I’ve often said that these conservatives wading into the tricky waters of claiming “religious freedom” to justify breaking (or passing) laws should really be careful what they wish for. It’s advice I’d give to all of those conservatives who are celebrating the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling.
And based on his brilliant response to that ruling, George Takei seems to be an individual who understands this as well.
Posting his response on the website for his play Allegiance, Takei made several fantastic points concerning not only the hypocrisy of this ruling, but the dangerous precedent it could set going forward.
Takei wrote, “The ruling elevates the rights of a FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION over those of its women employees and opens the door to all manner of claims that a company can refuse services based on its owner’s religion.”
“Think about the ramifications: As Justice Ginsberg’s stinging dissent pointed out, companies run by Scientologists could refuse to cover antidepressants, and those run by Jews or Hindus could refuse to cover medications derived from pigs (such as many anesthetics, intravenous fluids, or medications coated in gelatin).” he continued.
And that’s the slippery slope for which this ruling potentially opens the door. Where will the line be drawn where you say to a company, “Sorry, but your religious beliefs aren’t protected?”
What if someone who owns a corporation is anti-vaccine? What if they then say it’s against their religious beliefs for their company to offer health care that covers vaccines? Based upon this Supreme Court ruling, they could theoretically be within their rights to claim that.
But the best point Takei made was in a direct shot at right-wing ignorance. He wrote, “In this case, the owners happen to be deeply Christian; one wonders whether the case would have come out differently if a Muslim-run chain business attempted to impose Sharia law on its employees.”
As we all know, when these conservatives talk about “religious freedoms” they’re really only referring to Christianity.
He also went on to make the point that Hobby Lobby has invested in companies which produce the morning after pill and it gets much of its inventory from China, a country where forced abortions are common.
In other words, they’re blatant hypocrites.
“Hobby Lobby is not a church. It’s a business — and a big one at that,” Takei continued. “Businesses must and should be required to comply with neutrally crafted laws of general applicability. Your boss should not have a say over your healthcare. Once the law starts permitting exceptions based on “sincerely held religious beliefs” there’s no end to the mischief and discrimination that will ensue. Indeed, this is the same logic that certain restaurants and hotels have been trying to deploy to allow proprietors to refuse service to gay couples.”
Once again, he’s absolutely right.
For some reason conservatives seem to think that a lack of options equates to “more” freedom. Before this ruling, women working at Hobby Lobby had the option to have access to these contraceptives. Now they won’t.
If the owners of Hobby Lobby reject specific types of contraceptives, that’s fine. They don’t have to use them. But now their beliefs are being imposed on women who might not share those same beliefs.
Take a good look, because that’s how an employer can determine an employee’s health care coverage. Because a woman working at Hobby Lobby now can’t get health care coverage for certain contraceptives, not because she’s against them, but because her employer is.
How exactly is that respecting her religious freedoms?
Takei also points out religion is a way many conservatives have tried justifying discrimination against homosexuals. These “religious freedom” bills that essentially give businesses the right to deny service to homosexuals based on their religious beliefs.
The bottom line is, religion has no place in government or in business. If someone wants to express their religious views to others, they need to start a church – not a for-profit corporation.