Letters to the Editor

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RELIGION: Liberty under assault by the left

Letter by James A. Winterstein, Olympia on March 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm with 80 Comments »
March 19, 2012 1:54 pm

The U.S. Constitution provides for the “free exercise” of religion, but the current administrations at both the federal and state levels intentionally pursue actions that ignore the constitutional rights of those who want to freely exercise their religious rights.

On the federal level, the Obama administration tried to force a Christian school to rehire a teacher who was allegedly fired in violation of federal law. But the U.S.Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, chastised the government and agreed with the school that the First Amendment precludes government involvement in employment relationships between a religious institution and its ministers.

Also, the Obama administration is compelling religious institutions to provide abortifacients to their employees, regardless of religiously based objections by the institutions.

On the state level, the governor and the Pharmacy Board specifically targeted pharmacists who have religious objections to dispensing Plan B. Fortunately, the governor was so inept in her bullying, that according to the court, she only targeted non-Catholic pharmacists who had religious objections, and not Catholic pharmacies.

The court specifically found that “the Board’s rules discriminate intentionally and impinge (the Stormans’) fundamental right to free exercise of religion.” The people of this state owe the Stormans a huge debt of gratitude for standing up to the governor’s intentional and deliberate intimidation of Christians who take their religion seriously.

Make no mistake, our religious liberty is under assault on the left by both the federal and state governments. Fortunately, two recent federal court decisions have upheld our religious freedom.

Leave a comment Comments → 80
  1. aislander says:

    …and it ain’t just religious liberty that’s a target. The definition of a totalitarian form of government is one that impinges on ALL aspects of life.

    The Founders feared “tyranny of the majority,” but that’s not even in play here. Tyranny is being imposed by a pugnacious minority.

  2. Since the letter mischaracterizes some of the major issues , the opinions depending on those non facts on this subject are diminished.

    In the Supreme Court case, it was decided that the teacher was not a teacher, in fact, but an ordained minister who was required under the job duties assigned to the position to act as a minister for 45 minutes a day. Only an ordained minister therefore could hold her position.

    The 6th Circuit (10 out of 16 appointed by Republicans) had sided with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (with 3 of the 5 members appointed by Bush at the time of the ruling), that the person had been discriminated against and that she primarily taught secular subjects so she was covered by employment laws.

    The letter makes it sound like some sort of plot (an “assault”) by Obama in this case, when there was just a new legal question under consideration. Teachers who teach secular subjects in religious institutions remain covered by the employment laws in question because they are not ministers of the faith, so religious institutions must follow those laws even if they have objections.

    Also, Obama followed the precedent of almost every other employment law where religious institutions must follow civil laws for their secular employees. Indeed in the Supreme Court ruling, Alito stated in his opinion:

    …”exceptions to secular laws should be tailored for only an employee who leads a religious organization, conducts worship services or important religious ceremonies or rituals or serves as a messenger or teacher of its faith.”

    There was no more “assault” in the contraception issue than any other president’s application of other secular laws on religious institutions.

  3. LornaDoone says:

    “On the federal level, the Obama administration tried to force a Christian school to rehire a teacher who was allegedly fired in violation of federal law.”

    Total misrepresentation. Classic conservative lying.

    “Also, the Obama administration is compelling religious institutions to provide abortifacients”

    More lies. Birth control pills are not abortifacients and the Obama Administration bailed the religious employers out of being responsible for employee benefits concerning Rx drugs.

    James, is your free exercise of religion inclusive of lies? If so, lie Heaven awaits.

  4. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Also, the Obama administration is compelling religious institutions to provide abortifacients to their employees, regardless of religiously based objections by the institutions.

    Worse, the 0bama administration is apparently walking-back there so-called compromise with religious institutions, partly because Catholic Bishops saw right through it:

    http://www.wyff4.com/r/30680947/detail.html

    And worse still, with the latest mandate dump (dubbed the St Patties dump) last Friday, the 0bama administration will attempt to extend their mandates to self-insured religious institutions:

    Beyond questions of religious liberty, 0bama care, if actually implemented, will trample Constitutional rights like no other piece of… legislation previous. It must be repealed and the authors turned out as they so richly deserve.

