MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pointed out on Monday that Christian Segregationists would be stunned and possibly pleased by the ruling the Supreme Court handed to Hobby Lobby. As an example, she named Maurice Bessinger, who died earlier this year at 83, but continued to distribute pro-slavery material at his restaurant throughout his life.
Maddow explained that in 1968, the Supreme Court handed Bessinger a 8-0 defeat in a lawsuit filed against him, which forced him to desegregate his restaurant chain, Piggie Park.
“His belief in slavery and segregation as divinely ordained? That was certainly sincerely held,” Maddow said. “Certainly it was based in religion. But in his case, that was not enough to deprive people of their right to protections and rights that they were afforded under law. Now though, the court today said religion is all you need.”
She continued: “Maurice Bessinger didn’t just think that slavery was a good thing. He thought segregation was Biblical. He came from the school of slavery, even, as a divine right — a divine right for white people, and a not-so-bad situation for Black people. And the Civil Rights Movement and the end of segregation never changed his mind about that.”
She also drew comparisons with a 1986 court ruling that said Fremont Christian School, a private school in California, didn’t have the right to bar female employees from receiving healthcare benefits. However, she explained that what the Supreme Court did on Monday was very different: even if it didn’t allow Bessinger to use his religion from keeping out Black customers, it did permit him to use it to limit his employee’s birth control options.
Of the comparison, Maddow said that:
The five members of the conservative majority voted that the religious beliefs, or lack thereof, of a company’s employees — those are effectively overruled by the religious beliefs of the boss. The boss’ religion determines what laws apply to his or her employees and his or her business, at least on this issue.
You can watch Maddow’s commentary below: