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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Obamateach and the post-college tax

After all, you didn't build that university degree:
Student Loan debt in the U.S. recently crossed the $1 trillion mark, with a good chunk of that owed to the U.S. government. In an attempt to streamline the whole process, a soon-to-be-introduced bill would replace the current system of debt collection with automatic payroll deductions tied to the borrower’s income.
I wonder how long it will be before it will become illegal to pay for your own college, thus allowing Washington to tap directly into your paycheck perpetuity as compensation for the government investment in your K-16+ education.  We already have a working model for free education with the Obamacare model.  Obamateach is the obvious next step educational for a society moving rapidly Forward! into the 21st century.

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104 Comments:

Anonymous dr kill December 05, 2012 9:05 AM  

Makes sense from here. Hey, thanks kids!1!1!!!!11

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) December 05, 2012 9:07 AM  

College is one of the biggest scams out there. It's drilled into you that you need to go to college in order to be successful, which isn't true at all.

Anonymous Mike43 December 05, 2012 9:19 AM  

As a parent; you have to realistically evaluate your child, and determine how best to guide them to be successful. And it starts early, in elementary school. The character traits that make for a successful student are evident, if you look closely and realistically.

Problem is too many parents aren't involved in their children's education; they let the "professionals" do it.

Anonymous Edjamacator December 05, 2012 9:22 AM  

Hopefully those in college or about to start who voted for Obama (or support him) are now seeing the beginning of the results of their stupidity and have something inside them telling them "this is your own fault."

Anonymous stg58 December 05, 2012 9:22 AM  

I work for a major process analytical manufacturer, managing advanced technical sales, and only now do I need to go to college but only for associates degree in process technology. People with bachelors and masters degrees in chemical engineering and chemistry work for me.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 05, 2012 9:37 AM  

Now that he's won the election, Obama can come out and admit that there was a typo in his campaign slogan: the real Obama motto is "Froward!"

(viz. "...when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour..." -- The Taming of the Shrew)

Anonymous joe doakes 35 December 05, 2012 9:41 AM  

Simple solution to student loan debt: let the borrower discharge them in bankruptcy but let the bankruptcy court "claw back" the money from the college. That would pop the inflation bubble.

Anonymous Viking December 05, 2012 9:47 AM  

I think you should call it "Obamaskool"

Blogger JD Curtis December 05, 2012 9:52 AM  

Hopefully those in college or about to start who voted for Obama (or support him) are now seeing the beginning of the results of their stupidity and have something inside them telling them "this is your own fault."


Because after all, that George w. Bush had a very disappointing second term..

Blogger JartStar December 05, 2012 9:55 AM  

I propose reintroducing the word "serf" for people who take advantage of this program.

Anonymous zen0 December 05, 2012 9:58 AM  

And for those who cannot find gainful employment, they could garnishee their food stamps. This would also help with the obesity epidemic. Never let a good crisis go to waist.

Anonymous Roundtine December 05, 2012 10:10 AM  

Interesting. And if you declare bankruptcy, will the IRS forgive your debt, but roll it back into the loan and continue deducting from your paycheck?

Anonymous Gx1080 December 05, 2012 10:14 AM  

So, we go from implied debt serfdom to explicit debt serfdom.

College debt and chillimony should be dischargeable on bankrupcy period.

I cannot morally support 19th century serfdom, no matter how much the mayors on Useless's Studies (all of them) deserve it.

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 10:17 AM  

Since when is it "illegal" to pay for one's own healthcare?? That's a weird thing to suggest.

Anonymous The other skeptic December 05, 2012 10:20 AM  

Shhhhh, Chicago bans guns, gun crime goes us ...

Anonymous re allow anonymous comments December 05, 2012 10:28 AM  

Just my daily reminded that WHITE youth (18-29) went for Romney by 54-41 or something like that.

Anonymous AlteredFate December 05, 2012 10:36 AM  

It strikes me as ironic that if you stood near the financial services department in any college in the US, that everyone waiting to talk to an adviser, by their very being there, is automatically disqualified from being in the group who would benefit from college. If you are already incapable of utilizing the 3rd grade mathematics that tell you that your future earnings will not compensate you for the cost of your student loans, then what in the hell good is it for you to sit through even more classes worth of stuff you won't understand? What a joke.

You know what? Fuck those people too stupid to grasp this. Let them live their entire lives in indentured servitude. And when the result of their stupidity is eventually foisted upon those intelligent few of us left (and you know it will be), then let us do the math and decide that it is better for us to quit our jobs, stay home, play xbox all, day and eat cake. Then watch as it all comes crashing down.

Anonymous Daniel December 05, 2012 10:58 AM  

Obamateach Frankenstein fire bad. Obamateach Frankenstein need Obamacare. Obamateach Frankenstein smart.

Anonymous rycamor December 05, 2012 11:01 AM  

Just another step in the ongoing uselessification of the college degree...

Of course, the final step will be mandatory Bachelor's degrees--for everyone! Because education! Is! The key!

Anonymous Red Foreman December 05, 2012 11:04 AM  

"Since when is it "illegal" to pay for one's own healthcare??"

Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Dumbass.

Anonymous Randy M December 05, 2012 11:07 AM  

My theory is that this is how they will balance entitlements on the sly. Get everyone so in debt due to overpriced college that they can end up garnishing SS as much as they need to 40 years later.

Blogger JartStar December 05, 2012 11:29 AM  

The best part about this is that college costs can now rise exponentially and getting your college degree can last for decades. Who cares if I spend $2,000,000 and 15 years getting my sociology degree when they can't take more than 15% after basic cost of living of my $13 an hour job at Best Buy?

A college education is so important that no price or time frame is too long. Take that all of you anti-education conservatards!

Anonymous Seriously... December 05, 2012 11:31 AM  

Just don't borrow money you don't have. Problem solved.

Anonymous Stilicho December 05, 2012 11:40 AM  

I wonder how long it will be before it will become illegal to pay for your own college, thus allowing Washington to tap directly into your paycheck perpetuity as compensation for the government investment in your K-16+ education.

You are giving our government officials way too much credit for being open and honest about their depredations. Since they are already effectively garnishing the wages and wealth of all Americans with inflationary policies in order to "pay off" the public debt (or at least the interest thereon) through currency devaluation, there is no reason to think that student loan debt will be treated differently. It could even be sold as a populist measure "for the children" and/or as an "investment" in education where existing student loan debt is assumed by the gov't and future tuition is directly paid by the gov't. What's another trillion or 2 in debt amongst Congressmen? It's not like it's real money.

Anonymous Stilicho December 05, 2012 11:46 AM  

Speaking of public debt, did anyone notice that Boehner did not even try to put the next debt ceiling raise on the table when negotiating over the so-called fiscal cliff? The Democratic party as it is currently constituted cannot continue without massive deficit spending to buy votes. If the Red team really wanted to advance conservatism or even just to win for the sake of personal power, they could cut off the lifeblood of the Blue team. Yet they aren't even discussing it. That tells you all you need to know about the GOP today. Goldwater and Reagan were temporary detours and not the paradigm shift they were once thought to be.

