The Supreme Court ruled earlier today that craft supply retailer Hobby Lobby and cabinet manufacturer Conestoga Wood Specialties are exempt from the HHS birth control mandate. According to the mandate, employers must allow employees access to all forms of birth control, including abortion-inducing drugs; the owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties disagreed with the law on account of religious beliefs.
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty attorney Lori Windham represented Hobby Lobby in the suit. She said Americans “don’t give up their rights to religious freedom just because they open a family-run business. This is a landmark decision for religious freedom.”
Barbara Green, co-owner of Hobby Lobby alongside husband Steve Green said, “ Our family is overjoyed by the Supreme Court’s decision…The Court’s decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith. We are grateful to God and to those who have supported us on this difficult journey.”
Christians across the United States are celebrating this monumental decision for the pro-life movement. Dr. George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God said, “The court should be commended for recognizing that individuals do not surrender their religious freedom rights when they incorporate as a closely held, for profit business. A family-owned business...has religious freedom rights because members of the family do.”
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said, “We are thankful the Supreme Court agreed that the government went too far by mandating that family businesses owners must violate their consciences under threat of crippling fines. The unfair HHS mandate gave family businesses two non-choices: either violate your deeply held moral beliefs and comply by paying for drugs and services to which you object, or pay crippling fines of up to $100 per day, per employee, for non-compliance. This mandate threatened the jobs, livelihood and healthcare of millions of Americans and forced those who stood up for their conscience, like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, to either comply or be punished,” Perkins also offered hope that lower courts will follow suit, allowing mandate exemptions for other organizations as well.
Non-profit Online for Life president and co-founder Brian Fisher also affirmed the decision. “I applaud the Supreme Court for ruling in favor of private companies and their owners to exercise their freedom of religion. No person or entity should be forced to provide baby-killing drugs to their employees. My hope and prayer is that our government will take further steps to stop the on-going killing of unborn children. Let’s return to a country that genuinely abides by its own Declaration of Independence and protects the right to live for every human being,” he said.
Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum said, “The Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare’s contraception mandate is a tremendous victory for our freedom of conscience. I’m proud of the Green and Hahn families for holding true to their core convictions and standing up to Obamacare’s intrusive contraception and abortion coverage mandate. The Hobby Lobby and the Conestoga Wood Specialties businesses were built on people living out the American dream, and their owners should not have to check their religious beliefs at the door.”
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention quoted scripture as he commented on the case writing, “‘Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a coverup for evil, but living as servants of God.’ (1 Peter 2:16). Let’s fight for religious freedom, for everybody. And let’s preach the gospel with power. We must be about both: persuasive proclamation and the guarding of the freedom to disagree with us. That’s what Jesus taught us. So let’s hold onto freedom and let’s pray, for liberty and Jesus for all.”
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference President Dr. Samuel Rodriguez agreed with the previous Christian leaders’ opinions, but offered a note of warning as well saying, “I do believe that while this outcome validates this fundamental right, the many threats in both culture and society make religious liberty the quintessential civil rights issue of the 21st century. For people of faith, this decision requires both celebration and a renewed commitment to vigilance, as today’s complacency is tomorrow’s captivity.”
The American Center for Law and Justice (AMLJ) wrote, "...the Obama Administration cannot trample the rights of business owneres at will, treating them merely as extensions of the federal government...The Obama Administration has suffered a stinging defeat. And that means liberty won."
Publication date: June 30, 2014