Friday, July 04, 2014

Religionists run amuck

Two things say it all, and what an auspicious day to note it.

Supreme Court splits on gender lines in first post-Hobby Lobby case on contraception

From Justice Sonia Sotomayor's dissent:
Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word. Not so today. After expressly relying on the availability of the religious-nonprofit accommodation to hold that the contraceptive coverage requirement violates RFRA as applied to closely held for-profit corporations, the Court now, as the dissent in Hobby Lobby feared it might, see ante, at 29–30 (GINSBURG, J., dissenting), retreats from that position. That action evinces disregard for even the newest of this Court’s precedents and undermines confidence in this institution.
A comment on
This SCOTUS will rule any arbitrary way they 
want. They are voting as right wing Catholic moralists, not as the institution to protect the tradition and values of  American law.
 There's more, though.

 From Equitablog: (highlighting added)

One of the most interesting thing about Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby is that there are now five justices on the Supreme Court whose understanding of the employer-employee relationships is not “welfare capitalist” but is, I must say, positively medieval. The pooling provided by firms in benefits provision is no longer seen as the firm’s acting as a benefits-purchasing agent for the workers. The nexus of contracts that is the firm is no longer seen, in this role, as the agent of the workers–and thus as an instrumentality the workers use to exercise their right to pursue happiness as they choose. Instead, the firm’s provision of benefits is seen as a free gift from the owners and managers to the workers. Thus the liberty interests that are worth preserving are not workers’ interest in being provided with a benefits package that fits their situation and their values, but rather bosses’ liberty interest in specifying the terms of the free gift of benefits that they give their workers.

Thus, in the eyes of Sam Alito and his four Horsemen, we are really not talking “welfare capitalism” any more: we are–literally–talking industrial neo-feudalism.

Now this may be making much of the decision that is Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby. The decision may simply be based on the fundamental legal principle that when the sect to which five of nine justices belong claims that any burden whatsoever is ipso facto undue, than any burden is ipso facto undo. But even from the perspective of the sexual politics of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, Hobby Lobby is a very strange ditch to choose to die in. The center of gravity of the Vatican right now, is no longer the conservative prosperous first-world middle class of Italy or Germany or even Poland, it is the poor of Argentina. Having one’s rhythm method contraception fail and having an extra mouth in the household to feed is of more import and weight in a place where zero population growth is still far off and where the margin between the household’s income and its basic food budget is not that large. The first-world sexual politics focus that has absorbed the Vatican since Pope Paul VI does not seem high on the priorities of Pope Francis.

PS: and this, from Sotomayor's dissent: