriate, there are still two huge issues: 1) the Church’s policy doesn’t even remotely match what we actually teach about birth control and what it says in the Church handbook (that a couple prayerfully decides on their own family planning), and 2) they filed an amicus brief to promote this cause in the courts, but there is no reason whatsoever to believe that the other businesses that are allowed to use this religious exemption will allow exceptions for women’s health. In other words, the Church (in this instance) cares more about team politics (scoring one for “religious freedom” for their political allies) than what is moral and ethical (ensuring women have access to equitable and fair health care coverage). Note that none of the “religious freedom” folks have asked that their insurance coverage be exempt from covering Viagra.

[3] When we rented out our house to live abroad, our property manager said that we could say “no pets” (our preference), but we’d have a much harder time finding renters if we did, and we’d probably have a vacant house with no income for a few extra months. We relented and agreed to allow pets, and our renters who were otherwise pretty good had two dogs that ripped up the putting green which we are now finally replacing at about the cost of half of one of the months of rent they paid. Was it worth it? I’m really not sure.

Comments

  1. Toonetown says:

    I can actually see the arguments that companies with strong religious opposition to birth control not being required to provide health insurance that offers it…but, I actually think the solution is *NO* employer-sponsored health insurance. Go single payer, and then companies won’t be “forced” to pay for something they don’t believe in.

  2. Marrissa says:

    Yes I dissent too!! I’m angry about so many angles and ripple effects of this decision, including the ones you’ve brought up. I’ll add: I’m furious about the attitude that healthcare for typical female experiences is somehow distinct from “normal” health care. This is an example of how separate is not equal. It’s connected to so-called “health insurance” excluding maternity insurance, excluding pelvic physical therapy post-birth, excluding doula services, excluding breast implants after a mastectomy, excluding trauma care for sexual assault victims, and I could go on. It’s connected to why so many basic, routine women’s health services have to be sought in satellite systems, like planned parenthood, which are constantly vulnerable to defunding and other attacks because they are not integral to the mainstream clinics and hospitals. It’s connected to the primitive state of research on women’s health. It’s part of why the US has rising maternal mortality rates. It’s treating our bodies as exploitable and “other”, as intrinsically spiritually offensive. It is a declaration of war against my body and I will not pretend to hear it as anything else.

    Second, I’m extremely angry that the groups withholding birth control also claim to oppose abortion. I should think it’s obvious that if one wants to eliminate abortion, one primarily wants to eliminate unwanted pregnancies. More than 40% of pregnancies in the US now are unwanted, and that’s clear evidence that birth control access, options, and education are inadequate. Anyone who claims to oppose abortion without vigorously promoting the accessibility of birth control is transparently evil in my book. Such a person or coalition is NOT actually concerned with protecting life, certainly not women’s lives. Rather, they are working to coerce women into unwanted pregnancies and forced labor, which includes the facets of trafficking and torture (involuntary work, weeks of vomiting and hunger, excruciating pain, vulnerability and instability, dramatically increased risk for many complications such as gestational diabetes, permanent nerve damage, major abdominal surgery that will limit reproductive/birth plan options for rest of life, sleep deprivation, likely job loss and discrimination, restricted movement and travel, likely depression, high incidence of abuse and assault in labor and delivery clinics, high rates of maternal mortality). It is exactly fair to characterize such coalitions, which include the church, as anti-choice, anti-woman, and anti-life.

    Sign me up for nationalizing healthcare and eliminating all employer and religious influence from it. I will oppose allowing religious hospitals to be paid by national insurance options for as long as they are diacriminatory. I support defunding religious hospitals and insurance companies, suffocating them, buying them out, etc. Note that this ruling also further endangers health care for LGBT+.

  3. I have not read the decision yet, but based on news reports, the assumptions of what this decision is and what it means in this post are, not to put too fine a point on it, totally wrong.

    The decision rested on the way the ACA was written. It is not a constitutional issue or, strictly speaking, a religious freedom issue. It’s an issue of statutory interpretation.

