Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments joined by some forty-four corporations to overturn the Affordable Care provisions that employers must provide, in their health care coverage for their employees, access to contraception, the nation and the world is going to watch unfold the spectre of a nation that publicly defends the legal and constitutional concept of the separation of church and state, while it slowly, or perhaps not so slowly, sinks into the mire of a theocracy.
First there are the hot-beds of anti-abortion theology that seek, through whatever means available to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the act making access to therapeutic abortions available to all women in America. Now, after three appellate courts have already sided with the corporations bringing the case against Obamacare, the Supreme Court, dominated as it is by Neanderthal conservatives, led by chief Justice Roberts and followed by Justices Alito and Scalia who have already declared themselves more "pro" corporations that most previous courts, is too likely to run in favour of the corporations.
Hercules Corporation, (never more ironically named has a corporation been), is headed by a Roman Catholic who does not "want to pay for" contraception, thereby using the corporation to exercise his personal religious views. When interviewed, he of course claims that the case is "not about whether a woman practices contraception but about whether 'we' should have to pay for such a practice, attempting to reduce the issue to simply dollars, when it is much more an issue of the imposition of religious dogma on all the employees of Hercules and all other corporations with 50 or more employees.
There are some scholars who argue that in the history of the U.S. there is a significant difference between the corporation's right to exist (as an individual) from that of the single person. They argue that corporations, while they operate under laws that provide considerable public/state support through various tax and legal measures, do not have the capacity, nor have they been designed and created to express "worship" to a deity. Employees are not hired on the basis of their religion nor are corporations religious institutions. If they were, they ought to apply for inclusion under the "religious" institution legal framework, gaining access to non-profit status, and then the public would recognize their claim to a religious purpose.
In our view, these corporations cannot have it both ways: seeking profit for the provision of their products and services, and also seeking religious status as defenders of any single faith dogma.
And yet, in March of 2014, another push and shove, not only against the Affordable Care Act, but also potentially opening the doors for an onslaught of religious-based claims that threaten the very cornerstone of American public law and policy, including access to therapeutic abortions, will dominate the Supreme Court agenda. In Texas, there is already a state legislature move to require all doctors performing abortions to have hospital privileges in the town or county in which they perform those abortions. Many of the doctors in that situation do not have such privileges, and the result will be the closing of many of those clinics, requiring women who seek an abortion to travel long distances to secure the procedure.
This is just another example of the "swiss-cheese" reality of the holes in the wall keeping church and state separate.
As the government, allied with forces that support the separation of church and state, attempts to resist the "creep" of religious domination, coming from the right, (those people who want a smaller government, until it comes to controlling a woman's body and liberty) we continue to watch a more blatant, yet nevertheless equally as toxic, tide demanding the creation of Islamic states governed by the radical right in that faith community. Can both sides not see the dangers implicit in these conflicting, while also similar, thrusts into the public square of too many states? And at the core of both, women's rights seem to be paramount!
What is it about Roman Catholicism and evangelical Christianity, as well as Islam, that seeks to dominate, even too often persecute, and control their women? How does that theme square with a religion of tolerance, compassion and agape love? In a word, it doesn't.