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By Deacon Keith Fournier

3/28/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

No Catholic should publicly defend the Obama Administration position on this Supreme Court case.

The real issue before the U.S. Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby is a Government compelled and funded form of abortion. The willful killing of human embryonic persons through inserted devices or ingested chemicals is embryocidal. This is what is really before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The family who owns Hobby Lobby, David and Barbara Green, are practicing evangelical Christians committed to protecting all human life.They refuse to provide the poison or the instruments which can kill in the name of health care.  They know that medical science confirms what their faith and conscience has affirmed, human life begins at conception. As a Catholic Christian, I stand in complete solidarity with them. So should every Catholic reading this article.

David and Barbara Green, owners of Hobby Lobby

David and Barbara Green, owners of Hobby Lobby

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/28/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Hobby Lobby, Conestaga Wood, Supreme Court, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, Free exercise, religious freedom, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Justice Kennedy, Deacon Keith Fournier


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - As always with high profile Supreme Court cases, the speculation began minutes after the two attorneys, Paul Clement for Hobby Lobby and Conestega Wood, and Donald Verelli for the Federal Government, had completed their verbal jousting.

There is no question; the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court were ready for the argument. In addition, there is no doubt they were attuned not only to the magnitude of the legal issues presented but, contrary to what many claim, the public policy implications of their rulings.

We live in a Nation which increasingly relies on Supreme Court opinions as though unelected Judges are some new oracle at Delphi. This is but a symptom of our deep National crisis.

With the erosion of the Separation of Powers Doctrine, the protections offered by the governing structure, so unique to the American polity, have been eviscerated.

With the loss of the once strong internal moral compass, rooted in the Natural Moral Law, to guide her, this Nation once seen as a City on the Hill increasingly resembles an empire in decline.

And, she is being steered by a New Caesar who seems hell bent on remaking a noble experiment in ordered liberty into something quite different, a top down secularist regime.  

The Hobby Lobby case was brought under a Federal Act, the Religious Freedom restoration Act  (RFRA) The law was passed in 1993 and has since been used whenever a legal issue concerning the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights is at issue. 
It most certainly is in this important case.

Two corporations refuse to provide abortion inducing contraceptives and devices under their health care plan. They do so based upon their sincerely held religious convictions. The Federal Government, through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) seeks to compel them to do so or face extreme penalties.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act presumes the primacy of the Free Exercise of Religion as a fundamental Constitutional Right. The First amendment begins with these words, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

For the government to prevail in such a case, they must show that the complained of burden upon free exercise was necessary because there is what is called a compelling government interest which must be protected. Next, the Government must show that the burden on the Free Exercise of Religion which will result is the least restrictive means of accomplishing that protection.

Furthermore, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires the application of a standard of review by the Court in reviewing that case. It is the highest standard of review, called strict scrutiny.

The first argument one hears from those who oppose the claims of the companies is that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not apply to for profit corporations. The proponents accept that religious or nonprofit corporations should have the protection of the Act.

They argue that for profit companies are not persons and should not have what is called standing to assert these claims under the Federal Law. In reality, they are simply using this tired claim in the hope that they can cut the case off before it is given serious consideration by the Court. If the Court were to deny standing, or the right to sue, it would be over. 

This is what is behind the talking heads in the media who feverishly seek to cast this serious case within their anti-corporate propaganda. The absurdity of the claim is that nonprofit organizations are corporations as well. In fact, they better make a profit if they hope to continue in existence.  

The only difference is the Internal Revenue Service recognizes that their corporate mission is such that they should not be taxed on their profits in their operations as long as they are directed toward their nonprofit mission. 

Even though the attorneys for the two Christian companies properly assert that the case should be analyzed under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, this is a constitutional case. As good advocates, they are trying to narrowly focus the Court in its deliberations. But, the Free Exercise Clause of the Bill of Rights is always implicated in RFRA cases.

I mention that to make another important point.

When the Bill of Rights was enacted there was no Internal Revenue Service. The current structure of corporate law, such as the distinction between a corporation being considered nonprofit or for profit, did not exist.

The First Amendment stood for the existence of a Fundamental Right to Religious Freedom for all men and women. It protected them, in living their entire life - engaging in commerce, and pursuing liberty and happiness - from being compelled to surrender their deeply held moral and religious beliefs outside of the walls of their chosen church or place of worship by the government. 

