published Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Pam’s Points: Freedom — unless you don’t believe in it; and a very important political debate

When faith steps on health

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 in favor of freedom — unless you don't believe in it.

The justices said Monday that if a family-owned corporation -- one that sells craft supplies or makes cabinets, for example, -- wraps itself in the Bible, then it can claim a religious exemption and tell its female workers it won't cover four of the most popular forms of contraception in the country.

Yes, Hobby Lobby and other companies claiming a religious center can now tell its female workers or the wives of its male employees that they, the corporate employers, will determine what form of birth control workers can choose that will be covered.

The ruling drives a deepening wedge between women's health and just plain health. Vasectomy (one in five American men over 35 have had vasectomies, according to medical websites) was not one of the four methods of birth control that Hobby Lobby and Conestonga Wood Specialties objected to.

But that's not the only absurdity of this deeply troubling decision, made after the companies filed lawsuits claiming the Affordable Care Act requirement to pay for contraception coverage violated a federal law protecting religious freedom.

The health care law and its related regulations require many employers to provide female workers with comprehensive insurance coverage for a variety of methods of contraception. The companies objected to some of the contraception methods, saying they are tantamount to abortion because they can prevent embryos from implanting in the womb. Providing insurance coverage for those forms of contraception would, the companies said, make them complicit in the practice.

The ruling appears more partisan than balanced, but most frightening is how far it seems to move the goal posts on corporate rights.

Despite the court's claim that it tried to write a ruling narrowly tailored to these specific cases, the decision opens the door to challenges from other corporations to many laws that may be said to violate religious liberty. Can a family corporation refuse to serve gays or Muslims if they claim religious freedom because they try to run their businesses on religious principles? Perhaps not now, but clearly the door is unlocked.

And how soon, now, will a job depend on Sunday church attendance?

Really, Americans, do you want your corporate bosses telling you how to live your life during your off time -- anymore than they already do?

Democrats and the GOP primary

No one, including Democrats, should miss Wednesday's debate between incumbent U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and his GOP primary challenger for the 3rd Congressional District post, Weston Wamp.

The two will meet head to head in their first debate of the campaign season in a Chattanooga Times Free Press and WTCI-TV-sponsored event at 2 p.m. at the WTCI studios. The debate will be aired on WTCI -- Chattanooga's public television station. Later Wednesday, the debate will be streamed at and aired on WTCI, both at 8. The Times Free Press will have full coverage in Thursday's edition. Send questions to or submit them through social media using the hashtag #tn3rd on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Democrat Mary Headrick, a physician, and independent candidate Cassandra Mitchell will face the GOP pick in November. Headrick has no Democratic primary opposition, and independents have no primary.

But in this very red district in this very red state, Democrats need to make sure they have the best possible representative in Congress, and that may very well mean a cross-over vote in this primary to choose the most viable, energetic and thoughtful candidate on the November ticket.

Watching the debate will help every voter make a better decision.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
aae1049 said...

If the Hobby Lobby employees don't like their insurance coverage, they don't have to keep their insurance coverage.

The Dim Women want freedom of choice, they got it. How is it everyone else responsibility to pay for their choice. A private corporation is not government subsidized, nor are they under any obligation to participate in an employee's abortion meds. Hobby Lobby hsd s right to choice as well.

July 1, 2014 at 12:11 a.m.


There are too many inequalities in this world.

Malleus Deum

July 1, 2014 at 12:15 a.m.
Easy123 said...


You seem to be ignorant about how insurance works. No one is "paying for their choice". The employees pay into their policy. This is simply about COVERING it on the employee insurance.

Birth control isn't "abortion meds". That's not how birth control works. Birth control prevents fertilization and/or keep the egg from attaching to the uterine wall. That isn't abortion by any stretch of the imagination. Plan B isn't either, but it is an over-the-counter medication anyway, so it is not covered to begin with.

Hobby Lobby shouldn't have the right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees. In no way does covering contraception on employee an insurance policy infringe on employer rights or beliefs. Their belief that birth control is "abortion medication" is unequivocally wrong.

Care to try again with your Right WingNut propaganda?

July 1, 2014 at 12:34 a.m.
aae1049 said...

You seem to be ignorant, because you are ignorant. An actuary determines insurance costs for an employer to provide insurance on a cost share basis to employees. If a privately owned company choses to leave out certain treatments and prescriptions the actuary is impacted, and in turn costs. What benefits a private company choses to offer is solely at their discretion, no explanation required to the employee. However, the employee is free to resign in this at will model.

