contraception, HHS Mandate, Religious Freedom

Christian Businesses Fight Back

HSS Mandate

Need to Take a Stand…HSS Mandate

In an article published Tuesday, October 22 on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s website, it appears that Christian businesses are choosing to fight back against the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that employers provide free access to contraceptives and abortions. Hobby Lobby, a Christian company known for being closed on Sundays to allow its employees time for family and worship, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court against the mandate. According to the lawsuit, the mandate forces the company’s owners (the Green family) to violate their beliefs, or pay hefty fines. A District Court granted the family a temporary exemption in July, but HHS filed a federal appeal to that decision.
The reader comments posted along with the above-mentioned article demonstrate support for Hobby Lobby and other businesses that hold firmly that providing free access to contraceptives and abortions violates their Christian beliefs. And that is where the majority of the problem lies – do Christian bookstores or Christian-owned businesses have the same rights as churches when it comes to the law? It should be pretty obvious that churches that hold to these beliefs should be exempt from the law, but that is not necessarily the case.
If one looks at the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as giving everyone in the country the right to practice religion as they see fit, then it becomes apparent that businesses and individuals have that right, not just formal recognized churches. If your right to practice your religious beliefs is translated into your business, or if a business holds to deeply rooted religious beliefs (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc.), then that business should have the same rights under the First Amendment as the Methodist church on the corner. And telling a business that they must do something that violates those religious beliefs violates that business’s First Amendment rights.
Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit against the HHS mandate to provide free contraceptives and access to abortions is the first step in what is likely to be a long battle for religious rights in this country. There is a lot of support of this type of business, but there is also support for applying the mandate to everyone. Ultimately, it will come down to who can prove whether or not a religious business has the same First Amendment rights to practice their religion the way they see fit, which will include a choice whether to provide access to contraceptives or not.

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