Religion Is Dead

That will be the upshot of today’s completely outrageous Hobby Lobby ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court has effectively killed religion.

I know, it looks the opposite, but what have I said here a gazillion, bajillion times, folks? When religion gets forced on people by government or corporations, religion always dies. People don’t want this shit foisted on them. As I’ve said a thousand times before, the surest way to kill off religious belief is to declare a “state religion.” The bigger religion’s role in the secular aspects of life, the more people run away from it.

And in this ruling SCOTUS said some corporations can impose the beliefs of some religions on some employees, effectively legalizing discrimination against women and certain religions. If you’re a company owned by Jehova’s Witnesses, sorry, you have to pay for blood transfusions. No out for Scientologists who object to psychiatry and psychiatric drugs. Christian Scientists who don’t believe in most healthcare at all still have to pony up. But if you’re a Christian fundiegelical who believes completely erroneously and incorrectly that IUDs cause abortions — even though they don’t! — you can refuse to offer a healthcare plan covering that form of birth control to your female employees. That’s what SCOTUS just ruled.

The debate wasn’t even really about the Hobby Lobby peoples’ religious beliefs, it was about their completely erroneous, counter-factual scientific beliefs cloaked in religion:

Hobby Lobby already covered 16 of the 20 methods of contraception mandated under the Affordable Care Act, but it didn’t cover Plan B One-Step, ella (another brand of emergency contraception) and two forms of intrauterine devices because of aforementioned ideologically driven and not medically based ideas about abortion.

“These medications are there to prevent or delay ovulation,” Dr. Petra Casey, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Mayo Clinic, told the New York Times in a piece on the science behind emergency contraception. “They don’t act after fertilization.” As the Times noted, emergency contraception like Plan B, ella and the hormonal IUD do not work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb. Instead, these methods of birth control delay ovulation 0r thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, meaning that fertilization never even occurs. That said, when used as a form of emergency contraception, the copper IUD can interrupt implantation, but this still does not mean a pregnancy has occurred.

This ruling was stunningly ham-fisted on so many levels. In a nutshell, in “going narrow” SCOTUS picked a religion — the fundiegelical Christian kind — over the rights of female employees who may not be of that religion, and also over the rights of every other religion out there. This is going to have repercussions, people — and not good ones for the religious folks. It’s gonna get messy, and I think it’s gonna smack religious people on the ass so hard they won’t sit for a month. Stories like this one are going to ripple across the workplace in every state. It’s a ruling that basically legalized gender discrimination and religious discrimination. When it all shakes down it’s not going to be pretty for the people currently doing a happy dance.

In the meantime, folks calling for a Constitutional Convention to repeal corporate personhood just got a little more ammo.

[UPDATE]: ThinkProgress agrees with me.

[UPDATE] 2: Charlie Pierce at Esquire also agrees with me. SCOTUS just perpetrated an act of religious discrimination while professing to do the opposite. WTF is up with that, people?


Filed under birth control, corporations, healthcare, religious fundamentalism, religious right, Supreme Court, women's rights

25 responses to “Religion Is Dead

  1. My gut reaction was “Welcome back to the Dark Ages” but your point is well taken. Haven’t read it yet but apparently Ginsburg said the court had stepped into a minefield. What I am certain about is that lawyers everywhere will be looking to parlay the ruling into additional billable hours.

  2. CB

    A relative of mine has worked for HL for years. They didn’t object, years ago, to including coverage for birth control in her health coverage, nor did they object to covering a hysterectomy on a woman in her 30s a few years later. She should thank her lucky stars the endometriosis showed up when it did. Might be a different landscape now. You just never know where these lunatics are going to go, once you give them the magic inch.

    Years from now, I will look forward to an analysis of this particular court, based on the number of their “black dude in the White House” rulings. It boggles the mind.

    • …This ain’t just “Black dude in White House” rulings, though – they’ve cheated and schemed to get a Court like this for the past 30 years, and now that they’ve got it, they’re gonna move heaven and earth to get =everything= they want changed by judicial fiat brought before it, while they can…

  3. don’t miss the other big ruling today, aka “F%#! The Unions!”…

  4. I gotta guess that all of the rulings that came down in the last thirty of forty years that conflict with this ruling will be getting revisited.

    FSM religionists will be relieved to know that their requirement that all employees have Bolognese on their pasta, every Friday will be backed by Tony Ducks.

    It is actually a bit odd that the SCotUS which has IIRC FIVE cath-o-licks would hand a plum like that to someone other than the Vatican.

    Here’s my suggestion.

    Go shopping at Hobby Lobby. Fill a cart completely full of shit and then when it’s all been rung up, tell the clerk that buying shit from assholes offends your morals and leave it in the checkout lane.

    Better, have a slip and fall and sue the fuckers.

    Yeah, I know, I’m a terrible person–I give two shits about being seen as a meanie by those assholes.

    • Yeah someone on Twitter quipped that Pastafarian companies now have a religious exemption for covering celiac disease. The thing is, that’s not what the ruling said. The ruling ONLY applied to fundiegelical anti-woman patriarchal religions with completely false and erroneous ideas of how birth control works. It specifically said that it does NOT apply to religions which don’t believe in vaccines or blood transfusions. So how they got away with THAT little big of religious favoritism, I do not know.

      • Seeker

        How did they get away with pandering to the fundies? Because christians are the most persecuted people in the USA, doncha know. They need all kinds of special dispensations or they wail that they’re being driven into the FEMA camps.

