For a nation with a yearning for religious freedom at its roots, we are seeing an awful callousness toward exercise of that freedom lately.
One of the more recent manifestations of this trend has the Green family, who operate Hobby Lobby, facing stiff fines from the federal government because they want to act on their beliefs in the marketplace. The Becket Fund, which is doing invaluable work protecting religious liberty, has more information on the Greens here. They are devout Christians whose beliefs inform their treatment of employees. They close their stores on Sunday and are exemplary in many ways.
The company, true to its religious convictions, will not pay for abortion-inducing drugs for its employees (it does cover contraception) — an eminently humane and reasonable position — but that means they have run afoul of a rule adopted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which requires employers, whatever their religious beliefs, to pay for the costs of such drugs.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied the company’s petition for an emergency stay of the law’s implementation, requiring the case to go through the appeals process before the company can ask the Supreme Court for review. Whatever the legal merits of this decision (Ed Whelan has a good take on it), it puts Hobby Lobby in the position of either violating the owner’s religious beliefs or being liable for stiff fines (potentially $1.3 million per day).
Many of us hope we will be true to our religious beliefs whatever the cost. The Green family is doing just that, and, in my opinion, they deserve our support. Plus, they sell the great model airplanes and ships I loved to put together when I was younger. Please consider supporting Hobby Lobby this weekend and in the future.