I started to write a post on religious freedom yesterday morning. In that instance, I was referring to this example from Huntsville, Alabama, where locals suddenly realized that the right to have openly religious prayers start their city council meetings might also include people praying who weren't Christian. Religious liberty for me, but not for you.
As I have noted before, I think this is one of the least understood freedoms in American history. Skewed because Christians mistakenly held priority status (and not all Christians, just certain versions depending on the region) in the public square. That has led many to cry "persecution" when that priority status changed to being just "one of the religious influences." Hence the hue and cry about the Ten Commandments.
But yesterday, we learned that religious liberty applies also to corporations. Evidently (and I missed this in Sunday School), corporations can be Christian. I am not sure how that happens, of course. Most traditions have an idea of how someone declares their faith, and many want that to be public and even followed by baptism. I have no idea how a corporation becomes a Christian. Perhaps through a press release.
The dust has not settled on the SCOTUS ruling on the Hobby Lobby case. For one thing, there is a possibility that this ruling does not mean that HL employees don't get contraceptives--but that the contraceptive coverage might come directly from the government. Kennedy suggested that there was, in fact, a state interest in providing contraceptives, but that the corporation should not be required to do so. So what does that mean? One of my friends noted that the government is unlikely to want to provide Plan B to women--we can only imagine the outcry from conservatives on this one.
But regardless of that outcome--we have a really weird ruling. The court was explicit that this didn't apply to other religious objections (blood transfusions, vaccines, doctors), but as many have noted, there doesn't seem to be a clear reason as to why those other religiously held objections are not valid. Why did the court decide that this particular corporation's particular religious objection to this particular healthcare issue was worthy of court sanction?
I think we are seeing the violent gasps of conservative Christians seeing their power and privilege fade away. I am unsure how this will unfold, of course, but I do think that the law of unintended consequences might play a big role here.