2017-10-12 – The other day, my Facebook feed brought me this gem: “No birth control – and abortion restrictions. Gee, kinda sounds like a Christian version of Sharia law to me.” It got me thinking. Did this post have a point?
I’m not really sympathetic to claims that laws should fail just because they coincide with the beliefs of a given religion. Plenty of non-controversial laws embody religious principles: laws against murder, laws against theft, laws against dishonesty—they all embody religious beliefs. They are all part of Sharia law, just as they are part of the Christian and Jewish canons. No doubt they are part of Buddhism and Hinduism, etc. etc.
Where you run into trouble is when a law tries to enact a sectarian command that is not universally believed. It’s not a problem if the Sharia prohibition against murder is enacted into law, because the rest of us hold that belief as well. But if the Sharia prohibition against eating pork is enacted into law, that’s a problem. Jews might sign on to the prohibition (well, some Jews), as might some vegetarians, but Christians and nonbelievers like to eat pork.
I mention all this because last week the Trump administration gave corporations the right to opt out of the Obamacare mandate that health insurance must cover if they had religious qualms about abortion or birth control.
Is that a Christian version of Sharia law?
Well, enacting anti-choice as part of your health insurance plan is certainly sectarian—and far from universal. So it is “Sharia (the Christian version).” But is it law?
Last week, I wrote about ways in which large corporations influence our law by influencing our government. But here we have a situation where the government has just handed over the power to make important decision—without any accountability.
These corporations are adopting governmental powers, but few of the employees of these corporations have the right to vote. If a government adopts anti-choice laws . . . well you at least had a chance to vote for your representative. If your employer adopts them, you had no chance.
And that’s the problem with transferring more and more decisions—not just decisions about birth control, but decisions about the environment, decisions about access to health care, and many more—to large corporations. It dilutes our democracy.
Unless corporations become more democratic.
Just a thought.
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