Like many, I was outraged by the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby yesterday. This brings an end to the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby saga, but is surely only the beginning of like-minded controversies. Beyond the implications for Obamacare and women’s basic rights, one aspect of the ruling yesterday terrified me and reaffirmed an aspect of American politics that I often take for granted or make fun of: Christianity is out of control.
Let me be clear: I am a Christian. I am not an atheist, nor am I one who dismisses all other religions or spiritual beliefs as nonsense. I think there is goodness and beauty in most religions (except perhaps whatever we call the worship of Cthulu). Christian values are perfectly fine in theory: generosity, kindness, patience, and serenity, among others. To say that America is a Judeo-Christian society is not an insult; it means that we are built upon principles that all human beings strive for, regardless of their religious affiliation.
However, in my short life, it seems to me that more and more politicians and stakeholders are using Christianity to dictate very real, and very substantial policy decisions that are not so universal. It scares me to think that decisions like Hobby Lobby can become the norm. Under no circumstances should your employer’s religious views be able to dictate your own healthcare. This is an absurd and dangerous precedent. I’m not going to lie and say that birth control is not most commonly used for preventing pregnancy, but — a woman’s right to her own freaking sexuality aside — denying a woman with severe endometriosis access to much needed birth control is downright cruel. It’s wrong, plain and simple. And it isn’t my brand of Christianity.
I used to roll my eyes when Lindsey Graham went on one of the Sunday morning talk shows and shoved the Bible in the faces of his liberal opponents. It offended me on some level as a Christian, but I really didn’t think much of it. There was my type of Christian — a liberal, Massachusetts-born lapsed Catholic — and his kind — the Bible thumping Southerner. We didn’t mix, and we didn’t need to interact, ever.
But now I feel like I need to take up the mantle. I am a Christian, goddammit. So, as a Christian, I would like to ask: can we please have separation of church and state now? Can we make policy decisions based on data and actual policy analysis? Can we stop the debate over gay marriage? Can we make the debate over abortion a deeply ethical and philosophical one? Can we agree that using the excuse “my God says it’s wrong” is ludicrous? Can we instead turn inwards and reflect on our individual ethics, morals, and philosophies? Can we let our religious values influence our identities and decisions, but not define them?
And can we please, please, please — keep God out of our court system and out of our government halls?