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MSW on Hobby Lobby

It seems that Michael Sean Winters of National Catholic Reporter took his time to write his Hobby Lobby column. Then again, so did I yesterday - but I was asleep from working nights. You can read his comments on the decision at After you do, please read my comments from yesterday at and the ones below.

The USCCB is crowing because the rest of the right-wing propoganda machine is crowing. I agree, not a smart move in an election year where this case plays right into the War on Women narrative. The Obama Administration did not have a good week in court - but that week was only one day. What they, or an amicus, should have briefed or agrued, as I said last night, was that this case was about religious power, not religious liberty. Of course, that would be, while true, impolitic to say. While the form of organiation is interesting, the Court sees beyond it to the founders and sets a new standard - although they forgot about the employees and the fact that federal funds are now being used in the case of IUDs and Plan B contraception to deny the privacy rights of these employees as thoroughly as the State of Connecticut did before Griswold. In their dark little hearts, I am sure some in the USCCB, particularly the statff, would like the right of privacy to go away. That really won't happen, but the right of little people to be left alone did take a hit, albeit a strong one, because the case was decided on statutory grounds, not constitutional ones.

I agree that Justice Kennedy invited a solution to the privacy issues of employees by suggesting that the solution applied to religious employees be applied to them. This kind of winks at the fact, again, that this case is about religious power, not religious liberty. Indeed, the founder of Hobby Lobby a an Assemblies of God mininster - and therefore part of a religious network. Looking at it this way, this may not be a case about private employees at all - after all, hymns and religious songs are played at stores year round. One wonders if some of the employees might consider their religious freedom violated by that. Probably not - which makes them virtual Church employees. The Justice Department should have deposed Hobby Lobby to see if any of their employees have even expressed an interest in the kind of contraceptive coverage offered in the plan. If so, the question should have been considered non-justicable and avoided entirely. That would have certainly ticked of the Respondents.

I strongly agree with a single-payer system but the GOP will not. Indeed, neither would the bishops due to their Republicanism. Of course, if single payer did become the rule, the Hyde Amendment would essentially stop all abortions not put on a credit card (80% of them are - so it is a silly issue).

The commentary on religion being a private affair in the Protestant Civic religion of days gone, thanks largely to Jews, Atheists and others who do not want to be forced to pray a certain way - nor have their children be so forced. This is not a bad for all but the publicly pious - and we know what Jesus said about such prayer. With the fall of public religion comes the public legal discussion of sex - which the Court has also made private - not confidential - like religion - but no longer part of the business of society except in limited situations. Of course, his has created a new public religion - one where Protestants and Catholics (at least the conservative variety) go public in their desire to bring their influece back to these issues. Religious power again. As MSW says, it has not reached into economic justice - largely because there is no agreement on how to do that, even within the Catholic Church (if not especially so) or among Protestant sects.

That the Beckett fund talked about the right to be wrong is interesting. That is not from Catholic doctrine or law. It is part of the fourth tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous. I submit that employers have no such right to decide intimate matters for their employees. No chears from me on the decision, except that it might yield two or three House Seats and a Senate Seat for the Democrats.

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