When the US Supreme Court decided that the ‘religious conscience’ of the Hobby Lobby corporation deserved the same recognition in law as a real person’s, many observers tried to warn us that it was a foot in the door for all kinds of right wing agenda items. Now a federal court in Utah has decided that the US Department of Labor cannot force Vernon Steed, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), to testify about alleged child labor violations because secrecy is a religious value for him.
It is not for the Court to “inquir[e] into the theological merit of the belief in question”. Hobby Lobby, 723 F.3d at 1137. “The determination of what is a ‘religious’ belief or practice is more often than not a difficult and delicate task …. However, the resolution of that question is not to turn upon a judicial perception of the particular belief or practice in question; religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection.” Thomas v. Review Bd. of Indiana Employment Security Div., 450 U.S. 707, 714 (1981)….
Petitioner has failed to show that forcing Mr. Steed to answer the questions offensive to his sincerely held religious beliefs is the least restrictive means to advance any compelling interest it may have. For example, as a less restrictive alternative, Petitioner can continue with its efforts to obtain needed information from Paragon Contractors Corporation, Brian Jessop, Dale Barlow and others who contracted to manage the pecan ranch. See Hobby Lobby, 134 S.Ct. at *2780….
In other words, as long as you wrap your violations of American law in a cloak of religion the government can’t even question your ‘beliefs,’ no matter how illegal or ridiculous or incredibly convenient they are for excusing or covering up your criminal activity. No one even gets to cross-examine your beliefs to see if they square at all with the text of your scripture, because freedumb!
In our time, businesses will start declaring their religious exemption from wage laws, safety regulations, and all other forms of ‘big government’ that might annoy them in any way — or harm a single penny of their profits — by claiming that their gods give them permission. This is the new ‘religious freedom’ for our time because we are no longer a sane country.