Hobby horse gallops into my neighborhood

July 2, 2014

Strange thing today. Because one (and only one!) out of my 600+ LinkedIn contacts hit “Like” on a discussion about the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, that discussion in turn showed up on my LinkedIn Home page (the landing page that shows all the updates from your contacts). Normally, the discussions I see on LinkedIn are started and commented on by people I know or kind of know. Not this one.
Mr Burns Hobby Lobby protest sign
The initial discussion post by “Kimberly Patterson Unconventional HR” is titled, provocatively, “SCOTUS is not controlling your uterus.”

As you can guess from the title, Ms Patterson’s post supports the Supreme Court majority (5-4) ruling that a closely-held corporation can exclude certain forms of contraceptive coverage from employee healthcare benefits on the basis that it offends the owners’ religious beliefs. By some magical transitive power, the corporation has a religion. (If the current owners sold Hobby Lobby to new owners who are Jewish, would it need a circumcision?)

At last count it had 180 comments. For a LinkedIn discussion, that’s a lot. It’s a slow week, falling between Canada Day and the Fourth of July, so I took a closer look. Comment threads in places like online newspapers make you feel like you need a shower and a stiff drink after reading them. I expected better from a LinkedIn discussion.

Sadly, while it was better, it wasn’t better by a whole lot.

First, and this is good news, at least from my perspective. The comments critical of the post, and ergo the Supreme Court ruling, outnumbered those supporting it 88-67. Meaning most of the commenters opposed allowing business owners to impose their religious beliefs on their employees’ private lives in this way. The remaining 25 of the 180 total were either neutral, ambiguous or unintelligible. I also discounted comments that were identifiably not from Americans.

Second, and this is the bad news, some of the comments favoring the post and the court’s decision were disturbing and disgusting. Cave ManOne decried “moochers, socialists, and atheists”. Another said women wanting birth control should learn self-control and “keep their legs together.” Another wrote “the left loves pimping minorities and women.” Several railed about their freedom being taken away by Obama and Obamacare. None of the comments opposing the court’s ruling sunk to this level. Nor did they have spelling and grammatical errors which were common on the pro side. Just sayin’.

Third and finally, and this is good news again — apart from the initial Like by one of my contacts that brought this discussion into my line of sight, nobody else from by 600+ contacts either added a comment or hit “Like”. All of the comments and “likes” were total strangers to me.

My homies know the proper use of LinkedIn. I’m proud of you.