A privately held corporation is under no obligation to change their culture to satisfy mass appeal

July 1, 2014 at 1:23 a.m.
Ki said...

Also, Easy123 --- somewhere in there, if some investigative reporter takes a peek, they're likely to discover hobby lobby has, may still are, received federal dollars, even if just to get they're business off the ground. Just like that last GOP mouthpiece praised so highly by rightwing-nut jobs until it was discovered the business got its start from the federal government, and the business was still relying heavily on government contracts.

July 1, 2014 at 1:24 a.m.
conservative said...

Liberals love bigger government.

They always want more programs and more checks and more benefits that are paid for by someone else.

Before Obamination care they paid for many elective drugs and procedures themselves.

They are greedy.

And they sure can cry when they don't get their way, he-he.

July 1, 2014 at 7:13 a.m.


With this particular issue all biases must be laid aside for intelligent conclusions to be drawn.

Malleus Deum

July 1, 2014 at 8:06 a.m.
jjmez said...

Wrong! -conservy. Government has always grown larger under "conservative" GOP/republicans.

July 1, 2014 at 9:04 a.m.
conservative said...

Yes, the Republicans, not Conservatives, are the party of big government.

However, the Demoncrats are the party of BIGGER government!

July 1, 2014 at 9:21 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

I think for religious reasons I want to stop paying the percent of my taxes going for the war effort. Do I have to be a corporation?

July 1, 2014 at 11:07 a.m.
conservative said...

Yea, you try that.

July 1, 2014 at 11:47 a.m.

lkeithlu said... "I think for religious reasons I want to stop paying the percent of my taxes going for the war effort. Do I have to be a corporation?"

Stop paying your war taxes? What would the "Killers for Christ" and "Jehovah's Jihadists for 'Murican Justice" military think? Your religious or non-religious beliefs don't count — only xian Fundy-NutZ.

Every time there's a war it's necessary to have some deity on your side to make killing holy and justified. In America, it's Jehovah — that paragon of genocide and paranoia.

Next war I'm not fighting unless it's for the glory of Floyd the Barber.

July 1, 2014 at 2:10 p.m.
timbo said...

This makes no sense..we aren't talking about the war or Christ or monkeys. We are talking about the SUPREME COURT RULING ON HOBBY LOBBY.

July 1, 2014 at 2:21 p.m.
timbo said...

To me this is an easy one. Hobby Lobby started a business. Businesses have every right to set policy within reason. They can't have policies that are inherently dangerous or blatantly discriminatory.

The policy might be that you cannot wear blue jeans, smoke, take drugs, etc. Since you paid for the company, and you own it, you can do what you want. The worker has every right to leave, it is not slavery, if they don't like the company policy. Since workers don't finance the company or own anything, they have no right to set policy.

Hobby Lobby set a policy. It paid for 16 forms of birth control and eliminated four that they thought were forms of abortion. Religous freedom is in the first amendment and very important. It is a right. It wasn't even in the Obamacare law. It was a policy set by a liberal Health and Human services department overstepping it's authority. It never should have made it to the Supreme Court.

Birth control is not a right. It is not on the same level of competition as the First amendment. In this case, it wasn't even in the law, it was made-up by a department of the executive branch. The constitution trumps any law or policy passed by congress or Obama.

Liberals want a select few of the "politburo" to set policies that further their political ends. They used to be interested in protecting individual rights but now they have become government control freaks.

July 1, 2014 at 2:33 p.m.
Ki said...

The radical right wing members of the supreme are behaving like a monarchy. Nowhere in the constitution does it say the supreme court has the power to strike down laws or create law. That is a power held exclusively in the first two branches of government; congress and the presidency. Gloat now cry later when it all comes back to bite'cha--like puppets, they're doing the radical right-wing's dirty work.

July 1, 2014 at 2:35 p.m.
timbo said... birth control was not a law. It is not in the Obamacare law. It was formulated as a policy using Obamacare as it's crutch.

Have you ever heard of the Separation of Powers. The Supreme Courts ONLY job is to interpret if the laws follow the constitution. Are you that uneducated?

