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“I Don’t Care If the Federal Government Is Telling Me To Buy My Employees Jack Daniels or Birth Control…”

July 23, 2014

“…What gives them the right to tell me that I have to do that?” Startling egomania aside, or comments about how the government tells everyone what to do, so begins a tirade by Michael Potter who objects to the birth control mandate. With this tirade, it doesn’t sound as if Michael Potter’s “religious” exemption has anything to do with religion whatsoever, and more to do with doing what Michael Potter wants in true egomaniac fashion. This concept of the depth of religious authenticity in the religious exemption has not gone unnoticed by other commentators:

In at least one of those cases, the sincerity of the employer’s religious objections is open to question. That shows why allowing a broad “religious” exemption from a federal law can be atrociously bad policy.

So comments an LA Times writer that goes on to question the decision to allow a religious exemption to follow a federal law a blatant “legal” policy. Unfortunately, good ole Michigan makes headlines again with asinine comments making headlines with Eden Foods head, Michael Potter, issuing an anti-government tirade that has followed him:

The most interesting case, however, was brought by Eden Foods, a Michigan “natural foods” firm. Its Catholic owner, Michael Potter, claimed in his lawsuit that “participating in, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting contraception, abortion, and abortifacients” offends his “deeply held religious beliefs.”

The appeals court that rejected his motion for an injunction against the mandate was skeptical. Potter’s real position, it suggested, resembled more “a laissez-faire, anti-government screed.” The evidence came from an interview Potter gave last year to Irin Carmon of Salon, in which he stated:

“I don’t care if the federal government is telling me to buy my employees Jack Daniel’s or birth control. What gives them the right to tell me that I have to do that? That’s my issue, that’s what I object to, and that’s the beginning and end of the story.”

This hint that Potter had merely swaddled an anti-government rant within a “religious” blanket illustrates the main problem with Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion in Hobby Lobby: it takes claims of religious scruples for granted.

Thank you, Michael Potter, of Michigan, of course, for making all Michigan business people sound like Minutemen Militia supporters carrying our swashbuckling armories with us.

For a court that is supposedly separate from religion, the mainstays of the Federal Supreme Court sure worship at the altar of religion any time it seems convenient to thwart a federal law they just applauded a mere few months ago. Please see my post on the virtual senility of this the Federal Supreme Court in this…

The problem with offering a religious exemption from federal law, aside from the fact that there generally is no religious exemption from federal law, see examples such as: no religious exemption for committing murder, no religious exemption from paying taxes, no religious exemption from dealing drugs  or importing illegal aliens as a professional smuggler…etc., ad nauseum. Really, there is no religious exemption for following federal law, so why did the Federal Supreme Court just create one? Is this a smack back at Obamacare? If it were, then the court could have simply found the law unconstitutional on religious grounds. It’s a sloppiness in legal approach that is so troubling, and this religious blanket approach pretty much negates the federal law if one so much as claims any sort of religious belief:

There’s no evidence in the record of Tuesday’s cases that the lower courts conducted any inquiry into the sincerity of the business owners’ religious claims or beliefs. Alito’s majority opinion Monday certainly didn’t offer any guidelines for validating what he established as a qualification for exemption from the ACA mandate.

In a case involving the Gilardi family, owners of an Ohio produce firm, Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the Washington, D.C., circuit appeals court wrote in a 2-1 decision overturning the mandate that “this case is not about the sincerity of the Gilardis’ religious beliefs, nor does it concern the theology behind Catholic precepts on contraception. The former is unchallenged, while the latter is unchallengeable.”

But why should that be? If the only requisite for an exemption from this important mandate is a religious claim, why should it not be subject to challenge? Otherwise, how do we limit the exemption only to those with genuinely religious scruples?

Here is the problem with a federal court involving itself in religious disputes: now the United States Federal Supreme Court has become the gatekeeper for religious exemptions, the arbiter of religious beliefs. How ridiculous is that??

It’s frightening that our highest federal court in the nation has taken to determining the extent of religious beliefs in this country and their breadth into our most personal lives, the sexuality of women, the performance of a business, the payment of healthcare. Can anyone deny evidence of a Christian Sharia law in the highest Federal Supreme Court of the United States? Perhaps the Federal Supreme Court will next require virginity tests for marriage because of religious beliefs? Purport the mass expansion of female genital mutilation, because this, too, is argued to be a religious belief. Look next for the Federal Supreme Court of the United States to task itself with taking on morality of women in deeper breadth and detail, because our highest court has spoken from the pulpit.

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