You Asked For It!

Yes, there used to be a television series in the 1950s by that name. No, this post has no connection to the tv show.YouAskedFort

Over at the MindfulDigressions blog today, Doobster posted his reaction (entitled I Just Don’t Get It) discussing the Supreme Court decision in re: Hobby Lobby.

Later in the day, he added a follow-up post (entitled Let Me Have It) that expresses surprise (or possibly disappointment?) that his earlier post didn’t generate the level of pushback he apparently anticipated (only two dissenters).

ASIDE: I could be wrong but the later post seemed especially condescending to the two dissenters. I suspect I won’t fare any better than they did, but since Doobster solicited, I humbly offer my response.

It’s simple, really. With all due respect, you don’t have to “get it.” You obviously have a difference of opinion. The Greens (owners of Hobby Lobby) hold one view, you hold another. You’re not going to change their minds on the issue and I imagine your stance is just as firm as theirs.

I don’t say this unkindly, but your closing paragraphs in the earlier post were insulting as well as dismissive to all potential dissenters. (That’s why, initially, I decided not to comment. What would be the point?)

With your broadest brush, you proceeded to damn anyone who believes there may be “legitimate reason(s) to oppose the use of contraception.” That doesn’t sound to me like you’re anxious for some diversity of thought. People who don’t agree with you? You condemn their opinion as “totally absurd.” (Did I mention dismissive?)

However, you did ask a legitimate question: “if you’re opposed to abortion, why would you not support access to contraception?”HobbyLobby

So please, Doobster, in the interest of accuracy, consider Hobby Lobby’s (HB) clear history. HB “has no moral objection to the use of 16 of 20 preventive contraceptions required in the (ACA) mandate.” Furthermore, HB has had a “longstanding practice of covering these preventive contraceptives for its employees.”

Sixteen of twenty preventive contraceptives are covered under HB insurance plans. Did you get that? Sixteen preventive contraceptives are covered! Please explain the substance of your claim, i.e. that HB doesn’t “support access to contraception.” That charge is false and should be acknowledged on your blog.

Now, no one except the Greens should speak for them, and I have no intention to do so. But I do have some affinity for their point of view; it is from that basis that I write.

Like the Greens (and the Hahns of Conestoga Wood Specialties), I have a deeply-held moral conviction that every human life is precious and created by God. That is perhaps not a moral conviction you and I share, Doobster … but does that make my moral conviction wrong simply because you don’t share it?

As a matter of conscience, I find abortion abhorrent and believe it to be the willful destruction of an innocent human life. I’m just guessing here, but I imagine this is not a matter of conscience you share with me. Am I correct?

You state that one’s opposition to contraception “is backward, regressive and clearly out of touch with contemporary America.” This inflammatory statement doesn’t exactly engender open debate, but I’ve got a thick skin. And it bears repeating:  HB isn’t opposed to contraception.

Here’s my question: what do you want from people like me? Like the Greens? Like the Hahns? Must we violate our conscientious convictions in order to live in congruence with you?

I have never (and would never) demand that you (or anyone else) abuse your conscience because the collective holds an opposite view. If that makes me “out of touch,” then I gladly wear the label. My mother used to ask, “If everyone’s jumping off a ten-story building, are you going to follow?”

I purposely haven’t cited religious conviction (or the Bible) because I respect your right to hold a divergent view. However, it’s hard for me to imagine there isn’t something in your life where a matter of conscience … a moral conviction … does not guide you. Will you cede that others also operate from conviction?

fetusIn my initial research of abortion (early 70s), I recall hearing testimony from physicians debating the question. There was much discussion at that time about when life begins. At conception? At quickening? At birth? Or some other time along that continuum? One physician concluded by stating his guiding principle that we should always err on the side of Life.

Yes, we know so much more today about fetal development. But it seems to me the physician’s suggested guideline carries no less legitimacy today. Why would we not err on the side of Life?

