Tuesday, July 01, 2014


For all the times I have argued with people (and, yes, I have done some of that) about … issues, I don’t recall a single time when somebody with an opposing viewpoint stopped and said “Yes. I see what you mean. Now that you’ve explained it, I agree.” This means either that I’m a total failure at making my point, or that people are simply too hard-headed to admit that they’re wrong. Maybe it’s a little of both.

And yet, I am compelled to persevere with this futile endeavor.

My extreme displeasure with the recent Hobby Lobby ruling by the Supreme Court may be the hardest point I’ve tried to make in a long time. Everybody’s arguing about it – but from where I sit, they’re all arguing over the wrong points. The “right” frames their argument by saying “Why should I have to pay for objectionable types of reproductive care for women I don’t even know?” Sure, I have answers for that; but, to me, that has very little to do with the implications of the Court’s decision, and I’m not going to let somebody opening with that line drag me off into what I consider is a completely different argument.

Similarly, the “left” says, “Well, I support women’s reproductive rights!” Cool. Good for you. Now you can go fight with that guy who doesn’t want to pay for what you support, if you want; but, again, your point is only germane to this ruling if you want to look at it in a vacuum.

Laws don’t stay in vacuums. And, given the opportunity, SCOTUS could have made the same ruling about pretty much anything being paid for within the Affordable Care Act that had nothing at all to do with reproduction, or sex, or any of those other nasty things that people get all riled up about. Like…say... X-rays. I don’t know whether or not X-rays are covered, so, please, don’t call me out on that. It’s just an example.

Let’s say, somewhere, there’s a religion that doesn’t believe in them, and your employer subscribes to that religion. Does he have to pay the employer share of your healthcare insurance premium that pays for X-rays? To go further, let’s say your employer is a Christian Scientist. Does he/she have to pay for any part of your insurance premium, which was mandated by law, prior to this Court decision?

To go further still, let’s just take ObamaCare out of the equation completely. Everybody on both sides of the issue knows that this was nothing more than a political slap in the face delivered to Obama by the right-leaning court. Good for them. They have more guys on their team, so it’s only right that they should win some of these fights. But it’s just politics. Let’s not get all tied up in the fa├žade put up by both political parties. It’s not about women’s rights, or healthcare, or even religion. It’s about winning one for the team. So, in essence, it’s not real. But the decision is real; and binding.

So what could go wrong?

Well, a law has been circumvented under the guise of religion. This is of no benefit to law or religion; and it’s going to open up a Pandora’s Box that we won’t likely see shut in our lifetimes. In the words of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

It may come as a surprise to some that Christianity isn’t the only religion represented in the United States. There are many. It may come as even more of a surprise to some that anybody can claim to be of any religion they can dream up, and there is no litmus test to prove whether or not they actually believe what they say they believe; or even whether or not such a religion even exists. If a “believer” can opt out of all, or any part of, a law concerning healthcare regulations, why then can’t that same person opt out of any other law that is found objectionable by their religion? Speeding. Paying taxes. Sex with children.

Here may be the reason that I don’t win these disagreements with people. I have enough faith left in humanity to believe that this is all self-explanatory; and fully understanding it myself, I sometimes fail to dig down deep to make all the little points that make up the big picture. If you don’t understand by now, I don’t know what I can do or say to help bring you to the light. But, again, I keep trying.

If you are sitting back saying “Nobody would ever attempt to make such a ridiculous argument; and if they did, they would be laughed out of court,” then I have two questions for you:

Did you hear about the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court ruling?

Have you ever met a lawyer?

©2014 Rick Baber