Holy Right Wing Hypocrites: Hobby Lobby Decision Now Being Used by Gitmo Detainees
We tried to warn conservatives about the precedent the Hobby Lobby decision would set, but they were convinced that religious freedom meant freedom for right wing “Christian” conservatives and their corporations only. You know, the alleged “good guys”.
But then logic came out to play and rained on right wing gloating. Guantánamo (“Gitmo”) detainees are now citing the Hobby Lobby case as the reason that their religious rights should be acknowledged. After all, how can they be less of a person than a corporation?
“If, under our law, Hobby Lobby is a ‘person’ with a right to religious freedom, surely Gitmo detainees are people too,” the prisoners’ lawyer wrote in a statement.
The motions, via Think Progress, ask for the right to observe communal prayer during Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic calendar in which Muslims worldwide observe as a month of fasting between dawn and dusk. The filing argues that prisoners were told they were not “persons” previously and thus do not have religious freedom. Yet, the prison’s military authorities prevented them from praying communally during Ramadan because they are not “persons”.
But, they argue that Hobby Lobby made it clear that every entity is a “person”, “Hobby Lobby makes clear that all persons, human and corporate, citizen and foreigner, resident and alien— enjoy the special religious free exercise protections of the RFRA.”
Especially because the right wingers who championed Hobby Lobby just set the stage for an admitted al-Qaida facilitator (that’s “terrorist!” in Republicanese) to demand his religious freedom in Gitmo. The suit was filed on behalf of Ahmed Rabbani of Pakistan and Emad Hassan of Yemen. Rabbini is an admitted al-Qaida facilitator, while Hassan is thought to be an al-Qaida recruiter but has denied this allegation.
The filing pleads, “Guantanamo Bay detainees, as flesh-and-blood human beings, are surely ‘individuals,’ and thus are no less ‘person[s]’ than are the for-profit corporations in Hobby Lobby or the resident noncitizens whom Hobby Lobby gives as an example of persons to whom the RFRA must apply.”
The prisoners’ lawyer explained in a statement that banning of communal prayers “is one of a series of recent measures against detainees on hunger strike.”
We are witnessing two bad right wing ideas colliding. First, Gitmo as a concept violates our democratic and moral principles and should be closed. The President has ordered the ode to Bush to be closed, but Congress (led by Republicans, but this rejection of closing Gitmo also includes many Democrats and an Independent) has denied the funding to close it. The biggest champions of Gitmo are the same folks who sell fear for a living and don’t think much of “freedom” if it applies to anyone but themselves.
Second, the right wing Hobby Lobby argument and the right wing SCOTUS decision were bad for many reasons — not the least of which was that it violates separation of church and state and discriminates against women as an entire class of people now not entitled to same protections under the law.
Prior to the Hobby Lobby decisions, I asked a conservative how they were going to feel when a Muslim used this decision to avoid following the law as it applies to everyone else. They scoffed, because when riding high on delusions of power, it’s easy to ignore precedent and reality. But we already went down this path and rejected it. That rejection was one of the founding principles of this nation.
For people who see danger and fear everywhere they turn, it’s bizarre that Republicans did not see where Hobby Lobby was taking them. They, who fear-mongered about Sharia law taking over the country, have actually managed to do just that — only they opened the gates with their own alleged “religious” beliefs (which they dubiously qualify as “Christian”). They, who co-opt the founders at every turn, just spat in the face of the founders.
Turns out, there was a pretty good reason we fought so hard to be free of the tyranny of others’ religious beliefs being imposed upon us as law. Just wait until a Muslim business, citing the Hobby Lobby decision, sues for the right to deny a conservative something they should be entitled to under the law.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.