Christian Conservatives Are Trying To Use Hobby Lobby To Discriminate Against Gays

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Consequence is the result of an action, and it is often the case that there are many more consequences to one action than first meets the eye. Earlier this week, the conservative Supreme Court issued an action whose immediate consequence was allowing corporations that pray, worship, and adhere to deeply-held religious beliefs to withhold contraceptives from health insurance prescription plans affecting women. However, within 24 hours, the Court’s action in the Hobby Lobby case produced another, in what will be a long list of, consequences for the American people.

On Tuesday, the day after the Hobby Lobby ruling was announced, a group of Christian faith leaders issued a letter to President Obama urging him to give a religious exemption in his yet unannounced LGBT anti-discrimination action. Obviously, the “faith leaders” wasted little time taking advantage of the new freedom of religion exemption courtesy of the conservatives on the High Court, and they argued that the Court’s ruling is proof positive that the Obama Administration had better start showing deference to the biblical prerogatives of Christians. So much for the ridiculous assertion by the Supreme Court and many pundits that “only women” are affected by the “narrow” Hobby Lobby ruling because the floodgates have not yet been opened.

The call for a religious exemption did not come from evangelical extremists per se, but from a group of faith leaders regarded as generally friendly to the administration; including many who closely advised the Obama Administration on issues such as immigration reform. The letter demanding an exemption from the forthcoming LGBT anti-discrimination action was organized by Michael Wear who worked in the White House and organized faith outreach for the president’s 2012 campaign. It was also signed by two members of Catholics for Obama and three former members of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Maybe the President regrets intertwining government and religion when he continued George W. Bush’s Faith-Based initiatives. Now they are using their connection to the White House to exact recompense in the form of permission to discriminate against the gay community according to their “deeply-held religious beliefs” the Supreme Court cited mercilessly in its ruling for Hobby Lobby.

In their letter to the President, the faith leaders asked “that an extension of protection for one group not come at the expense of faith communities whose religious identity and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need.” Michael Wear said, “This is not an antagonistic letter by any means,” but in the wake of the Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, “the administration does have a decision to make whether they want to recalibrate their approach to some of these issues.” Recalibration means pander to the faith groups and exempt them from following laws against discriminating against the gay community on religious grounds.

The faith groups did not ask for a religious exemption last week when the administration announced the President would issue an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity; something the gay community has sought for a long time. But with the High Court laying down the law that the rights of groups with deeply held religious beliefs take precedent over every other American, the “White House friendly” faith leaders acted within 24 hours to demand religious redress of an order that has not been issued. The faith groups claim that an order banning discrimination against the gay community would essentially impose similar provisions of the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on federal contractors; EDNA passed the Senate but the teabagger House refuses to take up the issue because gays, same-sex marriage, abomination to god, bible, and the religious right.

The temerity of the religious groups to demand the President defer to “Christian prerogative” is that the text of the order has not yet been released. They do not even know whether it will include a religious exemption, but they are preemptively appealing for deference on the basis of Hobby Lobby. The Senate version of ENDA does include such an exemption, but it specifically does not apply to a broad array of faith-based organizations, meaning that some groups could still legally and openly refuse to hire gay or transgender people by claiming it conflicts with their faith-based gay hate; but now with Hobby Lobby everything changed.

The director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at Catholic University, a signatory to the letter, Stephen Schneck, said the faith community “simply wants to make sure its side is respected;” some would say it simply wants its side obeyed. Schneck fairly concurred and said, “It would be nice if we had just a little bit more leverage. I am aware that this is an issue that provokes real differences among some of the most important religious organization on the front lines providing care for the poorest and most vulnerable;” with taxpayer and federal dollars. He said those groups have to be allowed to work with the government within the confines of their faith; using federal dollars that by all accounts puts government in the religious business.

According to the former religious “White House friendlies,” the Hobby Lobby ruling should prompt the White House to reexamine, and acknowledge the importance and power of groups demanding their religious rights against the priorities of every other group. What that means for future legislation, Administration policies, and executive actions according to the faith groups is that hacking away at the rights of all Americans is now the way forward to accommodate the religious right.