Blogger JartStar December 05, 2012 11:55 AM  

Just don't borrow money you don't have. Problem solved.

This move will potentially price traditional, campus, college completely out of range for people who don't want debt. If they do not put price controls on colleges, or cap the total amount someone can take out in loans, there's no theoretical limit. A college could potentially charge $100,000 a semester and a student could simply sign the loan docs knowing they will never pay it back completely, and instead just pay 15% for the rest of their lives.

The rational thing to do if you know you will pay the money the rest of your life is to take out as many loans as humanly possible to get the greatest ROI possible.

Anonymous Seriously... December 05, 2012 12:02 PM  

A college could potentially charge $100,000 a semester and a student could simply sign the loan docs knowing they will never pay it back completely, and instead just pay 15% for the rest of their lives.

Potentially, yes. In reality, no. People, if they have any wits about them, will go the the cheaper school. The most rational thing to do of course is to not be in debt at all.

Anonymous clk December 05, 2012 12:03 PM  

"I work for a major process analytical manufacturer, managing advanced technical sales, and only now do I need to go to college but only for associates degree in process technology. People with bachelors and masters degrees in chemical engineering and chemistry work for me"

That's great - your a manager of sales. Salesmen should never burdened with technical knowledge; and sales managers even less. ...and if you are leading sales people that happen to have chemical engineering/chemistry degrees that is fine... it speaks to truth that often technical people can make more more in non technical roles.

But if your were the manager of engineering or trying to be a chemist/engineer you would be unqualified for those tasks due to the lack of qualified training.

Blogger James Dixon December 05, 2012 12:22 PM  

You all do know that the premise of "Fifty Shades of Grey" was that the woman was sold into debt slavery to cover her college loans, don't you?

Anonymous Stilicho December 05, 2012 12:28 PM  

You all do know that the premise of "Fifty Shades of Grey" was that the woman was sold into debt slavery to cover her college loans, don't you?

So, student debt leads directly to the brothel or the burqa for women, but they can be convinced to like it...

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 12:50 PM  

@Red

"Since when is it "illegal" to pay for one's own healthcare??"

Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.


I can pay for as much health care as I want to in addition to conforming to the healthcare law, just as I can pay for as much savings as I want to in addition to contributing to SS.

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 12:51 PM  

@seriously
Just don't borrow money you don't have. Problem solved.

This makes no sense.

Blogger The Anti-Gnostic December 05, 2012 12:53 PM  

But if your were the manager of engineering or trying to be a chemist/engineer you would be unqualified for those tasks due to the lack of qualified training.

You are missing the larger point, that it is possible to have a perfectly respectable, remunerative career without going thousands of dollars in debt. If you have scientific or technical skills and the ROI looks good, then knock yourself out. But I bet less only around 10 - 20% of STEM majors college students (much less college students as a whole) fit those criteria.

Anonymous Edjamacator December 05, 2012 1:07 PM  

I can pay for as much health care as I want to in addition to conforming to the healthcare law, just as I can pay for as much savings as I want to in addition to contributing to SS.

You're pretty gung-ho about the law being for everyone and not liking those who don't want to live under it because of their beliefs. So I take it you're all for marriage remaining between heterosexual couples only, right? And laws against sodomy should still be respected and enforced, no matter what people's beliefs tell them, right?

Anonymous Gen. Kong December 05, 2012 1:09 PM  

Bankstas will always find a way to fleece the idiocracy. Borrowing tons of cash for edumacation is merely another variation on an endless theme. Note also how the global warming / climate change meme never dies. Decades of manufactured data and it's still gospel. Lloyd and his pals must be jonesin' for cowfart derivatives.

It doesn't matter. It's all profit.

Then finally, when
there's nothing left...

...when you can't borrow
another buck from the bank...

...you bust the joint out.
You light a match.


Old Jefferson was right - a greater threat than an invading army.

Anonymous WinstonWebb December 05, 2012 1:20 PM  

Tad December 05, 2012 10:17 AM

Since when is it "illegal" to pay for one's own healthcare?? That's a weird thing to suggest.


Do you ever go for the knees, or is this the greatest height to which you can reach?

No matter.

...a soon-to-be-introduced bill would replace the current system of debt collection with automatic payroll deductions tied to the borrower’s income.

If the morons want to sign up for this level of servitude, who cares? Let them indenture themselves forever. As long as the new system is not ex post facto, I really don't give a shit about the debt slaves.

Besides, history provides plenty of evidence that most people prefer servitude.

Anonymous jay c December 05, 2012 2:08 PM  

As a parent; you have to realistically evaluate your child, and determine how best to guide them to be successful. And it starts early, in elementary school. The character traits that make for a successful student are evident, if you look closely and realistically.

Is that your goal as a parent? To make a successful student? My son is a good student, but I aim has been to make him a successful man.

Anonymous jay c December 05, 2012 2:13 PM  

People, if they have any wits about them...

Funny man!

Anonymous DrTorch December 05, 2012 2:15 PM  

"Student-Employee Repayment Fund"

Anonymous jay c December 05, 2012 2:16 PM  

This all sounds like a good reason to go to school in another country, if you have to go to school. An artificially inflated education market in the States will inflate the education markets in other countries, but not as badly and not necessarily with the same strings attached.

Anonymous nateM December 05, 2012 2:25 PM  

Sounds like the G further enforcing the Nanny State. People keep borrowing, unis dont need to lower costs and people are further insulated from the consequences of what they do. Sounds like a solid Government solution to a problem.

Anonymous Stilicho December 05, 2012 2:25 PM  

If the morons want to sign up for this level of servitude, who cares? Let them indenture themselves forever. As long as the new system is not ex post facto, I really don't give a shit about the debt slaves.

Besides, history provides plenty of evidence that most people prefer servitude.


If it began and ended with the idiots who sold themselves into slavery, you'd have a good point. Unfortunately, history shows us the gov't preferred means of paying for these types of schemes:


You are giving our government officials way too much credit for being open and honest about their depredations. Since they are already effectively garnishing the wages and wealth of all Americans with inflationary policies in order to "pay off" the public debt (or at least the interest thereon) through currency devaluation, there is no reason to think that student loan debt will be treated differently. It could even be sold as a populist measure "for the children" and/or as an "investment" in education where existing student loan debt is assumed by the gov't and future tuition is directly paid by the gov't. What's another trillion or 2 in debt amongst Congressmen? It's not like it's real money.

Do you really think the gov't would limit responsibility for the debt to those that incurred it? If so, why? It's not as if our gov't has directly garnished our wages to pay for the federal debt. That might cause a revolt. Much easier to accomplish its goal via inflationary policies.



Anonymous The One December 05, 2012 2:32 PM  

I predict a rise in off the books employment. Go go black market.

I also predict having student loans will prevent you from renouncing your citizenship and eventually the removal of your passport. Can't employment elsewhere, now can we.