Let me educate you....the Congress only has the right to pass laws, the president can only veto or sign a bill into law. The congress can override the president with a 2/3 majority of both house of congress. It is congress that passes laws, the Supreme Court who interpret laws, and the president who signs it into law or vetos. Congress has the ultimate power in our Republican system.

As far as the "radical right wing members," opposed by the socialist, liberal, left-wing loonies.

Even those loonies have gotten it right 12 times, 9-0 against Obama. Obama must have been asleep in constitutional law class. He was probably out smoking dope.

You have google, before you screw up, why don't you check yourself and save some embarrassment.

July 1, 2014 at 2:45 p.m.
Ki said...

"He was probably out smoking door"

You mean like that "dry-drunkard" before him? ;)

July 1, 2014 at 3:28 p.m.
gypsylady said...

We're cool as long as we all understand that customers have the right to shop, or not shop where they want. I won't go back to Hobby Lobby because of their unmitigated hypocrisy. The day they clear their stores of Chinese made merchandise I'll believe that they have sincerely held religious beliefs against abortion. As it is, I think I know what master they serve. The other side is that I also have a vote. I'm what is known as a swing voter. We're getting more numerous and we're swinging elections. Those of us swing voters who are women are bit by bit sliding away from the Republican/Tea Party. The men can 'splain to us all day long how there's no war on women but really and truly, we get decide that. Five men. Five men who will never become pregnant made a decision that impacts women's health care. Well, well.

July 1, 2014 at 4:16 p.m.

+++We Preach Christ Jesus Crucified+++

Sometimes it seems we can linger so long on one concept that it actually becomes less clear in meaning.

Malleus Deum

July 1, 2014 at 5:24 p.m.
Ki said...

Orr actually thinks its "god's hammer" coming down, gypsylady. That's why he keeps putting that "Malleus Deum" at the end of everything he writes. He can't see there's no 'god' involved in this rightwingnut craziness. Just greedy, self-serving wealth worshipping that golden calf* looking out for their own greedy self interest.

malleus deum is a Latin translation for gods hammer.

July 1, 2014 at 8:44 p.m.
gypsylady said...

Thanks Ki. I thought it meant "bad gas" and he was crying out for medication.

July 1, 2014 at 9:36 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

God's hammer...I've never understood why some Christian people focus solely on retribution and punishment while others focus on grace and glory. I guess the old adage that it is harder for some persons to forgive themselves and easier to engage in self-loathing than it is for God to forgive them fits the case. They seem to have let their guilt overcome their joy.

July 1, 2014 at 10:33 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

The bottom line is, 5 Catholic Supreme Court bishops have forced their belief on the American people, Catholic or not. Most of you do not remember the uproar around JFK as to whether he would rule as the Pope said or as the (civil) Law said. He did a good job, you cannot say the same about Scalia.

July 1, 2014 at 10:36 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

"The policy might be that you cannot wear blue jeans, smoke, take drugs, etc. Since you paid for the company, and you own it, you can do what you want. The worker has every right to leave, it is not slavery, if they don't like the company policy."

So Timbo, I guess you have a huge problem with the state of TN attempting to dictate "policy" to companies (The bill that allows employees to bring firearms onto company property, even if it violates company "policy". And the bill that would make it illegal for union reps to visit a company, even if the company invites the union to the company). Funny how I don't recall any post of yours condemning "Conservative" lawmakers from the state.

July 1, 2014 at 10:48 p.m.

+++We Preach Christ Jesus Crucified+++

The essence of law is to disenfranchise a percentage of 'collateral damage' population.

Malleus Deum

July 1, 2014 at 11:06 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

Actually, bringing a gun on property might violate a non-violent Christian owner's rights...thereby reducing the TN law to unconstitutional.

The beauty of Christianity is that it recognized the state for what it is, and knowing a higher order obedience cedes to the state what the state claims and holds fast to faith. Some folks forget that and expect the state to defend Christianity, something outside the interest and power of the democratic state that honors everyone's belief by not discriminating.

July 1, 2014 at 11:31 p.m.
timbo said...

inquiringmind...I have to agree with you here. My property rights trump someone else's gun right. If I don't want them on my premises then that is what needs to happen.

I own a business and don't care if they carry it in their car but if I say NO then it is NO.

Sort of like calling the shots on my insurance coverage. If I don't want to offer something, like birth control, then I shouldn't have to do that.

That is consistent.

July 2, 2014 at 11:32 a.m.
timbo said...