Americans had better get accustomed to every Presidential action and congressional legislation being closely monitored and remediated by all manner of Christian faith groups now that the High Court opened a Pandora’s box. It does not mean that President Obama is going to bend to the will of the religious right on anything, but it does mean he will have to tread lightly, or face a rash of lawsuits the judicial system now has a Supreme Court precedent to enforce.

It is important to keep in mind the faith groups refrained from asking for special religious dispensation until after the Hobby Lobby ruling was announced and not last week when the President announced he was going to take action to ban discrimination against the gay community. The prompt letter to the President within a day of the Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling does not bode well for the nation and is a portent of what is certainly in the works in the coming months and years. And what is in the works is a concerted effort to eliminate anti-discrimination laws on the basis of ” deeply held religious beliefs” that may not be the death knell of the 14th Amendment, but it is going to be the beginning of the end of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights for anyone remotely dependent or affected by faith groups and one shudders at where it will eventually end; if it ends at all.

 

33 Replies to “Christian Conservatives Are Trying To Use Hobby Lobby To Discriminate Against Gays”

  1. I have no desire to live in a theocracy. The Christian religious right will never admit it, and may not even see it, but they are forcing this country down a path that ends with just that. This path is a direct result of Republican ideology and the only solution is to never vote for a Republican again. I certainly won’t.

  2. If you don’t want to play by the rules… bye! There are moderate Christian groups who can, and will pick up your government contracts in order to help people, AND WE WON’T DISCRIMINATE!

  3. Saudi America is here.

    Wahhabism, the official religion of the Taliban and Islamic religious fanatics is the power that keeps the family Saud on their throne.

    They are a family owned closely held corporation with deeply held religious beliefs. Like drowning daughters in the family pool.

    Burqa up, women! The oil king demands it.

  4. The lower courts are going to be overwhelmed with law suits challenging the SCOTUS decision. In less than a year SCOTUS will be forced to “revisit” their decision as the challenges become multiples.

    Scotus screwed the pooch and they will be forced to recant or lose all credibility.

    Talk about “activist judges”! Oh my…

  5. What a quagmire. How are we to tell if someone’s religious beliefs are sincere? Does not the constitution outlaw any form of religious tests? Doesn’t the bible tell us to give all our money and property to the poor? By that measure a true Christian wouldn’t be caught dead holding stock in a corporation. Or is baptism enough proof? It is not that we on the left do not respect religious beliefs, but the easiest and most surefire way to tell the true believers from the usurpers is to kill
    them all and let God sort them out. Maybe it’s best to just keep our religion in the church.

  6. This is the type of minefield that Justice Ginsburg was referring to, in her comments on SCOTUS’s ruling on the Hobby Lobby law suit.

  7. Religious beliefs should be “held closely ” . Those beliefs are between the individual and their maker, and no one else. Read the Declaration of Independence…..it’s very clear regarding separation between church and state.

  8. Here’s a ray of hope. I found these stats at patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier; of the 250,000 churches in america, 200,000 are stagnant or declining. That is 80% of all churches; 4,000 churches close their doors every single year; 3,500 people leave the church every single day.

    At these rates they can’t last a whole lot longer.

  9. “Credibility?” No, sorry–the SCOTUS gave that all away when they decided that corporations are people.

  10. I’ve said this many times that I believe this ultra-rightism can be laid directly at the right’s anti-gay stance. Ever since the President came out for gay marriage and issued federal mandates about employment, the rightists have been going nuts. Their proclamations and beliefs, actions are IMO directly tied to their anti-gay marriage. Maybe just maybe they could go along with gay rights (employment, for ex), but they can’t go along with gay marriage. Even black Christians can’t go along with gay marriage. Mr. O was getting grief anyway from the rightists, but he’s getting holy hell grief because he supported gay marriage and issued some federal mandates. We will NEVER hear the end of this. Sorry gay folk, but you pushed the agenda too far with the marriage.

  11. The commenter didn’t say or imply that people who help people must be Christian. Simply that when it comes to Christian groups that do help people, there are plenty that can and not be hateful bigots while doing so.

  12. Shiva, is that story covered on a site that’s not Raw Story? I want to read it (I read all of your, DJ’s, and Huckleberry’s links) but my old iPad hates Raw Story and crashes my browser repeatedly when I try to view it.