  5. Thanks, Lorna, my post was getting a bit long to point out all of the mischaracterizations (lies) in the letter. The sad part is that many on the right parrot such nonsense because they have decided that tearing our country apart by presenting bald face lies as fact helps them gain and retain coercive power.

    It just makes them look ignorant.

  6. aislander says:

    To accuse Mr. Winterstein of lying IS a lie. At most, there is profound disagreement with the left-wing cult of death…

  7. There is suppose to be a separation of the church and state. If it were up to Rick Santorum the tenants of his faith would be crammed down every other person of a different faith which also includes other Christians. It is interesting the Republican Party, the defender of freedom of religion(?), is siding with Rick Santorum.

    So a religious order running a secular business will impose its faith upon secular clients and employees. What will follow next? Forcing business with which it does business to adopt the tenants of its faith or lose business.

    There is a slippery slope in the making. It may be the slope goes down both sides of the hill.

  8. LornaDoone says:

    I see. The new attitude by the Catholic Church is that Obama’s attempt to take them out of the loop isn’t good enough for them, especially for political purposes.

    It isn’t good enough that the insurance company will be soley responsible for the distribution of funds for contraceptives, if they are providing insurance for a Catholic employer. The Catholic Church is going to maintain that if they think they have anything to do with the employee or insurance company, they have the right to violate the privacy of the employee and their freedom to do business with the insurance company the same as all other insurees. This is nothing short of making a mockery of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

    As I said in another thread:

    Catholic College: “We mandate you purchase insurance via us.”

    Catholic College: “How dare you ask for madated coverage of Rx drugs!”

    The one continuous that is dependable as rain in the Northwest is a religious institution will be hypocritical at all times.

  9. aislander says:

    The imposition is by government. What part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is so hard to understand? The use of the word “shall” with the third-person noun means that the direction is imperative and not optional.

    Religious institutions are, by definition, religious.

    There are plenty of examples in law in which derivations are seen as retaining the nature of that from which they have been derived, and religious institutions shouldn’t be singled out to be the exception…

  10. There is no establishment of religion to make all religious institutions that are doing things that have nothing to do with their religion abide by the same law everybody else has to abide by.

    As Supreme Court HJyustice Alito said, the only exceptions should be ministers and teachers providing religious services or instruction, not secular businesses.

    If a hotel is competing in the private sectior for public business, it should have to follow the same laws other hotel businesses do, even if it happens to be owned by a religious organization.

    If you can show me that providing hotel services is a religion and that a law, such as health and safety or liability fiscal requirements, etc are religious rites, then you may have your exception.

  11. And, aislander, what do you call saying things in public that you know are plainly not the truth, are very easy to prove that they are not the truth and then building a whole thesis on these things that are not the truth.

    My parents taught me that saying things I know not to be true is lying. I guess yours said that anything is justified in political discussions, even blatantly misrepresenting facts.

  12. sandblower says:

    Women’s health trumps any religious practice. To interfere with a religious belief one must nearly enter the believer’s brain or somehow punish the believer strongly enough to have the same effect. None of that is happening and the squealing wingnuts have no argument.
    The patriarchal churches will eventually learn.

  13. LornaDoone says:

    I’ve started an institution of religion called LornaBelief. We don’t believe in paying personal income taxes because that money is spent on war and our Savior is the King of Peace (we don’t mess around with just Princes). I will no longer allow my employer to withold income tax and if they try to fire me, the Supreme Court will protect me.

    I guess the First Amendment is going to protect me from the IRS, right?

    How far can we miscontrue the First Amendment for political purposes?

    I wonder why the Catholic Church agreed to pay a portion of insurance coverage for employees that covered contraceptives, since about 2001?

  14. took14theteam says:

    I bet you did LDMMNDKJEOLFL.

    BTDT

    There is no “War” on women’s health. There is an orchestrated effort from the re-elect BH0 campaign to make this an issue to divert attention from his lack of leadership and inability to fix the economy.

  15. concernedtacoma7 says:

    News that Obamacare will cost us double then predicted is overshadowed by a PR stunt.

