A major ruling regarding religious rights is looming after the Third Circuit Court rejected a challenge to ObamaCare’s mandate of birth control health insurance for workers. The divided court, by a two-vote margin, refused to reconsider the case they had ruled on earlier this year. With multiple cases moving through the system the question if now in what form the case will go to the Supreme Court. The ruling refuses to protect sixty organizations, the most high profile being Hobby Lobby, from Obamacare’s mandate for contraception. If these organizations do not comply fines are possible.
When the case does reach the Supreme Court it will be yet another in a line of high profile Supreme Court rulings during the Obama Administration. The judges will rule for the first time on what level of religious rights that a business or organization may claim, with First Amendment protection. The ruling was the culmination of nearly sixty lawsuits that were filed in federal courts around the country, challenging the “contraception” mandate that was written into the Affordable Care Act. For Christians, and those who believe in religious freedom, the progressive push for universal access to birth control regardless of religious is seen as a major infringement on private organizations with a faith based message to make decisions based on their organizational beliefs.
Hobby Lobby is the largest and most visible organization that filed a lawsuit. The national organization is a privately owned company that was founded on faith based principles. Unless the Supreme Court overturns the Circuit Court ruling Hobby Lobby could incur fines of nearly 1.3 million dollars per day for taking a stand for what they believe in on religious grounds.
The Obama Administration has aggressively challenged these lawsuits and aren’t willing to make any exceptions for profit based businesses. The current stance of the administration is in stark contrast to comments made by President Obama in 2004 while he was running for office:
Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square…Our law is by a definition of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Candidates make many comments on the campaign trail, but Obama’s comments are particularly striking. For conservatives the Obamacare model and the reluctance of the courts to overturn the law is indicative of the President’s lack of consistency on major issues. Rulings such as the birth control mandate are a reminder of how through regulatory decrees, legislation and court rulings the Obama Administration is slowly waging legislative war on religious freedom. These organizations are made up of devout families who oppose birth control measures as a matter of faith. A broad group of faith groups have taken action to denounce the mandate as a direct threat to religious freedom. The effort is founded on the idea that religious freedom is a key component of freedom in the United States and a big contributor to the uniqueness of the United States. It’s a key moment in our history as nation as the Supreme Court rules on an issue so important to the founding fathers that they made it our first amendment.