Corporate Religion: Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court, and Big Government

There’s been a lot of noise about big government lately, mostly coming from conservative factions. I admit concern for a government that is overstepping its authority and destroying individual American liberties. While the presumption is that President Barack Obama is the face of big government, my concern is focused at the conservative-leading majority represented on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States. The partisan decisions handed down of late benefit the corporate entity at the expense of the individual citizen (McKenzie). We live in a country where the rich can wield their “free speech” to buy elections, while citizens are discouraged from participating in votes. SCOTUS has created this new American environment, and this entity might better represent how big government reduces individual civil freedoms.

Hobby Lobby & Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Kathleen Sebelius has been argued before the Supreme Court, and we can expect a decision sometime in the next two months. Since corporations are people now (if Mitt Romney is to be taken at his word), I will refer to this “person” for the remainder of this article as “Hobby Lobby.”

Legal analysts predict that Hobby Lobby will win her case (Vikrim & Brownstein). If the five wise men of the Right continue their trend, we can be assured of a decision weighted toward Hobby Lobby’s civil rights (Ohlheiser).

The integral question that will be answered involves corporations possessing religious beliefs (Marcus). Hobby Lobby wants to deny her employees specific contraceptives, even though the Affordable Care Act includes their necessary coverage within insurance policies. Hobby Lobby seems to be a fundamental Christian, and she is attempting to enforce the Religious Freedom Restoration Act on her own behalf (Marcus). Since Hobby Lobby (a designated “S” corporation) is not quite wealthy enough to trade her stock-shares on the biggest stage, she seems to qualify for religious liberties over her wealthier peers (Vikrim & Brownstein). I presume this is because larger publicly-traded corporate people like ExxonMobil and BP have proven they have no souls and cannot possibly qualify as religious.

The argument made by Hobby Lobby’s lawyers is a bit mind-numbing. Their rationale for targeting specific contraceptives is that they act as “abortifacients”, which is to say that certain pills induce abortions when consumed by women who are attempting to not become pregnant (McDonough). Nevermind that there is no medical or scientific evidence proving that these contraceptives kill an unborn fetus…the pills act before fertilization can occur…Hobby Lobby only has to believe these contraceptives are abortifacients because religion allows belief to conquer reason (McDonough).

Hobby Lobby, a good Christian, is merely concerned about premarital sex performed by her employees, and she cannot fathom the possibility that unborn fetuses might not reach full-term because the sex act should be for the purposes of procreation, within the safe constraints of marriage. Every good Christian knows that abortions are the most vile, evil, un-Godly act that Americans sinfully and repeatedly perform. Hobby Lobby cannot stand the fact that she would be responsible for contributing to the sinful union of two people enjoying sex without bringing the potential product of their sin to full-term. Thus, Hobby Lobby will use the most effective weapon in the Christian arsenal: she cannot allow abortions to occur on her watch.

Welcome to America, where we make things much more complicated than they have to be! We shouldn’t consider that contraceptives actually prevent abortions from taking place. Hobby Lobby has religious beliefs! She can believe that contraceptives are evil AND abortions are evil.

To be fair, not every Christian believes this way, but it’s hard to argue that the majority of Christians will not concede the obvious, that contraceptives actually reduce the number of abortions in the country (McLaren).

After reviewing what is available on this legal argument, I cannot help but wonder why the largest, soulless corporate persons are not becoming more involved with their army of lawyers and lobbyists. Pfizer and Eli Lilly, two overwhelmingly rich “men,” could be affected by the precedent established by this case.

The traditional religious argument against contraceptives is that the sex act, only within the constraints of marriage, should allow couples to “be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28, NIV). In other words, many goodly-Christian married couples don’t use condoms because their faith prevents them; a sexual union is for the purpose of creating a baby, according to God’s edict. Some Catholic teachings have even pointed to “Thou shalt not kill” as rationale against contraceptives.

Viagra and Cialis are big money-makers for Pfizer and Eli Lilly, respectively. These drugs are incessantly marketed to older couples, who are beyond the desire or capability of producing offspring, for the purpose of enjoying sex ONLY for the purpose of enjoying sex. Some Christian doctors have considered the social and religious effect of these drugs when prescribing to those of faith and without (Whelan).

If Hobby Lobby wins her case, then it only takes one other corporate person to point to the SCOTUS decision and decide she is not going to pay for something that is against her religious belief. It’s called legal precedent. I think if Pfizer or Eli Lilly realized that this decision might cut into their corporate profit, by way of removing employee-sponsored, insurance-provided subsidies, then the pair of corporate brethren might be a bit more proactive. Maybe they have considered this eventuality…perhaps they realize that men, even corporate men, don’t have to worry as much as women about such matters. Religious zealots usually only focus on the woman’s sin of sex (unless it’s a homosexual act…then the zealots shift into a higher gear). I understand that withholding Viagra and Cialis is not likely going to instigate outrage–these drugs are obviously not as important a social good as contraceptives can be–and a religious case against employees receiving Viagra and Cialis as a part of their benefits package will likely never happen. It is worth asking, however, why there isn’t a murmur about an obvious parallel.

Pandora’s Box might soon be opened by the Supreme Court. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has not frequently been abused by average citizens, but I guarantee that corporate persons, concerned with profit and lacking empathy, will wield the Supreme Court decision like a weapon, rending benefits, salary, and opportunity for their employees, based on our new corporate religion. The new religion, created by the Supreme Court of the United States: Corporations become the new American Gods, and citizens need to bow at their altar.

Works Cited

Amar, Vikrim David & Alan E. Brownstein. “The Narrow (and Proper) Way for the Court to Rule in Hobby Lobby’s Favor.” Verdict: Legal Analysis and Commentary from Justia. Justia, 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

Marcus, Ruth. “Slippery Slopes Before the Court.” Washington Post The Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

McDonough, Katie. “Four Really Important Things You Should Know about the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS Case.” Salon. The Salon Media Group, Inc., 25 Mar. 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

McKenzie, Paul. “Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Case Full of Hypocrisy.” The BG News. BG News, 8 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

McLaren, Brian. “Contraception, Hobby Lobby, and Abortion.” Patheos: Hosting the Conversation on Faith. Patheos, 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

Ohlheiser, Abby. “A Divided Supreme Court Hears Hobby Lobby’s Challenge to the Contraceptive Mandate.” The Wire. The Atlantic Monthly Group, 25 Mar. 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

Whelan, Roxanne. “Ten Years of Viagra.” CMF.ORG.UK. Christian Medical Fellowship, 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

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