A straw man is a fallacious argument which is built on a truth. A straw man takes an opposing argument, and reconstructs it so that it can be more easily defeated. The resulting argument appears to be the same, but it has been implanted with fatal flaws, which are then exploited.
The Hobby Lobby case has attracted a lot of media attention, mainly because it involves issues of religious liberty. Conservatives see it as yet another example of a matriarchal government stomping on our freedom of religion, and liberals see it as Christian conservatives hating women. Just as a refresher, here are the details of the case, which is now being seen by the Supreme Court.
Hobby Lobby, a company run by southern Baptists, has refused to comply with the Obamacare mandate which would require them to pay for their employees’ contraceptives as a part of their overall healthcare package. They claim that because these particular contraceptives go against their personal faith, they should not be forced to pay for them. They claim that forcing them to do so would violate their constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom. The Left claims that Hobby Lobby should have to comply with federal law (Obamacare), and pay for the contraceptives.
To me, the outcome of this case should be obvious. The proprietors of Hobby Lobby should not be forced to violate their faith. I think liberals know this, so they have begun to set up straw man arguments—many of which are comically stupid. For example, super-liberal Senator Barbara Boxer (you know, the one who wants partial-birth abortion to be as easy to obtain as aspirin) said this regarding the Hobby Lobby case:
“Excuse me, I have never heard them put in any type of moral objection – remember this is a moral objection – to men getting Viagra. But they have a moral objection to women getting certain types of birth control…So, I view this as very much an anti-woman position to take.”
Barbara “off with their heads” Boxer has set up a straw man which she believes will distract people from the real argument at hand. Boxer has shifted the debate to women’s rights by claiming that because Hobby Lobby doesn’t protest paying for Viagra in their plans, their objection to certain contraceptives is not about religious freedom, but about women. She wants us to believe that the owners of Hobby Lobby simply hate women, and want to “turn back the clock.” Boxer is being intellectually dishonest if she thinks that what she is claiming is remotely believable. Either that, or she’s just not that bright.
The owners of Hobby Lobby don’t have a problem with contraceptives, they have a problem with certain drugs which can cause already fertilized embryos to die. These drugs are considered “contraceptives,” but in reality, they are in an entirely different category. For those who are opposed to abortion, supporting these drugs financially is akin to supporting abortion.
Kyle Duncan, the attorney representing the owners of Hobby Lobby, is making the same argument:
“…It makes it seem as if Hobby Lobby is seeking to exclude birth control from its health plan all together. That’s just not true. The Green family and Hobby Lobby do not have any religious objection to birth control per se. Their plans have covered preventive contraceptives and will continue to do so…What Hobby Lobby objects to and the reason they sued is because the HHS mandate forces Hobby Lobby to include a specific kind of drug [abortion pills]…For many people, [the pills] are not even considered birth control because the way they operate is to prevent the implantation of an egg in the womb. For millions of Americans that take the traditional Christian view that life begins at conception, that amounts to an early abortion…”
Barbara Boxer wants you to believe that Hobby Lobby wants to force women into pregnancy. She wants you to believe that they simply hate women, and that this case is just another stamp in the ongoing conservative “war on women.” Barbara Boxer is a liar. She is an intellectually, and morally bankrupt woman who seems to have nothing better to do than lie repeatedly on national television.
The Hobby Lobby case in a major event in our country’s history. The decision rendered by the Supreme Court will cast a long shadow on this nation, and our future. One outcome will preserve our religious liberty (for a time, at least), and the other will be a boot on the necks of the faithful. I’m actually afraid of what’s to come.