    News that regulations under BHO cost the economy $46bil is overshadowed by a PR stunt.

    News of more failed ‘green’ companies backed with taxpayer dollars is overshadowed by a PR stunt.

    This is in issue invented to avoid real problem solving. Women have been, and will be able to, take care of their health and bodies.

  16. “inability to fix the economy.”,/i.

    Unemployment – down.
    GDP – up for nine consecutive quarters.
    Stock market – up to almost double it’s low point.

    Hardly “inability”.

  17. test

  18. took14theteam says:

    Looks like ehill f’d up with the italics (LD should have remained under the prior login name….).

    Why does the stock market depend on the president “only” when the president is a member of your political party?

    If a Republican were president at this time, I can guarantee that you would not give any credit to the president for the market.

  19. took14theteam says:

    And your test worked.

    ;-)

  20. LornaDoone says:

    “PR stunt”

    They made Rush Limbaugh babble on like a fool for 3 days. I’ll tell ya, that Democratic Party is brilliant. How did they get Rush Limbaugh to open the can of worms so well?

    Aislander had me identified as my stalker and now took14theteam has me as ehill.

    Can’t I just be Lorna?

    I wonder how many IDs aislander and took use, since they seem to accuse others of this practice?

  21. LornaDoone says:

    Aislander on another thread – “The First Amendment was set up to prevent the establishment of a national religion.”

    And here we were almost convince that it was set up to protect the Catholic Church from Obama.

  22. Trust aislander to be the first to follow a rather hyperbolic, hysterical letter with a post that outdoes it.

  23. took14theteam says:

    A little “off topic” there LD….

    And the “WAR” on women was started before “Evil” Rush put his foot in his mouth.

    All part of the calculated re-elect 0Bama campaign.

    And bB, you seem to be up rather late tonight.

  24. sandblower says:

    President Obama does not need any rightwing false basis to win in November. He will win hands down against any republican there is currently bashing another republican over who is the “rightest.”

  25. aislander says:

    Although I enjoy being the subject of all these posts, aren’t you guys wandering a little off-topic?

    The first two words of your post are true, beerBoy…

    …and if I got tuddo’s stolidly-earnest knickers in a twist, I am doing this right.

  26. sandblower says:

    I didn’t know the subject was empty suits.

  27. sandblower says:

    The author needs to learn that part of the liberal philosophy is to expand liberty into areas left out of founding documents because no one back then could have predicted the future and its requirements.
    The very definition of conservativism is that it is a reactionary response to the changes liberals want that provide expanded liberty keeping in mind that liberty does not come at the expense of anyone else.

  28. “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”

  29. Frankenchrist says:

    Republicans lay awake at night, unable to sleep because they know somewhere; someplace…people are having sex for the sheer fun of it and using birth control in the process! The horror!

    Republicans are peculiarly obsessed with other people’s sex lives. They want Big Brother to perform surveillance on our bedrooms, people.

  30. Lol, it’s the religious right that tell the rest of us what to do. Us on the left don’t care what you believe, as long as you don’t try to force us to follow your beliefs & your moral code as many evangelicals do.

  31. aislander says:

    SB writes: “The author needs to learn that part of the liberal philosophy is to expand liberty into areas left out of founding documents because no one back then could have predicted the future and its requirements.”

    Government “expand liberty?” Right…All government does is to set limits on it. The Constitution defined government’s ability to set those limits, not to define the limits themselves. Those are called “principles,” something with which the left is completely unequipped to deal.

    When the left attempts to “expand liberty,” it always expands the privileges of one set of constituents at the expense of another…

    Wha

  32. aislander says:

    Wha, indeed!

  33. LornaDoone says:

    Since when does a religious employer have the right to know the health care needs of an employee?

    HIPPA says that is private business between the patient, doctor and other health care providers. If a doctor prescribes a birth control hormone, it very well could be for another medical reason and the employer has no right to know that information.

    To deny one classification of medication that could create future problems for the patient could become an interesting legal case, that will cost the Church far more than their red face for hypocrisy at present. I’m certain there must be a personal services attorney chomping at the bit to test this.

