The White House is using two new Supreme Court decisions favoring religious liberty to draw a distinction with the previous administration, implying if Democrat Joe Biden is elected, people of faith will have their freedoms assaulted.
The Supreme Court handed down a pair of decisions Wednesday favoring religious liberty. In one case, the justices broadened the so-called ministerial exception and ruled that religious organizations could hire and fire based on what they believe, free of oversight by anti-discrimination laws. In the other case, the justices upheld a Trump administration rule that exempts faith-based organizations from the Obama-era abortion/contraceptive mandate.
In both decisions, President Trump’s two Supreme Court nominees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, voted with the majority.
“Two Big WINS for Religious Freedom at SCOTUS today,” Vice President Mike Pence tweeted. “All Americans of faith can be assured that under President @realDonaldTrump, the Obama-Biden assault on religious liberty is over! We will always stand with every American of every Faith!”
Two Big WINS for Religious Freedom at SCOTUS today. All Americans of faith can be assured that under President @realDonaldTrump, the Obama-Biden assault on religious liberty is over! We will always stand with every American of every Faith! 🇺🇸— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) July 8, 2020
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, required the coverage of “preventative care.” Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defined the phrase as requiring coverage of any Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive and sterilization procedure, including those such as Plan B (which can work after fertilization) and “ella” (which can work after implantation). Pro-life groups consider both drugs abortifacients.
The Trump administration’s HHS in 2018 finalized a new rule exempting employers with religious and moral objections from the abortion/contraceptive mandate. Biden this week pledged to overturn the Trump rule.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany also drew a distinction between Trump and Obama.
“Almost a decade ago, the Obama administration attempted to force employers, including religious nonprofits like the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of nuns, to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees, in violation of their religious beliefs,” McEnany said in a statement Wednesday. “Twice before in this ongoing saga, the Supreme Court has blocked these overly rigid and misguided efforts and sided with religious freedom. Today, it has once again vindicated the conscience rights of people of faith.
“Since Day One, the Trump Administration has sought to lift burdens on religious exercise for people of all faiths,” McEnany added. “... This Administration will continue working to protect healthcare, including contraceptive healthcare, for the American people. Unlike the last administration, however, we have the courage of our convictions: We are allowing women who lack access to contraceptive coverage because of their employer’s religious beliefs or moral convictions to more easily access such care through the Title X program at little to no cost. Ensuring that women receive the healthcare they need does not require banishing religious groups that refuse to surrender their beliefs from the public square.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Win McNamee/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.