The Best Of The Dish Today

I’m grateful for your many emails on the Hobby Lobby ruling. Almost all of them are dissents. And there’s one core point that we didn’t underline today that’s worth noting. When you consider this a “narrow” ruling because it is restricted to “closely-held” companies (i.e. those with “more than 50 percent of the value of its outstanding stock owned directly or indirectly by five or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of the tax year” and “not a personal service corporation”), you find that over 90 percent of companies in this country fit the bill. That’s not-so-narrow in the broad scheme of things. Alison Griswold notes:

According to a 2009 research paper from NYU Stern School of Business, these corporations account for 52 percent of private employment and 51 percent of private-sector output in the country.

Will they all decide they cannot furnish certain medications, based on religion? Of course not. But they could. And when the potential scope of this sinks in, and especially if more than a few companies start curtailing their female employees’ health coverage for religious reasons, I’d say you’re going to have a very divisive reaction.

Which raises the politics of this. I’d say it’s terrible for the right in everything but the short term. It may fortify the base, but the fact that this decision focuses exclusively on medications for women, and not for men, will surely fortify the other base even more. Even if you worry about religious liberty, why does religion in 21st Century America always seem to be about policing the sex lives of everyone but straight men? That may not be the intent of the ruling, but it is somehow always the effect. It’s not good PR. And neither is this attitude:

I have a feeling that the lack of any female votes in the majority will also sink in. If the Republicans want to add fuel to the Democrats’ charge of a “War on Women”, they just got a tank of gasoline. And this could even be a real fault-line in upcoming national politics. Bobby Jindal is now running as the religious freedom candidate; Hillary Clinton will be the first woman candidate for president with bells on. She has already declared the ruling “deeply disturbing.”

I’d say the gender gap just widened a bit more; and the Democrats – especially young and single women – have just been given a reason to turn out this November and in 2016. As often with culture war battles, the winners can easily become losers. And I don’t need to remind the right that those who have no problem with contraception are a growing, big majority demographic and those opposed to contraception are a tiny and declining one. If you’re going to take a stand on religious conscience, why does it have to be restricting women’s choices in their insurance coverage?

In non-Hobby Lobby news, we noted Facebook’s creepy manipulation of  users’ emotions – all for your own good, you understand; Putin got his comeuppance as Ukraine signed a trade pact with the EU; and I penned a mediation on our age of libertarianism – and its growing impact on foreign policy.

The most popular (well, read, anyway) post of the day was Why Am I Not So Alarmed By Hobby Lobby? followed by Jesus vs John Galt. I can’t help wondering if part of the Court’s rationale isn’t somehow informed by American conservatism’s bizarre and disturbing attempt to create a Randian Christianity.

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See you in the morning.