Hobby Lobby: Religion Bogs Us Down

A few weeks ago, there was that controversial bill in Arizona that shouldn’t have been controversial concerning religious freedom in discriminating against gays. I wrote about it here.

I wasn’t really concerned about the Arizona bill. It was doomed. But this (check the link out if you don’t know about the case) is serious. This will break the country if the wrong decision is made. Literally.

One thing a lot of people ignore in this case is that this isn’t some decision that will revolutionize religion across the world. All it will do, at the most basic level, is verify whether or not America is deserving of the first-world position that it pioneered after World War 2.

Let me repeat that: America pioneered the first world. But now we must see if we deserve that position.

Here are two graphs. One which displays religiousity, light green representing more religiousity, and one which displays access to universal health care. You see where I’m going with this.

Religious Index

Universal Health Care

America has fallen behind in what other first world countries provide. And it’s due to religion (more specifically, Ronald Reagan and his “religious right is gud!!1!”). If you don’t believe me, ask yourself against just why there’s a controversial Supreme Court case on whether religion overrides women’s rights.

The Obama administration has already provided exemptions for the contraceptives part of Obamacare to nonprofit religious groups. That’s enough of a problem. But when your boss’ religion matters more than your rights, what does that mean for the future of America?

By declaring that people have the right to exercise their religion on other people, what kind of message does that send to Europe and East Asia (and Canada and Australia) about us?

America has taken most of the steps necessary to doom itself. It has forsaken all but the 1%. It has repudiated the concept of social welfare. It has flouted the notion that students may be more important to our future than tax cuts for billionaires. It has left people to wallow in their stupidity (Don’t you absolutely love No Child Left Behind?).

But we yet hang on with the hope of reform. That maybe people will stop being such idiots. That maybe America too can provide universal health care and help students out. That’s a Marxist pipe dream in Utah, but taken for granted in Europe.

There is only one thing that can prevent the failure of America to keep up with Europe at this moment, the crash of the last standing hyperpower from World War 2. And that is the Supreme Court. There is only one road that will return us to the highway within the next generation. And that is to reject the supremacy of religion. It is to reject the concept that an archaic book is more important than the rights of those standing next to you. It is to reject the transcendence of religious beliefs, the idea that attaching a name to stupidity makes it important. We need change to this policy that religion is relevant— but to say that religion is foolish is political and social suicide in this country.

I worry about this case. Anything but an incisive and sharp ruling against Hobby Lobby may only prolong our suffering in the religious hell we doom ourselves to, but I do not foresee such luck. Corporations are entitled to 1st Amendment rights, by Citizens United, and the supposed swing vote in this decision, fairly radical Justice Kennedy, compares ruling for the government to forcing companies to pay for abortion.

ggwp surr@20

For June, I wait…


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The Constitution is 400 years old?

This week in domestic uproar:

Representative Sheila Jackson (D-TX) supposedly claimed that the Constitution was 400 years old.

Last time I checked, getting basic history facts wrong is the Tea Party’s job. So I was a bit surprised to see that a Democrat would miss something that simple. Let’s check it out:

Depending on your political affiliation, you may be quick to jump to some assumptions.

But as someone who has suffered through AP US History, I’m going to take a guess and say that maybe crazy right-wingers are misrepresenting what she said.

“…and how well it is that we have lasted some 400 years, operating under a Constitution that clearly defines what is constitutional and what is not.”

400 years ago was approximately when Virginia was permanently settled, in 1607. British colonization, the foundation for America, began then. The Constitution was ratified in 1788.

I can see this as a case of ambiguity. “We” can define the geographical lineage of the USA, which is about 400 years. However, it can also describe the country under the Constitution.

I’m not an expert in grammar, but I’ll say that analyzing the sentence would actually give you what Fox News charges, because “operating” is a clause used to modify “have lasted”. But I honestly don’t think that’s what Jackson was implying.

This is really a case of picking at words. It’s like “You Didn’t Build That”. Obama was completely correct in saying that in the context, while grammatically he may have implied something incorrect.

On the other hand, Bachmann is pretty clear about how CO2 isn’t harmful.

I would suggest that Democrats start learning how to correctly enunciate their ideas, so that conservatives can stop attacking ideas that are correct but said incorrectly.

Some Food for Thought on Crimea


is probably the most hypocritical thing America could possibly say.

Think about it for a second.

This country was founded by people who violently rebelled against their mother country, in the name of liberty and all that.

Nearly 240 years after the Declaration of Independence, we are now attempting to stifle a movement attempting to do the exact same thing we did without the violence.

Here’s a little thought experiment. Consider that the American Revolution were happening today.

Patriot: We should secede from the UK and become an independent nation! We aren’t being represented properly and they’re not addressing our problems!

Putin: No.

Patriot: What do you have to do with our decision? You’re not related to our problems in any way at all!

Putin: No.

Sounds ridiculous?

Now replace “Patriot” with “Crimean”, and “Putin” with “EU and USA”.

I don’t really give a shit about some aspects of “international law”. There are sometimes more important things than “international law”. The American Revolution was one of them. Crimea is another.

Now consider that Crimea is voting for secession at something like 95%, when Patriots numbered less than 50% during the Revolution. Talk about inconsistency.

If we want to act like Crimea is taking down the UN’s law and burning it at the stake, I suggest we go back to being a colony under the UK to bring ourselves in line with our own rhetoric. I, for one, would like the socialized healthcare.

You can’t ban Bitcoin

“Bitcoin has also become a haven for individuals to buy black market items. Individuals are able to anonymously purchase items such as drugs and weapons illegally.” -Sen Manchin (D-W.Va)

There are problems with any method of approaching a situation. Whether you wear running shoes or tennis shoes, you will still get tired after running. You could discard the running aspect altogether and take a car, but now you don’t lose calories.

With Bitcoin, you sacrifice some of the government regulation for anonymity. Meaning, some people can abuse the system to do some illegal stuff.

But who cares?

Is being able to buy drugs over the internet and not through cash such a liability?

This argument, if you think about it, is a lot like arguments for the NSA.

“You might do something illegal on the internet. Let me watch you just to make sure.”

“You might be talking about something illegal over the phone. Let me listen in just to make sure.”

“You might be doing something illegal. Let me follow you just to make sure.”

And now,

“You might be abusing those Bitcoins. Let me illegalize them, just to make sure.”

It’s preposterous. Has the encroachment on civil rights by the reached the point where the government now gets to decide what we can and can’t do on the internet?

Why the hell, Joe Manchin, is it your problem if I want to sell candy for a number on a computer?

Here in America, we value freedom. The government must not provide for your insurance, because that would be an encroachment on freedom of spending your money. Allow the banks to riskily invest with their customer’s money, for freedom, then spend more of taxpayer money to bail them out, to protect the banks’ freedom. Lower taxes, for freedom, but spend more on war– to protect the freedom of the military-industrial complex.

But civil rights mean nothing. We struck down the Voting Rights Act, because we want to act like racism doesn’t exist. We spy on the entire world, because there might just be a terrorist out there. We restrain the sharing of ideas, because artists would, by outdated logic, lose money. We oppose gay marriage, because to some it’s disgusting.

And, of course, we oppose cryptocurrency, because it may have some adverse side effects of anonymity, which, as Snowden has shown us, Big Brother hates.