Anonymous The One December 05, 2012 2:32 PM  

*can't find

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 3:39 PM  

@edjumacator

You're pretty gung-ho about the law being for everyone and not liking those who don't want to live under it because of their beliefs. So I take it you're all for marriage remaining between heterosexual couples only, right? And laws against sodomy should still be respected and enforced, no matter what people's beliefs tell them, right?

Is it really your position that if you have religious or deeply held spiritual objections to a law that you should be exempted from having to follow that law. That seems to be your implication.

As for Gay Marriage, when it is allowed in a state, it's not a requirement that you marry someone of the same sex. Furthermore, you are welcome to believe gay marriage is immoral or bad or great or whatever.

Two entirely different issues.

Anonymous kh123 December 05, 2012 3:43 PM  

"Simple solution to student loan debt: let the borrower discharge them in bankruptcy but let the bankruptcy court "claw back" the money from the college. That would pop the inflation bubble."

Excellent. And why not, since (as per Barnhardt) the gov't can apparently do the same to investors who are aware enough to pull their monies out before the ship (such as MF Global) goes under.

Blogger Random December 05, 2012 3:55 PM  

"Is it really your position that if you have religious or deeply held spiritual objections to a law that you should be exempted from having to follow that law. That seems to be your implication."

Speaking only for myself, not only "should I be exempted" from following it, if the law in question violates the natural law, it isn't a law at all.

So I don't have to be exempted, since the non-law doesn't apply to me.

Sure, that won't stop the iron boot of the state from landing on my neck if I'm not careful, but my conscience is clear.

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 3:57 PM  

@Randon

Speaking only for myself, not only "should I be exempted" from following it, if the law in question violates the natural law, it isn't a law at all.

What would be an example of a law that DOES NOT violate "Natural Law"?

Anonymous Tom O. December 05, 2012 4:02 PM  

What would be an example of a law that DOES NOT violate "Natural Law"?

Thou shalt not steal.

Anonymous Edjamacator December 05, 2012 4:04 PM  

Is it really your position that if you have religious or deeply held spiritual objections to a law that you should be exempted from having to follow that law. That seems to be your implication.

I believe that God is higher than the state, to that degree. I also believe that the law is designed to be debatable. Do you say that all people should just follow whatever law comes down and not debate it if they have the choice to do so?

As for Gay Marriage, when it is allowed in a state, it's not a requirement that you marry someone of the same sex. Furthermore, you are welcome to believe gay marriage is immoral or bad or great or whatever.

The Defense of Marriage Act is/was a law that was enforcable. Period. People debated it because they didn't like it and have done all they can to have it removed. Are you saying only certain people are allowed to try and have a law removed if they don't like it? Gay marriage applying to me isn't the issue. DOMA as federal law is the same as forcing everyone to buy Obamacare as a law. So who gets to protest laws and who doesn't in your world?

And since you ignored it, why do you think sodomy laws should be ignored or removed since they also are laws and people (according to you) should just suck it up if they don't agree with a law?

Blogger James Dixon December 05, 2012 4:07 PM  

> I can pay for as much health care as I want to in addition to conforming to the healthcare law, just as I can pay for as much savings as I want to in addition to contributing to SS.

You can also pay as much as you want to the treasury to help with the national debt. Do you?

And how's that search going for the Obama quote?

Blogger LP 999/Eliza December 05, 2012 4:09 PM  

How wonderful for the students!! How sad, no, tragic that (like in the farce of US HC) kidlets don't understand this isn't about an education its about theft, revenue and control.


But warn them not, if they don't see the police state styled tactics here that might make them fools/lost causes.

Anonymous mapper December 05, 2012 4:20 PM  

Thom Hartman, the Pompous Ass's pompous ass.

Anonymous stevev December 05, 2012 4:29 PM  

Edjamacator, you may have to forge a Thor's Hammer made out of your point and repeatedly bash Tad's head with it in order for him to understand your simple question.

"And since you ignored it, why do you think sodomy laws should be ignored or removed since they also are laws and people (according to you) should just suck it up if they don't agree with a law?"

Anonymous kh123 December 05, 2012 4:51 PM  

Tad's on a role for unanswered or reframing of questions. Two threads thus far.

Blogger James Dixon December 05, 2012 4:58 PM  

> Tad's on a role for unanswered or reframing of questions. Two threads thus far.

Oh, a lot more than that.

Anonymous Daniel December 05, 2012 5:04 PM  

And laws against sodomy should still be respected and enforced, no matter what people's beliefs tell them, right?

Actually, Tad agrees with this. His relations are a lot more exciting when it might lead to his arrest at the hands of a rough, burly man in uniform.

Basically, the law, like everything else, is whatever Tad likes to do. The only bad law is one that defends something Tad doesn't like, or prohibits something he does. Like so many of the lobotomized, he's been Nursed by the State into Stockholm Syndrome.

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 5:33 PM  

@Tom0 @Randon

What would be an example of a law that DOES NOT violate "Natural Law"?

Thou shalt not steal.


Well, should I be exempt from laws concerning theft if my deeply held beliefs tell me that stealing is good??

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 5:40 PM  

@edjumacator

I believe that God is higher than the state, to that degree. I also believe that the law is designed to be debatable. Do you say that all people should just follow whatever law comes down and not debate it if they have the choice to do so?

The issue isn't whether a law ought to be debated or even opposed. The issue is whether one ought to be officially exempt from following the law simply because they say it is in conflict with their deeply held religious beliefs or conscience.

DOMA as federal law is the same as forcing everyone to buy Obamacare as a law. So who gets to protest laws and who doesn't in your world?

Yes, it' the same insofar as both are federal laws.

DOMA, however, requires nothing of anyone. The healthcare law requires something of everyone. Now, that said, just as the catholics want an exception from following the healthcare law for reasons of conscience and are getting lots of support for this positions, would the Catholic church states that desire to be exempt from DOMA and their residents be able to take part in gay marriage and get all the marriage benefits that flow from the federal government...because DOMA offends the morals of the people of that state?

I think not.

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 5:43 PM  

@edjumacator
And since you ignored it, why do you think sodomy laws should be ignored or removed since they also are laws and people (according to you) should just suck it up if they don't agree with a law?

There are no anti-sodomy laws. They were all removed from the books by the states or overturned by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas.

Anonymous Edjamacator December 05, 2012 5:48 PM  

Okay, Tad, since you seem to be missing it entirely, allow me to put out a question for you to make it even easier.

If, for whatever reason, the federal government made a law requiring atheists to attend church services five times a week and take vows of celibacy unless a preacher allows them to have sex, would you support that law and demand that everyone follow it unreservedly?

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 5:57 PM  

@edjumacator

No. Plus I wouldn't have to. It would violate the first amendment. It's not a generally applicable law.

Anonymous AlteredFate December 05, 2012 6:00 PM  

I honestly do wish Tad's father had been gay. Might have kept these threads from getting so bogged down with his stupidity.

