On Thursday, The Washington Examiner's Mark Tapscott observed that the Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby had brought out the "dark side of American liberalism." Specifically, the case brought to light anti-Catholic sentiment harkening back to the days when Catholics were not trusted in public office for fear that they would take orders from Rome.
Tapscott cited a Huffington Post column in which the author, Ronald Lindsay, asked an "uncomfortable question" in the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling: "Is it appropriate to have six Catholic justices on the Supreme Court?" The question is uncomfortable for good reason, as other writers have pointed out. Besides the rank unconstitutionality of requiring religious tests for public offices, presumably Lindsay would not ask that question about six Jewish justices or six Muslim justices.
Unfortunately, Lindsay is far from alone in his beliefs, contempt for the religious being one of the few fashionable prejudices remaining. One more example for a growing list: last Thursday's full-page New York Times advertisement by the atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation, which warns of the "growing dangers of theocracy" posed by the Hobby Lobby ruling.
The FFRF helpfully reminds readers that the 5-4 decision turned on the Supreme Court's "ultraconservative, Roman Catholic majority." Its all-caps headline: "Dogma should not trump our civil liberties." Below that: "All-male, all-Roman Catholic majority on Supreme Court puts religious wrongs over women's rights."
From this it is apparent that FFRF doesn't understand the outcome of the Hobby Lobby case. The real dogma at issue in the case was not that of Hobby Lobby's faithful owners, the Greens, but of the HHS bureaucrats who attempted to run them over to achieve a policy end. Likewise, the real civil liberty at issue was not the ability to access contraception but the right not to be implicated in a sin.
FFRF doesn't understand this, but should we have expected otherwise? Liberal secularism has its own dogmas, and they have been in plain view since the Hobby Lobby decision was handed down last week.
Bonus: Here are some of the mean and/or conspiratorial tweets people sent about Catholics last week.
We most certainly need some good news from the UN after the Catholic men on the Supreme Court have come out as... http://t.co/xcq6neWFnU— Steve Sprinkle (@unfinishedlives) July 5, 2014
For the record: the 5-4 supreme court split on the Hobby Lobby case was 5 male catholic judges vs. 1 non-catholic male and all 3 women.— Nick Craver (@Nick_Craver) July 5, 2014
How did we end up with the five conservative (male) judges of the Supreme Court ALL end up being CATHOLIC?? We were screwed from the start!— Randy Prine (@randyprine) July 1, 2014
RT @AdamWolf77 Maybe the Catholic Church should take the whole molesting altar boys thing to the Supreme Court.— RonSupportsYou (@RonSupportsYou) July 1, 2014
breaking: white catholic men i'm facebook friends with very happy about supreme court decision— Josh Terry (@JoshhTerry) June 30, 2014