So, first of all, happy Independence day. My conservative friends may not believe me, but part of the reason I spend so much time criticizing politics in this country is because I think it really is a very great country. One of my favorite JFK quotes is “This is a great country, but I think it could be a greater country.”
[This is the same reason that when I write about football, I critique good teams–it’s way more interesting than criticizing lousy ones.]
With that in mind, let’s talk about the Supreme Court.
First off, let me talk about Chief Justice Roberts. I can’t figure him out. Liberals I know say he is just a Conservative who rules however the Conservatives want something to go. But that’s obviously not true; or else he would have struck down the Affordable Care Act. So he isn’t just some guy who rules based on the party line. He has some kind of judicial philosophy–the question is, what is it?
Second item: the latest Supreme Court case in the news is the Hobby Lobby case, wherein Chief Justice Roberts ruled, along with the Majority, that employers don’t have to pay for insurance plans covering contraceptives. I’ve heard a lot of criticism of this ruling, saying it is a disaster for women and a re-ignition of the “War on Women” from 2012.
My opinion? Yes, but it’s even worse than that.
The trouble is, when religion gets involved, things always get murky. I don’t want to insult anybody’s beliefs, but the fact of the matter is that religion is based on faith, not legal precedent or factual evidence. Which is fine, but it makes it tough to deal with in a legal case, because it is about unquantifiable, supernatural things. As the greatest legal mind in the English-speaking world, the Lord Chancellor from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe, said:
Ah! but, my good sir, you mustn’t tell us what she [Chorused nature] told you — it’s not evidence. Now an affidavit from a thunderstorm, or a few words on oath from a heavy shower, would meet with all the attention they deserve.
There are a lot of different religions. And all of them give different versions of what God is supposed to have said what to do or not do.
My question is: how far does this really go? What if I’m a business owner and my religion forbids all health insurance? Can I not provide coverage? For that matter, if I’m a business owner, and my religion forbids following government safety mandates, can I get out of that, too?
Obviously, this Court ruling doesn’t really mean that. But the question is, why doesn’t it mean that? Because that is the implied logical precedent, it seems to me.