Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Supreme Court Inexplicably Decides For Hobby Lobby

I'm a gay man, if you didn't know, and as such have very little interest in the subject of abortion, or birth control. So, the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood case doesn't affect me directly. But as an atheist, I'm an ardent supporter of the separation of church and state (as all fans of the Constitution should be, by the way). And so, when SCOTUS does anything that bends over for religion, I've immediately got my hackles up.

Let's start with the direct problems with the case:

- It gives corporations "religious rights," furthering the fiction that corporations are people.
- It allows employers' religious beliefs to trump employees' religious beliefs.
- As such, the employer's beliefs are protected, while the employees' are disregarded.
- It allows an employers' beliefs about something (in this case that these particular birth control methods cause abortion, when in fact they don't) to be respected, regardless of how wrong it is.
- It magnifies something that was settled decades ago--birth control--into a "hot button" issue.
- Though it takes strained pains not to, it opens the door to countless other corporate religious exemptions to other laws.
- SCOTUS treats the religions of the companies involved in this case--mainstream Christianity--as a valid, acceptable religion to earn an exception to the ObamaCare law. But it dismisses other religions (Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists, Christian Scientists), and gives no clear reasoning as to what would qualify one over the other.

This is one of those cases that is bound to make one side happy, and the other unhappy. But it also goes further, by tarnishing the already dingy reputation of the court, by not having much in the way of legal reasoning at all. Hobby Lobby is not a person. It is not a church. It is not a doctor or in the medical profession. It is a craft store. And yet, they put themselves in the position of dictating their religious beliefs about a medical decision to their employees, regardless of the employee's beliefs, or lack of them.

I want to ask supporters of this decision some simple questions: do you honestly think that it will end here, with a "Christian" corporation, on the issue of birth control only? Did you consider that this law will eventually apply to other religions, from Mormons to Hindus to Islam? Did you consider that a corporation could devise a whole new religion, and make any sort of "sincerely held beliefs" to get out of other laws? This was Pandora's Box. It's open now.


Supreme Court exempts Hobby Lobby from Obamacare contraception mandate


Attempting to expand religious expression protections to small business owners without significantly disrupting the rules that govern for-profit corporations, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the Obama administration must exempt closely-held firms like Hobby Lobby from a rule requiring large companies to help pay for their employees' birth control. . .

Read more at: CBS News

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