Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Supremes and Hobby Lobby

For a "creative center," they sure have a boring, boring logo.
Helvetica, really? Image from Crooks and Liars.
The Supreme Court took on the Hobby Lobby case on Tuesday, and many of the news reports were rather alarming to me. The case is ostensibly about the ObamaCare contraception mandate, and whether or not a corporation's religious freedom is violated by it. But the case is potentially much more far-reaching than this one element of the Affordable Care Act.

My first problem with the case is that it assumes a corporation can have religious beliefs. "Corporations are people, my friend," was Mitt Romney's infamous quote, which is a troublesome concept, no matter how you take it. Corporations are actually groups of people, each with individual rights. Claiming that the corporation itself has rights seems like this collection of people has got more rights than a single individual, at least to me. But let's take that as a given, that corporations are people.

Fine then, how do you determine this "person's" religion? Do you go by the CEO? The CFO or COO? Do you take a poll of the board of directors, add 'em all up, take an average, and call that the corporation's religion? What about the employees, do their religious rights and freedoms get automatically trumped by the employer? If so, why? And why on earth should an employer have to follow the boss's idea of what kind of health care she should receive?

It's all such bizarre reasoning, and seems to not even bother imagining what potential pitfalls might follow, if it should prevail at SCOTUS. It also--as many "religious freedom" arguments do--assumes that only Christianity will be the religion in question, to be allowed these exemptions. Nope, if this case wins, every religion from Islam to Wicca to Pastafarians will have a new challenge: finding religious exemptions to laws that they can exploit. What's to stop a lobbying group with an agenda from creating their own religion with a doctrine that matches their list of wants? Suddenly, you have legal chaos. And all because the guy who runs Hobby Lobby really doesn't like President Obama. Crazy.


Supreme Court Struggles In Hobby Lobby Case With Question Of Companies' Religious Rights

Justices on the Supreme Court seemed to struggle Tuesday with the question of whether a private company can get out of a federal law by citing the religious beliefs of its shareholders. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

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