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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

 
Hobby Lobby and the Christian Nation it wants to build

by digby

I'm sure you've read by now that the Supremes are going to hear the "Hobby Lobby" case and will decide whether or not a business owner can be exempted from providing birth control coverage if he is a religion fanatic who believes that women are chattel.

In an email chat the question arose as to whether this person would have to prove his religious sincerity to the court and if so, how one could go about doing that. Let's just say this fellow will have no trouble proving that he's a major right wing fundamentalist --- this court's favorite kind of guy:
An Oklahoma school district is debating a proposal that would create a Bible class for Mustang High School students.

School officials stress that the class would be an elective, but even so, there are clear reasons to be concerned. The proposal is based on curriculum designed by Hobby Lobby president Steve Green, infamous for his ongoing legal battle against the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate.
[...]
A compulsive collector of Biblical artifacts, Green has dedicated much of his personal fortune to the promotion of Bible education. And it’s evident that he prefers a sectarian approach to the subject. In 2012, he decried the Bible’s declining influence in an interview with The Christian Post.

“In some cases in America, I believe the Bible has become commonplace and it's not necessarily read and known as it has been in the past. I think we probably have the most ignorant population we’ve ever had because we don’t teach it in our schools like we used to,” he said.

Green also partners with our favorite Christian “historian,” David Barton, to run full-page newspaper ads promoting the exhausted myth that America is a “Christian nation.” This is disturbing on its own, but Green also has strong ties to Bill Gothard, the leader of an extremist Christian fundamentalist sect roiling with allegations of child abuse.

Gothard’s religious empire includes a homeschool curriculum popular with fundamentalist families, and a nationwide network of training centers and youth programs that exclusively rely on Gothard’s teachings.

Among his more controversial beliefs: Gothard thinks he can determine a person’s character simply by staring into their eyes, that disease has spiritual causes and that men are the sovereign rulers of the household. His books provide detailed instructions on how women ought to stand, in addition to diagrams of the appropriate length of men’s pants and illustrations of suitable female hairstyles.

In 2002, Green, acting through his family trust, purchased and then leased a vacant college campus to Gothard’s ministry. A year later, Green, this time acting through Hobby Lobby itself, purchased a shuttered hospital in Little Rock, Ark., and donated it to Gothard for the purposes of building a local training center.

These weren’t mere business transactions, either. The website of one of Gothard’s many ministries features video of Steve Green describing Hobby Lobby’s “desire to share Christ and Disciple others.” And in a review of Gothard’s book, The Amazing Way, David Green, father of Steve Green and founder of Hobby Lobby, wrote that, “Through the example and teachings of Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles, we have benefited both as a family and in our business. It is as we take those lessons from God s Word that Bill clearly articulates that we live the full life that God intends.”
I've written a lot about Bill Gothard and David Barton in years past. Gothard is sort of the godfather of the right wing fundamentalist homeschooling movement and a very sincere theocrat. Notice the bolded bit above: Gothard believes that diseases have spiritual causes. His devoted follower Bill Green might just believe his religious freedom is being infringed by more than just the birth control mandate. He might think medical science itself is an affront to his constitutional rights.

Here's a long article from CAP explaining all the reasons why this will be a dangerous precedent. Hint: it isn't just about birth control.

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