Letter to the Editor: Faith, Conscience and Commonsense Win the Day

Understanding Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

After the Supreme Court of the United States’ June 30 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby there has been a tremendous amount of rancor and misinformation from individuals and organizations which do not believe in or understand conscience rights and religious freedom of employers.  With so much misinformation, it is important to understand the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision.

The U.S. Supreme court 5 to 4 ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties was a critical victory in protecting the right of conscience and religious liberty against government overreach. This case was much more about the proper role of government than about contraception and abortion-causing drugs. No one should be fined for following their faith; and employees should not be unwillingly complicit in participating in health insurance which destroys members of the human family.

Sarah Torre is a policy analyst in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation. Torre explains the results of the Hobby Lobby decision:

Passed by Congress in 1993 by broad, bipartisan majorities, RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] protects Americans from substantial burdens on religious freedom unless the government can show it has a compelling government interest and does so in the least restrictive way possible. That’s a high bar and one the Obama Administration failed to meet under this mandate.

 [The Hobby Lobby] decision is a strong rejection of the Obama’s administration’s faulty argument that Americans’ religious freedom ends when they open a family business. The government cannot unreasonably force Americans to set aside their beliefs simply because they go into business to provide for themselves, their families, and their employees…

To be clear, the decision applies only to the coercive Obamacare rule that was threatening the religious freedom of the Greens’ and Hahns’ family businesses. Other claims for religious exemptions by closely-held family businesses from other laws will have to be litigated on a case-by-case basis. RFRA doesn’t provide a blank check for religious believers to do whatever they want in the name of religion and neither does today’s decision.

While the ruling applies only to Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods, some individuals seem to think this ruling is part of the “War on Women.”

The Hobby Lobby decision protects the rights of Americans to run a family business consistent with their faith. Thankfully, it was faith, conscience and commonsense which won the day when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.

Pamela Sherstad
Director of Public Information
office: 616-532-2300