A Toxic Supreme Court

Image: Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Case Challenging Affordable Care Act

 

The US Supreme Court has once again demonstrated its dangerous political and religious bias. In a majority decision, the court has ruled that a company may deny birth control coverage to employees if the company’s  owners believe birth control is against God’s law. This clearly violates the constitutional separation of Church and State and nudges America closer to becoming a theocracy – like one of those awful Muslim countries where women are obliged to wear veils in public.

Religion used to be a private matter in America. Individuals were free to follow their own beliefs. It was the main reason the Pilgrim Fathers crossed the Atlantic. They wanted to escape the dominance of a state religion.

Now, the country’s highest court has decreed employees must submit to the religious doctrine of their employers. The court ruled today that a corporation named Hobby Lobby is exempt from the Obamacare provision to provide birth control for employees because the company’s owners belong to a religion that bans birth control.

In effect, the company’s employees are being told they must submit to the beliefs of a particular sect, even if they do not share those beliefs.

Justice Samuel Alito belongs to the Roman Catholic church, which certainly shares those beliefs. So does Justice Antonin Scalia. So does Justice Clarence Thomas. And so does Chief Justice John Roberts. Good Catholics all. Right-wingers all.

And the court’s crucial “swing voter,” Justice Anthony Kennedy, also is a Roman Catholic.

(Justice Sonia Sotomayer is also a Roman Catholic but joined the other three liberal justices in voting against the decision.)

With the court stacked in favor of right-wing religious and political policies, the nation’s freedoms are under attack. Women’s rights are being eroded. Civil rights are being overturned. And now religious freedom has been targeted.

The implications are frightening. What now?

Can a company owned by Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to cover blood transfusions? What if the owners belong to a religion that rejects hospital care altogether? Don’t Christian Scientists rely on prayer instead?

These justices are a disgrace. Thankfully they are mortal.  Future administrations will have an opportunity to appoint more suitable members to the court. It will be up to the American electorate to make sure these administrations support the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.

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gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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