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Stretch of the millennium: How the Hobby Lobby ruling could help the Taliban deny kids polio vaccine

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By Doug Powers  •  July 5, 2014 10:54 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

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While a plan is being devised to pin global warming on Hobby Lobby, for now we’ll just have to settle for a whiffle-brained diatribe in The New Yorker about the potential downsides of the recent Supreme Court ruling:

If the Pakistani Taliban, aided by clever lawyers, organized a closely held American corporation, and professed to run it on religious principles, might its employees be deprived of insurance coverage to inoculate their children against polio? And would the Supreme Court, by the five-to-four decision issued on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, endorse such a move?

In setting up stateside to enjoy the freedom proclaimed by the Court, the Taliban would have to overcome its awkward position as a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization under American law. Shooting health workers with whom the Taliban disagrees would also be out of the question, since such acts would bring into play other strands of American law, such as the prohibition on homicide. (Residents of the F.A.T.A., governed by tribal codes that legitimize revenge killing, do not enjoy the same protection.) But these are obstacles that the Taliban’s lawyers, if they were good ones, might well overcome. The Taliban could inspire American followers to put together a corporate charter separately and independently, without any financial or military links to the banned mother organization. And the American offshoot could learn to hire lobbyists rather than gunmen.

The article offers a peek at the liberal view of the intellect of the “working class.” Not only would Americans willingly work for a Taliban-owned entity, but they would allow their kids to go without a polio vaccine just because the Islamist extremist owners didn’t want to cover it on their health insurance plan. And I can’t even believe I just wrote the previous sentence.

Here’s the closer, if you can stand it:

And yet, the impact on children, living and unborn, of the Taliban public policy on vaccines is not, arguably, different in category from the impact that the Hobby Lobby decision will likely have on the families of those who work at companies whose owners claim to run them on Christian principles, in one respect: the extrapolation of religious beliefs into public policy will damage the over-all health of affected families. The health consequences of failing to vaccinate children may be more predictable than the health consequences of blocking access to effective contraception. But, in both cases, there is no doubt that the consequences will be harmful. The difference lies partly in our cultural setting—and, in the case of the ongoing campaign to restrict the reproductive rights of American women, in our capacity for outrage.

There’s that disingenuous “blocking access” again. If those unhappy with the Hobby Lobby ruling think they have such a strong argument, why the constant need to misrepresent the details?

It’s also interesting that somebody concerned about a Supreme Court case’s “impact on children, living and unborn” cherry-picked Burwell v. Hobby Lobby instead of Roe v. Wade.

Also, don’t forget that if you were a single woman and asking the HR department at Taliban Inc. about what kind of birth control coverage you can get, you might be stoned to death for premarital sex. And hanging gay people — does the Hobby Lobby ruling clear a path for that in corporate America as well? After all, according to the author, the two are “not, arguably, different in category.”

Here’s secretly recorded video of the author attempting to reach his conclusion:

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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