Thursday, July 03, 2014


Since the Hobby Lobby flop, I've read the postings of many a friend or pundit defending the Supreme Court's decision. Some break out the joker card of "religious freedom." Others split hairs about the fact that the chain is not refusing to fund all forms of contraception, just the so-called "abortion ones."

None of that is relevant.

First off, religious freedom in no way entails the right to unilaterally assert that religion over the matters of others. Likewise, it is not religious persecution if someone is denied the ability to repress others in this fashion. 

Observant Catholics don't eat meat on Fridays during the Lenten season. They have every right to observe this custom. I have every right to buy a chicken sandwich at the deli on those Fridays. No one is being repressed in that situation. But if the Catholics insisted that I couldn't buy that chicken sandwich because of what they believe, then we'd have a problem.

I don't care that the CEO of Hobby Lobby has not disallowed his worker insurance policies to fund some contraception methods. I care that some are selectively not covered because he is a Christian.

The Supreme Court got that decision dead wrong. A business owner should not be allowed religious discretion over employee matters. Already, we're seeing how companies are trying to subvert equality laws by invoking various religious exemptions, most of which are dubious and practically all selective.

Religion is practically untouchable in this country. It's the "hands off" card. This fact is not lost on religious-conservative business owners, many of whom see an opportunity both to impose theocratic values on their companies and save money in one fell swoop. 

I wonder how many apologists of this practice would take working for an American company with a Muslim CEO (like, say, Ethan Allen) or a Christian Scientist CEO (formerly Goldman Sachs), if those CEOs suddenly decided to enforce parochialism on their health care policies. I don't doubt those defenders of "religious freedom" would be the first to hit the streets, crying about unfair it is that they have to live by someone else's arbitrary rules.

Well, that's exactly how I feel about Christianity in politics and in the paycheck. No one should have to know or care what the boss's religion is, because that's none of our business. Unless they make it our business.

A terrible precedent has been set, and even one use of it is too often. Bad show, judicial branch.

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