Hobby Lobby decision not surprising

FLINT – The U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case shouldn’t have shocked anyone – a group of absurdly conservative male judges made a painfully narrow-minded ruling that negatively impacts women and lets bosses impose their religious beliefs on employees.

What else is new?

What is surprising is Hobby Lobby – which hires women and sells to women – aggressively pursuing an exemption from contraception coverage, which is something that clearly matters a lot to women. Why would they do such a thing?

The answer, obviously, is religion. But Hobby Lobby is first and foremost a business, so why risk alienating the people who: A) run your business, and B) patronize your business?

The answer is probably because it can probably get away with it. Ticked off customers may boycott, including my very feminist wife, who said, “Forget it, I’ll go to Michael’s.”

But for how long? People are people and memories are short, especially when there’s a sale on Christmas wreaths. In the end I bet you Hobby Lobby’s business doesn’t tail off much, if at all. So the ruling is nothing but good news for them.

The rest of us? Not so much.

Let’s see what we learned here, shall we? We learned that corporations are not only people, too, they’re people with more rights than most, and if you don’t agree try exempting yourself from laws you don’t agree with on religious grounds and see how that works for you.

Police officer: “You were going 90 in a 55 zone.”

You: “And?”

Officer: “So I’m writing you a ticket.”

You: “Go ahead. It won’t do you any good. My religion doesn’t believe in speed limits.”

Officer: “Yeah, right. Tell it to the judge.”

We learned that religious views trump the law, which is a scary concept given what some religions think is OK.

We also learned that some religions seem to be more important than others. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissent, “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)?”

I suspect Justice Ginsburg thinks the answer to her question is no. But I’m not so sure. I think the justices meant this to be a crack in the dike of Obamacare.

By that I mean the real intent and result of this ruling might be to encourage other businesses and groups to ask for exemptions of their own, religious or otherwise, thereby damaging or ultimately destroying Obamacare, which is the Holy Grail for conservatives.

Holy Grail. Huh. We’re right back to religion again.

Funny how that works.

EDITOR’S NOTE – Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Write to Andrew Heller at andrewhellercolumn@gmail.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.