On Monday the Supreme Court Of The United Status (SCOTUS) rendered a decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
What’s a “Burwell,” you ask? As the Secretary of Health and Human Services at the time the decision was rendered*, Sylvia Burwell automatically became a footnote to history. Based on her position, as far as this case is concerned, she’s a proxy for the United States.
melt down (fat) – process (the carcass of an animal) in order to extract proteins, fats, and other usable parts.
At issue (per the Hobby Lobby website): The federal government mandating that “family businesses provide four specific potentially life-terminating drugs and devices through their employee health plan in conflict with their deeply held religious convictions.” Widely the issue is described as contraception. So what are these four drugs? “[T]wo kinds of emergency contraceptive or ‘morning after’ pills, and two types of intrauterine devices, or IUDs.”
Which way did SCOTUS break? Let’s put it this way. I went to the official Hobby Lobby online store and clicked a menu option labeled “News Center.” I was whisked away from shopping to HobbyLobbyCase.com, a lavishly and gorgeously designed website which proudly proclaimed, “A VICTORY FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.”
I guess that answers the question, “Will they keep it low key?” Obviously, hell no. Shout it from the mountain top Moses-style. Some can just naturally sense the appropriate amount of decorum. Is gloating one of the seven deadly sins?
Coverage of the landmark decision among that chattering classes seemed to agree: SCOTUS recognized that challenging laws based on “deeply held” religious liberty was protected form of religious freedom.
They are allowed to follow their Biblical beliefs. Even if they adhere to one section while ignoring others. Yes, Hobby Lobby flaunts the Lord, specifically in Leviticus. No, not shellfish or that other thing. I’m talking about, of course, the prohibition on woven cloths: Leviticus 19:19 – “Do not wear clothing woven from two different kinds of thread.” They violate that one. Big time. I guess I’ll see you in Hell, Hobby Lobby practitioners. I hear that the Rate The Sins game doesn’t apply in Hell, so maybe we’ll be bunk mates.
In other words, government can make laws but only people with deeply held religious beliefs have the right to challenge them and potentially gain an exemption.
What about me? I’m not religious even though some of my beliefs are “deeply held” on steroids. SCOTUS has essentially told me, “Go pound sand.” I’ll now attempt to explain this concept.
In the United States, 77% of adults identify as “Christian.” That makes Christianity the majority religion. Some might ask, then, why shouldn’t the majority rule? The Greeks and Romans called this sort of thing ochlocracy or “mob” rule.
Ochlocracy or mob rule is the rule of government by mob or a mass of people, or the intimidation of legitimate authorities. As a pejorative for majoritarianism, it is akin to the Latin phrase mobile vulgus meaning “the fickle crowd,” from which the English term “mob” was originally derived in the 1680s.
Source: Wikipedia – Ochlocracy
In the United States we also have something called the First Amendment, the second part of which, known as the Free Exercise Clause, provides that government shall not give preference of one religion over another. Then there’s that whole can of worms known as Establishment Clause where we have seen a fair amount of debate.
At question now, thanks to SCOTUS, is the veto power of citizens over the laws to which they are subjected.
Laws have always worked by force. There’s no law that says you have to agree with them. Government (the will of the people) makes decisions for the greater good. These are called laws. There is not, nor has there ever been, a requirement that everyone has to agree with the law. That would be a freaky form of mob rule and quite literally impossible. You can’t get 100 Americans to agree on practically anything.
Therefore, by definition, there will always be some portion of the citizenry subjected to laws which they do not agree with.
As I’ve often pointed out, 99.999% of laws enforceable upon me were not created with my input and consent and some of them I simply don’t agree with. The official response to that is, “Go call the whambulance. Whaa.”
Citizens still enjoy free choice but if those actions conflict too much with the law they might find themselves renamed “criminals” and have their freedoms curtailed. They have that right.
So laws don’t require universal agreement. That’s just not the reality of how the system works. We can’t get every last sociopath and psycho to sign off on every law so there is 100 percent consent of the governed. Not gonna happen.
Obviously not all laws are created equal.
Do not kill. Most (but not all) can agree with this.
Do not steal. Still most, but not quite as many.
The speed limit is 55 mph. Oops. There’s so much disagreement here the majority may actually oppose this.
Marijuana should be legal and taxed. I might be the only one to stand opposed. Trust me, it sucks to be in that position. Government shouldn’t be in the business of enacting laws that target a single person.
Do any of us have the right and the power to veto that laws placed upon us by government? “Let me grab my red pen. I’m going to strike-thru the sections I don’t like. There. There. And there. Now print me up an exemption card. Those sections will still apply to everyone else. Just not me.”
Doesn’t sound very fair and/or workable, does it? Now imagine that the only people who can own those special “get out of jail free” cards are the religious. Doesn’t sound right, does it?
But wait. What is religious? Can all religions partake in this? Certainly not the Muslims, right? And no Wiccans or Druids, either. After we’ve defined everyone else, we’ll eventually get around to who believes in the Holy Trinity or not. That’ll exclude those pesky Mormons. And, obviously, the Pastafarians and their Flying Spaghetti Monster aren’t really religious, so they get excluded, too. And those atheists? They get nothing and they’ll like it. We’re the majority. We get to decide.
Wait. See what’s happening? Suddenly government is back in the business of violating the Free Exercise Clause, i.e., doling out preferences to one religion over another. But that’s just the Constitution of the United States and who gives a shit about that? Fuck the non-believers.
Up next: Tax breaks for the devout. You better not get excommunicated, hmm? You wouldn’t want the XYZ Church to submit a Federal Tax Form 666-EX (Status of Excommunication) letting them know you’ve lost your religious-based deduction for 2014, would you? I guess you shouldn’t have lobbied so hard for women to be priests.
I’m sure no one would ever abuse a power like that. I trust in the inherent goodness of people.
Every post I try to write on this subject ends in me telling Hobby Lobby where to shove their beliefs. Thank you for being more calm and articulate than I can be right now.
Here’s my advice: Go ahead and write out that post without thinking too much about it. Just let it flow. Then wait at least 24 hours and start from scratch, completely fresh. Maybe you use some of the first attempt (which should be more primal) but maybe you don’t. I’ll bet you can find a suitable way to express yourself on the second attempt.
This was one of those times I couldn’t wait to blog. I literally ran to the computer. After I got back from the hospital I just pounded it out. Despite being a memory dump I didn’t have to play with it too much, either. True, I did completely omit an entire section vital to my overall point, but those are the breaks. 🙂
This judicial decision is wrong on so many levels. I’m not going to waste valuable blog time listing them all. Except for this one point.
I don’t agree with any government, business, or group (religious or otherwise) setting limits on women, their bodies, or how they choose to handle their healthcare decisions.
Laws should apply equally to all citizens regardless of belief. None should have access to the red redacting pen, especially on a basis of religion. Laws should be good enough for all or they shouldn’t exist. There should be no in-between.