Supreme Court Decision On Hobby Lobby: A Great Day For The Religious Freedom Of Family Businesses

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Americans can follow faith in running closely held businesses
Court leaves open whether ‘accommodation’ violates RFRA

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties means “justice has prevailed,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. The Court ruled that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “preventive services” mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as applied to these employers to the extent that it would have forced them to provide insurance coverage for drugs and devices that violate their religious convictions on respect for human life. The statement follows:

“We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize that Americans can continue to follow their faith when they run a family business. In this case, justice has prevailed, with the Court respecting the rights of the Green and Hahn families to continue to abide by their faith in how they seek their livelihood, without facing devastating fines. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to build a culture that fully respects religious freedom.

“The Court clearly did not decide whether the so-called ‘accommodation’ violates RFRA when applied to our charities, hospitals and schools, so many of which have challenged it as a burden on their religious exercise. We continue to hope that these great ministries of service, like the Little Sisters of the Poor and so many others, will prevail in their cases as well.”

Bishop Rhoades concurs with the statement of Archbishops Kurtz and Lori in welcoming the Supreme Court’s decision respecting the religious liberty of family businesses. He stated: “Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and work according to their beliefs without fear of punishment by the government. I continue to hope and pray that the courts will also uphold the religious liberty of our faith-based charities, hospitals, colleges, and universities. The HHS mandate is an unjust burden on our Catholic institutions which serve the common good. Though many of the Catholic institutions in our diocese have received injunctive relief from the HHS mandate at this time, the University of Notre Dame did not. I thank all those who stand with us against government coercion to act against our religious beliefs.”