  4. Not commenting on Little Sisters of the Poor directly (except to say that (a) I thought the ruling predictable, and (b) I like Justice Kagan’s administrative law warning), I think the OP slightly mis-states the status of religion and discrimination generally. We have addressed race discrimination and religion in certain respects and generally decided religion does not permit race discrimination (my grossly simplified one-line version). In effect we are currently in the middle of arguments about religion discriminating on sex or gender. For obvious reasons this is a huge concern for the LDS Church.

    So far it seems religion is winning the right to discriminate on sex. But this is not a foregone conclusion. I like the following summary from the ACLU:

    “With increasing frequency, we are seeing individuals and institutions claiming a right to discriminate—by refusing to provide services to women and LGBT people—based on religious objections. The discrimination takes many forms, including the following:

    >Religiously affiliated schools firing women because they became pregnant while not married
    >Business owners refusing to provide insurance coverage for contraception for their employees
    >Graduate students, training to be social workers, refusing to counsel gay people
    >Pharmacies turning away women seeking to fill birth control prescriptions
    >Bridal salons, photo studios, and reception halls closing their doors to same-sex couples planning their weddings
    “While the situations may differ, one thing remains the same: Religion is being used as an excuse to discriminate against and harm others.
    “Instances of institutions and individuals claiming a right to discriminate in the name of religion are not new. In the 1960s, we saw objections to laws requiring integration in restaurants because of sincerely held beliefs that God wanted the races to be separate. We saw religiously affiliated universities refuse to admit students who engaged in interracial dating. In those cases, we recognized that requiring integration was not about violating religious liberty; it was about ensuring fairness. It is no different today.

    “Religious freedom in America means that we all have a right to our religious beliefs, but this does not give us the right to use our religion to discriminate against and impose those beliefs on others who do not share them.

    If this reads as support for the ACLU In preference to the LDS Church amicus brief in Little Sisters of the Poor, you read right.

  5. Geoff - Aus says:

    It appears to me to involve respect for women. Are you even equal human beings?
    Or the right of men to control, women in many ares of their life?

    Yes there are obvious connections between birth control, abortion, and childcare. If you are anti abortion, you have to support birth control, and childcare, otherwise you are not credible.

    Time for a woman President, or at least vice pres, so a woman at the table, and time for universal healthcare.

    Religious leaders are destroying their credibility with this overreach on religious freedom.
    America used to be a respected leader. No longer.

  6. Wondering says:

    I’m not convinced that the decision is based on the grounds stated in the OP, even though those are very serious matters impacted, at least temporarily, by the decision. Consider the possibility of the analysis reported and argued here: https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/506562-in-rueful-praise-of-elena-kagan-the-little-sisters-ruling as being one in favor of administrative decision making which would ultimately benefit a liberal democrat administration’s potentially bypassing Congress to change the current administrative exemption.

  7. DSC,

    The decision rested on the way the ACA was written. It is not a constitutional issue or, strictly speaking, a religious freedom issue. It’s an issue of statutory interpretation.

    I sympathize with what you are saying here, but there is more going on in this case besides pure statue interpretation, and that’s where the frustration of Angela’s post is warranted. Basically I see three main components of the Little Sisters v. Pennsylvania ruling: 1) you have the majority defending the religious liberty principles–which I think are basically correct–that form the basis of their and others’ claimed exemption from the ACA’s birth control mandate; 2) you have the concurrence (which is why the ruling was 7-2, instead of the usual 5-4, conservatives vs. liberals split) which points out–again, I think correctly–that while the exemption is on proper statutory ground, administratively it’s been handed out arbitrarily; and finally 3) you have a dissent–which, once again, I think is obviously correct–detailing the grave harms, including constitutional harms, which arise from the application of the aforementioned principles.

    In short, the court was obliged to rule about a problem that has been set up so as to force a conflict between working women and socially conservative business owners; both are legitimate, I think–I mean, I basically think Little Sisters was rightly decided, given the constitutional realities in play–but the power differentials between the two sets of interests and the way those differentials play out in the work place and in the lives of women is obviously pretty terrible. The obvious solution, as Angela notes, is to create a system which prevents one of those interests from being dependent upon the other for their health care. Medicare for All–now that Sanders has dropped out and thus some of the more radical health care reform possibilities are officially, once again, off the table–wouldn’t complete eliminate these conflicts, but it would come close.

