Conservative Evangelical Christians and other anti-choice, anti-contraceptives, and anti-LGBTQ zealots were downright giddy and literally ecstatic over the possibility of finally receiving some of the promised dividends for selling their souls to the Devil in sacrificing all their “deeply held religious beliefs” by standing with Donald Trump throughout his unambiguously morally reprehensible actions and policy directives.
They have stood with him from his destructive and epithet-laden tweets, to his promise of constructing a wall on our southern border that “Mexico will pay for,” to the Access Hollywood tape, to revelations of his payoffs to quiet a porn star, to separating babies and young children from their parents and putting them in cages, to his planning an insurrection on the Capitol, to his squirreling top-secret documents at his Florida resort.
Throughout Trump’s bully-in-an-America-shop candidacy to his plowing into the White House, his expectant base of supporters ran ahead like the excited sprinters in the annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, all with the hoped-for remuneration of Trump packing the judicial branch with decidedly right-wing judges and “justices.”
The wall with Mexico was merely one of the many structures Trump promised to build. When he asserted during the campaign to punish women who have abortions and their doctors who perform them, he was figuratively walling-off women from their reproductive rights.
By committing to reproduce the Supreme Court with an untra-conservative majority and promising to reverse both Roe v. Wade (resulting the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationcase, 2022) in the and marriage equality, he gave social conservatives the vision of seeing a gigantic concrete and barbed-wire structure suspended high into the Heavens separating women and LGBTQ people from their bodies and from their civil rights, and, certainly, from their humanity.
Unfortunately, Trump fulfilled these promises, and the impact on religious conservatives have already had even wider-ranging implications.
In yet another jaw-dropping, bigoted, hateful, and life-threatening court ruling, a federal judge ruled that employers are not compelled to cover prevention drugs (for HIV and birth control) without any cost-sharing as stipulated by the Affordable Care Act’s preventive services clause by finding that clause unconstitutional.
The case was brought by two Texas businesses and several Texas residents. The judge, Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas, dispensed his opinion finding the requirement for employers to cover HIV prevention drug preexposure prophylaxis (PrED) and birth control violated employers “religious freedom” as outlined in the Religious Rights Restoration Act.
The judge failed to concur with the Biden administration’s argument that PrEP poses a “compelling government interest” in asking private insurance plans to cover the drugs at no cost-sharing or with any religious exemptions.
The ACA’s preventive services requirement stipulates that insurers must fully cover 100 preventive services without cost-sharing to plan members.
O’Connor’s ruling could be used possibly to deny coverage of life-saving vaccines and other vital drugs if employers claim these therapies violate their “deeply held religious beliefs.”
The U.S. Congress passed the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which “ensures that interests in religious freedom are protected.”
Though the Act was ruled unconstitutional in 1997 by the U.S. Supreme Court’s City of Boerne v. Flores decision, which determined that the Act goes beyond Congress’s enforcement power, it continues to be applied to the federal government, for example, in Gonzales v. O Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal (2006) and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014).
In response to these and other related cases, twenty-one states have passed State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that apply to state governments and local municipalities.
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, 2014:
“The owners of the businesses have religious objections to abortion, and according to their religious beliefs the four contraceptive methods at issue are abortifacients.”
Justice Samuel Alito, in the majority opinion, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.
We can add “Justice” Samuel Alito, “Justice” Anthony Kennedy, “Justice” John Roberts, “Justice” Clarence Thomas, and last, but certainly not least, “Justice” Antonin Scalia to an oxymoronic list since this Supreme Court decision amounted to anything but justice.
The five men voting in the majority denied the rights of women, most particularly working-class women employees at “closely-held” (family owned with a limited number of shareholders) for-profit corporations, which includes most U.S. corporations, control over their reproductive freedoms generally extended to women at other companies.
The case involved the owning families of the national chain of craft stores, Hobby Lobby, plus a Christian bookstore chain, and Conestoga, a Mennonite family-owned woodworking company who claimed and won the argument that the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and in particular, a few specific contraceptive devises covered by health insurance companies, violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 stating that “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion….”
The decision follows former 2012 presidential candidate Willard Mitt Romney’s assertion that “Corporations are people my friend,” and clearly shows that million- and billion-dollar corporate families certainly exist more humanly (they are more of a person) and have more rights than workers.
When patriarchal Christian nationalist white supremacist social and economic systems of male domination attempt to keep women pregnant and taking care of children, they can restrict their entry, or at least their level and time of entry, into the workplace, and ensure women’s dependence on men economically and emotionally.
As women produce more and more children, expanding numbers of little consumers emerge to contribute to the capitalist system’s ever increasing profits for owners of business and industry. The patriarchal Christian nationalist white supremacist imperative to control women’s and LGBTQ bodies amounts to imperatives to control their minds and life choices.
And when patriarchal white supremacist social and family structures converge with Christian nationalist religious systems, which reinforce strictly defined gender hierarchies of male domination, women and girl’s oppression and the oppression of those who transgress sexuality- and gender-based boundaries became inevitable.
Since the United States is majority Christian in all its many sects and denominations, and the conservative Supreme Court majority follows some form of Christianity, any claim of a supposed “separation of Church and state” is nothing more than a fraudulent platitude in the service of Christian nationalism.
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This Post is republished on Medium.
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