In America, “Religious Freedom” Is A Theocratic Dogwhistle

It’s tempting to point out the problems with the district court ruling that explicitly allows the "Christian Employers Alliance" to violate the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition against discrimination, and to think it would make any kind of difference.

It’s tempting to point out how "sincere religious beliefs" during the pandemic have been used to avoid vaccinations, even though the objections are based on incorrect data and aren’t followed when it comes to any other medication, and that it might cause some to pause and reflect.

It’s tempting to point out the "sincere religious belief" of the CEA is specifically about something that has two conflicting stories in their religious book (Genesis 1 & 2 have two differing accounts for how humans were created), and to imagine that it might lead them to question their hubris.

It’s tempting to point out that "sincere religious belief" has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination, including justifying the practice of slavery, and that pointing it out might slow its use as a convenient battering ram to avoid social responsibilities.

It’s tempting to point out that "Christian Employers Alliance" does not have any kind of way to see how many actual companies are part of their "alliance" (or how to ensure — or avoid — being employed by a member). Or how they repeatedly say they promote "biblical values" — but don’t say what that means for them {1}. Or how they conveniently work with and steer members toward their "captive insurance company" Covenant Choice, whose website provides a whole lot of pleasant-sounding nothingburger words with the word "Christian" dropped in approximately every 15 words. {2}

But we all know it is pointless. This hypocrisy will not surprise or sway legal experts, and it certainly will not shame the zealots.

This is not a ruling about religious equality. This is a ruling for Christian exceptionalism. This ruling — as with pretty much any ruling in favor of Christian activist groups — will not be applied equally for those of differing faith traditions. It will not even necessarily respect all varieties of "Christian". And like other "religious exemptions," it will cause actual harm to actual people. Even within the framework of their own faith tradition, any argument about what their money "supports" is bogus {3}.

This kind of hypocrisy is virtue signaling for these people.

They are only concerned about their ability to enforce their faith on others, no matter how it harms others.

It may not be what they say, but as Jesus said (Matt 7:16) you will know them by their works.

{1} Remember that for some Christians there are restrictions on food and drink, clothes you can wear, and activities you can engage in, such as dancing. (Nobody puts Baby in the corner.) While explicitly religious organizations (such as religious universities and schools) have "covenants" that limit employee behavior outside of work hours, this expands that to any employer, and arguably to any benefit.
{2} That wasn’t a joke; I quote: "Become a joint investor taking shared ownership alongside like-minded Christians in a practical, stable, affordable, and flexible employer-sponsored health plan that aligns with Christian values. Covenant Choice is the only health plan captive that was developed exclusively for members of the Christian Employer’s Alliance for Christian-led organizations. Come together with other Christian employers to leverage volume-based purchasing power and the shared risk of a larger health plan participant pool to gain more control over your own health plan."
{3} Mark 12:13-17, unless you’re going to make the argument that all governments are appointed by God (Paul 13), but you should note that Paul is explicitly talking about governments that are not Christian and are, at the time, outright hostile to Christians.