David Green, Asshole of the Day for July 2, 2014
Hobby Lobby CEO won his case against the Obamacare contraception mandate this week, with the Supreme Court pretending, for the first time ever, that for-profit corporations have religious rights, just like people do. We named Justice Alito Asshole of the Day for these new corporate religious rights he made up out of thin air.
But the story doesn’t end there. A big part of the case hinged on the "strongly-held religious beliefs" of Hobby Lobby’s owner when it came to abortion. He believed, despite medical and scientific evidence to the contrary, that certain forms of birth control were in fact abortifacients, meaning they cause abortions. “Strongly-held religious beliefs”. That’s the key here.
But are they really a strongly-held religious belief? Back in April it was discovered that the company 401K for Hobby Lobby was invested in companies that made those drugs that David Green found so objectionable. And also at the time, many people pointed out that Hobby Lobby products are mostly made in China, a country which has widespread abortion, with women forced to have them after their first child. But none of those things seemed to bother Mr. Green— his “strongly-held religious belief” only seems to apply when it comes to the employee health care plan.
And now we know it’s even more cynical than that. Apparently Hobby Lobby covered these abortifacients up until the moment that Obamacare required them:
The Greens re-examined the company’s health insurance policy back in 2012, shortly before filing the lawsuit. A Wall Street Journal story says they looked into their plan after being approached by an attorney from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty about possible legal action over the federal government’s contraceptives requirement.
That was when, according to the company’s complaint, they were surprised to learn their prescription drug policy included two drugs, Plan B and ella, which are emergency contraceptive pills that reduce the chance of pregnancy in the days after unprotected sex. The government does not consider morning-after pills as abortifacients because they are used to prevent eggs from being fertilized (not to induce abortions once a woman is pregnant). This is not, however, what the Green family believes, which is that life begins at conception and these drugs impede the survival of fertilized eggs.
At any rate, Hobby Lobby stopped covering those drugs in its plan and took the health care contraceptive mandate to court, represented by the Becket Fund.
The only caveat here is Hobby Lobby said it didn’t know it was covering the drugs.
"Coverage of these drugs was not included knowingly or deliberately by the Green family. Such coverage is out of step with the rest of the Hobby Lobby’s policies, which explicitly exclude abortion-causing contraceptive devices and pregnancy-terminating drugs," the company stated in its court filing.
Now you could argue that the company owners didn’t know, and that the moment they realized it, they changed it in accordance with their religious beliefs. But I call bullshit, and here’s why:
If opposition to abortion is such a “strongly-held religious belief”, then why does the company seem so passive about checking for abortion in the places that so many other religious people always look?
- They never looked at what companies their 401K was invested in
- They continue to buy the bulk of their products from China, the abortion capital of the world
- They never checked to see what drugs they were covering
Now every one of these things has a solution— the 401K could invest in funds that don’t include those drug manufacturers, they could buy their products from somewhere else, and they could have never covered those drugs in the first place. But they did none of this.
So I ask you, does this sound like the actions of someone with “strongly-held religious beliefs”? It sure doesn’t to me. It sounds like someone who doesn’t care until someone else points it out, and specifically someone who hates Obamacare first and finds a reason later.
Just contrast it with someone who does have strongly-held beliefs:
Lionel Hutz: Now, Mrs. Simpson, tell the court in your own words what happened after you and your husband were ejected out of the restaurant.
Marge: Well, we pretty much went straight home.
Lionel Hutz: Mrs. Simpson, remember that you are under oath.
Marge: We drove around until three in the morning looking for another open all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant.
Lionel Hutz: And when you couldn’t find one?
Marge: [crying] We… went… fishing.
Lionel Hutz: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do these sound like the actions of a man whose had ALL he could eat?
Yeah, that’s right. David Green’s “strongly-held religious beliefs” look pretty weak when compared to Homer Simpson’s commitment to all-you-can-eat fish.
So, for suddenly having “strongly-held religious beliefs” only when he could use it to oppose Obamacare, David Green is the Asshole of the Day.
It is David Green's second time as Asshole of the Day. His previous win was for refusing to cover birth control on religious grounds, all the while the employee 401K was invested in those same drugs.
“If Only We Had Taller Been”
We lost the great Ray Bradbury on this day in 2012. To celebrate this amazing writer, here is his poetic ode to exploration.
Every time I watch this, I almost cry.
In November 1971, Ray Bradbury joined Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan and others at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena to commemorate the Mariner 9 mission to Mars. Here he reads his poem "If Only We Had Taller Been", an ode to exploration, and a fitting tribute to his legacy as a writer and dreamer. In full above (with a captivated Sagan included) and excerpted below:
O, Thomas, will a Race one day stand really tall
Across the Void, across the Universe and all?
And, measure out with rocket fire,
At last put Adam’s finger forth
As on the Sistine Ceiling,
And God’s great hand come down the other way
To measure Man and find him Good,
And Gift him with Forever’s Day?
I work for that.
Short man. Large dream. I send my rockets forth
between my ears,
Hoping an inch of Will is worth a pound of years.
Aching to hear a voice cry back along the universal Mall:
We’ve reached Alpha Centauri!
We’re tall, O God, we’re tall!
(illustration by Lou Romano)
Damn right! If you think the parties are the same, you’re not paying enough attention. If you say they’re similar from your point of view, I guess that depends on your point of view…but the same? Absolutely not. That’s misleading at best, and completely false at worst.
Not if you’re a Republican.
I would differ on “suddenly”. The GOP plan has been attracting racists and bigots for decades. Look at any picture from 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, or 2010 and you’ll see some asshole with sign comparing the compelling social issue of the day to communism/socialism/nazism.