Law professor and former Washington Post reporter Garrett Epps is concerned that the Supreme Court's willingness to consider religious exemptions to Obamacare's contraceptive mandate would amount to legitimizing secession.
Writing in The Atlantic on Thursday, Epps notes that the court's decision to hear a case involving Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., and its issuance of a temporary stay of the mandate at the request of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order of nuns, amount to "a statement that religious bodies, and people, and even commercial businesses, no longer belong to society if they decide they’d rather not."
When he says "religious bodies," however, it appears he only means Christian ones. Because when it comes to carving out religious exemptions from U.S. law for Muslims, Epps is all for it in at least one case.
In a Sept. 27, 2012, essay, also for The Atlantic, Epps chided Americans who believed the First Amendment should protect "The Innocence of Muslims," a trivial, barely-noticed insult to Islam by a U.S. filmmaker that later sparked violent reactions after Islamist extremists distributed it to inflame mobs across the Middle East.
"Americans seem curiously unaware that, in many countries, thoughtful, modern, secular-minded people don't reject free speech -- they reject the claim that it protects 'The Innocence of Muslim,'" Epps wrote, apparently unaware that many of those challenging that claim were Islamist supremacist fanatics with a global reputation for using anti-blasphemy laws as an excuse for oppression, and even genocide, against religious minorities.
This is pure hypocrisy, made worse by the fact that Epps equates a government mandate to provide certain types of birth control with a constitutional right. He calls Christian business owners and Catholic nuns "secessionist" for wanting to avoid having the federal government force them to provide an employee benefit against their beliefs, yet demands a carve-out from the First Amendment for religious extremists who enforce theirs with violence.