California Bill Bans Employers From Firing Women Who Use Birth Control

Trump’s election was wildly celebrated by evangelical fanatics across the nation, and that cheering was certainly related to their potent new weapon in the Republican war on women. Having an anti-women’s rights and misogynist in the Oval Office is a serious threat to women at the federal level, but possibly more so at the state level. Women who are unfortunate enough to live in GOP controlled states are in serious trouble because with an anti-women’s rights administration appointing an anti-women’s rights religious attorney general, it is  certain the DOJ will always support anti-women legislation. Women who live in solidly red states are in the deepest  trouble, but only if they object to religious Republicans aiding evangelicals’ efforts to control their reproductive health choices.

Women in California are a governor’s signature away from receiving a lifeline in the form of legislation that forbids religious employers from forcing women to sign religious “statements of faith” or “codes of conduct” in order to keep their employment. The legislation also prohibits employers from retaliating against a [female] worker for making reproductive health decisions contrary to religious employers’ objects to. The truth is that the religious fanatics generally object to women making any reproductive health decisions that prevent them from becoming perpetual birth machines.

The legislation, AB 569 (Discrimination: Reproductive Health), was introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) who said religious employers have been regularly discriminating against female workers’ based on their reproductive health-care decisions in California. The legislation was sponsored by NARAL, Pro-Choice California, and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, and sixteen faith-based groups signed a letter supporting the anti-discrimination legislation.

The legislation simply “protects workers from discrimination or retaliation for using any medications, medical service, or device related to reproductive health.” The legislation is particularly necessary now because a few months ago Trump signed an executive order  greatly “expanding religious imposition” authority while surrounded by that misogynistic group of Catholic nuns still furious that the Affordable Care Act contained contraception coverage; coverage they still assert is a violation of their religious freedom to control women’s reproductive health.

The bill’s sponsor said the legislation was necessary to stop religious employers from “infringing on a woman’s right to make personal decisions about birth control and pregnancy.” Religious employers, and not just “church-affiliated” organizations, are not shy about their intent to control women’s reproductive choices.

It is important to remember that the private company Hobby Lobby is not a “religious organization” or “church-affiliated.” And yet they convinced the conservative wing of the Supreme Court that contraceptives, including birth control pills, are “abortifacients” and tantamount to having an abortion. The Court’s “religious imposition” ruling was founded on Hobby Lobby’s owners’ “religious belief” that contraceptives are abortions, and since that was “their heartfelt religious belief,” they won the legal right to deny women’s access to contraceptives.

Ms. Gonzalez Fletcher wasn’t stretching the truth when she said religious employers discriminate against women’s healthcare decision. For example, a San Diego Christian College required a financial aid specialist to sign a document pledging to not to have premarital sex, and then fired her for “becoming pregnant” and using her “pledge” as proof she violated the employer’s religious code. In liberal San Francisco the Archbishop attempted to force teachers to sign a “code of conduct” pledging they would refrain from using birth control or attempting to conceive by artificial insemination; fortunately for female teachers in San Francisco the attempt failed, but the attempt should have incited a massive outrage. Instead, California Democrats had to pass legislation making those attempts illegal.

The bill’s sponsor said in a statement:

Women in this country have been fired for getting pregnant while unmarried, for using in-vitro fertilization and for other personal reasons related to their own reproductive health. No woman should ever lose a job for exercising her right to decide when, how, or whether to have a family.”

Sadly, the minority religious fanatics running the United States vehemently disagree with the legislation and one of the bill’s primary opponents is a revolting religious outfit, the California Family Council; It is the policy arm of the Family Research Council and its president was livid that pro-life employers may be prohibited from literally forcing their religious beliefs down their employees throats. Seriously, the California Family Council president, Jonathan Keller said:

“Every organization that promotes a pro-life message must be able to require its employees to practice what they [the employers] preach. It is unconscionable for any politician to attempt to abridge this sacrosanct religious liberty by inserting themselves into the employee-employer relationship.”

Keller, like his dirty theocratic ilk, firmly believes that evangelicals’ “sacrosanct religious liberty” includes controlling women by way of controlling their reproductive health. That bizarro-world version of “religious liberty” is fervently embraced by Catholic organizations and they present a monumental threat to women’s ‘personal liberty” to decide when, how, and if they give birth.

Over the last few years Catholic organizations have been buying up hospitals, clinics, medical networks, and physicians groups  and demanding absolute fealty to the Catholic Hospitals Association rules and regulations regarding women’s reproductive health choices. After coming under Catholic ownership, those physicians, hospitals, clinics etc. are required to abide by the United. States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs). The Vatican-inspired ERDs strictly forbid abortions, even in the case of rape or incest,  and forbid access to contraceptives, sterilization procedures, in vitro fertilization or the use of sperm or egg donors.

If California Governor Jerry Brown signs AB-569, women will have a measure of protection from religious employers who believe infringing on a woman’s right to make personal reproductive decisions is just part of their “sacrosanct religious liberty.”

This dirty religious imposition situation is not going to get any better for women  and California women may want to put any wild celebrations on hold. No doubt if Governor Brown signs AB-569 there will be a flurry of church-funded lawsuits to protect employers’ right to impose their religion on their employees to control their reproductive lives. What should give every American pause is that in 21st Century America a state legislature has to pass legislation banning employers from attempting to control a woman’s reproductive life. It should also leave Americans asking what kind of leaders advocate allowing a fanatical religious sect to control women under the aegis of the federal government that is not the Taliban.

h/t Rewire

Hobby Lobby Regrets Getting Caught Smuggling Contraband Into America

 

Anyone who has ever been around criminals, whether in connection with law enforcement or the judicial system, is aware that no-one is more regretful for committing a crime than a career criminal. Of course they never regret actually committing the crime or they would abide by the law in the first place; whatever regret they may feign is that they were caught. It’s just how the criminal mind operates.

