Jul 2, 2014

Why Hobby Lobby Matters



[Video] Nice job @IamJohnOliver. Nailed the #HobbyLobby issue. Best quote, “If you really want to be treated like people, corporations, then guess what, paying for things you don’t like is what it feels like to be one.”  

I've said a couple of times, the Supreme Court decision that corporations can opt out of mandated health care obligations on religious grounds just tastes bad ... really, really bad.


I'll start by saying that I don't think businesses should be required to provide health care for employees in the first place.  It's an archaic practice that was started by accident during WWII, when wages were flat and businesses started offering insurance as an incentive.  After WWII, as the economy flourished and the middle class continued to grow, businesses no longer needed to offer insurance, but the fed provided tax incentives to businesses to continue the practice.  It eventually stuck, and as we know now became the apparatus by which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was able to mandate medicine.


Corporations, however, should no more be in the business of supplying health insurance as they would car insurance, homeowner's insurance, etc.  

This legal precedent ultimately has nothing to do with the ACA, socialized medicine, or whatever.  It really strikes at a much more troubling issue: prejudice on the grounds of religion.  Forget for now the fact that the ruling has furthered the rights of corporations to act as people ... evidently, now religious, church-going people ... what it has done is potentially brought religion back into our laws.  Bad idea.

And if you argue that the US was founded on Christian values, yadda yadda, I would shoot back that it was founded on  "religious" values.  We are a country of many, many different religions, so if we are to create laws that cater to religious beliefs, upon which religious foundations will you base them?  

For this reason, we don't allow religion to influence our laws (for the most part).  Instead, we elect people to represent our views and make laws accordingly.  If you don't vote, then you can't complain.  Truly.  This is how you create change.  Of course, people unfortunately lose from time to time ... that sucks ... really ... but as the old saying goes, "you can't please all the people all the time."


We saw this recently with the law in Arizona that allowed businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community if their sexual preference was not in line with the business's religious beliefs.  Eventually, better-minded people prevailed, and the law was struck down.  


Discrimination on any grounds is just plain bad.


But this is the Supreme Court that has handed down this decision.  A decision that was voted for by an all white male majority, seemingly placing discrimination rights at the feet of corporations.  The precedent is dangerous, because as US citizens, we have the right to call out, "What about me?  What about my religion?".  And how will this reconcile itself with civic rights laws?  Where will the madness end?

I do believe that in today's hyper connected and social environment, we as a culture and as a people tend to error on the right thing to do.  We have the freedom to speak with our wallets, and for the most part, we can leave our place of vocation if we are unhappy.  We have choice and remarkable access to information to help us make informed decisions.  It takes time, in some cases an entire generation, but eventually, we get things right.  

This is the Supreme Court, however, so it will be interesting to see how it pans out.