  34. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Interesting observation that this thread now has 36 posts. The budget thread above has 3. One small example of how the left reaches for the low hanging fruit, the fake war on women, while ignoring the elephant in the room.

  35. aislander says:

    concernedtacoma7: I’ve had the same thought. They don’t want to talk about no ability to pay for what they’ve made us buy…

  36. LornaDoone says:

    “They don’t want to talk about no ability to pay for what they’ve made us buy…”

    Yeah, and those wars and tax cuts from 2001 to 2009 were paid for, right?

    They must think we are as stupid as the appear to be. Forgetful to say the least.

  37. LornaDoone says:

    (waiting for the weasel position of “off topic” because wars are federal)

  38. “Interesting observation that this thread now has 36 posts. The budget thread above has 3. One small example of how the left reaches for the low hanging fruit”

    And yet most of the comments are from the (very far) right.

  39. aislander says:

    The wars (whether I am for them or against them) are legitimate, constitutional functions of the Federal government, and cost a fraction of the deficits (average $100 billion per year), in any case, so they added little to the debt.

    As for the tax cuts: why do we have to pay for something that didn’t cost us anything in the first place? It is not a “cost” to government when the people keep their own money. Secondly, revenues did not decrease, anyway…

  40. ah, yes, aislander says: “When the left attempts to ‘expand liberty,’ it always expands the privileges of one set of constituents at the expense of another”.

    Yes, we know that the horrible left, when it used government to free the slaves, did it at the expense of the white conservative Christian slave owners who used their religion to justify dehumanization, mistreatment and degradation. Poor white slaveowners, their liberties were totally compromised.

    And when women got the vote, oh, boy, that was at the expense of the liberty of men like aislander who still wants women to be the property of male politicians.

    And lets say nothing about how granting gays equal rights just ruins straight people’s marriages and families and removes all of the liberties they have to treat other people like second-class citizens.

    aislander, you are always good for a nomination if not the prize of the least defendable statements on the boards. My hat’s off to you.

  41. concernedtacoma7 says:

    ldKDnos, yes, I am a fan of Americanthinker. And? You should read something with an opposing view every now and then. You might learn a thing or two.

    You fail to acknowledge the difference between a mandate and a choice. If one dioceses choices to pay, so what? It comes down to choice.

    Keep focusing on social issues, as the left wants you to. Keep up the lie known as the war on women while ignoring the real, immediate threat to our way of life.

  42. Frankenchrist says:

    The American Stinker is about three levels below World Nut Daily.

  43. Frankenchrist says:

    It’s common knowledge that the goal of the Christian Taliban is to create a theocracy here where only those who share their specific “religious beliefs” will be welcome or even tolerated. The question is HOW do they plan on getting rid of the rest of us? What will be the fate of gay Americans, Muslims, Asians, Latinos, Blacks, Mormons, single moms, working women, etc.?

  44. tellnolies says:

    “I wonder how many IDs aislander and took use, since they seem to accuse others of this practice?”

    Yeah, it’s pretty funny all the hand wringing over sock puppets. Apparently some just can’t get past personality to the idea being presented.

  45. tellnolies says:

    The church needs to stay out of business and politics, or lose it’s tax exempt status.

  46. Religious institutions are, by definition, religious.

    Kinda like Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain”.

    I guess the 1st Amendment is the reason why the Bush Administration gave immunity to the Vatican from any legal actions pursuant to the child-rape cover-up that went all the way up to, then, Cardinal Ratzinger (now the Pope).

  47. Mr Slander lies again: “revenues did not decrease [following tax cuts]“

    Reagan’s 1st tax cut went into effect in 1982 (at the end of fiscal year 1981). Federal revenues the following year dropped.

    Bush II’s first tax cut went into effect at the end of FY2001. It was followed by THREE STRAIGHT YEARS of lowered federal revenue.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BUDGET-2012-TAB/xls/BUDGET-2012-TAB-1-1.xls

  48. the3rdpigshouse says:

    The continued assault on our freedoms is being led by “OH-Bummer” and the hoard referred to as the socialist democrat party!! If you don’t appreciate where your nation is headed vote the socialist democrats out of office at every level of government!

