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Contraception and Insurance and Race and Military Recruiters and Campuses and Lunch Counters

As you’re probably aware, the Supreme Court has ruled that some American corporations are free to deny insurance coverage of contraceptive costs to their employees on religious grounds. Think about your opinion regarding this issue.

As you might also be aware, the Supreme Court has also ruled that American colleges and universities must accept military recruiters on their grounds despite religious or philosophical objections. Think about your opinion regarding this issue.

As you’re almost surely aware, the Supreme Court long ago ruled that American restaurants are not free to turn away customers on the basis of the customers’ race. Think about your opinion regarding this issue.

In what ways are these cases similar and different? In what ways are your opinions of these cases similar and different?

I’ve been mulling over this myself but have found it difficult to settle on a firm conclusion. I’d like to know what you think.

3 comments to Contraception and Insurance and Race and Military Recruiters and Campuses and Lunch Counters

  • J Clifford

    One important distinction for the second instance is the context of the Constitution explicitly prohibiting the forced boarding of soldiers. I would have thought that the Supreme Court would have taken that into account, in combination with the Constitution’s guarantee to freedom of assembly, to forbid the forced intrusion of soldiers into non-military organizations.

    • Dave

      J, the decision only applies to schools who take money from FedGov. No school is actually forced to accept military recruiters on their property if they keep themselves off the gravy train. Colleges and Universities probably should weigh the consequences if they want to partake of FedGov’s lucre, as it seems that strings are always attached.

  • Charles Manning

    On at least two of these issues, my basic approach is to consider the harm versus the benefit of the particular policy. On the decision the other day about the ACA mandate that contraceptives be made available free to employees of certain employers who object to some methods of contraception on religious grounds: keeping employees from obtain the contraceptives objected to increases the burden on society resulting from the pregnancies that will occur that wouldn’t have occurred if the ACA provision had been ruled constitutional. Maternity is a major medical, and costly, event. The employees, and their unwanted children, will suffer more health costs, and the rest of us will incur higher insurance bills under the ACA because of that. I think employers should be able to block the contraceptives as long as they pay for the cost to society. I’ve never heard this argument in the media, and I’m not aware that it was broached in the Supreme Court decision. Unless the religiously motivated employers share the cost, I think it’s unfair to the rest of us to have to bear it.

    I also see no reason military recruitment should be allowed if the persons controlling activities on college campuses object to it on religious grounds. It’s akin to conscientious objection to the draft. But the harm versus benefit analysis isn’t clear in this issue.

    Certainly discrimination against potential customers of public businesses on racial grounds related to religion can’t be tolerated. But I don’t think private citizens who want to racially discriminate on religious grounds should be forbidden to do so as long as this doesn’t harm the groups discriminated against.

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