Hobby Lobby Won the Battle, But a War Still Rages On

SCOTUS_BC.jpgTwo years ago the US Supreme Court dealt a huge blow to conservative Americans when it upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).  Today the Court handed conservatives a win and stood up for the rights of all Americans to hold their religious beliefs without fear of government infringement.

The case involved three companies, most noticeably Hobby Lobby, and argued that the HHS mandate to provide four specific types of contraception was an infringement on the companies owner’s religious beliefs.  In a 5-4 decision the Court held that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 closely held corporations are persons and therefore the government cannot compel them to abandon their religious beliefs and provide contraceptives when other avenues are available.  Essentially this ruling means that corporations that are not publically traded (i.e. a Wal-Mart like company does not qualify) are exempt from the contraception mandate of Obamacare because there are other avenues the government can employ in order to provide this service.   

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Harris v. Quinn: SCOTUS Ruling a WIN for Private Citizens


The Supreme Court ruling on Harris v. Quinn was issued today, striking down Illinois Governor Quinn’s attempt to force unionization on home care providers. Quinn’s executive order would have mandated that Pam Harris, a mom caring for her disabled son, and others like her, become state employees subject to pay compulsory union dues. Dues that would have to come out of the modest stipend needed for the care of their disabled loved-ones.

Harris v. Quinn was argued by staff attorneys at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The landmark ruling reaches beyond Illinois, rendering similar forced unionization schemes in at least 18 other states unconstitutional.

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Republicans vs. Democrats vs. Everyone Else

Are you Republican or Democrat?  It is not a question that many adults ask each other out loud.  However, as a teacher I have been asked this question many times by students.  Although, in my case it is normally more of an indictment rather than a question - ‘You’re Republican aren’t you?’ 

Though it is frowned upon to discuss personal beliefs in the classroom, I have a personal policy of always answering the kids honestly.  So I do, and while I certainly lean Republican I often find it hard to say ‘yes I am a proud member of the GOP,’ because the truth is, I am not a card carrying member.  I do not subscribe to the belief that all politics and policy live and die with the party.  I tend to form my opinions on a range of issues based on many different factors, none of which are ‘what does the party think?’ So where does that leave me as a voter in a nation driven by a two party system?

Often it leaves me choosing between the lesser of two evils.

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Social Welfare Programs: Providing for 5.5 Million vs. 300 Million People

Over the last several years the debate about providing more social welfare programs (or as some call it a ‘social safety net’) has increased. Many of these debates often include an argument that stems from the use of social welfare programs in many European countries. Proponents often cite countries like Denmark when arguing the success these programs can have in shrinking the ‘wealth gap.’  But is this a fair comparison?  Can we truly compare the U.S. to Europe?  Sure, the two continents have similarities. So too do apples and watermelons, but they are not the same, and neither are the U.S. and Europe.  However, for the sake of argument let’s explore a few things.

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Masha Gessen - Advocate for Destruction of Marriage - Honored Last Week by State Department

Because there is little else going on in the world these days that demands the attention of the U.S. Department of State and the Obama administration, you might be interested to hear that LGBT activist Masha Gessen - author of Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot and many other works - was honored at last Thursday's now annual State Department Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies Pride Event (GLIFAA). The event took place on the very same day that thousands marched nearby in the 2014 March for Marriage.

Secretary of State John Kerry introduced Gessen at the GLIFAA event, telling the audience that here in these United States, we think she's a wonderful person, and we're honored by her presence here. Most well known as an outspoken critic of the Russian government on LGBT issues, Gessen is also an author who has written and spoken extensively on LGBT issues and her opinion that the institution of marriage should be extinguished altogether. 

I agree that it's a no-brainer that we should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it is a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. So, uhhh...that causes my brain some trouble, and part of why it causes me trouble is because fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there, because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie. The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change...um, and again, I don’t think it should exist.

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