The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision June 30 that will have repercussions for a long time to come. It’s a case that was guaranteed to raise the ire of a large percentage of people, but current trends say this time the majority loses.
On June 30, the SCOTUS decided in a 5 to 4 decision for-profit organizations — in this case, Hobby Lobby — can refuse to withhold services — in this case, contraceptives for workers which were included in the Affordable Healthcare Act which was upheld by the same SCOTUS — based on religious beliefs. In other words, if a company doesn’t believe in contraception, it doesn’t have to provide it as part of its healthcare plan. The same people who ruled they don’t have to are the ones who said they had to two years ago. Go figure.
This was a difficult case. Seemingly at issue was whether someone else could impose their religious beliefs on someone else, in this case if an employee could force someone to provide contraception, which was against Hobby Lobby’s beliefs. Also at issue was whether someone else could impose their religious beliefs on someone else, in this case if Hobby Lobby could refuse to provide contraception to its employees as was mandated by a federal law.
In this case, I think the SCOTUS is dangerously wrong.
Whether or not you believe in contraception, it’s important to realize exactly how much your rights are about to be trampled by this decision. Hobby Lobby, a for-profit entity, objected to providing contraception on the grounds of religious beliefs — actually, its board of directors objected, since legally, a corporation is not a person and therefore does not have religious beliefs.
By agreeing with Hobby Lobby, the SCOTUS has basically said the rights of a business are more important than the rights of a person. That is not an explicit statement, but certainly a true one. Explicitly, the decision means religious beliefs can be used as an excuse to not provide services to a business’ workers. It also opens the door for other problems addressed by religious beliefs.
As you might guess, many religions believe any orientation, except heterosexuality, is an abomination. Look for a challenge to providing benefits to a same-sex partner to hit the courts before August.
Let’s take this to the ultimate step. Every religion has someone that falls under the heretic category. If this decision goes unchallenged, then legally, companies will be able to withhold benefits to employees — due to religious beliefs — to women, same sex couples, Jews, non-Jews, Palestinians, Muslims, non-Muslims, Protestants, Catholics, people who eat pork, people who eat beef, couples who aren’t married, men without at least two wives, men without beards ...
In this case, everyone.
Shaw Media Staff Writer Ken Schroeder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.