(Source: Bloomberg Businessweek)
Religious colonies of Hutterites in rural Montana are fighting the state’s attempts to impose a labor law backed by businesses that complain they can’t outbid the low cost of the communal workers.
The Hutterites are Protestants similar to the Amish and Mennonites who live a life centered on their religion, but unlike the others, Hutterites live in German-speaking communes scattered across northern U.S. states and Canada.
They don’t pay wages, don’t vote and don’t enlist in the military. They make their own clothes, produce their own food and construct their own buildings.
“Their core belief is that they have no property. All the property and labor they have, they contribute to the colony,” Ron Nelson, an attorney for the Big Sky Colony, told the Montana Supreme Court. (more…)
(Source: The Examiner)
For most of the United States 200+ years of existence, a great battle has been fought over who has civil and human rights. It has been waged in Congress and the courts, at the ballot box and the workplace, and for the four years between 1861-65, on actual battlefields. It is still being fought and, while there have been setbacks at times, the trend has always been towards greater enfranchisement of the individual regardless of race, sex, religion or any of the myriad other things that differentiate us one from another. Over the last couple of weeks another of these battles has been fought over a proposed federal mandate that businesses provide female employees with health-care plans that covered birth control expenses if required. While America’s 355,000 churches were specifically exempted from this provision, religiously-associated businesses like colleges and hospitals were not. This led some organizations, like the Catholic Church, whose tenets forbid the use of contraception, to complain that their religious freedom was being infringed on. President Obama then sought to defuse the issue by offering a new plan that transfers the payment obligation from the business to the insurance companies and that’s the subject of Bill Moyers’ Feb. 16 video essay. “How,” asks the journalist and political commentator, “do we honor religious liberty without it becoming the liberty to impose one set of moral beliefs on others.”