It is funny that liberals think it is logical that I can be made to pay for something I don't want, and they can't have something taken away from that someone else pays for.

Liberals are lying about the effect of this ruling to stir up all the emotional, illogical, liberal women into thinking they are victims.

July 2, 2014 at 11:35 a.m.
timbo said...

Another thing, birth control has nothing to do with women's health. As a matter of fact, some women are less healthy taking pills than not.

Birth control is cheap and available all over this country. It costs $10 per month for birth control pills. Condoms are $.25 each and even the "morning after" is only $35.

Why should I pay for anyone else's sex habits when all they have to do is cross their legs. If you don't want to get pregnant, don't have sex. I am diabetic, if I don't want to die, I have to watch what I eat. No more ice cream, cake, cookies. I just have to stop. Sex is like that, you can not do it.

Lastly, this comment that idiot Hillary Clinton made saying it is a "plot" by men to keep women down was stupid. She compared it to how Muslim men treat women. That is an absolute fabrication. I think it proves that she has been brain damaged. Doesn't she realize that men are about 40% of the vote. What an imbecile.

July 2, 2014 at 11:44 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

timmie, I knew my comment wouldn't last long as the last word. You do not have to offer insurance to your employees if you have any. You and they can sign up for ACA which reduced my bill by almost 50% and improved coverage. And by the way, stay on topic.

The HL decision is about forcing one's religious views on an employee, treating the company as if it were human.

I see you are one of those who think women do not have the power of independent thinking and need a man around to help them understand the issues and how to vote. Except of course those conservative ladies like Robin who blink their eyes and say, "Yes, honey, whatever you say" to their husbands, employers and political managers.

July 2, 2014 at 11:51 a.m.
timbo said...

inquiringmind...If I turned my employees over to Obamacare, their coverage would be minuscule compared to what they have now. For every story like yours there are 10 stories about paying more with less coverage.

That was the plot all along, make it hard on everyone where they would throw up their hands and say "let's just go to single payer."

No one is forcing religious views on anyone. The employees who object can quit and work somewhere else. I own my company and I make the rules about what I offer employees. I set policy and if they want to go somewhere else, more power too them. Hobby Lobby financed 16 forms of birth control. Only 4 were eliminated. Isn't that the "compromise" all you liberals say you want. That's right, your idea of compromise is doing what you want.

You are half right, liberal women don't have the power of independent thinking. They are manipulated into thinking that they are victims. You think they have to have men like Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, etc. etc. to tell them what to think. Group think that is encouraged by the liberal intelligentsia is the opposite of individuality. What a joke...

On the other hand, conservative women are the only women who think independently. Just be around my conservative wife and veterinarian daughter and find out just how independent they are. They want do anything I want them to do. If you knew Robin Smith or Rhonda Thurman, they are the exact opposite of the what you described. Can anyone imagine them saying, "Yes, honey, whatever you say" That is absolutely absurd.

You're right, while I am around, you will never get the last liberal word.

July 2, 2014 at 12:11 p.m.

+++We Preach Christ Jesus Crucified+++

Seemingly, most things in nature seek balance. I believe this is probably true for this present discussion.

Malleus Deum

July 2, 2014 at 12:41 p.m.

ORRMEANSLIGHT said... "Seemingly, most things in nature seek balance. I believe this is probably true for this present discussion."

Again and again, Orr has demonstrated a complete ignorance about nature and science.

This is the re-occurring problem of Fundy-NutZ in attempting to reconcile religious superstition with science. It doesn't work. Never has and never will.

All those in favor of Orr and Fundy_NutZ deciding your medical fate and treatments, please raise your hands!

Orr will be by your house to cast out demons, devils, and intrauterine devices using the power of the Holy Ghost.

For those of you with Netflix, "After Tiller" is now available for viewing. It's about the courageous doctors and their staffs who perform abortions in the face of crazed Fundy-NutZ who threaten and kill doctors and blow up clinics.

July 2, 2014 at 1 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

easy timmie, it matters not to me whether you continue to reveal your bigotry or have the last word. Let's analyze this one more time.

Company is for profit, takes federal money. Owners do not have to offer medical insurance. Owners are of a religious persuasion that believes in the practice of their religion they are obliged and should force their belief on employees, or else. Repeat last step until there are no more companies left and person is unemployed. Owners believe they should be able to pick and choose what laws and what parts of they obey and do not obey. Owners believe intelligence is somehow connected to one's political views.

