Many Are Watching…
The legal case Hobby Lobby has brought against the U.S. Government related to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate which requires employer-sponsored health care plans to provide free access to contraceptives is being watched by Jewish groups, as well as Christian groups. The Jewish organizations are watching the case, and the nationwide battle against the mandate, from both sides of the argument. On the one side are reproductive rights, and on the other is the right to freedom of religion. The lawsuit that Hobby Lobby has filed, set to be heard on March 25, is a case with the largest plaintiff, and therefore it is likely to be the most watched, with the outcome weighing heavily on groups all across the country.
The fact that the case brought by a Christian-based business is being so closely watched by Jewish groups is interesting. However, the outcome of the case will impact religious rights, either positively or negatively, for any religious group in the United States. A Jewish group has just as much to gain or lose as a Christian group, and there are many Jewish businesses which want to be free to run their business based on the religious beliefs of the business owners.
Religious freedom in the United States applies to all beliefs. These are Constitutionally guaranteed Rights, and they cannot be taken away by the Government. These Rights are ingrained in the very fabric of what makes the United States the country that it is. When the Government begins to infringe on those Rights, it is up to the people whose rights are being taken away to push back. And this is what employers across the country are doing – filing legal actions against the HHS Mandate with the hope that the Government will realize its mistakes and allow religious freedom to be expressed by these business owners in their day-to-day operations, and how they interact with their employees and customers.
The Jewish community may not be as opposed to the mandate as the Christian business owners are, but if they stand in support of the lawsuits that are being filed, they may very well win with the Christian groups because the Right to free practice of religion will be upheld, and that will have a positive outcome for any religious body, employer, or organization.