Should Businesses Have More Rights than Gays, Women and Blacks?
Should businesses have more rights than people? In particular, people who are gay, female or black?
Because the US has a history of privileging businesses over historically underprivileged people.
And it’s getting worse. As Harvard’s Kennedy School observes:
While the First Amendment was intended to protect individual freedom of religion, speech and assembly, as well as a free press, corporations have begun to displace individuals as its direct beneficiaries. This ‘shift from individual to business First Amendment cases is recent but accelerating.’
When rights clash, whose should prevail?
When the rights of different groups clash, whose should prevail? Well, who’s more harmed?
What happens when we ask that question about businesses in the state of Indiana, Hobby Lobby, Inc. and business owners v blacks under Jim Crow law.
Under Jim Crow blacks were greatly harmed. It was difficult to purchase many products and services, get bank loans, or travel and be able to find a hotel room and a bathroom stop. It was also enormously difficult to feel a basic sense of worth and dignity.
Once Jim Crow was overthrown businesses had more customers and made more money.
The US Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling shelters businesses from providing contraception in their insurance plans — if it’s against the business’s “religious beliefs.”
Expect more abortions. Plus, more women’s health will suffer from un-spaced pregnancies. And more women will have a harder time feeding their families — with too many mouths to feed, or difficultly going to work with many children underfoot.
And how would Hobby Lobby be harmed if the court decision had gone the other way? They might spend more money on birth control. But pregnancy and children’s health care cost a lot more.
And their corporation’s “religious beliefs” would be harmed. More on that later.
Indiana wedding cakes
If gay Indiana couples were refused wedding cakes they’d likely feel a loss of social worth and dignity. As blacks did when they were barred from restaurants, hotels, etc. — or told to enter thru the back door. Or as Jews did when they were forced to walk in the gutters of Nazi Germany.
Without the law, Indiana pastry chefs would make more money.
But not discriminating is against a business’s “religious belief,” so there’s the harm?
Hoosiers, Hobby Lobby and religion
Just how does Hobby Lobby or Cakes ‘R Us manage to read the Bible or attend worship service, anyway?
My Mormon husband had once been a liquor clerk at SaveOn. My Mormon friends worked as grocery clerks and rang up coffee, tea and beer. And the Mormon Marriotts have no problem selling coffee, tea, liquor, and porn.
These folks just don’t feel like imposing their religious views on everyone else.
Real religion: Do unto others
Jesus asked his followers to live by the Golden Rule: Do onto others as you would have done onto you.
Even as ye have done unto the least of these (as you understand “the least of these”) ye have done it unto me.
In fact, Jesus was known for dining with “sinners.”
And when asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus talked of love. Love God and love your neighbor.
The real motive
The greatest commandment in Christianity is love. It is not loving to treat others with derision. Funny how so many of Jesus’s followers don’t get that.
Actually, creating laws that harm traditionally disempowered groups suggests the real motive:
Sustain hierarchies of power and status. Let everyone know their place. And keep them there.
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Posted on April 10, 2015, in feminism, LGBT+, politics/class inequality, race/ethnicity, reproductive rights, sexism, women and tagged business rights, Discrimination, feminism, Hobby Lobby, human rights, Indiana, LGBT+, religious freedom, reproductive rights, women. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.