Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I Don't Know Where Hobby Lobby Was Baptized

It seems kind of weird to me that I am speculating about the baptismal records of a corporate entity, but I have questions. Such as--would the mere incorporation of a legal entity suffice to grant it the level of personhood to aspire to religious beliefs, and would that bestow the same quality to each location using the same FEIN# for payroll purposes? Would only the corporation itself need to be raised and schooled in the faith and the various sacraments thereof to be considered able to make decisions based in faith, or would each location need to perform its own demonstration of faith? How do Christian corporations take communion? And so on.

Before I get into the rank paternalism and junk science that inform this (of course!) 5-4 SCOTUS decision that tilts at corporate personhood and basically gives a handjob to religious extremists who cast their eyes heavenwards and pretend they don't even know what is in their pants, let me just put it on record--I think this trivializes religion. Me, the militant agnostic. The employers of any persons have no business dictating to them the limits of their free will and relationship to their deity (or deities) of choice. They are not obligated to act in loco parentis regarding their employees moral behavior regarding their health care choices or any activity they engage in outside of the workplace that has no bearing on their work performance. The employees are compensated for their work. They are not compensated for their souls.  It is a Procrustean torment for an employee to match every tenet of their employers' particular doctrinal whims, and insofar as there may be significant doctrinal disagreement even among people sharing a pew, I think introducing an excuse for employers within the mysteries of religion is employing faith as a fig leaf for bigotry, and that is highly questionable.

What all else might a "closely-held" corporate entity enforce amongst its employed person with a religious claim? Hijab? Or not wearing hijab. Not consenting to blood transfusions. Not covering AIDS meds. Firing or not hiring the "unperfected".  The majority view took pains to say that this decision pertains only to the contraception issue, but I'll be damned if people inspired by it, won't try it.  This ruling, probably unintentionally, opens up the floodgates to a sectarian clusterfuck.  What in the hell does that have to do with the individual spirituality of flesh and blood persons?

Well, let's just look at the corporate personal history of Hobby Lobby for cues about whether this sudden disdain regarding covering birth control even makes sense, because you know what? This business has invested in companies that produce contraception. It sells products from a nation that has state-mandated abortion and birth control policies.  They didn't even used to object to the birth control they now are too precious to cover for their employees.

So let me just call bullshit about whether butter would even melt in their mouths when the officers of Hobby Lobby assert they are somehow damaged by a law that states that insurance companies pick up the full cost of contraception, and now they kind of feel icky and like they are paying for abortions and stuff...

Seriously? If you pay your employees cash money, you incur the risk that they are spending their money on any number of things of which you would not approve--porn. Sex toys. Condoms. And birth control pills. Why even pay people in cash money if they can spend it on shit you don't approve of? How is employer-provided insurance different?

No, seriously--you tell me how. It isn't. You pay people in money, it is totally fungible in several ways. You might not approve of all the ways, but you know what--it's not your business. Same deal with insurance. The employment contract includes birth control, you have no call to even know who is taking the pill, and therefore you are only keeping your employee from a medical cost disaster, not necessarily funding...uh, what you think is abortions.

So let's get to the last nonsense--abortion. If you claim that life starts at conception, and that is your religious belief--let me even spot you that one. Contraception means  the "conception" part doesn't even happen. So how in the hell does one equate not conceiving with killing babies? Sperm aren't babies and eggs aren't babies. Un-implanted zygotes are not viable. You can only make this kind of claim from ignorance, and sorry--that is correctable, and I don't think religion needs to even be a factor in saying, this is dumb.  It is. Sometimes actual facts have to win out. Faith that a thing that is not so is so? Is actually just dumb.

So the last utter bullshit in this argument is that somehow, being "with child" is not a medical condition. Meaning preventative care is just not even medical enough to be covered by insurance, anyway, and this is a bullshit perspective lent by no less a personage than Charles (was schooled in doctoring) Krauthammer.

Maybe the good doctor forgets there is a whole specialization in medicine called "obstetrics" regarding this very thing? That many hospitals have a whole maternity wing carved out?  That if a pregnant lady in labor came into an emergency room, she would not be told to come back when there's something really wrong with her? Maybe he's not able to acknowledge our first doctors were probably midwives?  Huh. Seems like he should know better.

As for the Pill--I don't like it. I don't like taking pharmaceuticals, period. I take Aleve less than you'd think an arthritic middle-aged lady would. I don't like putting chemicals in me. But I'm plausibly fertile even now. I hate the pill. It regulates my periods and alleviates my worst pms symptoms, but it makes me moody as hell and incidentally and probably ironically, kills my sex drive. And killing my sex drive takes some doing. When I first went on the pill, as a college student, I even asked if I were pregnant, would the pill make me abort. And I learned-no. And I don't respect a position, even a so-called spiritual one, that would lie to women about their bodies.

So you know what?  I don't think even now it's any corporation's business whether a female-bodied person takes a labeled birth control drug to tackle cystic acne or blastocysts. That person's body, that person's meds, is their business and their employer hasn't the right to disapprove of anyone's anatomy or how the master or mistress thereof deals with it. This decision was just wrong and the 5-4 makes you think it was partisan as all that, and maybe...people who appoint conservative justices should not get elected.  Is what I think.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

The majority view took pains to say that this decision pertains only to the contraception issue

Scalia sez, "Liberty: NOT 4 CHIX!"

On a serious note, I can't believe that even the biggest male chauvinist would be cool with any finding that would give one's boss even more power over employees' lives than they already have.

Libertarianism is aspirational capitalism. These guys truly believe that they will someday be the boss and will dictate the terms.

Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, Gautama the Buddha said that when a person reached the age of 60, they should be pleased because they were no longer part of the system. (I think in the US it's more like age 65 or 70, but still ultimately true.)

For some time now I have been impressed by the utter banality of American politics. And the entirely insipid divisions created by the ridiculous idea that human opinions can be shrunk to confinement of a "left" and "right".. frankly, the kind of division that should have been left behind with high school football.

The situation that you bring to our attention confirms my dismay at how silly theses issues can become.

My understanding is that out of 20 different means of birth control, Hobby Lobby rejected 4 of them and retained 16. The 4 rejected methods have abortion implications which went counter to their views as a matter of conscience.

This all sounds more than reasonable to me, and demonstrates what a hysterically fervent hothouse exists among the 15% of the American population that prefer excitement over politics rather than ice hockey.

Yastreblyansky said...

Formerly A, the "abortion implications" were imaginary, and it is likely Alito understood this well, since what he ruled was that it was the proprietors' belief that the four forms were abortifacients that entitled them not to cover it. Alito also emphasized the next day what the opinion omitted, which was that employers could also refuse to cover contraception in general whether "abortifacient" or not. It's less than reasonable.