Religious right to meddle

The Conservative Hideout is all up in arms about what they call a “war on Christians.”

Notice that there seems to be a war on Christianity under way? Well, the folks at Hobby lobby have noticed, as they went to court to escape the the ObamaCare regulations that require them to provide coverage for the abortion pill. Unfortunately, it seems that at least one federal judge seems t think that Religious Freedom really doesn’t exist.

By “Religious Freedom” (capitalized), the writer of course means Christians having the power to control women’s lives with or without their consent. The idea that women might also be entitled to religious freedom (in the sense of actual, you know, liberty) does not seem to occur.

On the other hand, he does raise what might be a valid point. Should the government be telling private businesses what benefits they must provide to their employees? Let’s look first at the conservative analysis of the issues.

Now, it would be simple to point out that Muslims would scream, and be heard, of they were forced to sell bacon. Vegans would complain, sue, and win, if they were forced to eat veal. However, Christians are systematically targeted and shot down by judges. But,I think there is more to it than simple discrimination-it the concerted effort to punish and drive Christians, and more importantly, that Jesus guy, from all aspects of public life.

So let’s consider the parallels. Muslims would object if they were forced to sell bacon. Ok, is Hobby Lobby being forced to sell the so-called “abortion pill”? No? No. Vegans would complain, sue, and win if they were forced to eat veal. Are Christians at Hobby Lobby being forced to take any form of birth control? No? No.

What’s happening is that the government is telling employers that they can’t single out women’s health benefits for targeted discrimination and suppression. Can you imagine the conservative outcry if a Muslim employer tried to deduct a “pork fee” from a Christian employee’s salary after finding out that the employee had eaten a ham sandwich for lunch? Would conservatives demand that the Christian be financially penalized in order to protect the Muslim’s Religious Freedom to dictate how the paycheck he provides was ultimately going to be spent?

The employee’s private life, including their personal diet and personal health care, isn’t really the employer’s business. That’s what genuine religious freedom means. If you’re going to pay for your employee’s health care, you’re offering a benefit, not buying the right to control your employee’s personal life outside the workplace. Not even if you have religious reasons for wanting to.

The government isn’t trying to “drive that Jesus guy from all aspects of public life.” It’s just trying to keep him from meddling in people’s private lives against their wishes. And incidentally, if Jesus doesn’t like abortions, then he ought to be using his divine powers to prevent the conception. They say every child is a gift from God, so it ought to be entirely His choice whether or not to give it. And if He knowingly gives it under circumstances that are going to end in abortions He condemns, then shame on Him for giving it in the first place.


  1. Jer says

    This is all easily fixed if we get rid of the idea that employers should be providing healthcare altogether, raise some taxes and just pay for it ourselves via a single payer program of some sort. Like most of the rest of the world does.

    Strangely the same folks who fight against “Obamacare” on “religious freedom” grounds would also scream about a single payer program because SOCIALISM or something. Odd how that works out – it’s almost as if they hate it because they hate it, rather than because of any actual principles.

  2. seadeatea says

    I just want to add something to your hypothetical “Pork Fee”. It isn’t hypothetical that those businesses pay taxes which fund farming subsidies.
    So in the same way that Hobby Lobby is paying for healthcare, Muslims and Vegans are paying for veal and pork. They would lose in a court if they tried to do otherwise.

  3. Thorne says

    They say every child is a gift from God, so it ought to be entirely His choice whether or not to give it.

    You would think that their omnipotent god’s gift could not be so easily eliminated, either through birth control or abortion. If taking a little pill can prevent god from making a woman pregnant, just how omnipotent is he?

    I think that’s the real problem with these religious nutjobs. Just showing how easy it is to avoid their god’s “blessings” makes it obvious that, rather than being omnipotent, their god is impotent.

    Of course, you don’t see too many of the clergy refusing to take their heart medications and relying solely on their god’s omnibenevolence, either. At least, not too many live ones.

