Liberty U Fights for Our Freedoms, Too

Liberty University has renewed its challenge to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) on the grounds that it violates the school’s religious freedom. Read the details in FoxNews.

Personally, I’m a big fan of birth control. I’m all in favor of insurance companies paying for it. Birth control prevents unwanted pregnancies. I wish more people used it. But, unlike those who relish imposing their personal values upon others, I cannot support a law that requires employers like Liberty University to provide insurance policies that violate their religious beliefs. As much as I value birth control, I value religious freedom even more.

This is an issue where libertarians and fundamentalists can make common cause. (Don’t get me started on creationism, and we’ll do just fine.) Go Liberty!

– JAB

13 Responses to Liberty U Fights for Our Freedoms, Too

  1. according to this: http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-supreme-court-health-care-20121126,0,4563289.story

    it’s not about birth control……. they’re challenging on 2 issues:

    1. the right of the govt to force large employers to provide health insurance or pay a tax

    2. that the govt is “forcing” abortions with the health care law.

    the unfortunate thing that has happened to us in the last few years is how some issue gets sound-bited into something entirely different from the original issue …

  2. Whose religious beliefs are being violated? Certainly not Liberty University’s, because it is a corporate entity, and not a human being. I am unaware of any religious doctrine, from any of the major world religions, suggesting that corporate entities have souls.

    Should we be concerned for the religious beliefs of Liberty’s directors, officers, and employees? No. The contraception coverage requirement does not require anyone to actually use contraception – no individual is going to be coerced into putting on a condom or taking a pill.

    Perhaps the religious oppression is indirect, and stems from the use of Liberty University’s funds for the payment of health insurance premiums. According to its 2010 Form 990, Liberty paid something like $21 million in employee benefits, which must have included premiums for the two Anthem plans that Liberty offers. If Liberty University is forced to pay premiums for plans that include contraception, is that a violation of anyone’s religious beliefs?

    No. The premiums are paid by Liberty, the entity, and no one else has ownership of that money. The money comes from a variety of sources – donors, investments, some income-generating activities. Each director, officer, and employee of Liberty is entitled only to that portion of Liberty’s money which will be paid to the person as compensation. The rest of Liberty’s money belongs to the entity itself.

    There isn’t any religious oppression going on here.

    • The usefulness of this analysis reminds me of the stranger sailing along high in a balloon, lost in a fog. Finally, after a long while, the fog thins briefly below, revealing through the mists a man standing far down in a plaza.

      “Where am I,” yells down the lost balloonist.

      To which the man below yells up: “You’re in a balloon.”

  3. Liberty is benefiting from the tax code for companies that offer health insurance and from Federal grants.

    I’m pretty sure they could turn down both and lose a lot of the “regulation”.

  4. There’s a dividing line between churches and non-churches. Churches can’t be required to implement policies that are contrary to their beliefs. Non-churches don’t have beliefs that are protected. The dividing line is whether the entity is performing religious functions. Hospitals and universities and book stores are not churches, even if controlled by churches.

    There’s an important goal here – coverage of all employees and particulary coverage of preventive services. You can’t allow anyone to wiggle out of this by claiming that their business is a church.

    I would think that giving employees a choice whether to utilize contraceptive services should satisfy Liberty University, but a significant goal of the Church that controls the University seems to be to expand the reach of religion beyond the church (in the big sense) to the government. The Unviersity is ok with the government restricting the freedoms of individuals to use contraceptives and to have abortions, but not ok with giving the individuals themselves those choices. Who is the big government advocate in this scenario – Liberty or Obamacare?

    • Richard said, “The University is ok with the government restricting the freedoms of individuals to use contraceptives and to have abortions…”

      How can you possibly say that? The university doesn’t restrict an individual’s right to use contraceptives or have abortions in any way — it just doesn’t want to *pay* for those things. Employees can obtain those medical services on their own.

      This is what happens when government expands its role into every facet of the economy. It starts dictating the rules to everybody. Obviously, you don’t have a problem with that…. right now. That’s because Barack Obama is president. Just play a mind exercise, though. Imagine Sarah Palin were president. Imagine she wanted to impose *her* values on the country by means of medical insurance rules and regulations. You wouldn’t like that one bit, I wouldn’t think.

  5. I was trying to make a distinction between the late Jerry Falwell’s Church, which I believe controls the University (but I could be wrong, perhaps it is the Baptist Church), and the University. I am sure that the Church would like for government to restrict abortions and certain types of contraceptives.

  6. And I don’t have a problem with the government trying to add some rationality to our health care system. The system is full of inequities and waste, and costs too much, all in the name of freedom of choice. But it’s not really freedom of choice unless you are able to go without insurance – otherwise it’s the insurance companies, with restrictions from states and the tax code, that decide what care is available.

    Sometimes you conservatives act like Obama is some sort of Mussolini type socialist dictator. That’s ridiculous. My gosh – Obamacare is based on Heritage Foundation, Republican ideas, and Romneycare!

    I don’t take anyone who criticizes Obamacare seriously unless they are willing to say that it’s ok for them personally not to have insurance, and it’s ok not to treat anyone who doesn’t have insurance.

    Let’s do a mind exercise. Suppose you are 22 years old and in an accident that requires a $1 million dollar operation to prevent you from being unable to walk or take care of yourself for the rest of your life. Would you be ok with society saying “tough luck” – no insurance, you don’t get the operation?

    Also , love Sarah Palin – hope she gets her own TV show on Fox!

  7. Ok,
    Let’s raise the question. The Catholic Church, much bigger than Falwell’s, has had a lot of issues with the insurance rules as well. Don’t get me going there, but it is true. Difficult conscience issue And I am not a Falwell fan.Brings to bar Supreme Court decisions and women’s rights.

    Out there. So go get me.

  8. re: ” I am sure that the Church would like for government to restrict abortions and certain types of contraceptives.”

    no they would not “like” to do that – they work industriously towards outlawing abortion period along with morning after pills and contraceptives.

    Make no mistake that what they believe, that they are content to believe that just for their own religion. they would gladly impose it on everyone if they could.

    re: individual mandate = 1993 GOP including folks like Newt Gingrich and a passel of others who argued with strong conviction that individual mandates were better than “socialism”.

    Obama has done nothing more than Clinton would have done or for that matter what the GOP would have done in 1993,

    re: 22 year olds needing health care and we say “tough cookies, you die for your irresponsibility”.

    yup.. the old 3rd world solution that probably 85% of Americans would find so repugnant as to be unacceptable but 1/2 of them can’t seem to figure out how to have the “you die” solution not happen.

    re: the Catholic church and evangelicals just want to be left alone to practice their religion in peace – … right and my butt is a blue moon.

    the worst thing to happen to politics in American is when the religions decided the govt needed to be “religious” in their policies.

  9. Peter,
    I could be 100% wrong here, but I think there are both legal and practical differences between the Catholic Church and others such as Liberty. The Catholic Church has it’s own country, and it’s own state. Could that possibly make a difference when dealing with the mandate? Has anyone asked that question yet?
    Full disclosure: I am supposed to be a Catholic (or should I say one who hasn’t been to Mass in years)
    But I agree with jft. Liberty University is a university, not a church.

  10. geeze Andrea – when you are in THIS country – you go by THIS country’s rules.

    the only place where you don’t is in your embassy.

    but if another country has business interests in the US – they are bound by US rules and that includes religions that operate business enterprises.

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