Religious positions fog politics for 2016 hopefuls

When the founding fathers began the construction of the United States they found religious freedom to be of such importance that they made it one of their first orders of business. Now, religious freedom has taken center stage in 2015 politics. While both sides have their standard platforms for how their respective parties will toe the line, Democrats and Republicans are digging in deep where the fog of this political war gets even murkier. In recent months Hillary Clinton stood up for women with a speech at the Sixth Annual Women…

Hobby Lobby Ruling was Limited Common Sense [Hub Debate]

From a macro perspective, the Hobby Lobby ruling doesn’t do much. The Supreme Court made the decision narrow enough that it only impacts: “Closely held” corporations (while not clearly defined, I would suggest this means private companies – publicly traded companies need not apply). The Affordable Care Act, specifically the contraceptive mandate that was made law therein. The Supreme Court could have gone much further and applied that personhood applies to larger companies with more shareholders, or that religious objections could apply to other things like gay marriage, blood transfusions,…

Hobby Lobby Wins One for Single Payer [The Hub Debate]

The SCOTUS has ruled, and in favor of Hobby Lobby against the contraception mandate in the affordable care act. Some will call it a win for ‘religious liberty.’  Some will call it another step towards the court turning corporations into people.  Democrats will campaign on it as another example of conservative disdain for women’s health issues.   Republicans will call it another kick in the teeth for the Affordable Care Act, while trying carefully not to own it too much in case the Democrats’ message plays well.  In the immediate,…

The Supreme Court Thinks It Can Decide Which Religious Beliefs are Important [Hub Debate]

With the Supreme Court ruling 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on Monday, finding  that for-profit employers with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under Obamacare, our debate topic is set: did the Supreme Court get it right? Or wrong?  The Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is problematic, but given the court’s current composition, and its track record on corporate issues, it was not unexpected. As in most cases, the justices aren’t idiots (even the ones I usually disagree with), so the majority decision isn’t a gross miscarriage…

HOUSE OF CARDS: The Gospel According to Francis Underwood — Part I

(Note: this piece contains no season two spoilers.) Francis Underwood is the main character of the Netflix original series House of Cards. Francis is the Democrat House Majority Whip, and a consummate politician. When he is passed over as Secretary of State, he decides to rain hellfire on Washington and amass as much power in himself as possible. In Francis’s world, everything is about power and control. Religion is no different. It is nothing more than another means to an end. In House of Cards, the Gospel of Jesus, which…

Religious Belief Doesn’t Matter

I am an active Mormon, but my deeply held religious convictions don’t matter to the judge. In Reynolds v. U.S. the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that religious beliefs are not a sufficient defense for breaking law, and thus Mormon polygamy was definitively outlawed. The opinion of the court delves extensively into the question of religious liberty, its roots and how the court must balance First Amendment religious guarantees against the law. As “religious freedom” debates move to forefront of Utah’s ongoing Amendment 3 battle, here are three takeaways from Chief…