Geez, I leave home and go to Spain for a while only to come back to a country that seems to have gone off the rails. Now, corporations have souls and religious rights to deny certain elements of health care, particularly to women. Five guys in black robes determined that a company can pick and choose what options employees, particularly women, have with regard to reproductive health insurance. It’s because the owners of the company apparently follow a Biblical approach and interpretation to reproductive health and thus don’t think their company should provide reproductive health programs and items or devices that prevent pregnancy and/or cause abortion. It’s because in their Bible, evidently, it’s clearly written that thou shalt not support contraception or abortion. I missed that part back when I used to read the Bible.
I distinctly remember “thou shalt not steal, thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not bear false witness, covet thy neighbor’s ass, have any other god before me.” (Many abortion opponents consider abortion “murder,” and I can’t fault them for that. Hard to think of contraception as murder though.)
There are of course umpteen versions of how corporations can use that Supreme Court ruling to dodge any number of other laws or civil rights as long as the company is “closely held and its policy is based on sincere practice of their particular, deeply held religious beliefs.” Some religions frown on vaccination while others are opposed to most if not all medical treatments. Some believe transfusions are against God’s will. No doubt some clever owners of “closely-held companies” can manufacture opposition to any number of things they don’t want to spend money on and wrap it up as deeply held and sincere practice of their beliefs.
The Supreme Court ruling allows the Hobby Lobby company to refuse insurance coverage for several medications or interventions which end or prevent pregnancy. So here’s a question. Does the company refuse to cover vasectomies on the grounds that, for the most part, they are intended as a permanent contraceptive? It would be interesting to know how it handles that.
Meanwhile, down on the border, we’re having a crisis not knowing what to do with 52,000 children who entered this country illegally and consequently are criminals under the law. Texas Governor Rick Perry told CNN Thursday morning that the president has to do something, especially to “secure the border.” The old “secure the border” demand plays real well with certain conservative-leaning folks. Unfortunately, I’ve never heard anyone from the right or left describe an effective way to “secure the border.” A 14-foot ladder trumps a 12-foot wall every time. A tunnel 40 feet deep makes a fence post 6 feet deep pretty useless. So what do the people really mean when they call for “securing the border?” First of all, they generally mean don’t spend any more taxpayer money, because they already pay way more taxes than they want to pay, and besides, the government is nothing but a big hole where their money goes to die.
And while it pains me to admit it, I believe there is a measurable view that shooting a few illegals and hanging them on the Mexico side of the wall would get the point across and have a scarecrow effect on future scofflaws. Practically speaking though, how many would you have to shoot and hang on the wall to have the desired effect? One every 100 yards maybe. That’s a lot over a span of 1,500 or 1,800 miles. And how often would you have to change them out and put up fresh ones?
The sight of all those people down in Southern California screaming at the women and children on the buses trying to get through to a local detention center turns my stomach. Columnist Reuben Navarrette likened it to the people in Little Rock and Oxford, Mississippi back in the ’50s and ’60s trying to stop the young black kids from integrating their schools. He suggests deploying U.S. Marshals to the region to maintain law and order as they did in the south back in the day. Probably not a bad idea for starters, but the problem remains. What do we do with the 52,000 children and all the others who have come here recently?
The administration talks about screening them all and giving medical treatment as needed, food, fresh clothing and then restoring them to the bosom of their families. The silly implication there is that they somehow got lost or separated from their loving families and need to be returned to the good life that suggests. It sounds really compassionate, the true American way. The reality, of course, is that as soon as they’re strengthened up, they’ll be back towing their younger siblings with them. Then the whole things starts all over again.
Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.