This week Americans learned about a self-righteous, extremely wealthy and avowed “holier-than-thou” evangelical family’s regret that they were caught smuggling contraband into America. Hobby Lobby’s owners, through Green family patriarch Steve Green, excused the criminal act of smuggling stolen ancient artifacts into America as he expressed “regret” for smuggling contraband to three of their retail outlets in Oklahoma.

Apparently, Mr. Green took a cue from House Speaker Paul Ryan and claimed that deliberately smuggling stolen ancient Iraqi artifacts into America was due to the evangelical cretin’s inexperience in smuggling stolen cultural artifacts. Ryan used the same defense for his fascist in the White House’s obstruction of justice when Ryan saidThe president is just new to this;” Trump didn’t understand the protocols involved with threatening federal law enforcement officials.

Hobby Lobby’s biblical-driven owners attempted to justify smuggling the stolen cultural artifacts with a typically bovine excrement evangelical excuse; as if it made their crime acceptable. The devout Christians said the company began collecting a “variety of Bibles and other artifacts several years ago” to preserve them for future generations of American evangelicals. Company president Steve Green excused “getting caught” and said the “company did not fully appreciate the complexities of the acquisitions  process,” and that the dealers (smugglers) just didn’t understand how to properly ship the items through two Middle Eastern countries to Oklahoma – without getting caught.

The crates from Israel and the United Arab Emirates shipped to three separate retail outlets owned by self-righteous evangelical Hobby Lobby stores were clearly marked as “ceramic tile samples. There is only one specific reason drug cartels clearly and deliberately mislabel shipping crates coming into America from out of country; it is because they know they are smuggling contraband and need to avoid the prying eyes of customs officials. There is no difference whatsoever between what Hobby Lobby’s self-righteous evangelical owners and Colombian drug cartels did to “conceal” the real contents of “imported” shipping packages.

Shortly before Hobby Lobby’s self righteous evangelical owners used an Affordable Care Act healthcare provision to control American women’s personal health care choices, they were setting up the deal to buy illegal archaic cultural property and smuggle them into America. This “Christian preservation deal” was going down despite experts’ on cultural property law hired by the self-righteous evangelicals warned Hobby Lobby’s owners, the self-righteous evangelical Green family, that the artifacts were likely “looted from historical sites in Iraq.

The experts also warned the evangelicals that failing to determine the artifacts heritage would be breaking the law. The expert told them in a memo that items of Iraqi origin that were not properly declared would be seized by customs officials. It explains why the shipping crates were mislabeled as ceramic tiles instead of ancient Iraqi artifacts; the evangelicals did not want their $1.6 million in stolen property seized by customs officials.

That part of the crime is not only believable, it is almost certainly understated.  The federal prosecutors in the case against the set-righteous evangelicals said that the acquisition of the artifacts “was fraught with red flags” from the start. And that packages from the United Arab Emirates and Israel “bore shipping labels that [falsely] described their contents as ceramic tiles.”

No doubt one of those “red flags” must have been the fact that Hobby Lobby’s self-righteous owners issued payments to seven different bank accounts when they allegedly “purchased” the contraband from one seller; a seller who curiously sent the artifacts from two different Middle East nations.

According to a statement by “acting” U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde, the burden to be truthful, like good honest evangelical Christians, about their illegal purchases they attempted to sneak past Custom’s agents was on the buyers, not the sellers. Ms. Rohde said:

American collectors and importers must ensure compliance with laws and regulations that require truthful declarations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, so that Customs officers are able to scrutinize cultural property crossing our borders and prevent the inappropriate entry of such property.

It is noteworthy that the U.S. Attorney did not say the “foreign seller” was responsible for “complying with laws and regulations;” something Hobby Lobby’s owner blamed on the “dealers.” It seems there is no limit to the extent the self-righteous Green family will “bend” facts to cover their dishonesty and aversion to the truth.

Obviously, the Green family is unaware of what “truthful” means even though their precious “holy Christian bible” specifically forbids lying; it is right there at number nine of the BIG Ten (commandments). Perhaps if Hobby Lobby’s owners spent a half-a-minute reviewing the BIG Ten instead of scouring their holy book for prohibitions on contraceptives and how best to coerce the  government to control women and dictate when they start their families, they would have scuttled the deal when experts warned them they were about to “break the law.”

There are reports, or conjecture, that in buying stolen Iraqi artifacts the Green family was funding ISIS. Although it is not remotely out of the realm of possibility, it will be impossible to know due to the “secretive” nature of the sale and subsequent smuggling. However, it is certain that ISIS deals in selling treasures and artifacts it plunders and the ISIS leadership did flee Iraq before creating havoc in Syria.

Whether Hobby Lobby’s owners’ money made its way to ISIS or not does not excuse their deliberate attempt to smuggle contraband into America. And their pathetic excuse that “they’re new to this” does not explain why they deliberately ignored the  warnings from their “artifact experts” or questioned sending the payments to seven different bank accounts. The U.S. Attorney debunked the lie that it was the dealer who should have known not to purposely mislabel the shipping crates to avoid customs officials. One pathetic excuse may be forgivable, although just barely. But with three doozies the  federal authorities labeled as “fraught with red flags,” one has to assume that the Greens knew they were violating the law and knew they were in fact smuggling stolen ancient Iraqi artifacts past U.S. Customs officials.

No doubt there are plenty of international criminals taking note of the double standard applied to international crime depending on who the perpetrators are. All Hobby Lobby’s owners had to do to  escape serious jail time for their part in an international crime was plead ignorance and “testify” to their love for preserving all things “bible.” But most importantly, they had to express regret – that they were caught smuggling.

Image: Patheos