I am prepared to be castigated and lampooned for my “backward, regressive” view. All the same, I have candidly and respectfully opened the door, but I remain unapologetic in declaring this, my firmly-held conviction. I will stand by it come what may.

You did ask for it, after all.

10 thoughts on “You Asked For It!

  1. I was wondering if anyone would take up my challenge and I’m delighted that it was you.

    Before we get started, you wrote, “I could be wrong but the later post seemed especially condescending to the two dissenters.” I disagree. Yes, I paraphrased the comments of the two “dissenters,” but I don’t think I was being condescending. One said I was not seeing things from the opposing point of view, and I invited her to share with me that opposing point of view, which she did not. So I figured I would go ahead and solicit it from anyone who wanted to share it with me. And thank you for picking up the gauntlet.

    Okay, let’s get to it, then. You wrote, “With your broadest brush, you proceeded to damn anyone who believes there may be ‘legitimate reason(s) to oppose the use of contraception.’” Yes, I did, and so far I’ve heard none. And my use of the phrase “totally absurd,” was referring to the Supreme Court’s decision, not to those who disagree with my personal opinion, which is what I was expressing in my post.

    As to the four methods of contraception (out of the 20 supported by the law, the Greens’ apparent objection was that these four contraceptives prevent a fertilized egg, or zygote, from being implanted in the uterus, and, thus, destroy the zygote (i.e., induce abortion). But these methods of contraception, as I thought I explained in my post, prevent fertilization of the egg, so there is no zygote created. Hence, there is no abortion, since an unfertilized egg cannot be aborted. Did I not make myself clear? So the Green’s objections to these four methods of birth control have no basis in science or reality.

    You wrote, “HB has had a ‘longstanding practice of covering these preventive contraceptives for its employees.’” Yes, but as one of the commenters on my post pointed out, “… for years, Hobby Lobby’s health insurance plans did cover Plan B and Ella [two of the four methods they object to]. It was only in 2012, when the Greens considered filing a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, that they dropped these drugs from the plan.” Hmm.

    Additionally, their 401(k) plan for retirees includes “mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions.” Hmm.

    How about this? China’s Health Ministry estimates that in the four decades since the imposition of the one-child policy, more than 336 million abortions have taken place which included forced abortions. Another commenter wrote, “If Hobby Lobby really had strong Christian values, they would not deal with the Chinese, who still persecute Christians and where abortions are common – as is infantcide.” He added, “And yet their business is built on selling Chinese goods.” Hmm.

    Seems like the Greens are hypocrites.

    You asked me, “what do you want from people like me? Like the Greens? Like the Hahns? Must we violate our conscientious convictions in order to live in congruence with you?” My answer is no, of course not. My answer, as it always is and always will be, is live and let live. My answer is that the Greens and the Hahns, and you should obey the laws and if the law mandates covering preventive health care services and if contraception is deemed to be a preventive health care service, there should be no objections. Especially…especially… since the contraceptives that the Greens and Hahns and, perhaps you, object to do not result in abortions, they prevent fertilization. As I said in my post, an unfertilized egg cannot be aborted.

    One other thing. My anger is not just directed toward the Greens, but with the fact that the SCOTUS has decided that corporations, like people, can practice religion; that corporations can impose their religious beliefs on their employees, even if their employees don’t share those religious beliefs. Corporations are not people. They are business entities. And any business entity that is not specifically established for religious purposes, like a church or a religious charity, should not have the right to impose the religious will of the owners on those of their customers or employees or be excluded from obeying the law.

    As another commenter wondered, what if the owners of a bank believe that women having babies out of wedlock goes against their sincere religious beliefs? Should they be able to legally deny an otherwise qualified woman a loan for that reason? What if homosexuality is against the religious beliefs of the business owners? Should they be permitted to discriminate against gays, to not serve homosexual customers or hire homosexual employees? What if the employer is a Christian Scientist who doesn’t believe in transfusions or doesn’t believe in prescription drugs? Should such employers be exempt from covering the cost of transfusions or prescription drugs in their health plans? Should their employees be denied certain types of care simply because the boss doesn’t believe in it?

