COMMENTARY | Forever looking for that wave of simplistic Christian activism he’s sure will roll into the shore soon, presumed 2016 presidential candidate Rick Santorum is waxing up his surfboard again. Santorum’s fledgling film company EchoLight announced this week that they will be releasing a film about the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision handed down June 30.
For those of you who somehow missed it, the Supremes ruled by 5 to 4, that “closely held” corporations run according to religious principles could refuse the Obamacare requirement that employers providing health care insurance include contraception coverage. Such a requirement would violate religious freedom, according to the majority, and would seem a nominally modest expansion of the Mitt Romney notion that “corporations are people,” which was basically established by the 2010 Citizens United decision.
But my purpose here isn’t to debate whether or not the latest Court decision is narrow or broad, or whether or not the people who are corporations should be assumed to think and act in lockstep.
It is to alert the nation and especially the Oscar voters who are really interested in the documentary category. This is because EchoLight’s new film, “One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty” (September 1 release) is going to be a real eye-opener. Pretty obviously in the works since the high court agreed to consider the Hobby Lobby case, producer Santorum’s title would suggest that the former Pennsylvania senator was worried about the case’s outcome. As per Raw Story, “[t]he trailer for the film points to the Hobby Lobby case…as proof that the government is trying to destroy religious freedom.”
OK, never mind that the “deciders” in the government, the Court, just allowed “Christian” employers to stomp all over women’s rights guaranteed by a federal law they found constitutional – um, you know, if the company isn’t too big…or is really run according to dimwitted “Christian principles”…or can afford really good lawyers. That threat to religion is still real!
It’s so real that, as per Raw Story again, the EchoLight PR people compare the situation to that of Nazi Germany, when German Christians didn’t “wake up.”
Well, the Nazis certainly were bad guys, so that’s a pretty good foundation piece for a film (and presidential platform). Another piece seems to be Santorum’s unwavering faith in the wisdom of the states as opposed to that Nazism-prone federal government. In the past the ex-senator has damned the 1965 Supreme Court decision disallowing state laws banning contraception: “The state has to right to do that; I have never questioned the state has the right to do that. It [contraception] is not a constitutional right; the state has the right to pass whatever statutes they have (emphasis mine).
OK, never mind (#2), that Santorum clearly intends to cherry pick which Supreme Court decisions he agrees with (as we all do). We’re now looking forward to that coming Supreme Court case in which they consider a new state law allowing African-Americans to be flogged, and of course, a case in which hyper-traditional American Muslims argue they should be able to beat or kill “their” women who glance at the wrong men because religious tradition clearly trumps life and liberty, just as it now trumps a woman’s right to control her own body if she works for a “closely held” Christian company.
On second thought, maybe the Court’s new, narrow decision isn’t really narrow. On the other hand, one can hope that this decision may require Santorum to waste some money re-editing “One Generation Away” so that it looks more like 90 percent paranoid delusion, instead of 100 percent