Religious Liberty and Business

I applaud people investing their money and making products and services people want to patronize. Unfortunately there have been recent crises in the news about the religious beliefs of the owners of companies and government. Recent news have brought forth the refusal of Oklahoma based craft store Hobby Lobby to fund the morning after pill because it “leads to termination of pregnancy” and various business owners in states that opened up marriage to same sex couples not wanting to do business with them.

Unfortunately we are entering the uncomfortable topic of should we allow private business owners to object to laws on moral grounds. It is a very dangerous precedent if allowed by our courts. I certainly would not want a Jehovah’s Witness employer to refuse to cover my blood transfusion if I got in a major medical incident. I would not want a cost cutting employer to deny medicines for Diabetes if I should need them to function properly.

The irony is craft and hobby stores have a dominant female clientele and they are going to be hurting their female employee’s big time by their decision. I remember during the Sandra Fluke incident earlier in 2012, she was asking for her school’s health plan to cover contraceptives and she got major flak from Rush Limbaugh. Economically speaking, health care costs are higher when more items are subsidized and in some cases you can get cheaper prices by paying in cash. However people elected Democrats for better or worse and we got this health care “reform” and we need to learn to live with it. As long as Hobby Lobby is not covering Viagra or any other male comparable drug, that would be the only out I could see viable.

If we want to prevent conservative business owners from going Galt as in the case in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged where the productive people of society ran away from an oppressive government, we need to adapt single payer. Single payer would give all of us universal health care that would be free from the dictates of the employer. This would lead to healthier workers and increased productivity. Nothing prevents people in single payer health care systems to take out private health insurance as in the case in the United Kingdom. If conservatives don’t want abortions don’t have abortions. We could even pay women to have an IUD device to prevent future abortions from happening which could be a perfect compromise in Obama’s America.

For Hobby Lobby they should understand that they are operating a business that serves the public, it is not selective like a church where they can boot people for not believing their principles of faith or boot people because they may be queer. If you want to do business with the public you have to follow the laws of the government no matter how silly they may be perceived to be. If you do not like the rules of Caesar, you are more than welcomed to change the government by donating money to politicians to make your world view come true. I was bewildered that Hobby Lobby would dare  to open up in California due to its hostile regulatory climate and anti-discrimination laws for LGBT people in the state, but they did, if Hobby Lobby was allowed to nullify the Obama rules on contraceptives, imagine them saying we want to be allowed to discriminate against LGBT employees in states that have those laws. However, what LGBT person in their right mind wants to work there? Religious nullification of laws would be very dangerous and outright stupid. If someone is a Muslim and wants to be a supermarket checkout clerk at Albertsons, they should realize that they will have to handle ham once in a while and there would be no excuses or a designated ham holder to step in when the time arises.

For the photographer, innkeeper and the trolley owner who refuses to do business because there are same sex couples in our society. Who in their right mind wants to turn down customers in today’s economy? I may feel uncomfortable serving customers with face tattoos where the individuals likely came back from prison, but I serve them with the best professionalism I can offer. We do not need to carry a Four Square type application to find out which businesses do not want to serve LGBT people or which businesses those are inclusive to LGBT people. That is why there are public accommodation laws. Anarchy would indeed give us liberty, but anarchy would be one massive headache if the local Burger King refuses to serve black people and the McDonalds across the street do not want to serve Asians.

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