Corporations Have Religion…hmmm


So the courts have determined a corporation has religious views. Hmmm….

I am not a legal scholar, nor am I even sure my opinions holds water, but what I want to know is, if a company’s owner are Catholic, as are Freshway Foods owners, and they do not want to provide birth control options under their health plan because it’s against their religion, are they practicing discrimination in the name of the Catholic church?

Since a person would be working for Freshway, a corporation, not as personal household staff, can Freshway deny employment to someone with different religious views? According to the EEOC re the Civil Rights Act, “The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.”

How do they know that the people they hire are in agreement with their personal views? Do they ask them their religion? Isn’t that illegal in a job interview? Asking such questions can lead to legal problems if the employee believes he/she been a victim of discrimination. Does this means if they hire me, and I am of a different religion, couldn’t I then sue them for workplace discrimination if my religion is not opposed to birth control? The EEOC says, “An employee cannot be forced to participate (or not participate) in a religious activity as a condition of employment.”

According to the Department of Labor, “You have the right to work in an environment free of discrimination. You cannot be denied employment, harassed, demoted, terminated, paid less, or treated less favorably because of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran”.

Since this Supreme Court ruled for Citizens United, allowing that corporations are people, does this leave these companies and their owners open to litigation by employees who may disagree with their employers not covering a service they may need or want. After all, not every woman uses birth control to prevent pregnancy some take it purely for medical reasons.Is it posted that the company follows all the doctrines of the Catholic Church? Does anyone paid by, or contracted by the company, work on Sunday’s to keep that supply chain going? Catholics believe the Bible is the inspired, error-free, and revealed word of God. Does this mean they can sell their daughters for a few goats? Do they wear mixed cloth? Do they follow the Bible exactly or only when suitable for them? Does the Bible mention birth control? I don’t know but it does mention these doozies, and I want to know if the good brothers follow them, not for any reason other than I really just want to know…

Leviticus 25:44: “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.” Didn’t we fight against this already in the US?
Deuteronomy 13:12-15: “If you find that the people in the city you’re visiting worship another god, you have to kill them all.” Every last one of them. Doesn’t make you a good visitor though.
Leviticus 10:6: “Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people.” Yikes. Run teenagers run!
Leviticus 20:10: “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Well, it does remove the need for divorce right?
Leviticus 20:9: “Anyone who dishonors father or mother must be put to death. Such a person is guilty of a capital offense.” Can someone define capital offense?
Deuteronomy 28:53: “Then because of the dire straits to which you will be reduced when your enemy besieges you, you will eat your own children, the flesh of your sons and daughters whom the Lord has given you.” I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Genesis 19:8: “Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.” We all appreciate a good host.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 states: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” We know there is nothing better than a quiet woman, right?

Bless their little hearts, I appreciate that Frank and Phil Gilardi are hoping to keep my lady parts ready to accept the seed of my lord and master husband, but when religion and the work place are intertwined, and not in a church or catholic school setting, the two worlds will collide and may cause war between Adam and Eve, or Adam and Steve.

Peace

God

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Religion and Politics- My Conundrum


Not to stir the pot but I believe viewing a religion based solely on its extremists is not a view that holds water and is a position I opt not to take.  After all, violence in the name of religion has a long  history, and this is proven in the horrific accounts of the Crusades, the Inquisition, as well as the Holocaust. Religious imagery is rife with weapons, conquests, war and death. It is not specific to any one religion, not at all.  Every religion has had it disciples go out and conquer in an attempt to convert or eradicate.  Why do I mention this? There is a push to have religion in politics, and it is rather unabashedly done. Some feel that politicians should be allowed to advocate for the doctrines of their specific religion in order to push a social agenda that fits their views. Others feel religion has no place in politics and only forces ones moral code on another. We live in a beautiful melting pot where not everyone is a Christian, a Jew, or even a Quaker. We need to remember this in the push to have religion seep in to our politics.

This should concern every voter in America. One of the driving forces in the founding of this country was the goal of freedom from religious persecution, a clear line between religion and politics. We seem to be forfeiting this separation as the scales tip to religion. We now demand to know what religion our president embraces, how often he goes to church, where he goes to church; our senators are going from event to event talking about their faith and how it’s their faith that helped shape their politics. Should we be voting on the basis of someone’s faith? I think it is a bit of a slippery slope.

