UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. AGAIN!
“HOBBY LOBBY” THE GIFT THAT JUST KEEPS ON GIVING
Just could not let this one go by. In Indiana, the First Church of Cannabis is taking advantage of the recently passed state law, The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has the sole purpose of legalizing discrimination against gays based on religious grounds, despite the law’s name. Seeking to capitalize on the “religious freedoms” the law espouses, Bill Levin, the church’s founder and pastor, is quoted thusly: “This is an honest-to-God religion. Other religions have sins and guilt. We’re going to have a really big love in!” Hey, sounds like a winning religious dogma to me!
In response, Shari Logan apparently doesn’t think the First Church of Cannibals is legitimate. “What’s next,” she said. “The church of the crack? The Church of Heroin? It’s a mockery to Christians, to God.”
I certainly can’t speak for God (or for God-1 and God -2) but I can speak for at least one Christian (okay, okay, – “nominal Christian”) and I say “Get it on, pastor Levin! I’m ready to join!”
How have we come to this absurd situation? It was the 1993 Religious Restoration and Freedom Act (RRFA) passed by Congress that Indiana based its new law on. The Federal Act started the whole bullshit about allowing religious organizations to receive federal tax money (our money) and was seen, at the time, as an innocuous paean to please the religious right. It’s the Federal RFRA law that the Supreme Court relied upon in its Hobby Lobby decision that holds that companies “who” have “closely held religious beliefs” can discriminate against employees who don’t hold such beliefs. The new Indiana religious freedom act comes in response to last weeks’ Supreme Court’s ruling in “Obergefell vs. Hodges” upholding the right of gays to receive state issued marriage licenses in all fifty states.
So, given that it’s okay for Native Americans to use peyote in their religious services, (in 1978 Congress passed a law legalizing its use) why isn’t it okay for Bill Levin’s congregation to use pot in its religious services? I certainly have no idea. I guess eventually the Supreme Court will have to decide. And as to Ms. Logan’s conclusion that there will be a “United Universal Church of Crack Users for Christ” or a “First Church of the Order of the Heroin?” in our future? Well in Indiana, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance. After all, when the Hobby Lobby folks can deny birth control coverage as a part of their employees’ health insurance based on “closely held religious beliefs” as a result of the Federal “Religious Restoration and Freedom Act” law – note, Justices Scalia and Thomas, the plain, un-interpreted terms of this title of the Act – I can’t see why not. Wasn’t it Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg who, in her dissenting opinion in the Hobby Lobby case, warned of just this kind of unintended consequence? Smart women is Justice Ginsberg.
No one, of course, is in the least fooled about the intent of Indiana’s law: the intent is to allow public officials to refuse to issue same sex marriage licenses and private businesses to discriminate against gay men and women. Bakers who object to baking penis-shaped cakes will, according to the law, be allowed to refuse services to their gay customers while happily and willingly baking those cakes that depict melon –sized female breasts all based on the closely held religious belief that gay men and woman, according to the Christian Bible, are sinners and should be put to death.
So I’m wondering when it will be that the Indiana State Legislature will also ban the sales of shrimp and clams – also a sin according to the Bible; or ban everyone from working on the Sabbath – also a sin according to the Bible; and start executing folks for committing adultery – also a sin according to the Bible. Yeah, right.
And, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, if you are reading this, CONGRATULATIONS! You were absolutely 1000% connect.
PS: As an aside here, it seems that no matter how us sane folks give in to the inane desires of the religious right, they just never seem to be satisfied. It’s been going on for decades now, this appeasement, but it seems that until some sort of “Christian Sharia” is the law of the land here in the United States of America, they are not going to stop.
This is what happens when you attempt to appease bigots and fundamentalists.
Unintended consequences anyone?