  8. it's a series of tubes says:

    In a 7-2 decision, SCOTUS recently upheld a completely discriminatory ruling

    Conclusory writing, and inaccurate. But that’s not surprising; internet posts that begin with “I am not a lawyer” (IANAL) and then opining on constitutional issues are nearly always (i) “not even wrong”, or (ii) as here, well intentioned but uninformed.

    Look to Kagan’s concurrence, where she admits the result is correct:
    “While the exemption itself has expanded, the Departments’ reading of the statutory delegation—that the law gives HRSA discretion over the “who” question—has remained the same. I would defer to that longstanding and reasonable interpretation.”

    She then does her best to provide a roadmap to lower courts as to how HRSA’s actual decisions might fail the standard of reasoned decisionmaking. Wondering – I think the assessment in the article you linked to is right on point.

  9. nobody, really says:

    Total straw man. A few of the organizations that have been in the news lately (Hobby Lobby, Little Sisters of the Poor) have been happy to provide “birth control” pills on insurance for any reason, especially to treat other conditions. Where they have drawn the line is for providing “Plan B”, “the week-after pill”, and a couple of IUDs that they feel cross the line into preventing a fertilized egg from implanting. By painting their objections as being against “birth-control” and not “post-conception abortifacients”, you’ve seriously misconstrued their position.

    But, I’ll be charitable and figure that you didn’t know, and weren’t being malicious.

  10. Olde Skool says:

    “According to anecdotes of those receiving insurance through the Church-owned schools, birth control is only covered after a woman has been pregnant a minimum of five (5) times, or can be covered if prescribed by a doctor for something other than pregnancy prevention.”

    Just to clarify: the church will cover BC after 5 pregnancies OR when a woman reaches 40. It’s still a stupid and misogynistic policy, but the details have been misreported out there in social media over the last few days.

  11. Kristine says:

    nobody, I really doubt that Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic organization, are fine with birth control pills. Hobby Lobby, owned by an Evangelical Christian, may have a different position.

  12. Suburbs of SLC says:

    Several of you who are rushing to complain that the OP misrepresented the decision are, in turn, misrepresenting the decision yourselves. There were four opinions issued, not three (Thomas’s majority opinion, Alito’s concurrence, Kagan’s concurrence, and Ginsburg’s dissent). And it is Alito’s concurrence that is most concerning. True, as you note, Thomas’s majority merely stated that the Trump administration was *allowed* to create a broad exemption that lets corporations refuse to provide birth control. So, the theory goes, a Biden administration could simply reverse that. But the Alito concurrence argues that this broad exemption is not only allowed, but *required* by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. And I think the OP is entirely correct to believe that, should Biden be elected and rewrite the exemption, it will be back before the Supreme Court soon enough with the plaintiff’s making the argument that such an exemption is mandatory. After all, that is precisely what the Court already held in the Hobby Lobby case. So yes, the OP may have cut some corners in describing the result of this case, but her fundamental premise is clearly correct: The Supreme Court has repeatedly increased the ability of private corporations to refuse to provide birth control on the basis of their religion, and is likely to continue down that road in the future.

    @ nobody, your summary of these entities’ views regarding contraception is incorrect for two reasons. First, even assuming you were right (that they only oppose abortifacients), the OP’s concerns would be the same. Why should a corporation, rather than the individual woman, decide which types of contraceptives are just birth control and which are like abortions? There is hardly any consensus on that issue, and the OP’s point is that employees, not employers, should make that call. Second, in any event, you mischaracterize their position. While Hobby Lobby opposed only certain types of contraceptions that it viewed as abortifacients, the most recent case noted that, “Consistent with their Catholic faith, the Little Sisters hold the religious conviction that deliberately avoiding reproduction through medical means is immoral.” I’m fairly certain they oppose all types of birth control, not just morning-after or week-after pills or IUDs.