    • says

      God is like Superman, he is omnipotent except for his secret weakness. For Superman it’s kryptonite, for god it’s contraception, abortion, logic, freedom of thought, liberty, other beliefs, knowledge, education, the gay, oh my this list is getting long!

      Sometimes when I’m feeling generous I picture the religious right as the Spanky and Our Gang kids standing in front of their club house with no girlz sign on it.

    • N. Nescio says

      My former Christian self would like to point out that the point of a gift (and the entire concept of Free Will™) is that one may choose to refuse a gift if they so desire.

      So as everybody has the freedom to reject Jesus’ gift of salvation, so do they have the freedom to choose to refuse God’s gift of an unwanted pregnancy.

      I’m glad I don’t believe in that schlock anymore. The entire concept of freedom begins at the ability to have final say over what happens to one’s own body.

      • Thorne says

        I never looked at it quite that way, but it makes sense. I was once given a puppy as a Christmas gift. I didn’t ask for a puppy, didn’t want a puppy, had no idea what I would do with a puppy. So I gave it back.

        People return gifts all of the time. So yes, why can’t you just return God’s gift of a child you don’t want?

        As for the supposed gift of Jesus’ “salvation”, forgive me if I don’t accept human sacrifice as a gift. What I need is someone to save me from all the godbots.

  4. steve84 says

    Even in some other healthcare systems, the costs are split between employers and employees. Sometimes up to 50% of the costs are paid directly by the employers. Yet, somehow, they never got the weird notion that they should get to decide what exactly to cover.

  5. says

    I agree with Jer. I think we could avoid a lot of this if we put the choices of healthcare into the individual’s hands. Whether or not I agree with Hobby Lobby’s views on birth control or not, why should they be in the position to pick, choose or oppose the healthcare choices of the people who choose to work for them?

    At my current employer the insurance we are offered includes coverage for chiropractors, reiki, acupuncture and homeopathic consultants. As someone keen on scientific efficacy, these are things I question paying for as part of the policy. I always wonder if it wouldn’t be possible to pay less for a policy that covered less woo.

  6. smrnda says

    Hobby Lobby isn’t sitting on a pile of money that it doles out to workers who sit in line waiting for a handout; its revenues are produced through the collective labor of all its workers. It’s an affront to basic notions of human liberty that the people whose labor creates the revenues of Hobby Lobby are not given a say in how they will be compensated in terms of wages or benefits, or what sort of health care packages will be made available to them.

    Also, I know Muslims who sell pig meat and vegetarians who routinely cook and prepare meat for others, they just don’t eat it themselves. It’s called good business sense; you don’t refuse to sell a popular product just because you yourself don’t happen to consume it.

    The other thing I don’t get is, why is contraception singled out as a ‘lifestyle choice’ that ‘I shouldn’t have to finance’ by these whiners? Should *my tax money or insurance payments* go to finance the lifestyle choices of smoking or doing something else unhealthy? O, wait, insurance premiums are sometimes raised for people whose lifestyles actually can be shown using actuarial statistics to be more costly, so it’s taken care of.

  7. says

    This is all easily fixed if we get rid of the idea that employers should be providing healthcare altogether, raise some taxes and just pay for it ourselves via a single payer program of some sort.

    At which point they’ll argue that since they pay taxes, they get to decide which treatments are covered.

    The problem isn’t so much the specific system as the fact that we’re dealing with crazy people. Until that changes, there’s only so much you can do.

  8. gshelley says

    By their logic, a Muslim company should be able to deny coverage for any hospital stay where pork is provided on the menu. Or Jehovahs Witnesses not wanting to pay for any insurance where blood transfusions are covered. Or people like Kent Hovind who claim that no one works for them and they all work for god, so they don’t have to pay taxes don’t have to pay taxes, as it is their religious belief. Or any of a hundred ever more ludicrous reasons not to follow the law because it conflicts with some “religious belief”
    It is going to take some really strained logic for a judge to agree with the statement “We don’t want them to get free contraception provided by the government because they work for us, as it is against our religious beliefs, instead we want them to use the money we pay them to buy it”

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