Ask most folks how a pearl is formed and they'll tell you something like "A piece of sand or grit gets into the oyster's shell and then the oyster coats the grit and hey presto! We have a pearl"
It's a lovely story, but it isn't quite right. The coating part is accurate, but the "piece of sand or grit" isn't. Actually, the irritant is usually a parasite and it begins to eat at the lining of the oyster.The oysters immune system then begins to secrete two substances that form a nacre and then it basically entombs the parasite and its host, killing it and protecting itself. The byproduct of that self-preservation is a pearl.In cultured pearls, the oyster is actually wounded and it's that wounding that begins the healing process, eventually forming a pearl.
The Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case, allowing closely held for-profit businesses to deny access to contraception based on religious belief, opens up a huge can of worms. Or two. Or perhaps more.
The implications are widespread. For one thing, the court's ruling means the religious beliefs of the business trump those of the employee. The ruling was somewhat narrow in that it only affected businesses in which five or fewer people hold at least 50 percent of the stock, but it was still significant in that it essentially granted rights previously reserved for people to business entities.