On Monday the Supreme Court Of The United Status (SCOTUS) rendered a decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
What’s a “Burwell,” you ask? As the Secretary of Health and Human Services at the time the decision was rendered*, Sylvia Burwell automatically became a footnote to history. Based on her position, as far as this case is concerned, she’s a proxy for the United States.
melt down (fat) – process (the carcass of an animal) in order to extract proteins, fats, and other usable parts.
At issue (per the Hobby Lobby website): The federal government mandating that “family businesses provide four specific potentially life-terminating drugs and devices through their employee health plan in conflict with their deeply held religious convictions.” Widely the issue is described as contraception. So what are these four drugs? “[T]wo kinds of emergency contraceptive or ‘morning after’ pills, and two types of intrauterine devices, or IUDs.”
Which way did SCOTUS break? Let’s put it this way. I went to the official Hobby Lobby online store and clicked a menu option labeled “News Center.” I was whisked away from shopping to HobbyLobbyCase.com, a lavishly and gorgeously designed website which proudly proclaimed, “A VICTORY FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.”
I guess that answers the question, “Will they keep it low key?” Obviously, hell no. Shout it from the mountain top Moses-style. Some can just naturally sense the appropriate amount of decorum. Is gloating one of the seven deadly sins?
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Yesterday was a big day for women and sport. The World Cup Final is one of the few sporting events I actually watched. And I personally think the women on that team should be proud of themselves. They played awesome. Winning isn’t the only thing and the format dictates that someone has to win and someone has to lose.
Abby Wambach? OMG! I think I just fell in love. She’s so dreamy. Drenched in sweat, that short haircut, and scoring a go-ahead goal. All I can say is, “Wow.”
Is it wrong to be attracted to a sports star? If it is then I don’t wanna be right.
Speaking of FIFA, I don’t really know how the World Cup works. Do the athletes get paid or are they amateur status? Either way, how much do they make from endorsements and such? What would they have received if they had won? I couldn’t help but notice they were all covered in Nike logos.
In other news…
Inequity makes me angry. And the stories coming out of the upcoming Olympics are really starting to piss me off. Two in particular.
First there was the thing about “Nazi imagery” being used to promote the 2014 winter games in Russia. How in the name of hell is something like that allowed to happen? It guess it isn’t that surprising when they hire people who love and admire Hitler to handle marketing, eh? (Story.)
Then there was the bit about women’s badminton in the 2012 London Olympics. Those in charge wanted to create a more “attractive presentation.” That sounds more like Iron Chef than a frickin’ sporting event. So it was that a rule requiring women competing in badminton to wear uniforms consisting of “skirts or dresses.” Officials at the Badminton World Federation said the move would make the women appear more feminine and appealing to fans and corporate sponsors. Ah yes, the corporate sponsors. We can’t forget about them, can we?
Personally I think the time for half-assed measures has passed. Why not just make them play topless? I can pretty much guarantee that ratings and ticket sales will go through the roof. And it will be a modern-era gold rush for the corporate sponsors. Think of it? The ad space possibilities are intoxicating! You can have the Nike logo on one boob and still have one whole boob left over for something else.
I think the IOC (International Olympic Committee) should honestly go after what they want here. The IOC (which is a corporation, by the way) should send representatives to Olympic hopefuls by the time they are five-years-old to explain the facts of life. “We support your dreams. The Olympics would be nothing without people like you, the world class athletes that the world wants to see. We’ll use you like pieces on a chessboard to suit our needs. If you’re the best of the best and it meets our needs, we can make you a star. By the way, get used to being naked. God help you if you don’t meet our needs, though, even if you are the best in the world. We’ll crush you and your dreams like so much used meat.”
We find that it’s best to get those naive illusions out of the way at an early age.
And, last but not least…
My Netflix was out yesterday. So I ended up watching content on a different channel on my Roku device. We ended up on something called the SnagFilms channel, which is completely free. There were lots of interesting documentaries and such. By chance, the film we ended up watching was Training Rules.
Imagine that your had a lifetime dream that you had chased since the age of four. You become one of the best of the best, the top 20 in the nation, earn a scholarship and take your rightful place on the national stage. Then, it all suddenly ends when a person who is supposed to be looking out for you threatens to destroy everything you’ve ever dreamed about because of some arbitrary fact about yourself that she doesn’t like.
Welcome to the plot of the documentary Training Rules. The movie chronicles the effect that Penn State University women’s basketball coach Rene Portland had on the lives of women on her team.
A religious person, Portland was fiercely anti-lesbian. And if she thought you were gay, she wouldn’t just kick you off the team. She would use her awesome power and influence as the head coach of a successful program at PSU to keep you out of the sport forever. She’d make sure that your scholarship was cancelled. And she’d threaten to even prevent the transfer of credits.
