CP Politics

Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

Supreme Court Finds Cost of Doing Business Under HHS Mandate Too High for Christian Business Owners

  • Nate Kellum is Chief Counsel for the Center for Religious Expression.
July 2, 2014|9:41 am

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, a chain of retail stores owned by David Green and his family, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a wood-working company run by the Hahns, striking down the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate instituted under Obamacare that compelled companies to supply health insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs against their will and conscience.

In so holding, the Court allows these two families - and other Christian owners - to stay in business.

Any on-going, for-profit business, whether a Fortune 500 company or a Mom & Pop shop, must continually assess the cost of doing business. The cost determines the price point and eventually, whether you can carry on with, or go out of, business.

This calculation requires an accounting of rudimentary expenses, like rent, computers, office supplies and salaries. But for the Greens and the Hahns, the application of the HHS mandate added an insurmountable cost of doing business: either 1) forego religious convictions or 2) pay exorbitant fines.

The first option was never a consideration.

Hobby Lobby has a written statement of purpose whereby the Greens endeavor to "[h]onor the Lord in all [they] do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles." In addition to not being open on Sundays, one such biblical principle for the Greens is that all human life, being made in the image of God, is sacred and begins at conception.

The Hahns are like-minded folk. Devout members of the Mennonite Church, they strive to run their business in accordance with religious beliefs and moral principles. As a reflection of this mission, their Board maintains a "Statement on the Sanctity of Human Life" condemning abortion from conception forward.

Neither family could financially support abortion without contradicting their very purpose for being in business. That leaves the second option, which, unlike the first, is conceivable, but still far from feasible.

If Hobby Lobby had elected to cut out contraceptive services - which included provision for four different abortifacient drugs - from their health insurance coverage, they would have to pay $100 per day per employee, which for them, at last count, would result in fines of $1.3 million a day and $475 million a year. Being the go-to store for arts & crafts, Hobby Lobby does well, but not nearly enough to survive that outlay.

Conestoga Wood had the same dilemma under the HHS mandate, facing the prospect of crippling fines. For them, the cost would have amounted to $90,000 a day and $33 million a year.

In other words, Obama administration has said to the Greens, Hahns, and other Christians who own businesses and share the same views: Get over your religious beliefs or get out of business.

But the executive branch doesn't have the final say on matters relating to the U.S. Constitution and enforcement of federal law, the Supreme Court does.

And, in speaking on this topic, the High Court sided with religious liberty. Recognizing the immense burden the HHS mandate imposes on Christian owners with religious convictions about life, the Court held the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as applied to them.

Even if the supply of free abortions to all women could somehow be considered a compelling government interest, the Court rightly held the government cannot force a Christian business to foot the bill. There are far less restrictive means for pursuing this dubious goal, which would include the government picking up the tab itself.

The administration apparently wants to transform the country from the Land of the Free into the Land of the Free Abortion. But as Momma always said, nothing in this life is truly free. Somebody has to pay for it.

The Greens and the Hahns don't want to pay for abortions. In more ways than one, they can't afford it. The superimposed, federally-mandated cost of doing business is simply too high.

But thanks to this monumental Supreme Court ruling, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are now back in business.

Nate Kellum is chief counsel for the Center for Religious Expression a non-profit organization in Memphis, TN dedicated entirely to the protection of religious speech.
Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/supreme-court-finds-cost-of-doing-business-under-hhs-mandate-too-high-for-christian-business-owners-122622/