  13. lastlemming says:

    If a Biden administration rewrites the exemption, it is indeed inevitable that the issue will land back in front of the Supreme Court. But there is good reason to believe that the Biden administration would win. If there were five votes in support of Alito’s concurrence, it would not have been a concurrence–it would have been the actual opinion.

  14. I see a common theme on this site.

    Conservative claims of legislative or judicial trends are an alarming threat? BCC – not so! That will never happen, you’re being alarmist!

    Liberal claims of legislative or judicial trends becoming an alarming threat? BCC – definitely! This action portends bad things for the future.

    It’s tragic how much you bite into this stuff hook line and sinker while assuming level headed unbiased rationality on your part.

    What to do? Aren’t we all stuck in Plato’s cave deciphering the images on the wall in one way or another?

    Best to look to the Lord and receive the words of his prophets. For a Latter-day Saint faith based philosophy, at least, it’s the only way out.

  15. Suburbs:
    So it appears from your analysis that if a woman wants to have her birth control covered by insurance, she needs a Biden-Blue instead of Trump-Red administration in the future. I have quite a lot of Catholic and Evangelical women in my practice who request/require birth control of all stripes. I even have Latter-day Saint patients with under 5 pregnancies and younger than 40 years of age who need them. If women want the most basic tools for their health care protected and available, they better vote blue it would seem. I hope we can stand for ourselves in the ballot box. Fascism takes many forms, none so scary as when it attempts to appropriate religious principles to hang on to power. And on the flip side, what kind of religion requires a marriage with political power so intrusive that it imperils the most personal medical needs of even its non-adherents? Religion, I would think, is most valid when it rests on the power of conscience. I think someone of importance once quietly said that his kingdom is not of this world.

  16. No More says:

    But Sute, trust and devotion to LDS prophets is the quintessential Plato’s cave. I prefer rational thought and reason over faith-based devotion. Remember, the prophets gave us polygamy as a requirement for exaltation until it became a damning sin, race based doctrines and policies until they realized God doesn’t judge on race, and other nonsense such as men living on the moon dressed like Quakers, telling us that masturbation leads to homosexuality (yes, Spencer W. Kimball had some serious sexual issues), two sets of earrings are bad (really, Gordon B. Hinckley thought that was important instruction at General Conference), and then there are the numerous changes to the Book of Mormon, the temple ceremonies, the covenants people make, the doctrine, and the whirlwind of policies which have a real effect on how people live and perceive God and the truth.

    So, no. relying on the words of the LDS prophets is not a method for receiving truth or reality. Sitting in General Conference is very much akin to sitting in Plato’s cave and thinking you see reality when in fact the shadows on the wall are the dancing gestures of the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12. If you want to escape the cave and adjust your eyes to the true light of day you must free yourself from “the brethren”, the handbook of instructions, and the correlated doctrine.

  17. Because it gets limited liability, a corporation should not be entitled to any religious rights whatsoever. That’s the bargain you make. If you want to be a sole proprietorship and remain wholly liable, then you can play the religion card.

  18. Thanks, Angela. This is excellent. If this pandemic has a silver lining, it is that we now know Bernie was right all along. Last I checked (a couple of weeks ago), it was estimated that 27 million Americans have lost their health insurance due to the pandemic. Add this to the 28 million who already had no insurance, and you can see the extent of the problems caused by our employment-based health insurance system. It’s nonsensical. I haven’t checked (because I don’t need to), but guess how many Germans or French, or Danes, or Japanese or Indonesians or Bolivians lost their health insurance due to the pandemic. The answer, of course, is zero. American exceptionalism is not something we can be proud of at this particular moment in time.

  19. Geoff-Aus says:

    Roger, No Australians lost their health insurance at the time they most need it either.
    May explain why Australia has 1% death rate from the virus USA 8%. So many consequences to this ideology that universal healthcare is bad. Australian healthcare costs the half Americas, and our life expactancy is 5 years more. Because birth control or a vasectomy are very cheap, our abortion rate three quarters US too. Imagine the peace of mind too.
    Vote for change