The United States is based on religious tolerance of others. If there is a core value to this republic that is it, tolerance of others' creed, race, gender, political ideas. Therefore the Owners are opposed to the core value of the United States of America. You are one step from segregation, from bigotry, from religious persecution and fanaticism and political despotism. We've been there and most of us have no desire to return to it.

July 2, 2014 at 1:26 p.m.
timbo said...

inquiringmind...First of all, companies get Federal money?..are you crazy??? We pay all kinds of taxes. Surely your not that stupid. Hobby Lobby or my company get no Federal dollars. If the rest of your premise is based on that first statement it doesn't mean anything.

What you stated is bizarre. This is about the government not imposing something on me that is contrary to the First Amendment. I will say again because evidently you don't seem to understand. The Obamacare law says nothing about providing birth control. It was a policy written by bureaucrats not passed by congress. A First Amendment right trumps a policy written by Obama minions. So in your warped world, it is better for the government to pay for insurance than a company voluntarily providing it because they care about their workers. You want companies to dump employees on the government. As I said, then it will be single payer just like you socialists have always wanted.

So you think that liberals howling and throwing fits and yelling "discrimination." is being tolerant of the people who own Hobby Lobby. 16 birth control methods were being covered, only 4 were affected. What is tolerant or compromising about going nuts because of that.

You are right about one thing, " You are one step from segregation, from bigotry, from religious persecution and fanaticism and political despotism. We've been there and most of us have no desire to return to it." Yea, only you liberals.

That is exactly what has happened in the last 5.5 years under Obama and you loony liberals. Everything you stated is taking place right now on this subject.

July 2, 2014 at 2:14 p.m.
timbo said...

Also, you liberals talking about religious tolerance is about as credible as Obama talking about telling the truth.

Have you read the vile stuff your compatriots put on this site about religion? Tolerance?

July 2, 2014 at 2:31 p.m.

timbo said...

"Have you read the vile stuff your compatriots put on this site about religion? Tolerance?"

I agree. Those Fundy-NutZ creationists and homophobes are certainly not tolerant of science, education, history, and anything else that doesn't agree with their literal interpretation of the Bible or Quran.

All because their foolishness can't be forced in public schools and government.

July 2, 2014 at 3:33 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

"Have you read the vile stuff your compatriots put on this site about religion?"

When you say "religion", do you really mean Christianity? Because I have heard plenty of your "compatriots" being intolerant towards non-Christian (and even some Christian) faiths. And I love how "Conservatives" claim to be against religious intolerance. They sure showed that tolerance towards the group that built a mosque in Murfreesboro.

Again, why haven't you lambasted TN's legislature for the recent bills that passed infringing on businesses?

July 2, 2014 at 3:37 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

clearly his defensive reaction suggests I touched a sensitive spot in timmie's conscience...the truth will set you free

July 2, 2014 at 4:03 p.m.
tipper said...

Questions of the Day: Do religious people have souls? Do capitalistic corporations have souls?

July 2, 2014 at 4:16 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

Except fpr more religious flagellation, everything has been said on both side of this issue that can be said in at best marginal taste.

July 2, 2014 at 9:21 p.m.


Those who have tools for living a more wisdom-filled life, yet, just lays them down without using them, must endure the consequences.

Malleus Deum

July 3, 2014 at 11:26 a.m.
timbo said... far as I am concerned, I agree with Huey Long,

"The Democratic Party and the Republican Party were just like the old patent medicine drummer that used to come around our country. He had two bottles of medicine. He'd play a banjo and he'd sell two bottles of medicine. One of those bottles of medicine was called High Popalorum and another one of those bottles of medicine was called Low Popahirum. Finally somebody around there said is there any difference in these bottles of medicines? 'Oh,' he said, 'considerable. They're both good but they're different,' he said. 'That High Popalorum is made from the bark off the tree that we take from the top down. And that Low Popahirum is made from the bark that we take from the root up.' And the only difference that I have found between the Democratic leadership and the Republican leadership was that one of 'em was skinning you from the ankle up and the other from the ear down — when I got to Congress."

That is what I think of the Republican legislature. There only saving grace is that they are slightly better that the democrats.

July 3, 2014 at 11:49 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

timmie, Your preferring Huey Long says a lot about where you stand.

July 4, 2014 at 10:18 p.m.
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