Friday, July 04, 2014

The Taliban Wins One

IT REALLY doesn’t matter the brand of conservative fundamentalism, traditional religiosity makes sweeping assumptions about what God deems the laws of faith approve. In the hands of men “doing Gods work,” with women supporting and propping up the notion that father knows best, science is snuffed out. Now the traditionalists like Rick Warren, who believe man indeed is at the top of the human food chain, are attempting to utilize Hobby Lobby to re-invigorate President George W. Bush’s religious exemption to federal anti-discrimination laws.
This ill considered corruption of the concept of corporate person hood and religious freedom has opened the sluice of stupidity and greased the  gears of The American Taliban's jihad of intolerance and hate.  Steve Coll wrote recently in the New Yorker drawing a straight line from Hobby Lobby and the Taliban to Justice Samuel Alito‘s opinion, which his conservative ideological pals on the court aided. From his New Yorker piece:

Tehrik-e-Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, is a closely held, profit-making enterprise organized on religious principles. One of its principles, announced as public policy in July, 2012, is that children should not be inoculated against polio, because the vaccines violate God’s law. So sincere are the Taliban’s religious beliefs that its followers have assassinated scores of public-health workers who have attempted to administer polio vaccines in areas under Taliban control or influence.
This year, three out of five of the world’s new polio cases have been found in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, particularly in North Waziristan, where the Pakistani Taliban and groups like it have run a de-facto state since about 2008. The great majority of the polio victims are children under two years old.
If the Pakistani Taliban, aided by clever lawyers, organized a closely held American corporation, and professed to run it on religious principles, might its employees be deprived of insurance coverage to inoculate their children against polio? And would the Supreme Court, by the five-to-four decision issued on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, endorse such a move?

That was one of the points in Justice Ginsbergs dissenting opinion. In which she wrote:

“Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (some Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)?”
“According to counsel for Hobby Lobby, “each one of these cases . . . would have to be evaluated on its own . . . apply[ing] the compelling interest-least restrictive alternative test.” Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”

There was a good piece three days ago in Forbes which discusses this aspect of the decision.
Constitutionality on the Supreme Court today is in the eye of the traditionalist ideologue who happen to be men that put religion above everything else.
Rick Warren has now joined a growing number of religious leaders asking President Obama for a religious exemption similar to George W. Bush on the executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people, which was first reported by Molly Ball in The Atlantic.
This week, in the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court ruled that a religious employer could not be required to provide employees with certain types of contraception. That decision is beginning to reverberate: A group of faith leaders is urging the Obama administration to include a religious exemption in a forthcoming LGBT anti-discrimination action. Their call, in a letter sent to the White House Tuesday, attempts to capitalize on the Supreme Court case by arguing that it shows the administration must show more deference to the prerogatives of religion.
“We are asking that an extension of protection for one group not come at the expense of faith communities whose religious identity and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need,” the letter states.
An exemption to discriminate through the cloak of religion that start with the Hobby Lobby decision, starting with women who are employees and use birth control for cramps and other medical needs beyond contraception has now become a gateway to discriminate against LGBT individuals.
I first learned of these far reaching implications last night in an article by John Arvosis in Americablog,  He published the link to the letter.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was right (as usual).
And it won’t stop there. Here is the letter to Obama.

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