Society and Culture
WARNING: The Christians Are Coming for Your Civil Liberties
Happy Thursday, folks!
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for women out there.
First—as I’m sure you recall—SCOTUS ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, giving employers the right to deny workers birth control coverage because of religious exemptions, and essentially giving douche-wad bosses everywhere the potential to control their employees’ uteruses.
And now, things are getting much, much worse.
Following the Hobby Lobby decision, religious institutions, religiously-run corporations, and basically anyone who is a fan of Jesus and also has some modicum of control over other people’s lives, are filing for the right to discriminate against people under religious exemptions.
Say good-bye to your civil rights, folks.
A group of 14 religious leaders wrote a letter to the Obama administration asking for the right to discriminate against LGBTQ people in closely-held corporations. George Fox University demanded a religious exemption that would allow it to bar a transgender student from living on campus, and the Department of Education granted it.
The Hobby Lobby ruling, not even a month old, is already proving to be disturbingly broad. Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned us about this in her dissent—that granting religious exemptions for IUDs and Plan B would be like opening a Pandora’s Box of discrimination potential—but did anyone listen to her?
And so here we are, with religious zealots breathing down the necks of the Supreme Court and of the President—and they have legal precedent to back themselves up.
Loves, this shit is scary. And not fear-monger-y type scary. Legit disturbing.
When the Hobby Lobby decision first came down it signaled yet another chip away at civil liberties and women’s rights in this country. One more piece of legal bullshit that diminishes a woman’s right to control her own body. One more reminder that women aren’t seen as real people or full adults in the United States, but rather as wards of the state, our spouses, our fathers, or apparently, our employers.
But as awful as that is, the asshat Justices who voted for this decision assured us that the Hobby Lobby ruling would end there. It would be a narrow ruling, applicable to only this situation, and that feminists would only have to fight against this one, single issue. Access to birth control regardless of what your boss’s religious beliefs are.
Justice Ginsburg called bullshit, and now I’m calling that she was right.
This ruling is not narrow. We can no longer be solely concerned with its reversal because women deserve the right to control their own goddamn bodies.
Nope. Instead, it’s turning out to be frighteningly broad, as the Supreme Court demands reviews of similar cases in lower courts and considers handing out more religious exemptions based on the precedent that Hobby Lobby’s now set.
Where does this end? There’s really no way to know just yet, but the possibilities are kind of endless.
Don’t want to hire women at your company? Sure thing, buddy! Claim that doing so would place an undue burden on you as a result of your religious beliefs and you’re good to go.
Don’t want to hire black people at your company either? No problem. Religious exemptions all around.
Can’t stand the thought of your female employees having consequence-free sex? Awesome. Religious exemption and boom! You just gained control over your workers’ uteruses. Don’t you feel better knowing your vagina-laden employees aren’t sleeping around (at least, not without feeling extreme anxiety about their reproductive systems)?
And maybe you don’t want to pay LGBT people the same amount of money as your straight employees. Or maybe you don’t want to hire them at all! Cool, dude. Religious exemption.
This shit is ridiculous. With the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court just created a loophole for every piece of non-discrimination legislation ever enacted. Civil rights of all kinds—not just for women—are at serious risk. If anyone feels like they want to engage in some good, old-fashioned discrimination, they can pretty much do so! They just have to make a case for getting a religious exemption first.
And clearly, based on the fact that Hobby Lobby won its case, despite building it on a foundation of craptastic non-science, that’s not super hard to do.
So, way to go, SCOTUS! You really fucked things up for all of us, this time. Not only have you created an environment where everyone can be their own law book, but you’ve sent us down a path that will undoubtedly be littered with regressive politics.
The fight for personhood just got that much harder, lovelies.
Hannah R. Winsten (@HannahRWinsten) is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant, and blogger living in New York City. She hates tweeting but does it anyway. She aspires to be the next Rachel Maddow.
Featured image courtesy of [Daryl Clark via Flickr]