  13. When their “agenda” is equal rights, there is no such thing as pushing it too far. What if our ancestors continued to allow men to beat women because those “gals” wanting to vote was a “step too far”? What if it was still legal to be able to lynch a black man for marrying a white woman, because marriage was a “step too far”?

    Equal rights are only equal when applied evenly to all. Humans come in a wide variety. Deal with it, because telling fellow humans fighting for their equality that they pushed too far, by wanting to marry another consenting adult who returns their love, is ridiculous, hateful and unfair. Your comment was a step too far.

  14. So, when will the muslims ask for their religious preferences to be taken into account. Perhaps it is time for the jewish people to stand up and ask for theirs.

    If they do not follow the law no churches should get federal money!

  15. I am not a Christian myself, but I do know there are many who are that aren’t like the right wingers at all, they actually follow Jesus’ teachings. Unfortunately for the true Christians, the radical fundamentalists are the ones who get covered in the media, it is better for ratings than showing people caring for others.

  16. This is the first step in destroying the intent of the constitution. Once any government administration shows it will bow to the so called christian leaders over gays, then any class of people after that is open to the savagery of the “church”.

    Equality is 1 inch from non existance

  17. The Office of Faith Based Initiatives should be abolished.

    “Biblical perogatives” are a matter of interpretation and often involve disregarding portions of the Bible that nullify those perogatives.

    The Hobbly Lobby ruling goes counter to the intent of our founders. In Federalist Papers 15 and 23, Alexander Hamilton made it clear that “we must extend the laws of the federal government to the individual citizens of America.” Hamilton made no mention of corporations. Had Hamilton thought that corporations should enjoy the same rights as individual citizens, he surely would have included banks.

  18. It is my honest belief and opinion, that Conservative Christians are, and their movement is, has always been, and will always be, a danger to our civil society, and our world.

    To get a better understanding, here are some helpful websites and organizations, most will look familiar because they have been demonized by the loudest voices; FOX, Tea Party, Pat Robertson, you know the type I am referring too:

    Americans United
    AU.org

    Freedom From Religion Foundation
    FFRF.org

    Military Religious Freedom Foundation
    MRFF.org

  19. This is clearly becoming a war. The FAKE CHRISTIANS AND HATE FILLED TROLLS,are determined to destroy this country. WE THE TRUE Patriots of this country will no longer accept what these domestic terrorist are trying to do.

  20. What the religious right fails to remember is that we rebelled once – and we can do it again. History is NOT on their side. If they want religious war, we can provide it once more – and they will lose again.

  21. The Christian religious right will never admit it, and may not even see it, but they are forcing this country down a path that ends with just that.

    (theocracy).

    Oh, make no mistake, Steve. The kooky-Christian-Right knows darn well what they’re doing. They long for a theocracy, just as long as it’s their version of religion.

  22. The Fellating Five on the SCOTUS have created a legal precedent, opening the door for any employer to exercise his/her God-given right use their own “religious beliefs” as the basis to deny employment, refuse service, or impose their own lifestyle choices and religious mores onto their employees.

  23. As in politics, only a very small minority of people are pushing laws for discrimination (mostly ole white types) against a type of human being. I believe most Christians are appalled to see what is happening right now in the US when it comes to birth control, let alone the idea that Hitler’s Germany is the ideal solution in these Christians’ minds in their treatment of LGBT people.

  24. You blaming gay people for the way Christians are treating them? Or were you blaming President Obama for the way Christians are treating LGBT?

    When it comes down to it, ever since a black man, President Obama, was elected, the Christians have gone crazy. Republicans have gone crazy.

    The only thing you were right about was ‘Ever since the President came out for…’

  25. How dare you lay the blame for this Christian theocratic assault on women, or gays, at the feet of American citizens demanding the same equal rights you enjoy? You, SallyinChicago, are as much a part of the problem as the evangelical freaks driving the attack on the Constitution and our rights.

    Apparently, you have no reasonable understanding of equal rights guaranteed in the Constitution or you wouldn’t assail the President for expressing his opinion, or comprehension of the Constitution that all Americans are afforded equal rights; even “gay folks” rights to marry the person they love. Sadly, those rights are now the purview of the Christian Right, and un-Americans like you. Are you even an American, or a 13TH Century European throwback joining the 21st Century Christian Inquisition and Crusade on America’s dying democracy?

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