Thursday, July 3, 2014

Day 332 of 365: Wrong Side of History

I really make no bones about the fact that I'm progressive in a way that makes other people uncomfortable. I'm progressive in a way that makes both sides hate me (pro-Second Amendment and pro-legal abortions -- albeit with the understanding that it's always more complicated than legalizing it and going on your merry way). So it should come as no surprise that the Hobby Lobby ruling irks me in about a million different ways.

The biggest problem is treating pro-profit corporations as religious institutions purely because the owners are Christian. We already have this "corporations are people" ideology, which makes it really easy for corporations to do whatever they think they can get away with. For crying out loud, people don't want to raise minimum wage because they don't want corporations to throw a hissy fit and fire employees to make up for "lost profits" (which makes as much sense as saying that you have to buy the candy for that toddler, or else he'll throw a tantrum and be really, really annoying).

But "religious freedom" for an individual is a completely different matter than "religious freedom" for a corporation. Right now, it is against the law to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Well, in most states, it is. However, we are starting to see legislation like in Mississippi, where for-profit organizations can turn away homosexuals because it's "against their moral beliefs" to do any type of business with them. They'll ignore the part where we already had this conversation in the 60s -- where we learned that it doesn't matter what your personal feelings are; you don't get to decide who sides at the diner counter -- and claim it's persecution to not be able to deny someone a job purely because the boss found out the applicant is gay.

So that's Irk #1: the can of worms this "religious freedom" decision has made. Aside from the fact that 90% of all corporations can fall into this "closely held to a religion" category, it is setting a very scary precedent. It's not that far of a hop from "religious freedom" laws to laws that are created purely because of a religion (which in some ways we already have but that's for another time).

Irk #2 is the stigma on birth control. This toes in on my pro-legal abortions stance (fun fact: places where abortions are illegal actually see an uptick in abortions, the same way places where there is a gun ban see an uptick in gun crimes), but it makes no bloody sense to say, "BC and Plan B are for whores and drunken mistakes." Aside from the fact that Plan B is not the abortion pill (and actually has a direct impact on a decrease in abortions), it is foolhardy to act like treating contraceptives as taboo won't have result in more unwanted pregnancies.

And then there's the part where most women stay on BC because of medical issues. Just from personal experience, I don't know any single woman who stayed on BC so they could have mad sex and not get pregnant. It's exhausting and onerous to take a pill every single day at the exact same time. But that's a rant for another time.

But, seriously: decisions like this make it that much harder to dig up our Puritan roots and understand that life is a little more complex than, "I shall live a chaste life and have sex only when I want to have children."

My biggest issue is that it throws us back a bit when it comes to progress. And, to paraphrase a Supreme Court Justice, history always eventually sides with progress. The same way you wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of history when it came to things like slavery, women's voting rights, racial equality in the modern world, and gender equality in the workplace (I'm noticing a pattern here...), you don't want to be on the wrong side of history for things like this as well. The only period where mankind went against progress for any length of time is now referred to as the Dark Ages. Just to give you an idea of how history works.

I say this about gay marriage, and I'll say it about "religious freedom" laws (that don't seem to get that freedom of religion also means freedom from religion): you do not want to be on the wrong side of history. You don't want to be part of the group that historians look at 100 years from now and go, "Wow, what barbaric ways of thinking."

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