Monday, July 21, 2014

Hobby Lobby

OK, OK, I'm woefully late, but I really should say something about the Supreme Court's latest idiotic decision, I suppose.

Where do I begin? How about with the fact that corporations aren't people and can't actually have religious beliefs? People own corporations. People run corporations. People work in corporations. But the corporation itself is not a person. That's just a legal fiction.

If the corporation were a person, it still couldn't decide which laws it wanted to obey. I mean, can you do that? Go ahead. Try it. Decide for yourself which laws you agree with and which you refuse to obey.

So the five Republicans on the Supreme Court have decided that corporations aren't just people, they're people with special rights that lesser people - like you and me - don't have. Certainly, they have rights that their employees don't have.

Note that those five Republicans - Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy - are all men and all Catholic. Yup, it just so happens that birth control is something they don't need and something that their own church opposes. (The three women on the court - one of them also Catholic - dissented.)

The Republicans tried to write their decision as narrowly as possible. After all, what would happen if a corporation had some other religion? What if a "Muslim corporation" imposed Sharia law on its Christian employees? Somehow, I think the decision might have gone differently, then, don't you?

In a way, that's kind of what happened. In Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon vs. Smith, the case that led up to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which was the issue here, both Scalia and Kennedy found for the government - the exact opposite of what they decided here. (The other justices weren't on the court back then.)

Of course, that was about some other religion (the Native American Church), not their own. And it was about real people, not corporate people. Republicans wouldn't care about them, right?

There are a number of things I find crazy about this decision, but the biggies - that a corporation is a "person," which can have religious beliefs, and that those beliefs trump federal law - have already received a lot of attention. These two aren't so important, maybe, but they shouldn't be overlooked:

1. The five Republicans on the court are letting corporations opt out of federal laws, but specifically not tax laws. Why not? Well, taxes pay their salaries. Without taxes, they wouldn't have a job.

Oh, I'm sure that wasn't their stated reason for the exception, if they even bothered to give a reason. But it's funny, isn't it?

2. Reality is irrelevant. As long as a corporation 'believes' something (and yeah, I have to use quote marks, because the idea that a corporation can believe anything is just laughable), it doesn't have to be a true belief.

Hobby Lobby opposes certain forms of birth control, because... it claims those methods cause abortion. That's wrong. The science is clear on that. But it doesn't matter to the majority on the court that this 'belief' is wrong. A corporation could believe anything, and it simply wouldn't matter how crazy it was.

Of course, practically-speaking, it would matter. If this hadn't been in opposition to birth control and to 'Obamacare,' the five Catholic Republican men on the Supreme Court wouldn't have been so enthusiastic about opening this Pandora's Box. You can bet on that!

I'm going to add a couple of postscripts here. First, if you're wondering about my pointing out the religion of those five Supreme Court justices, well, Fox 'News' has your back:

Funny, isn't it? Fox 'News' expresses outrage about an ad they claim is offensive to Catholics by... being offensive to Muslims. Heh, heh. But what's really funny is that they don't even notice what they're doing!

Obviously, it isn't bigotry to point out that the five Supreme Court justices who decided a case involving religious opposition to a woman's access to birth control are all men and all Catholic (given that the Catholic Church, as you know, opposes all birth control).

In fact, it's clearly so pertinent, so relevant, so material, it should be mentioned by the media in every article/video about the case ("should be," but almost certainly isn't).

But Fox 'News' thinks it's bigoted. And they argue their point by being - unconsciously, obliviously, cluelessly - bigoted about Muslims. And unlike the target of their wrath, they really are being bigoted.

But even that's not as funny as this one. Holly Fisher is a right-wing Christian gun nut who celebrated the Hobby Lobby decision by posting a picture of herself with assault rifle, Bible, and flag. Yeah, that's sane, isn't it?

Happily, someone noted this remarkable similarity:

Which one looks holy and patriotic to you, and which one looks like a nightmare of theocracy and violence, probably depends on your cultural background.

To me, they look virtually identical.


Gregg Garthright said...

I saw the "Holly Hobby Lobby" pic a while ago - it's both hilarious and maddening. It's scary to see how crazy these nut bags are.

The Supreme Court really worries me - what happens if we get a republican president in 2017, and Ginsberg has to retire? No telling what we'll get then!

WCG said...

Yes, I know, Gregg. One bad decision, one more Republican president, wouldn't be something we could fix in the next election, if he put another right-wing fanatic on the Supreme Court (which he likely would). Very scary.