    This ruling has opened up a real Pandora’s Box. How far will this absurd ruling by the Supreme Court go? What will the unintended consequences of this ruling be?

    1. Doobster, thanks for your comments. In the interest of open debate, I had hoped we could perhaps find some common ground on this issue, but hope sometimes disappoints. Since any possibility of agreement seems unlikely, my response will be brief.

      As I said in my original post, I will not speak for the Greens. You’ve leveled a litany of accusations, many of which have been grist for countless hysterical (and sometimes exaggerated) rants across the web. If the Greens are perceived to be hypocrites, that’s a burden they’ll have to carry.

      You say your personal guideline is to “live and let live.” From my perspective, condemning people who choose a divergent view from yours isn’t “live and let live.” You’re asking for viewpoint homogeneity. How is that “live and let live”?! Progressives, it seems to me, are all about “choice” until a conservative chooses differently.

      As to potential “unintended consequences” of the ruling, here’s the way I see it. Women will continue without interruption to freely access contraception − though on occasion they may have to pay for it themselves. People of faith will continue to freely exercise their consciences on matters of faith and practice − a reaffirmation of the First Amendment of our Constitution.

      Looks like a win-win for Freedom.

      1. First, about “live and let live.” You practice your religion, I’ll practice mine. Don’t try to impose your religious beliefs on me and I won’t try to impose mine on yours. That’s what I mean by live and let live. That doesn’t mean you can’t express your opinion. That doesn’t mean you can’t “witness” for God and Jesus. But you’re not my boss and you have no control or influence over me. Hobby Lobby is a retail organization that employs 13,000 people and I’m sure each and every one of them is not either Catholic or an evangelical Christian.

        And by the way, if you read what I have written, I wasn’t condemning people who have different views. I was condemning the decision by the SCOTUS.

        Second, many of the employees of Hobby Lobby, as with most retail organizations, are paid at or just slightly above minimum wage. Birth control is not cheap and some forms may cost as much as a month’s pay for those earning minimum wage. But spread that cost across 13,000 employees and it’s pennies a month, if that.

        Third, this is not at all about freedom of religion. There is nothing in the ACA that suggests that individuals are not free to practice and observe whatever religion they choose. No one is telling the Greens, the Hahns, or you that you can’t practice your religion as they and you see fit. But Hobby Lobby is not a person. It’s a company. It serves the public. It employs all kinds of people. The Supreme Court has assigned to companies the right to practice religion and to impose the religious beliefs of the owners on their employees. But companies, despite the Citizens United case, another travesty of justice, are not people. Companies do not go to church. Companies do not pray. Companies are commercial enterprises that exist to make profits. To suggest that a company has religion is ludicrous.

        So yes, you’re right, there is no common ground here whatsoever. This is a lose-lose all around. Especially for women.

        1. As always, thank you for your comment. I humbly respect your right to disagree. Sorry you thought I was trying to “impose religious beliefs” on you. Never my intent. But you make your own call. For me (a woman, a small business owner, an American), this decision isn’t a loss. That just happens to be my perception. I never expected you to agree. Regards.

          1. I didn’t mean to imply that you were trying to impose your religious beliefs on me. You have never done that, and I appreciate that fact. It was a generalized statement intended to support the “live and let live” philosophy.

            I realize that we will never agree on this, but I honestly do respect your views, even though I don’t concur. And since today is America’s birthday, I will say that one of the greatest things about this nation we live in is that we are each free to express our own views and to openly disagree with one another.

            I hope that I have not been too disrespectful of your views in my comments here.

            Have a good 4th of July, a non-sectarian holiday that I’m sure we can both celebrate with pride.

          2. Thanks again for commenting. Finally, something on which we can agree? Love of country and pride of place on this celebration day. Hope you had a wonderful day.

  2. Thank you Renee for responding to this blog! I appreciate you standing up for the unborn children! When pro life folks respond to the taunts of pro choice folks we are indeed erring on the side of life. Sharon Jay Lloyd

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