June 30, 2014

Supreme Court Rules for Hobby Lobby in Religious Liberty Case

Institute on Religion and Democracy Press Release
June 30, 2014
Contact: Jeff Walton office: 202-682-4131, cell: 202-413-5639, e-mail: jwalton@TheIRD.org

“We must uphold a strong public witness for Christ and never allow our religious freedom to become gagged and bound in our sanctuaries.”
-Chelsen Vicari, Evangelical Action Director

Washington, DC—Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Obamacare’s HHS mandate compelling religious employers to subsidize insurance for contraceptives and abortifacients. The owners of Hobby Lobby, who brought the case, are Evangelical and object to abortifacients.

The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, along with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which includes the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA) and United Church of Christ (UCC), have endorsed the HHS mandate that requires employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients. So too have the UCC’s president, the Reformed Church in America’s general secretary, the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, D.C., the president of Union Seminary, the dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School, and the president of Episcopal Divinity School, plus the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.

In contrast, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, National Association of Evangelicals, Southern Baptist Convention, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, National Religious Broadcasters, and Council for Christian Colleges & Universities have identified the HHS Obamacare mandate as an assault on religious liberty.

Chelsen Vicari, Director of IRD’s Evangelical Action program, commented:

“Evangelicals everywhere should rejoice at the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold American citizens’ religious freedoms. Let this be a good reminder to all of us, that we must uphold a strong public witness for Christ and never allow our religious freedom to become gagged and bound in our sanctuaries.

“It is imperative that we examine the ethics of abortifacients from a Christian ethical perspective. For the Religious Left, the willful autonomous individual, and sexual freedom, trump all other considerations, even the destruction of innocent human life.

“I am grateful for the Catholic bishops, Orthodox rabbis, Evangelicals, Southern Baptists, Missouri Synod Lutherans, religious broadcasters and Christian schools who affirm liberty of conscience and dignity for all persons. Unlike the religious supporters of the Obamacare HHS mandate, they envision a transcendent community of truth, love and beauty.”

Chelsen Vicari is the author of the forthcoming book Distortion: How the New Christian Left is Twisting the Gospel and Damaging the Faith (Frontline, September 2014)


8 Responses to Supreme Court Rules for Hobby Lobby in Religious Liberty Case

  1. MarcoPolo says:

    I’m happy for those few who support this decision, if only for religious liberty. However, I fear that this also marks a time in American history where another social divide rears it’s ugly head.
    Hopefully, the employees of Hobby Lobby who wish to include abortifacients in their family planning, will glean enough from their paychecks to personally pay for them.
    Ironically, these same companies find no problem including ‘Viagra’ in their insurance perquisites. Exactly who is it that needs protection here?

    • Mark says:

      Actually, most people who understand the 1st amendment are happy about this…and that’s quite a few people. And there is no irony here since Viagra is not an abortafacient—although no company should be forced to pay for health insurance since the ACA should have been declared unsconstitutional in the first place. Dictating to them specifically what they have to pay for just adds insult to injury. In other words we should never have reached this point—it’s kind of like having half your possessions stolen and then arguing about which specific items were taken.

      • MarcoPolo says:

        The celebration of our First Amendment is certainly cause for our upcoming Fourth of July Holiday, but the hazard created by SCOTUS’s recent [Hobby Lobby] case revisits the danger of creating “personhood” for corporations. In reality, that provision has been available to corporations since the mid 1800’s, but only since the ‘Citizens United’ decision, did it threaten our autonomy as human-citizens.

        Addressing your analogy… If half of your possessions were stolen, why wouldn’t you account (argue) about which items were taken?

        The irony of the Viagra issue further exemplifies the contradiction of procreative freedom. While so much effort is put forth to restrict women from exercising their personal freedom by taking a pill, the aggressor in this scenario (the male libido) is left unchecked, and worse, encouraged by providing a catalyst to sexual performance. “You can’t rein in the mare, while ‘juicing’ the stallion.” That’s not fair to both sexes.

        • SallyClay Mainly Mark Smith says:

          I am afraid your response shows the incongruence and illogic of the modern left regarding this issue. The decision was limited to closely-held, non-publicly traded companies, noting that such entities are composed of persons whose rights should be protected as required by the 1st amendment. Citizens United has no direct bearing on this. The analogy regarding being burglarized was meant to show that the main violation (judging the law constitutional in the first place) had already occurred, it’s only the terms of the violation being discussed. You totally missed the point about Viagra: it does not have the potential to cause abortion, and that was the reason Hobby Lobby objected to 4 of the 20 modalities they were being forced to pay for by a dictatorial government. (In my opinion Viagra should not be covered either).

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Mark my words, there will be further implications regarding this decision, not to mention the very damaging precedent set by the Citizens United case.

            If viagra is okay by the Religious Right, then we as a society, have bigger problems than discussed here, now.

            The lack of judicial acknowledgement of a woman’s right to birth control is just another example of how out of touch the current Supreme Court finds itself.

            A corporation’s purpose (as Justice Ruth Ginsberg wrote in her dissent) is solely for profit…not for religious purposes.
            Perhaps Hobby Lobby should become a non-profit worship center?


  2. Ray Bannister says:

    Occasionally – sometimes – the SCOTUS does get something right.

    So, enjoy it!

  3. brookspj says:

    Isn’t it true that Hobby Lobby invested in companies that make the very same products they refused to provide in their employees’ health plans? I don’t see how this a victory for the pro-life movement if all it did was save Judas and his silver.

  4. Scott Amundsen says:

    They got NOTHING right. Neither the morning after pill nor the week-after pill are abortifacients; they don’t even allow the sperm and the egg to meet. It would be more accurate to describe them as condoms and/or diaphragms in pill form. No embryo, no life, no abortion.

    And they blew it on the IUDs as well. Aside from a handful of fundamentalist physicians who are determined to see things through the eyes of their own agenda, most doctors agree that pregnancy does not actually begin until the embryo implants in the uterine wall. It is common for fertilized eggs to fail to implant naturally; IUDs simply assist that process. So you can’t with any integrity call THAT an abortion either.

    I have a real serious problem with a bunch of middle aged straight men (some of whom are probably impotent, but don’t worry boys, your Viagra is covered) sticking their long snotty noses into the vaginas and uteruses of every woman in the country. Medical decisions are between a doctor and his/her patient; they are not the province of clergy or the judiciary.

    Oh and incidentally, Hobby Lobby is not a church; it’s a retail store. What SCOTUS did was not only unconscionable, it was unconstitutional.

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