Religious people have rights. They can worship what they wish, but up until now, they couldn’t force other people to be burdened by their religion. The problem with current religious argument is that *they* don’t want [fill in the blank, gay marriage, abortion, etc] for OTHER PEOPLE. They are free to not engage in whatever behavior they find “sinful” but they can’t by extension include others in that prohibition. It is the deliberate naiveté of the incumbent. [If Hobby lobby has such a problem with contraception then why are they invested in companies that make contraceptives? You cannot have it both ways, profiting off the product yet denying it to your employees.]
If Hobby Lobby prevails, will it lead to a spate of suits from both sides haggling over religious issues? Will atheist corporations insist its employees not participate in religious ceremonies as part of its first amendment expression? Can a Hindu CEO insist that employees will be fired if they eat meat, even on their own time? What about Islamic practices? How far will the religious right take an opening into the quickening slide into theocracy? Will they like it when they get there? Have I mentioned the need for separation of church and State before? Why should workers have their livelihood held ransom by the ideologically perverse?
I’m going to save the rest of my commentary when the decision is announced later today. Please stay tuned.
Update: I thought I would have to wait a while to see any tangible repercussion from the decision. It took just ONE day for SCOTUS to open the supposedly “narrow decision” authored by Justice Alito.
“..after the United States Supreme Court issued its divisive ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, it has already begun to toss aside the supposedly narrow interpretation of the decision. On Tuesday, the Supremes ordered lower courts to rehear any cases where companies had sought to deny coverage for any [bold my emphasis] type of contraception, not just the specific types Hobby Lobby was opposed to. The court vacated two decisions by the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit—Autocam Corp. v. Burwell and Eden Foods v. Burwell—and commanded the appeals court to rehear the cases in light of the Hobby Lobby decision. In both instances the Sixth Circuit had rejected requests from Catholic-owned businesses that sought to exempt the companies from offering insurance that covered any of the 20 mandated forms of birth control. The Supreme Court also compelled the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reopen a similar case, Gilardi v. Department of Health & Human Services. “With Tuesday’s orders,” wrote The Nation’s Zoë Carpenter, “the conservative majority has effectively endorsed the idea that religious objections to insurance that covers any form of preventative healthcare for women have merit.” [quote Mother Jones]
This is way beyond slippery slope. To paraphrase James Whitcomb Riley’s poem When Lide Married Him, 1894, This is “Katy, bar the door, there’s big trouble in store” While Hobby Lobby based its claim in its “so called” objection to four forms of emergency contraception ( that the company covered without issue prior to the new healthcare law), other companies [Eden Foods Corporation, et al.] challenging the requirement object to all forms of contraception. Those beliefs are just as sincerely held, and just as dangerous to women’s health. The legal precedent now tips firmly in their favor.
“On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that an evangelical college in Illinois will not have to fill out a form offered to religious nonprofits that would effectively transfer the cost of its employees’ contraceptives to insurers. Wheaton College argues that doing so would “trigger” emergency contraceptive coverage and is therefore still against the institution’s religious beliefs. But Wheaton’s objection to the accommodation suggests that both for-profit and nonprofit organizations with religious affiliations would be unhappy with that solution since they believe they’re still enabling the purchase of contraceptives. So far a total of 122 religious nonprofits have sued. In her dissent, Sotomayor points out the hypocrisy in Justice Alito’s argument for the Hobby Lobby decision in the wake of this new ruling.” [quote Time Magazine]
So now, in the space of four days, a narrow decision has widened into Justice Ginsburg’s minefield as she so accurately predicted.
“…The corporate veil can be manipulated to suit the needs of the corporation. ..bosses can cynically choose à la carte what laws they want to comply with and which laws they do not. Each specific finding opens a door to a new form of discrimination and unprecedented corporate power. If you think this ruling won’t affect you, you haven’t been paying attention. If you think these corporations are going to stop at birth control, you’re kidding yourself. [quote Salon]
The most important thing to consider is the additional precedent no-one’s talking about in the media. The idea that corporate religious beliefs of some are more important that the religious beliefs of others. Why are a woman’s beliefs less important? Why can her place of employment impose their religious beliefs? Are corporations more important than individuals now? It would seem so according to Justice Alito.