It's been a bad year for the Obama Administration at the U.S. Supreme Court. Just last week the Court released opinions striking down three of the President's recess appointments and nullifying a law that prevented pro-life protests in certain spaces around abortion clinics. On Monday, the Court handed down its long awaited decision in the Hobby Lobby case and ruled in favor of the company, 5-4.
In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., Hobby Lobby and two other closely held for-profit corporations joined in suing the government on the grounds that the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act required the owners to violate their religious beliefs in providing these products to their employees. Hobby Lobby, et. al, were not seeking an exemption as to all forms of contraception, rather, just four types out of the 20 approved by the FDA. Notably, the government had already provided religion-based exemptions of this exact nature to certain non-profits, but argued that the exemption should not extend to for-profit corporations.
The plaintiff corporations sued under the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) which required the Court to determine whether or not the government's contraceptive mandate "substantially burdened" an individual's exercise of religion; if so, the mandate could only be allowed to stand if it were shown to be the least restrictive, or narrowest, means to further a "compelling governmental interest." more >>
Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Hobby Lobby, an Alabama-based Catholic television network was given relief from the federal government's "preventive services" mandate.
Within hours of the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby Inc. on Monday, Eternal Word Television Network was granted relief from having to pay fines for refusing to comply with the HHS mandate to provide various birth control pills.
In addition to EWTN, five other groups based in Wyoming were given emergency relief. They were the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, Catholic Charities of Wyoming, St. Joseph's Children's Home, St. Anthony Tri-Parish Catholic School, and Wyoming Catholic College. more >>
While the U.S. Supreme Court has provided Hobby Lobby an exemption from parts of the "Obamacare" birth control mandate that violate the owners religious beliefs, other lawsuits over the mandate, such as the one by the Little Sisters of the Poor, involve a slightly different legal question. What does the Court's Hobby Lobby decision say about those cases?
The Hobby Lobby opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Alito for a five to four majority, provides strong indications that the Little Sisters will prevail in their lawsuit, Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, explained to The Christian Post in a Monday interview.
The case of the Little Sisters, an international organization of Catholic nuns that cares for elderly poor people, is "the future of where these cases are going, that's what these cases are all about," Blomberg said. more >>
The pithy, catch-phrase "abortion distortion" is frequently used to describe how rules of law, logic, and common sense go by the wayside whenever abortion is involved. The phenomenon is easily detected.
What invasive, medical procedure – besides an abortion – can a minor obtain without parental consent or knowledge?
What surgical center – besides an abortion clinic – can avoid regulatory standards for surgical centers? more >>
Pastors in the U.S. reacted quickly and joined the viral social media discussion on Monday about the Supreme Court decision that two Christian-owned businesses, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, do not have to comply with parts of the "Obamacare" birth control mandate that violate the owners' sincere religious beliefs.
"The Supreme Court made the right decision today and to me it is a hopeful sign that our country may be moving in the right direction," evangelist Greg Laurie told The Christian Post and also tweeted shortly after the announcement. "I applaud Steve Green, the CEO of Hobby Lobby, for making this bold stand in bringing this case to the highest court in our land, which clearly, the Lord has honored."
Most Christian leaders applauded Hobby Lobby for its owners' undaunted legal and public stand. Billy Graham's son, Franklin, who is also an evangelist, posted twice on Twitter. First, he tweeted, "Congratulations to the Green family, owners of @HobbyLobby, and a big thank you for their strong moral stand. #hobbylobby," and later, "The Green family is an inspiration to Christians all around the world. We thank God for answered prayer! #hobbylobby." more >>
The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a ruling today in the rather controversial Hobby Lobby religious liberty case. It was extremely significant in that it ultimately upheld the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and made it clear that closely held corporations cannot be separated from the individual identities of their owners. I, along with many other Christians, are elated that the decision went the way it did. It will be used to uphold religious freedom for individuals (acting as individuals and on behalf of their business entities) for decades to come.
As I've read comments and heard the opinions of "progressive" Christians, I think there exists a lack of knowledge about why so many religious people (I think evangelicals, Catholics, and many religious Jews as well have seen the merits of this decision) see this decision as a "big win." While you are more than welcome to disagree, and I hope to write my own opinion in a respectful tone, I wanted to share from the heart of one Pastor why I'm excited by today's decision.
First, you should know that I'm a Baptist who identifies strongly with ancient Anabaptists on issues of religious liberty and the separation of church and state, a phrase you would never have heard of had it not been for Thomas Jefferson's conversation with a Baptist congregation. (The phrase is a comment on the First Amendment but is not found in any official government document.) more >>