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Hobby Lobby ruling renders church-state separation almost meaningless

You wanted a Christian nation.  Well, you've got it.  Enjoy.
You wanted a Christian nation. Well, you've got it. Enjoy.

If you don't know just how bad the SCOTUS ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby was, you may not have much more time to wake up and smell the democracy. Citizens United was the base of this new Corporate Christian Wall, and Hobby Lobby was the capstone. A large number of corporations now have a legal precedent for opting out of damn near anything they find "religiously" objectionable. And don't you think for a minute that any of their objections are going to put money in your pocket. The wall of church-state separation has been covered with holy water, and a new wall of religious obstructionism has been built.

Republicans are trying to create a Christian Plutocracy, and with this court decision, we've seen the fruition of nearly 40 years of work toward that goal. Sadly, this has nothing to do with women's rights -- at least to the politicians. Yes, it will have real impact on the ground for women, and that's really bad. But it's not, and never has been about women. They were just easy targets. It isn't about religion, either. Yes, it will have real impact on the ground for non-Christians and Christians alike, and that's really bad. But it's not, and never has been about religion.

The GOP made the decision in the 1970s to go whole hog with the Right Wing and Christian marriage. Since then, they've been using religion to win office, mostly by beating up on women and gays. In just over 40 years, Americans have not only forgotten the separation of church and state, they've come to embrace government intrusion into church matters. Faith Based Initiatives poked a huge hole in the wall, and allowed millions of our tax dollars to flow to church organizations. Unsurprisingly, churches have become more and more blatant in their political maneuverings, with Protestants openly bankrolling anti-gay legislation and Catholics steamrolling anti-woman legislation through Congress, all while flying the banner of Jesus.

The Hobby Lobby decision has given private, secular corporations unprecedented power to enforce "religious" beliefs on their employees, and in doing so, has rendered religion almost indistinguishable from commerce. Contraception isn't all that expensive, and in the end, this particular exemption won't increase corporate coffers much at all, but this was just the test case. Who will be next? It's hard to say, but a couple of years ago, this very same Supreme Court ruled that religious organizations may opt out of most of the Americans With Disabilities Act. How long might it be before a secular company finds a religious reason to do the same thing? Churches are already exempt from many employment regulations, and many thousands of recently out of work pastors have found themselves destitute since they have not paid into social welfare programs. How might corporations exploit this kind of loophole now that the gates are open?

Republicans have been telling us for years exactly what they plan to do, and for some inexplicable reason, we've refused to believe them. Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the five Catholics who ruled in lock step for Hobby Lobby, had this to say in 2013:

"While I would not argue that capitalism as an economic system is inherently more Christian than socialism ... it does seem to me that capitalism is more dependent on Christianity than socialism is. For in order for capitalism to work -- in order for it to produce a good and a stable society -- the traditional Christian virtues are essential."

What else do you need to hear? A Supreme Court justice just told you that he has no interest in separating commerce from Christianity. In fact, he'd like to see the two merged. And do you think this is just about corporations? Think again. In 2012, Newt Gingrich explained in vivid detail that he would do away with courts containing non-Christian judges if he was elected president. This came on the heels of another Gingrich pronouncement that he'd fire employees for having liberal political views.

This is openly, blatantly, brazenly the culmination of a GOP plan to turn America into a Republican Christian Nation. Christianity has already merged with politics. Do you remember in 2011 when Michelle Bachmann pronounced that Jesus doesn't want jobless people to have welfare?

“Our nation needs to stop doing for people what they can and should do for themselves. Self reliance means, if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.”

She really was quoting the Bible on that one. And have you noticed how virulently anti-welfare the Republicans remain to this day? Never mind that the Bible also tells the rich to sell all they have to give to the poor. The correct version of Christianity is the one to which corporations will now be able to hold you compliant. It won't be long before the next volley comes, and we'll see who else is going to have rights or benefits taken away because they don't comply with Corporate Jesus' divine will.

We're already on the road to making Jesus the Secretary of Commerce. You may have missed it, but the Supreme Court recently ruled that Christian prayers before government meetings are A-Okay. Days later, a Virginia county outlawed non-Christian prayers. We'll see how that goes, but how do you think the five Christian Supreme Court judges might be inclined to rule?

This is the Christian Nation you wanted, America. I'd say "enjoy it in good health," but based on Jesus' apparent dislike for anything that helps working class people, I think that would be the height of naivete.

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