Onward Christian soldiers: Hobby Lobby advances religious push

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Religion keeps pushing.

That’s what religion does. That’s how something becomes a religion and not a collection of strange ideas held by a few scattered and marginal groups. By pushing, hard, for centuries and never giving up.

Faith will use any legal means, and whatever nonlegal means, it can to push you into the fold, or get you to behave as if you were.

In eras when it can stone you, it stones you.

In eras when you can be ostracized, or shamed, or put in the stocks, it does that.

In 2014, it declares that Hobby Lobby, a family owned corporation based in Oklahoma City that sells arts and crafts supplies at a nationwide chain of stores, is not only a person, but a religious person, and its right to keep its employees from easy access to the contraception it scorns trumps those employees’ rights to easily get that contraception.

And on Monday the United States Supreme Court went along, ruling that the owners of Hobby Lobby, joined by a Pennsylvania furniture maker, are within their rights when opting out of the Affordable Care Act, including contraception in a spectrum of benefits, because birth control violates the company’s religious beliefs.

RELATED: Supreme Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby Majority of Americans oppose contraceptive ban, poll shows Hobby Lobby’s 401(k) plan invests in contraception manufacturers

Remember, any individual can choose to express his or her faith when dealing with reproductive matters. It’s a free country, or used to be, and still is, sort of. Last time I looked, religion was supposed to be voluntary, not something your boss goaded you into doing. If Hobby Lobby can refuse to participate in federal health care programs, why can’t McDonald’s opt out of anti-obesity campaigns, because its faith is built around hamburgers?

I suppose we’re going to find out.

People pushing for religion often fail to see the long-term implications of what they’re doing, and the Supreme Court ruling now puts the government in the business of deciding what are sincerely held religious beliefs. A range of companies could claim that various federal mandates — minimum wage laws, vaccine programs, taxes of this or that sort — violate their corporate religious beliefs. And it’ll all be hashed out in court.

In accurately predicting victory Sunday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said he anticipated the court would “uphold the rights of individuals for their expression of their religious freedoms.”

By “individuals” of course, he meant individuals who own corporations. Individuals who don’t, well, our lives just got a little harder.

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