There probably hasn't been a Supreme Court decision since Bush v. Gore, and definitely since Citizens United, that has been as maligned and mischaracterized as the Hobby Lobby case. Those opposing the decision are crying Armageddon! as though the proverbial gerbil of Religious Freedom was seeking a source light in the alimentary canal of the secular left.
In the immediate aftermath of Hobby Lobby, the visibly senile Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared he intended to pursue legislation to overturn Hobby Lobby.
“The one thing we are going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determine by virtue of five white men,” Reid said. “This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous and we are going to do something about it. People are going to have to walk down here and vote.
Other than the obvious observation that Clarence Thomas is hardly white, this is nonsense. The Hobby Lobby controversy was created by administrative fiat. The Obamacare law does not require free access to birth control. The decision to classify fully-subsidized recreational sex as a women’s health issue was made by Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services. Likewise, the decision to exempt non-profit corporations from the requirement was also the brainchild of Kathleen Sebelius’s HHS. If Harry Reid, or Obama, actually care about the health value of consequence-free sex paid for by someone else they can get rid of the exemption for non-profits. The fact that this is not being considered shows that Reid has two intentions, to the extent he can be said to have the mental faculties necessary to form intentions. First, he’s trying to create a bogus #WarOnWomen issue by putting Senators, including his own very vulnerable Red State senators, on record against religious freedom in an election year. This may look Machiavellian at Planned Parenthood meetings but to most people it seems counter-intuitive if your objective is to win elections. Second, he is directly attacking the ability of people of faith to have their faith inform their public actions making religious observance something that is only licit for a couple of hours each week.
Reid's scheme will probably not go very far in the Senate, one can't imagine Mark Pryor or Mary Landrieu relishing this vote, and it is dead in the House. But it is only part of a new series of challenges to the free exercise of religion guaranteed to each of us in the US Constitution.
Earlier this week several major homosexual groups withdrew their support for the Orwellian-named Employment Non-Discrimination Act. This act was designed to make sexual deviancy a protected class and to be used as a tool to harass employers who are sufficiently supportive of homosexual activity. What was their reason for withdrawing support for the centerpiece of legislative strategy:
Several major gay rights groups withdrew support Tuesday for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would bolster gay and transgender rights in the workplace, saying they fear that broad religious exemptions included in the current bill might compel private companies to begin citing objections similar to those that prevailed in a U.S. Supreme Court case last week.
Rea Carey, the group's executive director, said in an interview that “If a private company can take its own religious beliefs and say you can't have access to certain health care, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to an interpretation that a private company could have religious beliefs that LGBT people are not equal or somehow go against their beliefs and therefore fire them. We disagree with that trend. The implications of Hobby Lobby are becoming clear."
What these two items shows is that the left has suddenly come to the realization that their strategy of co-opting people of faith into cooperating with their agenda has reached a ceiling. Denominations that were willing to sign onto an expansive welfare state in the guise of (as we Catholics say) “a preference for the poor” have suddenly woke up to find that the left is not satisfied with their money and their votes but they are demanding their souls, too. The next phase of the attack will be to make religious faith synonymous with superstition and bigotry.
The left cannot leave people of faith alone, they must beat them into submission otherwise their entire program is in jeopardy. As Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput observed:
My point is this: Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God.
Unless we are vigilant, Hobby Lobby could very well become a rallying point on a variety of issues that seem unremarkable on their face but collectively are aimed at driving religion from the public square and achieving Barack Obama’s goal of replacing a Freedom of Religion with the New Deal invention Freedom of Worship.