Hobby Lobby, Religious Liberty and SCOTUS (first thoughts)

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in its suit regarding the contraception mandates in the Affordable Care Act.  Employment law, health care and the pro-life cause aren’t topics I usually write about.  But I want to write about the Hobby Lobby decision, because it’s causing a firestorm of debate and I think I can provide some perspective.

As usual, I’ll start with the facts as I know them and then move on to my opinions.

When it became clear that the Department of Health and Human Services was no longer honoring a religious exemption for employers from the abortion mandates in the Affordable Care Act, Hobby Lobby filed a suit asserting freedom of religion.  The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has ruled in prior cases that corporations enjoy the same rights as individuals.  So, Hobby Lobby was within its rights as a company to file the suit.  Hobby Lobby asserted that since it does not believe in abortion, it should not be forced to pay for drugs that would induce abortions in its employees.

The health plan offered by Hobby Lobby does provide other forms of contraception, many that the stop a pregnancy before conception, but not those that induce an abortion after conception.

No employee of Hobby Lobby is forced to work there.  In any town where Hobby Lobby does business, they are not the sole employer.  If an employee wants a form of birth control that Hobby Lobby does not include in the health plan, he or she can use their pay check to go and buy it for full price.  Or they can find a job with another company whose health plan does provide those forms of birth control.

No citizen is forced to by craft supplies from Hobby Lobby.  Again, in any town where Hobby Lobby does business, there are other stores that sell similar products.  If you don’t like the way Hobby Lobby, as a company, follows the religious views of its owners, buy from another supplier.  Or use your Constitutionally guaranteed freedom of association to get together with like-minded individuals and form your own craft supply company that operates according to your religious or secular views.

I see this decision as a victory for religious liberty and a victory for Federalism.  The First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  Congress cannot prevent citizens from nearly any form of religious practice (except perhaps animal sacrifice), nor can Congress require this. Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, humanists, Jews, Muslims and any other sect are free to practice their beliefs in public or private.  No one else has to watch or participate.  Much like free speech, an audience is not guaranteed — merely your right observe the dictates of your own conscience.

Absent the Incorporation Doctrine, with pure Federalism, a city, a county or a state is free make laws restricting religion or requiring religious practice.  The Constitution guarantees the mobility of all citizens (provided they can pay for their own move and transportation).   So, if you as a citizen want to live in a city or a state where companies are forced to pay for all manner of benefits in addition to wages, move somewhere like New York City or California.  If not, move to Oklahoma City, or nearly anywhere in Texas.  Work where you want.  Live where you want.  If you don’t like your company or your city, change jobs or move to another town.

But if you do support religious liberty, if you are pro-life, then I encourage you buy your craft supplies from Hobby Lobby and get a job there, if  you need one.

If you like what you’ve read and you want to read me every week, click the ‘follow’ button. Please continue to read me and share me with your friends. If you have thoughts about freedom of religion or contraception, sound off in the comments.

Also, I’m taking some vacation days from my day job and my son is coming to visit, so my posting here will slow down.  If you’re missing your St Thomas fix, go checkout my fiction on fanfiction.net.

Lastly, thank you to all my readers and followers for make June 2014 our best month ever at StThomasPlace.

Views and opinions expressed in these writings are my own, unless attributed or documented to someone else, and either way are not necessarily those of my employers.

2 thoughts on “Hobby Lobby, Religious Liberty and SCOTUS (first thoughts)

  1. The SCOTUS decision, of which you have recently written, applies to
    “…closely held companies/ corporations….” (by families) This does not include publicly-traded companies and/or corporations. Legal action(s) moving in the pipeline are yet to be heard on appeal or even as far as SCOTUS.

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