Anonymous allyn71 December 05, 2012 6:28 PM  

Tad
"No. Plus I wouldn't have to. It would violate the first amendment. It's not a generally applicable law."

So Tad has first amendment rights the are inmutable. However, when the Government forces the Catholic Church to go against their doctrine as established for 2,000+ years, they have no exemption from the healthcare law on first amendment grounds.

Damn, broke my own rule, don't feed the trolls.

Can't fix stupid and Tad is stupid.

Anonymous allyn71 December 05, 2012 6:30 PM  

immutable* no edit function after posting

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 6:38 PM  

@Allyn

If the contraception mandate were aimed only at churches or the Catholic church, you'd have a point. Further, if the law mandated use of contraception, you'd have a point.

As it stands now, you are suggesting that anyone who has a moral objection to a law ought to be given an official exemption from following the law.

That's absurd.

Anonymous allyn71 December 05, 2012 7:14 PM  

So because everyone is affected by the unconstitutional law it is constitutional?

The law mandates that employers must provide contraception as part of medical insurance to their employees. The Catholic Church is a large employer providing medical insurance to its employees. The doctrine of the Catholic Church says that contraception is immoral.

When the healthcare law is enacted the government will force the Catholic Church to offer services its doctrine says are immoral. The only other option they have is not to offer insurance services to the employees of the church to remain in compliance with the law, a separate view which is immoral to the church and would only be enacted because of the force of government.

Only in your twisted world view would this not be a violation of the first amendment. Your view is because people are not required to use the immoral contraception it doesn't matter. With that stated view you are missing the point that the government is using coercive force on a religious institution to a. define what is religious and b. using its monopoly on force to make people pay for a service regardless of if it is used or not.

Maybe you have never read the first amendment. I will put it here for your benefit.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

What part of making people provide services that are against their established religious doctrine is not prohibiting the free exercise of that religion? The government is making them use their own property against their stated doctrine or forcing them to deny services to employees to stay pure to one portion of their doctrine but in doing so they violate another. In your view the government is not interfering with the Church's right to free exercise of their religion?

Back to the topic at hand, the government of this nation knows no bound in the tyrannical works it feels it can enact on the people. Debt servitude for all, if your dumb enough to enter the debauched halls of lower education and pay people for it, you deserve to be a slave.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 05, 2012 7:50 PM  

"The issue is whether one ought to be officially exempt from following the law simply because they say it is in conflict with their deeply held religious beliefs"

Well the law is already a priori invalid on its face because it had no constitutional brief to ever have been made in the first place, because this law does a certain thing (we'll call it X), and the Constitution states quite clearly that Congress shall make NO LAW that does X. What part of "Congress shall make no law" is ambiguous or nuanced?

This is precisely why Congress should not pass 2,000+ page laws.

Now will someone please give me my free law-professor tenure. Sheesh, I could teach valid Consitutional law just using Nancy and Sluggo for case precedent.

Note to various people arguing with Tad: you're never going to get anywhere unless you pose all your hypotheticals such that they discuss an obvious threat solely to the specific interests of Jews. I've seen it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. It's just how they roll, what with the narcissism and so forth.

Blogger James Dixon December 05, 2012 8:22 PM  

> Well, should I be exempt from laws concerning theft if my deeply held beliefs tell me that stealing is good??

Your deeply held beliefs don't constitute a religion, except in your own mind. However, why don't start worshiping Mercury or Loki (I'm sure one of the posters here would approve), take it to the court system, and find out? Oh, there's that pesky atheism thing, isn't there?

Of course, if your deeply held belief really does tell you that, there's always civil disobedience. If enough people agree with you, it might even get the law changed.

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 8:42 PM  

@allyn

If the law read "Religious institutions shall provide contraceptive coverage", then it would be aimed specifically at religious and it would easily violate the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution. No one quibbles with this.

However, the law is not directed at any single institution. Not the Catholic church. Not social workers. Not Wall street banks. It's aimed at everyone. In other words, it's using its coercive force on everyone. Furthermore, the law is not motivated by animus toward religion. And finally, it does not prevent the church from teaching that contraception is immoral or from encouraging anyone not to use contraception.

If an institution could simply claim that it opposes a law on moral grounds and therefore ought to be exempt from the law, then what would stop any individual or institution from simply claiming this and getting an exemption.

If my deeply held moral and spiritual beliefs teach me that not paying taxes is the right thing to do or beating my wife is the right thing to do or setting fire to structures surrounding my home is the right thing to do, should I be exempt from the tax, assault and arson laws?

Where is the line to be drawn?

The Supreme Court has said that in order for government action that is neutral (as this contraception mandate is) yet impacts religious sentiments, isn't unconstitutional unless it interferes with a particular religious practice or ceremony. This law does not doe that. And this principle seems pretty fair minded to me.

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 8:46 PM  

@Scoobius


Well the law is already a priori invalid on its face because it had no constitutional brief to ever have been made in the first place


Are you referring to the entire healthcare law or just the contraception mandate. Either way, I disagree. But, if you are referring to the whole healthcare law, please explain why it is unconstitutional.

And I'll ask you what I've asked others. If all it takes to be exempted from a law is to claim moral opposition to it, should anyone who claims a moral objection to any law be granted an official exemption from following it?

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 8:57 PM  

@James



Actually, it's not about whether it's an established religion. In U.S. v Ballard the court made clear that all that must be established in order for the Free Exercise Clause to come into play is a sincere and meaningful belief.

So in fact, my deeply held belief, assuming its sincere and meaningful to me, does in fact constitute the equivalent of a religion for Constitutional purposes.

Anonymous Edjamacator December 05, 2012 9:16 PM  

No. Plus I wouldn't have to. It would violate the first amendment. It's not a generally applicable law.

So, you wouldn't follow a law you don't believe in, and you condemn Christians for wanting to be exempted from a law they don't believe in. Thanks for putting your hypocrisy on display once more for everyone to see quite clearly.

If I were you, I'd learn something from all this. Somehow, though, I doubt you will.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 05, 2012 9:19 PM  

"If all it takes to be exempted from a law is to claim moral opposition to it, should anyone who claims a moral objection to any law be granted an official exemption from following it?"

You automatically, reflexively, even unthinkingly, take the Statist position of "if all it takes" as if the law is automatically valid simply because your team passed it; as I've said before, the only principle of the liberals is that they want whatever they want, and you illustrate this here with your glib phrasing of "if all it takes". How dare anyone defy a law passed by the Dear Leader? I wish you could hear yourself, but I realize that's asking too much.

First of all, as I explained above, your hypothetical is invalid because the law, w/r/t mandatory contraception funding at least, has no constitutional standing, because it prohibits the free exercise of religion, by forcing lay and cleric administrators to act in such a way as to make them complicit in what they deem to be religiously sinful acts, and CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW prohibiting their free exercise of their religion, which is precisely what Congress is doing. The law is therefore invalid on its face, the hypothetical ought never to arise in a just constitutional regime, and your objection is therefore dismissed with prejudice.

