The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to release its decision on
Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby
, the challenge to Obamacare's mandate that employers providing health insurance to employees cover birth control. Hobby Lobby argues that having to provide this coverage—which includes birth control methods they consider to be abortifacients (because they have such a good grasp of medical science)—is a violation of their religious freedom. It Hobby Lobby is to prevail in this suit, the court will have endorsed a very scary version of religious freedom that, in essence, is about freedom of religion for fundamentalist Christians to impose their beliefs on the rest of the nation.
That's certainly what the Greens, the family behind Hobby Lobby, hope to achieve with the millions they've made with the hobby and crafts chain of stores. Along with a bunch of projects, including an $800 million museum in Washington, D.C., dedicated to the Bible, they hope to rewrite the nation's public school curriculum.
Most provocatively, they’ve funded a multimillion-dollar effort to write a Bible curriculum they hope to place in public schools nationwide. It will debut next fall as an elective in Mustang High School, a few miles from Hobby Lobby’s Oklahoma City headquarters.
A draft of the textbook for the first of four planned yearlong courses presents Adam and Eve as historical figures and introduces God as “faithful and good,” “gracious and compassionate” and “an ever-present help in times of trouble.” A list of “curses for disobeying the Lord” warns of defeat, fever, and “disaster and panic in everything you do.” […]
“Our goal … [is to] reintroduce this book to the nation,” Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, said last spring before the National Bible Association. “This nation is in danger because of its ignorance of what God has taught. We need to know it. And if we don’t know it, our future is going to be very scary.”
Religious freedom for me, but only for thee if you agree with me. The premise behind the museum and the curriculum is that the Bible is a "reliable historical source," and that "when we apply it to our lives, in all aspects of life, it has been good." Perhaps the Greens are using Hobby Lobby
as their test case to see just how much they can get away with with this court, since their textbooks would surely be challenged as unconstitutional if they were ever to be adopted by a district.
This case is their first foray into national politics, and forwards a conviction that has come to the Greens only recently. Before the contraceptive coverage was included in federal law, the Greens apparently had no problem with it—their employer-sponsored health plans covered it until 2012 when they decided to sue over Obamacare. They're deeply held religious beliefs also apparently ends at the bottom line; the company's retirement plan includes mutual funds that have stock holdings in companies that manufacture the drugs and devices they believe their employees should not have access to through their insurance. Yes, those religious convictions are deeply held.
The court will be ruling on Hobby Lobby in the coming weeks. For the sake of religious freedom for the whole nation, let's hope the justices just shut that whole thing down.
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