Confronting the Hobby Lobby Heebie-Jeebies

Benjamin G. Davis, Associate Professor of Law, University if Toledo College of Law

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Given the kinds of sincere religious based efforts (whatever the detriment to oppressed people comes from these sincere beliefs) going forward, those people of faith who have experienced the religious belief based oppression of disfavored groups in their places of worship need to respond. We can only do that if we take our inspiration from Richard Allen and Absalom Jones who refused to be relegated to a back seat in their church and faith.

It seems to me that each time a religious belief based effort is used to oppress people, there should be a religious belief based effort to hold back the tide and push back.

For example, at my church we have for a long time had an inclusive vision and more broadly had the view that God loves you, whatever. This view is sincerely held by us. Thus, government exemptions on religious grounds that would lead to oppressed people not being able to live their complete lives infringes on my sincere religious beliefs. Government blocking of Medicaid benefits in numerous states to the least of us, offends my religious beliefs. Blocking same sex marriage offends my religious belief.

Sincerely held religious beliefs were used to rationalize slavery. If sincerely held religious beliefs are going to lead to oppressive spaces for people then those people and one’s whose sincerely held religious beliefs compel them to think differently need to speak up.

I sincerely believe that abortion is a question between a woman and God and I am not to stand in judgment as my Bible tells me – for I am not without sin. So it offends my sincere religious beliefs that contraception decisions are being taken out of the hands of those women instead of making it a matter of their faith.

It offends my religious beliefs that entities can seek to argue religious bases to do things that in my faith are retrograde to human rights.

This is how we need to confront the oppression unleashed by this Supreme Court. By asserting the sincere religious bases for our progressive vision as well as the bases in law.

I was told that in polite company one does not talk about politics or religion. The Supreme Court constrains even us Episcopalians not to be polite on both fronts.