Likely some Americans are familiar with the Trojan Horse tale where Greeks used subterfuge to enter the walls surrounding the city of Troy and conquer the city after a ten year siege. One would hope the American people comprehend that the conservatives on the Supreme Court used subterfuge via a Trojan Horse in their ruling for Hobby Lobby to give the religious right and fascists an opening to control large swathes of the population separate from the women most people think are the primary target of constitutional corporate religious tyranny. The Trojan Horse in the Hobby Lobby ruling is a term, closely held corporation, that created an opening for nearly all businesses to use the new corporate religious freedom exemption with impunity.
Closely held corporations are not, as the conservative court would have people think, small mom and pop, or family enterprises, or a small number of corporations. Indeed, over 90% of all corporations, commercial enterprises, partnerships, and sole proprietorships are “closely held corporations” that employ over 52% of the American workforce. A closely held corporation is one in which 5 people or less hold more than 50% of the control of an enterprise. This list of closely held corporations includes very, very large corporations that include, besides the Christian Dominionist’s Hobby Lobby, 71 “religious corporations” that enjoined the lawsuit, Cargill, Dell, and the fascist Koch Industries among many, many others. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in dissent, all of these giants of industry “can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs. ”
Ginsburg also rightly assailed the preposterous notion that RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) was determined by the Court’s Christian conservatives to “extend to for-profit corporations” and accurately predicted the ruling is “bound to have untoward effects.” She also noted the Trojan Horse subterfuge in the majority’s ruling that “its language to closely held corporations extends to corporations of any size, public or private.”
Ginsburg condemned the religious ruling for breaking precedent by granting “exercise of religion that was characteristically for natural persons; not artificial legal entities” and added they “approved some religious claims while deeming others (employee’s beliefs) unworthy favoring one religion over another, the very risk the Establishment Clause was designed to preclude. The Court has ventured into a minefield.” The conservative Court certainly eliminated religious freedom of Hobby Lobby et al employees who do not share the Dark Age beliefs of the Green family in particular and the religious right in general.
The minefield, of course, is granting religious freedom exemption from any laws to 90% of the corporations, businesses large and small, to go along with freedom to ignore any law that natural (real) persons enjoy according to the RFRA. Giving religious freedom exemptions to 90% of business belies Justice Alito’s assertion that the ruling was “narrow” in its scope. Alito is a liar because the conservatives on the court knew precisely what “closely-held corporations” means and still gave them authority to flout any law they claim violates their exercise of religion. The Court also, like Arizona’s failed license to discriminate legislation, did not limit “free exercise” of religion to adherents of a recognized faith and it gives any business the right to claim religious freedom regardless their religion is based on a fascist ideology like the “closely held corporation” Koch Industries.
The Koch brothers can now legitimately claim they can opt out of federal statures they hate because it is contrary to their deeply held libertarian religious beliefs. The Kochs have railed against federal laws and regulations such as environmental regulations, minimum wage, Social Security, Medicare, workplace safety rules, or campaign finance laws, and believe they do not apply to Koch Industries. A business owned by a devotee of Scientology can refuse employee access to anti-depressants, and a Jehovah’s Witness business can refuse to allow access to blood products, or terminate an employee who needed a blood transfusion. The real danger is Christian business owners who will terminate employment of women who use contraceptives, cohabitate with a member of the opposite sex, does not attend a Christian church, or any employee that supports same-sex marriage; members of the gay community would feel the wrath at the same level women are certain to experience, and that includes losing their Constitutional due process protections allowing them to marry the person they love.
The religious right saw the scope of the conservative’s ruling as not “narrow” as Justice Alito claimed, and celebrated the opening the Court’s conservatives provided with the Trojan Horse to impose Christianity on the people with impunity now that religious freedom is a weapon. For one thing, they look forward to using the ruling to stop women from, as theocrat Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) said, using contraceptives for “recreational sexual behavior.” Immediately after the ruling was announced, Erick Erickson cheered that finally “My religion trumps your ‘right’ to consequence free sex,” and Steve Deace said that “If we play our cards right, we can use this as a momentum changer; we cannot settle for this win like we have all too many others.”
This column mentions the religious right’s Manhattan Declaration often because it contains the primary goal of the Greens as representatives of the Christian Right; eliminate anti-discrimination laws, including the 14th Amendment, that protects Americans from legalized discrimination by evangelicals using their “religious freedom” as a weapon. It is important to remember that the statement “my religion trumps your rights” will be used to trump Americans’ right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness now that religious freedom fundamentalist style is the law of the land; it will not be reserved for just 90% of “closely held corporations” as the conservative Court claimed.
A Supreme Court ruling is precedent and in the same manner the Establishment Clause was the Constitutional precedent to protect Americans from domination by the evangelical right, religious freedom according to conservatives on the High Court is now the precedent that allows fundamentalist Christians, and fascist libertarian oil magnates, to disregard any law, constitutional protection, or federal statute if they claim they violate their free exercise of “deeply held religious beliefs.” In fact, the conservatives noted that all medical and scientific empirical evidence proves contraceptives are in no way abortifacients, but because Hobby Lobby’s owners’ deeply held religious beliefs inform them they cause abortions, it is true and the Greens have religious freedom to ban their employees from using them.
The conservative Christian justices’ ruling was not narrow in its scope, and by using the term “closely held corporations” they expanded the religious freedom exemption to include nearly every business in America. Because the ruling was based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as Justice Ginsburg correctly stated, now any giant of industry, (like all private individuals) “can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
What that means for this country is that no American, federal or state law, or Constitutional protection will be spared from the Koch brothers, anti-gay and anti-women supporters, or theocratic public schools because conservatives on the High Court legalized universal religious tyranny in a Trojan Horse; and they did it with extreme prejudice to destroy America’s 238-year flirtation with democracy and freedom from Christian fundamentalists’ intent to dominate the American people. And make no mistake, they will dominate Americans and they will flock to the polls in November to elect Christian conservatives to pass new biblical laws and achieve their goal of America as a Christian nation that will make Iran’s theocracy mild in comparison.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.