Having Made It Through…

… Part One of the Summer Term’s Minipalooza, I’m taking a break to watch the parade of exploding heads over the Hobby Lobby decision. First of all, I think Ramesh Ponnuru made a substantial point:

We now go back to the status quo of 2012, when nobody was under the impression that anyone’s rights were being denied just because companies were generally not forced to cover birth control. Pretty sure we weren’t living in Iran then.

Meanwhile, I have a question. In recent months, we have seen a number of boycotts and attempted boycotts of various businesses (and on a smaller scale, ostracism of people with opinions some find disagreeable). If a boycott is a group of people acting to deny support for a business with which they disagree, isn’t it possible to look at the actions of a company like Hobby Lobby as a sort of boycott of the companies for whose products they refuse to pay? HL isn’t refusing to employ folks who buy the products in question, nor is it telling them how to spend their pay. They are simply refusing to spend their own money on something they find objectionable — just like folks did with Chick-Fil-A. (Or Domino’s, in the days of my youth.)

So what’s the outrage? Is it the ownership’s decision not to fund something they don’t want to fund, or is it the owner’s refusal to take orders without complaint? (Interestingly, an argument I’ve seen a bit today has been [Courtesy of Justice Ginsberg]:

“Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”)

In other words, “If we can’t tell Hobby Lobby what to do, then we may not be able to tell other folks what to do!” Um, that’s not a bug — it’s a feature.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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2 Responses to Having Made It Through…

  1. ricki says:

    I’ve heard of people threatening to stand outside Hobby Lobby and “advise” people not to shop there. I suppose that’s their right but it’s just, to me, an indicator of how PERSONAL all this stuff has become to some folks. Don’t like Hobby Lobby? Fine. Don’t take a job there, don’t shop there.But I find it objectionable that some people want to tell ME what to do because they can’t force a business to do what they want it to do.

    And the hyperbole, how it burns: I’ve seen people saying that Hobby Lobby is banning ALL use of contraception by its workers. Um, no. In fact, it’s my understanding their insurance will pay for the birth control pill….it’s just the abortafacients they don’t want to cover. And I am not that old, and I remember a time when Plan B wasn’t even legal anywhere….

    In my bleaker moods, I see the US either coming to civil war or fracturing into two (or more) countries over this kind of thing.

  2. Jeff says:

    What I found interesting (and disheartening) about yesterday’s reaction was that Hobby Lobby gets no credit for being fine with 16 out of 20 possible birth-control offerings in the mandated health-care plan. That’s 80 percent. Isn’t that relatively, or at least somewhat, liberal? Yet critics are treating the company like they’re the Westboro Baptist Church.

    Expecting total conformity of belief in such a diverse, churning country is not, as the kids say these days, sustainable.

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