But, to answer it anyway for the sport of it...

It is not a moral objection as you have deceitfully said, it is a religious objection, and the canon law and history of the religious nature of this opposition are lengthy and legitimate; the Catholic Church is not some made-up storefront outfit. (It was around long before the United States, and it will be around long after the United States is just a dimly-remembered historical footnote, thanks largely to people like you.) You are attempting to change the definition of what is under discussion. What is under discussion is NOT morality, which even an atheist like yourself claims to have a purchase on. What is under discussion is the free exercise of religion, and the fact that Congress has no brief to prohibit this exercise, as is clearly and unambiguously stated. The Catholic Church's objection is because the law forces them to violate their ancient and well-attested RELIGIOUS practice. Congress shall make no law, etc etc. FAIL.

Note that this is a question of federal (national) law; law made by Congress, not by the state legislatures. If the state of Connecticut wishes to pass a law preventing an Aztec priest from practicing his religion by tearing the beating heart out of a human-sacrifice victim with an obsidian knife, well I'm not a lawyer but my guess is it would stand.

What this means is that we can have reasonable laws against religiously-inspired arson and human sacrifice and so forth at the state level, but not federal ones. If a national comprehensive all-embracing Congressional law concerning health care violates the prohibition against federal legislation which restricts free religious practice, then what it means is simply that we can't have a national health-care law with that much range and scope. Period. Maybe the states can make them, but Congress quite clearly cannot. Laboratories of democracy and so forth -- hey, remember those? It will not help you in my eyes to cite case law or precedent or things like the Incorporation Doctrine or whatever, because if they conflict with the First then they are just plain wrong, I don't care who signed off on them. I will argue with John Marshall and I will be right, even if history takes his side.

John Roberts can say whatever he likes and I suppose the chariot-wheels of history will grind his way and not mine; but it still won't make him right.



Anonymous dh December 05, 2012 9:22 PM  

> Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

This isn't even true as far as it goes. Pay the fine.

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 9:22 PM  

@edjumacator

You asked if I would support your law.

In general, some laws I find immoral I still might follow. Others I would not. It depends.

And I'm not condemning Christians. I'm saying their rationale for demanding an exemption from the contraceptive mandate in the Healthcare law in nonsensical and certainly not in line with our constitution. I also suspect that the Catholic league wants that exemption primarily to save money, not to save their soul. But that's another issue.

Anonymous Loki of Asgard December 05, 2012 9:38 PM  

However, why don't start worshiping Mercury or Loki (I'm sure one of the posters here would approve)

I most certainly would not, and here is why:

"I'm saying [Christians'] rationale for demanding an exemption from the contraceptive mandate in the Healthcare law in nonsensical and certainly not in line with our constitution."

That kind of stupidity in my followers would set back my plans by fifty years.

It is hard enough to have an overly efficient secretary who is also a cheap drunk. Rather than to Santa Fe, last night she shipped my gila monsters to Santa Claus. I am not filled with holiday spirit at the moment.

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 9:41 PM  

@Scoobius

I agree with you that Roberts got it wrong. But I think you and I disagree why he was wrong.

Second, a state may not pass a law that says aztecs may not tear out a beating heart. They would have to pass a law that says all tearing out of hearts is illegal, not matter who does it. See Equal protection.

But again, you say that the contraception mandate is a burden on free exercise of religion and therefore the Catholic church ought to be given an exemption.

You point out the the Catholics objection is a religious objection, not a moral one, meaning the Free exercise clause applies to them, but not to a non religious person who may have equally strong opposition to contraception, but on moral and spiritual grounds, not on religious.

You should know that the free exercise clause does not simply apply to religions that are commonly practiced. It has been determined over and over that the free exercise clause applies to anyone's sincere and meaningful beliefs. Not just to common religious beliefs.

So again, if I sincerely believe that paying taxes is a meaningful offense to my spiritual and moral beliefs, shouldn't I get an exemption from paying them? You can't have it both ways.

Consider this: The old testament explains that Blasphemy ought to be met with stoning by the community. Should Jews be exempt from laws that prohibit murder?

Finally, it's quite clear that the contraception mandate does not inhibit the practice of a religion. It does not require the church stop teaching on contraception nor that it start advocating contraception or that anyone use contraception. No ceremony or tradition is negated.


Anonymous Van December 05, 2012 10:06 PM  

If my religion requires me to commit an act that violates the rights of another (life, liberty, property), I should be prevented from exercising that part of my religion. Otherwise, I should be left alone, and I should not be forced to commit an act that violates my religion - particularly if not committing said act does not violate anyone else's rights.

This (roughly) was the intention, and is not particularly complicated. The old "your right to swing your fist ends where my face begins" argument. Today, perhaps it's "your right to obtain birth control ends where my wallet begins." But since libprogs have gone from claiming positive rights to pretending there is no distinction between positive and negative rights, we are at an impasse.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 05, 2012 10:08 PM  

"But again, you say that the contraception mandate is a burden on free exercise of religion and therefore the Catholic church ought to be given an exemption."

No, for the hundredth time, I am NOT saying that Catholics ought to be given an exemption, I am saying that the law has no brief to even EXIST, because of etc etc. Catholics ought not to worry about being exempted from a law which applies to all others; the law is invalid for EVERYBODY on its face because it violates the First. No exemptions are necessary, because the law should not exist; in effect, EVERYONE should get a de facto exemption, Catholic or not.

Your bit about Aztecs btw is merely a language quibble. What I meant (and what I believe was quite clear) is that Connecticut laws against tearing out people's hearts (or murder in general) may be construed so as to trump the Aztec priest's claim about religion; the feds need never get involved in order to prevent human sacrifice in New Haven; it is simply not within the ambit of Congress, any more than Congress can pass laws on how to make Vienna sausage in Vienna. Now I don't know what the constitution of Connecticut says about such things. The point is that Congress is not permitted to take a legislative view of the matter, but this hardly makes a difference, as the states are sure to intervene in the egregious cases.

Again, the point is that if Congress proposes an all-embracing legal doctrine which tramples on the First, then the immediate reaction should be not that certain groups are granted exemptions or dispensations based on their particular moral pearl-clutching, it is that Congress's all-embracing legal doctrine CAN NOT BY RIGHT COME INTO BEING.

I don't know how many other ways I can express this very simple thought.

"No ceremony or tradition is negated."

See, this is why atheists should not have public opinions on religion. It is not about ceremony or tradition. In the Catholic view, conforming to the law would make those who so acted COMPLICIT IN SIN -- they would be aiding and abetting an act which Church teaching states is EVIL. The government would be compelling them to choose either a state of sin or a path to martyrdom. The view of the Founders was that government should not be in such business.

Try to step out of your tiny little leftist orbit and see the world as others see it. You're supposed to be these wonderful tolerant folks who appreciate all cultures and all points of view, yet all you can see is your own. WHAT THIS MEANS IS, you aren't actually what you conceive of yourselves to be. Whoa, man, I think we're all bozos on this bus.


Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 10:10 PM  

@van

What if your your deeply held beliefs and morals tell you paying taxes is immoral? Should you be exempt from paying taxes? What about social security?

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 05, 2012 10:15 PM  

"Consider this: The old testament explains that Blasphemy ought to be met with stoning by the community. Should Jews be exempt from laws that prohibit murder?"

They may not be sent to Federal prison for it: however, the state prison will certainly suffice.


Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 10:18 PM  

the law is invalid for EVERYBODY on its face because it violates the First

Neither the healthcare law in general nor the contraception mandate violates "the First" (I assume you mean the first amendment) If you want to argue the constitutionality of the healthcare law the best defense of it came in Ginsburg's (ironically) concurrence in the Healthcare decision.

Furthermore, the Free Exercise clause applies to more than just common religions. So what about those that have strongly held and spiritual and moral objections to taxes?

Anonymous Tad December 05, 2012 10:22 PM  

@Scoobius

They may not be sent to Federal prison for it: however, the state prison will certainly suffice.

If the stoning takes place on federal land or if it is a federal officer they will go to federal prison. They may even be executed. Timothy McVeigh is a good example.

Anonymous kh123 December 05, 2012 10:42 PM  

"You should know that the free exercise clause does not simply apply to religions that are commonly practiced. It has been determined over and over that the free exercise clause applies to anyone's sincere and meaningful beliefs. Not just to common religious beliefs."

The framers of the Bill or Rights and the Constitution didn't intend for freedom of religion to extend to Aztecan sacrifices to Quetzalcoatl, no more than they intended freedom of speech to extend to child pornography; halakhic lawyer protestations notwithstanding.

Anonymous kh123 December 05, 2012 10:49 PM  

...In fact, I think it was de Tocqueville that mentions something about his observing a judge dismissing a witness who avowed atheism, since he considered this as almost tantamount to perjury.

America's foundation for law was biased heavily towards Christianity for a reason. They had no intention of giving Visigoths en masse the wherewithal to turn their country into one massive bamah, under Molech and Astorot, with liberality and gerrymandering for all, selah.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 05, 2012 11:02 PM  

"If the stoning takes place on federal land or if it is a federal officer they will go to federal prison. They may even be executed. Timothy McVeigh is a good example."

Well, just another good reason why it was a grave mistake for us ever to let Jews or Muslims, or any other non-Christians, settle in a country whose laws and mores were cultivated along Christian lines and according to implicit Christian assumptions. While I appreciate your wit in your choice of example, given what I said above, the hypothetical is of course realistically moot because no American Jews do such things any more; Muslims, however, do in fact beat their wives on religious grounds, find loopholes that permit polygamy that is simply ignored on paper, and even murder their wives and daughters for religious reasons. Increasingly these things are viewed with indulgence by our liberal betters. Rather than twist ourselves into legal knots over these issues in perpetuity, my solution is far simpler: foreigners do not have a prior, pre-existing right to live in America, and many or most of them should be barred from settling here, simply because their presence is incompatible with American liberty as Americans understand it, they have no legitimate right or claim to be here, and they should just pack it up and get the f#ck out.

Be that as it may, as I've been arguing, what actually happens in this day and age -- I don't know why Timothy McVeigh is your example as I'm not aware he acted out of religious motivations -- is beside the point for my dialectic purposes: we have not lived under a constitutional regime for a very long time, so I am not impressed by citations of lawlessness committed under this lawless regime.

However, one could parse your original question according to various definitions of the law (in the practice of which I am not technically trained). For instance, if the stoning took place on federal land, it could still be argued that the feds owned the land within the context of its being within a given sovereign state, just as private property still exists within a state, and state laws apply. One could argue that federal ownership of federal land within a state does not constitute a mystical state within a state; the federal government, after all, properly considered, may fairly be conceived as a kind of fixed and limited set of relationships BETWEEN the states, rather than as a state in its own right.

It could be argued that, as with private land ownership, the feds accrue whatever benefit they get from owning land for those specific purposes, but are not exempt from state law on some mystical absolute grounds, just as a private landowner may not claim a mystical right of "private property! nyah-nyah!" under any and all circumstances. I have no idea what present case law says about the subject, but as I said above, I don't really care what case law says about much of anything, as in my view much American case law and precedent is patently absurd and illegitimate, and I don't care whose personal authority has been lent to these malign and twisted findings. "Congress shall make no law" is about as clear as it gets, and if various self-chosen geniuses have managed to find 'penumbras and emanations' which work around this very plain honest language in order to reach I-want-what-I-want decisions in spite of all that is good and true, well, I suppose that that is sort of what Hell is for.

Anonymous Michael Maier December 06, 2012 12:32 AM  

Seeing as how there is NOTHING in the U.S. Constitution that can force anyone to do ANYTHING, Tad is full of shit.

But!

1: we alreadly knew that and
2: we know that both he and SCROTUM can be convinced of anything if their agenda is at stake.

Anonymous Tad December 06, 2012 1:31 AM  

@scoobius:

"I'm right because I say so!"??? Really? That's what your reasoning and analysis and arguments comes down to?

Well...It's hard to argue with that.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 06, 2012 3:41 AM  

""I'm right because I say so!"??? Really? That's what your reasoning and analysis and arguments comes down to?"

Again, you're misrepresenting things. I could just as easily reduce your position to "I'm right because what I want is expedient". In fact if I did so I would probably be being much fairer to you than you are to me.

Let us take an analogy...

Suppose for some weird reason that our government was run using Euclidean geometry, and that our most fundamental basis for making law was using the Elements of Euclid. We are prepared to acknowledge that some other societies use non-Euclidean geometry, but that is not what we as a people have chosen; for us, it's Euclid and only Euclid.

A proposal is put forth in Congress to feed hungry illegal Latinos by providing them with free ostrich meat. For weird legislative reasons, the only way the law can pass is if Congress declares that an ostrich is a type of square. The Senator from Douchebagistan rises to object:

SENATOR D: Look, we can't proceed this way. Euclid clearly states that a square is a two-dimensional polygon with four equal sides and four right angles, and nothing else is a square. I am sorry, but an ostrich is not a square. Find some other way to do this if you can. If we start making convenient exceptions every time a sticky wicket comes our way, then we may as well rule by arbitrary diktat.

The Senator from Cleveristan rises to oppose him and support the bill:

SENATOR C: But, but, but, we NEED to feed free ostrich meat to these grubbing pathetic Latinos! Don't you see how hungry they are? Look, I even brought along soft-focus photographs of their hungry, greasy little children! Look at the poor, hungry little ninos! Can't you just hear them sobbing and begging, "Por favor, senor, free ostrich meat! Si se puede!" Just this once, let's all agree that an ostrich is a square. Why do you hate Latinos?

SENATOR D: You're making an appeal to emotion, not to Euclid. In fact you're making an appeal directly contra Euclid, contra to the very spirit of our laws. If we agree today that a square is an ostrich, tomorrow someone will want us to agree that a rectangle is a baby-murdering machine. Who knows where this nonsense will lead to?

