Dolan: Hobby Lobby owners are “true Americans”

posted at 4:01 pm on April 21, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

CBS’ Norah O’Donnell interviewed Cardinal Timothy Dolan for Face the Nation about Pope Francis, the new evangelization, and the fight for religious liberty in the US. Predictably, this is the part of the interview drawing the most attention, mainly over one flippant comment in service of the actual argument. Dolan told O’Donnell that he finds himself inspired by Hobby Lobby’s owners, whom he calls “true Americans,” and discusses the issues at play at the Supreme Court. Acknowledging that the right to religious liberty is not entirely unlimited, Dolan explains that the court has to balance those rights against the common good — but just how does the intrusive HHS contraception mandate serve the common good when contraception is already so readily available?

Dolan said that he is “inspired” by Hobby Lobby, a company he called “true Americans.”

“By Lord, all you have to do is walk into a 7-Eleven or any shop on any street in America and have access to [contraceptives] — is that right to access those and to have them paid for? Is that such a towering good that it would suffocate the rights of conscience? I don’t think so, but I hope the Supreme Court agrees,” he said.

“That [Hobby Lobby is] fighting for that, willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court — boy, they sure have my admiration,” he added.

This generated an unsurprising focus on … 7-11s. Mother Jones says the comment proves that Dolan “hasn’t been to a 7-11 since giving up Go-Go Taquitos for Lent,” in what is the best and wittiest of the rebuttals. Wonkette described the exchange thusly: “A celibate man told a lady reporter Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation that businesses should have the right to eliminate contraceptive coverage in their employees’ insurance, because he hears tell that you can just walk into any 7-11 and buy rubbers.” Raw Story played it straight, but Esquire melts down into barely literate mumbling: “The hell? Birth control at the 7-11? Are they offering progestin slurpees these days?  And “any shop on any street”? I can get birth control from the nice old Russian tailor up the block?”

Of course, what all of the outrageous outrage over “celibate, white, old men [discussing] lady parts and their health” misses is two major points. First, the discussion of “lady parts and their health” got forced on Dolan and business owners by the nanny-staters who dreamed up the contraception crisis in the first place. (In this case, O’Donnell asked Dolan for his opinion, which in the rational world is an invitation to the discussion.) The CDC’s own study on pregnancy prevention shows that no such crisis exists, and that American women can find their own contraception without old men being forced to provide it for free. Whether or not they find it at 7-11s or tailor shops — or more likely, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and so on — they’re finding it well enough on their own without forcing others to pay for it.

The second point goes from the first. As Cardinal Dolan explains very carefully — in an argument all of his critics ignore — the right to religious expression is guaranteed by the First Amendment. That’s not just the right of worship, but to live one’s faith in public as well. The only impediments and burdens on that right which should survive are those which are absolutely necessary for the public good, and under the RFRA those burdens have to survive a strict scrutiny over whether there are other, less intrusive means to serve the government interest. In this case, not only are there many other options such as expanding Title X availability, there is no demonstrable need for an effort in the first place, as the CDC study proves.

Any serious discussion would require HHS contraception mandate advocates to demonstrate that compelling government interest and lack of any other solutions to it. The focus of the rebuttal to Dolan’s comments on Slurpees, 7-11, and “celibate white old men” (what does Dolan’s race have to do with it anyway?) shows exactly how unserious Dolan’s opposition has been all along. That becomes especially apparent when the argument boils down to we’re forcing you to provide birth control because reproductive behavior is none of your business. That’s the inevitable contradiction in this argument, and in nanny-state politics in general. It mandates participation while at the same time delegitimizes status to criticize. Convenient, no?

The rest of the interview is well worth watching, if less eligible for irrational hysterics over convenience-store references. Pay special attention to Dolan’s warnings about the nature of doctrine as opposed to pastoral outreach:

Despite the stylistic changes at the Vatican – which Dolan said the Pope is implementing “on steroids” — Dolan said many of the substantive teachings of the church will not change.

“Christianity, like Judaism, is a revealed religion. It’s an inherited religion. We believe that God has told us certain things about himself and ourselves, and we can’t tamper with that,” he said. “Sometimes we wish we could.” …

Another change Dolan does not believe will occur: the church’s stance on same-sex marriage. Even with increasing numbers of Americans backing civil unions and marriages for gay couples, Dolan said the church is “used to being out of step” on other issues like immigration and capital punishment.

