Sunday, July 6, 2014

On the religious values of Hobby Lobby


Sometimes I feel like the nation has moved into some weird alternative universe. Hard as it may seem, SCOTUS has me thinking about the IUD. Yes, the IUD, the intra-uterine device. There are two types, one made of copper and one that uses hormones in someway to prevent pregnancy.

Until the Hobby Lobby decision, I had no idea that the IUD was viewed by some in America as a murder weapon. I thought it was birth control, plain and simple. Here's what the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has to say about how the IUD works:
Both types of IUDs work mainly by preventing fertilization of the egg by the sperm. The hormonal IUD also thickens cervical mucus, which makes it harder for sperm to enter the uterus and fertilize the egg, and keeps the lining of the uterus thin, which makes it less likely that a fertilized egg will attach to it.
ACOG also views the IUD, along with the birth control implant, as "the most effective forms of reversible birth control available."

SCOTUS says otherwise. In the Hobby Lobby ruling, SCOTUS codifies the idea that the IUD is a device used to murder fertilized eggs. And the Hobby Lobby ruling codifies the idea that a fertilized egg is a person and that life begins at conception. And the Hobby Lobby ruling also codifies the idea that a corporation is a person who has devout, religious beliefs that must be protected from egregious governmental interference as per the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

So who is Hobby Lobby? Hobby Lobby is a company owned by the David Green family, whose religion is Pentecostal Christian. David Green once characterized himself as the black sheep of the family, as everyone else was engaged in church work. And now, David Green is also involved in church work.

According to Forbes, he/she (it is insulting to call a "person" an "it" and I don't want to get in trouble with SCOTUS!) is one of the largest privately held corporations in America. He/she employs 23,000 people, has 578 stores throughout the country, and had sales of $3.3 billion in 2012.

And now Hobby Lobby is as religious as the pope! And as opposed to abortion as the pope himself. Thus, Hobby Lobby does not have to include methods of birth control his/her owners find objectionable.

Here's a bit from the majority opinon of SCOTUS:

According to HHS and the dissent, these corporations are not protected by RFRA because they cannot exercise religion. Neither HHS nor the dissent, however, provides any persuasive explanation for this conclusion.
 It may seem obvious to some that a corporation cannot exercise religion, but apparently, because non-profit religious entities are religious, so too are for-profit companies that sell a load of Chinese junk to American hobbyists.

Here's some more from the five pro-Christian white men on the Supreme Court:

The Hahns and Greens believe that providing the coverage demanded by the HHS regulations is connected to the destruction of an embryo in a way that is sufficient to make it immoral for them to provide the coverage. This belief implicates a difficult and important question of religion and moral philosophy, namely, the circumstances under which it is wrong for a person to perform an act that is innocent in itself but that has the effect of enabling or facilitating the commission of an immoral act by another.
This is terrible language and reasoning from the five conservative justices of the Supreme Court. Abortion is a legally sanctioned medical procedure under today's laws. It is considered immoral among some religious people. But that does not make it immoral.

As a legal, medical procedure, abortion is not deemed immoral by the laws of the United States. (I have a feeling it won't be long until SCOTUS changes this - to avoid offending some citizens of the United States whose religion deems this legal medical procedure "immoral.")

And so what I don't understand - how the Greens' religion must supersede the law of the land. How are the Greens' morals thwarted when Hobby Lobby's health insurance plan covers IUDs and morning-after pills? How is including the IUD in the Hobby Lobby insurance plan "a substantial burden" on the exercise of religion? The Greens are not obligated to use these products. Hobby Lobby employees are not obligated to use these products. Yet SCOTUS has decided that this corporate entity gets to impose its religion on its employees.

It may make sense to the five justices who made this decision, but it makes no sense to me. And the Hobby Lobby decision has opened up a Pandora's box of new court cases from corporations who don't want to lose their religion just because of ACA.

Time for some REM!

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