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Hobby Lobby, Round 2: Companies Already Lobbying for Religious Exemptions to LGBQT Hires

Hobby Lobby, Round 2: Companies Already Lobbying for Religious Exemptions to LGBQT Hires

Justice Ginsberg’s 35-page dissent in the Hobby Lobby case warned us that the majority opinion could have far-reaching implications, and she was right. The ink had hardly dried on the opinion when religious businesses and nonprofits began rallying for their own exemptions to ACA — and having those exemptions granted, illustrating that the supposedly narrow and restrictive Hobby Lobby decision was actually much broader. Now, women in the U.S. are facing an escalating attack on hard-won birth control access, and companies aren’t stopping there. They’re also going after LGBQT employment protections, arguing that the precedent set in this decision should allow them to set aside these legal protections in their employment practices.

As Wheaton College demanded the right to refuse birth control to its students, a flood of other religious companies, colleges and organizations followed suit, insisting that they shouldn’t be obliged to provide something that went against their religious conscience. The Supreme Court has ordered a review of denials of such cases among lower courts, sending a clear message that the outcome in the Hobby Lobby case was meant to be more broadly applicable than was originally admitted.

The message is being loudly received by religious groups, which are wondering how far they can push the envelope when it comes to crying “religious conscience” when they file requests to be allowed to flout the law. The latest chapter comes from, among others, Gordon College and religious leaders. In advance of a planned executive order banning LGBQT discrimination in employment at federal contractors, these groups are petitioning the President to include a “religious exemption” allowing contractors to discriminate against LGBQT applicants and staff. They’re citing the Hobby Lobby decision as evidence to support their case, claiming that the Supreme Court has clearly set a precedent.

The floodgates are opening, and the results are not pretty. Currently, the faiths pushing for such exemptions are Christian, and a growing number of Christian-owned businesses, groups and organizations are signing on to the attempt to legalize discrimination and turn some Americans into second-class citizens. In the course of arguing that they have the right to discriminate against their staff and communities, they’re relying not just upon the Supreme Court decision but also upon the assumption that it’s acceptable to impose their morals on their personnel.

Don’t lose hope for Christians, though — a few bad apples shouldn’t be allowed to spoil the barrel. 100 religious leaders went to the President strongly arguing against the enshrinement of LGBQT discrimination in an executive order. The signatories include noted Christian leaders and theologians who are morally and ethically opposed to discriminatory practices, and who support a clear separation between Church and State, as spelled out in the founding documents of the United States.

As the fallout from the Hobby Lobby decision continues, it’s likely that deeper religious and political fissures will appear in the United States. The fact that some Christian groups are already fighting about the decision and its implications is a warning sign of bigger arguments to come, and a larger culture war. Should conservative Christian thought dictate the rule of law in the U.S.?

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Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography.

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188 comments

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11:17AM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

Excellent points Karen. But I"m afraid Jorge has run off. I guess he doesn't like it when he is in the minority positions and has to defend his own position against multiple people for long periods of time. Now I guess he might know what it feels like for Atheists and religious people who do not belong to the dominant religion in America. (Dominant as in it has the most followers.)

11:14AM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

So green star to Seth.

11:14AM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

PART 3 - ran out of space...
The goal is to make everyone in America Christian. That is a violation of MY Constitutional right.

11:12AM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

PART 1
Jorge O: “We couldn't force you to ‘follow our religion’, even if we wanted, because the Constitution forbids an establishment of religion.” Just because the Constitution forbids something doesn’t mean people aren’t trying to get around it. (see Part 2 of my comment)
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the U.S. government paid religious groups to provide education to Native American children living on reservations. In clear violation of the Constitution, the religious groups immediately began forced conversion by first instituting a system of boarding schools to separate the children from their families and culture. Then, without regard for the Native children’s religion, the groups began changing the children’s names to more “appropriate” names, forbidding them from speaking their native language and forcing them to speak English, and to adopt the “proper” lifestyle and religion. If this isn’t forcing someone to follow a religion, what would you call it?

11:12AM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

PART 2
Yes, Jorge O, religious people have the same rights as non-religious people, but they don’t seem to accept that. You said, “When a religious person advocates a cause … and that cause finds approval by a majority of voters in both Congressional houses, and it is permitted by the Constitution, then this is democracy at work.” According to the Constitution, federal law trumps (overrides) state law, but how many states ignore federal laws? This is a violation of the Constitution.
According to an article on http://www.politicususa.com: Republican Steve Yarborough has introduced S.B. 1062, which “is the iteration of what the religious right has been attempting to do for the past thirty years since Reagan gave them power to affect legislation to follow the bible. S.B. 1062 is the law Christians lust to replace the Constitution that prohibits Christian extremists from imposing their will on the entire population under the guise of ‘religious liberty.’ This is not the first time Yarborough has introduced legislation giving ‘religious license to discriminate against gays,’ and he told a reporter he is very aware that ‘his bill could be used to discriminate against not only gay people, but also unmarried women, or people with different religious beliefs,’ or that it ‘could actually allow religion to be used to justify breaking any law in Arizona.’”
The goal is to make everyone in America Christian. That is

10:43AM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

You are absolutely right Set. As long as a company can come up with a religious reason, in theory, why not

10:42AM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

This is insane. At this rate we're going to have companies refusing to hire people of different races, wrong genders or because they're not cute enough. =Legally.=

2:51PM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

Oh Jorge, please discount the green star I just sent you.

I thought I was responding to Ashley's comments calling you out for the BS you were dispensing.

You don't deserve a green star.

Your statements and comments are disingenuous, if not intentional distortions and fabrications.

While your claim to the right to maintain a belief system is accurate and allowed, it is a huge waste of energy and effort and frankly has done nothing to advance civilization. The Abrahamic traditions are so filled with contradictions as to be laughable.

Secondly, it is patently delusional and based on fairy tales written by superstitious people about an imaginary friend.

Thinking based on such a foundation should in no way, in our modern world have any say whatsoever as to what people decide to in regard to their lives, sexual and ad infinitum.

Pretending that these efforts aren't aimed at turning this land into a christian nation is simply just that, pretense.

11:37AM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

The court has ruled and so it stands ... until changed. If the ruling had gone the other way they'd have been touted as correct and wonderful.

11:11AM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

As soon as we can break the "Fickle Five" then we'll get a Supreme Court that will stand down when faced with that discrimination.

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