He does believe, however, that there should be civil rights protections for those who are “unable” to live up to the standards of marriage held by the church.

“I believe that marriage is a given– by God, because I’m a man of faith — but also in the human psyche and human reason and the natural law, that marriage is, at its essence, is between a man and woman; forever, lovingly, faithfully, to bring forth new life and children. I believe we can’t tamper with that,” he said. “Would I do things to protect the civil rights of those who are unable to live up to that? You bet I would, whether that became insurance, whether that became housing, whatever. Do I believe that society could be affected negatively if we tamper with the definition of marriage? Yeah.”

Update: Video fixed.


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“Domestic terrorists” — Reid

Schadenfreude on April 21, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Perhaps the Good Cardinal can get a job at such a TrueAmerican store?

antisense on April 21, 2014 at 4:05 PM

It burns

22044 on April 21, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Do I believe that society could be affected negatively if we tamper with the definition of marriage?

That is the goal of the Anusocracy movement.

Queer Icon Tells the Truth About the Gay Marriage Agenda

Murphy9 on April 21, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Bait And Switch: How Same Sex Marriage Ends Family Autonomy
The goal isn’t equality – it’s abolishing an institution.

Murphy9 on April 21, 2014 at 4:10 PM

So he thinks Sandra Fluke should pay for her own rubbers? What a cold-hearted monster he must be.

Cicero43 on April 21, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Cardinal Dolan’s words would have been twisted no matter what he said. The lefties just can’t stand a man of faith or woman for that matter talking sense, it just burns their behinds.

major dad on April 21, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Tell me that Dolan didn’t give the secular courts the right to “balance” away our religious rights. just as they balanced away a child’s right to life at the expediency of a rejecting mother.

Don L on April 21, 2014 at 4:18 PM

As much as I admire and respect Cardinal Dolan and all that he says, my thoughts run more towards Shylock with each and every attack on the things and institutions I value, “The villany you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.”

Roy Rogers on April 21, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Who do I have to bribe to be re-incarnated as Mr. O’Donnell?

BobMbx on April 21, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Heads exploding everywhere. Bet he thinks Chik Fil A owners are good Americans, too…

OmahaConservative on April 21, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Tell me that Dolan didn’t give the secular courts the right to “balance” away our religious rights. just as they balanced away a child’s right to life at the expediency of a rejecting mother.

Don L on April 21, 2014 at 4:18 PM

He’s not giving anything to anyone, just acknowledging reality. Government can limit constitutional rights of all kinds to serve narrow, compelling government interests when no other practical way to serve them is available. Courts are supposed to determine using strict scrutiny (in most cases) whether each instance is constitutional.

Ed Morrissey on April 21, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Typical liberal reaction of the media- deflect the real argument and change it to something you think you can win. Who cares where if he got the store wrong?? His point is still made- you can buy condoms just about anywhere.

ImmigrantsWife on April 21, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Courts are supposed to determine using strict scrutiny (in most cases) whether each instance is constitutional.

Ed Morrissey on April 21, 2014 at 4:31 PM

I remember those days….

Good times…

Roy Rogers on April 21, 2014 at 4:38 PM

So us good folks who that are for requiring company health plans to cover basic medicines are not “true” Americans? Whatever you say you big goofy dinosaur.

beverlyfreaks on April 21, 2014 at 4:43 PM

The focus of the rebuttal to Dolan’s comments on Slurpees, 7-11, and “celibate white old men” (what does Dolan’s race have to do with it anyway?) shows exactly how unserious Dolan’s opposition has been all along. That becomes especially apparent when the argument boils down to we’re forcing you to provide birth control because reproductive behavior is none of your business. That’s the inevitable contradiction in this argument, and in nanny-state politics in general. It mandates participation while at the same time delegitimizes status to criticize.

Bolded for truth.

It amazes me at the blatant hypocrisy [and total ignorance of this hypocrisy] among the general public. It really does show that people are willing to accept anything as long as it allows them to continue to live their lives how they want, avoiding as much responsibility as they can.

Effay5 on April 21, 2014 at 4:45 PM

“By Lord, all you have to do is walk into a 7-Eleven or any shop on any street in America and have access to [contraceptives] — is that right to access those and to have them paid for? Is that such a towering good that it would suffocate the rights of conscience? I don’t think so, but I hope the Supreme Court agrees,” he said.

