Dismay re: Hobby Lobby
  • Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Matthew Ellis writes for Episcopal Health Ministries:

To what degree does an employer retain religious rights to employee compensation? Why is it acceptable for an employee to use cash from an employer to purchase these contraceptives but not insurance benefits? In either case, isn’t the employer contributing to the same behavior? In the instance of health insurance, isn’t the employer’s contribution more removed than when the employee pays directly?

This decision seems to concentrate power for individual health decisions in the hands of the few. How does this respect the views of the individual employee? Why do the employer’s religious views trump those of the employee in determining their own health care treatment?

How are religious beliefs for a nonphysical entity determined? How are they changed? What is the statement and where can it be found? How can a potential employee discover this without prejudicing the hiring process against themselves?

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The Rev. Harry Knox, president and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice:

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is dismayed by the Supreme Court’s decision today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell which perverts our nation’s historic understanding of religious liberty. As a coalition of denominations and religious organizations, RCRC is gravely concerned about the Court’s notion that a for-profit corporation is able to exercise religion.

No matter how closely-held, a corporation is still not a spiritual being — it does not pray or sit in the pews or bring casseroles to the congregational picnic like my family and I do. It is an insult to the uniquely sacred community cultivated by congregations to consider for-profit corporations legally synonymous with a religious institution.

“Even if we agreed that religious exercise can pass through an individual owner to their corporate structure, we reject the Court’s interpretation of ‘substantial burden’ in this case. A corporate CEO like David Green may be able to afford extra out-of-pocket expenses for his family, but many of his workers, like cashiers, don’t make enough to supplement their health-care costs. For minimum or low-wage workers, that $40 a month can make the difference between being able to support their families or not.

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Americans United for Separation of Church and State:

The Supreme Court’s ruling allowing the owners of some secular, for-profit companies to deny their employees access to birth control is a blow to individual conscience and medical privacy rights, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

“This decision is a double-edged disaster,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “It conjures up fake religious freedom rights for corporations while being blind to the importance of birth control to America’s working women.”

Added Lynn, “The justices have set a dangerous precedent. While the Obama administration may arrange for the government to provide contraceptives, a future administration could easily take that away. In years to come, many women may find their access to birth control hanging by a thread.”

Read the rest.

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