WASHINGTON – In a move that surprised many on Capitol Hill, a number of conservatives condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which stated that the government can’t require closely held corporations with religious owners to provide contraception coverage to female employees.
In a press conference held shortly after the ruling was handed down Monday morning, representatives for several Republican congressmen decried the ruling as an endorsement of sharia law. “Today’s ruling represents another example of the Supreme Court’s willingness to legislate from the bench and hand this country over to those who would see it trampled underfoot by Islamist forces,” said a spokesman for one high-ranking official. Another spokesperson was even more direct in his statement. “The Supreme Court might as well have handed out hijabs and legalized polygamy,” he said.
The negative response came as a shock to many familiar with the situation. For many lawmakers, the Hobby Lobby case represented a key battleground in efforts to scale back or repeal the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare.” As written, the law would have required all for-profit corporations to include contraception for female employees under any healthcare plan. Hobby Lobby and a number of other companies claimed that doing so would have violated their religious liberties; the Supreme Court agreed in a 5-4 decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito. Notably, all three of the court’s female justices dissented.
Legislators in Washington weren’t alone in their displeasure. Talk radio programs across the country were nearly unanimous in their concern for the precedent set by this ruling. As one anonymous caller declared, “Slowly but surely, the honest, Christian values upon which this great nation was founded are being stripped away by the extremist Muslim forces that have infiltrated our government.” When asked to elaborate further on his accusations of government interlopers, the caller simply yelled incoherently, the only decipherable words “Kenyan,” “socialist,” and “Benghazi.”
Conservatives fear that the Hobby Lobby decision marks a push on the part of the government toward sharia law. In the Muslim faith, sharia law is the divine law expressed by the prophet Muhammad concerning proper behavior. While it traditionally covers everything from dietary laws to personal hygiene, most of the controversy surrounding sharia law deals with its treatment of women, specifically in regards to dress and marital status.
For their part, advocates for sharia law appeared pleasantly surprised by the decision. A representative for one pro-sharia organization viewed the decision as a positive step. “In a time when so many laws seem to brazenly ignore the teachings of the prophet Muhammad, it’s comforting to see a move forward. I can only hope that this is only the beginning of a new age of spiritual purity and adherence to the will of Allah.” In response to a question about the unusual partnering of the Supreme Court and his group, this spokesman remarked, “I would refer to us as ‘strange bedfellows’ but being in bed with five old, white men and no women is considered sinful.”