      • tao

        Now they have pushed corporate personhood to the next quantum level where the corporation has religious beliefs that are far more important than the religious beliefs, or non-beliefs of the corporation’s female employees.

      • Yes, the overriding message of this ruling was really it’s anti-WORKER more than anything. That message seems to be lost on a lot of folks.

      • The incredible part of the ruling — even compared to the rest — is their statement that a religious belief must be accepted and responded to even if it is provably false — and this isn’t about some inherent part of the faith — like the authorship of a sacred text or the like. This is a belief about a medical matter — and for the life of me, I can’t see how, if this must be accepted even if demonstrably false, that the Supremes can continue their position against the teaching of creationism.

      • That’s just one of the MANY irrational things about this ruling. But yeah, the provably false thing struck me. But also, if you follow the Charlie Pierce link in the update, this whole thing has its genesis (pun intended) in a case regarding peyote use for religious reasons, in which Scalia held the completely OPPOSITE view related to religion:

        “To permit this, would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind, ranging from compulsory military service, to the payment of taxes, to health and safety regulation such as manslaughter and child neglect laws, compulsory vaccination laws, drug laws, and traffic laws; to social welfare legislation such as minimum wage laws, child labor laws, animal cruelty laws, environmental protection laws, and laws providing for equality of opportunity for the races.”

        That was Scalia writing the majority opinion in a case related to religious use of peyote, and said use being used to deny someone unemployment benefits. He was perfectly fine saying the law of the land trumps everything when that law denies a Native American his ceremonial sacrament. Fast forward a decade or two and suddenly he takes the completely OPPOSITE view.

        This ruling is so clumsy, so hamfisted, so irrational, it can’t help but be reversed.

    • Duke of Clay

      I would like to load up a cart full of Made in China crap. Then after it was rung up, I would tell them I don’t want it because the Chinese one child rule requires workers to use birth control and to have abortions.

      But I’m a gentle person, so I just won’t shop there.

  5. Great post as always. I haven’t been this upset in a while. Haven’t paid a lot of attention to politics, just got burned out. Just wanted to share my google review of Hobby Lobby in Madison. It did make me feel better for a minute. I know it’s silly.
    1789 Gallatin Pike N, Madison, TN
    Edit your review
    3 reviewsSort by:
    Most helpful
    Char Green
    Char Green
    in the last week-Edit
    I need to schedule a GYN appointment for next week. I prefer mornings. My “who ha” has the morals of a man. This is quite a dilemma for me, as I’m sure you understand. Also need to pick up some yarn and glue sticks while I’m there. Thank you Dr. Lobby saving me a second trip to a craft store! Two birds one store what a time saver.

  6. Kathleen

    Beautiful post, Southern Beale. Do you think someone will file lawsuit based on gender discrimination?

  7. I have a hunch I will be writing a variation of this comment a hundred times today. Look, we all know how bad this is. But the most important things to remember are that
    A: SCOTUS decisions can be changed by future courts.
    B: That there are two seriously ill members of ‘our side’ now.
    C: That to have a chance to replace them, or any of the conservatives who leave, voluntarily or through the ‘ordinary process of nature.’ WE HAVE TO KEEP THE SENATE IN DEMOCRATIC HANDS.
    D: That even if we work in a race that has no reasonable chance of succeeding this time — and some pretty unreasonable victories have been ours over three of the past four elections — working in Progressive campaigns lets us set up networks — and to raise issues — that will win us seats in the next elections in those states.

    And I’m sorry, but almost anything else being discussed can easily change us into ‘sports talk radio’ where we are having fun .impressing each other about how ‘clever’ we can be in condemning it, but our words are unheard except by the already convinced.

    (That’s NOT a specific comment about your post, which deos, in fact, bring up an interesting issue as well, Not QUITE as important for now, but certainly interesting and worth discussing along with :What shall be done.”

    • “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”-MLK
      But boy does the struggle get old.

    • Well stated.

      As someone who worked her ass off on the 2004 presidential campaign (to elect John Kerry, of course) I just want to say: all of those “kids” who were 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 years old in 2004? Who didn’t vote because “it didn’t matter”? And who are now 28, 29, 32 or whatever and face having some of your health insurance benefits yanked by your suddenly-religious employer? Guess what. It mattered.

  8. Jim Benton:

    Wow, I haven’t seen one of your comments in way too long.

    As is usually the case, you pretty much get to the pith in a hurry. You’re correct, too, also “as usual”.

    I am not a “convincer” in any accepted sense of the word (nor in the unaccepted sense of hurting someone until they “come around”) but despite my flaming and ” Bag’baitin”, I agree that we will not change minds that are unchangeable–in either direction–by being ugly. That’s never been my purpose. I want the lyin’ sonsobitches off the threads and if my being an asshole to them is what it takes, I’m game.

  9. Mike G

    How come we got to hear every statement ever uttered by the minister of Obama’s church in Chicago, but the corporate media never says jack about the ideology of the creepy secret Catholic cult to which more than half the SCOTUS belongs?

  10. “How come we got to hear every statement ever uttered by the minister of Obama’s church in Chicago”


    * Main Stream Media Scary Black Man Syndrome

  11. Pingback: Unintended Consequences and the American Taliban | From Pine View Farm

  12. tao

    This was an outrageous ruling by the supremes. There have been even worse others. More will follow. The only way to stop them is to get out the vote in 2014, and all subsequent elections. Your vote is not enough. You and I must convince many others to also vote.