Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Somewhere, Gloria Steinem Weeps

Whether you're conservative or liberal, religious or secular, if you've been on Facebook - or just online - in the past week, you haven't missed out on the fact that this Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood thing is kind of a big deal.

The ruling essentially treats for profit companies like private individuals with religious ideals (even when the company profits on cheap crap manufactured in China), allowing them to refuse to cover medical procedures they unscientifically deem synonymous with abortion.

Displaying the evangelical extreme of these corporations, and the ignorance of the men on SCOTUS, these companies may now choose to exempt certain forms of contraception in their health care plans. Plans provided by informed health insurance companies, not the medical brainiacs selling silk flowers and yarn.

The most disturbing image of the Hobby Lobby Movement may be this one, of a young woman clearly possessed by the spirit of religious indoctrination, proudly proclaiming her freedom from a lifetime of choice.

Somewhere, Gloria Steinem weeps.
While the ruling only affects certain forms of contraception provided by health care companies tied to companies who wish to file the proper paper work, the women on SCOTUS recognized the slippery slope this precedent sets. Namely Justice Ruth Bater Ginsberg who stated that the court "has ventured into a minefield."

Specific or not, no ruling can control a precedent. We've seen precedents aid progress in the gay marriage movement, beginning with Civil Unions and state recognition eventually leading to full and equal representation.

In an era of sweeping progress across America, both in LGBT rights and affordable healthcare, this could be the beginning of the extreme Right's attempt to retaliate, a step towards evangelical relevance, at least in terms of political presence. 

But it may also hurt moderate Republicans and the overall GOP. Like fringe extremes on the Left, the evangelical movement has been a black mark on the Right. Prominent Republican candidates typically dodge evangelicals despite their willingness to vote for the Right ever since Pat Robertson ran for the White House.

Even Christians have criticized Hobby Lobby for referring to itself as a "Christian business," noting its thousands of products manufactured in China where child labor and abortion abound. There is bipartisan stink around this ruling and it will undoubtedly impact voters' decisions in November, particularly women voters in both parties.

Unfortunately, the precedent has been set for corporations to deny coverage for vaccines, blood transfusions, and life saving treatments that deviate from extreme Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Mormon, even Dianetic beliefs.

Corporations are now people and the evangelicals have rolled the dice. When your boss asks that you wear a hijab because your hair offends your employer's religious beliefs, just remember, religious zealots brought this on themselves.

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