  49. AI Slander: “if I got tuddo’s stolidly-earnest knickers in a twist, I am doing this right.”

    Thanks for admitting what you are: “In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion”.

  50. Lynnwoodfats says:

    Kinda fuunny how religion feels it’s liberty is threatened. When reliigious beliefs have been a threat to everybody’s liberty ever since day one.

  51. “What part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is so hard to understand?”

    I don’t know but you on the far right sure seem to have a great problem with it.
    How do you stretch insurance into ‘establishment’??
    You on the far right are really desperate and it shows.

  52. The use of contraceptives by Catholics is morally wrong as far as the Catholic Church is concerned. Is owning or purchasing contraceptives just as morally wrong as using contraceptives? If a Catholic pays for contraceptives for someone who doesn’t consider contraception morally wrong a sin? There is no law in America against contraception. Therefore, A law stating that contraceptives must be included in any healthcare insurance package isn’t morally wrong for the Catholic Church as long as practicing Catholics aren’t forced to use them, or any one else for that matter.

    Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21).

    Moral dilemma solved.

  53. aislander says:

    tellnolies writes: “The church needs to stay out of business and politics, or lose it’s tax exempt status.”

    Churches were the epicenter of the movement toward the American Revolution. Seems they have a long history of being involved in politics in this country.

    Same with charitable institutions, such as hospitals, schools, and orphanages…

  54. aislander says:

    Lynnwoodfats writes: “When reliigious beliefs have been a threat to everybody’s liberty ever since day one.”

    Thanks for reminding me that churches were also the epicenter of the abolition movement…

  55. I have to wonder if or when a rightie will tell the truth?

  56. The right is sure fired up over something the church has been doing for decades in many states, I wonder why they chose now to start a war on women?
    They must have known they couldn’t win it……didn’t they?

  57. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Ah, you must be desperate, pulling the war on women. Please explain to te group who declared a war on women and what action have been taken. Thanks!

  58. ct7 – if conservative men like you can’t see how conservative male politicians are making statements and/or actions that women feel are threatening their rights and privileges, I really don’t think I can explain it to you.

  59. aislander – SOME churches were the center of the abolition movement, others were very happy to cite the Bible in their support of the “peculiar insitution”.

  60. concernedtacoma7 says:

    “rights and privileges”. Priviliges? And what rights are being threatened? No one is calling for or proposing any restriction in right, at the federal level or in WA state.

  61. sandblower says:

    How about the right to privacy which is widely recognized even though the framers did not specifically enumerate it?

  62. “No one is calling for or proposing any restriction in right, at the federal level or in WA state.”

    Exactly correct. Nobody’s freedom to practice their religion is being restricted. Finally, we agree!

  63. “How about the right to privacy which is widely recognized even though the framers did not specifically enumerate it?”

    The 9th amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

  64. “Tyranny is being imposed by a pugnacious minority.”

    Yep, the religious right.

  65. LornaDoone says:

    You know what is really funny? People like CT7 denying that there is a war on women and 65% of women voters think there is a war on women.

    Someone’s message campaign isn’t working well.

  66. Religion is under assault from over sexed Priests that have a fondness for little boys. They ( the Priests ) have hurt religion far more than anything the government could ever do.

  67. sandblower says:

    See, concerned is happy with the rights we have and thinks the expansion of rights by modifying definitions is wrong. It is the conservative reactionary view that works for him. Keep them down, pregnant and barefoot.

  68. ipsut – the Catholic Church child-rape cover-up scandal wasn’t based in gender but in vulnerability – girls and boys were victims. But it isn’t important because the Bush Administration gave the Vatican complete invulnerability to any legal repercussions.

  69. “The American Stinker is about three levels below World Nut Daily.”

    I think you are being overly generous.

  70. ” Us on the left don’t care what you believe….”

    Now THAT’s funny. And I’m not talking about the faulty grammar.

    As for the fact that 67% of women agree re this so-called “war on women” all that means is that someone’s done an excellent job of enabling women to see themselves as victims in this. For a thinking woman, the notion is nonsense.

    You’ll notice the culture has also indoctrinated women to think equality means girls can act just as vulgar and hedonistic as a lot of men do. It has reduced a woman’s intuitive understanding that the act of sexual intercourse is about something more than momentary pleasure.

