WASHINGTON (RNS) Have you ever wished the government would just take care of things without any of your personal involvement? Did you love the movie “Minority Report?” If your head is nodding, then you might find some friends in the Little Sisters of the Poor.
The nuns are the plaintiffs in a blockbuster Supreme Court case about conscientious contraceptive objectors. The justices ruled unanimously early this week in very complicated case. While The Literalist is not exactly SCOTUSblog, here are the basics of the controversy:
Feds: All U.S. insurance plans must provide free condoms, etc. #Obamacare
Nuns: Woah there!
Feds: All right, all right. Nuns and friends get an accommodation. Just tell us and we’ll arrange for the free condoms through a third party.
Nuns: Woah there!
Feds: That’s not good enough?
Nuns: No way! Notifying the government to provide free condoms through a third party is basically the same as providing free condoms. Obamacare schmomamacare.
SCOTUS: Y’all need to work this out yourselves.
Feds: OK. So we’ll arrange for free condoms through a third party because the nuns won’t. And we’ll do that without them notifying us?
As the case returns to the appellate court, will Little Sisters v. Contraceptives drag on? Probably for a long time, because we know the nuns have no intention of acknowledging the benefit of contraceptives.
But the nuns’ big victory envisions a different kind of world, where the government functions without any prompting. The nuns imagine a world where Obamacare drones airlift condoms directly to employees whose bosses want clean consciences — a world where consciences can be wiped clean by a government acting with omniscience.
This wonderful new world is possible, the Supreme Court found unanimously. You could take your trash out anytime because the collector would be just about to pick it up. Police officers would make arrests before crimes happen.
Three cheers to the nuns. In an ideal world, the government would provide condoms whenever anyone needed them without involving any nuns! Because when it comes down to getting condoms, does anyone really want religious leaders involved?