Eugene Robinson: Hobby Lobby Sort of Like Segregationists

Hobby Lobby's objection on religious grounds to paying for abortion-causing contraceptives for its employees reminds Eugene Robinson of segregationists who cited the Bible in support of their views.  In his great magnimity, Robinson allowed that the Hobby Lobby case "is perhaps a bit different." But if the WaPo columnist didn't think the segregation analogy were relevant, he presumably wouldn't have cited it in the first place on today's Morning Joe.

There was also a point of light on the show.  Donny Deutsch, after announcing that he was "far from a conservative," nevertheless went on to make the explicitly free-market argument that "nobody is forcing anybody to work at Hobby Lobby."  View the video after the jump.



Would Robinson insist that an African-American owned catering firm couldn't decline to provide services to a KKK dinner, or that a gay photographer couldn't refuse to work a wedding between two traditional-marriage activists?  Would such refusals also remind him of segregation, or does the analogy arise in the Hobby Lobby case because the firm espouses values with which he disagrees?  
 

DONNY DEUTSCH: Obviously, I'm far from a conservative and I think anyone would know where I stand on a woman's right to choose. Having said that, nobody is forcing anybody to go to work at Hobby Lobby. You know, there is another side to that argument. There's free enterprise there's freedom of choice on all sides, and if a company, an individual, privately held company, has a belief system, a value system, that they believe is part of who they are as a culture, that's their right and I think it's a person's right to say I do not choose that culture and I will go to another culture. It's a very gray area no matter where you stand on either side of these issues, I think.

EUGENE ROBINSON: Long, long ago, there were segregationists who made a religious argument and said that they found somewhere in the Bible and a justification for racial segregation in the South and, obviously, that did not hold water. This is perhaps a bit different. It deals with employees of the company as you said, nobody has an obligation to go to work for Hobby Lobby but there is another side of this and there is case law on the other side of this. I'm not sure which way they are going to go.
 

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.