Penn State, of course, did nothing about Portland even after adding homosexuality to the school’s non-discrimination policy. Which, in court, they argued, had no meaning since it wasn’t legally a contract. I love it when organizations take the high road.
I have little doubt that Portland viewed herself as a pious God warrior, but what she really did was destroy dreams and destroy lives. She was a destroyer of people.
The purpose of institutions like Penn State is to help people. To educate and support them. Not use them as disposable pawns in a high stakes game of money, glamor, prestige and corporate warfare.
Training Rules is the kind of movie that pisses you off. They say that all evil needs is for good men to do nothing. Penn State excelled at that. I highly recommend this one-hour documentary.
Maybe some day all people will have a fair shot at equity. But it sure isn’t now and it sure isn’t this planet.
Some of y’all may remember a young feller from Texas that came this way once.
His name was George W. Bush although we all just called him Dubya.
Back in 2000, some folks thought he was elected to be our president. To this day some folks still dispute that. But that’s not what I came here to say.
He was inaugurated as our president on January 20, 2001.
He had a lot to do and didn’t waste a lot of time. For example, did you know, that just nine days later, using the presidential power of an “executive order” he created the OFBCI?
You’re all familiar with the OFBCI, right? No? Well, I can tell you this much. It stands for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
What? “Faith-based” stuff in our federal government? Yeah, I know. Weird.
The OFBCI is an office within the White House Office that is part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
The purpose of the OFBCI was to fulfill campaign promises made by Bush in regards to “compassionate conservatism.” Huh? Say what? I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that’s a phrase you haven’t heard about in a long, long time! Now I wonder why that might be?
What ever happened to this grand vision of conservatism that helped Bush win his way into the White House? That’s a good question.
I submit that Bush’s wholesale abandonment of compassionate conservatism may very well be one of the biggest “flip flops” in the history of U.S. politics. Ironic, eh? Yes, at first he kept his promise by creating the OFBCI, but then, as his presidency ground on, what did he do about it except lip service, if even that?
You might think Obama wouldn’t stand for a faith-based office in his White House. You’d be wrong. He kept the office, although he renamed it to be the “White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.”
Some people (like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh) will shout loudly that the phrase “separation of church and state” doesn’t appear in the U.S. Constitution. They are correct. Of course, neither do the words God, creator or maker. Yes, they are always quick to point out that the Declaration of Independence mentions a “Creator.” But that word didn’t originally appear in the draft by Thomas Jefferson or the copy that John Adams wrote in his own hand. It got in there some other way before it was signed. Additionally, that document, wonderful as it is, has no legal bearing on our legal system today. That, of course, comes from the U.S. Constitution. When is the last time you ever heard of an indepencian law? Yeah, I thought so.
What is the truth about what the founding fathers wanted? Many are quick to claim that they wanted this or they wanted that. I merely cling to the position: If they wanted this to be a Christian nation, wouldn’t they have bothered to actually mention it in our most basic legal document?
What’s scarier than someone with a gun? Someone with a gun and an imaginary friend. (Or a nuclear arsenal.) Someone who believes apocryphal myths (rather than verifiable facts) about the past to support his actions and beliefs today.
People argue a lot about God and country and the Constitution. Most of it centers around the argument that America was intended to be a “Christian nation.”
For example, someone once said something like this to me: The Constitution makes no mention of a “wall of separation between church and state.”
The fellow who wrote that to me actually misspelled “Constitution” but I feel like being nice so I corrected it so he doesn’t look stupid. He also went on to add that the “separation doctrine” is an invention of the Supreme Court.
I have to admit, those statements made me curious. So I went and did some checking. I examined a document that most of us would probably accept as an absolute authority on the matter – The Constitution of the United States. Grab a copy of the Constitution and you can fact check my results if you want.
So, what does the Constitution of the United States say about God and religion anyway? Not much, it turns out. Based on the following facts, can the wall of separation be inferred, especially in light of comments by certain “founding fathers” that were made later?
From what power is the Constitution of the United States derived? I checked. The word “God” can’t be found there. Nor “Christ” or “Christianity” or “Creator” or “Maker.”
All I can find is a reference to “We the people…” That is where the power of the United States government lies.
The word “religion” is not found, but “religious” does result in one hit:
From Article VI. “… no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
That’s it. That’s all I could find. I’m now going to make an assumption: If this was supposed to be a country based on Christianity, don’t you think some of those terms would have been a skosh more prominent? Might they even have gone as far as to actually mention it?
If it was so bloody important, why on Earth would the founding fathers leave it completely out of the document we hold most dear?