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Your argument in this case is a little off the mark. In this case it is the prerogative of the owners of the business to set the business model. If someone wants to sell birth control, they can work for the pharmacist down the street who will allow them to disperse birth control all day long. Which is the same argument we had when the roles were reversed. As I've said previously, if a pharmacist doesn't want to sell birth control, than they shouldn't work for a pharmacy that condones it. However, you are also leaving out a couple of important facts.

1. In Virginia the law states that any pharmacist may refuse to fill any prescription for any reason. Which means they are perfectly within their rights to not sell birth control.

2. The pharmacy is located in Fairfax, VA, near Dulles airport. This is not exactly a rural area and I'm sure their are dozens of other pharmacies in the area to choose from. If people are really that upset that this pharmacist doesn't want to carry condoms, than they'll shop somewhere else and he'll go out of business. Case closed, capitalism works again, and the government can find something else to meddle in.

Under your model, a store selling religious items, books, icons, sacrificial daggers, etc. would by definition violate First Amendment rights of non-believers like myself. While I think all this mythological stuff is nonsense I, like Frank, believe in an entrepreneur's right to a business model based on the Virgin Mary, Zeus or The Flying Spaghetti Monster (praise be to His Noodley Appendage). Hey, this wacky stuff sells. I've seen preachers on the TeeVee so there must be money in it.

You know, when I wrote this I wondered if I should spell out my position, which is absolutely and unambiguously on the side of the private business to set it's own policies.

"No," I thought. "I'm linking to two other posts that spell that position out, and anyway, this posting is about inconsistency on the religious right, not about my own position on the issue. Surely my readers -- literate, thoughtful, extraordinary in every way -- will not misread what I've written."

Alas, from both ends of the political spectrum, confusion. Apparently, no one read the links. So:

I agree. The pharmacy owner should be able to set his own policy. In this case, the no-birth-control policy is interesting market positioning and I'll be interested to see if it succeeds. I wouldn't be surprised if it did. I think there are probably lots of people who'd just as soon not be confronted by condom displays. Anyone who needs condoms should shop elsewhere.

The more interesting question is whether those who think pharmacists who refuse to sell birth control in pharmacies that sell birth control should be allowed to keep their jobs. Someone should write a post about that. Oh, wait: I did.

So, you create a hypothetical scenario, starting with word such as "Let's say". Then you decide the outcome of your hypothetical scenario with words like "I guess".

And then you pass judgement on a group of people because in your made up scenario, their actions (that you made up) lead you to a conclusion.

Pretty nifty.

Tom, I think Wally and Frank did answer your "interesting" question. Pharmacists who refuse to sell birth control in pharmacies that sell birth control should be fired. As they (and you) pointed out, the pharmacy owner sets the policy and if an employee refuses that policy, he should be fired, whether he is the pharmacist or the floor sweeper.

And yes, the religious right would probably disagree and call it religious persecution rather than a contract dispute between employer and employee, which is what it really is.

For the record, just so Catch Her in the Wry knows, I'm a life-long member of the religious right. My view, along with most of my religious right friends, is that if you don't like the policies where you work you either deal with it or you go find somewhere else to work. No one is forcing you to work somewhere that violates your personal moral code.

By the way Catch Her, I love your blog name. One of my favorites, right up there with Tequila Mockingbird.

Sorry, Frank. I really do try so hard not to lump individuals into categories. There are extremists, and I was directing my comment to those who do not understand that the situation is contractual, not religious bias.

Thanks for the compliment about my name.

Jeez, Frank and Catcher. You're getting along pretty well. You need any birth control?

Whatever happened to the Religious Left? We don't hear so much about people like Father Berrigan and the Sisters Hennessey.

Tom, I don't need no stinkin' birth control. I am way past those days, but I still enjoy the company of men.

Geez, Chris Rock has said that men should hang out at pro choice rallies cuz, in his words, "at least you knew they were f***k'in".

Wry, adds a new post menopausal twist to this rule I think.

I, too, don't need no stinkin' birth control. I was already overweight and balding, so I figured I would go ahead and get rid of that last little bit of manliness. I'm not an official member of the IOSB club.

That's "I Only Shoot Blanks".


Not=now when you're typing in the dark. My apologies.

To get back to the issue at hand...

Based on what he wrote here, Tom, like many, appears to misunderstand the First Amendment. It expressly prohibits Congress--i.e., the Federal government--from establishing an official religion. It does not prohibit states from doing so; in fact, once upon a time, some states had official religions. Furthermore, the First Amendment does not preclude the relgious from inserting their views into political discourse. In other words, it's a one-way street: the Federal government may not interfere with relgion, but religious groups may interfere to their hearts' content in government.

In any case, the real-life example and Tom's hypothetical example both involve a private business. Private entities are free to promote--or not promote--any religion as they see fit (excessive government meddling notwithstanding). This is that "freedom of association" part of the First Amendment, which has increasingly been encroached upon by the Federal government and its unconstititional laws and regulations regarding whom businesses must hire, schools must admit, etc.

Anyway, since the business is a private entitity, the whole "freedom of religion" schtick is irrelevant, as there is no government party involved.

As I see it, this post was just another way to express disdain and contempt for the religious right and conservatives, but I could be mistaken.

I'm really trying to figure out why people who are agreeing with me seem to be arguing with me. I agree it is a matter of private industry and not a matter for government intervention. I agree that it has nothing to do with religious freedom.

It is the conservative Republicans who are trying to make it a government issue by attempting to protect people who refuse to do their jobs on religious grounds. Why are you arguing with me when you should be condemning conservative Republicans?

"I'm really trying to figure out why people who are agreeing with me seem to be arguing with me. "

It's what we do.

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