SENATOR C: But I have here with me a Distinguished Professor of Cleverology from Smart-Ass University, who has come up with a very clever way to define an ostrich as a square. Besides, there's precedent. Remember thirty years ago, when the Court agreed that a triangle was a pineapple?

SENATOR D: I remember it well, that ruling led directly to the conditions which caused our country to now be full of begging illegal Latinos who need free ostrich meat. Look, I don't care what the Court said then and I don't care what the Professor says now: an ostrich is not a square. Period. It's right there in Euclid, plain as day.

SENATOR C: But, the subtlety and nuance of interpretation! The twists and turns of precedent, the penumbras and emanations...

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 06, 2012 3:42 AM  

At some point, as you can see, the Euclidean argument must reduce to, "I am right because I am plainly right." And the other side's argument must reduce to, "I am right because I want this." If you accept the axioms of Euclid, then that's what you're left with, because there's no further regression beyond the axioms. A point and a line are what he says they are, and if you don't agree that's fine, but if you don't agree then you must admit that you are outside of Euclid.

But it's hardly an unintellectual or thoughtless position. In other words, on these premises, when you say "it's hard to argue with that" you are basically conceding that I am right.

What you wish me to do is to continue reasoning and arguing in increasingly tangled webs until eventually for some reason I admit that the words "Congress shall make no law" actually mean "Congress shall make such laws, when it is convenient." Sorry, but at some point -- and in this case it is an eminently reasonable point -- the argument must end with "No sale." I'm not arguing "I'm right because I say so," I'm arguing that if we are playing chess, we all know what checkmate is, and at some point it simply will not do to argue that a mated position is somehow not checkmate, simply because you think that the very idea of checkmate is unfair and violates your sense of social justice. Why does white always get to move first anyway? See, chess is racist, therefore this position is not checkmate. If you think it's unfair then just don't play chess.

Anonymous stg58 December 06, 2012 5:00 AM  

@ clk

"I work for a major process analytical manufacturer, managing advanced technical sales, and only now do I need to go to college but only for associates degree in process technology. People with bachelors and masters degrees in chemical engineering and chemistry work for me"

That's great - your a manager of sales. Salesmen should never burdened with technical knowledge; and sales managers even less. ...and if you are leading sales people that happen to have chemical engineering/chemistry degrees that is fine... it speaks to truth that often technical people can make more more in non technical roles.

But if your were the manager of engineering or trying to be a chemist/engineer you would be unqualified for those tasks due to the lack of qualified training.


You are also missing another valid point, that technical knowledge is not only found in the sacred halls of academia. You can acquire it in other ways besides college.

As far as my technical skills, I mentioned the type of products we manufacture and that I am in technical sales to give you an insight into our industry. I don't think you picked up on that, or are familiar with our industry. Without possessing a B.S. in chemistry, chemical engineering or analytical chemistry, I know more about process analytical techniques that a good number of those degree holders do.

As far as not being burdened with technical knowledge, good luck getting anywhere in our little world without it. Part of our selling model is arguing technical features and benefits to our customers, who are Ph.D's, process engineers and research chemists, against competitors and finding ways to optimize refinery processes and chemical production. That is why it is called "technical sales". We aren't selling vacuum cleaners, we sell high end instrumentation that mixes physics, chemistry and electronics in order to analyze complex chemical streams for process control, safety and enviromental protection.

As an advanced analytical sales manager, I manage sales reps indirectly. I also am in front of customers constantly, giving presentations and live demonstrations of our equipment.

I am obviously not trying to be an engineering manager or a chemist. If I were, I would get the requisite degree. I can work with them, though, on highly technical applications where you must possess a high degree of technical knowledge to even get in the door. Don't assume you understand what you are talking about. It can get you into trouble.

Blogger James Dixon December 06, 2012 6:17 AM  

> ..."the court made clear that all that must be established in order for the Free Exercise Clause to come into play is a sincere and meaningful belief."

They can't just take your word for that "sincere and meaningful belief", Tad. There has to be some outside evidence that such is the case.

Which there is for the Roman Catholic Church and contraception. So are you now arguing that the Roman Catholics don't have a "sincere and meaningful belief" that contraception is wrong?

You're the on trying to have it both ways, Tad. Though you'll never admit that, of course.

> I'm saying their rationale for demanding an exemption from the contraceptive mandate in the Healthcare law in nonsensical and certainly not in line with our constitution.

And your own statement above refutes your analysis.

You can argue like a lawyer all day that words don't mean what they say, Tad. You can even provide court case after court case where some specific language would seem to agree with you. That's not going to convince anyone except another lawyer. We're not lawyers.

> Finally, it's quite clear that the contraception mandate does not inhibit the practice of a religion.

It inhibits the practice of not paying for contraception.

Anonymous Van December 06, 2012 7:41 AM  

Exercise of religion is an example, not the core isse, which I believe scoobius adequately explained. The core issue is negative vs positive rights. The Constitution is based on negative rights, statism is based on positive rights (which must violate negative rights).

As for taxes violating religious beliefs, if this is the case, said religion is not compatible Western Civ, just as statism is not compatible with Constitutional Republicanism

Anonymous Edjamacator December 06, 2012 9:48 AM  

In general, some laws I find immoral I still might follow. Others I would not. It depends.

Yeah, of course. It depends on whether or not you feel like it. You've already demonstrated that you are a hypocrite. No need to beat that horse anymore.

And I'm not condemning Christians. I'm saying their rationale for demanding an exemption from the contraceptive mandate in the Healthcare law in nonsensical and certainly not in line with our constitution.

Pretty much the entire federal government is not in line with our Constitution, so if it's not in line with it, where does it get the right to pass laws? And if being in line with the Constitution is such a major deal, why do you support the federal government in the first place?

I also suspect that the Catholic league wants that exemption primarily to save money, not to save their soul. But that's another issue.

Yes, that is another issue. One of yours. It's nice to see you expose the simmering hatred you have buried underneath by automatically assuming that greed is the main motivator of people you don't know. What about Christians who aren't Catholic? Are they just greedy, too? What about small businesses (religious or not) who will see their costs skyrocket and have to fire people to make ends meet with Obamacare in general? Are they just being greedy and couldn't possibly really be worried about having to fire people?

You're the type of idiot who fights for gun control and says citizens need to get rid of them but won't put up a sign in his front yard stating "I don't believe in guns" because you know criminals would then pounce on you whether you admit it to yourself or not.

Blogger Brad Andrews December 06, 2012 10:23 AM  

I know some have succeeded without college, but it is a check-off for many positions these days. Even the sales manager mentioned above would likely need a degree if he tried to get the same job elsewhere.

The degree itself is not the important thing in many cases, it is the fact that it can be used to discriminate against the potential pool of applicants. You can have a disparate impact if you require a degree that you could not get away with otherwise.

You can get a degree much cheaper than the options most chose however. That takes some self-initiative, something missing from many people.

