It’s been fascinating over the past 24 hours watching people react with confusion to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby birth control case. This isn’t because what the high court did was completely predictable, but because so many out there seem baffled that a ruling based on religious faith could somehow make no sense whatsoever and be reliant mostly on a wildly fact-free interpretation of what birth control does and how the human body works.
Our own Bob Cesca has nowtwice documented the ways in which yesterday’s decision is predicated on a lie. Hobby Lobby initially took issue with four of the contraceptive options covered by the ACA, believing that they were abortifacients — basically, that they induced the termination of a pregnancy by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg inside a woman’s uterus — and five conservative men on the Supreme Court ruled that this belief was enough for Hobby Lobby to be able to opt out of covering those particular contraceptives on religious grounds. Sure, the entire notion of a company being able to exercise religious faith is ridiculous and suspect, as is the idea that a company should be granted more rights than the living, breathing women who work for it. But when you’re dealing with the concept of faith, no abandonment of logic and reason, no matter how shocking, should come as a surprise.
What the Supremes decided isn’t that Hobby Lobby can refuse to cover morning after pills and the like because they’re abortifacients — since they aren’t — but that the company merely has to believe they’re abortifacients. All it takes is their faith telling them that something is so; it doesn’t matter one bit whether that something actually is so. Again, this may seem crazy to you if you’re a rational person, but that kind of thinking — or non-thinking — is the underlying basis for all faith. Religious faith relies on belief without evidence, so when that’s the yardstick by which you’re measuring reality, it’s pretty easy to toss out provable fact in favor of some nonsense dogma you just pulled out of your ass.
Regardless of your political bent, it should be crazy to most people that a high court decision regarding a certain type of birth control completely misunderstands and misrepresents what that birth control actually does. And yet when we’re operating within the realm of belief based on nothing more than horseshit fairy tales, is it really that much of a stretch to screw up the science of how the morning after pill works? If the Supreme Court says that it’s okay to trample on a woman’s rights and medical needs because they conflict with the tenets of an ancient book of fantastical stories you’ve chosen to adhere to, ignoring or disregarding something as piddly as the facts about basic human biology seems obvious.
Put it this way: If you believe that the world was created in six days and that the son of the creator of that world was born to a virgin, died and came back to life three days later, and ascended into heaven where he now listens to your thoughts and uses them to decide where you should go after you die, thinking that morning after pills cause abortions when they don’t is honestly the least of your lapses in logic. True, freedom of religion is constitutionally protected, but the idea that a tightly held conviction based on nothing more than fanciful thinking can supersede the needs, privileges, and even whims of actual flesh-and-blood people is flat-out terrifying. Your religious freedom should in no way be equal to the freedom of a woman to be able to do with her body as she choses. When your belief in bronze-age superstition collides with reality, reality shouldn’t be the one that has to give way.
But yesterday’s Supreme Court decision proves that it still does, even in the year 2014. All you have to do is believe something and claim that belief to be a part of your overall religious faith for it to be at least somewhat sanctioned by the most powerful judicial body in the United States. Whether that belief is absolute crap, with no basis in fact, who cares?
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.