    It’s convinced teen age girls (and I’m thinking of one in particular who shared this with me) that starring in pornographic videos is “empowering” to women.

    Shallow-pool women like Rosie O’Donnell, who loves to represent herself as a critical thinker, are the spokespeople for what women today supposedly want. But they speak only for the thoroughly indoctrinated.

  71. LornaDoone says:

    sozo must have missed thousands of commercials that said “us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch”.

    Moving on –

    Jumping on the “bash Rosie O’Donnell” wagon is hardly avoiding the “indoctrination” followers. There is a group of like-minded people that will show up at dockside to protest O’Donnell’s cruises for homosexual families, which are intended as an opportunity to gather and get the children away from such hatred.

    “As for the fact that 67% of women agree re this so-called “war on women” all that means is that someone’s done an excellent job of enabling women to see themselves as victims in this. For a thinking woman, the notion is nonsense.”

    Indeed. Thinking women avoid the idea that mandatory ultrasounds, not ordered by their doctors, is a good idea. Also it’s good for a doctor to lie to you if abortion might be in your future. These are the things a “thinking women” needs to run her life.

  72. sozo thinks only puritanical women can think for themselves.

    I do agree that equality means women can be as hedonistic as men (or as puritanical, or as whatever they want to be), but it also means they can work with their doctor to make their own health decisions without the need for big government and male conservatives ordering them about like their personal property.

  73. “Shallow-pool women”

    Spoken like a person that has only the soles of their feet damp.

  74. BlaineCGarver says:

    The Left has bullied this country into accepting Freedom From Religion, instead of Freedom Of Religion….The Reason? The lying left cannot attend to their agenda if former American Values are in place….The first thing communists do is chuck religion and education out the window, and get the valueless and uneducated Hoi Poloi to do their dirty work via a class war.

  75. BlaineCGarver says:

    Hey, Tuddo…God gave women small feet so they could stand closer to the stove and ironing board…why mess with natural selection?

  76. “sozo thinks only puritanical women can think for themselves”

    A childish and unfounded remark does not become you tuddo, especially given that you represent yourself as you do.

    YOu have demonstrated twice today that you have no idea what I think or how I think.

    I’m all for women making their own decisions about their bodies.

    Who is proposing that women cannot make their own health care decisions? They simply need to do so without the government ordering other people to forego their moral standards in the process.

    Because it is legal to abort an infant, I would not literally stand in the way of a woman making that choice, but if the government suddenly insisted that I assist her or pay for her abortion, you can be assured I would protest loudly.

    And, I can also continue to hope and work towards a day when women cannot legally kill their incovenient unborn (but living) children. Laws change.

  77. Ah, sozo, when challenged you retreat so fast. Hundreds of thousands of women, if not millions depend upon insurance or state supported programs as their means for health care.

    You would have government make the decision for them, so I don’t think your protestations are sincere. What you mean is that you are in favor of women who can afford their own health care and do not depend upon employer’s insurance to be able to make a choice. All others can suffer.

    Your last sentence certainly tells us about your insincerity when talking about choice. You are so wrapped up in your self-righteousness you can’t even see the hypocrisy in your posts.

  78. Is it self-righteous to oppose homicide, tuddo? Why can’t you recognize that for some, if not for you, abortion is the taking of an innocent life? Granted, the law presently permits it, and as I said, I will comply with the law, but what is so hard about accepting that some people find the law erroneous?

    As for women and birth control, I am in favor of it. My only complaint is when the government steps on the toes of anyone’s religous freedom, including Muslims. That DOES not mean I support theocracy; I am not seeking a government that imposes religion on its people, as in The Taliban or Sharia Law.

    I do not see any evidence of retreat in my previous post. You seem to see what you want to see and hear a tune that’s already playing in your ear.

  79. LornaDoone says:

    “Because it is legal to abort an infant, I would not literally stand in the way of a woman making that choice, but if the government suddenly insisted that I assist her or pay for her abortion, you can be assured I would protest loudly.”

    Where do you stand on killing infants in, oh say, Iraq? Shock and Awe got more than a few.

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