Tiny ripples of intolerance and hate begin to make their way through society in the wake of yesterday’s Hobby Lobby decision

On Monday, when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned that the high court’s Hobby Lobby decision would send our country careening into a “minefield” of complicated legal issues, she was absolutely right. Less than 24 hours after the ruling, which established both that corporations could profess religion, and that U.S. laws couldn’t compel them to do things “incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs,” the challenges have already begun.

Today, according to the Atlantic, a letter signed by 14 representatives of faith-based entities was delivered to the White House demanding that a recently announced executive order which would make it illegal for federal contractors to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, be edited to allow such discrimination, if done by people who profess to hate said people based upon sincerely-held religious conviction. “We are asking that an extension of protection for one group not come at the expense of faith communities whose religious identity and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need,” the letter stated.

And that, my friends, is how it begins.

Now it’s just a matter of time before everyone with a statement to make, from the owners of Chick-fil-A, to the regents of Bob Jones University, are in court, demanding that we the people acknowledge their god-given right to not serve delicious chicken sandwiches to the gay, and deny tenure to those of the weaker sex…. who really should, you know, be home baking pies, nursing babies and studying the bible.

update: While it sounds as though Hobby Lobby will continue to offer birth control for their employees, excepting those four types of contraception which “prevent an already fertilized egg from developing any further by inhibiting its attachment to the uterus,” other employers may not be so generous. The Daily Beast has compiled a list of 82 companies that may eliminate contraception coverage to some degree in the wake of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision. The Michigan companies on the list include Trijicon, Willis & Willis PC, Barron Industries, Midwest Fastener Corp, Autocam Corporation, Dominos Farms, Mersino Management, Eden Foods, MK Chambers Company, Mersino Dewatering, Weingartz Supply Company, and the Ave Maria Foundation.

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  1. TeacherPatti
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    It is going to be SO interesting when a non-Christian group utilizes this law. Right now, certain groups are doing everything but lowering their sunglasses and saying “ooh la la” like David Lee Roth at the thought of being able to deny things based on religion beliefs. What on earth will they do if their Orthodox boss doesn’t want to pay for their piggy-based thyroid pills? (Although I guess the rich people will just whip out their checkbooks and pay for it themselves, right?)

  2. Kim
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    What if the company I work for is owned by a man who believes, based on scripture, that women have to wear burkas?

  3. Meta
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The owner of Eden Foods is speaking out.

    Eden Foods chairman Michael Potter said he is grateful the United States Supreme Court came down on his side in a religious rights dispute over a federal mandate to provide contraceptives in employee health insurance.

    Eden Foods challenged in federal court last year an Affordable Care Act mandate that his company provide contraceptives in its insurance program. The issues are nearly identical to the Hobby Lobby case the court decided Monday in a 5-4 vote. Like Potter, the owners of Hobby Lobby objected on grounds the mandate violated their religious convictions.

    “I am very grateful to hear today that the Supreme Court has protected the rights of the Constitution for the people of the United States,” Potter said.

    Potter went to court more than a year ago after learning the Affordable Care Act required Clinton-based Eden Foods to begin including contraceptives in its health insurance plan. He stated it violated his beliefs as a practicing Catholic.

    “The only recourse we had were the courts,” Potter said. “We felt strongly enough about it so we had to object formally.”

    Eden Foods lost initial decisions last year in United States District Court in Detroit and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Judges in those cases found corporations were not entitled to exemptions based on religion.

    District Judge Denise Page Hood stated the First Amendment guarantee of free exercise of religion is a “purely personal” right, “and, as such, is unavailable to a secular, for-profit corporation.”

    The purpose of the federal mandate, Hood stated, “is not to target religion, but instead to promote public health and gender equality.”

    A majority on the U.S. Supreme Court found owners of “closely held” corporations do have a right to exercise religious beliefs.

    “This ruling affirms the correctness of our decision to object,” Potter said.

    “It’s a fundamental right,” he said, criticizing President Barak Obama as a “dictator” trying to take away rights of citizens.

    Read more:

  4. K2
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    How do other coop members feel about Eden products being on the shelves?

  5. Lynne
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I am a coop member and I am ok with them keeping Eden products on the shelf but I myself will refuse to buy them and I imagine that many other members will too. So maybe, purely as a good business decision, they may want to not buy any more.

  6. Scott T.
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink


    In the burka case, I don’t think the analogy works. SCOTUS is saying that the government can’t force a corporation to pay money to purchase something against their religious beliefs (and yes, IMO the idea of a corporation having religious beliefs is ridiculous but that is what they said). An employer forcing their employees to wear burkas (or say a prayer or whatever) would be a different test, so this ruling would likely apply to that scenario.

    The most applicable analogies have to do with health care since that is something companies “pay for” as part of employee compensation (e.g., can Scientologists opt out of providing blood transfusions?). I think the next wedge is likely to be companies trying to opt-out of offering health coverage for same-sex partners on religious grounds.

  7. Scott T.
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Edit: “*not* likely apply”

  8. Posted July 4, 2014 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    “Potter went to court more than a year ago after learning the Affordable Care Act required Clinton-based Eden Foods to begin including contraceptives in its health insurance plan. He stated it violated his beliefs as a practicing Catholic.”

    Potter is known to be a complete asshole.

    We need to fight hate with hate. Companies objecting to this decision need to make it clear that they will not hire pro-lifers and will not provide insurance which pays for Christian funeral services.

  9. maryd
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Agreed Lynne. I am done with Eden Foods.

  10. Grumpy
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Does the Ypsi Food Co-op offer employer-provided health insurance that covers these contraceptives?

  11. Meta
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    “Eden Foods is OFF THE SHELVES at Seattle Co-op thanks to you!”

    Read more:

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