The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in the latest challenge to the Obama health care overhaul. The lead plaintiff is Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts and crafts stores owned by Christians who object to certain methods of birth control—IUDs and morning after pills—because they can interfere with the creation of life once an egg is fertilized, resulting in abortion.
The issue is this: can for-profit corporations, citing religious objections, refuse some or potentially all contraceptive services in health plans offered to employees? It’s a hot-button issue that has Christians watching carefully for the Court’s decision.
Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a group which has filed seven cases against the HHS contraception mandate. In his latest article on the Hobby Lobby case, he shares three reasons why corporations must have religious freedom:
1) Corporations may have an independent legal existence but are formed and staffed through individuals.
2) When you restrict corporations First Amendment rights, you are restricting a vast amount of speech and other forms of expression we take for granted as being free from government control.
3) If the Supreme Court rules against Hobby Lobby, private enterprise may never be truly “private” again.
This third point, Sekulow says, is most crucial, because allowing the government to “regulate when it pleases” means business owners lose true ownership of their business. “[I]f we remove the “private” from private enterprise, how long will the enterprise last?” Sekulow writes. “The economic track record of repression is not promising.”
In his article, What’s at Stake In Hobby Lobby: Religious Freedom in the Dock, John Stonestreet writes on the implications this Court decision will have on religious freedom in America. “Many supporters of the HHS mandate aren’t content with making Hobby Lobby pay for abortifacients; they want to do away with religious exemptions altogether. They have actually argued in their amicus briefs that the exemptions violate the constitutional prohibition against the establishment of religion!”
The Supreme Court seemed divided on Tuesday, with the female justices in support of the contraception mandate, while a majority of the male justices were more skeptical.
In enacting the new healthcare mandate, Congress required large employers to provide basic preventive care for employees. That turned out to include all 20 contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Under the law, religious nonprofits were exempted from this requirement, but for-profit corporations were not.
A decision in the Hobby Lobby case is expected by summer.
What are your thoughts on the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case? Leave your comments below.
Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.
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