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Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Decision About More Than Birth Control

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This week’s ruling by the Supreme Court about a case involving Hobby Lobby involves much more than the single issue of abortion, says a CNN article. What it means to you is dependent on which side of multiple issues you side on.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that family-owned or other “closely held” businesses may opt out of a federal requirement to pay for contraceptives in employee health care coverage involving religious beliefs.

The obvious translation is that companies whose owners are religiously opposed to birth control have been told by the court that their own religious expression through not paying for their employees to have the option of birth control is more important than the employees’ right to choose for themselves and have it paid for by the employer.

A friend of mine who I often disagree with on one level or another when it comes to politics summed it up in a rather predictable way: “Want birth control? Pay for it yourself.” It’s a nice, succinct little Republican talking point.

But it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if the government ends up paying for it in such cases, the government will do so with our tax dollars, which means all of us — including the employers who are against it — end up paying for it, anyway.

Last time I checked, we, as taxpayers, don’t get to specify to the penny what our taxes do and do not support.

I’ve been waiting for the chance to give Congress a huge cut in salary.

Maybe one day.

A CNN article breaks down various aspects of the ruling and possible implications.

Sure, the obvious anti-abortion angle is, well, obvious. The Court agreed with business owners that paying for abortion forced them to violate their religious principles because they believe some of the contraceptives amount to abortion.

But some businesses don’t have a problem paying for birth control, as long as it doesn’t look like abortion in any way. This is to say, they’re fine with preventing a baby from being born, as long as the chemical reaction of conception hasn’t occurred.

Some churches are against all birth control, not just abortion.

Then there’s the argument about corporations vs. people.

Does a company have the right to say it has its own rights, mirrored by — or even occasionally in addition to — the rights of the people who own it?

Does Hobby Lobby have its own religious rights, beyond the religious rights of the owners of Hobby Lobby? To some, it sounds like a silly question. To others, that’s the real crux of the issue.

I’ve written about the Colorado bakery that was accused of discrimination because its owners are Christian and refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding because they believe gay marriage is Biblically wrong. When the owner lost a legal challenge, he announced he’d no longer make any wedding cakes, for gay couples or straight couples.

The bakery owner argued that to make a cake for a gay wedding meant he was “participating” in the wedding or was condoning something that was against his religious views.

The fundamental question is an individual’s religious practice and a company’s religious practice.

If you, as an individual, choose to not support gay marriage, then you, as an individual, should have that right. You should not accept invitations to such ceremonies, assuming anyone who happens to be gay would be close enough to you to invite you to begin with. That’s your right.

When you open a publicly-licensed business, do you have the right to project your personal religious views on a business and have your business practices mirror your personal practices?

The Bible has been used over the years to justify many things, including slavery and opposition to interracial marriage.

If a bakery decides that it won’t make a wedding cake for an interracial couple because its owner happens to find Biblical justification for such a stand, will this Supreme Court decision translate into an approval of racism?

There has to be an answer better than, “Just go somewhere else.”

This, another favorite Republican talking point, is always waiting to be tossed into the discussion.

Think a business is discriminating against you? Go to another business.

“Why would you want to do business with a company you feel is discriminating against you, anyway?” I’ve heard that question, and to a point, I understand it. I even agree with it.

To a point.

What if you go to 10 businesses and all of them feel the same way the first one did? How many businesses do you have to try to work with — strike that: How many businesses do you have to try to purchase a good or service from before you’re allowed to say, “Hey what about my rights to live my life the way I see fit?”

Should a business get to decide, by virtue of its owners’ personal beliefs, how it will treat its customers, even when the same Constitution that upholds an individual’s right to freedom of religion (not from it), that we are all created equal?

Thoughts?

1 Comment

  1. You know that I have to comment on this…
    I
    agree with you, when you open a publicly licensed business you should
    have to serve all of the public and not just pick and choose who they
    will serve. 
    The
    president is about to release an executive order banning discrimination
    against LGBT people for federal contractors and since the Supreme Court
    ruling he received a letter from a group of religious leaders asking
    that he expands the religious exemption. They want him to also include
    businesses owned by religious organizations; the current exemption is
    based on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII. Under Title VII a
    janitor working in a hospital that is owned by a religious order is
    protected, but he would not be covered under the expanded version.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.