Supreme Court hears religious liberty cases

Published on March 25th, 2014

by Kathleen M. Gallagher

Today the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments from two businesses which say that the federal HHS mandate in the 2010 Affordable Care Act compels them to violate their religious beliefs. Specifically, they object to the mandate that requires them to purchase insurance coverage for contraceptive drugs that can cause early abortions. The Green family, which owns and operates the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, are devout Evangelical Christians; the Hahn family, which runs Conestoga Wood Specialties, are practicing Menonites.  Don’t believe anyone who says this is a “Catholic” issue.

The basic issue before the High Court is this: can the government coerce Americans to give up their religious freedom simply because they enter the marketplace to establish a business? Do people forfeit their religious liberty rights when they try to earn a living to sustain their families?

The cases hinges on the federal ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act,’ passed almost unanimously by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Upon the signing on November 16, 1993 on the south lawn of the White House, Clinton declared, “What this law basically says is that the government should be held to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone’s free exercise of religion.”

Amen to that. What in the world could be so compelling that it meets that level of proof? What could possibly be so important to the government that it would strip First Amendment protections from legitimate businesses and cripple them with massive fines for non-compliance?

Oh, of course: free birth control for everyone.

You gotta be kidding me.

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