I haven’t been in a 7-11 for years, but unless they stopped selling condoms, then he’s right about being able to buy contraceptives there.

There Goes the Neighborhood on April 21, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Raw Story played it straight…

I’ll be danged. That’s surprising.

Anyway, the big criticism from the Left is specifically whether or not 7-11 sells every variety of contraception. That’s a pretty weak argument.

JetBoy on April 21, 2014 at 4:50 PM

So us good folks who that are for requiring mandating company health plans to cover basic medicines are not “true” Americans? Whatever you say you big goofy dinosaur.

beverlyfreaks on April 21, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Of course you aren’t. You’re facists. Too bad, so sad.

nobar on April 21, 2014 at 4:50 PM

My concern with this case is that secular businesses can use it to deny people certain health services. I know that Hobby Lobby only wants to limit the types of birth control they feel are abortion inducing, but a Catholic employer could decide to eliminate all birth control or a Jehovah Witness could eliminate blood transfusion and organ transplants or a evangelical Protestant sect might demand faith healing. I’d be especially concerned if a new CEO or owner bought a company and changed the policies overnight to reflect their religious beliefs.

Illinidiva on April 21, 2014 at 4:51 PM

I agree with him – but I don’t support the Catholic Bishops.

The simple fact is … if they got THEIR religious exemption – they would be endorsing ObamaCare left and right.

It was their own health service that gave the green light to the Pro-Life Dims who were the last line of defense against O-Care. And – the RCC has pushing for socialized health care for almost 100 years.

I don’t give a shit about them … the RCH doesn’t care that my family will have to pay out the ass for O-Care – tell me why I should care about their “religious freedom”.

They slept with the devil – they can bear his child.

HondaV65 on April 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM

LOL, the libtards are fixated on the fact that he used 7-11 as an example?

How about CVS, Rite Aid and Wal-Greens. Any of those are on any corner in any major metropolitan area. Often all 3 on the same corner.

Same thing in flyover land. Where you also have Wal-Marts, Targets and many other retailers that have pharmacies.

For 99% of the population a pharmacy carrying all forms of birth control is no more than a short walk, a short bus ride or a short trip in car.

I remember when the left wanted us to stay out of their bedrooms. Now we must not only applaud the sexual acts they are performing but we must be willing participants in the purchase of any birth control devices they use.

HumpBot Salvation on April 21, 2014 at 4:58 PM

“So us good folks who that are for requiring company health plans to cover basic medicines are not “true” Americans? Whatever you say you big goofy dinosaur.

beverlyfreaks on April 21, 2014 at 4:43 PM”

That is not what he said, not even close. Are the day after pills basic medicine? Because that is all Hobby Lobby is against, Dolan just said they true Americans for standing up for what they believe is their right.

major dad on April 21, 2014 at 5:02 PM

So us good folks who that are for requiring company health plans to cover basic medicines are not “true” Americans? Whatever you say you big goofy dinosaur.

beverlyfreaks on April 21, 2014 at 4:43 PM

The morning after pill is not necessary to sustain someone’s life. Birth control (except for some rare circumstances) is not necessary to sustain someone’s life.

Learn the difference.

gophergirl on April 21, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Hey, as the payee of these little additions to health care how come the American public doesn’t get to pick the most effective and least expensive form of birth control?

Cindy Munford on April 21, 2014 at 5:55 PM

So us good folks who that are for requiring company health plans to cover basic medicines are not “true” Americans? Whatever you say you big goofy dinosaur.

beverlyfreaks on April 21, 2014 at 4:43 PM

I’d call you slaves demanding your boss be your slave so you all can live in slavery under your government masters. Why is your company required to have health care plans? Oh yeah, thanks FDR and your price/wage controls from the last depression 80 years ago.

Also, I’ll care about the RCC and their religious freedom when they give a good gosh darn about everyone else’s. I seem to recall they didn’t have much of a problem with socialized medicine until one of their sacred oxes got gored.

oryguncon on April 21, 2014 at 6:07 PM

My concern with this case is that secular businesses can use it to deny people certain health services. I know that Hobby Lobby only wants to limit the types of birth control they feel are abortion inducing, but a Catholic employer could decide to eliminate all birth control or a Jehovah Witness could eliminate blood transfusion and organ transplants or a evangelical Protestant sect might demand faith healing. I’d be especially concerned if a new CEO or owner bought a company and changed the policies overnight to reflect their religious beliefs.

