Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Anne Hendershott - Professional victim

Anne Hendershott
Anne Hendershott
According to Anne Hendershott, who teaches at Franciscan University of Steubenville Ohio; “Many of those who voted for Donald Trump have already been injured by the discriminatory attacks against religious liberty by the Obama administration. Their constitutional right to religious freedom has already been compromised.” The outlet for Hendershott's polemic is the ever-intellectual Washington Times.

Of course the Constitution does not provide a right to religious freedom. At least not in the way that Hendershott desires. The Constitution provides a right to free exercise of religion which does not offer an allowance permitting one to impose or, more likely, inflict their religious beliefs on anyone else. 

Hendershott has a history of victimhood. A few years ago, she claimed that the IRS target her in 2010 for an audit because of her conservative religious writings. She also has this odd (and offensive) idea that Christians were victims of the Orlando massacre. Hendershott is also full of crap. If Brian Brown is to be believed she claims that the IRS called her to tell her that they were going to audit her and discussed the reasons for the audit. The IRS doesn't do that. The Service mails its daisies-on-a-sunny-grassy-morning-dewy-meadow greeting cards.

Getting back to the Washington Times piece, Hendershott notes:
The Nation magazine’s hyperbolic headline warned, “Leaked Draft of Trump’s Religious Freedom Order Reveals Sweeping Plans to Legalize Discrimination.”
She goes on with this rant:
Rather than “legalizing discrimination,” the Trump religious freedom order will finally end the current discrimination against religious organizations. As a sociology professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, one of 43 Catholic organizations, including the University of Notre Dame, that sued the federal government in 2012 over the Obama administration’s Health and Human Service (HHS) mandate on “preventive service,” I have already witnessed the illegal discrimination against religious institutions by the unjust HHS mandate. The mandate required all organizations — including religious institutions — to provide insurance coverage that included abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization procedures. The HHS mandate forced all religious employers to pay for products and services that are in opposition their deeply held moral and religious beliefs. Religious institutions have already experienced the compromise of our right to religious freedom. We have already been discriminated against.
This woman has some strange ideas about what constitutes discrimination. Discrimination is defined by prejudicial treatment because of a characteristic. With respect to the mandate every organization was treated the same. The Supreme Court provided a very complex standing eight count regarding Little Sisters of the Poor, etc. by requiring the litigants to provide supplemental briefs after oral argument. According to Chief Justice John Roberts: 
The nonprofits have clarified that their religious exercise is not infringed where they ‘need to do nothing more than contract for a plan that does not include coverage for some or all forms of contraception,’ even if their employees receive cost-free contraceptive coverage from the same insurance company. Additionally, the United States has confirmed that the challenged procedures ‘for employers with insured plans could be modified to operate in the manner posited in the Court’s order while still ensuring that the affected women receive contraceptive coverage seamlessly, together with the rest of their health coverage.
The Church's hissy fit over the mandate has less to do with the propriety of enabling contraception than the reality that they don't want anyone to have access to contraceptives, including non-Catholics. It is the very example of the infliction of religious belief. This has been going on for a very long time. Sex, according to Church doctrine, must have the potential to create a pregnancy.

Catholic employees are also affected. They must all be fundamentalists like Hendershott. Catholics probably use contraceptives at a rate that is only slightly below the general public. As Chris Matthews has repeatedly pointed out, most Catholic couples do not have nine kids anymore. It seems to me that it is up to the employees of Franciscan U. to make decisions about birth control. Most Jesuit universities were already providing this kind of coverage without complaint.

In fact, for decades 28 states have required health insurance plans regulated by the state to provide prescription contraceptives if the insurance covered prescription drugs. That includes, for example, New York State. Where is the lawsuit by Fordham University, St. John's University, Iona College or any of the myriad of Catholic schools, hospitals or charities?

To suggest that the government is engaged in some form of discrimination is absurd. She seems to also think that a Catholic college is comparable to a house of worship:
Refusing to define Catholic and Christian colleges and universities as “religious employers,” the Obama administration targeted us — making the insurance coverage mandatory — violating the consciences of people of faith and infringing on our rights to practice our religious beliefs.
You would think from the above that the government was mandating that Hendershott use contraceptives. Claiming that this is an infringement on her free exercise of religion is comparable to demanding an exemption to paying taxes required by the government because some of that tax money is spent in ways that she disapproves of. It's nonsense and it sure as hell is not discrimination!

Hendershott complains of feigned discrimination while defending the real thing:

In 2015, Mr. Obama’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined that “there is reasonable cause to conclude that a fired Macon, Georgia’s Mount deSales Academy band director Flint Dollar was discriminated against because of his sexual orientation.” School President David Held released a letter in 2014 that claimed Mr. Dollar was not fired because he was gay but because same-sex marriage is against Catholic doctrine.
In most cases before one can sue for discrimination the aggrieved employee has to file a complaint before the EEOC. In this case the EEOC found “there is reasonable cause to conclude” that Dollar was discriminated against because of his sexual orientation. This gave Dollar the right to sue. This has nothing to do with Obama. These decisions are made by professional staff, many of whom were probably hired in the Bush years. Dollar sued and the matter was confidentially settled a few days after the Obergefell ruling in 2015.

Now that is what real discrimination looks like. Notwithstanding Mr. Held's pathetic reasoning, Mr. Dollar was discriminated against for being gay.

Add, of course:
Aaron and Melissa Klein, who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, and U.S. Marine Monifa Sterling, who was convicted in a court martial for not removing a scripture verse from her own work area, are just a few of the most recent examples of people who have lost their livelihoods because of discriminatory attacks on their religious liberty by the Obama administration.
The Kleins discriminated against a gay couple in violation of state law. Are we to have one set of laws for conservative Christians and another set of laws for everyone else?

As for Lance Cpl. Sterling, she was ousted for a collection of offenses including failing to go to her appointed place of duty, disrespecting a commissioned officer, and disobeying direct orders from her superiors to wear the proper uniform. These were separate from the Bible verse incident and had nothing to do with religious freedom. As for those Bible verses, she was instructed to take them down by a superior. In the Marine Corps you follow orders. There are procedures for resolving an unjust or illegal order but insubordination is not one of them.
The leaked draft of Mr. Trump’s executive order maintains that as a matter of policy, “Americans and their religious organizations will not be coerced by the Federal Government into participating in activities that violate their conscience.” It protects the tax-exempt status of any organization that “believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with the belief that marriage …
Whether or not The Nation published a leaked early draft of a future executive order remains unknown. Trump could certainly do something that is odious. This draft is basically a recitation of the First Amendment Defense Act which has been rescinded in the House by its author (who may resubmit) and, more importantly, never got out of committee in the Senate — and probably never will, In testimony before a House committee, several people (including Barney Frank) made a very good case for why FADA was unconstitutional per se. According to Mr. Frank:
It is of course the case that this particular proposal is motivated solely by an animus against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and is in fact worded in the form I have seen to authorize denial of publicly funded services to anyone in these categories who engages in any physical intimacy with another. That it is an expression of anti GLBT prejudice is beyond debate. There are a variety of religions with a variety of precepts that differ with Federal policies. This bill singles out one such objection and empowers those who hold this belief—and only them—with a legal right no other religious believer will enjoy.
Ms. Hendershott is so busy enjoying victimhood that she doesn't take the time to figure any of this out. Religious conservatives are not exactly the world's most proficient critical thinkers.

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