Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (2 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Article Stats   3 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

10 Mind-Bending Questions About the "Hobby Lobby" Decision

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 4 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H2 7/3/14

Cross-posted from Smirking Chimp

From What Does The Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Ruling Mean?
What Does The Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Ruling Mean?
(image by YouTube)

Judge Ginsburg certainly got it right when she said that the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision is going to create "havoc." And as the repercussions mount, so do the questions, in areas that range from economics and taxation to theology and philosophy.

There are those who might say that these questions are disrespectful to believers. But it is the Court which has arguably transgressed here, by declaring that a bloodless corporation is capable of belief. It has suggested that an economic and legal entity is capable of sharing in the profound and uniquely human phenomenon that is the spiritual experience. That notion could be described as disrespectful toward humanity.

Some might even call it blasphemy.

The ruling states that "closely-held corporations" don't have to provide reproduction-related health coverage if it violates the corporation's religious beliefs. If the Court intended to use the IRS definition of that term, then this decision covers more than 90 percent of all American corporations and more than half of all American workers -- over 60 million people in all.

This decisions has created an understandable firestorm of confusion, since the Court didn't trouble itself to explain what it means by "closely-held corporation." Which gets us to our first question:

1. Which owners determine a corporation's "religious beliefs"?

However "closely held" is ultimately defined, it will almost certainly involve a small number of owners (the IRS standard is up to five) who own a substantial portion of the corporation's shares. This often happens in family-owned companies whose principal owners are presumed to share the same religion.

By its nature, this ruling is heavily oriented toward Catholic and fundamentalist Christian families. That raises certain questions that would make my Catholic grandmother very angry, but which must be asked anyway:

What if they don't share a religion? What if some family members break with the faith, as is so common nowadays?

Do a majority of the private owners need to have religious objections in order for this ruling to take effect? Or can a minority among the ownership dictate the "religious beliefs" of the entire corporation?

What happens if Mom joins a New Age cult, Junior becomes a Scientologist, and Sis becomes an atheist? At that point, the majority of our five-member family no longer has a religious objection to contraception. Then what?

And, as a practical matter, can owners be deposed regarding their religious affiliations in order to determine the corporation's legal obligations?

On these and related questions, the Court offers no guidance.

2. What if different family members interpret Scripture differently?

Even if all the owners share the same faith, questions could arise. Law professor Eugene Volokh states emphatically that "when the person believes that complicity itself is sinful, the question is not whether our secular legal system thinks that he has drawn the right line regarding complicity; it is whether he sincerely believes that the complicity is sinful."

Volokh is saying it doesn't matter whether society believes a certain action is contributing to the sinful behavior. If the religious "person" -- in this case, the corporation -- believes that action makes him complicit in sinful behavior, then he/she/it has the right to refuse to engage in it.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

How to Fix the Fed: Dismiss Dimon, Boot the Bankers, and Can the Corporations

The Top 12 Political Fallacies of 2012

Pawn: The Real George Zimmerman Story

What America Would Look Like If Libertarians Got Their Way

"F" The Bureaucracy! The White House Can Help Homeowners Right Now

The Price of Evil at JPMorgan Chase


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Here is my mind bending question. How does a corp... by David Mills on Thursday, Jul 3, 2014 at 8:42:32 PM
one other question. If someone is contributing say... by Jeffrey Samuels on Friday, Jul 4, 2014 at 8:02:00 AM
I found your article thoughtful and interesting. W... by David Stevens on Friday, Jul 4, 2014 at 11:47:37 AM