Discrimination is Unchristian–Religious Corporations Want to Control Women
In an op-ed proving that Christian women have more sense than their conservative male counterparts, Katheryn Pogin effectively delineates how Christian principles actually promote equal treatment of all people, a definite teaching of Christ, arguing that discriminating against others is a distinctly unchristian enterprise. Hobby Lobby’s “win” in the Supreme Court, that it doesn’t have to provide birth control, by a court who agreed that the law they declared Constitutional is now unconstitutional less than a year later, is definitely confusing. At best, the Federal Supreme Court looks wishy-washy, undecided, weak; at worst the Federal Supreme Court looks confused, aging, as if the institution itself is incapable of understanding its own rulings and so must refute them nine months after it issues them. We appear to have a Federal Supreme Court in the throes of advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
One might assume that the Christian-right would applaud this age-onset version of judicial dementia, applaud that corporations are still allowed to control women’s sexual behavior, act as voyeur and observe sexual practices amongst women and approve or deny them, as if in paternalistic pursuit of a teenager. (Not, that I would argue, that is appropriate either, just amply socially representative.)
Kathryn Pogin eviscerates the idea that corporations playing God in the game of morals is a Christian endeavor:
Make no mistake: This is no victory for the freedom to exercise Christian principles. Though employers like Hobby Lobby are now free to deny women access to contraceptives through their employer-subsidized health plans on the basis of religious objection, they will be violating their own purported Christian principles if they do. While Christians are not compelled by their faith to engage in religious practices that impose upon the freedoms of others, they are compelled — by their belief that all persons, men and women, are created in the image of God — to oppose discrimination.
Pogin also points out that these corporations, with the Federal Supreme Court’s senile blessing, act as a means of economic coercion to control women’s sexuality, their behavior, on a level that supersedes that of any other form of institutionalized moral codes:
This suggests that the legal challenges are not merely aimed at allowing corporations to abstain from facilitating behavior they deem immoral but instead are seeking to effectively prevent women from engaging in that “immoral” behavior by keeping financial barriers for women, and administrative barriers for the government, in place.
This is economic coercion. Opponents to the contraceptive mandate have insisted that women remain free to purchase whatever health care services they choose, but this is woefully insensitive to the reality that low-income women and families face. For these women, there is a very large difference between what is available to them for purchase in principle and in effect.
In essence, our Federal Supreme Court has just approved the first version of Sharia law, enabling the larger society to issue an opinion and control women’s sexuality through a religious mandate. If the United States government is truly separate from its religious arm, truly secular, it should not concern itself with religion, period.
Hobby Lobby makes money off of contraceptives in its investments, investing in companies that manufacture birth control products, but then claims that contraceptives are morally offensive to its employees. How is it Christian to be duplicitous? Pogin asserts that this is not Christian behavior:
This kind of economic coercion is distinctly at odds with Christian principles. There is only one incident described in the Christian scriptures where Jesus is represented as employing coercive force, and it was not used to prevent people from engaging in sin. It was used, instead, to prevent people from dishonoring God by exploiting religious practice for personal gain. The gospels describe Jesus’ reaction to those who sought to profit from the Passover pilgrimage to the temple as fierce: “And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, ‘Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.’” This is where corporations that claim their operations constitute religious practice of the Christian faith ought to take note.
Hobby Lobby offered coverage for some of the contraceptives it now claims its religious faith forbids it to have any association with, until shortly after the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom asked it if it would be interested in filing suit. The company continues to profit from investments in the manufacturers of the “objectionable” contraceptives through the401(k) plan it offers its employees. Recently, Hobby Lobby has faced legal trouble for false advertising. It has built a fortune, in large part, by selling goods manufactured in China, infamous for its poor labor conditions and related human rights violations. These are the practices of a corporation that will emphasize the Christian faith of its owners when convenient and profitable, but set that faith aside when it would be costly to do otherwise.
The principles of Christianity were not founded on economic principle, but on the belief that equality under God was the most guiding principle. It seems that so-called Christian companies have forgotten that guiding premise of Christ’s teachings and have replace their almighty God with the almighty dollar.