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Think Progress Concern Trolling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

The Supreme Court earlier today ruled in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and found the owners of closely held (read: private) companies are within their rights to refuse coverage of abortifacients as part of their insurance coverage. The basic facts of the case and outcome are these:

  • Hobby Lobby offered to pay for 13 FDA approved birth control methods.
  • Hobby Lobby was unwilling to provide birth control that prevented a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall.
  • The HHS argued Hobby Lobby had no standing because “for profit” entities cannot be people.
  • The owners of Hobby Lobby had no standing because it was a corporate mandate rather than individual
  • SCOTUS found the government had demonstrated that provision of contraceptive coverage was a compelling national interest
  • SCOTUS found the government had failed to find the least restrictive way of addressing that interest with the mandate that all FDS methods be covered.

In response to the ruling, the professional left is positively apoplectic, despite the very narrowly tailored ruling that found Hobby Lobby can refuse to cover abortifacients, but must cover other forms of contraception.  In other words, because the left didn’t succeed in trampling the first amendment right to freedom of religion, they consider this a monumental blow to their cause.

Lefty outlet Think Progress takes a slightly different tack, however. Contrary to the left’s long established efforts to roll back religious protection, Think Progress wants you to know this is actually a blow against religion.

But while conservatives would have the American public believe that protecting Hobby Lobby is about protecting all religious people, the reality is that today’s ruling actually hurts people of faith.

To make that argument, TP takes the anti-corporate position.

David Gushee (link mine), an evangelical Christian professor of Christian Ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University, offered an extensive treatment of the case in the Associated Baptist Press in April. He examined the issue from the perspective of a Christian theologian, noting that any attempt to broaden the legal status of businesses to include religious exemptions — however well-intentioned — is inconsistent, dangerous, and unfair to other religious Americans.

“One way to look at it is this: The whole point of establishing a corporation is to create an entity separate from oneself to limit legal liability,” he writes. “Therefore, Hobby Lobby is asking for special protections/liability limits that only a corporation can get on the one hand, and special protections that only individuals, churches and religious organizations get, on the other. It seems awfully dangerous to allow corporations to have it both ways.”

As supporting evidence, TP offers up Richard Cizik’s article in the Huffington Post arguing this ruling hurts evangelicals.

At no point do they note that Cizik and Gushee are partners in the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a left-leaning organization that “involves fighting against social injustice and the abuse of power by those who benefit from the power arrangements of an unjust world.”

Both have a history of left-leaning activism. Cizik served on Tim Kaine’s Climate committee despite having no scientific background as a ploy to get people of faith involved.

Gushee and Cizik created the Partnership from the bones of Evangelicals for Human Rights, an organization that challenged the US policies of retention and torture of terror suspects.

In other words, their arguments are being made by a bunch of political activists with a deep history in opposing things like corporations and Republicans. Not exactly the non-partisan crowd.

Yet they claim now to support only the people of faith, despite their organization’s stated mission:

We are the kind of evangelicals who care about human well-being as a whole, and not just the good of the United States of America, or of Christians, or of evangelicals here or anywhere else.

We believe proper Christian advocacy is for the common good, not for partisan, ecclesiastical, or national interests.

So their argument is that we believe in our social good cause before we believe in the US or Christianity and evangelicals are actually listed third. So those who believe in God before country are clearly not the type who are making the argument.

So before Evangelical Christians espouse their line of argument, they may want to look at the political motivations of the people making it.

TP makes the claim they are looking out for the best interests of religion, but does so by quoting activists who fully admit to putting their political interpretation of justice ahead of God. There is a word for that: concern troll.


Written by Turk