This is a Constitutional pronouncement that my Congressman, Chris Collins, Tweeted Tuesday afternoon:
— Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins) March 25, 2014
That’s an interesting take on liberty.
Hobby Lobby sued the government to preserve some sort of religious right to require that its predominately female workforce not have insurance coverage for certain types of contraceptives, including IUDs and the morning after pill.
Hobby Lobby argues that requiring it to subsidize insurance plans that cover what it considers to be abortifacients violates its 1st Amendment right to freely exercise its religion.
I’m not sure which church Hobby Lobby attends. I suppose the Chapel at Crosspoint might be large enough to accommodate an entire Hobby Lobby store, but only one. I haven’t seen a Hobby Lobby store transport itself to and from a place of worship, as I suspect that would cause an epic traffic headache every week.
So, assuming the corporation has some form of fictional personhood involving fictional church membership and make-believe church attendance, we’re talking about a new precedent whereby a corporation can assign to itself a faith. For instance, Chik-fil-A is famously Christian and notoriously homophobic. Amazing to note that In-N-Out Burger is also run by devout Christians – flip the cup over and there’ll be scripture printed there – but they’re neither homophobic nor trying to limit their employees’ contract rights.
When an employer provides health insurance as part of its benefits scheme, it helps to subsidize the plans. The insurance plans themselves, however, are individual contracts between the employee and the insurer. So, Chris Collins thinks that an entity that possesses fictional legal personhood should be able to come between a woman and her doctor.
What if a company decides that its religion dictates that it be exempt from child labor laws, or from sex discrimination laws, or from prohibitions on racial discrimination? Chris Collins would support that, based on his jejune, ignorant pronouncement.
Who is Hobby Lobby to interfere with a female employee’s medication or health care scheme? People like Collins demonized Obamacare as being a “government takeover” of healthcare, putting the government between a person and their care. But when it comes to women – true to type – corporations and conservative patriarchal government flip the script and maintain control and shame, inserting themselves between a woman and her doctor.
Does Hobby Lobby oppose artificial dick-hardening drugs as part of its employee health plans? Are we saying #prayersforED in a Christian, Godly way to ensure that the impotent can impregnate women who then, in turn, find their contraceptive options artificially limited?
But I suppose we should look on the bright side. Our multicultural-embracing Chris Collins has come out strongly in favor of Sharia law. Under his logic, a corporation can declare itself to be an adherent of Islam. If a craft store decided to close on Fridays and forbid any employee health plans from offering, say, treatment for alcohol or drug addiction, Collins would apparently support that. If an employee of a Muslim craft store decided to bring a ham sandwich to lunch, the company could fire her on the spot; intoxicants and pork are haram under Sharia law and Fiqh. Collins would support, evidently, a company requiring its female employees to wear a hijab or chador, because to him, the free expression of the employer trumps the free expression of the employee. Long live our new, two-tiered Constitution!
The liberty-ish way to handle this is to say that the owners of a business have a right to practice their religion in whatever way they deem fit. However, they should not have a right to impose their religion upon their employees, who are also free to exercise (or to be free from) whatever religion they choose. The American way would be for businesses to let their employees be free to take whatever medicines their doctors prescribe, without interference. Freedom and liberty would dictate that craft stores not interject themselves into contractional relationships between their employees and those employees’ health insurance companies and physicians.
But when it comes to big business and the role of so-called “job creators”, people like Chris Collins believe that the rights of the employer trump those of the employee. To Chris Collins, Hobby Lobby, and the new tea party plutocracy, employees are mere chair-moistening chattel. If their employer wants to impose Islamic law on them, they are free to contract for their labor elsewhere because the job market is so great thanks to the Republican jobs plan of “repeal Obamacare for the 51st time“.
I wonder how that’ll play out in Wyoming County.