Cross-posted from Mike Malloy
The Supreme Court has one week remaining to decide several major cases, and -- as usual -- the mainstream media is largely ignoring the long-lasting implications these decisions will have. At stake are freedom of speech, religion, abortion rights, cellphone privacy, broadcast television rights, and more.
One case in particular has drawn our attention, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, and it could have the effect of essentially eliminating the essential portion of the Affordable Care Act that mandates large employers provide health insurance to their employees. The lawsuit claims that the Affordable Care Act's requirement that businesses provide birth control health insurance coverage to their employees is unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects their religious beliefs, which, Hobby Lobby claims, are violated by being forced to provide health insurance that includes birth control.
Makes you wonder if Hobby Lobby, which is owned by well-know Rapture Rightie David Green and his wife Barbara, also denies coverage for men seeking vasectomies. Or women who need hysterectomies for medical reasons, like uterine cancer. Hobby Lobby earned the nickname "Jesus Christ: Superstore" for a reason.
But reproductive decisions are not a joke, they are a medical matter. They do not belong in a courtroom or congregation house. Yet here we are, yet again, so many years after Roe v. Wade. Now we're arguing if pregnancy prevention is the same thing as pregnancy termination (of course not) and whether or not it's an employer's business why a woman might take birth control pills, as many do for hormone therapy or regulation as opposed to actual contraception.
The ruling, which could come any day now, could set a dangerous precedent that would allow any private employer, such as Walmart, Chic-Fil-A or Papa John's pizza, to name a few that come to mind, to legally avoid insuring its employees on the basis of religion. If this happens, then it would be a major victory for those, like the brothers Koch, who want to keep their feet planted firmly on the backs of the American workers, while waving their Bibles heavenward as justification of the unfair labor practices. Since the Supremes already decided that corporations are people in Citizens United, it doesn't seem a stretch for them to now declare that those "people" have religious affiliations that must also be protected.
Human Rights Campaign has this:
"The Supreme Court's decision could dramatically broaden employers' ability to object to laws on religious freedom grounds and potentially restrict access to contraception for thousands of women employed by companies that share Hobby Lobby's religious objections. Such a decision could also have drastic implications for LGBT individuals. If corporations are people with a right to refuse to comply with health-care mandates based on religious beliefs, they may not only be permitted to refuse birth control coverage but types of coverage seen as "promoting homosexuality" or acknowledging the health needs of transgender individuals as well."
Indeed ... what would prevent a corporation from arguing that it does not have to employ homosexuals because to do so would violate its religious beliefs. This could undermine existing anti-discrimination policies in place and also, as Karen Ocomb, writing for The Frontier states:
"The opinion could immediately impact the language and how the White House frames the announced Executive Order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT employees of companies with federal contracts, for instance. It could also effect the religious exemption language in a revised Employee Non-Discrimination ACT (ENDA)."
How can our privacy rights be protected if employers claim the right to peek in our undies -- in the name of religious freedom -- and decide if they can sanction what we're doing with our private parts?
Where does the religious madness end?