Hobby Lobby Roundup: Statements Regarding the Momentous Supreme Court Decision

Posted on July 4, 2014 in Religious Freedom by

Hobby Lobby victory

Image credit: Heritage Foundation

ABC News: “In a 5-4 opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito the court held that as applied to closely held corporations the Health and Human Services regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Alito was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Anthony Kennedy filed a concurring opinion. The decision is a victory for the Green family that owns the Hobby Lobby arts and crafts chain and the Hahns who own Conestoga, a cabinet making company, who had challenged the so called contraceptive mandate saying it forced them to either violate their faith or pay ruinous fines. The government defended the provision as an essential part of health care coverage for women.”

Christianity Today: “While the case was decided 5–4, the opinions that accompanied the court’s decision also signal that seven of the nine justices agree that businesses can make religious liberty claims in court—an important ruling, said Joshua Hawley, senior counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. ‘The opinion was right on the money … that the government is required to accommodate those folks and not violate their religious beliefs,’ Hawley said. ‘That is exactly the kind of coverage and protection that the law is supposed to give, and the court reaffirmed that today. It’s quite targeted and modest, but firm, and for people of religious conviction this is a great victory.’”

Citizenlink: “These families’ stand for freedom benefits the many faith-based businesses faced with the same awful choice of deciding between their faith and livelihood. It also vindicates a higher principle, showing that government must tread carefully when it seeks to impose policies contrary to our most cherished rights.”

FRCBlog: “Justice Ginsburg’s dissent provides what is the ugliest (and most frightening) part of today’s decision. Although she was in dissent, her manifest contempt for you and I should concern us. She dismisses as ‘ilk’ those who believe in Biblical sexual morals and lumps them in with racists. Unfortunately, the majority, in dismissing her concerns, leaves the door open to holding the government can rightfully make Biblical sexual morals illegal in the workplace. Although the majority, rightfully, responds to Justice Ginsburg’s criticism by stating today’s decision does not threaten laws prohibiting racial discrimination, the majority doesn’t defend the right of individual’s to conduct their business in accord with Biblical sexual morals.”

LifeNews.com: “Before and after the decision, pro-life advocates flooded the steps of the Supreme Court building with signs and pictures and led chants as the justices were preparing to hand down their decision. Afterwards, they cried tears of joy, cheered and prayed to thank God for the decision. Some pro-life activists gathered at local Hobby Lobby stores to celebrate. Here is a collection of pictures from Students for Life of America, Concerned Women for America, the Susan B. Anthony List, March for Life and others…”

The Gospel Coalition: “In a crucial new interview with Mark Mellinger, SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Comission president Russell Moore explains how public opinion has shifted as religious freedom now conflicts with the aims of the sexual revolution. Just a few years ago, Moore explains, it’s not likely Christians would have felt compelled to defend such basic liberties before the Supreme Court. So even as we celebrate this victory, we realize that if only one Supreme Court justice had changed his or her vote, we would have faced, according to Moore, an awful clampdown on religious liberty. Amid this morning’s celebration we’re sobered to realize how controversial it has become to carry out basic Christian convictions such as declining to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins: “The Supreme Court has delivered one of the most significant victories for religious freedom in our generation. We are thankful the Supreme Court agreed that the government went too far by mandating that family businesses owners must violate their consciences under threat of crippling fines. All Americans can be thankful that the Court reaffirmed that freedom of conscience is a long-held American tradition and that the government cannot impose a law on American men and women that forces them to violate their beliefs in order to hold a job, own a business, or purchase health insurance. The unfair HHS mandate gave family businesses two non-choices: either violate your deeply held moral beliefs and comply by paying for drugs and services to which you object, or pay crippling fines of up to $100 per day, per employee, for non-compliance. This mandate threatened the jobs, livelihood and healthcare of millions of Americans and forced those who stood up for their conscience, like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, to either comply or be punished. Thankfully, the threat the HHS mandate imposed on Americans has been deemed unlawful today as a violation of core religious freedom rights.”

The Blaze: “The majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito agreed with that argument. According to SCOTUS Blog, the Obama administration failed to show that the broad contraception mandate is the least restrictive way of advancing its interest in ensuring access to birth control. The Court also ruled that the decision applies only to the contraception mandate, not other insurance mandates, such as those involving vaccinations. Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that the government could pay for this coverage if it wants to make it available, but cannot compel a company to do so.”

WND: “The majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito dismissed the Department of Health and Human Services  argument that the companies cannot sue because they are for-profit corporations and that the owners cannot sue because the regulations apply only to the companies. Alito said that ‘would leave merchants with a difficult choice: give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits of operating as corporations.’ The opinion said the RFRA’s text ‘shows that Congress designed the statute to provide very broad protection for religious liberty and did not intend to put merchants to such a choice.’”

Christianity Today: “Perhaps it is helpful to note that this isn’t simply a “freedom to worship” issue, it is a “freedom of religion” issue. As Rick Warren pointed out in our video conversation, it has become quite common to hear the debate framed in terms of the “freedom to worship,” a subtle but not inconsequential change in the DNA of the “freedom of religion” protected in our Constitution. Religion (faith) belongs to every sphere of life, rather than a singular identifiable activity engaged or performed in a limited portion of life.”

Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission: “1. Although the focus was primarily on one plaintiff, Hobby Lobby, the case actually combined three separate lawsuits by three different companies (Conestoga Wood, Hobby Lobby, and Mardel). In the three cases before the Supreme Court, the Court agreed that the owners of three closely held for-profit corporations have sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point. Of the 20 contraceptive methods approved by the FDA and required to be covered by the HHS mandate, four may affect an zygote from developing by inhibiting its attachment to the uterus. The belief that these four contraceptive cause an abortion was the religious reason these three companies opposed the contraceptive mandate.”

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