Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Opening doors

I spent a lot of last week arguing with people about the Hobby Lobby ruling. In all honesty, I haven't been this angry about a political ruling since Prop 8 in 2008 when I sat up until 5:30 a.m. watching the numbers stay too close to predict, and then went ballistic that misinformation had so thoroughly been disseminated. I understand the issue of religious freedom, but the longer reaching implications of what this ruling meant were far more dangerous. Giving Hobby Lobby the freedom to ignore a law it doesn't like opened a door that I am 100% convinced will be exploited for years to come. Yet, a lot of people I know didn't see that.

The newest repercussions hit the news this morning. A number of LGBT-supportive agencies have dropped their support of ENDA. Previously, they'd supported the religious exemptions it proposed, but in the light of the Hobby Lobby ruling, they've finally seen just how that will be playing into the religious right's agenda.

Frankly, it's terrifying, and I simply can't comprehend how any reasonable person can see the ruling as a good thing. How can they not see that their behavior is analogous to how people found reasons to discriminate against people of race in the past? Or women? Rights are not arbitrary. They argue that it's their right to believe what they want. On this, I agree with them. What isn't their right is to inflict harm on others because of those beliefs.

The one aspect of this that saddens me the most is how it is driving an even greater wedge between the secular and non-secular portions of our country. I know plenty of Christians who are appalled at Hobby Lobby's hubris at pushing the law this far, but their protests are overshadowed by those who monopolize media time. It's those people who many secular citizens witness, which only exacerbates any negativity they might feel toward those holding religious beliefs. How are we supposed to move beyond this when there is such a schism? I have to hope that eventually the Supreme Court will come to its senses and fix this with later cases, but in the meantime, I will do all I can by voting and not supporting companies like Hobby Lobby that insist on abusing their religious freedom to discriminate.

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