I sit on the steering committee of an interfaith group. We work toward unity in faith always with the goal of advocacy for social justice. Our issues are poverty, criminal justice reform, hunger, predatory lending. Simple issues that affect everyone in some way. I may not be living in poverty, but I know someone who is; I may not go hungry, but I know people who do. Don’t I have an obligation as a human being to attempt to help my fellow man? I believe it is my imperative as a human to do this type of work.

Here is the complication with faith and politics. I think laws should protect people from harm, harm done by hunger, poverty, exploitation. All of these issues are tied to current laws or lack of laws so there is a political component. Is it fair for me, through my community work with this group, to advocate for these issues on a political level? Am I any different from the person who says their faith says women shouldn’t have choice or that marriage equality is the devil’s work?

I’d like to think I am different in my community work. I am not telling people they can’t do something, I am telling them they can. I don’t feel marriage equality lessens the value of my marriage. I don’t think feeding the hungry takes food out of my mouth, I don’t feel protecting people from predatory lending makes my life any harder. None of this work compromises my faith. I simply don’t think God is going to smite me for believing in a society where there are no hungry children, where people can marry for love no matter their gender, where I have no right to choose for another woman since I am not walking in her shoes.

Some criticize other countries ruled by religion and call them zealot nations, while at home there is an attempt to put religion in our politics. Some can’t see their push to ‘religionize’ our politics is a slippery slope.

All of these questions make me question organized religion.

ACA


As the parent of a 30-something with a “pre-existing condition”, I am embarrassed at the riches this country has and yet some in power have no interest in supporting good health in people like my daughter. Does she have a condition that requires constant care? Nope just careful monitoring by her, and annual visits to a specialist. She is too old for our policy and was denied coverage of her own at every turn. I exaggerate; there was one insurance company that did offer her a policy… at what was almost equal to her entire paycheck. This is an American who has worked since she was 14, certainly not a drain on society. She is the face of this issue.

She once had an expensive diagnostic test & rather than allow her to make payments based on her income, the hospital sent a sheriff with a summons for court. After thousands of $ in doctor shuffling, tests, and 17 daily rx’s, turns out she needs no meds and should see 1 doc annually. Where is the cost sensitivity in that?

We as a nation spend money on the most ridiculous things but allowing for the health of our people is tantamount to a government takeover? Free market forces cannot be used to direct this particular issue as long as health insurance lobbies own the issue. Huge admin spending, cherry-picking enrollees and lobbying to keep these spending patterns in place will forever disenfranchise people in lower-income brackets.

Insurance premiums have gone up annually, covered services down, and policies cancelled long before the ACA went in to effect. And free market insurance did not control costs. We have belonged to a fed
‘exchange” for years. We look at our options annually; decide what we can afford and what we need covered based on our history. The ACA is identical. You can pay $x for X coverage. It does mandate what every provider says are minimums standards of care so now your insurance provider can’t say, “Sorry we aren’t paying for that check-up”.

Employers dropping plans isn’t the fault of the ACA. Blame lies with the insurer and the company. Basic standards of care should be in every policy and employers who drop coverage are choosing to do so on their own, not because the ACA said they should. Companies can shop around and keep coverage just like the rest of us. Insurance companies are simply trying to get people to buy more expensive plans and are using the ACA as cover.

The constant noise against the ACA simply feeds the greed of insurance companies who have long been the arbiters of care in the US.

I’M LATE POSTING, BUT MY NEW GOVERNOR WON’T BE ARRESTING ME!


I live in Virginia where I’ve spent the entire evening moaning, groaning and wondering what on earth were people thinking? Of course if Cuccinelli has won, that moaning and groaning would probably be illegal, and I’d be in jail. But as Lawrence O’Donnell said, Virginia is once again for lovers. In my mind this election was too close for comfort. I find that I am continuously surprised by who people vote for, and why. In 2012 women comprised more that 50% of the population of Virginia, we should be able to coast a candidate to office pretty handily.

