The long-anticipated Supreme Court decisions for Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell has ruled in favor of the Christian business owners. According to the ruling, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialities will not be required to provide employees with abortion-inducing drugs.
The court voted 5-4 in favor of the Christian businesses.
Both companies had argued that the HHS birth control mandate was a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 which states, "Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability." The government had threated to fine Hobby Lobby $1.3 million per day if it did not offer employees comprehensive birth control coverage, which was considered a "substantial burden" reports the New York Times.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote, "The Supreme Court hold government can't require closely held coporations with religious owners to provide contraception coverage. HHS's contraception mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion."
The ruling only applies to Christian businesses that have appealed the birth control mandate to the Supreme Court. Other organizations remain waiting for a decision regarding an exeption to the birth control mandate, including the non-profit groups Priests for Life and Little Sisters reports Life News.
Christian News Network calls these decisions "two of the most important rulings that will affect Christian business owners and their business for many years to come."
Institute on Religion and Democracy Evangelical Action Director Chelsen Vicari said, "Evangelicals everywhere should rejoice at the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold American citizens' religious freedoms. Let this be a good reminder to all of us, that we must uphold a strong public witness for Christ and never allow our religious freedom to become gagged and bound in our sanctuaries."
Publication date: June 30, 2014
Updated: 12:00 p.m.