Earlier this week the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments and decide two cases brought against the ObamaCare law on the issue over whether private businesses, including corporations, can use religious objections to avoid a requirement in the law to cover contraception and birth control benefits for employees.
Lower federal appellate courts are split on the question; one holding that the government can force compliance with the mandates of ObamaCare even if the contraception provisions violate the religious beliefs of the company owners; the other court having struck down the mandate as unconstitutional.
Hobby Lobby Inc., company founder David Green, and his family, persuaded the lower courts to exempt his Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts chain from the ObamaCare requirement to provide 13,000 full-time employees with contraception benefits because forcing the company to do so would violate his religious rights under the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause.
"This is a major step for the Greens and their family businesses in an important fight for Americans' religious liberty," explained Hobby Lobby’s attorney of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. "We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will clarify once and for all that religious freedom in our country should be protected for family business owners like the Greens."
Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., a Pennsylvania company that employs 950 people making wood cabinets, on the other hand, was denied relief on its identical claims in the lower courts.
Churches and other not for profit religious organizations are already exempted from the contraception and birth control benefits requirements in the Affordable Care Act.
Naturally, the Obama Administration is defending ObamaCare and contending that its provisions as applied to business are constitutional.
"The health care law puts women and families in control of their health care by covering vital preventive care, like cancer screenings and birth control, free of charge," a statement issued by the White House declares. "We believe this requirement is lawful and essential to women's health and are confident the Supreme Court will agree."
My prediction: The majority of five Catholic Justices on SCOTUS will decide that religious liberty trumps any ObamaCare provisions to the contrary, therefore corporations, (which are legally deemed “persons”), and other private businesses owned by religious folks may not be forced by the government to provide contraception benefits to employees in violation of their religious beliefs.
So traditional religious people, particularly Catholics, who say that birth control and contraception is against their religion, will probably get a free pass from SCOTUS exempting them from a noxious provision in a federal law while the rest of us suckers will be stuck with all of it being forced down our collective throats.
Maybe that’s as it should be, but if so, why shouldn’t you and I and anyone else whose religion is liberty be exempted from laws which conflict with our sincerely held beliefs? One need not believe in a God or Supreme Being to hold religious beliefs. Buddhist’s, for example, don’t believe in gods.
That’s right! My religion is liberty! At least I believe in the concept of liberty just as much and just as fervently as any Catholics or Protestants believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. And I am just as offended an aggrieved as they are when the government forces me by law to comply with mandates which clearly violate my right to liberty.
I, and my fellow Libertarians, should therefore be exempted from the onerous requirement every April 15th to file a detailed report to the IRS disclosing our financial business matters. Why? -- Because that mandate violates our right to liberty under the Unite States Constitution. (The 16th Amendment doesn’t require annual reporting to the government; it just allows the government to collect taxes on incomes.)
If I owned a restaurant I should be exempted from the state and federal Civil Rights laws which require me to serve anyone, even statist bastards whom I would otherwise be inclined to turn away. Having to mingle with statist bastards violates my right to liberty.
You see where I’m going here. The federal government violates our right to liberty in many different ways and I think it is only fair then that those of us who religiously believe in the concept of liberty have a free pass from the Supreme Court to exempt us from such requirements.
My religion: liberty!