When according to Guttmacher.org, more than 99% of women aged 15–44 who have EVER had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method, why would any woman vote for a candidate who wanted to make contraception illegal? Cuccinelli wanted to make it more difficult to get a divorce if you have minor children, he attempted to get a personhood bill passed which if a woman had a miscarriage could potentially see her being subjected to police involvement simply by the law of unintended consequences, he tried to outlaw oral sex! I had an elderly woman tell me she was glad he failed; she was too old to be jailed. His list of misogynistic beliefs is long. Why any woman would vote for him is beyond me. if you are for any of the issues he espoused, why would you vote for someone who wants to take away choice for women? It’s not always about abortion as so many women assume. It is about the right of a woman to make her own choices in her life.

So why did some women vote for Cuccinelli? Are there more important issues on the horizon for them? Everyone is concerned about jobs, but every candidate had a plan for jobs and if they failed, they would most certainly hear about it. Gun ownership? You got me on that one, I haven’t a clue. Taxes? There is a sense in Virginia that taxes are too high, and they pay too much for entitlements for the poor.

I don’t think it’s any of those things. I think Virginia is a rural state with women still living under the rule of a rather patriarchal society. I decided this year to take a sign and join a local “protest” for marriage equality. I was speaking to a woman I asked to sign a petition to support this issue, and she said, “I’ll have to ask my husband.” I was shocked to say the least, but I respected her statement and let it go. There is a sense that men take care of their women folk here. If I actually said I’ll have to ask my husband, my husband would be the first to keel over from a heart attack, and I would then probably check myself in to a mental health facility.

I understand that not all of Virginia is like this, so please don’t get on me about that, but I’ve heard that sentiment more times than I can count. I can remember my mother having a bible study with some women and they actually had an argument with her because they said the bible told them they had to submit to their husbands, and my mother said she felt that’s not what it meant. This view is still circulating like it is still 1950.

Some women have been lucky to break the glass ceiling, some women are strong enough not to be strong armed, some women make the choice to be submissive, and some women don’t actually care. These are their choices, choices earned through hard work and proof of our value.

I know a great many men who believe in a woman’s right to set her own course and they provide this support with great enthusiasm; my husband is one of them thank goodness.

But in 2013, “I’ll have to ask my husband” are words that shouldn’t be spoken by a woman unless she needs to know if her husband will pick her and her girlfriends up after a night out.

Cut and Paste Lives


If you follow politics at all you know Virginia is one of those red states that is sometimes blue, and looking to be purple.  Today, I added purple to my hair. I live in Virginia where the election rhetoric and hyperbole has exceeded even my low expectations. My eye twitches every time there is a commercial for a politician. I swore I wasn’t going to write about it or comment on it, but I can’t seem to help myself. The lies and truths have become interchangeable, or indistinguishable, and the voters are the ones who are punished. The same political ads using the same arguments are running daily here, and thank goodness I have a dvr and can fast forward through them all. Sometimes I listen to politicians and wonder where they learned how to sway people to their side?  Or, maybe that’s not a skill they have?

A lot of people are usually too busy, or too lazy, to drill down and determine the truth of a political statement. I can tell because rather than do their own homework, people plagiarize and post identical words about the same issue. It seems it must be easier to cut and paste then get to the truth. Aren’t they just repeating someone else’s words when they do that vs. forming their own opinions?

I am a person who tries very hard to respect the opinion of others. I recognize we all come with unique life experiences, and that’s what shapes our ideals. I can’t tell someone they are wrong for believing in things that are anathema to me; they came to their beliefs on a different path. But if someone can’t determine if the facts are real, why bother to hold an “opinion”?

My father and I had wildly opposite political views. He was conservative, I was liberal. As a child I would be grounded for wearing a peace sign anywhere. Now I proudly wear one every day, without fail. It’s a daily conscious decision to put one on and know I am ardently opposed to war. When I entered my teen years, he realized he couldn’t sway me. It was a tie. Through the many arguments my dad and I had, some quite powerful, the end was always the same, we agreed to disagree. Was this because we were related? Not bloody likely, that’s never held much sway with me. It’s because my essential self recognized he would never be swayed based on anything I said so why destroy the fragile peace? And if I was relentless, was that disrespecting his experiences?

I’ve always liked this characteristic of mine, agreeing to disagree, knowing it allows me to have a varied group of friends with divergent opinions and outlooks. And diverse my friends are. I have one friend who has been called evil by another set of friends; I have one friend that used the word stupid to describe another friend who is both an attorney, and a senator; I have friends who call another set of friends bleeding hearts that are tearing the country apart. It is never dull.

These disparaging remarks about my friends demand a response and always includes words of defense…in a nice way. The senator who is an attorney is in no way stupid, and as I told my friend who said she was, “She is a friend of mine, I disagree with her all the time so please disagree if you want, but do so based on facts or opinion, name-calling doesn’t further your argument, especially when it simply isn’t true. And since you haven’t met her, why would you use that word? Simply because your politics are different?” She called me the next day to thank me for calling her out and said I was right, name-calling was beneath her and she apologized for doing so when talking about my friend. It was a splendid moment for both of us. And, the person who was called evil would drop everything to come help me, all I need to do is ask. Where is the evil in that?

What we fail to recognize when we discount the opinions of others is they have different life experiences. When we cut and paste our opinions, we do a disservice to everyone. As a young man I know said today, he wants to be friends with Republicans, and he should. Imagine how dull life would be if everyone came down on the same side of every issue? That is not my idea of Utopia.

What we need to do is stop being a cut and paste society and develop our own opinions.  We can then compromise on the most important things in life. Our politicians would like us to follow like sheep but where’s the fun in that?

Peace.

Bigotry or Free Press


My local newspaper has decided it is their mission to continuously post editorials and cartoons that portray Muslim Americans in a horrifically biased and hate-filled way.  I respect the right of anyone to support their political views be they liberal or conservative, but do they have the right to print ugly rhetoric that paints all people who are Muslims are extremists bent on jihad? 

Some might say that is their right; that this is America and we have freedom of the press and freedom of speech.  I would fight forever to protect free speech/press.  But, to shade all Muslims in such a dark and ugly way is not a political view, it’s religious bigotry or maybe even ethnic racism. 

To say every Christian follows the tenets of the Bible is untrue.  To say every Jew follows the tenets of Tanach would also be a lie.  To say every Buddhist, Bahá’í, Jehovah Witness, Krishna, Hindu follows every word of their holy doctrine would be a lie.  To paint all people of a faith with the same brush is pure rubbish and does harm to the human community.

So, does a public newspaper have the right to paint all Muslims as extremists or jihadists? 

I think not.  I think it shows them for the bigots they are.

Dark and Scary Undertones Abound


I am feeling a dark and scary undertone in the world society.  I am seeing religion bent to serve the people vs. the people serving their religion and God.  A preacher stands in his pulpit praying for the death of our president, states calling for possible secession from the United States, people deliberately lying about issues important to the people of the US and the world.  There is a bold and ugly face on American people.  Do I think it is a racial issue?  A political issue?  A time-space-continuum issue?  Who knows but the overreaction is insane.  It clouds all reason and those who chose not to educate themselves fall in to this behavior and wear it proudly.

No one says, “How can we fix this and have everyone come out a winner?”  No one even uses the word compromise anymore as if it has become a four letter word.  There is finger pointing, name calling, exaggerations, out-right lies, stomping of the imaginary foot and taking the marbles and going home.  Where did all the grown-ups go? Long-time passing…

The health care debate is a good example of our inability to converse in a civil manner.  Rather than listen to the facts, people come to these “town-hall” meetings armed with lies, slanderous comments and completely fabricated notions, and let’s not forget the guns!  I put the town-hall in quotes because I don’t believe these are real town-halls.  It’s like watching a wild-west show with those who yell the loudest drowning out others trying to actually learn something.  How can anyone understand what the real story is?

When Obama was elected, the idealist in me thought things would get better.  But, the pendulum seems to be swinging in the other direction.  Ugliness is the behavior du jour and respect for differences has faded to black.

There are people working hard every day to bring justice to the fore for the disenfranchised, the poor, the minority populations and the uphill battle carries on day by day.  These warriors are heroes in their worlds and every action they take is appreciated by those they serve.  It must be exhausting for them and yet they continue to fight the good fight.

When politicians yell at the president in one of the most revered halls of our nation and his public statement says, “The leadership asked me to apologize…”what kind of message is it we send to our children? 

We need to stand up and say we aren’t going to take this anymore….We need people to work together for the betterment of society as a whole…we need our children to learn the skills to work with others of differing opinions….we need to think about the legacy we leave for those that come after….we need to respect, simply because we are….

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