The Journey Has Begun…
March 25 represented the beginning of the largest case of a religious employer, Hobby Lobby, against the Government and the Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of Hobby Lobby against the HHS Mandate, part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), requiring all employers who sponsor a health plan to provide employees with free access to contraceptives, including abortion-causing drugs. This mandate is in direct contrast with the deeply-rooted religious beliefs of employers, such as Hobby Lobby, that the use of contraceptives is sinful.
When the Supreme Court hears Hobby Lobby’s case at the end of March, it will be deciding whether the First Amendment Right to freedom of religion applies to groups, organizations, or employers that are not defined as a church. U.S. courts have already ruled for several established churches in similar cases, allowing these religious organizations to choose whether to follow the contraceptive portion of the ACA. But rulings for other organizations has not been as forthcoming. The case of Hobby Lobby has the potential to change that.
What is at stake here is the Constitutional Right, guaranteed by the First Amendment, to religious freedom. As interpreted now, by the current U.S. Government, the First Amendment only applies to an established church. The Government literally sees the separation of Church and State as a separation from a defined Church (generally speaking). But the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written for the Rights of the citizens. These citizens, who run businesses and charities across the country, are the very people whose Rights are meant to be protected by the Constitution.
If Hobby Lobby is successful in its lawsuit against the Government, it will establish precedence for other cases that continue to be filed by employers across the country. The size of the case and the prevalence of the plaintiff will make sure to catch the eye of groups on both sides of the argument. One side will come out on top in this big case, and for the sake of Constitutional freedom, and especially religious freedom, there is a lot of hope for Hobby Lobby to win.