Illinidiva on April 21, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Oh, bushwah. You didn’t care all that much 5 years ago, or 3 years, or 2.

I didn’t hear any choruses of “oh my, what these religious freaks might doooooo to health insurance for dey employees oh my!!” before ObamaCare forced everyone into their facist straightjackets.

What is it about forcing companies to do your bidding that you statists (yes, you establishment GOP types are statists right along with the Dems) find so appealing?

If you don’t like your health insurance choices at Company A, you try to get a job at Company B, or Company C, or just suck it up and be grateful you have a job. People have been doing this forever, making employment choices based on what the employer offers in terms of wages, hours and benefits.

You do realize that not all health insurance policies covered birth control, or childbirth, or birthmark removal, right? That policies were tailored for a variety of reasons?

And please, do find me all those instances in the pre-Obamacare (when it was LEGAL to do so) of a company only covering faith-healing or blood-letting in their health insurance coverage.

Its ok- I’ll wait….

What? That strawman fell down go boom? Yeah, your knowledge of the health insurance market is about equivalent to your knowledge of your purported Catholic faith. Nearly nil, in other words.

Pless1foEngrish on April 21, 2014 at 6:16 PM

I’m too bored to read the article – are lefties trying to say that you can’t buy rubbers at the 7-Eleven?

Knott Buyinit on April 21, 2014 at 6:24 PM

They slept with the devil – they can bear his child.

HondaV65 on April 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM

You are so right. I agree with Cardinal Dolan on this interview. However, I don’t trust the Catholic Bishops. They rolled on Obamacare and, when burned, all they wanted was another empty promise from Obama to roll again. And they don’t have the stones to call out abortion-loving Catholic politicians for the hypocrites that they are (Pelosi, Biden, and so many others.)

Skiritae on April 21, 2014 at 6:30 PM

So us good folks who that are for requiring company health plans to cover basic medicines are not “true” Americans? Whatever you say you big goofy dinosaur.

beverlyfreaks on April 21, 2014 at 4:43 PM

1. Buy your own flukeing pills.

2. Learn English and respect the elderly.

3. Your nom is perfect.

Schadenfreude on April 21, 2014 at 6:34 PM

I think the whole doctrine of compelling govt interest is dangerous. Government interest refers to the policies of the current government. Why should inalienable rights, those that predate the creation of the government be trumped by the transient policies of current rulers who can be dismissed in the next election? Compelling interest should be no less than a threat to the safety and continued existence of the state as defined by the constitution. Or to the safety and physical well being of the citizenry. Example, when the Catholic Church had a prohibition on cremation that should not have prevented the state from ordering the dead victims of a communicable disease to be cremated.

xkaydet65 on April 21, 2014 at 6:52 PM

and so on — they’re finding it well enough on their own without forcing others to pay for it.

Well gee, a whole bunch of people out there could get a phone, food, rent etc. without forcing others to pay for it too..

Just think of it as ‘helping others’…for the benefit of ‘it makes me feel good’….whether you want to or not.

It’s the Liberal Way.

BigWyo on April 21, 2014 at 7:17 PM

The idiot left needs to understand that if you force me to pay for, I get a say. Period.

Quartermaster on April 21, 2014 at 7:47 PM

Looks like the new troll just took a well-deserved ruler across the knuckles.

I had no idea it was a business’s purpose to provide drugs to its employees.

I always thought the true purpose of a business was to make money for its owner.

CurtZHP on April 21, 2014 at 10:09 PM

beverlyfreaks makes an excellent argument for ending the tax preference for employer provided health insurance. Repeal Obamanocare, end the tax break, let everyone buy that which suits them.

tngmv on April 21, 2014 at 10:22 PM

The balance is already broken in Obamacare. When the law makes exceptions for religious organizations — and said exceptions are determined by officials in the Government, an establishment of religion has occurred.

One religion gets the exemption, another does not, at the whim of the Government.

It’s as simple as that.

unclesmrgol on April 22, 2014 at 12:55 AM

And they don’t have the stones to call out abortion-loving Catholic politicians for the hypocrites that they are (Pelosi, Biden, and so many others.)