The standing argument will not and should not prevail in this case.  

The real issue before the U.S. Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby is that a Government compelled and funded form of abortion is being forced on these businesses under the banner of providing health care. The willful killing of human embryonic persons through inserted devices or ingested chemicals is embryocidal.

Businesses run by those who respect the dignity of human life should not be compelled to participate by a Federal Government Administration, under the ruse of a heath care plan. This is what is really before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The family who owns Hobby Lobby, David and Barbara Green, are practicing evangelical Christians committed to protecting all human life.They refuse to provide the poison or the instruments which can kill in the name of health care.  They know that medical science confirms what their faith and conscience has affirmed, human life begins at conception.

The contraceptive devices and abortifacient forms of contraception they refuse to provide under their health care plan can kill embryonic human persons. They can kill human life after conception.  That is why this is an abortion case. Because the owners are Christians, they cannot and will not be complicit in the taking of human life, at any age or stage of life. It is always and everywhere immoral.

As a Catholic Christian, I stand in complete solidarity with them. So should every Catholic reading this article. The Catholic Church is crystal clear on this matter. In fact, in 2008 her teaching magisterium offered clear words reaffirming the dignity of the embryonic human person.

The previous year, in a direct response to a specific question on the matter, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave explicit instructions Here is one: "What Respect is due to the human embryo, taking into account his nature and identity?" Here is the answer given by the Magisterium: "The human being must be respected - as a person - from the very first instant of his (her) existence."

Not only is respecting and protecting human embryonic life a matter of a deeply held religious conviction,  Catholics go a step further.

We insist that this prohibition is binding on all men and women through the Natural Moral Law. That is because the other Right at issue, in addition to the Right to Religious Freedom, is the fundamental Right to Life of the Human Embryonic person. That Right is denied whenever they are intentionally killed.

Pope Emeritus Benedict told the United Nations in 2008: 

Human rights, in particular the right to life of every human being "are based on the natural law inscribed on human hearts and present in different cultures and civilizations. Removing human rights from this context would mean restricting their range and yielding to a relativistic conception, according to which the meaning and interpretation of rights could vary and their universality would be denied in the name of different cultural, political, social and even religious outlooks. This great variety of viewpoints must not be allowed to obscure the fact that not only rights are universal, but so too is the human person, the subject of those rights.

In the 2008 Instruction mentioned above the Catholic Church also noted that this position of defending the Right to Life of the embryonic human person is a part of her constant and consistent Social Doctrine and concern for all of the poor:
 
"Just as a century ago it was the working classes which were oppressed in their fundamental rights, and the Church courageously came to their defense by proclaiming the sacrosanct rights of the worker as person, so now, when another category of persons is being oppressed in the fundamental right to life, the Church feels in duty bound to speak out with the same courage on behalf of those who have no voice.

Hers is always the evangelical cry in defense of the world's poor, those who are threatened and despised and whose human rights are violated
."

"In virtue of the Church's doctrinal and pastoral mission, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has felt obliged to reiterate both the dignity and the fundamental and inalienable rights of every human being, including those in the initial stages of their existence, and to state explicitly the need for protection and respect which this dignity requires of everyone."

I added that quote to this article for the multitude of ill informed, poorly catechized, morally inconsistent, yet self proclaimed Catholics in political office and public service. Also, for the Catholics in the propagandized media culture who choose to deny the truth as taught by their Church. No Catholic should publicly defend the Obama Administration position on this Supreme Court case.

So, what is the Hobby Lobby case really about? It is about whether the Federal Government can persecute Christians engaged in commerce because they exercise their religion and refuse to participate in the taking of human lives.

If the Obama Administration prevails, then faithful Christians will have to find an alternative means for engaging in commerce. They will also be facing overt persecution by the Federal Government of the United States.

Now, back to those who are trying to read the tea leaves and predict how the Court will rule. As a member of the Supreme Court Bar, the observers whom I respect see a 4-4 split with Justice Anthony Kennedy as the swing vote.

So, I end on a hopeful note. At the end of Solicitor General Verellis argument, Justice Kennedy made a telling comment:

Under your view, for-profit corporations can be forced to pay for abortion.  Your reasoning would permit that..  You say that for-profit corporations have no standing to litigate what their shareholders believed.

I not only have hope that Hobby Lobby and Conastega Wood prevail, I believe in the power of prayer. Please join me in that prayer.

---


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