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Oh the hypocrisy

July 7, 2014

Bobbye Pyke

On Monday the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. The decision stated that Hobby Lobby and other for-profit companies have the ability to deny employees health coverage for contraception based on the religious objections of the company’s owners.

I could discuss how I believe it is ridiculous to give corporations the right to freedom of religion. I could argue that birth control and other contraceptives have many uses for women’s reproductive health and have other medical uses other than family planning.

I could say that your tax dollars don’t go to paying for birth control for women and even if it did, tax dollars are spent every day on things that groups of individuals may disagree with and they don’t receive special exemption. I could point out that multiple studies state that the morning-after pills and IUDs do not cause abortions and instead prevent the fertilization of an egg by delaying ovulation, thus even by the standards that life begins at the moment of conception, prior to implantation, the disputed forms of birth control are in no way abortifiacients.

I could argue that Hobby Lobby is not a church and thus does not deserve religious exemptions in the eyes of the law. I could point out that even though four forms of birth control will no longer be covered by Hobby Lobby employee health insurance Viagra and male vasectomies still will be covered.

I could quote from Justice Ginsburg’s fantastic dissent on the case in which she stated, “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.”
I could point out all of these and argue them endlessly. But that isn’t my main issue with this ruling.

I believe that overall I am very understanding and accepting of beliefs that do not match my own. Your convictions are your own and your religious beliefs are your own. You are welcome to them and as long as you don’t force me to believe what you do, I am more than happy to hear dissenting opinions. What I do take issue with is hypocrisy and I believe that Hobby Lobby has shown a good deal of hypocrisy throughout this court case.

Hobby Lobby points out in its brief that they conduct their business based on the religious convictions held by the companies owners, the Green family. Hobby Lobby stores do not sell shot glasses, for example, and the Greens have denied requests from beer distributors to back-haul beer on Hobby Lobby trucks.

The Green family claims in their brief that they believe human life begins at the moment of conception and that providing insurance coverage for items that risk killing an embryo makes them complicit in the practice of abortion. And yet for years the Hobby Lobby employee health coverage included two of the drugs that the Greens objected to in their Supreme Court case, Plan B and Ella. It was only in 2012, when the Greens considered filing a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, that they dropped these drugs from the plan.

Additionally, documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012, three months after the company’s owners filed suit, show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, IUDs, and drugs commonly used in abortions.

Several of the mutual funds in Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan have stock holdings in companies that manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family fought to keep out of their health care plan. Three-quarters of the Hobby Lobby retirement plan’s total assets contain holdings that clash with the Greens’ stated religious principles.

There are options for companies that want to practice what is called faith-based investing. Religious investors can turn to a number of companies, including the Timothy Plan and the Ave Maria Fund, that will screen out stocks that religious persons might find objectionable.
Why doesn’t Hobby Lobby use one of these companies? They either were not aware such options exist, or chose not to invest in them. They seem to have no problem investing in companies that make something they find deplorable when the money will return to their pockets. But actually spending money on something they find deplorable?

Well, that crosses a line.

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