Skiritae on April 21, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Please note that Pelosi went to an Episcopal church to wash feet at Easter. There’s something very subtle about that which I do not think you are getting.

unclesmrgol on April 22, 2014 at 12:57 AM

They slept with the devil – they can bear his child.

HondaV65 on April 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM

If they lose, you do too. Think about it.

unclesmrgol on April 22, 2014 at 12:58 AM

So us good folks who that are for requiring company health plans to cover basic medicines are not “true” Americans? Whatever you say you big goofy dinosaur.

beverlyfreaks on April 21, 2014 at 4:43 PM

What are “basic medicines”? Is that a code word for abortion inducing drugs, or a code word for aspirin? Enquiring minds would love to know.

After all, if you want to take a private right and make the public pay for it, you’ve just allowed the debate over your private right to be a public policy one.

No, I do not want to pay for your abortion drugs. In fact, I don’t want to pay for your viagra, or your in vitro fertilization, or your sex reassignment surgery, or any of a number of things a healthy 60-something male doesn’t need. I want to buy the things I want, not the things others need. And I don’t want to pay inflated prices for them either — which is what’s happening right now under Obamacare.

unclesmrgol on April 22, 2014 at 1:03 AM

I didn’t hear any choruses of “oh my, what these religious freaks might doooooo to health insurance for dey employees oh my!!” before ObamaCare forced everyone into their facist straightjackets.

Most states actually required coverage of contraceptives as part of group health plans prior to Obamacare. Thirty-eight states I believe.

If you don’t like your health insurance choices at Company A, you try to get a job at Company B, or Company C, or just suck it up and be grateful you have a job. People have been doing this forever, making employment choices based on what the employer offers in terms of wages, hours and benefits.

In this economy, you can just change jobs? And it is a substantial burden to employees if a new CEO comes in and changes what is covered by their insurance.

You do realize that not all health insurance policies covered birth control, or childbirth, or birthmark removal, right? That policies were tailored for a variety of reasons?

In the individual market, yes they were. In the group health insurance market, everyone generally gets standard benefits. The whole idea is that the corporation gets a discount because thousands to tens of thousands of people and their families are covered. They have to have standardized plans or the cost savings are lost. A twenty-something single guy working on Wall Street was covered for childbirth and mammograms whether he wanted to be or not.

And please, do find me all those instances in the pre-Obamacare (when it was LEGAL to do so) of a company only covering faith-healing or blood-letting in their health insurance coverage.

The case could open the door for corporations to cover only bloodletting and faith healing or perhaps a Muslim corporation to demand that all female employees wear burqas. I think that the Catholic non-for-profits and colleges have a compelling argument for an exemption. I think that a business that can argue that religion is part of their identity (a Bible printer for instance) does. I don’t think that that argument extends to Billy Bob Hick’s Gun Emporium.

What? That strawman fell down go boom? Yeah, your knowledge of the health insurance market is about equivalent to your knowledge of your purported Catholic faith. Nearly nil, in other words.

Yeah. I’m a cradle Catholic and I’ve worked in the health care industry for most of my career. So I know quite a bit about both. I don’t think the Latin Mass freaks and bullies who have been progressively taking over the Church during my lifetime and being nasty to the rest of us have a clue about the Church. I don’t think that their weird fixation on an idealized version of the 1950s has anything to do with the Gospels. Nor do I think that Jesus expected women to remain knocked up and barefoot in the kitchen in dowdy calico jumpers picked out by their husbands. I’d prefer that the Latin Mass freaks stop stating that their weird lifestyle choices have anything to do with my religion (and start realize that being a nasty bully isn’t Catholic.)

** BTW, I find it amusing that someone who is whining about immigrants speaking in Spanish likes hearing Mass in a dead language.

Illinidiva on April 22, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Dear leader did promise change when he was campaigning. He failed to define just what he meant by that. He means to change our values and institutions, all of which will be done by fiat through his pen and phone calls to the various alphabets that change our lives everyday with regulations. I’ve watched some new clips of the 4-20 fest in Denver and wondered if that is the future for our country. Right now only 2 states have ‘legalized’ pot but what will happen when the change is complete across the country? The cardinal was only half right, the owners of HL are also good Christians.

Kissmygrits on April 22, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Pless1foEngrish on April 21, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Darn – you stole my thunder in your rebuttal to Illinidiva!

sjoseph371 on April 22, 2014 at 9:19 AM