Sarah Ruden in Salon points out that if Hobby Lobby doesn’t have to be compelled by the government to pay for something they say violates their religious beliefs, why do people who object to war have to pay for the military?
The upshot of the ruling is that Hobby Lobby and other businesses with conservative religious owners do not need to pay for what the Affordable Care Act mandates as full coverage for family planning. The public interest in affordable and accessible healthcare is not compelling enough to override the private belief that contraceptive methods including (but apparently not limited to) the IUD and the morning-after pill are murder. Well, I’m a pacifist, and I say that warfare is murder, and I don’t want to pay for it; and in recent decades the public interest in my paying for it hardly looks compelling.
Quakers have a long history of refusing to pay taxes for the military, and many of them have gone to jail for their beliefs. Is it too much of a leap to say that now there’s precedent for those of us who would not want our money to go to war to be able to choose not to pay for it?
I’ve made this argument before in a different context. Being gay and being denied various benefits because of that, why should I pay all of the taxes I owe if I’m to be denied the things I’m paying for with them? If I had a partner here in Florida (hope springs eternal) and I wanted him to have the spousal benefits of marriage such as property inheritance, he couldn’t have them. Up until last June, thanks to the Supreme Court overturning DOMA, he would have been denied survivor’s benefits from Social Security. But still, I don’t have the full and equal protection of the law that straight people have, so why should I pay full fare? It’s like paying for a first class ticket but ending up in coach next to a screeching baby and an air-sick cat.
All SCOTUS rulings have unintended consequences, but this Court seems to be particularly short-sighted in their ruling, Justice Ginsburg’s dissent notwithstanding. The harsh reality is that the courts have never sided with the view that an individual’s rights are more compelling than what they deem to be “the greater good.” Unless, of course, you’re crafting for Jesus.
HT to Gray Lensman.