Jobs like plumber and carpenter may not require it, but almost any corporate job will or will be heavily biased towards it these days.

Blogger Brad Andrews December 06, 2012 10:25 AM  

Tad's view on laws is:

- If I like them, they are good and everyone must follow them.

- If I don't like them they must be changed and can be freely ignored until then.

- Everyone must abide by my view of what is right.

That is the mess we are headed to now in the country, so he is certainly representative of a large number of irrational people.

They don't want my views shoved on them, but they are free to shove their views (in their own minds) on those who disagree. Quite hypocritical.

Anonymous Tad December 06, 2012 11:12 AM  

@scoobius

I've always thought chess was racist!!!

I know what "Congress shall make no law" means. However "Prohibiting the free exercise" is what's at issue.

Mandating contraception coverage in health insurance in now prevents a catholic form exercising their religion any more than a law that insists that photos on federal identification cards reveal the persons face prohibits the free exercise of Muslim women's religion.

You've got to try to embrace the idea that the Constitution possesses conflicting values and interests. The role of the judiciary, legislative branch and executive branch is to find reasonable ways to navigate those varying values and interests.

Anonymous Tad December 06, 2012 11:28 AM  

@James
> ..."the court made clear that all that must be established in order for the Free Exercise Clause to come into play is a sincere and meaningful belief."

They can't just take your word for that "sincere and meaningful belief", Tad. There has to be some outside evidence that such is the case.


Absolutely. You are correct. But this is not necessarily a high threshold to reach. So, let's agree then that both established religions as well as deeply held moral/spiritual beliefs of a non-traditional religious variety can both be demonstrated to have access to the protections of the "Free exercise" clause.

An no, I'm not arguing that the Catholic churches teachings on contraception are anything but sincere. But I'll ask again, where is the line drawn. Does someone who has a deeply held moral and spiritual belief that taxation is immoral, and that can be shown to be sincerely and meaningful, have the right to be exempt from Federal income tax? It's the same thing as Catholic request for an exemption from the contraception mandate.

Your argument I think must lead you to give that exemption to the "taxes are immoral" person. You can see where this position leads.

So the question is, what principle do you put in place to prevent any and all organizations or people form finding easy ways to find exemption from laws that aren't aimed directly at them or their principles, but are, like the contraception mandate or taxation, generally applicable laws.

One way to approach this issue is to ask the following questions:

1. Does the law significantly burden the exercise of the religion in question.

2. Is there there a less burdensome way to achieve the goals behind the law.

I'm arguing that where the contraception mandate is concerned the answer is 1)No and 2)No.

Anonymous Tad December 06, 2012 11:32 AM  

@Edjumacator

It's nice to see you expose the simmering hatred you have buried underneath by automatically assuming that greed is the main motivator of people you don't know.

Will you mind too much if I throw this back in your face the next time I read you assigning motive to people you don't know?

Anonymous Edjamacator December 06, 2012 12:24 PM  

Will you mind too much if I throw this back in your face the next time I read you assigning motive to people you don't know?

Not if I act like I know it for sure and there's no basis for it, no. I like how you dodged everything else, though. It's okay, Tad, no one expects much of you, given the beat downs you keep receiving. Do you even have the capacity to learn or is there a disability there we should really keep in mind?

Blogger James Dixon December 06, 2012 3:13 PM  

> ... But I'll ask again, where is the line drawn...

And the answer remains the same. As far in the favor of the religion as is possible without breaking the other essential responsibilities of the government as defined in the Constitution.

> Does someone who has a deeply held moral and spiritual belief that taxation is immoral, and that can be shown to be sincerely and meaningful, have the right to be exempt from Federal income tax? It's the same thing as Catholic request for an exemption from the contraception mandate.

No, it's not the same thing. And your even suggesting that they are makes it clear you're never intended to argue the matter in good faith.

But the answer to your question is that quite likely, yes they do. That doesn't mean the courts would rule that way.

> ...finding easy ways to find exemption from laws that aren't aimed directly at them or their principles, but are, like the contraception mandate or taxation, generally applicable laws.

The contraception mandate is in fact aimed directly at a Roman Catholic principle. Your saying it isn't doesn't change that.

> I'm arguing that where the contraception mandate is concerned the answer is 1)No and 2)No.

Whereas the rather obvious answers are yes and yes.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 06, 2012 7:30 PM  

"I know what "Congress shall make no law" means. However "Prohibiting the free exercise" is what's at issue."

I can't believe what I'm hearing from you. This is getting ridiculous.

You know, you might possibly --possibly!-- have an argument if we were talking about the ad-hoc complaints of the First Church of Tax-Evading Peyote-Eating Hippies, founded in 1975 in a garage in Taos, NM. But we are talking about the scholarly, spiritual, considered and firmly voiced objections of the Holy Roman Catholic Church -- the Holy See, the Throne of Saint Peter, the Vicar of Christ on Earth; the historical defender and embodiment of Western Christendom itself. No other religious body on earth speaks with more concentrated authority.

And this Church is saying to Congress, explicitly, after duly consulting their oceanic and vastly-attested body of theology and canon law, that the ACA, as an act of Congress, does indeed prohibit their free exercise of religion under the First. For reasons I explained earlier. No better test case is possible. It would appear that your objection over the definition of what constitutes a "prohibition of free expression" merely pits your personal atheistic opinion against an army of scholars who have devoted their lives to the expression and articulation of their actual articles of faith. I humbly petition your majesty to consider that the Catholic Church knows more about its religion than you do.

And you're telling me that my argument amounts to "I'm right because I say so?" Your objection is preposterous.

btw, if you look into strict Muslim theology you will find that covering a woman's face is not a theological article of faith, merely a cultural preference supported by theology. A Catholic who assists in abortion or facilitates birth control is considers themselves to be at risk of grave sin; a Muslim woman who uncovers her face is not being immodest according to strict Koranic definitions. Besides which: a) passports and drivers licences are voluntary, and are a privilege, not a right; if Muslim women are so darn offended they can forego them, whereas the ACA has the compulsive force of law, and b) anyway Muslims have absolutely no business residing in this country in the first place, as even their own theology and canon law affirms -- according to Muslim theology, from now until Judgement Day, all believing Muslims must reside within the Ummah, within the lands under the explicit jurisdiction of Dar-al-Islam, and not within the lands of the Dar-al-Harb, the House of War (or more accurately, the House of Those Whom Muslims Are Perpetually Commanded to Make War Against). There are two exceptions to this -- those who function within the House of War merely as diplomats, and those who come, not as immigrants or supplicants or fellow-citizens, but as conquerors for Islam. Any woman who is pious enough to refuse to show her face for an ID photograph has, by definition, identified herself as an invader and a conqueror, not a fellow citizen. And should be treated accordingly.

Like I say, atheists should refrain from commenting on religion, a thing which they have rejected and do not understand in the least.

Anonymous Anonymous December 07, 2012 5:35 AM  

McVeigh was an atheist, just FYI.

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