Joe Scarborough Shocks "MJ" Panel: Says OK To Discriminate Against Women For Religious Reasons

Click on the image for a larger view. The MJ panel react with various grades of shock, alarm, and in Chuck Todd's case, restraint—from calling Scarborough an idiot no doubt. Mika B, who has apparently gotten used to her co-host going off offensively at the mouth, just looks down till the fool stops talking.
Sometimes, you just have to look at the people around you to realize the argument you’re advancing has gone totally off the rails and is just adding up to the fair conclusion you’re an asshole—AND an idiot.

This happened yesterday morning to Morning Joe host, Joe Scarborough, as the MJ panel were discussing the amazingly stupid decision by the Arizona state GOP to pass a gay discrimination enabling bill—in other words a bill that encourages businesses to discriminate against gay people.

The MJ discussion took place prior to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer making the only sane political decision that she could—she vetoed the bill yesterday. All of the panel, including Scarborough, agreed the Arizona bill was really dumb, although Scarborough would eventually note that discriminating against gay people in hiring was OK, so long as you felt God was telling you do it.

Just after Chuck Todd completely trashed Arizona for having “this horrendous reputation” because it is “the last [place] to accept social change” (Todd said Arizonans had been out in the Sun too long), Jeremy Peters then offered an interesting critique of the bill, and noted the Supreme Court was preparing to render decisions on a number of “religious freedom” discrimination bills.

Peters noted:
“The Supreme Court is considering a number of these religious freedom cases that have to do with birth control and contraceptions and what-not, but they’ve addressed this issue before, with Bob Jones University…they did not want to integrate. They would expel couples who were interracial. And the Supreme Court said they would revoke their tax exempt status, and said you can’t do this.”
And that set Joe Scarborough off. He wasn’t going to let Peters get away with suggesting that the SCOTUS might just rule that religious freedom is not any good reason to discriminate against people.

Scarborough demanded there had to be a big difference—someplace:
“But there’s a big difference. And the Supreme Court I think would find a big difference, between having the federal government compel religious institutions [to provide] abortions or contraception at their hospitals, which is something we’ve been battling, or even having Bob Jones University hire somebody to work on their staff that is…that is gay. [OH NO!!] There’s a big difference between that, and I think the Court would find there’s a big difference between that, and having Denny’s Restaurant in Mesa, be able to go up to somebody and say hey you’re gay, get out of my restaurant.”
Scarborough meant by this that it was much more troubling for the Court, regarding constitutional rights and liberty, for somebody to be denied a meal at a Denny’s, than it would be for millions of women to be denied medical services by employers claiming their religious sensibilities were offended. 

Scarborough said he didn’t want the “lines” allegedly separating these two ideas to be “blurred”.

The problem is, Peters had raised a fair point, which Scarborough failed to address. And that point is that in the Bob Jones University decision, the SCOTUS had expressed the following view:
“[i]t would be wholly incompatible with the concepts underlying tax exemption to grant tax-exempt status to racially discriminatory private educational entities. Whatever may be the rationale for such private schools' policies, racial discrimination in education is contrary to public policy. Racially discriminatory educational institutions cannot be viewed as conferring a public benefit.”
If that principle is followed in cases where public benefits of providing health care coverage to women are rejected for alleged religious reasons by employers, the Bob Jones decision suggests any not-for-profit organization, whose practices are “contrary to public policy” would risk the loss of its tax exempt status.

Scarborough was having none of that however, and as he finished up, in a halting attempt to demand, rather than to demonstrate, that discriminating against women, or gay people in hiring, is just not as bad as discriminating against black people at restaurants, the MJ panel were caught in a split-screen showing all six panelists surrounding and reacting to Scarborough as he was finishing his analysis. 

Whether this was coincidental, or the producers noticed the dubious looks on all the faces of the panelists, the shot is very revealing.

Joe Scarborough often is allowed to rant, like a damned fool, on Morning Joe. Of course it is his show, but the fact nobody is allowed to tell Scarborough to shut up—just look at Chuck Todd having to cover his lip (in the Keep Silent posture) to keep from doing it—is just one of the reasons the social value of MJ’s political debates is negligible.

It is actually way past time for Morning Joe to get dump its hosts, and get new blood—and new brains.